Ricky O'Donnell: November 2008 Archives

Tennessee at Detroit

The Lions would seem to be just what the doctor ordered for struggling Titans rookie runner Chris Johnson. Midway through the season, Johnson was on pace to rush for over 1,500 yards. Things haven't come so easy the last few weeks. In his last three games, Johnson has carried 41 times for just 118 yards and zero touchdowns. That's good for a 2.8 yards per carry average.

Luckily for Johnson fantasy owners, the Lions are the league's worst when it comes to stopping the run, giving up 166.5 yards per game on the ground.

The Titans should manhandle the Lions, which should mean Johnson is due for lots of carries. He's a strong start on Thanksgiving.

Seattle at Dallas

The second game of the day is another juicy one for fantasy owners, particularly if you have Tony Romo or T.O. Dallas loves to pass the rock, Seattle happens to be the second worst unit in the league when it to defending it.

All of Dallas' major offensive guns - Romo, Owens, Witten, and Barber - are strong starts. Expect loads of points from the Cowboys today.

Arizona at Philadelphia

The Eagles' offense is a train wreck of John Daly-like proportions right now. Brian Westbrook has been garbage all season, McNabb can't protect the ball (or his job) to his save his life, and the receivers are nothing to write home about. I wouldn't be starting any of those guys in fantasy until they prove their worth again.

The Cardinals, by comparison, are the exact opposite. They might have the top offense in the NFL. Anquan Boldin has been on a tear since returning with metal in his face, and Larry Fitzgerald has remained productive all the while. Even Steve Breaston isn't a bad start in deep leagues. It's all because Kurt Warner is playing at an MVP level. The award will probably come down him and New Orleans' Drew Brees.

Though Philly's D ranks a respectable 11th in the league against the pass, I wouldn't expect them to slow down Arizona. If you own a Cardinal, congrats. Tomorrow should be another good day.

From Matt and I, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

The Best


Matt Cassel - Patriots
415 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

Matt Cassel: fantasy superstar. If he can keep this up and lead the Pats deep in the playoffs, is this the NFL's best story since Kurt Warner broke through? Cassel became the first player in Pats history to pass for over 400 yards in consecutive weeks. It makes you wonder why more pro teams don't run the spread offense.

Tony Romo - Cowboys
341 yards, 3 TD

I feel like the Cowboys are the second best team in the NFC right now. If Romo can stay healthy the rest of the year, they'll give the Giants a dogfight in the playoffs.

Running backs

Michael Turner - Falcons
117 yards, 4 TD

After years of having to sit behind the league's best back, Turner has really made the most of his time as a starter this year. He put up one of the best games of the season yesterday for fantasy players, and because of it the Falcons look like they could be headed to the playoffs.

Matt Forte - Bears
132 yards, 2 TD

Matt Forte is the best Bears offensive player since....Marcus Robinson? Hopefully owners are enjoying him this season as a rookie. If you want to draft Forte next year, you will probably have to do so in the first round.


Randy Moss - Patriots
125 yards, 3 TD

Terrell Owens - Cowboys
213 yards, TD

It was kind of cool to see the two best receivers of the generation - and maybe two of the three best ever - both dominate on Sunday. Moss and Owens may talk a lot off the field, but fantasy players only care about raw stats, and no one has been better the last decade than those two.

The Worst

Brian Westbrook - Eagles
39 yards

Andy Reid, see ya later.

Jay Cutler - Broncos
204 yards, INT

Who knew the Raiders would be the first team to finally solve Cutler?

Matt was all about player rankings during baseball season, but we haven't busted them out yet for football. With only six weeks left and playoff races coming down to the stretch in fantasy, I figured now would be good time to bring them back.

This isn't a composite season player ranking, more of who has been good the last few weeks. Notice how much things have changed since our preseason rankings.

The Best


Matt Cassel - New England Patriots
400 yards, 3 TD

Thursday night's 400 yard, three touchdown performance against the Jets sparked Cassel Mania. It was only a few weeks ago when New England was getting bashed for not insuring Brady with a veteran. Now teams around the NFL are lining up for Cassel's services next summer.

