It's week four now, and about time to take inventory of the fantasy football fridge:
1. Any Fancy Bottled Water- Nice packaging, but you could have gotten a rack of Poland Spring for $4.99 at most major suburban supermarkets. Your fancy bottled water is Lee Evans. He entered this season as the 24th ranked wide-receiver according Yahoo! and 21st by ESPN. That's WR #2 range. Hmm. Why again? Evans didn't have a touchdown last season after week 7 and in five of the final eight games he played he had fewer than 41 yards receiving. The year before he surpassed four catches in only four games and had only two 100 yard receiving games.
T.O. was baited but didn't throw Buffalo's quarterbacks coach and playcaller Alex Van Pelt under the bus last Sunday when asked if he and Lee Evans were being "wasted" because Buffalo hasn't attempted many deep balls. I'm preaching to the choir at this point because Lee Evans owners are surely disgruntled with Evans' 8 catches for 88 yards so far (and one TD). If you have him, I urge you to trade him after he has a decent outing. I still can't figure out why anyone would pay $3 for a bottle of Fiji water when it's just a squarish container with some pretty colors on it. But what do I know.
2. Eggs- the connection here is versatility. Eggs can do anything. You can make them sunny side up or scrambled, throw them at someone, put them on an english muffin, and use them to bake a cake. Apparently, Desean Jackson can do everything too. He returns punts, catches the deep ball and has been used as a rusher too. He was probably drafted in most leagues as a number two or three WR, but he's taking 12 catches and 259 yards and two receiving touchdowns, one punt return touchdown and 48 rushing yards into his bye week. Is he overperforming? Maybe. But he should continue to get plenty of targets; Philadelphia doesn't exactly have a complement of seasoned wide receivers with Jason Avant as the only other wide receiver with 10+ catches so far (tight end Brent Celek has 22). I wouldn't sell unless you're getting some solid groceries back.
3. One Pound of Deli Turkey- It always goes bad in the end, doesn't it? The first sandwich is awesome, the second sandwich is awesome, and inevitably it starts to smell a little off but you eat it anyways (read: I eat it anyways). But once once you get down to the tattered slices at the end, it's flat out inedible. The metaphor here is more for his career as a whole, or perhaps his playoff swoons. I'm talking about arguably the most prolific fantasy performer of all time: LaDainian Tomlinson.
Could this be it? He's a classy guy with an occasional sensitive streak and a resume robust with touchdowns. But so far this season, back-up or time-sharer Darren Sproles has undeniably been the more productive back. Tomlinson used to pile up yards by beating defenders to the corner and sprinting up the sideline, but now he's already sat out one week with an injured ankle, so it's fair to question if he will still have the same speed and ability to cut. I suggested to LDT owners after week 2 to get Sproles as a handcuff, but if Sproles is the one performing now, he's not really a handcuff anymore (note that Sproles has accumulated most of his points in the receiving game). Maybe attempt the "reverse-handcuff" (or the double-secret handcuff?) and trade Tomlinson to the Sproles owner to rid yourself of the injury concern. You might just have to hope for the best at this point. But those first two sandwiches were great, weren't they?
4. Pears- Simply put, pears are delicious. A good pear will satisfy almost every time. Yes, almost every time. Because there's one major caveat when shopping for produce and in particular for a pear: they're often dented. That's Brian Westbrook. He's been a fixture on injury report throughout his career and will sit at least a couple times every year. But the results speak for themselves. Like Tomlinson, Westbrook sat out last week with an ankle injury. And, like Tomlinson, his backup LeSean McCoy filled in handily with 20 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown, and might have earned himself 10+ touches in a timeshare going forward. If I owned Westbrook, I would try to get McCoy in a 2 for 2 deal. I guess this would make McCoy a baby pear. Those are real things, I think (just checked-- they are).
5. Beef Jerkey- Beef jerkey is really expensive. I'm not talking about delicious, individually wrapped Slim Jims, but the bags of beef jerkey that will run you about seven dollars a bag. Is dried beef really that expensive to make? Maybe. But in any event, it's too expensive. Your fantasy football equivalent? Mr. Reggie Bush. Bush was drafted very high in most fantasy drafts his rookie season in 2006 and to a lesser extent in the two years that followed. Based on the drafts I participated in this year, people wised up and stopped picking him so high. He's more of a slot-receiver than a running back, as the Saints have used another back to run the ball beginning with Deuce McAllister and now Pierre Thomas or Mike Bell. Nonetheless, Bush is a decent flex play, just know that he's not more than that right now.
6. Macaroni and Cheese - Impossible to screw up and delicious every time. Unless it's 2 a.m. and you try to make it homemade with boiled, shredded Mexican-blend cheese and standard linguini. I've tried and it was disgusting. But I digress. Adrian Peterson is macaroni and cheese. Flat out awesome. Every. Single. Time. His nickname "Purple Jesus" even rhymes with it, sort of. Macaroni and cheesus? Moving on.
7. Peanut Butter - Relatively inexpensive, solid, and you know what you're going to get every time. That's Hines Ward. He was ranked 23 among wide receivers by ESPN before the season and 21 according to Yahoo. So far Ward has delivered again with 18 catches and 242 yards to date. He's a great possession receiver that doesn't have that many blockbuster games, but he rarely drops an egg. He's only missed six games in a 12 year career too. I think he's underrated every year in part because of the false notion perpetuated by TV analysts that "Steelers football" is a running attack. Well, they pass too now! So if you got him, enjoy, and if you don't, go get him if you need a consistent possession guy.
8. Spoiled Lettuce - I don't know why they make a "crisper" bin in most fridges. Do things really stay fresher there? If so, how does it work? These aren't rhetorical questions, I really have no idea because in my fridge the crisper is where lettuce goes to die. Yet every time I go shopping, I pick up a bag or a head of lettuce and eventually deliver it to its resting place. The football lettuce that rots and stinks this year is Jamal Lewis. Ranked in the preseason as the 31st and 32nd overall running back by Yahoo an ESPN, he did rush for over 1000 yards last year. But this is this year and the Browns are a developing a new brand of pathetic. I've got Lewis on one team and every time I look at him on my roster, like the spoiled lettuce, I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I took him. Good luck selling.
9. Ramen Noodles- College students aside, I don't know anyone who really sets out to buy Ramen Noodles. I think they just appear in the back of everyone's pantries. But when all hope is lost and there's nothing else left, there's Ramen Noodles. The 2009 Bengal's version of Cedric Benson is Ramen Noodles. Long labeled a bust and cast away from the Bears, he's got 293 yards rushing already, in Cincinnati of all places! And it's hard to call it a fluke when he accumulated those yards against three above-average defenses (Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Denver). If there's an opportunity to buy, I would buy.
I've about exhausted my word limit, so I will return next week with a couple of roster decisions from my own teams and spend less time discussing the contents of my fridge. Good luck this week. OK, one more:
10. Spoiled Milk- Bitter, and everyone wants him out of there. Eric Mangini?
Check back in here every Friday around lunchtime where Brett Smiley will fill you in on everything in the world of sports and fantasy sports from the bizarre to the practical to the relatively unimportant.