If you own Kyle Orton and Peyton Manning you are definitely thinking about starting Orton this week.
If another owner offered you Maurice Jones-Drew for Le’Ron McClain you’d probably turn it down.
About the only running back that you could trade Laurence Maroney for is Travis “Frank Lucas” Henry.
Brett Favre threw for more TD passes in one game (six) than the combined total of Derek Anderson and Matt Hasselbeck for the season thus far (five).
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua” made more at the box office in its opening weekend (29.3 million) than "Glengarry Glen Ross" did during its entire theatrical run.
That is about where we are after five weeks of the season. Here are some guys to pick up, some to drop, and the email of the week…
FIVE TO ADD
Kyle Orton (QB, Bears)
I know, I know. I feel the same way about him. He’s the kind of guy who will throw three picks the one week you start him. But he has averaged 267 yards passing over the past three games (with seven TDs) and has great matchups at Atlanta this week and home vs. Detroit in Week 9. I used the Peyton Manning example earlier for a reason: Manning takes on the Ravens Sunday. 35.3, 22.9, 80.4, 52.0. Those are the four QB ratings posted against Baltimore in 2008. What I’m asking is: Who is more likely to throw for 250 yards and three TDs on Sunday, Manning or Orton? (Full disclosure: I have both on one team and am still not sure if I have the guts to put Peyton on the bench. I had both guys take first-team snaps on Wednesday just to throw the media off. I’m not kidding.)
Steve Breaston (WR, Cardinals)
It looks like Anquan Boldin will miss at least one more game, so if Breaston is still available in your league he is a great play this week. Arizona-Dallas has a 38-28 feel to it, and it is easy to image the Cards down early and throwing all game. Breaston had a solid first week as starter last Sunday, catching seven balls for 77 yards (after a 122-yard effort the week before).
One other quick Arizona note: There seems to be a lot of Tim Hightower talk, but Edgerrin James is still on pace for almost 300 carries and 1,100 yards. He is still an every-week play as a flex option. Hightower is a must-own if you have James, but nothing more than that at this point.
Brandon Stokley (WR, Broncos)
I would feel even better about this play if I knew for sure that Eddie Royal (ankle) and Darrell Jackson (calf) were out Sunday vs. the Jaguars. Stokley has 13 receptions for 132 yards and a TD over the past two weeks. He has grown into a security blanket for Jay (2008 NFL MVP) Cutler and should post a 6-80 line on Sunday.
Sticking with Denver, no Selvin Young this week. Looks like Michael Pittman will start, but I’d be weary. The Broncos RB situation is tough to predict, but at least you know going in that Pittman will get the goal-line carries.
Visanthe Shiancoe (TE, Vikings)
What a terrible year for tight ends. Other than Jason Witten, who has been great for Dallas (35 catches for 442 yards) and Chris Cooley (25 catches and second on Google’s “most searched genitalia” list, behind only Cloris Leachman) no tight end has stepped up this season. Antonio Gates? 16 catches. Kellen Winslow? 19 catches, way below his pace from last season (and may miss Sunday’s game). Tony Gonzalez? Not so much. Todd Heap? A whopping seven grabs so far in 2008.
So when I recommend Shiancoe this week, understand that I don’t think he’s going to produce 10 catches and two TDs. But he had a TD Monday night, and four catches two weeks earlier. The Vikings take on an awful Detroit D Sunday (Lions have allowed 429 yards per game this season) and I think five catches for 45 yards sounds about right for Shiancoe. And unless you have Witten or Cooley you’d have to sign for that right now.
Kevin Faulk (RB, Patriots)
Again, this isn’t a high-reward recommendation. But if you need a flex player this weekend can live with 10-12 points, I think Faulk is a good call. I have no idea if he’ll get more goal-line action this week (a pair of two-yard TD runs last week), but he should give you four or five catches and 70 yards of total offense.
(Rob Bradford asked me Sunday night if I thought Faulk ranks as high as Troy Brown on the all-time Patriots chart. It’s closer than you’d think, but I don’t think so (neither did Rob, by the way.) But Faulk is the most valuable running back in club annals. And when Maroney is on his fourth team three years from now Faulk’ll still be catching third-down passes from Tom Brady.)
FIVE TO DROP
Laurence Maroney (RB, Patriots)
Not much to add except this: If he had the same exact career production but was originally a fifth-round pick in the NFL Draft would he be on any fantasy rosters today? He has 28 carries in three games. And this is not Reggie Bush when it comes to receiving out of the backfield, either. In his last 16 games he has four catches (zero in his last seven).
