Welcome back to another week of fantasy free agency madness!
Speaking of madness… (queue the back in time music….)
I was born and raised in Philadelphia and grew up in a blue collar Irish-Catholic neighborhood that loved its football. During the season we’d go to mass on Sunday mornings and Father McCormick was literally draped in Green. At the end of the service, we prayed for world peace and that the sick got well, but we also prayed for an Eagles victory later that day.
If the Irish won the afternoon before, things were good. There was no Penn State in my house. Such activity would get you banned from the dinner table.Â When I was little my Grandparents would tell me, â€œGod loves the Iggles and the Irish. Period, paragraph.â€
That was enough for me.
I sat for over 10 seasons in Veterans Stadium in the fanatical green gangland known as the 700 level – section 708 specifically. Yes, the rumors were true, the stadium with the holding cells, the courtroom and a real Â judge – one honorable Seamus McCaffery who had no tolerance for shenanigans. The infamous national attention garnered at the time was seen as a badge of honor. From launching snowballs at then Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, to cheering a motionless Michael Irvin until the cart whisked him down the tunnel. The $8 beers flowed as did the obscenities and at times the fists flew. A far cry from the Hail Mary at mass, it was only the Hail Mary on the gridiron that mattered at the moment.
Despite the aforementioned trips to Mass, I wasn’t exactly a choirboy. Prior toÂ a pre-season game against Baltimore that they decided not to play due to the condition of the turf, I got into a memorable shouting match with Ravens LB Ray Lewis and may have mocked his involvement in a nightclub stabbing… among other things.
Thank God for ten foot high fences.
Admittedly in 1999 I cheered befallen Cowboys WR Michael Irvin until I suddenly got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.Â I thought to myself, Wait a minute.. This guy isn’t moving. Then I was silent. The rest of the stadium wasn’t, even the fans around me, some of which I break bread with on a nightly basis. Then again, they are the same nuts who I used to have â€œsnowball fightsâ€ with old glass Christmas balls, so I shouldnâ€™t have been surprised. The fact I don’t limp and have both eyeballs intact is a small miracle in itself.
Seriously, what you have to realize is that under the helmet and pads is a human being. Sure he plays for the other team, but he’s a guy with a Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, maybe a wife and kids, out there playing aÂ game.
Football is a violent sport where sometimes humanity takes a back seat. Not so much by the players themselves, as they share a respect and camaraderie, but with the fans themselves.Â Regardless of performance or the color of the jersey, humanity has to remain intact even in the slightest bit especially when the welfare of another human being is at stake. Even if they are a hated Cowboy.
Or Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. Â
Come on guys, what would Mr. Hunt say?
Exactly. Â But hey, now you guys have much-heralded QB Brady Quinn leading the way. Good luck with that.
Ok, climbing down from my glass-house soapbox and out on the Waiver Wire for some Week Six suggestions!
QB Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears â€“ Maybe itâ€™s something in the water, but after this past weekâ€™s fine performance we have two strong outings from Mr. Cutler. If he was dropped by a frustrated owner in your league, shame on them. Despite his issues, he still has a boatload of talent, a running back in Matt Forte that keeps defenses honest, a decent group of wide receivers, and a defense that will keep him in every game. That is a recipe for success in my book.
QB Tim Tebow, New York Jets â€“ With the news coming down that he is in for a larger role in the Jets offense, better make a play for him before he becomes the hottest commodity since pink cleats. All things considered, what do the Jets have to lose? You however might have plenty to lose, so think long and hard before adding him and placing him in your starting lineup. I do realize he has his supporters â€“ so did Nixon.
RB Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers â€“ Truth be told, this guy should have been drafted late in leagues and stashed until his inevitable return from knee surgery. He represented a gamble worth taking at the fantasy draft table in 2012. Well he returned this week in fine style at home against the Philadelphia Eagles and celebrated with over 100 combined yards and a touchdown.Â If by chance he is available in your league, he is a no-brainer addition.
