Chris June 23rd, 2011
Chris June 22nd, 2011
We all know the NFL lockout sucks, but my least favorite part of the lockout is all those mini camp/training tidbits we are losing out on. Every afternoon I used to look forward to the updates from beat reporters. Updates on how players look at camps, how they’re adapting and learning to the playbook and comments from the coaching staff are invaluable. Without these updates I’m left with some questions that will decide thousands of fantasy leagues in 2011.
10. Can Jonathan Stewart live up to his potential?
There are few Running Backs as talented as Jonathan Stewart in the NFL. Injuries and opportunity have robbed the fantasy community of a potential stud. This off-season is the first year in his professional career that Stewart has not had an injury that he sustained or is recovering from. In addition it appears that DeAngelo Williams is on his way out of Carolina. Stewart has shown in Williams’ absence that he is capable of being a RB1. For the price you can get him at now, Stewart is an excellent risk/reward player.
9. Which Redskin offensive players have value?
There is absolutely nothing certain on this offense. To top it all of, our arch nemesis (Mike Shanahan for the uninitiated) as fantasy owners coaches the team and has final say over personnel decisions. The Washington media has been spending a terrifying amount of time covering John Beck, perhaps only to make Rex Grossman seem like an attractive option. Compelling arguments can be made for Roy Helu, Ryan Torrain or James Davis (and never forget that there could be an undrafted free agent on the horizon since Shanahan is involved). Santana Moss may or may not be gone and the team drafted 3 rookies at Wide Receiver. Oh and the team plays in the NFC East where the competition tends to be fierce. In re-draft leagues there might as well be a flashing “STAY THE HELL AWAY” sign flashing on every Redskin, but if Grossman does end up the Quarterback, he is an interesting late round flier candidate and Anthony Armstrong could be a very interesting sleeper Wide Receiver. If you’re in a deep enough league, the Average Draft Position (ADP going forward) of all the teams Running Backs is low enough where you could conceivably draft them all if you’re sadistic enough to do that sort of thing. Just remember, even horribly unattractive teams will have fantasy value. We badly need training camps to start so we can sort out the mess that is the Washington Redskins.
8. Should we like Shonn Greene as much as the Jets coaching staff seems to?
If transactions were allowed I’d tend to think that the Jets were trying to find a trade partner for Greene with the way they’re talking about him. They took RB Bilal Powell in the 4rth round and whether he’s just a body to keep Greene fresh or Greene’s eventual replacement remains to be seen. Powell’s stock is through the roof right now, but don’t forget that all of this missed practice time is going to be greatly detrimental to rookies in particular. Greene has now had 2 years of learning the offense and with LT a year older Greene should be all the more trustworthy. With his ADP at 46 (RB22) Greene is an excellent low(ish) risk player who if you’re drafting as your RB2 you can do a whole lot worst given his situation.
7. Will Mike Tolbert continue to be a thorn in the side of Ryan Matthews?
In a word, yes. Tolbert is not satisfied with the success of his 2010 season. He has taken up boxing to stay in shape during the lockout. Already an explosive short yardage runner at 5’9 243, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Matthews even gets a whiff of goal line duties from Tolbert. Top it off with the fact that Tolbert is also a better pass blocker than Matthews and at some point the Chargers have to be asking themselves why Tolbert is the change of pace to Matthews and not the starter himself. I’d be more encouraged if Matthews didn’t have a significant injury history. When gauging Tolbert’s ADP (103, RB40) vs. Matthews’ (29 RB 15) it’s not hard to see who the better value is right now.
6. Is Tim Tebow Denver’s starter? Can he replicate his success at the end of last year?
In several leagues last year as a way of taunting other owners after my spot in the playoffs had been ensured, (I play in several leagues where the playoffs are the NFL playoffs and highly recommend it) I played Tim Tebow to rub it in/enrage other owners. The problem (mostly for them) was that Tebow was actually really good. I’m not here to say that Tim Tebow is an elite Quarterback, but can he be Vince Young? Seeing how Vince Young put little time into football outside of games/practices and Tebow is seemingly obsessed with football. I think it’s safe to assume he can be an average to rich man’s Vince Young at the very least this year. That is of course that the Broncos trade incumbent Quarterback Kyle Orton. For the sake of fantasy owners I hope they do given the startling lack of Quarterbacks currently in the NFL.
