RotoWire Partners

NFL Barometer: 2008 NFL Barometer-Week 17

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

The Barometer

By Dalton Del Don
Staff Writer



Upgrades

Randy Moss - Moss had a huge game Sunday, catching eight balls for 125 yards with three scores. It was the first time he topped 65 receiving yards in a month, and the eight receptions were actually a season-high. The big news here is Matt Cassel's continued development, as he became the first quarterback since 2004 to post back-to-back 400-yard passing days with another impressive performance. Moss' numbers are obviously going to fall short of last season's epic campaign, but with the playbook opening up and Cassel suddenly becoming a prolific passer, Moss should finish the season strong.


Darren McFadden - McFadden's 10 carries for 38 yards Sunday weren't all that impressive, but he scored two touchdowns from the goal line and looks to finally be over his two turf toe injuries. Justin Fargas remains Oakland's starter, but McFadden will get more and more involved over the rest of the season, and since he's their best option at the goal line and can be an effective receiver out of the backfield, his value is on the rise. McFadden has got an impressive 4.9 YPC during his rookie season, so he can make a major impact if given the opportunity.


DeAngelo Williams - Williams has surpassed the century mark in rushing yards and scored at least one TD in each of the past four games, averaging a remarkable 6.8 YPC over that span. After once looking like a sell-high candidate locked into a timeshare, Williams has emerged as the clear workhorse in Carolina's backfield, running behind a revamped offensive line for a team with a run-first philosophy. Meanwhile, Jonathan Stewart was wearing a protective boot on his left foot after Sunday's loss. If the injury proves serious, Williams' value gets that much more of a boost.


Derrick Ward - Getting the start for an injured Brandon Jacobs (knee), Ward totaled 99 yards with a touchdown Sunday against the Cardinals. Ahmad Bradshaw, meanwhile, received just four touches. Ward has averaged an impressive 5.0 YPC this year while being extremely active in the passing game. Since the Giants currently have the most prolific running game in the history of the NFL, Ward would be extremely valuable if thrust into the starting role. Jacobs will probably return in Week 13, but it's also possible his knee injury proves troublesome for some time, as he's been quite injury-prone throughout his career.


Lance Moore - Moore caught fives passes for 115 yards with two touchdowns against a terrific Packers secondary Monday night, and despite Marques Colston's return to the lineup, Moore has averaged 95.8 receiving yards with five touchdowns over the past four games. He's essentially become the No. 1 receiver on a New Orleans team with the most productive passing attack in the NFL. Colston simply hasn't been the same receiver since returning from injury, and he was targeted just twice against Green Bay. Moore isn't flashy, but he's an excellent route-runner with great hands, so forget about the matchups, he's a must-start on a weekly basis.


Mewelde Moore - It's become clear that when Willie Parker (knee) is able to suit up, Moore is barely involved in the offense. However, Parker's knee injury continues to linger, and he didn't look good when leaving Week 12's game. Moreover, when Moore is thrust into the starting role, he's been nothing but productive, scoring five touchdowns in four starts and is always a big threat in the passing game. He's more than just insurance for Parker owners, as Moore could make a major impact over the final part of the season if Parker's knee injury persists.


Lorenzo Booker - With Correll Buckhalter expected to miss at least 2-to-4 weeks with a sprained MCL, Booker takes over as Philadelphia's No. 2 running back. Additionally, starter Brian Westbrook is currently dealing with painful knee and ankle injuries, something that he doesn't expect to go away until after the season. Westbrook is far from 100 percent, and the ankle continues to swell, so there's a distinct possibility he'll need to sit out games eventually. Booker has hardly impressed since joining the Eagles, so he's a rather unexciting option. Still, if given the majority of backfield touches in Philadelphia's system, there's some upside here. Westbrook owners need to grab him.


Dominic Rhodes - Joseph Addai has played much better of late, and Rhodes is clearly nothing more than a backup. Still, he's active in the passing game, and Indy would lean heavily on Rhodes if something were to happen to the injury-prone Addai. With an upcoming schedule featuring the Browns, Bengals, Lions and Jaguars, Rhodes has the potential to be a top-10 fantasy back if given the opportunity, so he needs to be stashed in all leagues.


