2010 Fantasy Football Buffet by Steve Strange: Week 8
By Steve Strange. Steve Strange, a graduate of Penn State's Center for Sports Journalism in 2006, is currently writing Fantasy is Reality, a book geared around the commissioner aspect of fantasy sports. Steve has been playing fantasy sports of all sorts and sizes since 1997. Feel free to e-mail Steve questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featuring football free agents to add, players to drop, guys you need to start, guys you need to bench, IDP and college fantasy advice, and a Survival pick. Hope you enjoy, and keep the e-mails coming.
Free Agents to Add
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills. Bye: 6.
I'm big on Fitzpatrick. Baltimore was my Survivor pick. So every bit of Fitzpatrick's 374 yards and four touchdowns against Ed Reed and company caught my attention.
It's one thing to blow up on Jacksonville. But blowing up on Baltimore shows that Fitzpatrick is for real (at least for this season). He has 11 touchdowns to four interceptions. If Todd Bouman can throw for 222 yards on Kansas City, what will the red-hot Fitzpatrick do? Sign him, and don't be afraid to start him.
David Gettis, WR, Jaguars. Bye: 9.
Gettis' huge eight receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina's first win were hard to ignore. Now that John Fox has gone back to Matt Moore, there's not much reason to turn back. The immediate results of that decision benefit Gettis.
Steve Smith and the Panthers overall offensive ineptitude limit Gettis' chances of being a consistent fantasy starter. But Gettis does have 18 catches on the season. If you have the roster space, sign him and see what happens.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts. Bye: 7.
It feels like Gonzalez has been injured for my entire life. We all know how great Peyton Manning is, and how anyone who sees consistent targets in the Colts offense has stud potential. Austin Collie is out indefinitely with a right thumb injury, and Dallas Clark will be in a cast for the next three months.
That means if Gonzalez can play through his ankle injury - and it sounds like he wants to - he'll be the No. 3 passing option in the Colts attack (behind Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon of course). Monitor his progress. If he can't go, pick up Blair White and spot start him if you lack receiver depth.
Jason Hanson, PK, Lions. Bye: 7.
Jason Hanson has been one of the NFL's steadiest performers since I started watching the NFL religiously in 1992. Some left the 40-year-old for dead after a rough 2009, but he's made 11 field goals in 13 attempts this season.
Hanson is hitting from long distance (4-of-5 from 40-49 yards, 3-of-4 from 50-59 yards). I watched him line drive one of those 50-yarders against the Giants a few weeks back. It was an ugly duck hook, but it went through. Hanson is trustworthy, and deserves consideration as your PK1.
Players to Drop
Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins. Bye: 9.
McNabb's real life value is a lot greater than his fantasy value at this point in his career. It seems like every Washington pass play I've seen this season involves McNabb instantly running for his life.
He put up big passing yards against Houston and Green Bay (426 and 357 yards respectively), but has been mediocre at best in his other five games. All you need to know about McNabb - He hasn't thrown more than one touchdown in any game this season. If you play in a 12-team league that starts one quarterback, it's time to cut ties with McNabb.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears. Bye: 8.
I was officially wrong about Jay Cutler. I thought the combination of Mike Martz and Cutler would equal a lot of passing yards, completions and touchdowns. I was willing to deal with the interceptions. Instead, these two are negatively impacting each other. Martz is the drug dealer, Cutler is the coke fiend. All they want to do is chuck it. It doesn't matter how bad the offensive line is, or how many passes DeAngelo Hall has picked.
It's hard to justify keeping Cutler after watching the Bears offense over the last three weeks. I don't think Cutler's upside earns him bye week roster immunity.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals. Bye: 6.
I sat through that Seahawks-Cardinals game on Sunday. Max Hall is bad. The Cardinals offense is pretty terrible. But Larry Fitzgerald is still a beast. The Cardinals offense diminishes his value, but benching a stud talent would be a mistake.
Fitzgerald has managed three seven-reception games this season. It's only a matter time before he wills himself to a big fantasy day. Broaden your memory, and stick with your stud receiver.
Those Who Need to Sit
Pittsburgh Steelers. Bye: 5.
Aaron Smith is likely lost for the year... again. This time it's a torn triceps tendon. When Smith went down for the season with a torn rotator cuff after the first five games in 2009, the Steelers' run defense went from great to horrible. Smith consistently takes up two blockers and allows Dick LeBeau's outside linebackers to blitz at their leisure.
Smith is the second-best defensive player on the team, and one of the most underrated players in NFL history. The Steelers felt his loss last year, and they'll feel it again this year. LaMarr Woodley and Brett Keisel are battling hamstring injuries, and 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood will need to step up.
The Saints are due to revert to 2009 Super Bowl form. After being embarrassed by the Browns defense and special teams, Sean Payton should have his team ready to play mistake-free football. Don't be afraid to bench the Steelers defense this week.
Legedu Naanee, WR, Chargers. Bye: 10.
Take away Naanee's five receptions, 110 yards, and touchdown in Week 1, and he hasn't done much this year. He sat out the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. So he should be available in free agency.
It sounds like Naanee will be back this week, while Malcom Floyd is expected to miss another game with his hamstring injury. Philip Rivers is throwing for 334 yards per game, and Naanee's upside makes him a good sign-and-stash candidate.
IDP Monsters (based on leagues with roughly 56 IDP roster spots)
James Anderson, LB, Panthers. Bye: 6.
The 5-year veteran has had a mundane NFL career until now. In four previous NFL seasons Anderson recorded 106 tackles, three passes defended and zero interceptions. This year he already has 60 tackles, five passes defended and a pick. He also has a forced fumble and 1.5 sacks, and is worthy of weekly starter consideration.
Jason Hunter, DL, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Hunter isn't lighting the world on fire (30 tackles, 2 passes defended, 2 sacks) but is an adequate bye week fill-in at the paper-thin defensive line position. The 49ers are starting Troy Smith which means Frank Gore will see a ton of work on the ground. This will open up some tackle opportunities for Hunter.
Cortland Finnegan, DB, Titans. Bye: 9.
Finnegan has at least five tackles in six of seven games this season. Now he plays a Philip Rivers passing attack that throws 38 times a game. Finnegan should have lots of opportunities for picks, passes defended and downfield tackles.
St. Louis Rams.
The true Survival season starts now. I'm sticking my neck out with the Rams. I feel Carolina burned their upset victory last week, and St. Louis will be hungry to make up for blowing a late lead to mediocre Tampa. Steven Jackson's finger injury makes me nervous, but I think St. Louis pulls it out at home regardless.
It's really the only choice I have. I've already used Indianapolis; I'm not going against Aaron Rodgers; San Diego can't be trusted; and I don't want to keep draining the Buffalo Bills well. I think that Baltimore-Buffalo narrow escape was a sign to give Buffalo a rest.
Hey, the Rams are the better team and they're at home.
College Free Agent Signing of the Week
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas. Bye: October 2.
Davis' 176 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Mississippi was the culmination of season-long steps in the right direction. Davis has increased his carries and rushing yards per game in each of his last four games. He's averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and is a solid start against Vanderbilt.
Georgia Bulldogs Defense and Special Teams. Bye: November 20.
There are lots of ingredients that make Georgia's defense and special teams an attractive start this week. Brandon Boykin had a 100-yard kickoff return against Kentucky last week, Georgia's defense pitched a shutout the week before against Vanderbilt, and John Brantley has thrown four interceptions to no touchdowns in his last three games. Mark Richt and the Bulldogs are back from the dead, and the defense and special teams will prove it at the World's Largest Cocktail Party.