Not Quite Revelations ... But Close
In this four-week period of no Fantasy Clicks, I haven't had the proper outlet to vent about certain NFL happenings -- at least ones that require more depth than Twitter. So, to open today's special presentation of Fantasy Schmlicks (the first of two FanNation pieces in the next seven days) ... here are a few Revelations to get the ball rolling:
1. I will not acknowledge Randy Moss's fantasy prospects from this point forward. Life's too short to blindly romanticize a temperamental receiver whose catch-to-targets ratio has been 50 percent or less in five of his eight games this year (four with New England, four with Minnesota). Plus, I've grown weary from watching Moss's sad repertoire of pass patterns: 1) The sloppy slant and 2) The unmotivated fly pattern, or in coachspeak, the '9' route. Bottom line: If Moss couldn't get up to play on national TV every week with the Patriots, or quickly adjust to the Vikings' easy-to-digest system in October (must've been bad catering) ... what chance do the small-market Titans have with Mr. Moss -- even with the club's intriguing playoff potential and dire need of a downfield passing threat, in Kenny Britt's stead?
2. Sunday's weather forecast for Buffalo is 50 degrees with a chance of showers. Barring a tropical storm or monsoon in Tampa Bay and/or Miami come December, the Lions will play all 16 games in ideal weather conditions this season -- which has to be a first for any NFL team east of the Mississippi River. And if Matthew Stafford had survived Sunday's punch-in-the-gut overtime loss to the Jets with his right shoulder intact, he'd be a comfortable "lock" for 275 yards and/or 3 TDs in every game from this point forward. But alas, that courtesy won't be extended to Drew Stanton or Shaun Hill -- assuming Stafford misses substantial time in November and December.
3. I'm thrilled that DeSean Jackson looked great in his post-concussion debut on Sunday ... but I'm sad his new headgear doesn't resemble that of Lord Helmet from Spaceballs. Seven catches for 109 yards and one touchdown is above and beyond the call of duty for someone coming off one of the most violent (yet legal) collisions in years. And now, regardless of whether Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb is playing under center for Philly, D-Jax can happily return to my 'automatic' starters' list for receivers -- along with Andre Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Roddy White, Hakeem Nicks, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson ... and yes, Larry Fitzgerald.
4. Chad Henne should NEVER be cut in 12-, 14- or 16-team leagues. Forget about Henne's pedestrian numbers for a moment (1,900 passing yards, 8 TDs, 10 INTs). In his last six games -- featuring five nip-and-tuck affairs -- Henne is averaging 36 pass attempts, with a low of 34 and high of 44. In other words, until Miami opts for insanity and taps backup QB Chad Pennington for a game or two, the coaching staff is going to ride Henne 30-plus times every Sunday -- regardless of the opponent. Now, if only the Dolphins could find a way to convert that chutzpah into all-world numbers for Brandon Marshall (52 catches, 618 yards, 1 TD) ... that'd be really, really great.
5. Fantasy owners should move heaven and earth to acquire Darren McFadden for the stretch drive. Let's take that statement to another level: If I had to choose among Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Michael Turner, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Rashard Mendenhall or D-Mac for the fantasy-playoff periods of Weeks 14-16 ... I'd unabashedly choose a healthy McFadden. For 2010, McFadden is 7-for-7 in racking up 100-plus total yards (missed two games to injury); and as a bonus, Oakland will face Jacksonville, Denver and Indianapolis in Weeks 14, 15 and 16. Cha-ching!
QB Locks For 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs
1. Peyton Manning vs. Cincinnati
2. Kyle Orton vs. Kansas City
3. Eli Manning vs. Dallas
4. Brett Favre @ Chicago
5. Carson Palmer @ Indianapolis
6. Matt Schaub @ Jacksonville
How To Get S-Jax Without Really Trying
Looking for a creative way to land Rams RB Steven Jackson (845 total yards, 2 TDs) in a pre-deadline mini-blockbuster? Try offering a RB-needy owner Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams and Seahawks WR Mike Williams, as part of an all-too-tempting 3-for-1 trade. The brilliance of this swap is two-fold: By offering Owner B the security of the Torain/Williams handcuff, it seems like you're doing him/her a favor. But I'd argue that Williams and Torain's fantasy stats -- on a per-game basis -- will suffer down the stretch when both are active and presumably healthy.
