I hope you’ve all been watching the series A Football Life on the NFL Network. If you’re not, you have definitely been missing some incredible stuff. Starting with the first two episodes that provided an inside look at one of the league’s most enigmatic figures—Bill Belichick—the show hit the ground running. My favorite so far was the third ep about the relationship between Reggie White and Jerome Brown and the tragedy of how both men were taken from this world far too soon; but the subsequent stories of Kurt Warner and Walter Payton provided a glimpse at some things that even their biggest fans likely didn’t know. You owe it to yourself to check this show out.
Bye Week Blues Part 2 - Week 6 leaves us without some of our favorite wide receivers. Larry Fitz, D-Bowe, V-Jax, Sidney Rice, Brandon Lloyd and even Nate Washington. Also, no underachieving Chris Johnson, no overachieving Beanie Wells, no surprises like Ryan Mathews, Willis McGahee and maybe even Jackie Battle at RB. Disappointing QBs Philip Rivers, Matt Cassel, Kevin Kolb and the now displaced Kyle Orton are off along with the resurgent Matt Hasselbeck. So what do we do?
Speaking of Brandon Lloyd, I don’t expect him to ever suit for the Broncos again. He’s firmly on the trading block and there are two teams—the Rams and the Titans—who should go right down to the wire battling it out for Lloyd’s services. Teams have been low-balling the Broncos so far, but I would not be surprised to see St. Lou or Tennessee ultimately kick out a 4th round pick. But we shall see.
Now to quarterback, take a look and see if Jay Cutler is still available. As I pointed out here, Cutler is surprisingly strong historically against the Vikings. Could steal you a win today. Other sneaky QB plays include Sanchize on Monday Night Football against the Dolphins, Colt McCoy at the Raiders and—as crazy as it sounds—Sam Bradford in Green Bay coming off a bye week.
Next, the RB replacements have all likely been long since scooped up. But, if not, here are some guys to skim the waiver wire for at the last minute: Tim Hightower/Ryan Torain, Stevan Ridley, James Starks, Montario Hardesty, Earnest Graham Delone Carter and—for Daniel Thomas owners—Lex Hilliard.
Would you have ever thought Darrius Heyward-Bey would be clearly better than Michael Crabtree three years ago? Neither would I. But it has happened. And DHB is now a fairly decent fantasy option. No Joe Haden today would make him particularly enticing.
Other WR plays this week: James Jones, Harry Douglas, Jabar Gaffney and Titus Young.
Last Chance Cafe: Welcome Bucs WR Mike Williams. In seasonal leagues, you’ll be drop fodder if you don’t play well today against a vulnerable Saints D. Mike Dub has been outplayed often by Arrelious Benn and Preston Parker, which makes fantasy owners fear that Williams is a one-hit wonder a la former Buc Michael Clayton in 2004.
Tight ends to consider: Ben Watson at Oakland, Jermaine Gresham—despite the tough matchup—against Indy and a very sneaky Visanthe Shiancoe. Da Bears are the worst in the NFL against opposing TEs.
On defense, stick with the Lions D and the Bengals D this weekend if you have them. It’s time to seriously consider the Bills D/ST. Eli is easily confused and Buffalo did hit TB12 for four picks. Finally, the Vikings and league-leading sackman Jared Allen should do some things against that pathetic Bears O-line.
In addition to Best, I’m really scared of Matt Schaub, Matt Ryan, Arian Foster, Steven Jackson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brandon Marshall, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Jason Witten, Dallas Clark and Owen Daniels this weekend. You probably have to start at least a few of these guys, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Drop Dallas Clark. Seriously, his value is gone in 2011. Pick up a guy like Gresham or an upside play like Jared Cook, Ed Dickson or even Lance Kendricks. Clark misses Peyton Manning more than anyone.
I wouldn’t play a single QB on the board over Cam Newton this weekend. Seriously. Not Rodgers. Not Brady. Not Brees. Not Vick. Not Romo. And they all have great matchups. It just smells like another one of those crazy big games for Newton this week at the Falcons.