Tuesday, November 6, 2012

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 10

Doug Martin earned his Ray Rice comparison on Sunday. (deadspin.com)

It's been quite a year for fantasy rookies. Robert Griffin III started the party off right with his highlight reel plays. For the first half of the season his Cam Newton 2.0 impression netted him the top slot in the fantasy rankings and leaving owners with the issue of trying to trade the QB they thought would be leading their fantasy team to glory.

RGIII has started to level out a bit, but he's still as exciting a players as there is to watch. The Redskins aren't nearly as good as they've played, and that's thanks to RGIII.

There are 6 rookies (RGIII, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, Andrew Luck, Alfred Morris, and Stevan Ridley) in the top 25 fantasy player ranks going into week 10. Let's look at a couple of guys that made their mark on Sunday.

Andrew Luck had been more of a leader of men than a fantasy focal point. His surprising 5-3 Colts are 2nd in the AFC South and with a quick turnaround Thursday night against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars could be in a prime position to make the playoffs. Well, Luck made his fantasy presence known this past Sunday, throwing for an NFL Rookie Record 433 passing yards in a win over the Miami Dolphins.

The guy is doing all you can ask for on the field. He's making his teammates better and under tough circumstances with first year head coach Chuck Pagano undergoing successful treatments for leukemia being out for most of the season; Luck has taken a young mix of players and made them a formidable team. All you would hear about Luck pre-draft was that he was "pro ready." That's a nice term and all, but seeing him in action you really begin to know what that means. His poise and maturity running an NFL offense is shocking. He's able to recognize blitzes and pass coverage to exploit a team's weakness. There are some QB's that have been in the league a decade that can't do that. Along with his smarts, the physical skills are obviously there. He is extremely accurate, daring, and blends pocket presence with mobility on the level of a Ben Roethlisberger or Luck's most frequent comparison, John Elway. For all the praise that is, frankly, overdue for what Luck has done, his time in the Week 9 spotlight lasted about 40 minutes. Why?

J'adore Doug Martin. 
Because in Oakland, California, Doug Martin was slashing and gashing the Oakland Raiders. The Stockton native and Boise State alum dropped 251 rushing yards and 4 TDs causing his owners to swoon like Peppy Le Pew in one of the greatest fantasy weeks ever. After a less than productive couple of weeks, Martin now has this performance coming off his 214 total yard 2 TD performance two weeks ago in Minnesota.

Martin, at this point, is shaping up to be one of the top fantasy players this season. While I wouldn't rule against selling high on him, if you can get some great pieces in return, outside of him hitting the rookie wall I think Martin will be able to continue his duel threat destruction for the rest of the year. The injury to Carl Nicks didn't show itself against the weak Oakland run defense, but it will at some point. However, out of Martin's remaining games the only tough ones appear to be at Denver Week 13 and at Atlanta the last week of the season. But it's time to play my favorite game of looking ahead to the playoff weeks, and he'll be facing New Orleans and St. Louis. Yummy, yum.

Like Pepe, we're not all successful in love, or fantasy rookies. Let's see some potential plays this week.

T.Y. Hilton has been on the tip of my tongue for weeks. Now it's time to click the + button. (Getty)

T.Y. Hilton, WR - IND (8% owned) @JAX

Makes sense to focus on another rookie or two. So what if they're not in the Top 25 or even 50. Ranks ain't nothing but a number.

Hilton has been a guy that's been mentioned a lot without producing significant fantasy output. Two things have changed recently that have made him much more interesting now than say 3 weeks ago. First is that he's been under the tutelage of Reggie Wayne which is clearly beginning to pay dividend. Hilton has topped 5 receptions for two straight weeks and is becoming an increasingly favorite target of Luck. Second, the player I thought would be Luck's security blanket Colby Fleener has been injured opening up targets for Hilton. I'm not sure how much it would cost to land this Hilton, but it's probably cheaper than a stay at the Paris Hilton.

Joique Bell, RB - DET (19%) @MIN

Another victim of the Doug Martin Fantasy Domination was Mikel Leshoure. He had 3 TD scampers in the red zone and made himself a strong case to be the Lions top back. With Javid Best injured as per usual, undrafted rookie Bell has become a solid weapon out of the backfield for his running and pass catching. Leshoure doesn't have the cleanest health record, and Bell is still getting TDs as a secondary back making him worth a flex play.

Chris Ivory, RB - NO (4%) ATL

Opportunity seems to be the issue for Ivory, as it is most running backs in the Big Easy. With Darren Sproles going down for 4-6 weeks with a broken hand, there was a mad dash for Pierre Thomas, but while Thomas is helpful, he doesn't do what Sproles does. In fact, none of the NOLA back do except for Travaris Cadet, but it appears Cadet's Sproles impersonation isn't going to net him any fantasy love. Ivory is a big, tough runner that can provide a good change of pace for the speedy Saints offense. Thomas is more of a pass catching threat, but Ivory has the ability to outplay Mark Ingram as the grind it out back.

Mike Goodson, RB - OAK (11%) @BAL

We all knew this was coming. The Darren McFadden injury has occurred. And it's a fantasy football doozy. The high ankle sprain is tough to gauge when everything will be fully healed and a player will be ready to go. With McFadden's injury history, I'd say his chances of being productive again this year are minimal. He was barely productive when he was playing averaging barely over 3 yards per carry. Overall, McFadden's performance is good for 29 out of 30 ranked backs via Football Outsider's DVOA ranks.

With that being said, Run DMC's back-up is also out with a high ankle sprain, but this appears to be much less severe than McFadden's. Goodson would be a speculative add in that a.) McFadden is out for a while b.) Goodson is healthy c.) Oakland's run game has been horrible as is and d.) the Raiders don't just pack up their lockers and forfeit the rest of the season. At this point of the year though, if you can add a running back that will get a bulk of the carries for a team, it's worth it.


Golden Tate, WR - SEA (12%) NYJ

Tate hauled in 2 TD passes on Sunday for a less than eye catching 28 yards receiving. He's become a bit of an end zone threat with 5 TDs, but I guess after that miracle Monday Night Fake Refs call against the Packers, he's got some magic on his side. Like most Seattle players not named Marshawn Lynch, home is where the performance is. Tate isn't a play maker, but rather a guy you need to catch TDs to be any kind of factor on fantasy game day.

THE 1%

Rod Streater, WR - OAK (0%) @BAL

As highlighted in the Goodson write up, the Oakland run game has been poor. I don't necessarily envision Goodson or any other back on their roster to change that, so combine that with constantly being behind in games means that Oakland will be throwing a lot. They really already have been throwing the ball judiciously this year. Denarius Moore and Brandon Myers have benefited, but Streater might be looking to make his mark with Darius Heyward-Bey not looking quite right since his concussion earlier this season. Streater needs to become more consistent and establish his role as a possession receiver to become a key part of the Raiders pass game.

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