Chris June 20th, 2011
Every year there are veteran Wide Receivers that everyone either takes for granted or assumes is washed up. There are a few very enticing guys this year that you could get in any of your leagues for a modest sum that could pay large dividends for you. We’re not saying that these guys are going to be top 10 WRs next year, but they’re all good enough to play a roll on your team.
Hostages of circumstance
Steve Smith WR CAR & Lee Evans WR BUFF
For all we know, these two guys could be Hall of Famers, but have been stuck with Quarterbacks who couldn’t come close to taking advantage of their skill sets. Let’s take a look at the Quarterback play these two have been subjected to in their career,
2004 – Drew Bledsoe
2005 – Kelly Holcomb, JP Losman
2006 JP Losman
2007 JP Losman, Trent Edwards
2008 JP Losman, Trent Edwards
2009 Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm
2010 Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm, Levi Brown
2001 Chris Weinke, Matt Lytle, Dameyune Craig
2002 Rodney Peete, Randy Fasani, Chris Weinke
2003 Jack Delhomme, Rodney Peete
2004 Jack Dellhome, Rodney Peete
2005 Jack Delhomme, Chris Weinke
2006 Jack Delhomme, Chris Weinke, Brett Basanez
2007 Vinny Testaverde, David Carr, Matt Moore, Jake Delhomme
2008 Jake Delhomme
2009 Jake Delhomme, Matt Moore, Josh McCown
2010 Jimmy Clausen, Matt Moore, Brian St. Pierre, Tony Pike
Looking at that list, Drew Bledsoe is by far the headliner for Evans (and that version of Bledsoe was in all likelihood washed up). While for Smith the consistently horrific Jake Delhomme is his apex. A lot of people have been intrigued by Larry Fitzgerald’s potential availability, but these two may be the best available bargains on the market when the new CBA is signed. Either of these guys would pinching themselves (or checking for their totems) 500 times a day if they found a home with a decent QB. Smith could thrive in a lot of situations (see his production with Delhomme), but based off the numbers I would be careful to get too excited if Evans went anywhere without a strong armed QB. He needs someone who can throw a deep ball or he’s just not anywhere near as effective as he should be.
Hines Ward WR PITT, Anquan Boldin WR BAL & Jerrico Cotchery WR NYJ
These three are very under the radar right now. People are burying Hines Ward when he’s just coming off a year with 59 catches for 755 yards and 5 TDs. He’s not going to be your star WR, but for a guy who’s not even being drafted in a lot of Jim Day’s DraftMaster leagues you could do a lot worse as a 3/4 WR.
Anquan Boldin had what some considered a disappointing season, but that was more of a function of the personnel around him then a lack of ability on his part. Boldin is a tough possession WR who runs good routes and will go over the middle. He’s at his best when you can put him in the slot and take advantage of his size. Unfortunately for him Derrick Mason and TJ Houshmandzadeh are also possession WRs. Without anyone to stretch the field, defenses were able to press Boldin and bother him. A top need for Baltimore will be a playmaker WR and if they get one, Boldin will be more productive.
Jerricho Cotchery is also an afterthought. The Jets can’t afford to bring back both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards meaning that Cotchery has an excellent choice at being the teams #2 WR. As shown in the playoffs, Mark Sanchez seems to trust Cotchery. Cotchery is another guy who won’t be your star, but is an excellent backup at a very low price.
Randy Moss WR ? & TO WR ?
It’s impossible to speculate on either of these guys without knowing exactly where they are going to be next year, but are they worth a 12th or 13th round pick? Absolutely. Is Moss blowing smoke when he says last year humbled him? Can TO keep his mouth shut long enough to have another good year? These guys might not be great for your blood pressure, but they could be gigantic steals on your fantasy team.
Chris March 31st, 2011
Are you targeting a young NFL TE born in Goldsboro, North Carolina? If you are, be prepared to spend an early pick to get him. I don’t think you will see a second year player with 29 receptions in his rookie campaign jump up draft boards like this kid will this year.
Let’s just put it out there, this is Antonio Gates’s fault. If Mr. Gates did not have games in which he blows up, we would not search every year to land the next clone. Jimmy Graham’s college career is a basketball career. He played basketball for Miami from 2005 thru 2009 on a scholarship, and double majored. He returned to Miami to attend graduate classes and played TE. He posted 17 receptions for 213 yards. He displayed all the athleticism needed to get a drafted in round three by the New Orleans Saints.
