Sunday, December 28, 2008

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume I, Issue XVII

Welcome to our 17th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on In case you missed it, here are the previous issues: Volume I, Issue I (September 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue II (September 13, 2008), Volume I, Issue III (September 19, 2008), Volume I, Issue IV (September 27, 2008), Volume I, Issue V (October 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue VI (October 11, 2008), Volume I, Issue VII (October 18, 2008), Volume I, Issue VIII (October 25, 2008), Volume I, Issue IX (November 1, 2008), Volume I, Issue X (November 8, 2008), Volume I, Issue XI (November 15, 2008), Volume I, Issue XII (November 21, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIII (November 30, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIV (December 7, 2008), Volume I, Issue XV (December 14, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVI (December 20, 2008)

In this week's edition:

^ NFL Week 17 fantasy preview

^ New York Bureau 2009 Fantasy Football Top 20

^ The FDH New York Bureau Report

NFL Week 17

NOTE: Our advice, as it does on our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER weekly program (Wednesdays, 9:00-9:30 PM EST as part of THE FDH LOUNGE on, is based on avoiding the obvious and trying to be of actual help to you.

As always, your best Sunday morning option for last-minute injury news: Google News. Although any updates from responsible news providers are very useful, pay particular attention to those who come from team beat reporters, because they are closest to the action. Additionally, here is the CBS Sports NFL Injury page and the CBS Sports NFL Scoreboard page, with all of the individual game rundowns there.

Hopefully, your league has concluded already with a shiny championship having been procured by you. However, many, like FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris, are unfortunate enough to have to play Week 17 to try to win their titles. For your Fantasy Championship Weekend, we bring you our list of our top marginal plays by position. If you don’t have “gimmes” at each spot in your lineup, and few are so lucky in reality, then you may require the services of a few of these players:


1. Tyler Thigpen

2. Brett Favre

3. Kyle Orton

4. Jake Delhomme

5. Matt Schaub


1. Larry Johnson

2. Carnell Williams

3. Cedric Benson

4. Ryan Grant

5. Ricky Williams


1. Lance Moore

2. Steve Breaston

3. DeSean Jackson

4. Dwayne Bowe

5. Hines Ward


1. Tony Scheffler

2. Anthony Fasano

3. Dustin Keller

4. Visanthe Shiancoe

5. John Carlson

New York Bureau 2009 Fantasy Football Top 20

By Steve Cirvello

Here is a tentative Top 20 list heading into fantasy football season next year. FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris will offer his thoughts on each of the players listed here. Next week, we will list his “Next 30” in alphabetical order: the players who missed this list but who will round out the early portion of next year’s drafts and auctions.

