It’s Tuesday again which means it is time for the Top Ten fantasy football headlines for the upcoming Week 8 of the NFL season. So sit back, relax, and pray that you don’t have to watch a Seattle vs. Cleveland game ever again. Now, without further adieu, here are the Top Ten fantasy football headlines for October 25, 2011.
10. Washington Redskins = Fantasy Football Poison – I challenge anyone to think of an NFL team that has caused more agita and angst for fantasy football players than the Redskins. It is clear that head coach Mike Shanahan hates fantasy football because of his inability to commit to a starting running back and dedicate a bulk of carries to just one of them. Now, his hand may be forced as Tim Hightower sustained a season-ending ACL injury. This means that Ryan Torain and Roy Helu are the default options. Hey, 50% is better than 33%. On top of that, Rex Grossman’s fantasy flare was over after a couple weeks when he finally remembered he was Rex Frickin Grossman. John Beck should not even be considered for a 3rd string quarterback on your fantasy team unless having players with the last name “Beck” is a scoring category. Finally, the Redskins only two viable options in the passing game, Chris Cooley and Santana Moss, are both injured. Cooley is out for the year, and Moss is out likely for over four weeks. Fred Davis has been productive and is the only justifiable Redskin you should be starting.
9. T.O.-ver – Do you hear crickets chirping? If so, then you must have attended Terrell Owens public workout. The 37-year old wide receiver is trying to come back after off-season surgery and was hoping to show he still had mad skillz (I spelled that with a “z” to emphasize it). Unfortunately for T.O., no one seemed to be interested. At his age and with his injuries, it is unlikely he could make much of an impact for a team now. But with the rash of injuries all over the league and teams desperate for an offensive spark, it is somewhat surprising that nobody showed up to watch. On the other hand, everyone can sit on their couch and watch the T.O. Show in the privacy of their own home. While people are watching that show, they should also start seriously re-evaluating their lives. The verdict – T.O. is not worth wasting a roster spot to stash him at.
8. Black and Blue and Silver – The Oakland Raiders are a franchise known for their brute force and punishing style of football. Ok so that was the theme 30 years ago. Today, while the Raiders are definitely an improved team, they are as banged up as any other team in the league. After losing their starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, the Raiders struck a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals to acquire quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer ended up in the game this week against Kansas City and threw multiple interceptions. His supporting cast is also fighting the injury bug as Darren McFadden has a sprained foot and is likely to play in Week 9 after their bye. When healthy, McFadden is a top option at running back. Keep an eye on this as Michael Bush will see an increased role if McFadden is limited in any way. Also, Sebastian Janikowski’s health is a concern as well. I can’t believe I am even writing about a kicker, but it is worth noting only because of how powerful and consistent Janikowski’s foot is. Since all fantasy football teams need a kicker, you might as well have the best one. And he is. He will also kick long 50-yard field goals which are great in points leagues. Like any other injured player, keep monitoring his progress as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
7. Goodbye Kerry Collins – This one is admittedly not exactly on point for fantasy news. Colts quarterback Kerry Collins has been placed on injured reserve, likely ended his playing career. Personally I owe Collins a debt of gratitude for leading my alma mater, Penn State, to some great seasons in the early 1990’s. I also owe him gratitude for his service with the NY Giants, including leading them to the Super Bowl after the 2000 season. With Collins injury, the Colts will go with Curtis Painter the rest of the way as they march towards the #1 pick of the 2012 draft. Collins had multiple successful careers which is impressive for any player. He put the Carolina Panthers on the map leading them to the NFC championship game during their inaugural season. He led the Giants to the Super Bowl against the Ravens. And at an advanced age, he took over a Vince Young-led Tennesse team and led them back into the deep playoffs. So congratulations Kerry, and thanks for all you have done.
6. It ain’t easy being an NFL running back – If anyone watched this past Monday night’s classic game between Baltimore and Jacksonville, you should have your head examined. The Jaguars’ 12-7 victory wasn’t even the ugliest game of the weekend (kudos to Cleveland for beating Seattle 6-3)/ But what the Monday night game did have going for it was a matchup of two of the game’s best running backs in Ray Rice and Maurice Jones Drew. These two were undoubtedly drafted in the 1st round of all fantasy football drafts. But if you are one of those people that did take either Rice of MJD with one of those picks, then you are probably feeling a little maudlin that you haven’t gotten the commensurate value for your pick. MJD did surpass 100 yards rushing, but Jacksonville’s offense is generally so bad that teams should stuff the box with 9 guys almost every down. Rice only carried the ball 9 times and didn’t come close to the half-century mark. This just further proves the point that there are almost no sure bets in a fantasy football draft.
