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NFL Barometer: 2006 NFL Barometer-Week 11

Michael Salfino

Michael Salfino

Michael Salfino writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

The Barometer

By Michael Salfino
RotoWire Staff Writer


Well, we lit a fire under Jeremy Shockey and Ben Roethlisberger last week. You want to say we lit one under LT, too? Read on to see what I think about his TD outburst.


UPGRADE

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: I guess the Chiefs cured his hangover. But I want to see another solid outing at Atlanta before I think about playing him.

Drew Brees, QB, Saints: Well deserving of an upgrade, but has a very tough schedule coming up (Baltimore, at Tampa Bay, at Pittsburgh). Until he gashes a good pass defense, he's still a mix-and-match QB.

L.J. Smith, TE, Eagles: Brian Westbrook (knee) is going to be iffy all year, and Smith will play a larger role when the Eagles look to control the ball with underneath passes.

Laveranues Coles, WR, Jets: He's an underrated player who has great chemistry with his QB, catching 66 percent of his 58 targets (the third highest target total in football).

Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals: Bet on Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) getting back later rather than sooner. Boldin was targeted 18 times Monday night with the Cardinals playing from ahead the whole game.

Todd Heap, TE, Ravens: The Ravens like to throw near paydirt (more pass than runs inside the 10), and Heap will continue to be the prime beneficiary. Heap is also the NFL's most targeted TE by a mile.

Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: St. Louis has had 44 plays inside the opponent's 10-yard line, the most even on a per-game basis. And only the Ravens are 10 passes within Bulger's 24 near paydirt.

Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals: Leinart came out of games against the Chiefs and Bears very nicely. It helped that he was at home, but you have to be impressed. If he builds on this and demolishes the Raiders on Sunday without Larry Fitzgerald, you likely have something good this year. His future, I've always been bullish about. I don't like his new offensive coordinator calling plays from the sideline. Coordinators really need to be upstairs where they can see more.

Travis Henry, RB, Titans: Very impressive against a Redskins defense that's still presumably solid. After all, Washington did shut down Tiki Barber. I don't know if it's Vince Young's running threat that's creating the holes (though Young hasn't been running much). LenDale White remains a threat to playing time, but Henry likely has at least the next few weeks to himself after this week's bye.

Curtis Martin, RB, Jets: He's on schedule to return in a few weeks. I know it's shocking, but if he's able to play, he likely will be given the bulk of the carries on a team with a dangerous passing game and improving offensive line. Forget what you've read here. There's virtually zero chance that a healthy Martin (and if he's active, he's healthy) will be behind Kevan Barlow and Leon Washington on the depth chart.

Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants: The two TDs were nice, but he was supposed to be more involved between the 20s. By the way, that was his first two-TD game ever. Given his reputation and big mouth, you'd think he'd have done that at least a few times already, no?


NO CHANGE

Chad Johnson, WR, Bengals: Only the Raiders have fewer than the nine plays the Bengals have snapped inside the opponent's 10. Johnson will get his usual allotment of passes once (if?) the Bengals protect better.

Chad Pennington, QB, Jets: The Jets need to reverse their red-zone playcalling tendencies for Pennington to continue his TD productivity. Most of his scoring strikes have come from much greater distances.

Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys: Yes, three TDs versus the pathetic Texans secondary. But only six passes were thrown his way. And he's not talking to his position coach.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: Least impressive four-TD game in fantasy football history? I'm sure there are others. Tomlinson hasn't averaged four yards per carry in even a single game since the opener at Oakland (and the Raiders hardly count). I'm speculating that he bitched and moaned about losing critical carries in Week 5 to Michael Turner, who was phased out Sunday even in pure garbage time (at least the entire fourth quarter).

Vince Young, QB, Titans: He's got to run a lot more successfully to have fantasy value in 2007. He might make a quantum leap after the bye (Texans at home). Grab him now just in case.


DOWNGRADE

Rex Grossman, QB, Bears: The Bears entered Monday night first in pass protection, with a sack every 32 attempts. Now, they're seventh. That was a total breakdown against the Cardinals (just 19th in sack percentage before the game). If Grossman doesn't get time to make those long-distance strikes, he's in trouble because he lacks the accuracy and patience to work underneath.

Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: He's not getting enough snaps to have value given that he's not getting any touches at all near the goal line. He still has a lot of currency given his college resume. I'd be cashing him in the first good chance I got.

Michael Turner, RB, Chargers: He's still a guy you want to own in case Tomlinson gets hurt (and any RB can get hurt on any snap). But that's not likely, and you can't think about playing him given one carry last week in a 30-point win.

Alge Crumpler, TE, Falcons: Man, does Michael Vick stink as a thrower. Fun fact: the Falcons have 45 completions this year.

Javon Walker, WR, Broncos: When did Jake Plummer turn into Trent Dilfer circa 2000? Around the time the Broncos defense turned into the 2000 Ravens, I guess.

Article first appeared 10/17/06