NFL Real Talk: Week Six

Scott is Turf Building on Cedric Benson’s Territory
Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Football is one of those sports where pre-determinations turn into pseudo-facts. Bernard Scott is a perfect example of this. Despite having elite all-around talent, his size (5’10” and under 200 pounds) has led to him being labeled as a change of pace back. He was never given a fair chance to win the starting RB job and the team has instead sent out Cedric Benson’s corpse because, after all, Benson can carry the ball 20-25 times a game (never mind the fact that all those carries have led to a 3.82 YPC since the start of the 2009 season). Now with Benson potentially sitting on a multiple game suspension, Scott may be the next RB to become a fantasy superstar.

Scott shitted on the notion that he isn’t a between the tackles runner when he ran for a two-yard score. Some of you may be saying, “S-S-Starbonell! That goal line TD came against a soft Jacksonville defense and he was barely even touched.” First off, the Jaguars have actually been pretty solid in their run defense, allowing just three TDs and an average of 85.8 rushing yards per game to opposing RBs. Second, the fact that Scott ventured into the end zone unscathed is more of a testament to his vision and athletic wizardry rather than a knock on his lack of physicality. In fact, Scott was a pretty physical dude in college and if not for his size and the fact that the Bengals have shielded him from working on early downs, he wouldn’t have this reputation of not being able to handle feature back carries.

The point is, the guy has remarkable skills. The Bengals don’t have Benson signed beyond this year and they really have no reason to be loyal to a guy who has had more run-ins with the law than Sideshow Bob. The reports regarding Benson’s suspension are mixed and he could very well escape punishment, but the one thing he can’t escape is the hot moisture of Scott’s breath bearing down his neck (pause).

If you have the roster space (which may be tough considering we are in the midst of bye weeks), it would be wise to stash Scott on the low. Sure you could wait until something actually happens to Benson (be it a suspension, injury, or imprisonment), but by then it will already be too late. Fantasy football is about having the foresight to make moves before a dude breaks out, and no player in football (aside from Jonathan Stewart) is in a better position to do so with the right opportunity than Scott.

Real Talk continues after the jump:

Alright, so I’ve been expecting some sort of production drop for Cam Newton for a couple of weeks now, but regardless of what happens to with “Killah Cam,” it’s clear that Carolina’s pass offense is the most competent it’s been in years. Greg Olsen is having a breakout season and Steve Smith is partying like it’s 2005, but is anyone else bound to get in on the action? If anybody is ready to step up and become a fantasy contributor, it’s Brandon LaFell. Legedu Naanee, the current starter opposite Smith, is just not on the same page as Newton and offers little after-the-catch ability. He was pretty much given the starting job based on the fact that he was familiar with OC Rob Chudzinski’s offense from San Diego, but the writing is on the wall for LaFell to get more playing time. Not only is LaFell straight up more talented than Naanee, but he’s also doing more with the passes thrown his way. LaFell has caught 13 of the 18 passes intended for him, while Naanee has bumbled his way into one fewer reception with 15 more passes (that’s 12 catches on 33 targets for you math majors). While it seems that adding LaFell now is not necessary since he hasn’t broken out yet, keep in mind that picking him up will allow you to utilize a great fantasy football team name: “We Never LaFell Off” (all rights reserved).

Speaking of the Panthers, DeAngelo Williams finally broke through and delivered a performance many of us were waiting for (nine carries, 115 yards, TD). So is this a sign of things to come? It should be. Newton’s play has opened up room for the ground game and even though “Killah Cam” is the goal line back, that really doesn’t hurt D-Will’s value too much. Keep in mind that Jonathan Stewart (who I still have faith in) was in line to get most of the goal line work anyway. The Panthers have an offensive line that has been underwhelming in their run blocking but has the personnel to improve dramatically over the course of the season. Plus, as the temperature drops, the Panthers should run it more often, leading to more opportunities for Williams to do work. There may still be a small window of opportunity to buy low on Williams, so if you need the RB help, see what it will take to lure him into the fold.

I shouted out Titus Young on Starbonell Station last week and while he only finished Monday’s game with two catches for 14 yards, he should not be overlooked. He’s become a more trusted option than Nate Burleson and is a more dynamic playmaker than Brandon Pettigrew. By season’s end, he will undoubtedly be the second option behind Calvin Johnson in the passing game, and considering all the coverage Megatron sees, one can only imagine the fantasy production that can be mined from this situation.

Okay, so maybe Victor Cruz’s hot play isn’t a fluke. As a Giants fan and fantasy enthusiast, I’ve been cool on Cruz’s emergence, but I can’t front any longer. I still think Mario Manningham will finish the season the way he started, as the second receiving option on the Giants. That said, Cruz has earned a lot of confidence from Eli Manning and the coaching staff, making some spectacular plays over the last few weeks. This is an aerial attack that will be very active as the Giants get into the tough part of their schedule. Though I was a skeptic as recently as last week, I’m officially flip-flopping and calling him a trust-worthy flex play (and possible WR3) going forward.

Consider Matt Schaub’s 416-yard effort one of the last QB1 hurrahs of his season. The Texans were down and decided to air it out, but there’s so many reasons to think this was a total fluke of a performance:

1) Schaub was terribly inaccurate for most of the game and the gaudy yardage totals were the direct result of opportunities to throw (51 pass attempts).

2) The Texans weren’t even down that much to be airing it out the way they did, and the fact that this tactic netted them a big fat loss should dissuade them from passing this often on even a semi-regular basis.