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5. Tampa Bay Barbershop – After waxing poetic last week about how Earnest Graham would be a solid option for your fantasy team as a RB3 or a flex, he goes out and gets injured in London and is now done for the season. I wasn’t kidding when I said that Tampa Bay should try and get Errict Rhett, Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn out of retirement. Speaking of which, the guy who makes the most sense for Tampa Bay to give a shot is former Gants star Tiki Barber. Barber, who hasn’t been played since 2006, is looking to make his return to the NFL and what better way to do it than to team up with his twin brother Ronde Barber. The Bucs are desperate for healthy options on offense, so it would not be all that surprising for them to explore any and every possibility. Then they should make a deal with Chicago to acquire Marion Barber. One more, and they would have a barbershop quartet that only Verbal Kint would be proud of.
4. Tim Tebow has been crucified – While Tim Tebow may think he is Jesus, or at least one of Jesus’s best amigos, there is no question that he has received his fair share of criticism ever since he was controversially drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Broncos. Now in Week 7 of the 2011 season, Tebow has been named the new starter of the team. Very few players have been so polarizing as Tebow. People generally either love the guy or hate him with a passion. In my honest opinion, I don’t think he is a legitimate long-term option at quarterback. He may have some value as a third down running back or maybe even a tight end. But I just don’t see how he puts up numbers or victories against good teams. His overtime win against Miami doesn’t count because the Dolphins are insanely bad. From a fantasy perspective, Tebow should probably not be starting unless your #1 quarterback in injured or on a bye week.
3. Andre’s a Giant – Texans’ all-pro receiver Andre Johnson is a possibility to play in Week 8 according to head coach Gary Kubiak. Johnson has been out for the last several weeks with a hamstring injury that looked more serious than it appears to be. If he is healthy enough to play this week, then fantasy owners can breathe somewhat of a sigh of relief. There was a lot of chatter on Twitter of fantasy teams trying to buy low on Johnson with the assumption he would be out for an even more extended period of time. Those teams that dumped Johnson may start regretting that real soon, especially if he laces up this weekend. With Arian Foster running and receiving like crazy, Johnson should step right back into the spotlight as Matt Schaub’s only viable option at wide receiver. Keep monitoring the situation through Sunday morning, but there is at least a chance Johnson could be in your lineup this week.
2. Cresting Rivers – With the weather we have had in New Jersey since the summer, people know all too well about bodies of water cresting. The same could apply in fantasy football to Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers. Coming into the 2011 season, he was a no-brainer in terms of being considered in the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks along with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. But something has changed this season and we are seeing patterns and trends that are alarming in terms of his statistics and performance. His passing yards and touchdowns are significant down compared to his previous season’s statistics, and his turnovers and interceptions are way up. It is puzzling why this is happening because he has an effective running game at his disposal and has several weapons to throw to all over the field. I am not saying you should give up on him just yet, but it is reaching the point where you should start considering other options at quarterback on your fantasy football team.
1. CJ2K is not OK – With the lockout over the summer, everyone pretty much expected that the top players may not perform at a level we have all grown accustomed to. The shortened offseason and reduction in workouts certainly was going to have an adverse effect on all players. But when the lockout ended, Chris Johnson still did not show up at camp and start practicing. His contract hold-out ended just before the season started, so his fantasy value was already fluctuating at the time. People who drafted him after the 1st round thought they were getting a steal. But as it turns out, Johnson is a shell of his former self in every possible way. His 18 yards on 10 carries this past weekend against Houston epitomized the rapid freefall that has become CJ2K’s career. After his insane 2009 season, he returned to earth with a solid but not spectacular 2010 season. Now, Johnson may not even be starting for Tennessee by the end of the season. He probably shouldn’t even be in your fantasy football lineup either. Johnson is a great buy low candidate, but don’t expect the previous incarnations of CJ2K that we got used to.
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