November 23, 2011
The mindset of the fantasy owner changes in the second half of the year, and especially in late November. Depth, that's yesterday's news. We want the meanest and best starting lineup possible, and then we're looking for upside on the bench: lottery tickets, players who can be potential stars if the situation clicks.
With that in mind, I want you to run a status check on Santana Moss(notes) and Montario Hardesty(notes). Moss's current Yahoo! ownership level is around 44 percent while Hardesty is down at 14 percent, and both players got a dash of positive news Wednesday.
Moss is Washington's best wideout by a considerable margin, when healthy of course, and he's got a good chance to play this week at Seattle. The broken hand has healed nicely, and Moss was a full-go at Wednesday's practice. And for all the negative things you can say about Rex Grossman(notes), he can matriculate the ball down the field. Go watch that Dallas-Washington tape again; Grossman was clicking with Jabar Gaffney(notes) most of the day, and Donte Stallworth(notes) was also heard from.
I'm not going to give Moss a lofty Week 12 ranking (and he won't get anything easy against the Jets next week) but I'm going to watch him closely; he could turn into a handy WR3 for the final quarter of the year. The Week 16 matchup against the Vikings sticks out like a sore thumb.
So write it down on your shopping list: Cranberry Sauce and Santana Moss. (If you need more convincing, consider the pro-Moss pickup video here. He's one of our featured items this week.)
Hardesty (calf) was also able to practice Wednesday and the Browns have plans for him; Pat Shurmur says Hardesty will be the starting tailback if he's able to dress. That's a big statement given how effective Chris Ogbonnaya(notes) has been the last two weeks (40-205 rushing, plus four catches for 38 yards).
The Browns offense has been a joke most of the year; Cleveland has scored just 84 points over its last seven games. That established, we can feel good about two things here: the Browns want to run with a conservative offense every week, and the offensive line isn't that bad. Anyone who starts at tailback in Cleveland figures to see 15-plus touches every week, and in our numbers racket, opportunity is king. Don't let the stench of Cleveland push you off the case; find a bench spot for Hardesty. And forget about Peyton Hillis(notes), he's already been ruled out for Week 12.
Cleveland's closing schedule is no picnic, mind you. Cincinnati should handle the Browns this week, and there are a pair of Baltimore games waiting, along with the Steelers in Week 14. But Hardesty could be a boost to fantasy owners in Week 15 at Arizona, and even against the AFC North foes, I'd give him flex consideration. Any starting back with a clear path to heavy touches has to be valued in our numbers racket.
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