Identifying Fantasy Football Value

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IOctober 17, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11:  Brandon Jacobs #27 of the New York Giants looks on against the Oakland Raiders on October 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

::The Bruno Boys are proud to introduce our newest fantasy football writer Jeff Bunney . Bruno Boys Bunney (isn’t that catchy) will be tackling a new weekly feature in which we take a look “beyond the box score” and bring to our readers attention some scenarios that happened each week that could help your fantasy team down the road. Enjoy and let us know if you have any suggestions::

We as fantasy football owners can do all we can using the tools we are given—the internet, watching games, post-game breakdowns, etc. But there is no substitute to watching each game and identifying situations that either helped or hurt certain players throughout each particular game.

For instance, a wide receiver get’s tackled at the one yard line and the next play the quarterback scores on a sneak; a running back gets two shots from the one yard line then the team goes with a play-action pass to the tight end. You all know what I’m talking about, the little things that have A LOT to do with luck. I’m here to bring as many of those good luck/bad luck situations to your attention to help you make better decisions as the season goes on. With that being said it’s with my pleasure that I introduce to you the first edition of Carrots or Karats? - Identifying Fantasy Football Values .

Adrian Peterson already has five red zone touchdowns this year. He only had six last year and seven in 2007. For comparison, Michael Turner had 14 red zone TDs last year. Those of us wondering about the effect Brett Favre would have on AD’s production have a pretty clear answer. Peterson faces tough rushing defenses in the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers in the next two weeks and should still be able to do well considering the red-zone opportunities he’s receiving.

Randy Moss was held to a single catch on four targets against Champ Bailey and the Denver Broncos on Sunday. It seems New England learned a lesson after watching Tony Romo face Denver last week—don’t throw the ball at Champ. Considering Moss picked off a Kyle Orton hail mary to end the first half, the wide out actually had as many interceptions in Week 5 as catches. I’m going out on a limb here and saying that won’t be happening again throughout the veteran’s career.

Steven Jackson owners can’t be thrilled with the way his season is going. The Rams aren’t making too many trips to the red zone, and they don’t seem to handle it well when they do get there. Jackson and Rams tight end Daniel Fells each lost a fumble inside the Vikings’ five-yard line. TDs should be coming soon for Jackson and hopefully his owners can stick it out.

Top-ranked fantasy tight end Jason Witten isn’t putting up the catch and yardage numbers owners are used to seeing, though that’s partially due to the long TD passes Romo has been throwing this year. In 2008 Romo threw six TD passes longer than 50 yards and this year he’s already thrown four. As the Cowboys use the bye week to regroup on offense expect the double-digit-play drives with Witten getting 2-3 targets per drive to come back soon. Plus, you can’t imagine that all defensive backs taking on the Cowboys are going to forget how to tackle like previous weeks (see Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs and Week 1 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .) If you’re an old-school, “that’s how WE used to tackle” aficionado, have a bucket nearby if watching those plays.

Lost in the Texans’ pathetic goal-to-go effort in Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals was that both Steve Slaton and Matt Schaub missed out on some last-minute points. Trailing 28-21 in the 4th quarter Schaub hit Slaton with a 5-yard pass to the ONE yard line with a minute to go. The next three plays: Chris Brown stuffed for no gain; Schaub incomplete pass; Brown getting stuffed AGAIN! Game Over. Though Schaub and Slaton missed out on the TD on that drive, their fantasy football owners as well as owners of Texans and Cardinals players would have been happy if Brown had scored due to the chance for overtime points for your fantasy team. Yards are yards, and any fantasy owner will take them whether it’s the 1st quarter or OT.

Roddy White’s breakout day Sunday could have been even better than his off-the-charts 8 catch for 210 receiving yards and two TD performance. If you’re the greedy type, you can be upset that late in the 2nd quarter White went up and snagged Matt Ryan’s pass, landed at the three and was tackled just short of the goal line. Next play...Michael Turner short yardage touchdown.

Brandon Jacobs’ owners might be a little frustrated these days, especially with the way Ahmad Bradshaw is playing. However, Jacobs has been getting his chances: on Sunday he caught an 8-yard pass to the Raider 11-yard line, then rushed to the 5, then to the 2, then carried for one yard to the 1, then got stuffed at the one. Next play..TD Ahmad Bradshaw . In case you forgot how to count, that’s five red zone chances in one drive and nothing but yardage to show for it. Ouch!

Rashard Mendenhall followed up his strong prime-time performance last week with another solid outing Sunday vs. Detroit. Mendenhall had 43 combined yards including a 7-yard rushing TD after two drives. On Pittsburgh’s third drive, Mendenhall again was impressive, gaining 33 combined yards and got the call from Detroit’s 5-yard line. He outran the pursuit around the right end for a second TD, but the score was nullified by a sketchy holding call. Next play...Big Ben 15-yard TD pass to Heath Miller , and Mendenhall didn’t do much from that point on.

Michael Bush was responsible for the only points the lowly Raiders scored against the New York Giants on Sunday, but that score almost didn’t happen. On the play before the TD run, Justin Fargas lost a fumble at the Giants’ 5-yard line, but Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was unable to challenge the fumble call as the referee’s decision was that forward progress had been stopped on the play. Hmmm. Sounds like somebody felt a bit sorry for the sad Oakland squad. Or felt a bit sad for the sorry Oakland squad. Either way works, and if we’re dealing with the Raiders, close is usually good enough.


YES , Chris Cooley played yesterday. NO , he didn’t have any catches. NO , he didn’t have any targets. YES , he spent the whole day blocking due to an injury to OL Chris Samuels .

NO , Mike Sims-Walker didn’t play yesterday. That’s NO catches or targets as Sims-Walker was a late scratch due to violating team rules. YES , last week’s hot waiver wire pickup of the week let down more than a few fantasy football owners.