Every Friday during the NFL season we review the Yahoo! weekly position ranks. When an expert breaks from the herd, they're asked to show their work. We try to focus on names near the start/sit line in public leagues, or on acts of complete lunacy. Let's play the feud…
Dr. Funston, the Doogie Howser of the Yahoo! staff, has officially diagnosed the Noise with Ocho Loco, a rare, incurable psychosomatic disorder in which the afflicted suffer from grand delusions and an insatiable urge to River Dance. We fully admit our top-10 ranking of Ochocinco, a receiver who slipped into hibernation after Week 1, is rather bullish, but there’s little chance another bearish performance will occur. He’s no Marques Colston(notes) folks.
It’s possible Chad has been slowed by an undisclosed ailment acquired during the “Ultimate Catch,” but we’re convinced his disappointing performance is a side effect of the Terrell Owens(notes) revival. Determined to play like the “Chad of old” post-bye, the NFL’s favorite court jester will finally post numbers that will impress the Queen City and Fantasyland. We’re banking on Carson Palmer(notes) feeding the reenergized target early and often.
Minus concussed CB Dunta Robinson(notes), the Falcons’ secondary is an extremely vulnerable unit. Even at full strength, its played marginal at best. Passers have averaged 7.7 yards per attempt against Atlanta, the fourth-highest mark in the league. Its also allowed the 10th-most yards to wide receivers. Replacement Christopher Owen is a physical, but undersized defender (5-foot-9, 179-pounds) who will be picked on. Though he won’t stick to any specific receiver, Palmer will take advantage whether the Ocho (6-foot-1) or Owens (6-foot-3) line up against him. We're expecting the former to benefit most. This is the week No. 85 finally regains his Pro Bowl swagger.
Chad Ochocinco – Funston WR rank 28, Yahoo! composite rank 15
Frankly, I thought I was being kind by ranking The Ocho 28th at WR this week. After all, he sits at No. 75 among receivers for the past five weeks in fantasy points per game (3.9). Atlanta is a good matchup for the Cincinnati passing game, no doubt, and that’s why I have Bengals go-to guy Terrell Owens as my No. 10 WR this week. And I say “go-to” because, well, TO has been, without a doubt, Carson Palmer’s main man – Owens has 15 more targets than Ochocinco through five games. Atlanta is TO’s offseason home and I don’t expect him to sit back and suddenly play the wallflower this week in front of his homies. TO, not Ocho, will remain the show this week.
I think most of the fantasy public wrote Jackson off when he stumbled against the Bills (11 carries, 29 yards) and Bears (7-12) in Weeks 2 and 3. But let's be fair with the player, he's rallied nicely over the last three weeks (31 carries for 201 yards, along with nine receptions). Jackson won't be going into the Hall of Fame with those numbers, but it's enough to make him a worthy No. 2 back or flex option during a tricky Week 7. The Vikings front seven used to be an automatic stay-away, but that's no longer true in 2010; the Jets and Cowboys posted decent fantasy numbers against Minnesota the last two weeks.
At this point, it should be clear to everyone that Jones has the featured role in the Dallas backfield, and he's not giving it back (until he suffers a six-week calf injury, which could happen at any moment). Felix had 19 touches and 126 total yards in Week 5, then 24 touches and 93 yards from scrimmage in Week 6. The Cowboys have relied on him inside the red zone, too, so it's not like he's getting shutout when the offense nears the goal line. Marion Barber(notes) is basically just a third- and fourth-down chain-mover right now. But the thing about Felix that really makes me confident is this: He's been a significant asset in the passing game since Dallas came out of the bye. Jones finished with a career-high 10 receptions on 10 targets in Week 6 against Minnesota, as we just discussed in Target Practice. Felix didn't accomplish anything notable on the ground against the Vikings, but the receiving workload saved his fantasy day. This week's match-up with New York sets up similarly, with Jones as an essential outlet for Tony Romo(notes), facing the Giants' pass rush. For however long he's healthy, Felix is going to produce a few LeSean McCoy(notes)-like lines. The receiving stats are going to make you feel much better about starting him in tricky match-ups.
