Tuesday, October 2, 2012

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 5

Brian Dawkins emerges from the inflatable Eagle head one last time. (AP)

FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 30% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems.

The Philadelphia Eagles retired the #20 from their uniform line this week. Honoring safety Brian Dawkins in a week long celebration of his career that culminated on Sunday Night Football with a halftime ceremony that nearly muted Bob Costas (if only).

The Eagles went on to beat the Giants to go to 3-1 on the season. With all the energy surrounding Dawkins' return to Lincoln Financial Field, I was partially serious when I posted to Facebook to see if the Eagles could hire Dawkins as Pre-Game Fire Up Coordinator/Last Player to Run Out the Tunnel-er. No one hypes up the fans like B-Dawk.

As a lifelong Eagles fan, Dawkins is without a doubt the most revered athlete in Philadelphia history. That's saying a lot considering 1. How bad Philadelphia sports teams have been and 2. How prone Philly fans are to destroy their athletes that fail to meet expectations (Eric Lindros, Donovan McNabb) (3a. Or even destroy those that do (Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins). There are few free passes in Philadelphia sports.

Not that Dawkins got one, but he was able to ascend the height of Philly fandom not by winning a championship (he never did), but by playing football the way Philly fans want the sport to be played. It's contrived to say it like that, but there was never a time watching Dawkins play where you ever felt he wasn't giving everything he had. The hustle was always there. The aggressiveness was always there. He was respected by the fans and feared by the opposition.

Even when he left Philadelphia for Denver in 2009, no one really held it against him like fans do Jayson Werth who moved to Washington for $126M*. He got paid like a top 3 safety, which he no longer was, and people knew Dawkins was past his prime.
*It's funny that Werth, who left for probably double of what he could have got in Philly get's crap from fans when he returns. People thought he was leaving for the money, and even if he was, he earned it. The guy had a broken wrist and was barely a utility guy in the majors when he revived his career in Philly. He way outperformed what he was getting paid, and at his age new this would be his last pay day in baseball. He'd be insane to not go to Washington. And as for people saying he was just about the money? The Nationals just won the NL East Title and the Phils have been out of playoff contention for 87% of the season. 
I think that the image of Dawkins really downplays just how good of a player he was. Everyone remembers the big hits and the timely interceptions, but Dawkins was able to do everything on the football field. Perhaps his most underrated trait was his ball hawking and coverage abilities. Look at the "Pro Bowl" corners the Eagles had while Dawkins was patrolling the secondary. Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Rod Hood...these were dominant cornerbacks in the NFL. As soon as they left? After thoughts. Dawkins covered for a lot of mistakes in the secondary, and his pressure on the QB surely helped some interception numbers.

Behind Reggie White, Dawkins was the best player I've ever seen play for the Eagles. He's certainly left the most indelible images I have for football as well as Google (seriously, if you Google him, lots of cool/demon looking photos).

Any attempt to spit out how important Dawkins was to the Eagles fans would be a failed attempt. Great writers probably can, but I haven't seen anyone sum up exactly what this guy means. It's an honor to have his number retired forever. It's how it should be.

As NFL 2012-2013 Season: Revenge of the Replacement Refs reaches the quarter point, let's see who could still be out there to help your woebegone team.

Jackie Battle could find the end zone more this year than Ryan Mathews. (Getty)

Jackie Battle, RB - SD (24% owned)

People love Ryan Mathews. I'm not sure why, but they do. Norv Turner doesn't love Ryan Mathews. Norv Turner controls Ryan Mathews carries. I'd rather see how the head coach of the football team handles Mathews rather than fantasy fans. Mathews is too talented to be benched, but I could certainly see Battle getting a fair amount of carries and especially on the goal line. Plus, it's not as if Mathews has been the picture of health in his young career. Good flex play here.

Andre Roberts, WR - ARZ (17%)

I believe in the Cardinals a little. Confidence is a hell of a drug. While people are busy doubling Larry Fitzgerald, Roberts has come into his own as Kevin Kolb's possession type guy. Beanie Wells is hurt, again, and I don't like Ryan Williams much at all, so shockingly, this offense will have to go - conservatively - through Kolb. Let's file Roberts under the Titus Young/Alshon Jeffrey category.

James Jones, WR - GB (34%)

Maybe the Packers haven't been the juggernaut many people were expecting. Aside from Aaron Rodgers performance last weekend, he's left a lot to be desired. The key with Jones is that with Greg Jennings tweaked and pulled muscles there's a real opportunity for Jones to step up. He's been in this offense for a while, and he has caught an escalating number of TDs over the past 3 years (5, 7, and 3 already this year).

Greg Zuerlein, K - STL (17%)

A kicker? Yes, a kicker. Kickers should always be the last pick in your draft and Zuerlein is Exhibit E double F in the case for it. The rookie kicker crushed boots of 24, 48, 58, and 60 last week. He's got legit power in his leg, and kickers that explode onto the scene happen all the time. Don't they Dan Carpenter or Neil Rackers? Aside from his bye week, Zuerlein should be your starting kicker every week. He's in that nice cozy spot for kickers where he plays in a dome for his home games and his offense is good, but not great - leading to a lot of field goal opportunities.


Brian Hartline, WR - MIA (28%)

I'll give it to Ryan Tannehill (man, how many Ryan's have been mentioned already) he didn't look overwhelmed last week. He's definitely gotten a lot better since Week 1 when I was cackling with joy every time he attempted to throw a pass. His growth though does not equal to me buying Hartline. This early in the season, a monster game like the one Hartline put up would vault him to the top of the WR list, but his struggles against tough defenses along with the possibility of him getting #1 WR attention instead of Davone Bess makes Hartline a match-up only play, and not worth a splash of cash.

THE 1%

Here's something I've noticed in Week 5. The amount of players that are 1% available are basically 3rd stringers or players that are inactive. With that being said, I will now change The 1% section to include players owned is less than 10% of Yahoo! leagues! Makes sense, doesn't it?

Tim Tebow, QB - NYJ (9%)

As Dez Bryant showcased last night, there is a difference between being a good fantasy football player and a good football player. Tim Tebow is a good fantasy football player, and his resurrection in New York appears imminent. Mark Sanchez has been a total flop. You can factor in as many reason as to why this has happened, but it boils down to Sanchez not being good. If Sanchez can't show marked improvement in two weeks, you can expect Tebow to take big boy snaps with the starters. I would expect to see more Tebow oriented plays in the coming weeks. Tebow did finish with 18 total TDs last year and ranked 55. If you're like me and have Russell Wilson hanging around as QB2, may not be a bad option. I will be sad to see Sanchez go though. He will instantly make the Jets from a gambling perspective a "bet against," to an "I don't know what the hell to do" with Tebow involved.

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