RB Alex â€œDonâ€™t Call Me Ahmanâ€ Green, Green Bay Packers â€“starting RB Cedric Benson left the game with a foot injury, Green took over in the backfield for the Packers. While his numbers arenâ€™t spectacular, he will be the starting running back for a team with an explosive offense and a quarterback in Aaron Rodgers that defenses must respect. While Benson is recovering, Green is a worthwhile flex option, possibly more in my opinion over RB James Starks â€“ been there, done that with him.
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals â€“ With RB Chris Wells and now RB Ryan Williams on injured reserve, the Cardinals now turn to Stephens-Howling. He has some big play ability, but never did so much that the Arizona brass felt he was â€œtheir guyâ€. Well like it or not, he now is. All things considered he is a starting RB for an NFL team and any time you can score that off the wire in week six you do it.
WR Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans â€“ 11 targets 9-66.. good young WR worth keeping an eye on. The hughly regarded rookie has taken a while to assert himself, but in recent weeks has started to make some noise and garner the attention of his starting quarterback, whether QB Jake Locker or QB Matt Hasselbeck. His targets and subsequent production levels are increasing and he is worth keeping an eye on, especially since the Titans have been playing from behind all season. That spells a bevy of fantasy points in garbage time, my friends.
WR Jordan Norwood, Cleveland Browns â€“ As the season progresses, Cleveland Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden seems to be building a nice chemistry with his teammates on offense. More specifically, a definite rapport seems to be developing between Weeden and receiver Jordan Norwood. This past week against the New York Giants, Norwood grabbed all nine passes sent in his directions and gained 81 yards. I wouldnâ€™t run out expecting a Marino to Duper-like connection right off the bat, but it is certainly worth keeping a close eye on for sure.
WR Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams â€“ Ok, so it was just one catch. But it was one nice catch for a touchdown. With WR Danny Amendola out, look for the speedy Givens to make some waves with his increased opportunities. In my opinion his skills rival that of WR Brandon Gibson and as the Rams grow as a team, all a young guy needs is a shot.
WR Jason Hill, New York Jets â€“ The former Jacksonville Jaguar was recently signed by the Jets to help out after the loss of WR Santonio Holmes to a foot injury. While he is no WR Jerry Rice, the six-year NFL veteran could turn a relatively quiet move by the Jets into one that could actually pay dividends. Give him a week or so to get settled, but he might surprise down the stretch.
WR Chad Johnson, Free Agent â€“ In the event that none of the rag-tag receiver options work out for the Jets, you would have to think that they would at least entertain working out either Johnson, WR Terrell Owens, or WR Plaxico Burress, who incidentally has some familiarity with the Jets although the coordinator has changed. Of the three, Johnson probably still has the most left in the tank, and would be my long-shot choice to get the call.
TE Joel Dreessen, Denver Broncos â€“ In that always popular committee at TE approach (sense my sarcasm?) Dreessen is starting to draw attention in fantasy circles. While teammate TE Jacob Tamme seems to get the yardage totals, Dreessen is getting the important red zone looks and touchdowns. He only has eight receptions in his last three games, but has managed to score a touchdown in each game. That nose for the end zone and a quarterback in Peyton Manning
TE D.J. Williams, Green Bay Packers â€“ You will want to monitor the status of TE Jermichael Finley, who injured his shoulder against the Colts, but if he is out or limited in any way, Williams will get the opportunity to build off of a strong preseason that left Finley mildly salty. The consummate team player went so far as to lessen Williamsâ€™ accomplishments in the preseason when someone intimated that Finley may be challenged for playing time. God forbid! Now bear in mind there are a lot of sets of hands downfield for the Packers, but the tight ends play a big role in their success so Williams could be worth the gamble.
TE Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts â€“ He is intertwined with fellow rookie TE Coby Fleener, but has been decidedly more productive as of late. Like most tight ends beyond the top four or five itâ€™ll be a crap shoot, but Allen should be monitored and could be a useful bye week starter.
Have a great week!
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