- The Season's Over -

ETB’s NFL Week 13 Crystal Ball

November 30, 2007

We’re all about the ballsy predictions here at ETB. We’re always analyzing and second-guessing other “expert” picks, but we’ll put our balls on the table, too. Crystal balls. You can look at them, but you most definitely cannot touch them. Look with your eyes, not with your hands. Only we can harness the power of these magical balls. In the days leading up to Sunday’s NFL action, we both gaze into the void, transcend this earthly plane, feel the force and post the daring predictions that present themselves.

They’re probably all going to come true, but one or two of them may not. You had better believe we’ll be bragging about them when we nail it. Repeatedly. In your fat, supple face. And if/when we miss, it’ll be like it never happened. You’ll forget about it. Hey, look at me–you will forget about our misses.

It’s the latest edition of ETB’s NFL Crystal Ball, where we never pull a Homer Simpson.

Andrew’s Predictions:

Selvin Young and Travis Henry

1. Adrian ‘Purple Jesus’ Peterson is going to be limited in his return this week, likely registering 15 or fewer touches. He still manages to earn his keep for fantasy owners, doing his best Barry Sanders impersonation against Detroit in the Metrodome: 110 total yards and a score.

2. Selvin Young says that he’s ready to go full bore this week. Travis Henry is still doing his best Bo and Luke Duke impression by avoiding the long arm of the law for yet another week. Henry also says that his PCL is good to go. None of it matters. whichever Denver running back you start this week, it will be the wrong one. And if you start both, Cecil Sapp will score. You will wake up in the middle of the night on Monday cursing Mike Shanahan’s name.

3. In his three career games against Tampa Bay Reggie Bush has 30 rushing attempts for a grand total of 0 TDs and 45 rushing yards (1.5 YPC). He does, however, have 21 receptions for 128 yards in those games. Those in non-PPR leagues should consider leaving Bush on the bench because he’s going to finish with 15 rushes for 35 yards and 6 receptions for 40 yards with 0 TDs.

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2 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Nov. 30, 2007 at 10:46am in NFL

Fantasy Football: Week 13 Cheat Sheet

November 29, 2007

Plugging in your studs at RB, QB, and WR is easy. Filling in the extremities of your roster every week is not. We agonize over these decisions until 5 minutes before kickoff, then kick ourselves about the guys we started 10 minutes after kickoff. We’re talking about the WR/TE Flex and WR/RB Flex plays, and they’re a bitch.

Our Position Rankings now include more running backs and wide receivers, so you can now refer to those ranks for your WR3 and RB2 options. From here on out, ETB’s Cheat Sheet only focuses on those crucial flex-spot ranks.

It’s time to get wild and ka-ra-zee with ETB’s Week 13 Fantasy Cheat Sheet.

Week 13 Cheat Sheet Rankings

 AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Week 13 WR/TE Flex Plays

1. Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson, Detroit @ MIN
2. Greg Olsen, Chicago vs. NYG
3. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City vs. SD
4. Bernard Berrian, Chicago vs. NYG
5. Tony Scheffler, Denver @ OAK
6. Chris Henry, Cincinnati @ PIT
7. Shaun McDonald, Detroit @ MIN
8. Reggie Brown, Philadelphia vs. SEA
9. LJ Smith, Philadelphia vs. SEA
10. Isaac Bruce, St. Louis @ ATL

