Here I was all ready to update you guys about my disastrous fantasy playoff week 1 performances, but then this news just happened.
Coach Tom Cable said Charlie Frye, not JaMarcus “The Turnover” Russell will start at QB for Oakland on Sunday.
Now, Frye is no Tom Brady. Heck, he’s probably not even as good as Matt Moore. But he’s definitely better than Russell.
So, should you plug every Raider you got into your starting lineup? No. Never.
But Darren McFadden, who the team used out wide and racked up 100 total yards last week, could be in your plans. Maybe Frye hooks up with Louis Murphy or Chaz Schilens for a score against Denver too. Check your waiver wire.
There are a couple other things we should discuss, let’s get to it:
Bruce Gradkowski – The Raiders need to shut the QB down. Maybe he won’t lead them to a championship, but he played like a savior the last few weeks. He’s got a torn MCL in one knee and a partial tear in the same ligament in the other knee. Please, Oakland, save him for next year, even if he ends up being the veteran-in-front-of-the-top-draft-pick guy.
Brian Westbrook – Word is he could be back in Week 15. When you’re talking concussion, you shouldn’t take chances. He should probably be shut down too. It’s not what fantasy owners want to hear, but the Eagles seem to be doing well enough without him for now. No sense taking chances.
LeSean McCoy – Had a text conversation with Jay-Mo, a regular here as Chinstrap Ninjas commenter and contributor. He’s calling out McCoy as 2010’s Ray Rice. I’m not completely sold, but compare McCoy’s averages in limited time this year with Rice’s averages in limited time last year and you can easily make the comparison.
Dwayne Bowe – He’s back from suspension this week. And he’s playing the Browns. Check your waiver wire in case some impatient owner dropped him to pick up Devin Aromashodu. In the one league I have him in, an ESPN league, I saw that second week of playoffs matchup and decided there was no way I was going to drop him.
Randy Moss – He gave up on a team before, but that was because it was in Oakland and the team sucked. If he’s giving up because Wes Welker’s getting the lion’s share of catches, Moss isn’t going to change things by not doing his job when he’s called on.
Kurt Warner – JaMarcus Russell could have done that.
Larry Fitzgerald – Warner’s inability to get Fitz the ball cost me, and probably plenty of other fantasy footballers, playoff victory. More importantly, especially for those of you who advanced, the MRI on Fitz’s knee was negative.
Vince Young – His status is uncertain, which stinks because VY was awesome in a half last week, thanks in part to the 44-yard run that injured him. If Young does play, he’ll be alright, but he’ll be running with a spare tire on one side. That would keep him well under 55 miles and hour.
Mike Hart and Donald Brown – In our Monday update, I said not to get too excited about Hart. But I’m taking that back now. The unbeaten Colts are going to start thinking about resting starters, including Joseph Addai. That means Hart will be the primary backup until Brown returns. Brown could be back this week, but either of these guys could help you in your semifinals and finals.
Ray Rice – Relax, his chest injury was not serious. He’ll be fine this week.
Devin Thomas – Jim Zorn said on his radio show that they want to get Thomas more interested. We’ve been plugging him for a little while here at Chinstrap Ninjas, and I even posted something about his potential way back when he was drafted. He’ll likely return punts this week.
Kevin Smith – The Lions running back was placed on IR. I can’t speak for the rest of the Ninjas, but I haven’t been playing him much in the two ESPN leagues that I have him in anyway.
Arian Foster – I told you I wasn’t excited about Ryan Moats or Chris Brown, two other Houston running backs, in our Monday update. The thing is, Houston plays the Rams this week. Moats was benched because he couldn’t hold onto the ball. Foster was decent – more effective in the passing game, actually – and could see more action this week. He’s not a must-get, but he could help some needy teams this week.
Because many of you are already looking ahead to next year – damn you, Brandon Marshall! – I’ve got some words about three 2010 draft picks:
Arrelious Benn – The Illinois receiver is expected to declare for the draft today. He’ll be among the top three WRs taken, unless the Raiders pick a WR ahead of him. They’ll shock everyone and take some guy from Maryland who can’t catch the ball.
Jake Locker – Many experts had Locker pegged as the most NFL-ready QB in college football. Fantasy footballers will have to wait until 2011 though, because he’s going back to Washington.
Mark Ingram – Won the Heisman. That’s a very prestigious award and the Alabama back should be proud. But despite Heisman winners’ dominance in the college game, their talent sometimes gets lost in the NFL. Ron Dayne, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Jason White and Troy Smith all won Heismans in the last 10 years. That said, Ingram will likely be one of the most-coveted rookies in 2011 fantasy drafts.
UPDATE: As pointed out by SockoNFL in the comments, Ingram is a true sophomore and ineligible for the NFL draft. Must have been wishful thinking on my part, after Clemson’s C.J. Spiller and California’s Jahvid Best, the other good backs seem rather Reggie Bush-esque, and by that I mean ready to disappoint everyone.
So, what do you think? Is Frye better than Russell? Are you playing Arian Foster in the semifinals this week? Targeting Benn in 2010? Let us know in the comments.