November 10, 2008
The simple goal of the fantasy owner is to go where the points are. And with that in mind, Kansas City, here I come.
It's time to stop lumping the Chiefs in with the weakest teams in the league, no matter that they're 1-8. Kansas City was an eyelash away from beating the Jets, Bucs and Chargers the last three weeks, and Tyler Thigpen seems to get better with every series. Sure, Thigpen could struggle down the stretch as teams get more film and tendencies on him, but the Chargers had an extra week to get ready for this game and it didn't seem to help their defense at all.
It's clear the Chiefs got a major steal in Mark Bradley; just keep that guy healthy and he's a legitimate starter, possibly a star down the road. I love that 25 of Thigpen's 27 completions Sunday went to Tony Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe and Bradley. Get the ball downfield to your three best weapons.
Everyone knows that the Chiefs defense can't stop the run (5.2 YPC), but the resurgence of the KC offense has forced opponents to throw more in recent weeks; the Jets, Bucs, and Chargers piled up 948 passing yards and six touchdowns. More passing leads to more yards, more points, longer games, and more fantasy numbers; say yes to all of that.
Add it all up and Kansas City is turning into one of our favorite fantasy stops, a carnival on both sides of the ball. Get ready for some pinball scoring against New Orleans next week, and look forward to Denver and San Diego in early December.
• Peyton Manning didn't get any fantasy goodies at Green Bay but otherwise he's been gold in five of his six starts since the bye, and that includes big production against Baltimore, at Tennessee and at Pittsburgh. So what if the offensive line struggles, who cares if Joseph Addai can't get going, why worry about Marvin Harrison's cliff season? Manning has truly proven to be recession proof and matchup ambivalent, and now here comes the fun part, the underbelly of the schedule (Texans, Chargers, Browns, Bengals, Lions, Jaguars). The Tennessee rematch is neatly tucked away in a safe spot, Week 17.
• Say this for Jack Del Rio, he knows how to motivate his troops in a back-to-the-wall game. But Jacksonville's makeshift offensive line isn't going to open a lot of holes against better defenses. With Tennessee, Minnesota, and Chicago coming in three of the next four games, the best time to trade Maurice Jones-Drew is right now.
• Andy Reid and the Eagles are essentially a mad lib at this point, losing so many close games in the same manner. Sunday night's defeat to the Giants certainly followed the script: Wasted time outs and silly challenges, check; Donovan McNabb, gassed down the stretch, check; trouble with short-yardage conversion, check; no consistent running game, check.
• There's been plenty of talk and justified gushing about Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Michael Turner, but we should also tip the cap to the Falcons for how smartly they use Jerious Norwood (forever buried by the previous regime) and Michael Jenkins. This offense can hurt you in a lot of ways, and they just don't keep the chains moving, they get chunks of yardage against you.
• After watching BenJarvus Green-Ellis consistently flatten the Buffalo front seven, I'm thinking Jamal Lewis might turn the clock back against the same Bills in Week 11. Green-Ellis collected 105 yards without a run over 13 yards, which tells you all you need to know. New England's Sunday win was about as dominant as a 20-10 victory can be.
• I'm not a big proponent of player-team history, but the Patriots sure know how to lock down Lee Evans.
• Brandon Jones doesn't seem to have the burst we saw early in his career before the knee problems, but he's still a useful player for the PPR crowd. Very quietly he's collected 16 receptions the last three weeks.
• The Baltimore running back matrix is not to be understood. This isn't the first time they've hinted one way and plowed the other way. That's been the story just about the entire season.
• It took longer than we expected but Vincent Jackson is the genuine article, a big, fast receiver who's come a long way as a route runner. Tie in the massive growth from Philip Rivers and this is an every-week fantasy starter.
• If the Vikings can sneak into the playoffs, Adrian Peterson is going to (justly) crash the MVP discussion. But looking at what Minnesota has left, I think it's all a moot point, this team won't be playing in January.
• Kevin Boss looked pretty snappy in Philadelphia, posting six catches for 69 yards and a score just a few hours after Jeremy Shockey continued his grave-digging act for New Orleans. Maybe it's just coincidence, but it's interesting to note how the explosion of the current New York juggernaut started right around the removal of Shockey from the equation.
• I don't want to get too excited about DeAngelo Williams, who might merely be a good player and not a great player, but answer me this - why didn't he play more last year when the only man in his way was DeShaun Foster?
• While there are still 500 things wrong in Oakland, effort wasn't a problem against Carolina. This was a competitive group in Week 10.
• Look for the new-look Niners to run Frank Gore into the ground, starting tonight. And you'll get a bunch of receptions every week, too. I just hope he has something left in the tank when he finally gets to play behind an excellent offensive line.
• Rod Marinelli plans to be Mr. Coy again this week and wait until just before kickoff before he reveals his starting quarterback. That's almost like Bugs Meaney covering his test paper, isn't it?
• When you see a double-digit spread, you take the points, especially in 2008.
• If I'm the Giants and Jets, I don't see a reason to switch kickers again. Jay Feely and John Carney are getting it done. And very quietly, the two New York teams are the highest-scoring outfits in the league this season (the Cardinals will probably muck up that neat storyline at some point tonight).