Fortune Cookies: As you’ll see in this week’s Crystal Ball, at least one of us feels that Megatron Johnson is in for a big game against a Viqueens secondary giving up more passing yardage/per (283) than anyone in the NFL… A few dropped passes didn’t help his cause in the battle for snaps with incumbent starter Desmond Clark, but his 1 catch for 10 yards effort will prove to be a blip on rookie TE Greg Olsen’s radar. Expect a fine bounceback game, something like 5 catches for 55 yards and a possible score… With a few strong games, the third rookie in our Cheat Sheet, WR Dwayne Bowe, has a very good chance to top 1,000 yards receiving in his first professional season. He exploded against the ‘Bolts back in Week 4 for 8 catches, 164 yards, and 1 TD… Rex Grossman’s favorite downfield target, Bernard Berrian, has scored in two of the past three games. Coming off a disappointing effort, yardage-wise, last week against Denver (3 catches, 24 yards, 1 TD), Berrian is thrilled not to see Champ Bailey lining up across from him… Real nice game last week for Tony Scheffler against the Bears: 5 catches, 82 yards, 1 TD. The Raiders are giving up mad points at the moment, and we see another short touchdown catch this week for the big TE… You never know when Chris Henry will have one of those multi-score games. Will it happen this week? Probably not considering the opponent, but here’s what he did in two games against the Steelers last season: 9 receptions, 193 yards, 3 TDs… With 53 catches for 650 yards and 4 TDs, Shaun McDonald has developed into one of the league’s better slot receivers. He caught 7 passes for 71 yards in Week 2 against the Vikings… We won’t lie–we’re very disappointed in Reggie Brown. He’s getting redzone looks, though, and his only two TDs on the season have come in the past three weeks… Another member of the Iggles in the midst of an underwhelming campaign, L.J. Smith, has hovered right around 4 catches and 50 yards/per for the past three weeks… Old man Isaac Bruce isn’t on the Rams’ injury report this week for the first time since the turn of the century, and draws a pretty awful Falcons’ pass defense a week after recording 6 catches for 63 yards and a score. It’s probably Gus Frerotte behind center, though.

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Nov. 29, 2007 at 1:30pm in NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football: Week 13 Position Ranks

November 28, 2007

Cowboys vs. Packers Game Huge; Kids are Stupid

It’s Week 13 of the NFL season. For most of you, there are only two weeks left in the fantasy regular season and time is running painfully short. For others, this is the last week of the season and your last chance to secure a playoff spot or playoff bye. Make a mistake on who to start this week and your decision will weigh heavily on your conscience over the next nine whiskey-soaked months. Choose correctly, and you live to talk trash another day. Fortunately, ETB’s Week 13 Position Ranks are just in time, listing our top 20 QBs, 30 RBs, 36 WRs, 15 TEs, and 15 Team Defenses based on past performance, injuries, bye weeks, and matchups.

Be sure to have your Cowboys and Packers queued up in time for this Thursday’s football match on NFL Network. The black crow flies at midnight. Godspeed.

More Free Fantasy Advice for Week 13:

- ETB’s Week 13 Stock Report

- ETB’s Week 13 Matchups

- ETB’s Week 13 Cheat Sheet

Fantasy Week 13: Top 20 Quarterbacks

Wayne Brady's Younger Brother

1. Tom Brady, New England @ BAL
2. Tony Romo, Dallas vs. GB
3. Brett Favre, Green Bay @ DAL
4. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. CIN
5. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. JAX
6. Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. TB
7. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle @ PHI
8. Derek Anderson, Cleveland @ ARZ
9. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati @ PIT
10. Kurt Warner, Arizona vs. CLE
11. Jon Kitna, Detroit @ MIN
12. Matt Schaub, Houston @ TEN
13. Eli Manning, New York Giants @ CHI
14. Jay Cutler, Denver @ OAK
15. Jason Campbell, Washington vs. BUF
16. Luke McCown, Tampa Bay @ NO
17. Philip Rivers, San Diego @ KC
18. David Garrard, Jacksonville @ IND
19. A.J. Feeley, Philadelphia vs. SEA (Check McNabb’s Status)
20. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota vs. DET

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Nov. 28, 2007 at 3:02pm in Fantasy Rankings

Fantasy Football: Week 13 Matchups

November 28, 2007

Derek Anderson

It’s Week 13 of the NFL season, which means it’s hero time. Like Mr. Bennett hero time. You embarked on a long, grueling march to get here over three months ago, and now’s the time to seal the deal and get your ass in the fantasy playoffs. Yes, you need our breakdowns of a few key fantasy matchups at all the positions that matter (kickers are for the birds). For each roster spot we’ve listed Five Strong Plays, a few players to Temper Your Expectations for, one Sneaky Play of the Week, and one Dud of the Week.

As always, these are not necessarily the guys we think will score the most points or score the least points: there will always be obvious situations and choices we dismiss. These also aren’t all sneaky plays. These are just the matchups that we think deserve mention*.

Looking for signs of life in Providence, Rhode Island, it’s ETB’s Week 13 Fantasy Football Matchups.

