NFL Fantasy Football Sleepers and Creepers
Updated November 17, 2009 JunkyardJake.Com
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
Even a talented crime-fighter like Calvin 'Mega-Tron' Johnson needs a little help from his super friends now and again.
Not to make excuses for his discouraging fantasy performance this season, but the Detroit Lions have no offensive line to speak of, no legitimate No. 2 receiving threat, and Matthew Stafford is no Aquaman.
In fact, no one expected Stafford to have a Dan Marino rookie campaign, but he has played more like a crabby and injury-prone Wonder Woman so far.
That said, few healthy receivers possess the physical ability to dominate mortal cornerbacks like Calvin Johnson, so Stafford can remain his inconsistent self for now. All he really needs to do is throw in the general vicinity of Johnson and positive results are bound to happen.
RB Ricky Williams, Dolphins
At 32 years old, and with a seemingly much more compelling player ahead of him on the depth chart, Ricky Williams really had no business representing a viable fantasy option this year.
The results have obviously suggested otherwise however, as Williams is averaging 72 yards per game and eight TDs so far.
It gets even better, because with Ronnie Brown very likely out this week, the veteran is in line for more extensive action against the questionable Carolina run defense.
Maybe those couple of years he spent at Cannabis University served him well, but whatever the reason, even if Brown returns this season, Williams should continue to serve as at least a solid flex/No. 3 option.
WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
Owning Anquan Boldin in fantasy leagues this year has been somewhat analogous to owning the Sears FlapDoodle-5000 lawn tractor.
For anyone unfamiliar with this particular model of lawn tractor, it is a fictitious machine made up specifically for this comparison that never starts when you need it, and sets you back about $500 a year in repairs.
Don't despair though, because Boldin demonstrated last week with his eight catches for 105 yards that he could be past his nagging knee problems.
What makes Boldin even more intriguing is the Cardinals schedule down the stretch this year. From now through Week 16 Arizona faces St. Louis twice along with Tennessee, Detroit, San Francisco, and a marginally tough home game against Minnesota just to keep it somewhat fair.
RB LeSean McCoy/Leonard Weaver, Eagles
With everyone insisting on clobbering Brian Westbrook in the noggin lately, the veteran running back is now in danger of missing multiple games after suffering his second concussion in the last month.
The Eagles still have some strange aversion to running the ball this year, and rookie LeSean McCoy needs to refine his skills as a pass-blocker, but he's proven to be a decent No. 2 fantasy RB when given the chance.
As a receiver, the Eagles don't lose much with McCoy filling in for Westbrook, and he is probably just as effective at the goal line.
If you are really reaching for running back help, Leonard Weaver is a decent guy to consider too, as he is expected to share time with McCoy while Westbrook is out.
RB Justin Forsett, Seahawks
There is nothing positive about an injury to any player, but if we have to grasp for any good news related to the injury to Julius Jones, it might be that the Seahawks have possibly upgraded their running game by default.
Forsett is a bit lacking in the size department, but at 5'8" and 195lbs. he is comparable in stature to Ray Rice.
Moreover, his instinctive running, vision, and acceleration have drawn comparisons to Maurice Jones-Drew.
Forsett has a tough matchup against Minnesota this week, but has the Rams in Week 12 and is worth picking up for immediate RB help.
WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
If Dwayne Bowe was taking performance-enhancing drugs this season, we hope he saved the receipt because it hasn't seemed to help him or the Kansas City offense whatsoever.
In any event, Bowe has earned himself a four-game suspension, which knocks him out until Week 15. Obviously Bowe is not going to be much help to you the next month while he is in the studio working on his new hip-hop single with Dr. Androgenic.
If your team is on the fringe of making the fantasy playoffs, it could make sense to deal Bowe away to the 8-2 team in your league for immediate receiver alternatives.
QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
It's always been a challenge to forecast which Tony Romo will show up each week, but at least he's narrowed it down this season. It seems that the 2009 Romo will either be the guy who throws three picks, and needs to be escorted from the stadium under heavy security to avoid being pelted with bottles, or the QB who makes Miles Austin look like Michael Irvin.
Of course, this is just a completely unfair exaggeration, because Romo is obviously a pretty good fantasy QB. However, here are a couple of things to consider as we head into the final weeks of the season.
First off, the Dallas Cowboys schedule against the pass is fairly unfriendly down the stretch. Here is their schedule from Weeks 11-16:
Washington, Oakland, @NY Giants, San Diego, @New Orleans, @Washington.
Secondly, ever since becoming a starter in 2006, Romo has yet to have a good December. Over his career, he has a 19 INT to 14 TD ratio, and a QB rating of 72 in the final month of the season.
RB Laurence Maroney, Patriots
It's probably worth hanging onto Laurence Maroney through the end of the season, but remember to set your expectations sufficiently low enough to avoid the bag-holders remorse that will likely occur.
Maroney hasn't been terrible, but that's about as complimentary as you can get with this guy.
If nothing else, he's been consistent with his typical pattern of an occasional great game, and then right back into the witness protection program.
Maroney's numbers could take an additional hit if Sammy Morris makes it back this week, and also consider that the Patriots are facing some pretty good defenses over the next three weeks, with the Jets at home up next, and then away games against New Orleans and Miami.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick/Trent Edwards, Bills
Bills' coach Dick Jauron was just fired, but was he really going to start Ryan Fitzpatrick again?
It would surely make sense to bench Trent Edwards if the Bills had anything that could be confused with a potentially better option, but what in the world has Ryan Fitzpatrick done to suggest he is that better option?
In the battle of the former Ivy League QBs who are probably better suited as government lobbyists or aerospace engineers, Harvard's Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 49 QB rating and has completed 49 percent of his passes this season, while Stanford's Trent Edwards has a 78 QB rating and has completed 61 percent of his passes.
Applying simple mathematics to this situation, it's easy to conclude that Trent Edwards is partly awful with a chance of occasional offense, while Ryan Fitzpatrick does little more than keep the punter busy.
Either way, this is a situation to keep away from.
RB Larry Johnson, Cincinnati
It's nice to see Larry Johnson escape the Kansas City Chiefs so he can possibly finish out his career with a playoff contending team, which engages in something resembling marginally effective offensive football.
Of course the problem still remains that Johnson is missing a few steps from the front porch on his old house, and is in jeopardy of getting shutdown by the building inspector.
For now, Johnson looks to be around No. 4 on the Bengals' depth chart behind Benson, Bernard Scott, and Brian Leonard, so he is probably not worth picking up unless he is your Twitter buddy.
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