Who Dat? on this weeks show featured 6 players, none of which were more surprising than Dan Carpenter, the kicker for the Miami Dolphins. Personally, I prefer to draft my defense and kicker in the last two rounds of my drafts. I strongly recommend this strategy, as the NFL does a great job of keeping fantasy owners on their toes. Sure, the Steelers defenses has lived up to its hype by earning their #2 after 8 weeks, but how about other vaunted defenses? I heard a lot of talk about how good the Bengals, Vikings, and Ravens defenses were going to be this season and they are respectively 26, 27, and 28 in most leagues. Now if you had a chance to pick Peyton Hillis, Mike Williams, or Brandon Lloyd late in your draft but you passed it up to pick up a “great” defense early, wouldn’t you be upset right now?
The same goes for kickers, only to a lesser extent. I never see kickers go in the 8-10 rounds, like I do “great” defenses, but I still see no reason to draft them early as in the pre-season, one kicker looks just as good as another. I regularly end up with Nate Kaeding on my team because he is one of the highest percentage kickers in the league and I play in leagues that penalize missed kicks. That may be the reason Kaeding is a good pick in the pre-season, but it isn’t worth squat after 8 weeks of data. Looking for the kickers that are regularly depended on by their teams to finish off stalled drives should become a regular habit of yours if you plan to win your league. Lets take Dallas’s favorite, Dan Carpenter. Going into week 9, Carpenter had scored double-digit points 4 out of his last 5 games. He was ranked 3rd going into week 9 and then he missed a field goal and made me look like a fool. Don’t get caught up on names though, it’s the process that counts. A quick look shows that far too many people are owning the Vikings Ryan Longwell (63%) even though he has failed to score double-digit points in any game this season. Those are big points in tight games that should demand your attention.
Just writing about kickers has almost put me to sleep but I thought it was a good eye opener. I may be proven wrong. What brought us on the show to discuss kickers, was the fact that going into week
9, Carpenter was outscoring his running back teammate, Ronnie Brown, by 30 points! How sad is that? Brown was ranked 30th among his RB peers despite being a top 15-20 RB going into the season. I know what you’re thinking, its Ricky Williams’s fault isn’t it? He’s stealing touches from Ronnie and halving his fantasy value. No, Ronnie has just been that bad. He has had double-digit touches in every game this year. After this weekend, he will now have only 2 TD’s scored all year and only two double-digit fantasy point games. Brown is in a timeshare like almost everyone else in the league, but he is simply not getting the job done with the ball in his hands.
How about another running back that has only 2 TD’s? Steven Jackson has only scored 2 TD’s but was 10th among RB’s going into week 9. He is an underrated gem on what has been a bad team for the past few years. He has been given 172 carries, (2nd only to Chris Johnson) and has racked up 676 yards on the ground. He has added 169 receiving yards, which is a huge bonus for RB’s, (but expected from SJax) and has managed double-digit fantasy points in 6 of 8 games this season. As the Ram’s continue to get better and win more games, look for Jackson to benefit and start getting into the end zone more.
Traditionally, I would not draft a 36-year-old receiver who refers to himself as “Batman” probably just on principle. That is why I don’t have Terrell Owens and his league leading 86 targets on my team. It would’ve been really tough to call that Owens would be the primary target in Cincy before the season but it has become very evident since his week 4 bust out performance against Cleveland. Owens was nowhere near the top 10 WR’s going into the season, but he was ranked 5th going into week 9. His 5 TD’s and 4 straight games with double-digit fantasy points have been a great streak for fantasy owners to ride. Tack on last nights, 10 grabs for 141 and 2 touchdowns, and you have 5 straight games with big numbers. I don’t buy into the argument that Owens is old and he will start slowing down. He is clearly the wide receiver that Palmer is finding, and by watching his intensity last night, he is taking this seriously. When I see receivers and quarterbacks somewhat heatedly discussing missed opportunities, it shows me that they both want to do better. I think Owens continues this glory year. He is now one of three players with 150+ TD’s, and the first player this year to 100 targets.
We discussed two quarterbacks on the show this week, both with some less than stellar stat lines, but both are in the top ten in fantasy scoring. Josh Freeman emerged last year in week 9 and carried the Bucs on the strength of a 3 touchdown performance, to a 38-28 win over the Packers. The Tampa saviour had arrived! Well actually he lost the next 5 games including a 5 pick performance. That was last year and fantasy players were not ready to jump on the Freeman bandwagon early. Things have changed. Freeman has scored double-digit points in ever game this year except week 3 against Pittsburgh. These aren’t thirty point blockbusters like Manning or Rivers, in fact there isn’t a single 20+ point game, but they are consistently in the teens. It’s this consistency that lands him tied for 7th in the QB scoring. With no 300 yard or 3 TD games this year its hard to imagine how he is getting this production. At 6’6, 248 lbs, you wouldn’t think Freeman a speedster, and he isn’t, but he is shifty. He has been able to rush for 176 yards on the ground, netting fantasy owners, 2-4 points from rushing in almost every game. He’s not household name, but if you are looking for a bye week QB or a replacement for a Henne or Hasselbeck draft day disaster, Freeman is your man. Temper expectations for scoring into the teens, and you will be satisfied with Freeman every week.
You would think that no other QB could possibly be in the top 10 scoring without throwing a 300 yard game or two this season, right? Technically you would be wrong, as Matt Ryan hasn’t thrown a single game over 300 yards and he was ranked 6th. He did throw for 299 yards against the Bengals in week 7 so the stat is kind of cheap. That’s why I chose it for Who Dat?, I can’t have Ryan guessing anymore Steve Johnson’s on the first clue anymore, it makes me look soft, and I can’t have that in the recording room. A fantasy expert lives on the blade of a sword and can never allow for insubordination amongst his peers. He must crush any uprising the moment it appears….uhhhh, I’ve said too much, back to Matt Ryan. Is it possible that he is even less flashy than Josh Freeman? He was 10th in the league in passing yards and tied for 6th in TD passes going into week 9. He has a turnover in every game this year except week 9 and week 3 against New Orleans. Ryan can go for big games, generally when Roddy White or Tony Gonzalez make big plays, but more often than not his stat line will be 8-14 point range.
At the end of Who Dat?, we discussed Arian Foster and Peyton Hillis, and where they would stack up if the season ended today and we were ranking players for next season. I will save that piece of genius for the listeners only.
Fantasy “Expert” Henry
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