How alert fantasy owners can avoid upcoming crashes
I've always thought of myself as an excellent driver.
No real accidents to speak of. Very few tickets.
The biggest reason for my good driving record is I'm extremely alert on the road and always anticipating others' actions before they happen. I can't tell you how many times I've moved or honked just in time as a distracted or overly aggressive driver is about to swerve into my lane.
Avoiding accidents is 99 percent anticipation and always assuming the jamoke in the next lane is exactly that — a total jamoke.
This parallel can easily be drawn into the world of fantasy football, and our ability to anticipate a player's rise to prominence or his fall from grace can go a long way in determining our long-term success.
So this week's column is dedicated to four soon-to-be jamokes that are about to send your team crashing into a fiery abyss. The solution to the upcoming pile-up is simple: Have the foresight to trade them now before their head-on collision with futility becomes reality.
Larry Fitzgerald: Always a top-10 preseason darling, Fitzgerald is posting WR2 numbers right now, with 36 catches for 430 yards and 3 touchdowns. If he keeps that pace up, it translates into a 96-catch, 1,147-yard campaign. But Kevin Kolb is out at least six weeks, meaning John Skelton is taking over at quarterback. Throw in the fact that Arizona's upcoming schedule looks like this — at Minnesota, vs. San Fran, at Green Bay, bye — and I'd use Fitzgerald's reputation to hook a more reliable receiver or an upgrade at QB or RB.
My prediction for Fitz is he ends up with 77 catches for 950 yards and 4 TDs.
Dwayne Bowe: The Chiefs' stud wideout has numbers extremely similar to Fitzgerald: 34-423-3. He's in the top 20 among WRs, but has just 81 yards the last two weeks and most of his numbers have come in garbage time. That's normally good and fine, but Matt Cassel (who has 14 turnovers) will be in a QB competition with Brady Quinn to determine the Week 8 starter. Bowe's final numbers will end up looking something like this: 72-975-6.
Baltimore defense: Find some owner who needs a defense and say, "Hey, how about the fourth-ranked Ravens?" Ask for anything to help your team in return because without Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, Baltimore will not finish in the top 15 in fantasy points.
Ben Roethlisberger: If you have a quality starter, shop Big Ben around. He already has 10 TD passes and ranks seventh in fantasy points per game among QBs. Big Ben's O-line is a mess and he tends to cool off when the weather takes a turn for the worse. He's not the train-wreck-in-waiting that the other three are on my list, but this is a perfect time to trade him for some sort of upgrade.
My teams: The decision to sit Antonio Gates came back and bit me as I lost 93-80 in my auction league, falling to 2-4. … In the regular league, having Matt Forte and Maurice Jones Drew off really hurt and my team went down meekly 110-81, falling to 3-3.
•Cowboys RB Felix Jones vs. Carolina. The free-agent pickup of the week, Jones will go over 100 yards from scrimmage against a weak Panthers defense.
•Bucs WR Mike Williams vs. New Orleans. As the 22nd-ranked WR in terms of fantasy, Williams has benefited greatly from the addition of Vincent Jackson. He ought to produce well enough to be a WR3 against a Saints team allowing 283 yards per game through the air.
•Colts QB Andrew Luck and K Adam Vinatieri vs. Cleveland. Until his total stinker last week, Luck was on fire with 8 total TDs and an average of 302 passing yards per game. Watch for a huge rebound effort here.
•Packers RB Alex Green at St. Louis. He's the workhorse now in Green Bay. Ride him all the way.
•Bengals QB Andy Dalton vs. Pittsburgh. The Steelers have allowed 10 passing TDs and only picked off 2 passes. With Troy Polamalu likely out, Dalton will throw at least 2 TD passes Sunday.
•Titans RB Chris Johnson and WR Kenny Britt at Buffalo. Yes, the Bills shut the Cardinals down last week, but this defense isn't good enough to post back-to-back solid outings.
•Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and C.J. Spiller vs. Tennessee. The last two weeks, Fitzpatrick has 279 total passing yards, zero TDs and 1 INT. So recommending him requires a giant leap of faith, which I am obviously taking. In two home games this year, Fitzpatrick has thrown 6 touchdown passes and against the Titans, that number figures to swell to 8 or 9.
•Browns RB Trent Richardson at Indianapolis. Arian Foster. Ray Rice. Jamaal Charles. Those are the top three RBs in fantasy this season. Fourth? Yep, Trent Richardson. He's coming off a rib injury but should be good to go, so get him in your lineup.
•Raiders defense vs. Jacksonville. Worst fantasy defense matches up with awful offense. Who wins? I'm banking on Oakland, which may outscore current top-10 units Baltimore, Washington, Tampa Bay and the Jets.
•Lions QB Matthew Stafford, RB Mike Leshoure and K Jason Hanson at Bears. Let me lay it out as simply as I can: Of Stafford's worst five fantasy performances last season, two of them came against the Bears as he threw a combined 5 INTs. And that was during a season in which Stafford was unconscious and the Bears weren't playing nearly as well as they are right now.
•Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald at Minnesota. I probably wouldn't resort to sitting Fitzgerald just yet, but John Skelton at QB scares the pants off me.
•Ravens defense vs. Houston. See above. Trade Baltimore ASAP.
•Jets RB Shonn Greene at New England. Owners tempted to put Greene in their lineup after his 3-TD performance should keep two things in mind: Before last week, he was averaging a measly 43 rushing yards per game with 1 TD ... and the Pats have allowed just 2 rushing scores thus far.
•Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. Pittsburgh. Tough to trust a guy averaging 3.38 yards per carry.
•Rams RB Steven Jackson vs. Green Bay. Take out his rookie season and Jackson is on pace for career lows in rushing yards (861) and receptions (27).
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