Dynasty Implications - Week 8
Posted 10/27 by Jeff Tefertiller, Exclusive for Footballguys.com
This will be a weekly feature looking at the dynasty implications from some of the events of the week's games. We will look at the happenings of the weekend and identify some winners and losers in dynasty leagues. The focus will be on the players that are not elite, nor top players having big games this week. You do not need me to tell you to trade for Adrian Peterson or Drew Brees when they have a big game.
- Alex Smith replaced Shaun Hill at halftime of the game against the Texans. He promptly led the team to a touchdown, a pass to Vernon Davis. After his second scoring toss to Davis, Smith had completed eight of nine passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Smith led the offense down the field with ease. The 49ers coaching staff will be obligated to give him the snaps in the near future. Kudos to those who saw this coming and nabbed Smith in the past couple of weeks. The downside is that Smith will not have be a fantasy factor in the 49ers offense.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick played better against the Panthers than Trent Edwards has played this season. He was actually able to move the Bills offense through the air, something that Edwards has not been able to do. Lee Evans was actually able to be productive versus Carolina with 75 receiving yards and a touchdown. There is chemistry with Fitzpatrick and Evans. It will be interesting how the Bills handle the situation when Edwards gets over his concussion. He is already ruled out for the coming game Sunday. Edwards turned the ball over often. Fitzpatrick led Buffalo to a mistake-free game, not turning the ball over against the Panthers. This has to make coach Dick Jauron happy. Here is what the Bills head coach had to say, "This was a huge win for us. When you win the takeaway-giveaway 4-0 the percentages of your wins are huge. I thought Ryan Fitzpatrick did a good job with what happened out there." But, for dynasty purposes, this illustrates just how poorly Edwards has played when an 11 for 22 passing performance for 123 yards and a score is viewed as a good game.
- Derek Anderson has been horrible so far since taking over for Brady Quinn. The Browns have given up on the Quinn and will likely just sit him the rest of the way, especially since he has contract incentives tied to playing time. If the former Notre Dame star is not in the team's plans, why not see what the others offer? This is a good thought, but Anderson has been terrible. Dynasty owners should consider snagging Brett Ratliff in the next week or so. Ratliff was a favorite of coach Mangini in New York last year and now the coach has followed him to Cleveland. It is likely that he will see action with the Browns so far out of playoff contention and little hope.
- Steven Jackson is running hard and will soon get his big game. He was hitting the holes hard against the Indianapolis Colts and was picking up chunks of yardage. The lack of touchdowns may make for a favorable circumstance in order to buy Jackson low in dynasty leagues. He is getting yards on the ground and through the air. The only missing part are the touchdowns. They will come as the Rams get better. The offensive line is opening holes.
- After the costly Rashard Mendenhall fumble deep inside the Vikings five yard line, the Steelers inserted Mewelde Moore into the lineup for most of the rest of the way. Moore is a guy to try to acquire on the cheap. His role in the Steelers backfield could increase dramatically as the team looks to go deep into the playoffs. Moore is a good rusher and receiver. Mendenhall is still likely the long-term ball carrier in Pittsburgh, but the team might start increasing Moore's touches. Willie Parker saw little action and looks to be on the outside looking in. After the game, coach Tomlin supported Mendenhall. This is the death knell for Parker's chances in Pittsburgh barring injury.
- It is time to give Cedric Benson his due. Benson had a career game against his former team. He is averaging over one hundred rushing yards per game and has five touchdowns. While difficult to believe, Benson is leading the NFL in rushing yards. The Bengals have grown as an offense with Benson carrying the ball. He is now a player to target if an owner still does not believe. Benson is still young and has matured since his arrests.
- The Dallas Cowboy backfield is now healthy, but it is a mess for fantasy owners. It is difficult to make too large of a judgment based off one game against a good defense, but Marion Barber had half of the team's carries (with 14), leaving only 14 to split between Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. None of the three were overly utilized in the passing game. The Falcon rush defense is stiff, so the yardage totals will increase going forward, but the distribution of touches will be rough to rely upon. Given the injury history of Felix Jones and Marion Barber, a few more games like this should lead dynasty owners to take a long look at acquiring Choice.
- Leon Washington broke his fibula against the Raiders. He is gone for the season. What a sad time for a player playing for a big contract. The injury came on his lone rushing attempt of the game. The Jets, and fantasy owners, had high hopes for the diminutive running back. New York will miss his big-play ability in the passing game. Rookie Shonn Greene replaced Washington and had a huge game with 144 rushing yards and two touchdowns. With the high number of carries for Jones last season, Greene could be the type of back to lead some fantasy teams deep into the playoffs. Coach Rex Ryan had this to say about Greene, "When we took the young man, this is really how we visualized our team -- ground and pound it and let this young kid hit you when you're on your heels in the fourth quarter. He's a talented back. We've been saying it all along." The undersized Danny Woodhead could see some carries as a change of pace back with the Washington injury. Woodhead was just moved to wide receiver. Now, it looks like he will move back to running back. Washington should be fine for next season and actually could be a player to buy. There have been other backs with the same injury who had no problem coming back.