Peyton Manning - Indianapolis Colts
320 yards, 2 TD

Quietly, Manning has gone back to being the NFL's best quarterback. His stats the last three weeks: 814 yards, seven touchdowns, no picks.

Running backs

Steve Slaton - Houston Texans
156 yards, 1 TD

Slaton has been a revelation this year, both for the Texans and fantasy owners. He may have been one of the best waiver wire pickups this season. He set a career high in yards yesterday with 156, and, just for fun, added a touchdown.

Ryan Grant - Green Bay Packers
145 yards, 1 TD

Yeah, that was ugly.

Wide receivers

Justin Gage - Tennessee Titans
147 yards, 2 TD

Remember when Gage actually used to be good on the Bears his rookie year? Those were the days. Gage has been a fairly reliable target for the Titans all season, but yesterday he set a career high in yardage.

Anquan Boldin - Arizona Cardinals
186 yards

I'm sure Boldin is glad Kurt Warner decided not to retire.

The Bad

QB David Garrard - Jacksonville Jaguars
135 yards, 1 INT

As Rex Grossman will tell you, that Titans D is ferocious.

RB Brian Westbrook - Philadelphia Eagles
60 yards

Has there been a bigger first round fantasy bust?

QB Kyle Orton
Injury: ankle
Status: probable

Brad Biggs is reporting Orton will be ready to go on Sunday, which is a great thing for the Bears. But is he worth starting for on fantasy team? As always, it depends on the situation. The Packers have trouble rushing the passer - they have less sacks than the Bears - and previous reports this week had Orton moving with a slight limp. Orton has developed into a legit fantasy threat this year, but it's hard to expect him to put up big numbers this weekend coming off the injury.

RB Clinton Portis
Injury: knee
Status: doubtful

Portis didn't practice on Friday and it's unlikely he plays Sunday. Who's to get the start in his place? Shaun Alexander, the former MVP and touchdown champ. If you're in a pinch for a running back this week, Alexander is an intriguing option.

RB Felix Jones
Injury: questionable
Status: hamstring

While Tony Romo's return from injury will draw the headlines this week, the Cowboys have missed Jones nearly as much. Sidelined since Week 6, Dallas has been void of a big play threat without Jones. If it sounds like he'll play on Sunday, he may be worth a start.

RB Matt Forte - Bears
Week 10: @ Green Bay

While no one is too sure who's playing quarterback for the Bears on Sunday, Matt Forte will see the ball come his way a lot regardless. Forte has morphed into a fantasy star as a rookie. He leads the Bears in rushing and receptions and has totaled seven touchdowns so far.

The Packers rank 28th against the run, allowing nearly 155 yards rushing per game. Seeing as its quarterback will either be a) bad or b) banged up, Chicago should be set to give Forte a full workload in Lambeau.

QB Kurt Warner - Cardinals
Week 10: @ Seattle

Warner has been on fire lately, proving to be a valuable late round steal in most fantasy leagues. He ranks second in the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns, and has kept his interception total way down. If Arizona wins the NFC West, which they should, is Warner an MVP candidate?

On Sunday he goes up against the league's second worst pass defense in Seattle. The Seahawks are allowing 252 passing yards per game and have surrendered 14 touchdowns through the air. Expect Warner to be in for a big day.

WR Roddy White - Falcons
Week 10: Denver

Matt Ryan's emergence in Atlanta has meant good things for White, a former first round draft pick who has fully realized his potential this season. White ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards and has six touchdowns. On Sunday he'll face a putrid Broncos pass defense that stacks up as one of the league's worst.

Other matchups of interest: Greg Jennings vs Chicago, DeAngelo Williams vs Detroit, Peyton Manning vs Houston.

The Best


Jay Cutler - 447 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

Brady Quinn received all the pregame hype - and justified it by playing well - but Cutler stole the show. After throwing six interceptions the last three games, it appears the man from Santa Claus, Indiana is back on track.

