Fantasy football mailbag
Colts WRs could feast on Texans' league-worst pass defense in Week 8
Carson Palmer has been productive in terms of yards but not TD passes
Lions rookie Jahvid Best has gained more yards as a receiver than a runner
Each week I'll attempt to bring some clarity to your questions about the pigskin and the men who throw, catch, run and kick it. To reach me with questions, scroll down to the end of the piece where you can find my e-mail address.
I'm curious if two WRs on the same team is a statistical brew for misfortune or a potential jackpot against the lowly Texans defensive backs since I have Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon?
-- Dylan, Las Vegas
I would prefer not to have two offensive weapons from one team in my starting lineup each week. Of course, there are exceptions. I wouldn't have passed on drafting Roddy White in the second round if I had taken Michael Turner in the first, but I like to spread my risk out a bit -- think something like a mutual fund -- and going with teammates isn't the blueprint I would choose to follow. This situation becomes even more acute when you are talking about starting players who play the same position from the same team, but there are a few issues that deserve to be factored into this before I render a decision.
(1) Six teams are on a bye in week 8, so everyone is going to be scrambling to roster a star-studded fantasy lineup.
(2) Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in football.
(3) Austin Collie is out of action because of hand surgery. Collie is currently 4th in the NFL at the wide receiver position in catches (44) and 11th in yards (503). Someone is going to be asked to pick up that slack and it will obviously be Garcon.
(4) The Texans are dreadful against the pass. The Texans are last in yards allowed per game through the air (306.2) and their 14 touchdown passes allowed is tied for second in the league -- despite the fact that they have already had their bye. The Texans have also allowed quarterbacks to complete 68.9 percent of their passes, the third-worst mark in the league. The are pitiful against the pass and now they face a quarterback who has basically been as good as the Texans have been bad this season (Manning's numbers this season include 319.3 yards per game, 13 touchdowns an a 67.3 completion percentage in six games).
I can envision a scenario where I would suggest going away from Wayne and Garcon this week, but it would almost have to be a perfect storm, and those rarely occur. I expect both Wayne and Garcon to post top-20 numbers this week, so start the duo without fear this week.
I thought Carson Palmer was washed up? Were all you experts wrong about him?
-- Ryan, San Diego
I don't think so.
Palmer has thrown for 1,699 yards this season in just six games giving him a per game mark of 283.2 yards per contest, fifth best in football. Certainly he has been productive in the yardage department as the Bengals keep falling behind early, which necessitates the team taking to the air to catch up. Palmer also has 10 scores in six games which puts him on pace for 27 scores this season, and that would certainly be an impressive mark for a guy who hasn't thrown that many since 2006. At the same time, Palmer's current QB rating of 86.1 percent is below his career rate of 87.8. Palmer has also completed 61.9 percent of his passes, and that mark also falls below his career rate of 63.1 percent. In addition, Palmer has tossed interceptions at a pace of one per week, and while that isn't horrible, Palmer has only twice in five full seasons thrown more than 13 interceptions.
Has Palmer been better than advertised at the start of the 2010 season? Yes. At the same time he isn't doing anything, other than the yardage totals, that we haven't seen from him before, and in fact a couple of the measures that I brought up show him to be operating at less than his career levels. He is still a QB2 in fantasy if you ask me.
I want to move a struggling Jahvid Best for some help at wide receiver. How do you feel about a Best for Santana Moss deal?
-- Michael, Iowa
In PPR setups Best still has plenty of value. Not only has he caught 15 passes in his last three games, he has averaged five catches a game this season. Running backs simply don't catch 80 passes very often. At the same time he has actually gained more yards as a receiver (285) than as a runner (249). Not only that, he is averaging a mere 3.2 yards per carry, and only once in six games played has he rushed for 60 yards. Moreover, Best hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2, meaning for four-straight games he has failed to rush for 60 yards or score a touchdown. He had better continue to rack up the catches if he wants to maintain any value with ground work like that. Is Best a better option than Reggie Bush in the second half if the Saints' runner is healthy? Probably, because Best appears almost certain to pick up 15 carries a week, but the comparison may not be as far off as some might suggest.
As for Moss, he has been surprisingly consistent. OK, Moss was held without a catch in Week 4 (he had only one target from Donovan McNabb), but other than that disappointing effort he has been rock solid. Moss has caught at least five passes for 63 yards in every other game this season with the result being that he is fifth in the NFL with 548 yards receiving while his 42 receptions place him in a tie with Brandon Marshall for fifth in the league as well. You know there is a downside, though. He has fewer receiving touchdowns than guys such as Donald Driver, Kevin Walter, Nate Washington and Todd Heap.
The answer to this question likely boils down to two things. (1) Are you in a PPR format? If you are, you have to hold on to Best. (2) Are you in need of help at running back or wide receiver? Perhaps you should let the answer to point two guide your decision-making with these two.
Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for Fanball.com Owners Edge and RotoTimes.com. His work can be found weekly, exclusively at the home of fantasy football: Fanball.com. To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at email@example.com. You can also hear Ray's thoughts at the Fanball.com Sirius XM Homepage. (Ray is the co-host of a daily radio show on XM 147 and Sirius 211 satellite radio).