On the Mike Williams front, he deserves greater respect than "throw-in status" when looking at the numbers (33 catches, 375 yards, 1 TD, 55 targets). But with his lack of time-tested name recognition and Charlie Whitehurst currently running the show in Seattle, Owner B will invariably pull Williams from his/her starting lineup at 12:55 p.m. on the first fantasy-playoff Sunday, in favor of a bigger name with lesser production. (It's a pretty good psychological ploy and something that may prompt Billy Dee Williams to say: Works ... every ... time ... HA!)
It's Leftovers Tuesday!
Here are the 20 best available free agents for 12-team, standard-scoring leagues:
1. WR Seyi Ajirotutu, Chargers
2. WR Jacoby Ford, Raiders
3. RB Keiland Williams, Redskins
4. QB Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
5. QB Sam Bradford, Rams
6. WR James Jones, Packers
7. WR Danny Amendola, Rams
8. RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
9. RB Tyrell Sutton, Panthers
10. D/ST Tennessee Titans
11. WR Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns
12. RB Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers
13. WR Nate Washington, Titans
14. D/ST Washington Redskins
15. WR Anthony Armstrong, Redskins
16. WR Michael Spurlock, Bucs
17. RB Mike Goodson, Panthers
18. D/ST Detroit Lions
19. WR Louis Murphy, Raiders
20. WR Blair White, Colts
For next week's Schmlicks, I'll resurrect the Pre-Trade Deadline Spectacular, while chronicling the five most popular methods of bona fide trades:
1) The 1-for-1 Swap
2) The 2-for-1 Psych Job
3) The 2-for-2 Schmoozola
4) The 3-for-2 Injury Blockbuster
5) The All-In 4-for-1 Franchise Revival
Consider this exercise to be your guide for Jedi mind tricks ... and path to a potential fantasy championship.
A receiver is only as good as his QB and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch; and these "Targets" should factor heavily with owners when choosing to snag (or drop) assets in PPR leagues. It goes without saying, owners must bookmark this link and refer to it every week. Here are the wideouts with 35 or more targets from Weeks 5-9:
1. Marques Colston, Saints -- 51 targets
2. Hakeem Nicks, Giants -- 51
3. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 48
4. Mike Williams, Buccaneers -- 47
5. Percy Harvin, Vikings -- 44
6. Mike Williams, Seahawks -- 44
7. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 43
8. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 43
9. Steve Johnson, Bills -- 43
10. Santana Moss, Redskins -- 42
11. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 41
12. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 41
13. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins -- 41
14. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs -- 40
15. Pierre Garcon, Colts -- 39
16. Brandon Lloyd, Broncos -- 39
17. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles -- 38
18. Roddy White, Falcons -- 38
19. Terrell Owens, Bengals -- 37
20. Danny Amendola, Rams -- 36
21. Roscoe Parrish, Bills -- 36
22. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets -- 35
23. Lee Evans, Bills -- 35
24. Jabar Gaffney, Broncos -- 35
25. Calvin Johnson, Lions -- 35
26. Steve Smith, Giants -- 35
It's A Little Known Fact ...
... That 32 wide receivers garnered 9 or more targets in either Week 8 or 9, but only six tallied 9-plus targets in both games:
Reggie Wayne -- 12 (Week 8) + 16 (Week 9) = 28
Terrell Owens -- 12 (Week 8) + 14 (Week 9) = 26
Steve Johnson -- 10 (Week 8) + 14 (Week 9) = 24
Larry Fitzgerald -- 10 (Week 8) + 12 (Week 9) = 22
Dez Bryant -- 9 (Week 8) + 10 (Week 9) = 19
Marques Colston -- 9 (Week 8) + 9 (Week 9) = 18
RB Locks -- 120 Total Yards and/or 2 TDs
1. Rashard Mendenhall vs. New England
2. Frank Gore vs. St. Louis
3. Adrian Peterson @ Chicago
4. Jamaal Charles @ Denver
5. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Houston
6. Chris Johnson @ Miami
7. LeGarrette Blount vs. Carolina
8. Fred Jackson vs. Detroit
9. Ray Rice @ Atlanta
You'll Thank Me Later
For what it's worth, here are the strongest plays at QB/RB/WR for Week 14, universally acknowledged as the first weekend of the fantasy playoffs:
QBs: Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco
RBs: Darren McFadden, Matt Forte, Michael Turner, Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Frank Gore, Peyton Hillis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson
WRs: Anquan Boldin, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Hakeem Nicks, Greg Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson
WR Locks -- 110 Total Yards and/or 1 TD
1. Roddy White vs. Baltimore
2. Anquan Boldin @ Atlanta
3. Hines Ward vs. New England
4. Steve Smith vs. Dallas
5. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Seattle
6. Michael Crabtree vs. St. Louis
7. Brandon Lloyd vs. Kansas City
8. Andre Johnson @ Jacksonville
9. Percy Harvin @ Chicago
10. Reggie Wayne vs. Cincinnati
11. Chad Ochocinco @ Indianapolis
I Tweet, Therefore I Am
@davdchapman asks: I've been offered DeAngelo Williams for Tony Gonzalez. I already have Jason Witten and Zach Miller at tight end, so getting rid of Gonzo wouldn't be a big deal. Plus, I really need help at running back.