Five Strong Quarterback Plays

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. CIN
Matt Schaub, Houston @ TEN
Derek Anderson, Cleveland @ ARZ
Jon Kitna, Detroit @ MIN
Brett Favre, Green Bay @ DAL

Fortune Cookies: The monsoon Monday night in Pittsburgh made for one of the NFL’s lowest-scoring, most boring broadcasts ever, and was a bigger factor in limiting Ben Roethlisberger than the Miami defense was. Assuming the rains move out and the grounds crew figures out how to fix that field, Big Ben should rebound nicely against Cincy’s poor pass defense… The Texans have no running game to speak of, which should mean 35+ pass attempts for Matt Schaub, who has Andre Johnson back at full strength and has thrown 2 TD passes in each of the last two games; make it three straight against Tennessee’s faltering, Haynesworth-less defense… Arizona’s secondary is far from the laughingstock it has traditionally been, but broke down last week against Trent Dilfer of all people, who threw for over 250 yards and 2 TDs. The strong-armed Derek Anderson has many, many more weapons than Dilfer (not to mention considerably less girth), and should be good for 2-3 TD passes… The turnovers and sacks are always a concern, but we’re assuming the Vikings’ top-rated rush defense shuts down Kevin Jones and forces Jon Kitna to throw 40+ times for the fourth straight week. Honestly, you never know if you’re going to get the good or the bad Kitna, but no one allows more passing yards/per (283) than Minny… Only Tom Brady is having a better season than Brett Favre, who has seen his legend reach new stratospheric heights in the midst of leading his team to a 10-1 record. He’s an all-time great in one of the best seasons of his career. In what should be a high-scoring affair in Dallas, expect nothing less than 300 yards and 2 TDs from John Madden’s muse.

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3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Nov. 28, 2007 at 12:34pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football: Week 13 Stock Report

November 26, 2007

Photo Credit: JONATHAN DANIEL/AFP/Getty Images It’s do or die time–don’t choke now. There’s only one or two more weeks until the advent of this season’s fantasy football playoffs, so you best be double- and triple-checking your roster, making the appropriate adds and drops, and looking ahead at your matchups in Weeks 14-16. ETB’s weekly Stock Report is here to make this stressful time of the season oh so much easier for you.

Read on for updates on the latest gridiron heroes and zeroes from Week 12; we suggest cherishing every single word as the Stock Report is becoming increasingly close to going the way of the Dodo, at least for this season. We have a game on Saturday with loads o’ fantasy implications–Green Bay at Dallas–so make sure you set your roster accordingly.

And hey, don’t be a turd–even if your team has been eliminated from the playoffs, keep up with your roster until the very end. You owe it to the rest of your league. Yes, you.

Big Gainers:

Kolby Smith, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: We’re kicking off this week’s edition of the Stock Report with three backup running backs who were administered big booster shots of fantasy relevance on Sunday. The first is Smith, a rookie out of Louisville whom Andrew pegged as one of this year’s Waiver Wire Revelations all the way back in August. (At the risk of over-padding his swelling ego, I might also mention that Peterson, below, was his other pick.) While it’s probably too late for Smith to be considered a top-10 waiver gem, anyone who started him this week in light of Priest Holmes’ long-overdue retirement are certainly singing his praises. The Raiders rush defense is just pitiful, but no matter who the opponent is it takes more than chopped liver to rush for 150 yards, 2 TDs, and a healthy 4.8 YPC. Smith should clearly be owned in all leagues and is a solid flex-play as long as Larry Johnson is out nursing his foot injury.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Chicago Bears: After begging to see the original AP in full-time duty for about, oh, two months now, a possible season-ending ankle injury to incumbent plodder starter Cedric Benson will finally grant our wish. Peterson didn’t exactly set the world on fire after taking over against Denver in the team’s 37-34 overtime victory, rushing 17 times for 45 yards for 1 TD, but his pass-catching ability out of the backfield (5 receptions, 41 yards) and superior speed should make him a more viable fantasy commodity than Benson has been. The Bears have some tough fantasy playoffs matchups (@ MIN and vs. GB in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively), but Peterson should be a decent flex-play option for owners strapped for depth.

