This week the RapidDraft coaches are highlighting a Woody Harrelson moment, enjoying some Cuban cigars, bringing back Freddie Mitchell and Bo Jackson, and seeing plenty of red, white, and blue. Oh, and they’re still drinking the multi-colored Kool Aid.
Hot Fantasy Flavors
Shaun Hill -- With Matthew Stafford likely to miss yet another start, and the Lions hungry for their first win, Hill is a good bet as a spot starter against a Rams defense that was gashed for 297 yards by now back-up Derek Anderson earlier in the season. Plus, Hill is coming off a 331 yard, two touchdown performance against the Packers last week.
Jonathan Stewart -- How’s this for a coincidence --- the Bears are allowing 77 yards per game on the ground this season, which is the exact number of yards Stewart rushed for in his only game against Chicago. You should also know that he scored twice, and that was when the Bears offense wasn’t as ugly as president Obama’s approval ratings. Add in no Jay Cutler, and the Panthers should have no problem controlling the clock with their in your face rushing attack, in what should be Stewart’s 2010 coming out party.
Ladell Betts -- Not only did Betts look strong against the 49ers last week in relief of normal starter Pierre Thomas, but the Saints play the dysfunctional Cardinals this week. It’s a team who will have a rookie quarterback making his first start, and a defense that is allowing 154.8 yards per game on the ground. Thomas shouldn’t even have to suit up.
Donald Driver -- Much like in the first four weeks, the Redskins will take away the deep part of the field, and force Aaron Rodgers to throw short. Then again, with no running game it’s the best way the Packers can control the clock. Oh, and by the way the Redskins are allowing a second worst 305.0 yards per game via air. Have I given you enough to convince you I’m not a homer? D’oh!
Tony Moeaki -- Chiefs fantasy owners are so lucky to have their players coming off a bye week to the play the Indianapolis Colts, especially those few who actually start Moeaki. Kansas City will play from behind at some point, and the Colts will have the next Charlie Peprah starting at safety. Plus, Moeaki seems to have surpassed top target Dwayne Bowe both inside the red-zone and out.
Random Fantasy Tidbits
- Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has recorded two consecutive 100-yard performances in the last two weeks, and has scored a touchdown in every game this season. And as long as Hillis continue to perform at stud-like levels Jerome Harrison will continue to dig his spikes in the grass, on the sidelines.
- Philadelphia QB Kevin Kolb gets a second chance this week, and its perfect timing. The 49ers are 0-4, and are not only allowing 25.8 points per game, but have watched opponents find the end-zone eight times via air freight. Plus, with Lesean McCoy doubtful to play, Kolb’s arm should get a workout.
- Maurice Jones-Drew has finally woken up, but his fantasy owners are probably already dreaming about how good he could be this week against a Bills defense allowing 174 rushing yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns. Heck, I may even consider Rashad Jennings in this one if he’s healthy enough to play.
- On the outside, it’s a good week to be a Steve Smith (Giants) or Hakeem Nicks owner. The Houston Texans have been awful against the pass in 2010 according to the stat book. However, don’t sleep on Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. The Giants will get to Matt Schaub, and New York’s offensive rushing attack was reborn last week against what was the strongest run defense. The funny thing is that the Texans are now the second best team in the NFL against the run when it comes to yards allowed per game (70.3).
Four Downs with Huber and Schauf
RapidDraft.com fantasy coaches Eric Huber and Matt Schauf are two of the best in the game. Both have been given a game plan of options for each down. Now it's up to them to guide their team down the field to victory, and at the same time give you some fantasy insight; a who to start, so to speak.
First Down -- The opposing defense is crowding the line ready to blitz. Should you check out of a 15-yard post pattern to Brandon Lloyd? If you do are you throwing a quick slot screen to Danny Amendola or running a draw up the middle with Cadillac Williams?
Because I idolize Peyton Manning and his smarter than a fifth grader intelligence, I’m checking out of the longer route, but still staying away from the run. Yep, I’m screening it in the slot and letting Amendola do his best Billy Hoyle gridiron impression.
Second Down -- You’ve decided that you want to make a statement by running the football. Are you drawing up a fake reverse around the right side with Jahvid Best or letting Fred Jackson run between left guard and left tackle?
Well, since I traded Jahvid Best for Austin Collie, Ahmad Bradshaw, and a box of the "best" Cuban cigars after Week 1 I guess I have no choice but to start Freddie-J. Besides, Jackson has caught 16 passes in three career games against the Jaguars. I’ll take that all day long in RapidDraft-like formats while I sip on pina coladas poolside with one of those cigars between my index and steering wheel finger.
Third Down -- You get nowhere running the football, so you go to a three wide receiver set instead. Are you targeting Chad Ochocinco on a sideline comeback route, Terrell Owens on a post corner, or Kevin Walter on a 10 yard slant?
It’s tempting to look Ochocinco all the way, especially because he is capable of doing the boot scootin’ boogie along the sidelines after the catch. However, I’m not here to be entertained by a line dance. I’m also not feeding Terrell Owens’ ego by throwing a Chris Weinke quacker that he‘s going to have a 60% chance of catching. Instead, I’ll force the safeties out and throw the inside slant to Kevin Walter. Surf’s up, dude.
Fourth Down -- It’s fourth and about three chain links on the opponents’ 22 yard line with 55 seconds left. You forego bringing out Sebastian Janikowksi to kick the game-tying field goal. Are you going over the top of the pile with Ladainian Tomlinson, or through it with John Kuhn?
Tomlinson is so hot right now he’s making Shakira look like Tori Spelling. At the same time though, that pretty purple and gold Williams wall may be too tall for Tomlinson‘s Spud Webb slam dunks. And as much as I like the bruiser Kuhn inside and out, I think I’d rather go play action and throw down the seam to my fantasy football sweetheart Jermichael Finley. At this rate, I may need to sell those cigars for some new khakis.
First Down -- Against a weak Colts defense are you plowing ahead behind left guard Brian Waters with Thomas Jones, or stretching it out over left tackle Branden Albert with Jamaal Charles?
Man, you know I'm a Jamaal Charles guy, so I'm building off of him. Of course, I don't want to wear him out either, so I'm working in Thomas Jones plenty as well. Arian Foster tells me they both look good against Indy.
Second Down -- You’re left with nine yards to go. Will you continue to run the ball using Mike Tolbert or are you throwing a short drag route to Lance Moore?
It's always fun to watch a fat guy run on the football field (unless it's Andre Smith without a shirt), but we didn't jump up to grab Ryan Mathews so that he could help us cheer on Tugboat. I'm looking for Lance, especially in this point-per-reception universe.
Third Down -- Facing a third and nine, are you throwing short and hoping that Desean Jackson can get enough for the first down, or are you throwing past the sticks to new old Viking Randy Moss?
How come I didn't gain any yardage on my previous play? Oh well. As an Eagles fan, I've already spent way too many Sunday's watching the Birds throw short and hope on third-and-long. I'm closing my eyes and chucking it to that tall dude who just might be the most talented to ever play the game. (Can we measure him against Bo Jackson?) Actually, maybe I'll even keep my eyes open.
Fourth Down -- It’s fourth and 20 and you have to go for it. Are you looking for Roddy White on a deep post route, swinging it out to Matt Forte in the flat, or letting Ahmad Bradshaw weave his way to the sticks on a draw play?
If I have to go for it on fourth-and-20, you can bet there's no running back anywhere near my plans. I'm buying some time with my feet and then flinging it to Freddie Mitchell. Then I'll take a timeout to thank his hands for being so great and allow him to return to his soup line.