So are the Giants a tricky match-up? In recent weeks, yes. In earlier weeks, no. They gave up 160 rushing yards to the Colts in Week 2, which was shameful, and then 161 to the Titans in Week 3 (which was understandable). The point is, New York doesn't necessarily have a run defense that needs to be avoided at all costs — and even if they did have such a defense, Felix's receiving workload would ease your concerns. Don't sit him.
I have no problem with the Danny Woodhead(notes) Hysteria that's sweeping the fantasy world, but let's not come down too harshly on Green-Ellis. He's 15 pounds heavier than Woodhead and a better fit for when the Patriots want to run between the tackles. I realize Green-Ellis didn't find much room against the Ravens, but he's scored in three straight games and collected 42 carries over the last three weeks. Consistent runners like that are handy in our make-believe game, especially during bye-week season.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Funston RB rank 38, Yahoo! composite rank 27
San Diego allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points to RBs per game and yields a mere 3.7 yards per carry. At home this season, it has absolutely shut the door on the running games of Jacksonville and Arizona. Simply put, this can’t be construed as a good matchup for Green-Ellis. Of course, we also have to factor in Danny Woodhead, who carried 11 times to Green-Ellis’ 10 last week and looks like a better fit in this post-Randy Moss(notes) offense that threw a season-high 44 times in its first game since Moss departed for Minnesota. With touches dwindling and the environment so treacherous, there’s just no way I’d feel comfortable starting BGE this week.
OK, this is absurd. I actually included a Browns tight end in my weekly fantasy ranks, and I'm expected to defend my reasons for not ranking him higher. Bizarre.
Well, here it is in a nutshell: Cleveland doesn't score points. Watson's offense ranks 31st in the NFL in points per game (14.7). After Peyton Hillis(notes) gets his usual touchdown, there's nothing left for anyone else, save Phil Dawson(notes). Watson has had a nice season, no doubt, and he worked well with Colt McCoy(notes) in the Week 6 loss. But this remains a low-yield offense with a rookie quarterback — a guy who may turn the ball over four times this week — and they're on the road at New Orleans. I'm having a tough time imagining how any Browns skill player can feast in Week 7. If I'm going to rank a tight end near the top of his position, the he needs to have a ceiling much higher than, say, 6-60-1.
After this week, sportswriters and radio mouthpieces might as well drench Andy Reid in Mrs. Butterworth, another strong effort from Kolb and the head coach is bound to waffle.
In his past two starts, the starter turned backup turned starter again has run the Eagles offense with the efficiency of a well-oiled machine. He’s completed a ridiculous 73.3 percent of his passes for 289.5 yards per game and a 4:1 TD:INT split. Critics will contend the Titans’ heavy pass rush and absence of DeSean Jackson(notes) will lead to mediocre totals. However, the opposite will prove true. Against formidable competition, the Titans have surrendered massive yardage totals. Eli Manning(notes), Kyle Orton(notes) and Tony Romo all surpassed 300-yards against them. When faced by a bull rush, the savvy QB will deflect pressure dumping off to safety nets LeSean McCoy, Brent Celek(notes) and Jason Avant(notes). This is Kolb’s last chance to prove his mettle. With his back against the wall, look for the popular preseason sleeper to elevate his game. A 300-yard, 2-3 touchdown day is within reach.
He's found a way to score in four straight games and now he's up against a Philadelphia secondary that's no great shakes. The switch from Vince Young(notes) to Kerry Collins(notes) doesn't worry me - it's not like the Titans were running the 1979 Chargers offense with Young at the controls. I'm going to keep using Britt until he gives me a solid reason not to; stick with a productive player.
Putting Freeman in the top 12 really isn’t that much of a leap. He’s finished among the top 14 quarterbacks in three of his five games. And he’s at home this week against a Rams defense that has allowed the sixth-most passing yards per game in the league despite having faced three teams that rank in the bottom 12 in the league in offensive passing yards per game. The last time the Rams went out on the road (Week 5), Detroit QB Shaun Hill(notes) finished sixth among QBs in fantasy points after throwing for 227 yards and 3 TDs without an INT. I’m figuring Freeman for roughly 235 yards and 2 TD passes.
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