Fantasy Football Insider - Week 13
by Tim Heaney and Nicholas Minnix
on December 5, 2009 @ 10:47:37
Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- The Arizona Cardinals' Kurt Warner (concussion) wants to play and says he's in better shape this week than he was last week. But he's not completely out of the woods. Our insider wonders: Will Warner sit again just to set the example because he has become so vocal about concussions?
- The rebirth of Alex D. Smith has come from the San Francisco 49ers' increased use of the spread offense. They may start using it more on early downs, and it has already helped decrease Smith's sack totals.
- Don't expect the New York Giants to even consider shutting down Eli Manning (foot) until they're mathematically eliminated from the postseason.
Joe Flacco (ankle) has been having trouble throwing deep since his dinged right ankle is his push-off base. However, the Baltimore Ravens sophomore seems to be fine otherwise in playing through it.
- Owners of Carson Palmer have been disappointed in his production this year. The Cincinnati Bengals' running game has taken some pressure off their slinger. The Bengals have gone 27 games without a 300-yard passing output; that includes 15 games for Palmer, tracing back to his injury-plagued 2008 season.
Jake Delhomme (finger) is expected to miss a few weeks for the Carolina Panthers. They'll probably stick with Matt Moore, if he performs well, even when Delhomme is able to go. Moore probably will still throw to wideout Steve Smith first. It'll be interesting to see how they handle Delhomme, who's guaranteed $20 million, after the season, especially if they cast off head coach John Fox.
- With all the Philadelphia Eagles' injuries, and a visit to Atlanta on the slate, might we see more ... Michael Vick? It's quite possible. Unfortunately, the Iggles appear to have no clue about how to use him. He sits on the sideline for a half hour; then he comes in to run a complex play that involves a rollout with players he rarely works with.
Adrian Peterson's fumbling issues may
not be dismissed so easily this time. Minnesota Vikings
running backs coach Eric Bieniemy hinted at
giving Chester Taylor increased work
if Peterson can't protect the pigskin. They need him to start using a second
hand to cradle the football. Obviously, they've lived this long with the butterfingers
of one of the best tailbacks in the league, so we probably won't see an extreme
Steve Slaton-esque scenario.
AD gets an F in ball security
- The St. Louis Rams' Steven
Jackson (back) will probably be a game-time decision again this week.
He was hurting a bit last week but still saw a full workload. He looked stiff
and wasn't using too many jump cuts early on, but he warmed up as the game
went deeper. Keep an eye toward our Hot
off the Wire feed for down-to-the-wire Jackson updates, but a cold Chicago
forecast doesn't sound too inviting for a balky back.
- Our Panthers sage doesn't have a good feeling
about the questionable DeAngelo Williams
(ankle) suiting up this week, but the Carolina
Panthers won't fret too much if DAW can't go. Jonathan
Stewart would absorb Williams' workload; J-Stew has torn apart the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout his short career.
Tyrell Sutton could catch a few passes,
but we hope your fantasy team doesn't have to resort to him.
- Michael Turner (ankle) probably won't
return to the Atlanta Falcons this week. Jason
Snelling should see about 70 percent of their Week 13 backfield touches,
with Jerious Norwood at a complementary
- Cedric Benson (hip) is expected to
receive his typical starter's workload this week, with Larry
Johnson maybe seeing five to 10 touches and Brian
Leonard going back to his typical third-down role.
- Laurence Maroney's three-game fumbling
streak may put some of his touches in jeopardy, especially with the New
England Patriots probably working Sammy Morris
in a bit more and Fred Taylor (ankle)
starting to work his way back. Last week, Maroney was used sparingly in the
second half - they were losing, but it may have been a sign of what's to come.
- Look for Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle, foot)
to play this week and return to his 15-touch complementary role to Brandon
Jacobs. They may also use a pinch of Gartrell
- Tim Hightower or Beanie
Wells for the rest of the season? The more Matt
Leinart is under center for Arizona Cardinals,
the more it favors Hightower. Beanie seemed ready to take the reins heading
into the St. Louis Rams game, but Hightower excelled
and then played well against the Seattle Seahawks.
