Is there anything sadder than two coaches from the worst teams in the league arguing about who cheated? There are sad clown faces, and then there are SAD CLOWN FACES, people.
Despite their big fantasy days Sunday, the downward-trending Browns and unfortunate Lions are not fantasy starters. They only get to play each other once this year.
Obviously, last week’s running back pickups look like fantastic grabs this week if your league neglected to snatch them up. Look to get Jason Snelling, Beanie Wells, and Jamaal Charles before anyone else on this list, but here are a few additional notes on some of the guys from last week and some new names.
No long-term investments this week as we approach the end of the fantasy season.
Justin Forsett, RB, Seattle Seahawks—The receiving game made him a stud last week, and now he gets to face the Rams. I still don’t love his situation, but he makes a solid starter for your lineups this week.
Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans—While it seemed optimistic at first to consider him a dark horse stud for the fantasy playoffs, it’s looking more realistic than optimistic now. His consistent production and the confidence he showed in Houston have compelled me to rate him as a solid backup quarterback if you’re current starter doesn’t have a kind schedule in Weeks 14-16.
Kevin Boss, TE, New York Giants—Eli Manning just realized how to use Boss again this season, and he’s making up for lost time. If your tight end hasn’t lived up to expectations, it might be time to show him who’s the Boss.
Rock Cartwright, RB, Washington Redskins—He gets to start in Washington by process of elimination. Portis won’t return in Week 12, and Betts is out for the season. Look for Washington to bring in some veteran depth as support, but for now, Cartwright is your starter against the Eagles.
If You're Really Having Trouble Filling Up That Roster
Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals—If Warner were out for the rest of the season, I’d say you must own Leinart. Right now, Warner might not even miss a game, and that’s a good thing, considering how terrible Leinart looked replacing Warner at the end of the game against the Rams. And yes, let me repeat that was against the RAMS. I shudder to think what Leinart could do to ruin the fantasy playoff plans of many a Larry Fitzgerald owner if Arizona is forced to start him for a few weeks.
Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills—Marshawn Lynch injured his shoulder Sunday. Lynch could be ready to go in Week 12, but there’s a chance Jackson gets to carry the full load. During Lynch’s suspension, Jackson was a beast, but he’ll face the Dolphins on Sunday and Jets (in Canada) next Thursday if he gets the call.
Danny Ware, RB, New York Giants—His value increases if Brandon Jacobs sits, but it looks like that won’t happen. Just keep an eye on this situation.
Larry Johnson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals—Johnson didn’t shoulder much of the load on Sunday, but he could take on more of the offense in the coming weeks against the Browns and the Lions. I think Scott would have to show some inexperience or an inability to make the play for the Bengals in order for L.J. to take over as the starter during Cedric Benson’s absence.
Daunte Culpepper, QB, Detroit Lions—Looks like he’ll be facing the Packers since Matthew Stafford injured his shoulder against the Browns on Sunday, but something tells me you won’t be thankful for his performance on Turkey Day.
Kyle Boller, QB, St. Louis Rams—Matchups are good, but Boller is not. He will have to prove himself for me to trust him, and I am just hoping that he doesn’t cut into Steven Jackson’s value.
Mike Bell, RB, New Orleans Saints—Pierre Thomas just can’t win. With Reggie Bush out, the Saints let Mike Bell get two touchdowns while Thomas was held scoreless. While he’ll never be a lock for any points, Bell could vulture more touchdowns down the stretch as the Saints have one of the weaker schedules against the run.
Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia Eagles—He’s not the first or second receiver on the depth chart, but the Eagles throw enough to keep him productive. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t trust him to keep it up when it counts.
Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Cleveland Browns—Massaquoi can certainly tear up the Lions’ secondary, but unless you’re desperate for a starter during one of his two easy-as-cake matchups in the fantasy playoffs, you might find better use for a roster spot than a Browns receiver.
Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis Rams—He’s getting a lot of targets, and St. Louis has some favorable matchups down the stretch. But don’t forget that he’s still a Ram. Kyle Boller also takes over as the starter this week.
A Note On Fantasy Defenses for the Playoffs
If you’re in the hunt, David Dorey of TheHuddle.com put together an excellent preview of how defenses should perform in the fantasy playoffs. If you, like me, took a chance on picking up the New Orleans Saints and hanging onto them all year in Week Five, you should be pretty happy with his top four: New Orleans, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and Green Bay.
Owners of the Jets’ defense probably won’t like the read as much.