Fantasy Post Mortem: Don’t sell high on Chris Johnson

(Associated Press)

Only Chris Johnson could rush for 195 yards with two touchdowns and still not have it be enough for grousing fantasy owners. That’s what happens when you lose a pair of goal-line chances to Jamie Harper. But given what Johnson has been through this year, we’ll certainly take it.

There is going to be a temptation to trade Johnson, to “sell high” on him if you will; but first a word of caution. Take a look at his fantasy playoff schedule. The Titans play the Colts in Week 14, followed by the Jets and the Packers. All favorable matchups.

And sure, you need to get to the fantasy playoffs first, but given the dearth of No. 1 fantasy running backs available, you hang on to Johnson. Oh, and he plays the Colts in Week 8, so he’s looking at another solid game.

Player of the Week

Wait, did you not read the above section? How can it be anybody other than Chris Johnson? All right, we’ll give it to Josh Freeman, who had a monster performance against the Saints on Sunday. Freeman threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns to rack up 29.70 fantasy points, second only to Johnson.

Freeman is starting to develop into the quarterback we wanted him to be last season. But could you have given a few of those throws to Mike Williams?

Of course, Williams just made the list for running out of the back of the end zone and then catching what appeared to be the potential tying-touchdown. Anybody who wanted to squeeze a few more fantasy points from Saints or Buccaneers players would have loved that.

Bagel Boys

Jimmy Graham wasn’t able to give it a go on Sunday, so many fantasy enthusiast hit the waiver wire to look for viable options. Some of the biggest names available included Scott Chandler (who only scores touchdowns and had a great matchup) and Kyle Rudolph, who I settled on.

You would have been better off just leaving Graham in your lineup. With fractional points in play, it seems impossible to have zero fantasy points. But it’s not only possible, but probable.

Dustin Keller would have been a great player. But a certain Jets fan has poisoned the well so much, you can’t pick them up on waivers, even when you’re desperate.

This Week in Shanahanigans

Here is a quick hit on some of the notable running back by committee news, named in honor of Mike Shanahan.

The split between C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson was very even. Like scarily even. Jackson looked good against the Titans, and granted, it was the Titans, but he finally looks healthy again. Spiller was Spiller, he looked excellent, too. The Bills like both guys and are finding a way to make it work between them. So both Jackson and Spiller are going to be RB2/flex options going forward, though both will be on a bye in Week 8. …

Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead were somewhat annoying for the Patriots on Sunday, as they ate into Stevan Ridley‘s production a bit. But Ridley did end up with more carries than the two other backs combined.

The Buccaneers rewarded Doug Martin‘s solid day by running LeGarrette Blount repeatedly at the goal line. And Blount was repeatedly stuffed. Let’s just stick with Martin, eh? …

Steven Jackson vultured a touchdown from Daryl Richardson on Sunday afternoon. Yes, some of you might believe that’s a misprint. But I turned the page on Jackson a while ago, and the sooner the St. Louis FC does the same thing, the better. Richardson just looks like a better player if you go by the all-important “eyeball test.” …

LaRod Stephens-Howling took over the Cardinals RB job over the weekend and racked up over 20 fantasy points. Which is nice. Too bad the team doesn’t have a long-term answer at quarterback. John Skelton isn’t going to get it done. Seriously, why didn’t this team at least take a look at Kyle Orton? If this was baseball, we’d be talking about a trade-deadline deal. …

All of the Panthers running backs stink. …

And that was This Week in Shanahanigans.

Cleveland Drops

Josh Gordon has become a fantasy darling and he had a pretty nice statline on Sunday against the Colts. But nobody will be able to forget about the drop he had late in the fourth quarter. Those 10 points would come in handy. Especially for me, because of the bagel Rudolph put up in a pinch.

Gordon should realize he is getting playing time because Greg Little couldn’t hold on to the football. Yet it was Little who made an amazing catch on Sunday, while Gordon cost his team and possibly thousands of fantasy owners dearly.

The Cam Conundrum

Cam Newton‘s real-world performance and post-game body language will continue to be picked apart as the weeks unfold. But he wasn’t terrible as a fantasy performer. He will be next week when the Panthers take on the Bears next week. And the problem now is that he has no “sell high” markup. I would take a sell for anything markup.

My dream was to turn Newton around for the equally disappointing Darren McFadden, but nothing doing.

The upshot is Newton has a good matchup in Week 9 (at Washington), Week 11 (vs. Tampa Bay) and Week 13 (at Kansas City). But when you’re looking for solid matchups for a guy you drafted in the first-round (or early second-), you are clearly looking at the runaway winner for “bust of the year” candidate.

Early waiver wire look

I’ve been sitting on the No. 1 waiver spot in my league of record (the Corona Football League with my pals from the 951) all season. I passed on Freddy Morris early in the year, and kind of regret that one, though it hasn’t been the running back who has hurt me in that league (looking at you, Cam).

This late in the season, Rashad Jennings looks like the guy to pick up. Coach Mike Mularkey says Maurice Jones-Drew will miss this week, so grab Jennings. There is a chance Blaine Gabbert could play, but the quarterback doesn’t matter. Make sure you have Jennings.

For the record, you can submit your fantasy questions to NFL Fantasy Live,
Michael Fabiano or me on Twitter. But realize, NFL Fantasy Live has 70,000
followers, and Fabiano has 60,000. Me? Just 13. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook (oh wait, I told you to stop going to Facebook). Go instead to Google+.
Also be sure to catch the latest “Dave Dameshek Football Program.”

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