Fire sale: With current pickings slim, looking to future is wise
Arrelious Benn has tools to be key Bucs playmaker in seasons to come
With Dez Bryant hype, Miles Austin could be fantasy bargain next season
Brandon marshall has caught only 18 passes in his last four games
Man, there are a lot of people out there who want fantasy advice, and understandably most of them are turning to me. In the past two weeks I've answered more than 350 e-mails. As I've always stated, I'm right about 50 percent of the time, so that means 175 people got good advice.
I always enjoy when people are so shocked that I respond to their question. Well, if you didn't think I was going to respond, why did you write to me in the first place? I respond to every e-mail I get. I figure if you're taking the time to read my mindless babble, I can take the time to respond to your questions. Although, with all these e-mails it's not as easy as it used to be. Right now I'm currently a full-time graduate student and personal trainer. That means between training clients, meeting with prospective clients, going to class, doing school work and writing this column, there isn't much time left for answering e-mails. But I do, which I guess it's better than spending time with the wife.
The other day I had to tell one of my clients to hold on a minute because I was returning an e-mail and trying to figure out who was the better option, Randy Moss or Pierre Garcon. One time I woke up in the middle of the night screaming "LeGarrette Blount! Start LeGarrette Blount!" It's getting out of control.
Of course, there wouldn't be a Fire Sale without the fans and the cult-like following this column has created. I just have one question: How come no one asks me any questions on Twitter? All these people are following me on Twitter and I've never once received one Tweet. I don't want to go through life never receiving a Tweet. Can someone please ask me a question on Twitter? It will be a nice break from answering e-mail after e-mail.
So feel free to keep bombarding me with e-mails. I want over 200 this week with at least half of them telling me how great I am. You guys can't break me. I'm up until 3:00 in the morning every night, so no matter how many e-mails I get, I will still find time to answer them. It's the price of being famous, I suppose. Although, if I have to tell one more person to start Jacob Tamme I think I'm going to jump off a bridge. Oh well, I created this monster so I guess I'm stuck with it.
Now, on with the Fire Sale ...
Shaun Hill, QB, Lions
Hill should have been going up last week but this column went to print before I knew Matthew Stafford's status or if Hill was even healthy enough to play. In my opinion, if we're talking fantasy football, there really isn't a big difference between Stafford and Hill.
Hill has put up good fantasy numbers in all but one of the games he's started. Last Sunday against Buffalo, Hill didn't even have one of his better games and he still put up more than 300 yards and 20 fantasy points. That's pretty impressive for a backup. I really like Hill going forward. When you take into account the weapons Detroit has on offense and its average defense, I think Hill has a chance to be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback the rest of the way.
I know Hill is still available in a lot of leagues. I would pick him as insurance no matter who your quarterback is right now. If you suffer an injury at that position I think you can get away with starting Hill during the fantasy playoffs and still compete for a title.
Arrelious Benn, WR, Buccaneers
How about the young offensive talent on the Bucs? Benn has scored a touchdown in two straight games. While he's worth taking a shot on if you need help at receiver, I think Benn is more of a player for 2011.
Either way, you really have to like this Bucs offense heading into the future. Besides Benn, Josh Freeman, Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount all look like they are going to be big-time fantasy players next season.
I know I may have said something like "Drafting Josh Freeman in the first round will go down as being one of the worst draft picks ever. He'll be out of the league in four years." However, Freeman has made a believer out of me. I will be all over him in the middle rounds of the draft to be my fantasy quarterback in 2011.
If you play in a keeper league, Benn is certainly a guy to target. Williams had a quiet day on Sunday but he's still the Bucs' main offensive weapon in the passing game. Still, Benn is a player on the rise and someone to keep an eye on.
Good thing I'm the guy drafting for the Bucs. I didn't like Freeman or Benn coming out of college. Now I think Tampa Bay's draft the past couple of seasons has built it a nucleus to contend for years to come. I still say I could draft better than Jerry Jones though. As a matter of fact, I guarantee it.
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins
Hartline almost made my Sneaky Starts last week. Then I thought he would be a good candidate to be going up this week. That was before Brandon Marshall was lining up at quarterback and I heard Miami brought in JaMarcus Russell for a tryout.