His 4.50 forty yard dash time, and his limited blocking ability, make him all the more attractive to perspective fantasy General Managers, he is a pass catching threat period. So we all, well most of us, had him on our short list, particularly in dynasty leagues last year. Some General Managers dropped him during cuts, believing they could sneak him back aboard come July or August. Then the Saints let Jeremy Shockey go, and BAM! Jimmy’s stock began a new climb.
If you have some doubts or reservations, let me share some recent draft activity in the Jim Day Draftmaster Leagues. In 11 newly drafted leagues here are the slots Mr. Graham was selected:
So, my suggestion for draft day strategy, hype Jimmy Graham and get a General Manager to select him early. There are ample great value Tight Ends sliding late in off season mock drafts. Kellen Winslow, Owen Daniels, and Greg Olsen are all great picks later than Graham. Additionally, last year disappointments Dustin Keller and Brent Celek should bounce back very strongly in 2011.
Bob March 26th, 2011
The timing of Jeff Fisher’s departure from the Titans left the team in an interesting position when trying to fill their head coaching position. Having Fisher leave so late in the off-season eliminated many of the “hot” candidates that had already been snatched up by other organizations. They turned to Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard and the Titans offensive line coach since 1999.
It’s always curious to me that when filling a head coaching vacancy how willing owners are to appoint a coach who has never been an NFL coordinator. A good head coach is involved in the week leading up to a game in overseeing and aiding in forming a game plan and overall strategy for the upcoming game and making crucial half time adjustments. Why when looking for a man to fill this position would you hire someone who has never been responsible for coming up with and implementing a game plan? In the last 5 years 11 coaches with no experience as a coordinator on either side of the ball have been hired. Their combined record is 174-231 (42.96%), with a playoff record of 5-7. The coaches with their overall records are,
Jim Caldwell, IND (hired in 2009) Overall record 24-8, Playoff record 2-2
Raheem Morris, TB (hired in 2009) Overall record 13-19
Tom Cable, OAK (hired in 2008) Overall record 17-27
Mike Singletary, SF (hired in 2008) Overall record 18-22
John Harbaugh, BAL (hired in 2008) Overall record 32-16, Playoff record 3-3
Tony Sparano, MIA (hired in 2008) Overall record 25-23, Playoff record 0-1
Jim Zorn, WAS (hired in 2008) Overall record 12-20
Bobby Petrino, ATL (hired in 2007) Overall record 3-10
Lane Kiffin, OAK (hired in 2007) Overall record 5-15
Rod Marinelli, DET (hired in 2006) Overall record 10-38
Herman Edwards, KC (hired in 2006) Overall record 15-33, Playoff record 0-1
(NOTE – 1 and done interim coaches were omitted)
The most successful coaches on this list Harbaugh and Caldwell were hired more recently, so owners may have become better at identifying position coaches who are ready for the jump (although, Peyton Manning may have something to say about calling Jim Caldwell successful). Morris may be eventually added to the success stories, but Munchak’s hiring is concerning given the track record of previous position coaches who make the jump.
Compounding this issue is the very large issue of finding a quarterback. They have a good offensive line and some good young play makers in Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook. They are parting ways with Vince Young and bringing back Kerry Collins certainly isn’t the answer. The top two quarterbacks in the draft Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are both a year away and with the potential of a lockout the Titans may not be able to address the position for quite some time. It’s the lockout that is the most concerning here for the Titans. When a team has this much turnover with the coaching staff, the players need as much time as possible to get acclimated to the changes the new staff is enacting.
With all of this turmoil in mind, it may be a good idea to rank Titan players a little lower on your draft board for the time being.
Chris February 11th, 2011
ARE YOUR PLAYERS MOVING NORTH OR SOUTH BECAUSE OF THEIR TEAM?
July is just around the corner, really it is. It won’t be long until we are all elbow deep into content looking to get an edge over our competition. In doing so, we will create the inevitable rankings and take, draft or trade for players accordingly.
However, I offer up a red flag – a stop sign – a word of caution.
Organizational impact / influence. Some examples
Jamal Charles, D Bowe, M Cassel all get bump ups for having a solid organization steering the ship. Tambi Hali a pro bowler in the making. The Chiefs, despite the Weiss issue at OC are a Franchise on the move as we all know, watch Matt C develop as a QB and Bowe and whoever ends up a solid #2 WR will be very viable players week to week. Thomas Jones is likely to see a vastly reduced role in 2011, if present at all. McCluster will see more touches to lighten Charles wear and tear, I expect the Chiefs to sign or draft a better all around #2 RB. In any regard – this solid organization means you can give increase in value to Bowe, Charles, Cassel, Hali and the winner at the TE battle in 2011.
