This week, the mailbag shall provide the weekly dosage of fantasy football wisdom you desire just as much as a crave case from White Castle.
Q: Who is your biggest sleeper wide receiver pick up for week nine?
A: That is an interesting question. For the rest of the season, I would add Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown as a long-term guy.
Brown had a team-high nine receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. This is encouraging, as Pittsburgh is fifth in the league in passes attempted. Hines Ward is finally starting to show his age, leaving the window ajar for someone to emerge as the team’s second wide receiver behind Mike Wallace.
For a one-week addition to your squad, I would suggest wide receiver Danario Alexander of the St. Louis Rams, if he plays—he was inactive last week due to a hamstring injury. If not, teammate and fellow wide receiver Brandon Gibson should provide solid numbers as well.
The Arizona Cardinals have struggled against the pass this year, ranking 30th in pass yards allowed. These guys are relatively unknown, so if you are in a pinch at WR this week, look for one of these options.
Q: The Eagles shut down the Dallas Cowboys last week. What are your expectations for Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte this week against the Philadelphia Eagles?
A: I still expect Forte to have a huge game. Last week, the dismantling of the Cowboys occurred because they fell behind early, falling into the strengths of Philly’s pass defense. Despite this, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray still managed 74 yards on just eight carries.
The Bears, coming off a bye week, make Forte the centerpiece of their offense no matter the game. I expect Forte to gain 130 total yards and a touchdown on Monday night.
Q: I was just offered [Atlanta Falcons running back] Michael Turner for [Eagles wide receiver] Desean Jackson. Should I accept the trade?
A: I realize the NFL is transforming into an aerial assault league on par with action scenes in a Michael Bay movie. The workhorse running back is becoming a dying breed. Jackson is essentially a boom or bust type of player, equally capable of dropping 30 points in a week as he is to lay a goose egg. Turner is guaranteed the work in the backfield, whereas Jackson is no sure thing to consistently produce.
Q: I’m in the playoff hunt but have not yet secured a spot yet. What can I do to push into the playoffs?
A: My best advice is to look at every week from here on out as a must-win week. Identify the best players on your team that you cannot do without and make everyone else on your team available on the trade block.
If one of your better players has a bye week and you do not have enough depth, trade him away. You might take a small hit in value, but you have to win every week from here on out. Besides, towards the end of the season, some of the best players sit the bench to rest up for the playoffs. In fantasy football, there is no rest for the playoff: it is a cut-throat game.