Answer: David, you have been a wonderful mentor for me in the novice world of fantasy hockey -- although Matt Duchene was my own savvy pick -- so, I'm going to help you here. First of all, with season-ending injuries to Dallas Clark and Jermichael Finley, there has never been a greater shortfall of quality tight ends ... and you're currently sitting on three studs? Wow! OK, for the next four days (Tuesday-Friday), I implore you to entertain offers to your fellow owners, in hopes of securing a top-15 tailback from a TE-needy team. And if nothing tangible should come by Friday, go ahead and make the Williams-for-Gonzo swap. Even in his reduced state, DeAngelo is still an excellent fall-back option for the stretch run.
@jrstraka30 wonders: Hey Jay, I have a firm trade offer on the table from Owner B, giving up Andre Johnson for LeSean McCoy and Santana Moss. Your thoughts?
Answer: As much as I love Johnson's talents and believe in his potential success for Weeks 14-16, I will always take a top-10 running back (like McCoy) over a top-5 receiver; and when you add Santana Moss (48 catches, 604 yards, 2 TDs) as a throw-in, I would accept this deal in a heartbeat. At the very least, the McCoy acquisition gives you greater flexibility in the pre-deadline trade market ... should you want to package McCoy and a solid QB/TE/WR for a top-5 tailback like Gore, Johnson, Peterson, Turner or Ray Rice. That isn't to say I'm skeptical about McCoy's December slate. He should rack up 100 total yards and/or two TDs in Weeks 14 (Dallas) and 16 (Minnesota).
@Mickey_Angelo_ asks: I've been offered Anquan Boldin + Darren McFadden for Peyton Hillis. No brainer, right?
Answer: To steal a national mortgage company's famous tagline, Mickey ... It's the biggest no-brainer in the history of earth! Do me a favor and run -- don't walk -- to make that deal, before Owner B comes to their senses. Godspeed!
@RyanSchick yells: SOS! SOS! I've had it with Matt Schaub. Time for some emergency advice!
Answer: Ryan, my Boston-based friend, I can empathize with your desperation here. After all, I'd be going loco too if my starting quarterback had only 467 passing yards and one touchdown in the last two weeks -- against non-juggernaut defenses. But before you ponder starting Derek Anderson, Mark Sanchez or Charlie Whitehurst for the foreseeable future ... let's remember that Schaub has fantasyland's best receiver and a top-10 running back (Arian Foster) to keep opposing defenses honest on normal down-and-distance situations. That alone makes Schaub a top-10 quarterback, and it should be enough for you to keep the faith in November and December. And if that advice doesn't hold water, you can always package him in a deal to land Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers -- preferably with someone who resides in greater metropolitan Houston ... or someone who plays fantasy football for the pure camaraderie or the chance to sing about "Fear Bo***s" at nightclubs. Like our friend Taco from the F/X Network's The League.
Speaking Of The League ...
This season's best episode, by far, has been "The Anniversary Party" ... where Ruxin had to eat the tainted cake for all to see. But the show's seminal moment occurred last week -- in "The Tie" -- when Andre touched the prison glass as a show of fantasy-brethren unity with Kevin. For me, this was the best pre-fade-to-black ending the show has produced in its scintillating 14-episode run.
And it's just another reason why we love fantasy football, eh?
Jay Clemons' Week 10 Fantasy Schmlicks are in no way the thoughts of Sports Illustrated or SI.com. It's merely a personal -- and quite random -- diary for the fantasy realm. The Incurable Sports Ham can be easily reached, night or day, on Twitter.