I was about to walk out the front door of The Daily Item office building the other day when I noticed the Incredible Hulk’s little brother perched on the step.
Everything about the guy was huge: Huge biceps, huge tattoos on his biceps, and a huge bulging wall-like structure where his neck should have been. He wore a dirty white wife beater. His hair was slicked straight back with what looked like 10W40 motor oil. He was even missing a tooth.
I swerved away from the front door and instead walked to the side door. The only person in sight was a 40-something balding man in a white dress shirt and Smurf-blue tie. I walked out the side door and drove home.
During the drive, I realized how silly I had been. Just because the guy at the front door looked as though he could snap my neck with his pinkie finger didn’t mean he was going to.
The white-collar dude at the side door could have been just as unstable. Packing a Glock. Ready to go on some inner-office shooting spree. You don’t need Arnold Schwartzenegger’s biceps to pull the trigger on a handgun or drive a knife into someone’s ribcage.
Perceptions can blind us.
For example, heading into this season, I was as intimidated of Cedric Benson on the football field as much as I would be of arm-wrestling Betty White at a Golden Girls reunion.
But Cedric Benson has driven many a fantasy owner’s teams into early playoff contention. Everyone knows what you get when you draft Adrian Peterson...but snagging a Cedric Benson late provides instant mega-value and gives owners some depth and flexibility that helps propel them into title contention.
Look at the teams who are kicking tail in your respective leagues. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that you’ll find players such as Ray Rice, Matt Schaub, and Benson on many of those rosters.
But that doesn’t help moving forward. To take out the competition, you need to identify the next crop of soon-to-be fantasy studs.
Here is my second-half super fantasy value team of players that you should be targeting via trades in your respective fantasy leagues:
Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit : Currently 15th among all running backs in PPR scoring formats, Kevin Smith is on the cusp of skyrocketing in value. The main reason is because Smith is one of just a few backs who have the only set of keys to his respective team’s running games.
There are no RBBC in Detroit, and Smith has shown that he can be productive as the primary weapon. Both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson were sidelined with injuries, but both are on the verge of returning, which will help open up the running lanes.
Plus, Smith has arguably the easiest remaining schedule when it comes to run defenses. The time to buy low may be closing fast, however, as Smith should explode statistically as early as this week against St. Louis.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay: Finley broke out in a major way several weeks ago against Minnesota, going for over 120 yards and a score. He catapulted past Donald Lee as primary tight end and overall offensive weapon for a quarterback in Aaron Rodgers who will only expedite Finley’s skill set.
The young tight end’s value took a small dip when he left last week’s game with a knee injury, and he will likely miss this week’s contest against the Vikings. However, expect him to tear things up when he returns in Week Nine and will be a factor in many a fantasy playoff game.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta: Currently 15th in scoring among fantasy QBs, Ryan finds himself in a situation that should propel him into fantasy stardom. First, he has plenty of weapons in the passing game. Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are both healthy and primed for a strong second half.
Michael Turner is good enough to keep defenses honest, but not dominating in the TD department like he was last season...leaving plenty of opportunities for Ryan in the red zone. Finally, after this week’s match-up against a surprisingly adept New Orleans passing game, Ryan’s schedule gets noticably easier moving forward.
Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota: Currently 14th in scoring among receivers in PPR formats, Rice’s value continues to rise as it becomes apparent that he is Favre’s go-to receiver in Minny moving forward.
He ranks ninth among receivers in receptions, many of which have come in the past couple weeks. Favre will lock in to Rice early and often against Green Bay this week, and the only week that Rice should struggle statistically is Minnesota’s Week Nine bye.
Which players are you targeting in fantasy football leagues? Check out more hard-hitting fantasy advice and projections at www.chinstrapninjas.com