|AP Photo NUA126, NUA118|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 October 2007 18:08|
By JOHN McFARLAND
Associated Press Writer
Things are setting up nicely for Reggie Bush. He's coming off a two-touchdown game, he's no longer sharing backfield duties with Deuce McAllister, and he faces a weak Carolina defense that's giving up about 120 yards rushing a game.
So huge fantasy football numbers are a lock, right?
Heck no, but it sure makes for a compelling argument if you want to try to trade away this fantasy disaster. There may never be a better chance to unload a guy who has compiled 80 yards and averaged 2.8 yards a carry.
Another helpful factor as you shop your damaged goods is the fact that the Saints were off last week, so nobody saw them stink things up. Whoever's hard-up enough to trade may have forgotten Bush's two TDs came as he was racking up 15 yards in a 31-14 loss.
As you savor the rare opportunity to undo a draft-day blunder, here's a look at some players to start in Week 5, some to avoid, and a few long shots that just may pan out:
A SAFE BET
-Detroit's Jon Kitna faces his biggest test yet in the Redskins, who've allowed just two touchdown passes. But stick with the league passing yardage leader and his feel-good story while it lasts.
-Jay Cutler scores every week for Denver, but only once. That should change against the Chargers' inexplicably shoddy defense that gives up two TD passes a week and has already allowed 16 pass plays of 20 yards or longer.
-Tennessee's Vince Young has had a couple weeks to rest after his first two-TD game of the year. He faces an Atlanta defense poor against the run and the pass - two things he likes to do.
-Start David Carr, Jake Delhomme, Chris Weinke or whoever else the Panthers are trotting out these days. Even after a bye week, the Saints lead the NFL with five pass plays of 40 or more yards allowed.
-Desperate for a QB? Just do what the Dolphins and Falcons did and pick up Joey Harrington on the cheap. He's averaged 290 yards and two TDs the past two weeks.
TAKE A SHOT
-Washington's Jason Campbell has had two weeks to prepare for Detroit - way more time than necessary to learn the No. 31 pass defense is easy to pick apart.
BACK AWAY SLOWLY AND NOBODY GETS HURT
Please, in the name of Steve Walsh, don't start these guys:
-Brian Griese passed for nearly 300 yards and two scores last week, but the Packers are much tougher than Detroit. (Only start a Bear if at some point coach Lovie Smith's weekly ``he's our quarterback'' speech is about Devin Hester.)
-Bench San Diego's Philip Rivers until he quits with the Ryan Leaf act (0 TDs, 3 interceptions, lost fumble in last five quarters). Regardless of his problems, he'll spend the day handing off against a Denver defense allowing 181 yards rushing a game.
-Although the Rams can't stop anyone, don't hurt yourself trying to figure out who will get the snaps for Arizona. Kurt Warner's been more effective, but Matt Leinart may get extended practice during garbage time.
ALL DAY LONG
-Overthinker Alert: Yes, Pittsburgh's Willie Parker was bottled up for 37 yards last week and the Seahawks can stop the run. But Parker's unstoppable at home, averaging 120 yards and a score since last year, including two 200-yard games.
-San Francisco's Frank Gore has averaged 50-something yards and no scores the past few weeks, and things only get worse facing run-stuffing Baltimore with Trent Dilfer at QB. But what can you do? The first time you bench Gore you know he's going for 225.
-Maybe the Dolphins have by now figured out that letting a decrepit interception addict throw the ball all day will make a team 0-4. Ronnie Brown, on the other hand, averaged 210 total yards and two TDs the past two weeks.
-Likewise, look for the Texans to dust off Ahman Green or Ron Dayne or some other Houston guy against a Miami defense allowing a stunning 199 yards rushing a game. (If Miami allows big numbers to Justin Fargas then Dayne, there is no hope. What next? Nick Goings?)
-Let's see, the Panthers are good every other week, and the Saints are bad every week. So let's go with DeShaun Foster to do some damage running and receiving.