Roddy White, Matt Ryan, jump them as well, and the compass points up for the Falcons as they transition to a passing game next year as a priority. M Turner should not be counted on to be the focus of this offense in 2011 – say hello to Passing Matt Ryan. The Atlanta group will turn the offense to make plays 100% to Ryan and not depend on Turner to set the table. Expect and give nice bumps to R White and the winner at the #2 slot in 2011 – – imagine a player like M Manningham here. Also – Gonzo will hit the wall, soon – so watch and grab the TE the Atlanta group drafts in 2011
Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow, L Blount, J Freeman all get similar, if not larger leaps. The Buc’s accepted their fate in 2009 with a 3-13 record and did not overreact and panic. This organization that has the guts to do what is right to get better . McCoy a nice fit on the Defensive Line , great DT in IDP next year. Watch and grab the pass rusher they go for in 2011. Stash or grab early the DB they feature in IDP leagues. In regard to A Benn, the watch out light is flashing – already a concern about how long to adapt to the NFL game the knee injury he sustained could effectively diminish his value in 2011.
Mike Wallace is a slam dunk – his participation on the Steelers will only grow as he becomes the #1 option every week. R Mendenhall, will be used correctly and not run into the ground , for Dynasty GM’s this guy deserves the increase in rating as well, S Jackson has the flash but just can’t run another year like he did in 2010 without injury. IDP – fall in love with Woodley and Timmons and move em up your rankings.
DOWN THE SLIPPERY SLOPE –
Herds of us were in love with P Hillis most of the year – the result will be lofty draft status come August. Heads up, the Browns are a train wreck.
There is a lot of chatter of J Simpson and A Caldwell in Cincy now – I like em both also, but I have both of them labeled as ” Stay Away”. Do you really think that 2011 will be the year the Bengals finally figure out how to best use their players? Cedric Benson is an even bigger run the other way guy.
Jacksonville’s WR’s and M Lewis represent another group of players that belong on the “be prepared to let you down” every other week club. Yes, I am putting MJD there as well.
It’s not hard; you all know these teams and can adjust accordingly.
Detroit – starting to make me a believer
Bob January 12th, 2011
Recently when I was asked to rank the top 5 players for 2011 I ranked Jamaal Charles 3rd. Upon further reflection, I’m not so sure if I had a top 5 pick I would take him today. I’ve said in the past that a key to winning your league is minimizing risk and I believe that several factors make Charles a risky pick in the top 5. The major thing that Charles has going for him in 2011 is that he only had 4 tds in 2010 and should be going up in 2011.
This year Charles joined OJ Simpson, Barry Sanders and Jim Brown as the only modern era Running Backs to rush for 1,000 yards and rush for better than 6 yards per carry. Each player in the year following didn’t struggle, but saw their yards per carry take a pretty large drop.
On average, each player saw about a 26% drop-off from their previous yards per carry average. His number would still be great, but if the Chiefs don’t plan on using him in the red zone, that would certainly hurt. Now, the main difference between these three and Charles is that he did not have anywhere near the workload that they did this year. The three averaged 319 carries in the season they averaged 6 yards per carry or better, so their “down year” (by their previous standards anyway) could be attributed to a heavy workload catching up to them. Charles only saw 230 rushes in 2010.
The Chiefs insistence to limit Charles touches didn’t change in the playoffs and if anything it would seem that someone in the Chiefs organization has Charles on a pitch count. Charles only received an average of 16 touches per game and had more than 18 only 6 times. You can debate on if that is wise or not, but it’s the only explanation as to why the Chiefs continued to feed the far inferior Thomas Jones the ball.
The biggest factor on Charles’ production is the strength of the Chiefs opponents. Being a division winner the Chiefs will face a much more difficult schedule in 2011. At home they’ll see Denver, Oakland, San Diego, Buffalo, Miami, Pittsburgh, Green Bay & Minnesota. While on the road they’ll be visiting, Denver, Oakland, San Diego, New England, New York (Jets), Indianapolis, Chicago & Detroit. It’s a slate that looks like it will be much tougher than the opponents they faced this year that only won 43% of their games, so Charles may find his running lanes to be much smaller.
Really what it comes down to is that averaging 6.38 yards on every rush is setting expectation unattainably high and it would be extremely tough to keep it up. Though he’s averaged 6 yards per carry for the 3 years he’s been in the NFL, in 2011 he’ll face the toughest opponents and the most attention he’s ever seen.
