Monday, September 17, 2012

Ignore inactive alerts at your peril

Like many of you, I play in multiple fantasy leagues.  My opponents in three of those leagues this weekend spotted me a starting player simply because they were too busy, distracted or downright lazy to check the inactive reports.

Two started Antonio Gates, who was a semi-surprise scratch an hour before game-time, due to a nagging rib injury.  The other started Pierre Garcon, who was projected to be inactive most of the week due to a foot injury he incurred in the opener.

In my fourth league, where Gates was my only tight end, I made a last-minute move to acquire Heath Miller immediately after I alerted my Twitter followers to the news.  The Pittsburgh receiver filled in nicely, with a much-appreciated touchdown reception.

My competitors weren’t the only boneheads to make these elementary mistakes.  According to one of the top league-management sites, Garcon was in someone’s starting lineup in more than one-fifth of all leagues.  Last Thursday night, 65 percent of Greg Jennings’ owners earned a big fat zero because they failed to bench the wideout after he was declared inactive due to a groin injury.  And to top them all, Gates delivered a goose egg for his owners in a whopping 80 percent of leagues!  That’s inexcusable, people!

Presumably you play fantasy football because you’re the competitive type.  Or perhaps you’re in it for the monetary spoils. So why would you go into your matchup with one player tied behind your back?

Whether or not such a move cost you your matchup – you know who you are – make a vow never to let it happen again.  If you simply follow me on Twitter (, I promise to get you the news you need to avoid such unnecessary errors.

Hey, you take the time to read this column.  Surely you can handle a few 140-character bursts before game-time.


To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams. Whether you believe Steven Jackson truly injured his groin or was benched for his impulsive, boneheaded temper tantrum, one thing is certain: Richardson is now the proper handcuff in St. Louis.  The 7th-round rookie did a nice impression of the starter, and showed that he’s ready to step in the next time Jackson is sidelined.  Those holding Isaiah Pead in reserve should swap him for his less-touted rookie classmate.

Andre Brown, RB, Giants.  When Ahmad Bradshaw went down with a neck injury, the third-year back who missed all of 2011 with a torn Achilles stepped in and amassed 71 yards and a score on 13 carries, plus a two-point conversion and two receptions for 19 more yards.  Meanwhile, much-ballyhooed rookie David Wilson saw just three carries.  With Bradshaw facing a short week (the G-men play again on Thursday), Brown is the backup to pickup.

Brandon Lafell, WR, Panthers.  The third-year wideout is firmly locked in as the No. 2 receiver in Carolina, and it’s showing in his production.  He reeled in a TD last week, and amassed 90 receiving yards on six receptions against the Saints on Sunday.  He has developed a good rapport with Cam Newton, which makes him a solid bye-week or injury substitute, though not yet an every-week starter.

Danny Amendola, WR, Rams.  I tried to tell you during the preseason to grab the Rams’ version of Wes Welker, who benefits from tremendous chemistry with Sam Bradford.  In PPR leagues, he should be in virtually every starting lineup.  But as he showed Sunday, he can come up big in standard-scoring leagues as well.

Don’t be fooled

Sam Bradford, QB, Rams.  It was encouraging to see Bradford looking sharp again, arguably for the first time since his rookie campaign.  But until he demonstrates some consistency, he’s not worth a roster spot.  St. Louis’ offense is still a work in progress, and it’s premature to bet on its quarterback, who just notched his first multi-touchdown outing since Week 12 of the 2010 season.

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys. Need to clear space on your roster for a free agent with potential?  Feel free to jettison Jones, who has looked downright awful since he reported to training camp out of shape.  If you don’t hurry, the Cowboys may beat you to it.

Dante Rosario, TE, Chargers.  Unless you believe in handcuffing your tight ends, Rosario’s breakout, three-touchdown performance is best ignored.  Gates’ sore ribs are unlikely to keep him off the field for another week; and even if the starter misses more time, Rosario, a six-year veteran with five total TDs to his credit prior to Sunday, is a lousy bet to catch lightning in a bottle again.