Wells made a couple of mental errors (including a fumble) on a misdirection
play; he's not quite there. Look for Hightower against the Minnesota
Vikings because he works so well in the passing game. Wells could still
get in a groove after this week.
- Call the likelihood we'll see the Philadelphia Eagles'
Brian Westbrook (concussion) again this
season 50-50. He has supposedly worked out this week without experiencing
any headaches, but we're running out of time.
- Chris Brown will start for the Houston
Texans if Steve Slaton's (neck)
game-time decision is vetoed. Ryan Moats
can't block or pick up the blitz, and Brown already has been the better goal
- Speaking of Slaton: Bad timing. He hadn't fumbled in his last three games.
- Just because the Seattle Seahawks will probably
start Julius Jones (lung) in Week 13
doesn't mean he'll get the full slate. Justin
Forsett has been more dynamic and gives them their best chance to
move the football; he's still the better fantasy play.
- Though the Miami Dolphins may still incorporate
Lex Hilliard more often - he has looked
good in his handful of touches - don't expect them to downgrade Ricky
- Reggie Bush (knee) is a game-time
decision once again. He said he's playing, but that's what the New
Orleans Saints back said last week.
There's some validity to reports that Bush could leave the Saints
after this year. His salary sharply escalates after this season. If agent
Joel Segal (who happens to rep Saints wideout Marques
Colston, as well) tries to swell the market, N'awlins may be happier keeping
the much cheaper combo of Pierre Thomas
and Mike Bell.
New Marshall Plan promises more lobs
- Correll Buckhalter has excelled as
a change-of-pace back. This all but assures Knowshon
Moreno will be the heavy lifter; they're figuring out how to call
his number, including fine-tuning using him on the outside.
- The Green Bay Packers began to incorporate Ahman
Green (groin) a good deal after signing him. He's ready to go this
week, but he may not be active; Brandon Jackson
is clearly ahead of Green now.
- The Oakland Raiders lined up running back Darren
McFadden as a wideout more often in their Thanksgiving game, sometimes
in the slot. Michael Bush hasn't done
much after a recent fumble. Justin Fargas,
who suffered a stinger last week, remains the best bet for a starting workload,
but he's hard to count on this week against the Pittsburgh
Steelers and his revisited fragility. This remains an unpredictable trio.
- It's uncertain whether or not Clinton Portis
(concussion) will play for the Washington Redskins
again this year. He's doing light jogging on the practice sidelines and still
has another visit with a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh scheduled.
- With Kolby Smith (ankle) possibly
done for the year and Dantrell Savage (ankle)
likely out this week, Jamaal Charles will
see a big workload. They may sprinkle in fullback Tim
Castille and may activate the burly Javarris
Williams from their practice squad this week. Don't expect either
to see legit work.
- With Jamal Lewis (concussion) shelved,
the Cleveland Browns could employ a 50-50 split
in their backfield between Chris Jennings
and the more explosive Jerome Harrison;
it's a potential hot hand situation. Jennings hasn't been all too impressive.
He has looked liked he's in a hurry to get to the edge during his runs; he
doesn't even run that well on the outside.
- If the Indianapolis Colts end up signing Dominic
Rhodes, his main use would probably be spelling Joseph
Addai in pass blocking.
- The Denver Broncos' Brandon
Marshall is becoming more comfortable with quarterback Kyle
Orton, who is opening up to lobs to Marshall. Orton is excited to finally
have someone he can work like this with, even in coverage. This offense typically
takes what defenses give, but they're realizing the value of having a receiver
that can force the issue.
- The Arizona Cardinals have been putting Larry
Fitzgerald in the slot a little more in an effort to get him open.
He may not be fond of it, but this tidbit has already received more attention
than it deserves.
- Matt Leinart seemed to favor Anquan
Boldin last week, likely because Boldin runs shorter routes than Fitz
does. The lefty may be more comfortable throwing deep after working with the
starters for a week, but take note in case he has to step in for Kurt
Warner (concussion) again.