Andre Hall, RB, Denver Broncos: When veteran Travis Henry was named Denver’s starting back heading into the ’07 season, many feared we’d be “cheated” out of Mike Shanahan’s near-annual ritual of unearthing some no-name RB and elevating him to fantasy stud status. Various issues with Henry have changed all that, with Selvin Young becoming the first undrafted rookie to make a splash, and now Andre Hall the second. The 5-10 rookie from South Florida earned his first career start on Sunday with Young inactive, and responded well on the road with 26 carries for 98 yards, 2 catches for 69, and 1 TD. It’s too early in the week to tell if Young will be back for this week’s juicy matchup against the Raiders, but if he’s out Hall becomes a must start. **UPDATE** Shanahan has confirmed that Hall suffered a high-ankle sprain on Sunday, which will likely put him on the shelf for at least this Sunday. If Young and/or Henry is not available either, Cecil Sapp will likely carry the load.

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1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Nov. 26, 2007 at 5:18pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

ETB’s NFL Week 12 Hangover

November 26, 2007

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

We hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving weekend. After a few days off, Empty the Bench now resumes our regularly scheduled content…

- For the first time this season, a New England Patriots game requires something more than glib, sarcastic comments about their utter supremacy. They’re still the class of the NFL beyond a shadow of a doubt, but the Pats finally looked beatable last night. Philadelphia came into Foxboro as 24-point underdogs, the largest spread for a non-expansion team in NFL history. The Eagles were missing franchise QB Donovan McNabb, and nobody in their right mind thought they had a chance.

McNabb’s replacement, A.J. Feeley, filled in admirably. He threw for 345 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs. Unfortunately, the performance was bookended by two egregious picks, the first returned for a TD and the last in the endzone to seal the Eagles’ fate. Still, as John Madden mentioned a few times, Philly provided a blueprint for future opponents of the previously invulnerable Pats. On offense, they proved that the New England secondary can be thrown on, especially over the middle. On the other side of the ball, Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson designed a number of clever blitzes and pressures that put defenders in Tom Brady’s face all day, showing that he actually can be rattled and hurried. They also doubled Randy Moss all day and showed that, while Wes Welker had 13 receptions, when Moss is out of the picture the Patriots offense looks significantly less dynamic.

New England draws the Ravens this week and should eat up their secondary, but that game against the Steelers in two weeks will be much more interesting now that there is a viable game plan for the Pats. Greg Lewis came out of nowhere to catch 2 TDs in this one, but don’t rush to add him, it was a fluke.

- You should, however, rush to add the original Adrian Peterson. In the middle of his second consecutive strong performance Cedric Benson went down with a leg injury and was carted off the field. The Chicago Sun Times reported today that Benson will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Peterson should already have been owned in most leagues while outplaying Benson, and is now a borderline RB2 for the remainder of the season. Peterson managed 45 yards rushing, 1 TD and 5 receptions for 41 yards in place of Benson. Those in PPR leagues should be licking their chops because Peterson is an excellent receiver and will be looked to often in the struggling Bears passing attack.

- The other significant RB news of the day was the performance of Kansas City rookie Kolby Smith. Smith entered the game with just 10 rushing attempts on the season, but blew up for 150 yards rushing and 2 TDs on 31 carries. With Priest Holmes retired and Larry Johnson likely done for the year, Smith figures to get the bulk of the carries for run-heavy Kansas City the rest of the season. Let’s keep in mind that this performance came against the Raiders, though, a team that gave up over 200 total yards and 3 TDs to Chester Taylor last week. In fact, over the past five weeks Oakland has given up a combined 645 rushing yards and 7 TDs to RBs.

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Nov. 26, 2007 at 1:18pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football: Week Twelve Position Ranks

November 21, 2007

(Tom Strattman/AP Photo)

(Tom Strattman/AP Photo)

Your Thanksgiving feast has arrived one day early, and man is it stuffed. It’s ETB’s Week Twelve Position ranks, which spell out our top 20 QBs, 30 RBs, 36 WRs, 15 TEs, and 15 Team Defenses based on past performance, injuries, bye weeks, and matchups. It’s a bit of an odd week this time around, especially for running backs, so best of luck figuring out how to sort through it all. We believe in you. We trust you. We’re watching you.

