If there is a common theme in the NFL so far this year, it definitely includes a flare for the dramatic. This past weekend’s “handshake debacle” between ‘Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and the Lions’ Jim Schwartz is just the most recent episode in a series of highly publicized, yet soon-to-be completely irrelevant side show acts in the NFL. Remember the heated debate surrounding the Giants’ blatantly faking injuries to slow down the Rams’ drive on Monday Night Football less than 4 short weeks ago? Yeah, the league didn’t fine them either. And now that we have formerly significant players coming out of left field with pregame instigations (who was talking to you anyway, Brandon Marshall?!), Sexy Rexy isn’t the only one with something to say. What’s next? Carson Palmer wants a piece of Ray Lewis? I don’t think so. Let’s leave the theatrics to actors and professional wrestlers.
As you have learned during the first few bye weeks, roster spots are precious and you must use care in discerning who is worthy of them. Back up players aren’t always necessary and can hamper your ability to grab new talent. Auxiliary Tight Ends are a waste of a roster spot with few exceptions, one of which is having Antonio Gates. However, if you have an OP (offensive player) position on your roster, you can always stick a tight end there if they are the best available player. Another roster adjustment to consider is dropping your back up Quarterback once your regular starter has had their bye week. This way you can make room for an emerging (or potentially emerging) star running back or wide receiver.
You should also remember which positions have the greatest impact on your scores each week and make sure you have your bases covered there. The positions that will be hardest to fill are usually the ones that have the most roster spots allocated to them each week. For example, if your league has 3 spots for Receivers, 2 for Running Backs, and 1 for a Tight End, quality Wide Receivers will be in highest demand, followed by Running Backs, with a good number of Tight Ends left over (available). In these scenarios, you need to be that much more on the ball when someone does emerge as a standout player so you can be first to jump on attractive prospects for that position.
For those of you facing roster difficulties this week, allow me to emphathize by sharing my biggest Week 7 obstacle. In my deepest league, my Quarterback options this week are sketchy to say the least. Last year I scooped up Vick off waivers, and since it is a keeper league, I got him as my last round draft pick this year. Given Vick’s susceptibility to injury, I drafted Eli Manning later on as my back up in the event that Vick gets taken out for a significant amount of time. But both the Eagles and Giants have byes this week, so I need to pick up another Quarterback. This is also the most competitive league I’m in as far as my rival Fanagers and their Fantasy prowess are concerned (most of them anyway…..).
I am wincing as I am about to share the available QB prospects this week in descending order of projected points according to my league settings on ESPN’s website: Curtis Painter at New Orleans, John Beck at Carolina, Christian Ponder vs. Green Bay, Sam Bradford at Dallas, Charlie Whitehurst at Cleveland, or Kevin Kolb vs. Pittsburgh. Pretty slim pickin’s, huh? Not even Carson Palmer remains, much less Tim Tebow, but I am not all that upset about the latter.
So now that we have established that I am working with the bottom of the barrel, there are some encouraging arguments that can be made (though they might not be very strong ones). Curtis Painter has the most impressive supporting cast with the Indianapolis Colts receiving core, plus the Saints allow a lot of Fantasy points to opposing Quarterbacks (5th most by ESPN rankings; 3rd most by Yahoo), and Dallas Clark and Painter started to get something going last week.
Sam Bradford is another candidate, especially with the addition of Brandon Lloyd in a trade from the Broncos last week; however, he is working with that high ankle sprain and, although said to be doing better than expected, there is no guarantee he will be giving it a go on Sunday. Bradford and his Rams are also facing a talented Cowboys’ defense on the road in the wake of the ‘Boys loss to the Patriots.
Kevin Kolb has fallen short of the Cardinals’ (and Fanagers’) expectations this year, especially in the turnover department. He has scored less than 10 Fantasy points each of the past two weeks, and this weekend doesn’t look any better with their matchup against the top-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The only thing working in Kolb’s favor is that he does have an extraordinary receiver in Larry Fitzgerald.
As for the rest, well, who knows? To be completely honest, sometimes it works out simply because you get lucky rolling the dice on an underachieving player, which is what I am hoping for this week! And just in case you ever wind up playing in the NFL, here’s a tip: unless you are very literally in a position to win the game for your team, no one cares what you have to say. Thanks!