Fantasy football mailbag
Panthers rank 26th in rushing yards per game and last in rushing touchdowns
Though TD passes down, Jay Cutler is playing at similar level as prior years
Texans on pace to allow opposing QBs to throw for almost 4,800 yards this season
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 going to give DeAngelo Williams one last chance to impress me now that he is coming back from injury. Will the injury to Jonathan Stewart allow Williams to return to being the top-10 RB option everyone thought he would be?
-- Freddy, North Carolina
The good news, if you are a Williams owner, is two-fold. (1) Stewart did suffer a concussion in Week 9 (sorry, Mr. Stewart). (2) Williams is no longer in a walking boot and he was seen to be walking without a limp early this week. Given those two factors, we are operating under the assumption that Williams will start this weekend against Tampa Bay. Let's look at the matchup.
Tampa Bay is:
25th in points allowed per game (23.8)
4th in yards allowed per game (360.5)
30th in rushing yards per game (147.0)
Tied for 5th in rushing scores allowed (7)
Clearly it's a juicy matchup for the Panthers.
At the same time, the Panthers have been pitiful on offense this year. Hide the women and children before you read the following. The Panthers are:
26th in the league with 90.8 yards rushing per game.
Dead last with only two rushing scores this season.
For a team that witnessed Stewart and Williams rush for 2,250 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2009 and 2,351 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2008, the word pathetic isn't a strong enough condemnation of the putrid performance of this club's offense this season. Add in the fact that Matt Moore is done for the year, leaving youngsters Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike to man the quarterback position, and it's just not a scenario, despite the opponent, that warms the heart.
If you've stuck with Williams this long, you might as well roll him out there as a decent Flex option in Week 10, but don't be surprised if he has another middling effort.
I think that Jay Cutler will have a solid second half, so I made the following offer to pick him up in a deal -- Mark Sanchez for Cutler. The offer was accepted. Did I make a good move?
Cutler has to be in the Top-5 of players that I've received questions about this season. Let me repeat what I have continued to say about him -- he's not that far off a normal Jay Cutler-type season. Here is the proof.
2010: 238.7 YPG, 60.7 Comp%, 1.00 INT per game, 1.00 TD per game, 86.0 QB Rating
Career: 239.4 YPG, 61.7 Comp%, 1.17 INT per game, 1.5 TD per game, 84.1 QB Rating
The only category that he is truly underperforming is in touchdowns thrown. Granted, that is a very valuable category in the fantasy game, but to reiterate, he really hasn't been any different than he normally is -- expectations were just too high with his move to Chicago.
As for the deal, I'd want Cutler every time in this matchup. Let's compare their numbers this season.
Cutler: 238.7 YPG, 60.7 Comp%, 1.00 INT per game, 1.00 TD per game
Sanchez: 211.5 YPG,, 53.5 Comp%, 0.63 INT per game, 1.25 TD per game
I see more to like there with Cutler, don't you? Also, over his last four games, Sanchez has been fairly brutal: 50.3 completion percentage, two touchdowns and five interceptions. That's right, he has thrown two scores while barely completing half of his passes the past four games.
Cutler should be the better, more productive option the rest of the way.
I'm in desperation mode at quarterback since I have Drew Brees on a bye week. Here are the options that are available to me on waivers: Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Sam Bradford. Which one makes the most sense for a Week 10 fill-in?
-- Ryan, Glendale, Ariz.
Sam Bradford -- He has had a very good rookie season. At the same time, he is barely throwing for 209 yards a game, and the last three times he has been on the field he hasn't been able to crack the 200-yard barrier, though he has not thrown an interception in that time either, which is impressive considering that he has averaged 30 passing attempts per game. This week the Rams take on the Niners, a team he has yet to face. San Francisco is middle of the pack in passing defense, allowing 231.1 yards a game through the air and 12 scores against eight interceptions.
Matt Cassel -- He continues to get it done for the 5-3 Chiefs, but he is an uninspiring option in fantasy football. What else can you say about a guy who is averaging 176.5 yards per game through the air? His 12:4 TD:INT ratio is solid, and he has thrown for two or more scores in three of his past four games, but the totality of his work this year has been uninspiring. The Chiefs face Denver this week, and the Broncos are fairly effective at stopping the pass (204.4 YPG through the air, 12 scores allowed in eight games).
David Garrard -- The consummate game manager, Garrard went off in Week 8 against the pathetic pass defense of the Cowboys throwing for 260 yards and four touchdowns. Over his past four games, and this is a total shocker, Garrard has thrown nine touchdowns against two interceptions. He has also completed 76 percent of his passes on his way to a QB Rating of 130.0. That is some rarefied air, folks. This week he gets a chance to take on the Texans, who have been setting back pass defenses about 15 years with their abysmal work this season. The Texans are allowing a league-worst 298.3 yards per game in the air while also permitting a league-worst 20 passing scores. That means that the Texans are on pace to allow opposing quarterbacks to throw for almost 4,800 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. Calling the Hall of Fame ...
Mark Sanchez -- See above. I don't like him the rest of the way, but to be fair he does have a strong matchup against a Browns club that is 25th in yards allowed through the air while allowing 15 touchdown passes through eight games.
For my money, based on his performance last week and the matchup this week, I'd give Mr. Garrard the call to lead my squad.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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).
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