Drew Brees - 422 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT

This will probably be the only time ever a quarterback makes it in this spot after tossing three picks, but the sheer amount of yardage Brees posted on Sunday is impossible to ignore. We said it before, but it's worth repeating: with Tom Brady injured and Peyton Manning beginning to decline, Brees is best quarterback in football right now.

Running backs

Adrian Peterson - 192 yards, TD

In his last four games, Peterson has rushed for 563 yards and four touchdowns. Is it too soon to call him the number one fantasy pick in 2009?

Thomas Jones - 149 yards, 3 TD

I think all Bears fans shared a collective smile after seeing what Jones did to St. Louis. TJ was always a good dude here. Lets just hope Matt Forte can have similar success when the Bears play the Rams in two weeks.


Eddie Royal - 164 yards, 1 TD

SOMEONE had to be on the receiving end of all those Cutler passes...

Tony Gonzalez - 113 yards, 2 TD

There were some deserving candidates for this spot on Sunday, but Gonzalez helped me win my fantasy matchup this week so he gets the nod. Yes, that's how we do things around here.

The Worst

RB Marshawn Lynch - 46 total yards

Lynch has been worthless as of late, kind of like his team.

QB Jake Delhomme - 72 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT

How, exactly, did Carolina win on Sunday?

Lets switch it up this week. Instead of looking at the matchups for last week's standouts, we're going to see which fantasy stars face the easiest matchups on Sunday.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson - Chargers
Week 10: vs. Kansas City

The Chiefs are allowing an NFL-worst 182.4 yards per game on the ground. That is nearly twice as much as the Titans allow, and they only rank 10th in the league against the run. Find who Kansas City is playing every week, and start the opposing team's running back. That's a good model for success in fantasy football.

And who do the Chiefs face this week? Why, it's the league's best runner, LaDainian Tomlinson, coming off a bye week! Owners who drafted Tomlinson number one overall should get what they've been waiting all season for this week. Tomlinson's 551 rushing yards is the fewest he has posted through the first eight games of any season in his career. Expect a return of the king on Sunday.

Thanks to commenter Todd for pointing out a pair of mistakes.

The Best


Kurt Warner- 342 yards, 2 TD

As he has been prone to do in the past, Warner tore apart his old friends in St. Louis on Sunday. Don't be that surprised: Warner has been one of the most reliable fantasy quarterbacks all season. He ranks second in touchdown passes, with 16, and QB Rating. It's safe to say the Cards have become the new Bengals. Arizona's offense is as explosive as any team in the league. You want their players on your fantasy team.

Donavon McNabb- 349 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

What's up with Seattle's defense? Opposing quarterbacks have been posting big numbers all season. McNabb was no different on Sunday. He led all quarterbacks in passing yards.

Running back

Adrian Peterson- 139 yards, 1 TD

When Peterson puts together a game like this, it makes you wonder why it doesn't happen every week. He's the most talented runner in the league, and was a top-two fantasy selection in draft for that reason.

Brandon Jacobs- 117, 1 TD

Jacobs has been a beast this year. His seven touchdowns rank third among running backs. The Cowboys had no chance against him this weekend, as Jacobs averaged 6.9 yards per carry.


Donald Driver- 136 yards, 1 TD

The Titans D is normally stifling, but Aaron Rodgers and his receivers were able to have some success yesterday. Let's hope Rex Grossman can do the same next week.

Derrick Mason- 136 yards, 1 TD

There was a time a few years ago when Mason was a top notch fantasy receiver. He's remained productive into the end of his career, and is currently owned in 61 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. If Joe Flacco continues to mature, Mason could be a good add if he's unowned in your league.

The Worst

QB Brett Favre- 201 yards, 1 INT

Congrats to Favre on interception 300. He deserves it.

RB Brian Westbrook- 61 yards rushing

Maybe that injury isn't healed quite yet. Don't expect big things from Westbrook next week against the Giants.

About the bloggers

Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Ricky O'Donnell in November 2008.

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