3) Houston has one of, if not, the best run blocking crew in the NFL. This team is built to run and with two premiere backs able to carry the rock, there’s no reason for them to pass more than 30 times a game (even when Andre Johnson returns).

4) Schaub took more hits than Miguel Cabrera’s wife in Week Five, coming out of the game with a sore shoulder and a bruised thigh. While he has been relatively healthy the last two years, keep in mind that the main knock on him for a while was that he could not stay on the field.

So yeah, if you have a capable QB on your roster and can move Matt Schaub for something of value, it probably makes sense to do so.

Speaking of overrated Texans, Owen Daniels is another dude to consider moving if you can. Aside from the fact that Houston probably won’t throw as often, it’s very disconcerting that in the first week without Andre Johnson, the team threw it to Joel Dreessen a ton. Dreessen only had two less targets than Daniels, and while Owen “No Hart” had a productive effort on paper, it could’ve been a lot better considering the team threw the ball 51 times. Once Johnson returns and the team commits to a run-first offense, Daniels’ fantasy value will drop dramatically. As for Dreessen, he’s not a bad bye week rental, particularly if you play in a league that allows TEs to play at the flex.

There is still hope for Jared Cook, who had nine targets in Week Five. He remains a phenomenal pass-catching option and if the team continues to send him out on routes, a breakout should be on the horizon. He’s worth scooping up now if you have the space or the need for a TE.

Delone Carter is owned in just 16-percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is pretty crazy. Any player with a chance at being the top RB on their team should be universally owned, and Carter may be headed in that direction. A physical back who also has some quickness and agility, Carter was already the short-yardage runner because of his power. Now with Joseph Addai battling a hamstring injury, Carter should have a clear path to feature back duties at least for the short term. Let’s face it, Donald Brown isn’t a threat to anyone (other than Anthony Gonzalez for the title of biggest Colts bust ever) so if Addai misses a few weeks, Carter should be in for the bulk of the ground work. While Carter doesn’t possess Addai’s pass-catching or pass protection ability, he is a runner who can wear defenses down and is a tough guy to tackle. Simply based on the fact that Addai will probably be out this week, Carter is a solid flex option and has intriguing long-term value this season if he can make his mark in Addai’s absence.

You can go ahead and drop Dallas Clark. He’s currently ranked 28th among TEs in Yahoo!, behind such luminaries as Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis. The main reason he was such a valuable fantasy option over the last few years was the sheer volume of targets he received. Now he’s 14th in the league in targets among TEs and has only caught half of those passes as he struggles to get into a rhythm with Curtis Painter. There are a number of solid TEs sitting on waivers like Ben Watson and Ed Dickson who will outperform Clark this season. Even though Clark is a household name, it’s become clear that he might not even be a top 20 player at his position.

Justin Occhionero mentioned this, but it warrants pointing out again. Tim Tebow is bad for business if you are an Eric Decker or Brandon Lloyd owner. I’m a fan of both WRs, but the time has come to sell while Tebow-mania is at an all-time high.

We discussed Jordy Nelson on Starbonell Station last week and talked about how he was overrated thanks to all the mouths that need feeding in Green Bay’s pass offense. You can put Jermichael Finley in that group too. Don’t get it twisted, Finley is the best TE in the league in terms of talent, but outside of his three TD eruption, he’s had zero scores while averaging a modest 3.75 receptions and 54 yards a game. Yes he will have some freak performances throughout the season that could very well win you some weeks, but the lack of consistency can also cost you some wins. “Fit” Finley could net you a king’s ransom on the trade market, so it doesn’t hurt to see what he could fetch in return.

Speaking of the Packers offense, it’s not a bad idea to sell-high all around. My main concern is that once we get to the nitty gritty of the fantasy football playoffs, this team will be so far ahead of the pack (pun deliciously intended) that they will end up resting their stars. Keep in mind that this is a team that has been ravaged by injuries in the past and with their offensive line showing some leaks, it would make sense for the team to take it easy in the most crucial part of the fantasy football season. Some of you may find it unfathomable to consider trading an Aaron Rodgers or a Greg Jennings since you need them to get to the playoffs, but if you are simply content making it to the playoffs, then you need to set some higher goals playa. Plus, you can get a world of treasures back for such high value names, so it’s not like you aren’t helping your team in the short-term by making these moves. Want to wait a few more weeks before moving any Green Bay shares? That’s cool, just keep in mind that if the Packers keep reeling off wins, the speculation on whether the team will be able to rest their players will increase and that could remove a nice chunk of your trade leverage. Just sayin’.

Despite having awesome fantasy days in Week Five, do not get too excited about Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward. That offensive line is still a mess, Big Ben is still one hit away from missing extended action, and Hines Ward is still a declining veteran who struggles to get separation.

Devin Aromashodu has always had a ton of upside, but it has never materialized into fantasy production. While having Donovan McNabb as your QB is hardly the cure for “not reaching your full potential-itis,” Aromashodu is separating himself as a playmaker on a team desperately lacking them. The team is only using Percy Harvin in specific packages, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for the other WRs to establish themselves in this offense. Bernard Berrian sucks, Michael Jenkins is about as exciting as Bill Belichick’s press conferences, and the TEs are having a hard time establishing a rapport with their erratic QB. The odds of Aromashodu becoming even a flex option are longer (and girth-ier) than my dick, but he’s got a world of talent while many of the other receiving options on his team don’t. Sometimes, that’s the perfect mix for an unexpected breakout.


About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.