- It'll be interesting to see if Jason Avant
is successful while starting in place of DeSean
Jackson (concussion). He's a slot man - tough, good hands, no speed
- and earns his living going over the middle. At least the Atlanta
Falcons shouldn't present a very tough test.
- Santana Moss' struggles trace back
to the Washington Redskins' front five, who haven't
given quarterback Jason Campbell a lot of
time. This Sunday, they'll be trotting out their seventh different starting
combo in 12 games. Moss still has the burst but hasn't been able to use much
- Meanwhile, Devin Thomas has been
solid in his starting time. He has started breaking off his routes when Campbell
scrambles; this improvisation has led to some production.
- If the Indianapolis Colts lock up homefield advantage
early, our Colts scribe can see them using a lot
of the (eventually) returning Anthony Gonzalez
(knee) and the rarely employed Hank Baskett,
along with tight end Jacob Tamme.
- Greg Camarillo has fallen out of
favor with the Miami Dolphins because he struggles
to create separation. He may not be fully healthy. Expect Brian
Hartline to be incorporated more into the offense ... again.
Charly Martin, a possession wideout
with some speed, has some rapport with Carolina Panthers
quarterback Matt Moore from their time on
the practice squad. With Dwayne Jarrett
not expected to play, Martin should see some balls thrown his way.
Better stash A-Gon....
Brent Celek says his thumb injury shouldn't hamper his ability to catch the football. The thumb is heavily protected; it wasn't when he sustained it last week and dropped several balls. Incidentally, Philadelphia Eagles OC Marty Mornhinweg said he didn't realize Celek was hurting and continued to call plays with Celek as one of the primary reads. Good communication.
- The Seattle Seahawks' O-line has gelled a bit recently, meaning John Carlson could see more time actually trying to catch passes.
Delanie Walker has benefited from the San Francisco 49ers' spread offense via singleback formations; he's picking up the scraps of opposing coverage.
- The Dallas Cowboys' Martellus Bennett is polished or focused enough to have earned Tony Romo's trust.
Mason Crosby was hooking a lot of his kicks in the preseason. His latest accuracy woes have resulted in his pushing the ball right. If it's not messing with his head yet, it will be. Last week, the Green Bay Packers elected to go for it on fourth and a few instead of letting Crosby attempt a 49-yarder.
- Reminder to keep an eye on the New Orleans Saints kicking situation. Talks of John Carney being ditched for Garrett Hartley escalated after another poor outing for the former in Week 12. It seems, however, that head coach Sean Payton has a soft spot for Carney.
- With their pass rush suffering, the New York Giants appeared to have benched defensive end Osi Umenyiora and defensive tackle Fred Robbins, replacing them with Mathius Kiwanuka and Chris Canty, respectively. Maybe this will light a fire under Osi.
- The Atlanta Falcons chose to build up their young defensive backs instead of pouncing on veteran options out on the waiver wire this summer, including Dre' Bly, Chris McAlister and Mike McKenzie. Our source believes they should be playing more zone defense to hide their deficiencies using man coverage.
- Seems like the New Orleans Saints stole McKenzie, who looked good in Week 12. He was sitting out there waiting for a chance until New Orleans' secondary started falling apart.
- The Green Bay Packers' pass defense has been really tough, but the loss of corner Al Harris (knee) could have a big domino effect. The Pack probably can't line up corner Charles Woodson in the slot and blitz him or have him cover quality tight ends as often because Jarrett Bush is a liability on the outside. Green Bay is in nickel more often than not.
- Cornerback Jerraud Powers reminds our Indianapolis Colts ranter of the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis.
Around the league
- Tom Brady reportedly doesn't like play caller Bill O'Brien, or at
least the play calling, too much. When asked about former OC Charlie Weis
joining the Pats, Brady mentioned any team would be lucky to have him. Did
he casually forget to mention any kind words for O'Brien? Is that an oversight
for someone as savvy as Brady? Now, the New England Patriots offense HAS been
too predictable and it appears the young coaches might be overmatched. There's
some stingy behavior in the Pats locker room overall; the attitude does not
resemble that of their Super Bowl teams.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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