7-on-7: Slaton fumbles away his role; Ryan Moats recovers, scores

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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Entering Week 8, Houston running back Ryan Moats(notes) had not achieved fantasy relevance since 2005, his rookie year. Back then he was a member of the Eagles. He carried 55 times for 278 yards and three touchdowns over the final six games of a last-place season, in relief of an injured Brian Westbrook(notes).

Those '05 stats accounted for 56 percent of his career rushing yardage and 75 percent of his career TDs prior to Sunday afternoon's game at Buffalo…and then he absolutely shredded the NFL's worst run defense.

Moats had 23 carries for 126 yards and three scores against the Bills. Highlights here. He was in line for nothing more than a supporting role against Buffalo, but starter Steve Slaton(notes) lost yet another fumble in the first quarter and was benched for the remainder of the game. (All year, Slaton has treated fumbling as if it were a scripted play. He's lost the football in four of Houston's last five games). Moats is not the league's flashiest runner, nor is he as dangerous as Slaton when presented with an opening. But he's also not as threatening to his own team as Slaton; Moats has lost just one fumble in 150 career touches.

He had massive running lanes to work with against the Bills, and he didn't let them go to waste. He's an obvious fantasy add this week, although his head coach hasn't yet eliminated Slaton from the rotation.

"Ryan took advantage of the situation," coach Gary Kubiak said, although he demurred when asked if Moats is the new starter. "We'll go to next week. We'll see."

If Moats hasn't officially earned the starter's role, he's at least secured a share of the workload. Slaton becomes a roster problem. There's now a window to acquire him at (presumably) very little cost if you're in a cash-rich position, near the top of the standings. Houston gets Jacksonville in Week 13 and St. Louis in Week 15; some member of the Texans' backfield is going to prove useful.
There's more news today regarding Houston skill position players, and it isn't good: Owen Daniels(notes) likely suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the victory over Buffalo. The working assumption is that he'll miss the remainder of the season. Daniels entered Week 8 as the leading scorer at his position, so this is no small fantasy event. He'll be replaced by some combination of veteran Joel Dreessen(notes) and rookie James Casey(notes). But if you require a replacement for fantasy purposes, look to widely available options Dustin Keller(notes) (48 percent owned), Benjamin Watson(notes) (37), Kevin Boss(notes) (28) or Fred Davis(notes) (5). [Houston Chronicle]
This blog has been a steady source of Malcom Floyd(notes) propaganda, primarily because the blogger would very much like to see the underutilized receiver in a Bears uniform next year. The 6-foot-5 Floyd is clearly a more dangerous weapon than Chris Chambers(notes), a fact that the Chargers had to react to sooner or later. Floyd finally started ahead of Chambers in Week 8; Philip Rivers(notes) opened the game by connecting with Floyd on a 53-yard jump ball. Add him. He's only five percent-owned. [The Associated Press]
Don't worry, Jake Delhomme(notes) Nation, your quarterback is OK. Delhomme apparently spent the final minutes of his team's win over Arizona at a nearby hospital, getting "a CT scan to check on his chest injury." But he does not expect to miss next week's clash against the Saints. In related news, Steve Smith found the end zone in Week 8 against the Cardinals. We'd tell you to get Smith on the Trading Block, but he's probably there already, and no one's making inquiries. [Charlotte Observer]
Judy Battista delivered a fine summary of the Larry Johnson(notes) situation on Sunday, concluding this way: "The league will not impose its own discipline because the team acted first, and the league agreed with its actions. With that settled, there is no guarantee General Manager Scott Pioli ever allows Johnson to play for the Chiefs again. … The Chiefs, who are in rebuilding mode anyway, could decide that Johnson causes too many headaches for too little production."

Fantasy owners have already decided as much. In all likelihood, the only reason Kansas City hasn't released LJ already is that the team doesn't want to map out an exit strategy for disgruntled players. Jamaal Charles(notes) is the primary fantasy add there; Kolby Smith(notes) should get a few touches as well. [The Fifth Down]
It feels wrong not to cover a potential quarterback change, so here you go: "As for who will start at quarterback [for the Browns] after the bye, [Eric] Mangini said, 'We'll look at it. At everything. We'll look at every single position.'" If a tree falls in the woods – let's call it Brady Quinn(notes) – but it has no chance whatsoever to produce any fantasy points… [The Cleveland Plain Dealer]
Anquan Boldin(notes) aggravated his right ankle injury in the unexpected loss to the Panthers, and "his availability for Sunday's game at Chicago is in question." Boldin was clearly limited by the injury before the re-tweaking, so a weekend of rest could have longer-term benefits. [The Arizona Republic]


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