I’ve been doing some thinking and I see a five and five scenario taking place over the last 6 weeks of fantasy football. Five guys that will impress you, or play much better than they’ve played to start the season – and five guys that are going to tumble like that egg headed dumpty fellow. Last week for trades in those leagues in which the deadline hasn’t already passed – these are what my party invites look like. In no particular order, here are my lists.
1. Tyler Thigpen: Yep, still on his bandwagon. For some reason, a really easy schedule and one more game with a bunch of yards and touchdowns wihtout interceptions keeps him high on my list. Until he has a couple bad weeks in a row, I’m riding with him. Against the Saints this week – you bet he’s starting over Brett Favre on my club.
2. Deion Branch: He can’t possibly get hurt again, can he? Alright he’s a shot in the dark, but in over 90% of Yahoo leagues, this guy is available – I’m sure it’s the same in most leagues and don’t forget, this is a guy that has really produced when he’s played over the last few years. Branch may not be a big touchdown guy, but he makes things happen and gets the ball a lot. With Matt Hasselbeck back for the remainder of the season, I like the chance Deion has of making good on some pre-season predictions some people on this site.
3. New York Jets Defense: I know it’s not “cool” to throw out a defense, but stop me when you see an offensive juggernaut remaining on the Jets schedule… New England, Tennessee, Denver (okay, but lots of mistakes), San Francisco, Buffalo, Seattle, Miami – something tells me they’re going to continue the great defensive season they’ve been putting together. Right now they are the 3rd ranked defense in fantasy, and they are owned in just over 60% of leagues. Come on folks. San Fran, Buffalo, and Seattle during the playoffs – you betcha!
4. Matt Forte: I’ve heard lots of stuff about Forte stumbling down the stretch because of all the carries he’s been getting – hogwash. Obviously those people haven’t looked at Matt’s schedule going forward. Not only has he been solid since the bye, and is the #1 PPR running back, but Matt has Green Bay (easy), St. Louis (easy), Jacksonville (easy), New Orleans (easy), and Green Bay (easy again) to play against with just Minnesota as his lone tough defense on his schedule. He also has Houston in Week 17, but most fantasy leagues are over by then. I like Matt going forward, that’s for sure.
5. Reggie Wayne: He sure hasn’t produced like a Top 3 receiver – but don’t you worry, Wayne’s remaining opponents have something in common – see if you can figure it out… Houston, San Diego, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville… (and a tough Week 17 against Tennessee, but I’m not counting that). So did you get what those teams have in common? If you selected an absolutely brutal secondary and defense altogether, you win a prize, hurry, get Wayne now before someone else sees his remaining schedule. He has 49 receptions for 700 yards and 5 touchdowns – I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with at least that much in his next 7 games…
Down in the Slumps
1. Frank Gore: I love this player and now that he’ll be getting normal running back carries with Samari Mike running the show, he’s never going to be a bad bet – however, after this great match-up against the Rams, Frank goes four straight weeks of tough defenses – Dallas, Buffalo, the Jets, and the Dolphins. He started nice, and has been a nice PPR guy, but Gore’s only rushed for one touchdown in his last 6 games.
2. Marion Barber: I think he’s one of the better running backs in the league – so I wouldn’t get rid of the guy, but if you do listen to your brain and not your heart, it might be time to move Marion. During the playoffs Marion goes heads up against Pittsburgh, the Giants, and the Ravens – good luck finding good weeks in that crap tornado.
3. Brandon Jacobs: I hope he doesn’t, because I would never want a guy to get hurt, but Jacobs is definitely a candidate to break down before the season is over. Anybody that watches him run knows the strain he goes through on a game to game basis, he makes car accidents happen. And while he is the one usually delivering the blow, he is still in a bunch of accidents. He has had his fair share of pains over the years, and while New York does a good job of limiting his touches (only 2 games over 20 carries, and just 21 and 22 respectively) he still takes a lot of body punishment. Not only that, but Baltimore, Arizona, Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, Carolina, and Minnesota aren’t really the easy defenses one would hope to run against down the stretch. There’s not an easy match-up in that bunch.
4.T.J Houshmanzadeh: I would say Chad Johnson, but he hasn’t been too productive during the season anyway. T.J. has still been solid, but it doesn’t look good for him going forward. He had a bye last week, but that looks like his last easy go at it. Philly, Pittsburgh, Balitmore, Indianapolis, Washington, and Cleveland. The light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t come until maybe Cleveland and then KC in Week 17, but if you are depending on Housh over the next few weeks, you might not be playing that long. An no Carson Palmer most likely, not much grand about that.
5. Willis McGahee: I don’t think it’s possible to like this guy in the first place, especially after screwing owners in Week 9 with a suit up but did not play fantasy score killer – but I have to like him even less moving forward, despite his 25 carry 112 yard 2 touchdown performance in Week 10 – he plays the Giants, the Eagles, the Bengals (you get one good match-up in Week 13), then the Reskins, Steelers, and Cowboys before going to Jacksonville in Week 17. It’s not looking good for him folks.