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BTSC Fantasy Preview: Week 9

I am pleased that steelerinchicago has expressed an interest in writing a fantasy column each week for us here at BTSC. His credentials? Besides being one of the site's orginal readers? Um, how about the Sporting News Salary Cap champion in 2006, where he took home a cool $10,000. He's playing for a even bigger prize pool this year so listen up and feel free to ask whatever questions you may have about salary cap games or any other format of fantasy football. He's well versed in 'em all. - Blitz-


Hey fellow BTSC'ers!  I'll be giving you my fantasy thoughts for the rest of the season.  Maybe in the comments if you have any questions about your teams we could collectively try to push your teams into first!  I'll try to post a little earlier next week.

I play match-up games.  I also play D & T like most of you, but I enjoy the ability to switch out players weekly instead of hanging onto the same old scrubs. I kind of like having Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson and Clinton Portis on my team.  Different isn't always better, but it is different and that is a little better, or something.  So if you play games like Sporting News Salary Cap, Pay The Fan, Rotohog, or any weekly game that you try to pick the best players for the week, you want to look primarily at matchups.  And yes, that means picking players against Detroit, KC, Denver, Seattle, but it also means looking at past performances, home and road splits, weather, and even one on one player match-ups.  In these kinds of games every little bit matters.  We'll take a look at a few of this week's games and my studs for the week.


Weather: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 55. South southwest wind between 15 and 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Now here is a forecast to keep an eye on.  If you are playing a game like Pay The fan where you can only use a player a certain number of times during the season, do not use that player in a driving rainstorm!  Seattle's storms are usually fairly docile, but I would check the radar and wind speed before kickoff.

Overview: Seneca Wallace, Leonard Weaver, some wide receiver, and a porous D, even playing in the Emerald City spells doom for one team and boom for another.  Philly traveled well to San Francisco and likes playing the sad NFC West.  McNabb has his core group of wide outs back and Westbrook showed that if he plays, he is going to kick your ass.  I usually try to stay away from teams traveling across the country, but there is nothing here that looks good for the Seachickens.  They give up 245 yards per game through the air and 121 yards on the ground.  Philly's D gives up less than 100 yards on the ground and 200 yards through the air, but they have been much better at home than on the road, but Wallace at the helm makes this a hard game to pass up if you are looking to play Johnson's blitz happy D.  Football Outsiders puts Seattle 31st against #1 receivers according to their DVOA metrics and that is barely behind Detroit! DeSean Jackson should have a good game while Curtis and Brown fight over what's left.

Studs: McNabb, Westbrook, DJax, Philly D

Duds: The Seattle Seahawks

Weather: A chance of drizzle before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 66. South southeast wind between 10 and 15 mph.  Not bad, but you need to keep an eye on those wind predictions. (link) If that number moves up at all and starts showing gusts around 20-25 you should temper your Orton numbers and throw your money into the Forte pot.

Overview: Detroit has been the team other teams take their frustrations out on.  Are you slumping?  Need a little pick-me-up?  Injuries bring you down?  Well, just for this week you have a unique opportunity to play the defenseless Detroit Lions!  The Bears have that opportunity this weekend and it is at home along the Chicago lakefront in front of a gaggle of neck-beard sporting fans.  Forte, check.  Orton, check. Defense, check.  Olsen, Check. Devin Hester, Check. Rashied Davis, check. Yard-stick guy, check.  Beer vendor, check.  Will it be a cakewalk?  Probably.  Will all of your Bear's fantasy players have career days? No.  This of course is the worry, especially in weekly fantasy games.  Who benefits the most?  It seems like the Lions are worse against the pass and that showed in week five when neck-beard threw for over 300 yards and two TD's and Forte was controlled at the line of scrimmage.  But Forte did get a receiving TD in that game and could easily be used more this week just because they can.  I like it when teams have only one player who can tie his shoes correctly and run forward without falling over because you know that he will get the ball no matter how many defenders they have on him.  That player is Calvin Jonson.  He is the only player on Detroit worth a look and he's worth a long look.  Detroit will be behind and Megatron will need to transform into some kind of Fox NFL robot guy to give the Lions a chance.  He'll get a TD and 80 yards.
Studs: Orton, Forte, Hester, Olsen, Davis, Gould, Bears D, Calvin Johnson
Duds: Orlovsky, Smith, and a host of other Lambs pretending to be Lions


Weather: Recycled air, my favorite fantasy weather.