Chris January 12th, 2011
It’s week 17 and most fantasy league championships have already been handed out, but it’s never to early to get a start on scouting for the 2011 fantasy season. The following are players I’ll be watching closely.
Carolina at Atlanta
Jonathan Stewart RB CAR – If he can stay healthy this will be the 2nd consecutive season when Stewart carried the load down the stretch. The Falcons allow the 6th fewest points to running backs and are playing for the NFC #1 seat, so it won’t be easy for Stewart. If he has a good game the Panthers may want to keep their current 1-2 punch of Stewart and Goodson and trade the injured DeAngelo Williams for help elsewhere. The Panthers have too many holes to keep 3 good running backs on their roster, if they can acquire assets for Williams, they’d be wise to do so. The Panthers are already without the first pick in the 2nd round due to a draft day trade with New England.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Colt McCoy QB CLE – This will be the 2nd time McCoy faces the Steelers and as we all know the 2nd time a young QB sees a good defense things typically go poorly for him. If he has a solid game it will bode well for his prospects going forward.
Keep in mind he was born in New Mexico and played high school and college football in Texas, so he’s not used to the cold temperatures he’s going to have to play in on Sunday (expected high of 30, no expected precipitation as of yet). If he struggles it may not just be due to the Steelers superior defense, but also the elements. We could be looking at a Mark Sanchez situation. He’s 34-54 (63%) for 392 yards with 2 tds and 3 ints in his 2 cold weather games.
Minnesota at Detroit
Antoine Winfield DB MIN -Winfield has been under whelming as a cover corner this year, but as illustrated on Tuesday night he is a force when used close to the line of scrimmage. Always excellent against the run, Winfield could re-invent him as a safety and the Vikings have toyed with doing so this season. Winfield is a great IDP play regardless of if the movement is permanent, but if it become official, look for him to be a top 3 scoring DB in 2011.
Oakland at Kansas City
Dexter McCluster RB/WR KC – Going into this season, McCluster was hyped as the Chiefs version of Wes Welker and in the preseason they were lining him up all over the field and giving him touches. Injury and picking up the playbook slowed him down from being Welker-like, but he has been a difference maker on special teams. The Chiefs may look to get him more involved so he can make in impact in the playoffs. If he gets touches in this game and in the playoffs, he is a player to watch as a sleeper or buy low going into 2011.
Miami at New England
BenJarvis Green-Ellis RB NE – Green-Ellis’ best attribute is ball security. He has fumbled exactly zero times in his NFL career. He’s a solid back who always falls forward and rarely has rushes that result in zero or negative yardage. That being said, behind the Patriots superior offensive line there are a number of running backs who would have been similar statistically. The Patriots were said to be very interested in Alabama’s Mark Ingram earlier in the season. Green-Ellis’ workload Sunday may be a good measuring stick to see just how interested they still are. If he’s viewed as an Antoine Smith type, then he will probably still get a good workload, if he’s viewed as a long term player, don’t expect him to see much of the field.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Jimmy Graham TE NO – When Graham was drafted after only having played 1 year of college football, he was viewed as a long term project. Watching the Saints these past few weeks however you wouldn’t know it. If Drew Brees continues to look Graham’s way (especially in the red zone) in week 17 I fully expect Graham to be a top 10 TE going into 2011 with top 5 potential. Graham’s rise also has implications toward Marques Colston’s value in 2011 and beyond. Colston’s touchdowns always kept him as a top WR, but with Graham, Colston may not be the toughest matchup for opposing defenses in the red zone.
Buffalo at NY Jets
Arthur Moats LB BUF – Moats has shown flashes of being the pass rusher that the Bills drafted Aaron Maybin to be. He needs to get stronger and work on his technique in order to become a factor against the run in order to become a more complete IDP, but if he continues to make noise and does well against the backups he should be facing this weekend with the Jets already locked into their playoff position he’s a nice sleeper candidate for next year. This was Buffalo’s first year in their transition to a 3-4 and as they continue to acquire personnel that are a better fit for the 3-4, Moats will have the chance to flourish.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
Carson Palmer QB CIN – If Ocho is in – does he struggle again, and if he does, how badly does he struggle? If Ocho is out, does he blow up again? Or will he revert to how he’s looked all season. If he looks the way he did in week 16, either he has been getting over an injury or isn’t the type of QB who likes to force throws to appease receivers.