Fantasy Week Twelve: Top 20 Quarterbacks

Wayne Brady's Younger Brother

1. Tom Brady, New England vs. PHI
2. Tony Romo, Dallas vs. NYJ
3. Brett Favre, Green Bay @ DET
4. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle @ STL
5. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis @ ATL
6. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. MIA
7. Eli Manning, New York Giants vs. MIN
8. Derek Anderson, Cleveland vs. HOU
9. Drew Brees, New Orleans @ CAR
10. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. TEN
11. Kurt Warner, Arizona vs. SF
12. Matt Schaub, Houston @ CLE
13. Marc Bulger, St. Louis @ SEA
14. David Garrard, Jacksonville vs. BUF
15. Jon Kitna, Detroit vs. GB
16. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia @ NE (Check Status)
17. Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. BAL
18. Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay vs. WSH
19. Vince Young, Tennessee @ CIN
20. Jason Campbell, Washington @ TB

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7 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Nov. 21, 2007 at 12:39pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL Fantasy News

Press Release: Empty the Bench, LLC, Joins Fantasy Sports Ventures Network

November 20, 2007

November 20, 2007, New York, NY – Empty the Bench, LLC is proud to announce a new partnership with Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV), an integrated marketing and media company with a focus on digital/fantasy sports.

Founded in 2006 by Christopher J. Russo, formerly the Senior Vice President of New Media/Publishing for the NFL, FSV will work with Empty the Bench in the areas of commerce, marketing, and content distribution. Empty the Bench plans to syndicate its content for use on FSV’s portal site, FantasyPlayers.com.

As the latest sports blog to join forces with FSV, Empty the Bench is further establishing itself in the growing fantasy sports marketplace and serves as yet another example of the increasing influence sports blogs are having across the sports media landscape.

“Empty the Bench is a perfect addition to our complement of fantasy focused web sites and blogs,” said Andy Regal, Executive Vice President of Programming for Fantasy Sports Ventures. “We are eager to introduce this unique voice to the 5 million users who visit our network of sites each month,” Regal added.

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5 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Nov. 20, 2007 at 4:54pm in Administrative

NBA Fantasy Hoops: Picks and Rolls 11/20

November 20, 2007

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last week I talked about the impressive start of the Boston Celtics. After rattling off eight consecutive wins to start the season, the Green Machine grounded to a halt on Sunday, thwarted by the new-look Magic. An emerging young team in the extremely soft Southeast division of the Eastern Conference, Orlando looks like a lock to make the playoffs this year after finishing below .500 last season. They had just about as busy an offseason as any team in basketball outside of those Boston Celtics. Orlando made waves by signing Rashard Lewis, the marquee free agent of the offseason and a player whose outside game is the perfect complement to the interior banging of man-child Dwight Howard. They also re-upped Jameer Nelson with a big five-year deal, let Darko Milicic walk, brought in Billy Donovan, watched Billy Donovan walk, brought in vacuum-cleaner-salesman-turned-NBA-coach Stan Van Gundy, watched Grant Hill walk to Phoenix, and hired Patrick Ewing (who had a lot of success with Yao Ming in Houston) to coach Howard. So far, so good.

Orlando is now 9-2, with their only losses coming against perennial title contenders Detroit and Phoenix. They’re riding the superhuman presence of Dwight Howard on the block, who has blossomed into the best big man in the Eastern Conference at the age of 22. He’s averaging 22.2 points, 14.3 boards and 2.4 blocks on 57.5% FGs. Who said the true center is a dying animal? Meanwhile, Howard’s new partner in crime has been every bit as good as advertised. Rashard is averaging 21.2 points, 4.8 boards, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 3.3 threes (!) on a tidy 51.4% FGs, 85.4% FTs, 48.2% three-pointers with just 1.8 TOs a game. That’s efficiency. And with all the attention those two draw, Hidayet Türkoğlu has also stepped up as a solid option on offense, averaging 17.4 points, 6.0 boards and 3.6 assists a game while hitting 1.8 threes per.

Unfortunately, we’re not completely sold on Jameer Nelson. Orlando has committed to the young man as their quarterback of the future, but he could end up holding them back. It seemed like a mistake to give him all that money before the season when Nelson was coming off a disappointing campaign where he averaged just 13.0 points and 4.3 assists on 43.0% FGs. Nelson is a solid ballhandler who can take it to the rack and makes some nifty passes. However, he’s also a better scorer than distributor, lacks a quality outside shot and is simply too small to guard many of the NBA’s elite points. At just 6’0″ tall, Jameer gets pushed around all over the floor by bigger, savvy guards like Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, Gilbert Arenas and Dwyane Wade. I’m a huge Lewis and Howard fan and I’m pulling for these guys, but I just can’t escape the feeling that they’ll only go as far as Nelson can take them.

