We're halfway through the NFL season and nearly two-thirds of the way through most fantasy regular seasons. By now, you know what's up with your team.
Most teams are in three categories.
1: You're firmly entrenched in the playoffs, and your roster only needs the occasional tweaking for injuries. You can take some risks, speculate on guys with good playoff matchups and generally coast until things get hot. It's good to be in this category.
2: You're in the playoff hunt, but still need a few wins to get in. This is a critical juncture for you. You gotta make moves, but don't want to get too crazy with your lineup. Don't sacrifice a win today for what might be a playoff berth tomorrow.
3: You're in the lower half of the league, and need to make moves ... fast.
I have a team in each of these positions. I almost would rather be completely out of it than in a losing battle for a playoff spot. At least then you can focus your attention on other things, like scouring the "rouge" leaders in your fantasy CFL league (what, is that just me?).
The guys below are mostly for groups 1 and 3. The waiver wire is a barren wasteland of sure-fire talent these days, especially for quarterbacks and running backs. You need to take some chances if you're a couple games out of a playoff spot, and you can afford to take some fliers if you've already got one wrapped up. Hopefully these guys will help.
If you thought character meant anything in the NFL, Kenny Britt's performance on Sunday should be example No. 243,000 why it doesn't. Nobody cares about what you do off the field as long as you produce in between the lines.
Case in point: Britt, the Titans wide receiver who got into a bar brawl on Thursday night, then came back for 200 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. He probably would have been suspended, except Tennessee didn't have many other receiving options with Justin Gage out. So in walks Britt, and has one of the best performances of the season.
You can find any number of other cases, like Braylon Edwards, who got a DUI earlier in the year, then went on to catch a pair of touchdowns in the following game. How about Bengals RB Cedric Benson, who was arrested for assault over the summer but was suspended nary a game.
And don't get me started on Michael Vick, who seems to be doing just fine after his jail stint for dog fighting.
If you can play, you can stay. And if you can stay, we'll take you on our fantasy team - especially if you rack up 40 points in a week.
The search for the next Kenny Britt starts here, with the Pickups of the Week:
QB Michael Vick is inactive for the Eagles, meaning the game is Kevin Kolb's to win or lose. I had Kolb as a bye-week fill-in, but dropped him for Matt Cassel earlier this week. One of my fears was Kevin Kolb having a few bad series and Andy Reid getting trigger happy with Vick. That won't happen. I'm still riding the Cassel train (Jags are a terrible pass D), but Kolb is a great option if you need it.
Kerry Collins is starting at QB for the Titans. Vince Young is still nursing a knee and an ankle. Collins isn't a great play, but sometimes you're desperate with bye weeks.
Speaking of the Titans, Justin Gage is out with a hamstring. This would be a great week to play Kenny Britt (preysent), but homeboy had to go and get in a fight on Thursday night and isn't starting. Way to go, guy. Advantage Bo Scaife. And Damien Williams, if you want to get nuts.
Darren McFadden (hamstring) is a game-time decision but will most likely play for the Raiders. Expect Michael Bush to start. Unfortunately, it's a late game, so you kinda have to roll the dice on McFadden. He should get plenty of carries, although it wouldn't be a bad idea to play a better option, if possible.
In tight end news, Chris Cooley and Todd Heap are both active. Cooley should have a good game against the Bears. I'm a little more worried about Heap, who got jacked up last week and still has a stiff neck. In fact, I dropped Heap in favor of Heath Miller this week. Call it a hunch, but at least I know Miller's going to be on the field and going to get looks from Big Ben.
Steve Breaston is a game-time decision. Late game. Bad QB (Max Hall? Really?). No thanks.
Speaking of bad quarterbacks, Todd Bouman is expected to get the start under center for the Jags. Needless to say, don't play Bouman under any situation. But it also means you can downgrade any other Jags players you might have. Like Maurice Jones-Drew and ... um, Mike Thomas? Yeah, just avoid all of 'em.
Rotoworld is reporting the Colts have put tight end Dallas Clark on the injured reserve list, effectively ending his season with a wrist injury. This is bad news for Clark owners, who most likely took him as one of the top two TEs in their draft.
Some replacement options:
For this week, go get Todd Heap. The Bills are terrible at covering tight ends, and he's been a bigger part of the Baltimore offense as of late. For the long term, look at Heath Miller, who has a great relationship with recently reinstated QB Ben Roethlisberger. Also, if anyone dropped Minnesota's Visanthe Shiancoe after his zero-catch performance last week, I would recommend picking him up.
Other options: Benjamin Watson (Browns) has been solid in an otherwise anemic offense, and Marcedes Lewis (Jaguars) is a touchdown machine.
This is terrible news for the Colts, as it looks like WR Austin Collie will be out for at least a couple weeks with a hand injury. If Pierre Garcon - who has been inconsistent at best this year - is still available, he would definitely be worth a flier. And Anthony Gonzalez should get some more looks as well Reggie Wayne can't catch everything over there.
(Special thanks to fantasy insider Noni Kavuri for bringing this story to my attention)
For the first time this year, I was sweating out a Monday night game, trying to eke out 12 points from the Tennessee defense. I could see the writing on the wall as the Jaguars drove down the field in a meaningless 30-point game, desperately trying to put a garbage-time touchdown on the board and break my fantasy spirits.
Fortunately, a goal-line interception saved the day and I squeezed out a two-point win in a game literally nobody else in the world cared about. Ahhh, gotta love the fantasy football world.
We've all been there before, watching a boring Monday night game and rooting for meaningless plays to save our week. My question to you: Would you rather be the one trailing and rooting for your guys to score points, or would you rather be ahead, playing the role of hater against your fantasy opponent?
Personally, I'd rather be down, rooting my team on to score. I feel like it gives me some control over my team, even though we all know we have none, no matter the situation.
While you ponder the fantasy debate of the day, check out this week's top pickups:
Peyton Hillis (Browns RB) is active, and he's a safe start. Same with Lions WR Calvin Johnson, who has a shoulder problem.
Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is active, but I would look for different options. With Roy Williams emerging as a threat in Dallas, there's just not enough balls to go around.
A word about Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. He's listed as active, but I don't trust that concussion at all. I could see him taking a hit and going out early, killing your fantasy team. If you have a better option, roll with it. I'm debating a Joe Flacco play instead, but not sure if I have the guts to pull the trigger.
Justin Forsett is listed as the starter against the Bears. Not a great play, though, especially with Marshawn Lynch there to steal a bunch of carries. Proceed with caution.
I'm in San Diego for the week, soaking in the sun, planning a wedding and thoroughly enjoying not being a Chargers fan. They blew another one this past weekend, against the Raiders, no less. Watching Norv Turner coach is like watching your fantasy opponent run up a huge score: You see it happening right before you, but there's nothing you can do about it.
Those who care about football hate this guy out here. Of course, 90 percent of the people are at the beach and haven't even heard of Norv Turner, so good for them.
The thin pool of running back relief gets even thinner this week, so hopefully you're not in dire need of a bye week replacement. On the plus side, there are receivers galore, but who knows which will pan out. That's why I'm here.