  1. Adrian Peterson: He’s the early chalk pick. Aside from some fumbles, he did exactly what he was supposed to do as the consensus #2 RB behind LT.
  2. Michael Turner: This was one of the huge RB breakthroughs of the year as he made the most of his initial chance to be a full-time starter. He doesn’t get many catches, but you have to prioritize and accept all that he does bring in this era of so many RB platoons.
  3. Matt Forte: He announced his presence with authority early on in the season-opening Sunday night upset in Indy. He’s workmanlike as opposed to spectacular, but he also tallies a lot of catches (leading the team with 60 going into the season finale).
  4. Clinton Portis: Despite his grumbling, he has a great season in the new Zorn offense. Age/wear & tear has to be a concern going forward, though.
  5. Marion Barber: He’s still awesome near the goal line, but like Earl Campbell, his style is punishing to himself as well as his opponents. With the great options at RB behind him, he’s realistically a platoon back, albeit the top one going into ’09.
  6. Steve Slaton: He’s explosive in space and garners lots of catches, but the team seemingly has never envisioned him as a lead back – he ended up as one by happenstance with the rash of RB injuries in Houston. He’ll justify this draft slot IF he can continue to rack up the opportunities.
  7. Frank Gore: He was very good, but not great in the Martz offense, although he did predictably have many catches. How he’ll fare in a Singletary offense in ’09 is a mystery – could be even better since it should be RB-oriented, but it could be worse if he sees a lot of eight-in-the-box.
  8. Chris Johnson: He’s a true revelation, combining explosiveness with more TDs than you’d expect for somebody weighed down by a TD vulture. He racks up many catches, also.
  9. Brandon Jacobs: A nice yards-per-carry average accompanies the strong TD tally you’d expect. These attributes are important, because he is the lead in a three-headed platoon in New York.
  10. Drew Brees: The top fantasy QB of the moment played without various weapons at different times this year. How dangerous: he should be even better next year!
  11. Brian Westbrook: He had his usual season – great when healthy with lots of catches. Especially at this stage of his career, he would benefit greatly from a legit move-the-chains #2 RB to come off the bench and keep him fresher.
  12. DeAngelo Williams: His spectacular long-awaited breakthrough down the stretch raises expectations going forward. The only note of caution is that RB Stewart fits the mold of the power back this offense was designed around, hence the use of a #1 pick for him in the draft in ’08.
  13. Steven Jackson: He’s one of the biggest wild cards on this list. If healthy and motivated, he should go Top 5 because he can be an absolute horse, but what he will have around him will be key.
  14. LaDainian Tomlinson: Due to nagging injuries, he had a disappointing year by his superlative standards. He’s at a danger point due to mileage, but he’ll be super-motivated after this year, so it will be vital to ascertain which of these two factors will prevail.
  15. Tom Brady: ’07 was a once-in-a-lifetime season, but with these WRs and no single RB to rally around, he’s easily still a top-level fantasy QB assuming his surgeries don’t hobble him – and they shouldn’t.
  16. Tony Romo: With great weapons around him, this swashbuckler with still-developing skills is turning out (at least in a fantasy sense) just like the man he’s often compared to, Brett Favre. Like Favre, you live with the mistakes in order to reap the benefits of the successes.
  17. Kurt Warner: Unbelievably, he’s all the way back to where he was at the turn of the decade! Just like in St. Louis, when you give him weapons and a line that can protect him, look out.
  18. Larry Fitzgerald: He put up excellent all-around numbers in a top offense and has better chemistry with QB Warner right now than he’s ever had with a pro passer.
  19. Randy Moss: Thanks to WR Welker gravy-training his production, he had fewer catches and yards this year, but he’s poised for another breakout with the returning QB Brady.
  20. Peyton Manning: While other names are trendier right now, he proved that he’s still a top-level fantasy QB by putting up numbers even through the chaos of ’08 (shuffling on the OL, RB chaos, a transition in place at #2 fantasy WR).

The FDH New York Bureau Report

By Steve Cirvello

NYB's Sneaky Starts Week #17
* Check for each team's inactives that have already locked up playoff spots, and players on other teams who are injured and have been 'shut down' for the season.
QB: Jeff Garcia (TAM vs. OAK)
RB: Cedric Benson (CIN at KC)
WR: Jabbar Gaffney (NWE at BUF)
TE: Owen Daniels (HOU vs CHI)
K: Jason Hanson (DET at GRB)
DEF: WSH (at SF)

RED ALERT: Player coming off injury who could have fantasy impact:
FRANK GORE - RB: Gore is listed as probable and if he plays, needs only 22 yards for another 1,000 yard season. Coming off an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the month against the Jets, he will most likely be a game-time decision against Washington.

The Ricky-O Trio (three questions for FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris):

1 - In a disappointing year for Jacksonville, what should owners expect to get out of Maurice Jones-Drew this week at Baltimore? Will he be motivated?
I think he'll be motivated to finish strong, but motivation only counts for so much against a run defense the caliber of Baltimore's -- with motivation of their own in the form of a playoff berth at stake! With Fred Taylor likely on the way out, the Jags may be more inclined to give him opportunities near the goal line today as a means of determining what his workload could be like next year, but I don't look for more than 70 yards from him at the most.

2 - With the AFC West title on the line, who will have the better fantasy day - Philip Rivers or Jay Cutler?
In a big game, I'd be more inclined to believe in the more sure-handed QB and few right now are more efficient than Rivers. Cutler chucks it more, largely because of the revolving door at RB, but that also makes him more predictable in this situation. At home, with all of the momentum in this game on his side, I'd take Rivers.

3 - In another winner-take-all game, who will have the better Fantasy day - Brett Favre or Chad Pennington?
I believe that the Dolphins very well could win this game, but fantasy-wise, I'll go with the QB with the better weapons and that surely is Favre.


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