Up and Down Game

Push It:

Rajon Rondo: Rajon Rondo is shooting a putrid 47.4% FTs and that drives his ranking down, but he only attempts 2.1 free throws a game so it really doesn’t affect your bottom line that much. Meanwhile, he’s playing within the flow of the offense and not forcing his shot outside, which has allowed him to shoot a fantastic 57.5% FGs. That paired with his 4.8 assists and 1.9 steals makes Rondo a very strong PG option for teams gunning for FG%. He’s also been piling up assists in recent games, something that should continue as he gels with the new stars.

Sean Williams: Williams has undoubtedly been added in all competitive leagues, or should have been, and now that he’s in the starting lineup expect his strong play to continue. The Nets have been searching for a dynamic presence around the basket since the departure of Kenyon Martin, and the rookie looks more than capable of providing it. He’s a high-energy player who flies to the basket on both ends and will be a major source of blocks. Character concerns bumped his stock down before the NBA draft, but before his suspension Williams was the best shot blocker in the country and he has 16 rejections over the last five games. Expect the offense to come, too, because Jason Kidd makes anybody who can run and jump look good.

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1 CommentPosted by Andrew Thell on Nov. 20, 2007 at 1:30pm in NBA, NBA Fantasy News

Fantasy Football: Week Twelve Stock Report

November 19, 2007

Hackett has gone straight to the top of Seattle's passing attack There’s no ducking it–the fantasy playoffs are almost upon us, which means some of you are prepping for a title run, and many of you will be clocking out of this year’s fantasy season in two weeks or so. Either way, it’s your grave responsibility to keep up on the NFL Players Stock Market, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re still learning about a bunch of players twelve weeks in.

On this holiday week, ETB brings you the latest gridiron heroes and zeroes from Week 11 to assist your fantasy shucking and jiving in Week 12. Don’t forget to set your roster accordingly for the three games on Thanksgiving and, of course, to celebrate the holiday by stepping on your opponent’s neck.

Big Gainers:

D.J. Hackett, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Wow. We knew this kid had some serious upside, but he’s exceeding all expectations in Seattle’s new pass-happy offense. Since missing six games (and being knocked out early in the team’s opener), Hackett has caught 23 passes for 295 yards and 3 TDs over his past three. That includes 9 for 136 and a TD against the once-vaunted Bears pass defense on Sunday. Matt Hasselbeck has now attempted at least 40 passes in four of his past five games, and that massive volume bodes well for Hackett’s ability to keep this up. If he’s still somehow available on waivers (like he was in The Ghosts of Wayne Fontes League), get him. Now.

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans: We touted him as a marquee “Buy Low” player throughout his extended injury, and now you see why. Johnson has established himself as an elite fantasy WR when healthy, catching 20 passes for 382 yards and 4 TDs in just three games. Johnson is a must-start this week against the Browns, but he has some tough matchups after that for pretty much the rest of the season. It’s hard to believe Johnson is already in his fifth NFL season, but we think his best is yet to come. Matt Schaub has proven that he’s a very capable quarterback, and these two should make significant noise together in the years to come… strictly on the football field, of course.

Chester Taylor, RB, Minnesota Vikings: It didn’t take long to forget that Chester was a serviceable RB2 for all of last season, finishing the ’06 season with 1,504 total yards, 6 TDs and 42 receptions. After being foolishly dropped in many leagues, he was the hot add of the week. It was a foregone conclusion that he would post useful stats against the decrepit Oakland rush defense on Sunday, but he was better than advertised: 22 rushes for 164 yards and 3 TDs on the ground and 3 receptions for 38 more yards. Hell, if it wasn’t for those absurd shenanigans from Terrell Owens, Tom Brady and Randy Moss, he would have been the highest scoring player in fantasy football this week.

As we mentioned in The Hangover, this Minnesota offensive line is probably the best run-blocking unit in the NFL. Basically, whoever starts for the Vikings at RB is worth starting for your fantasy team. Adrian Peterson has all but been declared out for Week 12, so Taylor owners have at least one more week to start Taylor with confidence. With the Vikings’ season basically in the toilet though, it wouldn’t surprise us if AD is held out for a while and limited when he returns, so Taylor could potentially be a strong start versus Detroit and at San Fran the following two weeks.

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Nov. 19, 2007 at 11:06pm in ETB Articles, NFL Fantasy News

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