Fantasy football 4-1-1

By John Vitale in Sports

September 22, 2011

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Don’t you just love the first few weeks of the fantasy Season? It’s a time when players like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne outperform studs like Philip Rivers and Tony Romo, and a rookie like Cam Newton has more points than projected no. 1 quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger combined.

Every year there are players that come out of nowhere to surprise us all and players who plummet from grace, driving us up a wall. The good news is if you have any of those guys, you still have quality prospects at the QB position moving forward. Jamal Charles owners may not be as lucky as you are. Injuries have played a huge impact on numerous teams also. Arian Foster, Steven Jackson, Dez Bryant, Brandon Lloyd and Marques Colston have all missed action in the early going of the 2011 season. And now Michael Vick, Romo, Miles Austin, Felix Jones, Mario Manningham, among others are nicked up and in jeopardy of missing time in the upcoming weeks. Luckily for you, Fantasy Football 4-1-1 is your one-stop spot for all you need to know to help your fantasy squad adapt on the fly and help propel your team to fantasy glory.

“Waiver Wire Wonders” are players that no one thought much of heading into the season, but have proven us all wrong to become viable options and they are likely available on waivers in your league. “Don’t Believe the Hype” highlights a player that excelled in the previous week, but it was really just an aberration—he was in the right place at the right time, but don’t expect him to consistently duplicate that success in subsequent weeks. And “Sleepers” suggests guys that you’re probably going to bench more often than not, but the upcoming week is the time to roll the dice, give him a start, and strike while the iron is hot.

Waiver Wire Wonders

Thomas Jones (RB, Kansas City) - On Monday, Jamal Charles was official placed on injured reserve, opening the door for Jones to resume his role as the starter in K.C. And although the Chiefs have struggled mightily in the early going in 2011, Jones is a consummate pro who has shown he can produce at a consistently high level throughout his career. He finished 2010 with over 1000 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns and if the Chiefs can solve their offensive woes there is no reason to believe that Jones can come close to duplicating those numbers by the end of 2011. He’s probably the best running back available in your league. Scoop him up before someone else does.

Delone Carter (RB, Indianapolis) - It’s obvious that it is going to be a rebuilding year in Indianapolis. Kerry Collins is not the answer at quarterback and that defense can’t win games. Joseph Addai may be the starter for now, but as the losses pile up look for Carter to begin taking a bigger bulk of the carries in Indy. By no means will he carry you to a fantasy championship, but if you’re one of the unfortunate Jamal Charles or Steven Jackson owners in need of a back, you can definitely do worse than Carter.

David Nelson (WR, Buffalo)- On the heels of a four-catch, 66-yard performance in week one, Nelson scored the game-winning touchdown and compiled 83 yards on 10 catches in week two against Oakland. Even more impressively, Nelson was target 13 times by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has proven to be a quality quarterback through two games this year and with the Bills placing Roscoe Parrish on injured reserve, Nelson should be a solid fantasy contributor for many weeks to come.

Don’t Believe the Hype

AJ Green (WR, Cincinnati)- It’s two games and two touchdowns for Green who aside from Jermaine Gresham is the only viable receiving option in Cincinnati. But don’t believe the hype! He had 10 receptions for 124 yards and a score against the Broncos in week two, but let’s face it; he’s still a rookie in a less than stellar offense with a fellow rookie at quarterback in a notoriously tough division. Sure the Bengals will be playing from behind a lot this season and he’ll have some quality games from, but he’ll be way to inconsistent to be a regular fantasy starter throughout the year. His 18-point performance was a pleasant surprise in week two, but don’t get used to it and whatever you do, don’t believe the hype!

Week Three Sleepers

David Nelson (WR, Buffalo)- If you read “Waiver Wire Wonders” then by now Nelson is on your team and week three is a good time to get him in your starting lineup. New England struggled against the pass in 2010 and so far those struggles have carried over into 2011. Buffalo is the highest-scoring team in the league through two games and both Fitzpatrick and Nelson should produce nice stats in what could be a shootout in Ralph Wilson stadium.

Prediction: 6 catches for 110 yards.

Julio Jones (WR, Atlanta) - Jones hasn’t done much to write home about in his young rookie career, but this week he’ll score is first professional touchdown. Tampa limited the success of Donovan McNabb in week two, but the secondary was torched by Matt Stafford in the opening game and look for the Falcons to experience similar success. Although Jones only has seven receptions for 100 yards through two games he’s still being targeted by Matt Ryan an average of seven times per game and it’s only a matter of time before the duo start’s hooking up more frequently. “A matter of time” starts this week.

Prediction: 6 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

Nate Washington (WR, Tennessee) – Washington is coming off back-to-back productive games and this week he’ll face a Broncos defense that just might be the worst in the league. Sure Kenny Britt is the undisputed number one receiver in Tennessee, but Denver knows that too and Washington should be the recipient of tons of single coverage in week three. The old man Matt Hasselbeck proved that he can still get the job done, completing 30 passes for 358 yards and a score against the Ravens in week two and both he and Washington can expect another productive outing this week.

Prediction: 5 catches 90 yards and a touchdown

LaDainian Tomlinson (RB, New York) – The Jaguars stymied the Jets rushing attack in week two so look for Rex Ryan to come out early and try to re-establish the Jets’ run game this week against the Raiders. Shonn Greene will get the bulk of the work early, but look for both guys to touch the ball more than 10 times and with the Raiders porous that should equate to favorable stats for both.

Prediction: 60 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards.

Other players with favorable matchups

Kevin Kolb (QB, Arizona) at Seattle, Chad Henne (QB, Miami) at Cleveland, Shonn Greene (RB, New York) at Oakland, Marshawn Lynch (RB, Seattle) vs. Arizona, Chad Ochocinco (WR, New England) at Buffalo, Malcolm Floyd (WR, San Diego) vs. Kansas City, Plaxico Burress (WR, New York) at Oakland, Jimmy Graham (TE, New Orleans) vs. Houston, Chargers (D/ST) vs. Kansas City.

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