Hits and Misses – Week 9: Brandon Marshall ready to hand out tricks and treats

To all of our devoted readers (and those who just stopped by for their first time), Happy Halloween! Make sure to go out and get some good candy (not the crappy kind that you hated getting as a kid!) to pass out to the kids tonight…or risk having to clean up toilet paper and shaving cream up in the morning.

Anyways, last week something relatively new happened in the world of FFGeekBlog hits and misses, which was that for the first time of the season, my feature pick did not completely bomb…nor did he do extremely well. For week eight, I recommended that you start Jets running back Thomas Jones at all costs against a Swiss-cheese style Kansas City run defense. If you took my advice, you probably don’t completely hate me…but you’re most likely not making up nicknames for me that include the words “genius”, “psychic” or “super awesome.” Against the Chiefs, Thomas Jones managed a mere 54 yards on the ground and also scored a touchdown, so while his fantasy stats weren’t something to cry about, they also weren’t something to warrant cover space on the revered Hits and Misses column.

After the dust settled though, even with Thomas Jones earning a “push” rating for the week (and J.T. O’Sullivan playing so badly that he lost the starting gig!), I still finished with a solid 16-4-5 (hits-misses-pushes) record, riding upon the shoulders of huge games from Drew Brees, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, along with predictable stinkers from the Colts star receivers. This week I’ll try to continue my trend of solid picks, so here we go…

Hits

  • Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos: While Marshall’s numbers may have “dropped off” over the past few weeks (only 18 receptions for 200 yards in the last three games), it’s not because quarterback Jay Cutler was not looking his way. Brandon continues to get more looks than almost any other receiver in the league (possibly the most) and this week, following the bye, playing at home, against a fairly bad Dolphins secondary, I expect a huge performance from my doppelganger (in name only.) Cutler will have a big day, but I think it’s Marshall who reaps the most rewards as he hands out tricks to the Dolphins and treats to the fans.
  • Chad Pennington, QB, Dolphins: Under the radar, Pennington has become one of the better fantasy football backups in the league with somewhere in the ballpark of 280 yards per game and five touchdowns over his past four games.  He should see that trend continue as he plays a bad Broncos defense this weekend that has just two interceptions all season. For a careful quarterback like Chad, that means there is very little chance of mistakes, and most likely better numbers than the quarterbacks on my “Misses” list.
  • Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles: The Seahawks (245 ypg, 11 TD, 2 INT) are only slightly better against the pass than the Lions, but luckily McNabb is slightly better than Kyle Orton (or at least he’s supposed to be!) With Kevin Curtis back in action, expect some big numbers from McNabb the rest of the way.
  • Earnest Graham, RB, Buccaneers: While Thomas Jones and the lowly offensive line of the Jets couldn’t get it done against the Chiefs wet-paper-bag defense, I have a feeling that Graham could be a bit different. Don’t expect Titans-esque running back stats from Tampa Bay, but 100 yards and a score should be nearly a lock at home against a team allowing nearly 200 yards per game (5.6 ypc) via the run, while giving up 14 touchdowns this season.
  • Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals: Edgerrin James has admitted that this is a pass-first team (something that fantasy owners probably realized a lot sooner than week 9), this week will definitely be more of the same. Kurt Warner should have a field day against a Rams defense that is ranked 26th in the league against the pass. You’re already starting Fitzgerald and Boldin, but this might be a week to sneak Steve Breaston into your WR3 spot as well.
  • Kyle Orton, QB, Bears: Well, he’s a quarterback against Lions, so I think it’s almost mandatory that I put him on the hits list this week. Detroit has allowed nearly 260 yards a game through the air and only has one interception all season compared to 12 touchdowns. This years version of Derek Anderson should have a big game.
  • Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: Turner has been bad against good defenses, but really good against bad ones…so if you were expecting “The Burner” to make an appearance this weekend, you should be in luck! Oakland has given up 11 touchdowns this season on the ground and is allowing 144 yards per game. Numbers to the tune of 125 yards and a score seem reasonable to me.
  • Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins: While Denver is a little better than the Chiefs against the run, they are still one of the worst in the league, surrendering 155 yards per game and giving up over a touchdown a game to opposing tailbacks. The only worry here is if Miami gives Ricky Williams too many carries, but I’m still confident that Brown will get it done.
  • More: Jay Cutler, QB, Broncos (vs MIA); Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions (@ CHI); Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals (@ STL); Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals (@ STL); Matt Forte, RB, Bears (vs DET)

Misses

  • Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: While I almost automatically give a quarterback playing the Lions a “hit” designation, the opposite can be said for one playing the Titans. Tennessee has allowed 185 yards per game to quarterbacks, while only allowing three touchdowns versus 12 interceptions! Considering this is also a home game for the Titans, Rodgers could be in for a long afternoon.
  • Derek Anderson, QB, Browns: I think we’ve gotten to a point in the season where you pretty much know that Anderson isn’t going to morph back into his last year self. This is not good news for fantasy managers, as he gets to play the Baltimore Ravens this weekend, a team that is allowing under 180 yards passing per game.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns: With Anderson struggling, I can’t imagine that Braylon Edwards is going to have a break out day (he’s only had one good game all season long!) While it’s hard to stomach, I’m actually benching Edwards this week in a league of mine for the likes of Calvin Johnson, Laveranues Coles and Donnie Avery (his upside is just too good to pass on at this point!)
  • Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins: While Portis might be the best running back in the league right now, he might be in for more “tricks” than “treats” this weekend. The Steelers, same as the Ravens, are allowing just 2.8 yards per carry and have only given up three touchdowns to running backs this year. While he’ll still get the ball a ton of times, I don’t expect a signature Clinton Portis performance this weekend. (By the way, I realize that you’re most likely starting him no matter what anyone tells you at this point…and I can’t really blame you!)
  • Jamal Lewis, RB, Browns: In what I assume will be a low scoring affair, Lewis will get plenty of chances to test the Ravens defense…but I’m expecting little success. The Ravens are the top ranked defense against the run, allowing a meager 2.8 yards per carry on 64 yards per game. They’ve also only given up one rushing touchdown all season long. You think Lewis will be the second? I don’t.
  • Matt Cassel, QB, Patriots: While Cassel has been showing that he has what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL the past few weeks, you have to remember that those decent performances were against the likes of the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams…not exactly defensive powerhouses! This week the Patriots play a Colts team at home that is allowing less than 180 yards through the air per game and has only surrendered two touchdowns all season to the pass.
  • Randy Moss, WR, Patriots: At this stage in his development, Cassel isn’t ready to utilize Randy Moss properly yet on a consistent basis. The Patriots quarterback will be dumping it off to Wes Welker all afternoon, trying to avoid the pressure from Dwight Freeney, so don’t expect a whole lot from Moss in this one.
  • Willie Parker / Mewelde Moore, RB, Steelers: It looks like Willie Parker, who practiced in full on Thursday, might be good to go on Monday night, but he might want to look at the schedule and take one more day off. The Redskins are allowing just 84 yards per game to running backs and have only given up a touchdown on the ground about once every two games. Considering that Mewelde Moore played well in his absence, I expect to see a timeshare if they both play, which won’t be good for either of their fantasy stats.
  • Others: Kolby Smith, RB, Chiefs (vs TB); Brad Johnson, QB, Cowboys (@ NYG); Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins (vs PIT); Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills (vs NYJ)

Last Week: 16-4-5
Total: 81-35-30