HE COULD FIND A SEAM
-Tampa Bay's Earnest Graham gets all the goal line carries now that Carnell ``Cadillac'' Williams is out for the season, and the Colts are once again saving their tackles for the post-season.
-If you add up the rushing yards Chicago's Cedric Benson has compiled in four games, they almost make one decent game (82 yards, 2.3 yards per carry). He faces a Green Bay defense that hasn't allowed a TD run.
-Speaking of ``featured'' backs who formerly shared time in Chicago, it has become apparent that Thomas Jones will never again score a touchdown.
-Start Cleveland's Jamal Lewis if your league awards points for sideline cheering, because he'll be watching the Browns try to pass their way back into this week's blowout by the Patriots.
THROW HIM THE DARN BALL!
-All Steve Smith's recent highlights have shown him hollering at assorted Panthers and coaches, so they'll get him the ball just to shut him up. He's scored on the Saints in four straight games, and that was even before they went to the watch-then-chase coverage scheme.
-Somehow a Cleveland receiver has become an automatic fantasy player. Braylon Edwards averages 94 yards and a score, and his team will be airing it out after the Patriots go up by 21 after about five minutes.
-Denver's Brandon Marshall has a TD or 100 yards in three of four games. He should have another big day with Javon Walker banged up and the Chargers' pass defense messed up.
-Miami's Chris Chambers hasn't been heard from in a while. He was averaging 100 yards a game before just two catches last week, and the Texans' pass defense has been soft.
-Rookie Dwayne Bowe has been exceptional ever since he told they Chiefs all about the forward pass he learned about in college. He has 13 catches, 235 yards and two TDs the past two weeks.
MAYBE THROW HIM THE DARN BALL?
-Any Green Bay receiver is a viable option in any NFC Central game these days. The Bears are so beat up that Greg Jennings and James Jones are great bye-week replacements.
SHOW HIM THE DARN BENCH
-It's stunning but true: Torry Holt must be benched. The line-less Rams barely have time to launch 5-yard passes, so their 31-possession touchdownless streak should continue.
-Joey Galloway's vanishing act (1 catch last week, 0 TDs past two weeks) for Tampa Bay should continue at Indianapolis. Pass protection may suffer because of injury on the line, so the Bucs may try to run all day.
-After crossing your fingers and hoping Wes Welker or Donte' Stallworth get invites to the New England TD party, it's time to get realistic. (If you had Randy Moss, would you throw to anyone else?)
DON'T FORGET THE BYE WEEK: Cincinnati, Oakland, Philadelphia and Minnesota are off this week, meaning the Vikings are busy devising new ways to not get the ball to Adrian Peterson.
FREE AGENT SHOPPING LIST
Pick up these guys if they're available in your league:
RB Sammy Morris (117 yards, TD), RB Selvin Young (Broncos backup), RB Kenton Keith (80 yards), RB Earnest Graham (Bucs new starter?), RB Justin Fargas (179 yards) RB WR Patrick Crayton (184 yards, TDs), RB Aaron Stecker (McAllister's replacement?), RB Michael Pittman (Bucs backup), WR Ike Hilliard (114 yards), QB Damon Huard (2 TDs), RB Ricky Williams (employed?)
WHAT DO I KNOW?
Here's the best and worst of last week's projections:
Big Hits: There weren't many, but at least I was right about career TD record-breaker Brett Favre (344 yards, 2 TDs). I also expected success for Andre Davis (117, TD) and Julius Jones (first TD), as well as more failure for Marc Bulger (114 yards, INT).
Big Misses: I thought Donovan McNabb and Kevin Curtis would be great against non-Detroit defenses, and also that Brian Westbrook would continue his pattern of never practicing yet always playing. I expected success from Philip Rivers (0 TDs, 2 INTs) and Cedric Benson (50 yards), and a flop from Larry Johnson (123 yards).