- The New Orleans Saint backfield is a mess for fantasy owners. While Pierre Thomas saw most of the carries early in the game, it was Mike Bell who provided the spark for the Saint offense in the third quarter. Reggie Bush did score but was not really a factor in the running game other than on the reverse and high-flying score. Do not read too much into the fact that Bell had the most carries of the three running backs. This is something that could change each week, depending on the flow of the game.
- With the hip injury to Jerious Norwood, Jason Snelling has seen a rise in touches as the backup to Michael Turner. Snelling is a very good receiver out of the backfield and is an underrated runner. He was used as the third down back and also saw some carries on earlier downs in the second half against the Cowboys. This may be Norwood's last season in Atlanta so Snelling makes for a great player to stash. In addition, the 376 touches by Turner last season could have an effect as the season progresses.
- Ricky Williams had a monster fantasy game after starting slow. He scored three times as the Saints had trouble defending the the "Wildcat" offense in the first three quarters of the game. Williams will continue to be a merely a spot starter as long as he can remain healthy. He is the type of player to sell in dynasty leagues unless he is an every-week starter for your team. His fantasy points per touch is very high and should show some regression. Plus, Williams had 68 of his 80 rushing yards on one long touchdown run. The other eight rushes totaled twelve yards, even though two went for scores. The numbers look better than the way the veteran played.
- Michael Crabtree finally saw the field Sunday against the Houston Texans. The rookie did not disappoint. He is a big, physical receiver who has the eye of new 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Crabtree will find it difficult to make a fantasy difference in the coming weeks. He missed all of training camp and preseason. This was valuable practice time missed in terms of learning the finer points of the wide receiver position after playing in the Texas Tech spread offense in college. Coach Singletary had this to say about the rookie, "Do I think Crabtree did a great job today? Absolutely. It seems like he's been here a while." The good news is that Crabtree is in the fold and should progress as the season rolls along.
- Antonio Bryant is a player to acquire in dynasty leagues if you can get him at a reasonable price. Many fantasy owners are concerned about the Buccaneer quarterback situation, as they should be. This has led to Bryant is disappointing versus last season's totals and he is not really that startable for owners. But, the good news is that Bryant's knee problems look better as he was able to get deep again this week. Buying Bryant is basically making a play for the future. It may be next season before either Josh Johnson or Josh Freeman emerges as a decent NFL passer.
- Roy Williams is a dynasty sell. Not only has he been passed as the WR1 in Dallas by Miles Austin, his level of play has declined to the point he is not startable. Williams gave little effort Sunday, dropping passes and even when he did catch a pass ... it was due to pushing off. Williams is now a dynasty afterthought. Austin is the lone playmaker in Dallas while Williams is resting on the laurels of his time in Detroit. He is not reliable in terms of the NFL nor fantasy football. Austin, on the other hand, is coming off his second consecutive game with two scores and huge yardage. He set the Dallas record for receiving yards in consecutive games with 421. Austin has become quarterback Tony Romo's favorite target. One thing to watch for with Austin is that he is a free agent after this season. Will the Cowboys look to lock him up, or are they worried about the knees?
- Bernard Berrian left the game with a hamstring after pulling up on a route. This led to even more action for Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. The two young receivers are playing great with Brett Favre tossing the ball. Rice is becoming a star in Minnesota, with huge catches down the field. He and Harvin are very young still and are players on the rise. The only concerns for each are their durability and health of Brett Favre. Neither would be much of a factor with Tarvaris Jackson under center.
- Sam Aiken played instead of the injured Julian Edelman for the Patriots. He had five receptions for 56 yards coming into the game. Aiken almost doubled the yardage total with a 54-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. It was a great catch and run on a shallow crossing pattern. The former special teams player showed good speed heading down the sideline for the score. Aiken is a big receiver (6'2", 215 pounds) and adds another element to the Patriot passing offense. The youngster from North Carolina is a player to watch in dynasty leagues.
- Vernon Davis was the beneficiary of the quarterback change in San Francisco. Shaun Hill targeted Davis often, but Alex Smith looks Davis' way almost every play. Seven of Smith's fifteen completions went to the athletic tight end, and three of those went for scores. He should be a must start for fantasy owners every game Smith starts.
- Owen Daniels is a tight end on the rise. Many dynasty owners were worried with the Texans drafting two tight ends last April in the NFL Draft. Also, Daniels is a free agent after this season. But, the results are amazing. He is putting up amazing numbers, and they could go even higher if Andre Johnson is limited by the chest contusion injury. He has a shot at a 100-catch, 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown season. Daniels lines up at tight end and in the slot, but is the player that Matt Schaub looks for across the middle.