Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 6 column: And now for something completely different

Just like clockwork, everything fell into place on one of the most predictable weekends of the fantasy football season.

Tom Brady dismembered the depleted Titans secondary with 380 yards and a six-pack of touchdowns (five of which came in the second quarter alone). Perhaps the unseasonably frigid conditions slapped Brady out of his recent slumber. More likely, it was the fact that he, Randy Moss and Wes Welker are infinitely more talented than their winless opponents.

Ben Roethlisberger likewise made mincemeat out of the over-matched Browns, Aaron Rodgers and Co. trounced the toothless Lions, and Maurice Jones-Drew steamrolled over the sad-sack Rams.

Kurt Warner and friends unmasked the Seahawks as the pretenders they are, and Carolina’s dynamic backfield duo got back in the groove against the pathetic Buccaneers.

And, true to form, Donovan McNabb and the Eagles thoroughly dominated the hapless Raiders in a game that was essentially over by halftime, and…

What? You mean…? Uh…how exactly did that happen?

Frankly, I have no clue. We could go back to the “any given Sunday” maxim, and repeat the tired “that’s why they play the games” adage. But in a season when “parity” has seemed little more than a quaint relic of a bygone era, Oakland 13 – Philadelphia 9 makes no sense whatsoever.

Eli Manning and his receivers had toyed with the Raiders’ secondary one week earlier en route to a 44-7 shellacking. A rested and rejuvenated McNabb similarly destroyed the Bucs in Week 5, and seemed primed to deliver a spanking so severe that Al Davis would wince in the owner’s box. My primary concern when I confidently inserted McNabb into my starting lineup was that he might be pulled early because the game had gotten so far out of hand.

Then, Sunday night, as I stood beside my 10-year-old daughter amid a sea of shrieking pre-teen girls watching Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) belt out one teenybopper hit after another, it hit me: Some things simply defy explanation.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to watching Derek Anderson light up Green Bay for 400 yards and four touchdowns next weekend.


To win a fantasy championship, you need to start with a good draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here’s a look at a few players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else’s line-up.

Catch ‘em while you can

Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots. In keeping with the theme of this week’s column, Maroney’s first 100-plus-yard performance since 2007 exposes a fairly significant glitch in the matrix. Heading into a weekend when six teams are on a bye, the once-feared-now-forgotten rusher could prove valuable again next week against the Bucs, especially if Sammy Morris’ knee injury keeps him on the sidelines.

Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals. Arizona’s No. 3 receiver had posted decent numbers since Week 2 despite concerns about a lingering knee injury, but he hadn’t found the end zone until Sunday. With word that Anquan Boldin may have suffered a dreaded high ankle sprain against the Seahawks, Breaston’s stock is about to skyrocket.

Lance Moore, WR, Saints. Drew Brees’ top receiver from 2008 was a coveted mid-round draft pick this preseason. But Moore was discarded in roughly half of fantasy leagues after a nagging hamstring injury contributed to a brutally slow start. Following Sunday’s six-catch, 78-yard, one-touchdown effort against the Giants, it’s time to welcome him back to the fold.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants. I can’t recall ever recommending the same player in two consecutive weeks, but Nicks is still a free agent in roughly 90 percent of fantasy leagues. The rookie has scored in three straight games, and Mario Manningham was shaken up again Sunday. What are you waiting for?

Don’t be fooled

Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders. I don’t care that he rushed for 87 yards against the vaunted Eagles defense while out-performing Michael Bush. I’m not buying into the Raiders offense, and certainly not their third-string tailback. You shouldn’t either.

LenDale White, RB, Titans. After suffering a knee injury against the Patriots, White’s fantasy value is officially kaput. Same for every other member of that team not named Chris Johnson. Though the severity of White’s injury is not yet known, his offense’s ineptitude is well documented.

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