Maroney has now reached the point where you feel better physically after you cut him from your fantasy roster. I encourage you to do it. When you hit that “drop this player” tab a feeling of relief will run through your body.
Chad Johnson (WR, Bengals)
Another player coasting on his name (or names, I guess). I have no idea if he’s healthy or not, but he is clearly not the player he has been for the past five seasons. I don’t see any evidence to suggest that will change, either. The Bengals are down this year, no question, but has that harmed the production of T.J. Houshmandzadeh (on pace for 99 catches, 1123 yards and 10 TDs)? Johnson doesn’t want to be there, the coach doesn’t want him there, and the team is running full speed to 4-12. Bad mix. I would honestly cut Johnson if Breaston were available in any format.
Derek Anderson (QB, Browns)
I was surprised to see that Anderson is still owned in 63% of Yahoo! leagues. This is a guy who will find the bench at the first sign of trouble over the next few weeks, and once they go with Brady Quinn they are sticking with him. There is just no way that Anderson will play well enough to survive a brutal schedule (next four weeks: Giants, at Redskins, at Jacksonville, Baltimore).
Here’s what I wrote about Anderson on August 19th (before I take a victory lap I’ll confess that I praised Jon Kitna as lock for 3,500-yards passing with 25 TDs in the paragraph before it)…
The Browns have suggested that Anderson (concussion) should be fine for the opener, so I won’t factor in any injury concern here. His production in 2007 (29 TDs, 3,787 passing yards) was so unexpected that he went undrafted in nearly every league (he wasn’t even the Week 1 starter). It took several weeks before he was picked up in my league, and he sat on the bench for that team for most of the season.
I just don’t think Anderson is accurate enough. He completed just 56.5 percent of his passes last season and threw 19 picks. The Browns have some firepower to be sure, but I could see a 20-TD, 20-plus INT season from Anderson in 2008. WAY too unproven to draft in the fourth round…
I was on it regarding the completion percentage (49.6 percent). I would NEVER trust a QB who completes under 60 percent of his passes. If Orton or Jason Campbell or even a Matt Ryan (he’s been very good at home) were available I’d dump Anderson.
Javon Walker (WR, Raiders)
He’s only owned in 31% of Yahoo! leagues, but there is no reason to have this guy on your roster. He was a solid WR for the Broncos in 2006 (69 catches, 1084 yards) but only played eight games last year (remember, he missed almost all of 2005). He has just four catches in three games this season. While Walker deserves some of the blame, I just don’t trust JaMarcus Russell at this point. Whatever it’s worth I will say that Javon Walker is a GREAT name for a wide receiver (great baseball name: Matt Williams. Basketball? Elvin Hayes? Hockey? Reggie Dunlop). That probably isn’t reason enough to keep him, however.
Steve Smith (WR, Panthers)
OK, not really. He’s a must play every week (262 yards in three games). But the idea that he’s actually receiving PRAISE for giving a ball to Ken Lucas after his TD last week is unreal (I thought the folks in Bristol were going to wet themselves they seemed so touched by the gesture. Speaking of ESPN, does Michelle Bonner look pregnant to anybody else but me?). Remember this: Steve Smith is Kermit Washington with luck. That’s it.
EMAIL OF THE WEEK
I have DeAngelo Williams and I'm in a fairly savvy league so lopsided trades don't often happen. All things being equal however I'm looking at two possible trades and wondering if either would make sense considering injury issues: D-Will for either A. Boldin or M. Colston.
The “sell-high” move. It’s a good idea: I don’t think Williams will have another game even close to his effort last Sunday (121 yards, two TDs), at best he’ll spilt carries with Jonathan Stewart the rest of the way.
I’d lay off dealing for Boldin until I actually see him back on the field. I know the Cardinals aren’t ruling him out for Sunday, but you have to figure he’ll miss a few more weeks. And that wasn’t just any injury.
If you could ever get Colston for Williams it would a great move. Colston practiced Thursday and might be a go for Sunday (same for Shockey). Once he goes back in the lineup (assuming he’s healthy) he is a top 10 WR. The Saints have the top passing attack in the league and Colston will be Drew Brees’ top target right away. That deal would be a total no-brainer.
Kirk Minihane, WEEI.com Contributor, is the resident Fantasy Football expert for WEEI.com.