Overview: Kurt Warner is that hot girl who keeps you around for rides to the airport and advice on other guys.  But once and a while she will give you a little, you know, just enough to keep you wanting more.  You know it won't last, and that some day you'll have to move on, but you also know you won't get another girl this hot, ever!  Warner is a fantasy stud by any measure this year.  Even when he turns the ball over six times in a game he still manages to not completely kill your team.  How does he do this?  How can he still throw for 300 yards and 2 TD's a game?  Well, don't over think this too much.  Fitzgerald, Boldin and Breaston are good.  Warner is good.  And Arizona's defense isn't, so they have to score and they have to use their best weapons.  The Rams have come back from the edge of destruction to show they at least know how to play football, so they should be able to score on Arizona and that will just mean more and more for Warner and company.  Will he throw an interception? Yes.  Will he fumble? Yes.  Will he throw for 300 yards and 2-3 touchdowns? Yes.  Now the road hasn't been unbelievably kind to Warner, but he proved a lot to me going into Carolina and being able to put up the numbers he did.  He will have no trouble going against his old team and spanking them (at least in fantasy land!).  Will he get hurt?  Yes.  When? No clue.  Just enjoy it while you can.

There are plenty of fantasy possibilities in this game.   Donnie Avery came up huge last week vs. New England.  He should continue to get looks and with his speed could break a long catch and run.  Steven Jackson is a perfect fantasy back.  He is the St. Louis offense when he's healthy, but there's about a fifty-fifty he'll even play.  Thankfully it's an early game so you'll know before you have to set your rosters.

Studs: Warner, Boldin, Fitz, Breaston, Avery, SJax (if he plays)
Duds: Edge, and either defense

Tampa Bay @ Kansas City

Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high near 73. South wind between 5 and 13 mph.  No real weather concerns here.  70's in KC in November?  We may need to worry about the apocalypse, but not the weather's impact on fantasy.

Overview: If you aren't a fantasy football geek I promise you that you won't want to watch this game.  Please do not watch this game.  If you are a face-painting, tail-gaiting, Tyler Thigpen-fathering, Buccaneering, fanatic, turn the station.  That guy who Tony Gonzalez Heimliched out of the grave won't be watching either.  But, if you have Earnest Graham on your team, stay glued to the screen.  Last week Thomas Jones owners had already cashed in their 125 yards and 1-2 TD's, but for some insane reason Favre threw and threw and Leon Washington had two carries for one-thousand yards.  But this week Tampa will run and run and Garcia won't throw the ball up for grabs. Graham has had some trouble on the road so far, but playing a team that gives up 193 yards and two touchdowns to opposing backs and no Warrick Dunn to steal carries will make this the Graham show.  I can't see many other fantasy studs in this game.  Gonzalez and Bowe are almost weekly starters, but they won't set the world on fire vs. Tampa.  Antonio Bryant has posted a few starter quality games this year and is Tampa's best bet in the passing game.  Tampa's D is starter worthy of course, but not a slam dunk on the road.

Studs: Graham,Tampa's Defense
Duds: Thigpen, Garcia

EDIT: St. Petersburg Times report that Michael Bennett "is expected not only to dress but get regular playing time on Sunday."  What this means to Graham's workload isn't clear.  I still see a big game out of him, but temper expectations a bit.


I really feel that Warner has this week wrapped up, but he is always risky because of his oldness. There are never any sure bets and I'd say this is another one of those weeks.  The easier the opponent the stupider some teams play.  I think the Colts need this game at home vs. the hated Patriots more than the Patriots do and will come out on fire, but of course Wayne is questionable to go (I think he will).  If McNabb was at home I probably would have put him above Peyton.  Cutler needs to rebound after the bye and I think he will.  Orton is sketchy, but plays the Lions and Schaub can't win on the road (so far). 


1.    Kurt Warner
2.    Peyton Manning
3.    Donovan McNabb
4.    Jay Cutler
5.    Kyle Orton tied with Matt Schaub!

Westbrook and Jackson are my favorite fantasy backs because they catch the ball so often.  All Day has been a disappointment vs. poor defenses and who knows what he'll do,  but I think the bye will help him and he could really go off against a very weak Houston run D.  Turner is boom or bust, but loves playing poor run D's; he's got one in Oakland.  Forte is slowing down, but is a mini-mini-Westbrook in that he catches passes and much of the offense runs through him.  Oh, and he plays Detroit.  Ronnie Brown has looked horrid, but did you see what Sammy Morris did to the Pats by halftime?

Running Backs:

1.    Brian Westbrook
2.    Adrian Peterson (Steven Jackson gets this slot if he plays)
3.    Michael Turner
4.    Matt Forte
5.    Ronnie Brown

Marshall and Cutler have slowed down a bit recently, but the weather and playing at home and having a porous D on your side, and the other side, should make for a good game from him.  Wide outs are always tough to predict and this week isn't any different.  Lee Evans has started to come around and look more consistent which probably has a lot to do with Trent Edwards.  Look for him to continue at home vs. the Jets.  The Bears pass D hasn't been very good this year and even worse at home.  They will get turnovers, but Megatron will get plenty of looks.  Which Arizona wide out to pick?  Start all three of them, but I think Fitz gets the TD's this week.  Houston plays at Minnesota and Andre Johnson is top three material each week, but I need to see Schaub go on the road and get the ball to him consistently.  This should be the week to do it. 

Wide Receivers:

1.    Brandon Marshall
2.    Lee Evans
3.    Calvin Johnson
4.    Larry Fitzgerald
5.    Andre Johnson