By the way, am I the only guy who likes Tyler Thigpen? Every time I see the guy he makes plays, yet no team wants to touch him. The Dolphins were more comfortable with Ronnie Brown taking snaps at quarterback.
This is one of those things where I'm sure I'm wrong but I don't understand why. Whenever I see Thigpen play I think to myself, "I like this kid." Apparently I'm the only one.
If you're in a deep league give Hartline a look. He's another guy I really like heading into next season.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
I traded for Jackson a couple of weeks ago to fill in for Steven Jackson during his bye and I may have accidentally stumbled upon something.
Like I always say, there are very few running backs you can count on these days to get most of a team's touches. Well, it looks like Jackson is going to be one of those guys. With Marshawn Lynch in Seattle and C.J. Spiller dealing with a hamstring injury, it's Jackson's show in Buffalo for the time being.
Jackson got me a pleasantly unexpected 36 fantasy points this week. While I certainly would expect that to be the norm there is a lot to like about Jackson. Even when Spiller is healthy Jackson is getting the goal-line carries, the Bills like to run the ball inside the 5 and Jackson is a good receiver out of the backfield. He does need to hold onto the ball though, as Jackson has fumbled in two straight games.
I never thought Jackson was a superstar but in fantasy football you don't need to be a superstar. The guy puts up fantasy points most weeks for a bad football team and right now he's the only show in town. That's good enough for me.
Colt McCoy, QB, Browns
It really looks like I was wrong about McCoy. I put McCoy in the Mike Hart class: great college player who would be a solid NFL backup. However, I really like what I've seen from McCoy so far.
No one is going to start Colt McCoy right now with all the other options out there. Yet this time of year I like to look for guys who could be a factor down the road and McCoy may become one of those guys. He has shown very good pocket presence and a lively arm that allows him to make all the throws an NFL quarterback needs to make.
The Browns are playing hard for Eric Mangini and McCoy has been one of the biggest surprises in my opinion. If Cleveland adds some talent around him and Peyton Hillis this offseason, the Browns' offense should be in good shape.
Troy Smith, QB, 49ers
This must be the week where I confess about all the quarterbacks I was wrong about. When Mike Singletary announced that Smith was going to be the 49ers starter, I laughed out loud. Well, Smith and the 49ers are the ones laughing now.
San Francisco has won two in a row since Smith took over and he's shown he has some fantasy value as well. In two games, Smith has thrown for 552 yards and two touchdowns. I can't imagine Smith is going to lose his starting job even when Alex Smith comes back. Then again, the 49ers have given Alex Smith more chances then I can count, so who knows?
If you're looking to add another quarterback to your roster or play in one of those ridiculous two-quarterback leagues, Smith is worth picking up.
Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys
Austin hauled in a touchdown pass on Sunday but I put him on the list for a reason. I want to remind everyone not to forget about Austin come next season.
Everything went wrong in Dallas this year. The entire team hasn't played well and Austin's inconsistency has been the result of a team in turmoil. I know he's dropped a few passes but that's what happens when things are going bad.
Next year everyone is going to be in love with Dez Bryant heading into their drafts and for good reason; he's a beast. I have a feeling with Bryant being so high on everyone's list and people saying he's the Cowboys' No. 1 receiver, Austin is going to be a real bargain compared to where he was drafted this year. In my opinion, Austin is one of the best route-runners in the NFL. I believe with a clean slate next year he will once again become an elite fantasy receiver.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
I hate to dump all over a fellow diabetic but I'm getting sick and tired of watching Cutler throw stupid passes into coverage. Enough is enough with the dumb decisions.
Did you see that interception Cutler threw in the end zone on Sunday? That's one of the worst passes I've ever seen. Cutler's receiver was surrounded by three Viking defenders. I don't care how strong your arm is, you aren't going to fit the ball in between three guys 99.9 percent of the time.
Cutler is having a solid season; however, there were many who thought he would be a fantasy stud playing in Mike Martz's offense. Heck, in most 10 or 12-team leagues Cutler isn't even a full-time fantasy starter. The problem is turnovers. Cutler has thrown 33 picks in his year and half with the Bears. I understand Cutler plays behind a terrible offensive line but sometimes he just throws awful passes. Until Cutler limits his interceptions, he's never going to be an elite fantasy quarterback.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts
I have no idea what's going on with Garcon. I really thought he was going to break out the past couple of weeks but instead he's been a non-factor.