Downgrades


Donovan McNabb - Over the last two games, McNabb has gotten just 5.2 YPA with a 1:7 TD:turnover ratio. In fact, he was so erratic last week, coach Andy Reid benched McNabb in favor of Kevin Kolb for the second half against the Ravens. McNabb is still the starter, but his 6.9 YPA mark on the season suggests he's nothing more than an average quarterback these days. His time in Philadelphia appears to be coming to an end.


Brady Quinn - After a solid debut as starter in Week 10, Quinn has gotten just 5.2 YPA with a 0:2 TD:INT ratio over the last two games. He's also completed only 40.7 percent of his passes over that span. There's time to develop, of course, but right now Quinn is terribly inaccurate and struggles with downfield throws. Additionally, he's dealing with an injured right index finger, which will only compound his problems with accuracy. He has some nice complementary weapons on Cleveland's offense and is still the team's starter, but Quinn has a long way to go before being viewed as anything more than a QB3 in fantasy leagues.


Bernard Berrian - After a one-catch, 16-yard performance against a poor Jacksonville secondary last week, Berrian has totaled just four receptions for 52 yards over the last three games. It's probably just a blip on the radar, and Minnesota's upcoming schedule is highly favorable for the passing game, as the Vikings face the Lions, Cardinals and Falcons during Weeks 14-16, which is fantasy crunch time.


Jamal Lewis - Lewis averaged 5.8 YPC during a tasty matchup at home against Houston last week, but that resulted in just 58 rushing yards, a fumble lost and no touchdowns. Lewis continues to complain about his teammates' passion and his role in the offense, but his season YPC (3.7) is a big problem, especially since he offers little in the passing game. Cleveland's poor defense and struggling passing attack limits Lewis' upside, as the running back has yet to reach even 90 rushing yards in a game this year. After leading the league in goal-line carries last season, Lewis' 39 red-zone rushes in 2008 are the fourth highest total in the league, but unfortunately, that's resulted in just four touchdowns.


Plaxico Burress - After missing practice last week with a hamstring injury, Burress lasted just one series before removing himself from Sunday's game, and he never returned. Burress was unsure if he'll be able to play this week, but until he proves otherwise, he simply can't be trusted. Injury aside, Burress hasn't reached 60 receiving yards since Week 2, and he's hauled in four catches or fewer in each of his past nine games, while the Giants clearly have proven their ability to win without him. He needs to get healthy fast to have any impact come fantasy playoff time.


LenDale White - White finished last week's game against the Jets with one carry for minus-one yard, later complaining about his lack of touches. His 11 touchdowns on the season are nice, but he's far too dependent on game situations and goal-line carries to be relied upon in fantasy leagues. White averages just 3.8 YPC, has only four receptions on the year and has officially taken a back seat to Chris Johnson when it comes to backfield duties during situations when the game's outcome is still in doubt. White could have a nice upcoming game against the Lions, but he simply doesn't see enough touches to matter in anything but TD-only leagues.


Roy Williams - Williams caught just three balls for 36 yards Sunday, in a game in which Tony Romo got 341 passing yards with three touchdowns. After averaging a disappointing 46.4 receiving yards over five games in a Detroit uniform, that number has dropped to 22.0 receiving yards in five games as a Cowboy. Only two of those have come with Romo at the helm, and Williams figures to improve the more comfortable he gets with the playbook, but with Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Marion Barber around, he's no more than the fourth option on offense, and he really isn't that special of a player to begin with.


Willie Parker - Parker is listed as questionable for Week 13, but at this point, fantasy owners can hardly feel comfortable starting him in crunch time with the lingering knee injury he keeps aggravating. He appears to be fully over his past shoulder problem but is currently dealing with knee inflammation, and it's something that figures to continue to persist. Continued rest should do Parker some good, because if he keeps trying to fight through it at less than 100 percent, Week 12 likely won't be the last game he has to exit prematurely.

Article first appeared 11/25/08