Fantasy Football Advice for Week 13
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Every Tuesday during the NFL season, WhatIfSports.com will release its fantasy projections for the upcoming week. The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically-based player rankings. In addition to our computer forecasts, WhatIfSports.com will also offer a "creative" perspective at its fantasy football coverage in a weekly feature called "Fantasy Fever." Enjoy.
QB: Matt Cassel, Chiefs. Cassel turned in quite the November, throwing for 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns with a QB rating of 111.2. And not a moment too soon, as many around the league were ridiculing Cassel's $62 million contract from the Chiefs, as well as the second round draft pick that Kansas City traded to New England in exchange for Cassel's services. Which begs the question: if Cassel fails to live up to expectations in Kansas City, would the label of "bust" apply? Theoretically, a seventh round draft pick who never started a college game wouldn't earn this distinction; if anything, Cassel's journey is one suitable for a Hollywood script. Yet, his first twenty games in Kansas City hardly warranted a six-year deal/$60 million deal. And does this rationale apply to Tony Romo as well? (Actually, no. Anytime you date Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson, you lose your underdog status.)
RB: Brandon Jacobs, Giants. The bruising back made the most out of his recent promotion to starter, accumulating 87 yards on 14 carries in New York's 24-20 victory over Jacksonville. A matchup with Washington should prove opportunistic for Jacobs, as the Redskins are surrendering 131.5 yards on the ground per game this season.
WR: Mike Williams, Buccaneers. Although Williams had a rough go-around against Baltimore (2 receptions, 20 yards), the receiver remains the favorite target of QB Josh Freeman. With the Falcons conceding a robust 252.9 yards per contest, Williams is a must-start in Week 13.
TE: Joel Dreessen, Texans. Owen Daniels is listed as questionable for Thursday's matchup against the Eagles, but early speculation seems to be indicating that the Texans will be conservative with Daniels and leave him on the sidelines. Dreessen has performed well in Daniels' extended 2010 absence, collecting 22 catches for 336 yards and four touchdowns. The Philadelphia defense has been pedestrian against tight ends this season, making Dreessen an intriguing option.
DEF: Seattle Seahawks. Seattle's one of the worst passing defenses in the league, giving up 278.6 yards per game. However, they are playing against the 1-10 Panthers. Versus Jimmy Clausen. At home. In cold weather. I'd say the 'Hawks are a safe bet in this one. (One potential roadblock: Mike Goodson, who has submitted three straight phenomenal efforts in substitution for DeAngelo Williams and is the 2010 favorite for the Earnest Graham "Late Season Waiver Wire Addition" Award.
QB: Carson Palmer, Bengals. Call me crazy, but I don't like the prospects of a quarterback with 15 interceptions facing one of the premier secondary units in the league. New Orleans is holding opposing signal callers to 197.8 yards per game and a QB rating of 79.3. With temperatures forecasted to be in the 30s, look for Cincinnati to stay true to the run game.
RB: Ray Rice, Ravens. After a slow start, Rice has become an unwavering yard producer in 2010. Unfortunately, Rice has yet to validate his high fantasy selection, as the Ravens running back has ventured into the end zone just three times. This week's game against the Steelers does not foreshadow change to this trend as the Pittsburgh defense has stifled opponents to four touchdowns and 704 yards (64.0 per game) on the ground.
WR: Anthony Armstrong, Redskins. I'm actually a big fan of Armstrong and believe he can contribute over the final stages of the fantasy season. However, this is not one of those weeks. The Giants are allowing a league-low 186.4 yards per game. Factor in the home field advantage and it could be a long day for Armstrong and the 'Skins.
TE: Andrew Quarless, Packers. After an impressive opening performance against Washington in Week 5 (four receptions for 51 yards), Quarless has failed to fill the shoes of Jermichael Finley. In his last six games, the Green Bay tight end has just seven catches for 88 yards and a score.
DEF: San Francisco 49ers. While winning three of their past four has put them right in the thick of the NFC West "race," the Niner defense has been inconsistent and sloppy. Worse, with star Frank Gore out of commission for the rest of the season, the defensive unit figures to see more action on the field rather than off it.
Fantasy Flashback Performance: Before Andre Johnson laid the smackdown on Cortland Finnegan this past weekend, the Texan WR was "only" known as the greatest wide out in the game today. To honor the Johnson-Finnegan battle, we will examine Johnson's feats in Week 13 and 14 of 2009 in this week's Flashback. Against the trepid Seahawks, the former Miami product garnered 11 balls for 193 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Seattle. But Johnson wasn't done there, as Johnson collected nine receptions for 196 yards in a victory over St. Louis the following week. Johnson finished the 2009 season with 101 receptions for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns.
Waiver Wire Watch: I think even my mom knows Brian Westbrook is a solid pickup this week, so let's dig a little deeper and go with Toby Gerhart. After starter Adrian Peterson sustained an ankle injury, Gerhart filled in with 22 carries for 76 yards and a score. While Peterson's status is still unclear, Gerhart is worth the pickup in the chance AP is sidelined. Another enticing aspect for Gerhart is the Vikings' opponent for Week 13, as the Bills are surrendering a league-high of 167.4 yards a game.
This Week in Kevin Walter: Don't know what's more shocking: that K-Walt was held to one catch for 12 yards, or that Houston still managed to win the ballgame without prominently featuring #83 in the game plan. However, while there's still debate on the semantics of the dialogue between Johnson and Finnegan that led to Sunday's epic smackdown, I'm guessing Johnson remarked, "What, you're not good enough to guard Walter?" which undoubtedly caused Finnegan to lose his mind.
Walter's 2010 stats:31 receptions, 384 yards, 4 touchdowns.
Walter's 2010 CBC (Cornerback Body Count) : 8
Rookie Review: Jacoby Ford, Raiders. The book on Ford coming out of Clemson praised his wheels but criticized his ability to hang onto passes. Ford has quickly dispelled that notion, as over the last three weeks the Raider wide out has 12 receptions for 283 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, Ford has found the end zone twice this season through the kicking game. The Raiders have lacked a true #1 target since Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, and although it's still early, Ford could be able to fill that role.
Gatorade Shower Goes To: The NFL, for not suspending Johnson and Finnegan. If this was the NBA, both players would be on 25-game suspensions; in baseball, the fight would warrant a two-to-five ballgame exodus. Yet the NFL merely fines both parties, realizing playoff implications that could be altered because of each respective player's absence.
Personal Foul On: The NFL, for not fining the player's high enough. $25,000? Doesn't Jerome Harrison get penalized $50-75 grand for each pop? Wait, why am I complaining, I hate the Steelers! Good for you, NFL.
Varsity Blues Quote of the Week:
Bud Kilmer: Forty-eight minutes for the next forty-eight minutes of your life.
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