Not only is it Tuesday, but the calendar has officially turned to November. This week also marks the halfway point of the 2011 NFL season. Now would be a great time for you to evaluate your fantasy teams and start gearing up for the stretch run. As a slight preview of what is to come, you should start making other arrangements if Tim Tebow is your starting quarterback. So sit back, relax, and soak up the Top Ten fantasy football headlines for Week 9.
10. Tebow the Placebo. The verbal assaults and criticism directed at Tim Tebow have been numerous and constant. But, that does not stop me from adding to the barrage. It is quite clear that the former 1st round pick is not an NFL quarterback. At least, he is not an NFL quarterback that knows how to play the position or be able to lead his team to success. His latest disaster came this past week in Denver’s 45-10 blowout loss to Detroit. While Tebow cannot be blamed for how poorly the Broncos’ defense played, he certainly didn’t do anything to keep them in the game. Head coach John Fox has said Tebow will start again this week, but it is only a matter of time before Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn is named the new starter. Tebow is in a class all by himself for being the only player in NFL history to ever make fans want to see Tommy Maddox play again.
9. A Tough Choice. I already spouted off about Mike Shanahan’s hatred of fantasy football for his use and lack of commitment to running backs. After Tim Hightower sustained a season-ending injury, it looked like the choices would be narrowed down to either Ryan Torain or Roy Helu. Now you can add another choice to that mix…literally. The Redskins claimed former Cowboys’ running back Tashard Choice off waivers after Dallas had released him this past weekend. Choice is best known for having two good games at the end of the 2010 season. Otherwise, he has been a sparsely used disappointment. Now he will have an opportunity in Washington to part of an underwhelming and random rotation of useless running backs
8. My Name is Antonio, and I Will Dance for You. With the injury to Hines Ward, Antonio Brown has filled the void for Ben Roethlisberger. Brown is slowly becoming a go-to receiver for Big Ben as evidenced by his performance this past week against the Patriots where he had 9 receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. While Mike Wallace is the big play threat and Heath Miller is an established pass catcher, Brown looks like he has moved past Emmanuel Sanders on Big Ben’s preference chart. If Brown is still a free agent in your fantasy league, then grab him immediately. If not, he is a good option to trade for that probably won’t cost too much.
7. Ochocinco no es importa. The controversial receiver hasn’t been a problem in the clubhouse for the Patriots as many suspected. But the real problem is that Chad Ochocinco hasn’t had any impact on the team on the field. When he is on the field, Tom Brady usually looks elsewhere. There are several reasons why Ochocinco isn’t getting any targets: 1) he isn’t running good routes to get open; 2) the other receivers on the field are better; or 3) he is merely being used as a decoy. Whatever the reason, the fact is that Chad Ochocinco’s best days are behind him and his days in New England could be numbered. He is more active on Twitter than on the field, so he serves no purpose on your fantasy team (unless you play fantasy Twitter).
6. Nicked Up. New York Giants star wide receiver Hakeem Nicks got good news from the MRI results on his injured hamstring. The Giants report that Nicks is day to day which means he could play this week at New England. Nicks can be an elite fantasy receiver if he can just stay on the field. But his young career has already been marred with several injuries. It is reaching the point where serious questions have to be asked about whether he can be relied upon consistently as an upper echelon receiver. His combination of size and speed makes him a top option in both real and fantasy football. But if he can’t stay on the field, then he is as useful as Congress is at solving the economic problems of the country.
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5. The Big Gronkowski. Porn stars wear his jersey and he has become one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. Life is good for Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski. He caught seven passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh. Gronkowski is one of the best tight end options in fantasy football right now and should be starting in all leagues. Despite all of the different weapons Brady has, Gronkowski owns the middle of the field and the red zone. With defenses focused on Wes Welker, Gronk is taking advantage of one-on-one coverage by linebackers unable to match his size and speed. In fact, only porn stars can handle his size and speed.
4. Corn on the Kolb. Things have not worked out the way the Arizona Cardinals envisioned when they traded a #1 pick to the Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb. He has struggled all season long and now is suffering from turf toe which puts into doubt whether he will be able to play this weekend against St. Louis. Kolb has been bruised and battered lately as defenses have sacked him 24 times this season. He hasn’t been able to establish a consistent rapport with superstar wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and the running game has been inconsistent as well. If Kolb is your starting quarterback on your fantasy team, then you have some major problems.
3. Gold Rush. The San Francisco 49ers have re-emerged as one of the top teams in the league after several years of obscurity. Jim Harbaugh’s influence on the team cannot be understated. But part of this resurgence is due to Frank Gore’s ability to stay healthy and produce like an elite running back. His latest performance of 134 yards rushing and a touchdown led the Niners to a victory and provided more bang for your fantasy bucks than other backs who were probably drafted before him.
2. Clash of the Titans. Chris Johnson’s struggles have been well documented and even commented on previously by me in this column. While Titans’ coach Mike Munchak is denying that there is any controversy over who the starting running back is, there is no denying that the numbers may speak otherwise. Johnson, who missed all of pre-season because he was holding out for a new contract, has only topped 100 yards in a game once this season. He was held to a paltry 34 yards this past week against Indianapolis’s horrendous defense which had surrendered 62 points the week before. His 34 yards were obtained on 14 carries, which is also the number of carries that backup running back Javon Ringer was given to amass 60 yards. Johnson insists he is healthy, but fantasy owners are losing patience. It’s hard to believe how quickly he has regressed since his 2,000 yard campaign in 2009. Hey Shaun Alexander, how ya doin?
1. Flooding Rivers. Panic was already setting in with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. He has been terrible the past several weeks and has accumulated more turnovers than touchdowns this season. After Monday Night’s game against Kansas City, it is safe to say that Rivers is not a lock to be your starting quarterback in fantasy football right now, even despite his 369 yards passing. He looks more like Joan Rivers handling the ball and has not shown flashes of his past success. Health does not seem to be a concern for him, and he has plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal. But something isn’t right with Rivers. Trading him would not net you full value in return because of how bad he has been, but it may be time to start exploring some other options for your starting fantasy quarterback. Rivers is my quarterback on two of my teams, so trust me, I feel your pain.
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