If he has another big week without Ocho and the Bengals do decide to move
him, I see these teams as his best case scenario landing points,
1. Oakland – They have the deep threats to compliment his arm and no one
you have to feed the ball to. He would immediately be playing behind the
best offensive line he’s ever had and with the two most talented RBs he’s
ever had. Most would worry about Al Davis, but Carson in the past has
thrived with a crazy owner and Mike Brown may be even crazier than Al.
2. Minnesota – They have the weapons in place and have an even better
version of Carson’s previous favorite target TJ Houshmandzadeh with Sidney
Rice. The line is shaky and there are key free agents that need to be
retained, but with just an average off-season he would still be in a
better situation than any he’s had since his knee injury.
Worst case scenarios
1. Washington – They have no weapons and don’t have a line to protect him. I also have little confidence that management could acquire the assets necessary for him to succeed.
2. San Francisco – In 8-10 years on VH1 classic we’d be listening to Michael Crabtree complain about Palmer on his reality show “King Crab.”
3. Miami – Brandon Marshall may only be able to work with QBs who are as belligerent as he is (see Cutler, Jay). Chad Henne went from decent looking to unmitigated disaster inside of a year and the only difference was Marshall.
1. Arizona – The weapons are fantastic, but we’ve seen glimpses this year of Larry Fitzgerald going to the diva-side (justifiably given his QB situation).
Jacksonville at Houston
Rashad Jennings RB JAX – Maurice Jones-Drew has consistently played through injuries since taking on a bigger role following Fred Taylor’s departure. It remains to be seen if he would be better suited for a workload of 200-250 carries rather then the one he’s had the last 2 years. MJD may be the latest in the long line of backs to wear down after overuse. If that’s the case than it would seem Jennings would be the man to benefit. However, if Jennings ever wants to be more then a nice complimentary back then he needs to rebound from his disappointing week in week 16. If he can’t produce with MJD banged up the Jags could turn to the explosive Deji Karim.
NY Giants at Washington
Rex Grossman QB WAS – The Washington brain trust continues to insist that they like Rex Grossman for this year and the future. Granted, we’ve all seen the damage that Grossman can inflict on fantasy teams, however he would increase Anthony Armstrong’s value (Grossman enjoys going deep if you hadn’t noticed). This would also mean that you would want any and all team defenses or defensive backs that Washington is facing in 2011.
Dallas at Philadelphia
Marion Barber RB DAL – The Cowboys finally appear willing to break up their potent 3 headed running back situation. Since Barber is the most expensive and oldest, it would make sense if he would be the one to be shown the door. Barber looked like a reasonable proximity of the man who was a top 15 back a few short years ago on Christmas night versus the Cardinals. This is his last chance to show other teams he still has it. He’ll be facing a stronger defense this week in the Eagles, so it will only strengthen his case if he has another nice week.
Arizona at San Francisco
Andre Roberts WR ARZ – A very talented precise route runner, Roberts was seen to be put in an unfavorable position behind 3 good wide receivers and with no help at the quarterback position. Injuries have given him the chance to make a lasting impression on both his teammates and coaches. If John Skelton looks his way in week 17, he may leapfrog Steve Breaston as the Cardinals #2 wide receiver in the off-season.
Chicago at Green Bay
James Starks RB GB – Starks needs to eventually show something if he really is the man who will replace Ryan Grant. The Bears defense is by no means easy, but with Grant’s high cap number in 2011, the Packers have a decision to make. Either work out a new contract with Grant, or if they like what they see from Starks, he could be in line for a big increase in touches.
Tennessee at Indianapolis
Donald Brown RB IND – In order for Brown owner’s to have any confidence in him at all going forward, he’ll need to see some productive touches even with Joseph Addai back in the lineup. Against opponents other than Jacksonville, Brown was below pedestrian with Addai injured. Addai’s contract is up at the end of the year, but it’s hard to imagine that Colts would go with Brown unless he has a good end to the year.
San Diego at Denver
Ryan Matthews RB SD – Mike Tolbert is out, so this is Matthews’ best chance to shine since very early in the year. It would speak well of his development if he is on the field on a few passing downs and held his own in pass protection. Matthews has a ways to go before the price paid for the Chargers to move up to get him can be justified, but Sunday would be a nice start against a defense that’s allowed more than a few good days to running backs this year.
St. Louis at Seattle
Sam Bradford QB STL – Seattle is terrible. They have terrible players and they are terribly coached, having said that, their crowd is the best in the NFL. If Sam Bradford can walk into that building and carry his team to a win, then he’s a player I’m going to want to own for a long time.
Chris December 30th, 2010