I thought Austin Collie would be the Colts' No. 2 receiver this year and he may have been their No. 1 guy if he hadn't gone down. Still, Garcon should have fantasy value with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. He's fallen so far off the map that Garcon has gone from fantasy starter to someone who may no longer be worthy of a roster spot in smaller leagues. That's a pretty big drop-off.
I think the pecking order for next year is quite clear. Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie will be the two main options in the passing game, along with tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme. Garcon could be the odd man out.
After a stellar 2009, Garcon has all but disappeared this season. It's hard to imagine a Colts starting receiver not having much fantasy value but that's currently the case with the inconsistent Garcon. However, watch him this week against New England. Bill Belichick likes to take away a team's most dangerous option, so Garcon should have an opportunity to make some big plays this week. In other words, the Pats will make Garcon try and beat them. Let's see if he can do it.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
I'm not really getting this one. How hard is it to throw 3-yard passes to Marshall? It can't be that difficult because I watched Kyle Orton do it all the time last year.
I understand if Marshall's touchdown numbers are down but he should still be a monster in PPR leagues. Right now, that's not the case. In his past four games Marshall has caught 18 balls for 185 yards and no touchdowns. I don't think that's what people had in mind when they selected Marshall high in fantasy drafts.
Speaking of fantasy drafts, how are those high picks at receiver doing for you? After Andre Johnson, a lot of people took Marshall, Randy Moss and Miles Austin. Even Reggie Wayne hasn't put up his usual monster numbers. Meanwhile, I'm starting receivers such as Hakeem Nicks, Austin Collie and Brandon Lloyd. Although, the guy who selected Ryan Mathews and Shonn Greene with his first two picks probably shouldn't be bragging.
You're obviously not going to bench Marshall and maybe Thigpen gives him a boost this week. That's highly unlikely though since no one on earth thinks Thigpen should be an NFL quarterback besides me.
Owen Daniels, TE, Texans
If you had a fantasy team with Daniels, Beanie Wells, Anthony Gonzalez and Matthew Stafford, how many "Game-time decisions" do you think you would have in one year? At least you could call your team "The Tin Men." That would be pretty funny.
Shaun Hill, QB, Lions
So the Cowboys are back, right? It was all Wade Phillips fault, right? Please tell me you aren't falling for that nonsense. The Cowboys did play harder last week but the Giants flat-out didn't show up. This secondary still stinks and I wouldn't be surprised if Hill torches Dallas for around 300 yards and a couple of scores on Sunday.
Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens
I went with McGahee as a Sneaky Start against Buffalo and he delivered. I'm going back to him this week with the same theory. The Panthers are a terrible team that can't stop the run, so McGahee could put up around 70 yards rushing and score at least once. I think he makes for a nice start this week if you're in need of help at running back.
Randy Moss, WR, Titans
Moss went from first-round fantasy draft pick to a Sneaky Start. That's pretty much all you need to know about how Moss' 2010 season is going.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers
As you may or may not know, I've been an SMU Mustangs fan since the Pony Express days of the early 80s. I saw Sanders play a lot in college and I knew he could find a role in the NFL. Sanders is a guy to keep an eye on for next season. However, as this goes to print I don't know if Hines Ward will be cleared to play on Sunday because of a concussion. If Ward can't go, I expect Sanders to fill in nicely and put up some decent fantasy numbers.
I don't know how smart it is recommending a defense that gave up 49 points last week but I like the Chiefs to bounce back against the Cardinals. Arizona's quarterbacks have been a turnover machine this year and I expect that to continue playing in a very tough environment. I see a big day on the horizon for the Chiefs defense.
I'm a very busy man but if you need some one-on-one fantasy help, I will try to fit you in. I have one rule: Don't make your e-mails a book. As a freelance writer, I spend a large part of my day writing and responding to e-mails. So if you have a question, ask it. If you want to tell me how much you hate me, do it and do it quickly. If possible, try and make me laugh. If you can't tell me that you hate me in a couple of sentences, may a suggest seeking some professional help? This is a fantasy football column.
If you hate me that much, I'm guessing you have some deep rooted issues that need to be addressed. Anyway, if you must get in touch with me, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow my comical musings on Twitter or Facebook if you don't have anything else better to do.
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