Monday, November 10, 2014

It’s never too early to give thanks

Tis the season of giving thanks for our blessings. So it seems fitting to express my gratitude to one Marshawn Lynch, who strapped two of my fantasy teams to his back and carried them to victory on Sunday. There’s nothing quite like watching him go all Beast Mode on an overmatched opponent and turning your online fantasy tracker into a slot machine.

Jordy Nelson, I’m likewise thankful for the bounty you bestowed upon one of my squads this weekend. Sadly, you also shared the fruits of your labor with my opponent in another league. I hate it when that happens.

I sincerely appreciate the stellar second quarter turned in by Dez Bryant in London, but am left wondering if he got lost in the bowels of Wembley Stadium after halftime. It was good to see Tony Romo back in fine form, too. I’ll bet he’s thankful for the bye week.

Many of you are surely singing glad tidings for Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning today, even as I mourn the fate of Carson Palmer just one week after losing Nick Foles. Suddenly, that upper echelon fantasy team is careening off the rails, and I doubt Zach Mettenberger or Austin Davis can save it.

Ben Roethlisberger, you get an honorable mention for crashing back down to Earth just in time for our matchup. You even saved your lone TD throw for my favorite new acquisition, Martavis Bryant. I appreciate that, man.

Vernon Davis, I’m just thankful I didn’t hold onto you for name value alone. After all, a roster spot is a terrible thing to waste.


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

Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers. If you didn’t heed my advice and grab him before this weekend’s games, you’ll have to compete on the waiver wire for him now. Mathews is set to return from his knee injury in Week 11, and he’s still available in nearly half of all leagues. Though he may be eased into the rotation his first game back, the clock is clearly ticking on Branden Oliver’s workhorse role in San Diego.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers. Now that the bulk of the bye weeks is behind us, it’s time to clear out the deadwood (e.g., backup defense, kicker, Jaguar receivers) and restock our rosters with players that could soar down the stretch. Hyde is one of those high-upside backups that just needs an opening; and given Frank Gore’s up-and-down season, the rookie could get his chance sooner than later. At the very least, Gore’s owners should have Hyde handcuffed. (Fools in the Bay Area can discuss his prospects with him personally when Hyde appears at the new Bennigan's in Santa Clara from 5-7 pm this evening!)

Don’t be fooled

C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos. We don’t yet know the severity of Ronnie Hillman’s foot injury, but we do know that Montee Ball (groin) is getting very close to returning to the backfield. If Hillman is well, he will likely start in Week 11. But if not, Ball should vault over Anderson to reclaim his starting job. Anderson is a nice change-of-pace option, but he’s unlikely to be trusted with a major workload if the others are available.

Mychal Rivera, TE, Raiders. You know why I’m not recommending the semi-hot Oakland tight end? It’s simple. He’s playing in the NFL backwater that is the Raiders’ offense. Just when you think a receiver is poised to emerge as a fantasy star, they inevitably revert to being, well, Raiders. (See Jones, James and Holmes, Andre.) You likewise won’t find me recommending Derek Carr to anyone but the most QB-challenged of owners.

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