By Matt Vensel
6:00 PM EST, November 9, 2011
The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t been the team we expected (I’m no longer using the ‘D’ word when talking about the Eagles, and you’re welcome). They are 3-5 at the midway point of the season, and their margin for error to make it into the playoffs is slim. But have the Eagles been dreamy from a fantasy perspective?
(Crap, I slipped up already. Dream Team. Dream Team. Dream Team. Now it’s finally out of my system.)
Michael Vick was right there with Aaron Rodgers in preseason rankings in most fantasy football publications, and ESPN’s Matthew Berry said Vick should have been considered with the first overall pick. But the Michael Vick Experience has been rocky. Turnovers have hurt Vick, Vick owners and the real-life Eagles this season. He is still a must-start every week, but he has put up roughly as many points as Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
Vick’s so-so season has really hurt the stock of DeSean Jackson, who has 503 receiving yards but hasn’t been able to produce highlight-reel touchdowns this year. Jeremy Maclin ended up being a steal, though. With 606 receiving yards and four touchdowns, only nine wide receivers have totaled more fantasy points in 2011.
The biggest fantasy surprise, however, has been Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who leads the NFL with 825 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. A Philly back leading the league in rushing? Is Andy Reid still coaching the Eagles? McCoy is extra valuable in PPR leagues with 28 catches for 184 yards.
So what’s it all mean? Stick with Vick if you own him, unless you own Aaron Rodgers, too. McCoy and Maclin are must-starts. And now is the time to trade for Jackson before he starts scoring 70-yard TDs again. The Eagles might not make the playoffs, but that offense will help your fantasy team get into the postseason.
Tebow mania: Since it’s not often that I get a chance to put one in my own win column, allow me to remind you that I told you Tim Tebow would be a top-10 fantasy quarterback. You might not want him under center for your reality football team, but his point totals in his three starts are 21, 12 and 23 -- and he has yet to throw for more than 200 yards in a game. He is a volatile option, but you can certainly do worse at quarterback right now.
Fantasy penthouse: Vincent Jackson broke out of a slump with seven catches for 141 yards and three scores. Aaron Rodgers tossed four ho-hum touchdown passes. Former Ravens RB Willis McGahee ran for 163 yards and two TDs in a win over the Raiders. Rob Gronkowski had eight catches for 101 yards and a score.
Fantasy doghouse: Matt Schaub threw for just 119 yards and had an interception, but he redeemed himself slightly with a rushing TD. Beanie Wells rushed for 20 yards in a win over the Rams. DeSean Jackson had 26 total yards, but he lost a fumble. Vernon Davis had 41 receiving yards, but he, too, lost a fumble Sunday.
The wire: 1. Roy Helu is the Redskins’ top back at a moment, and he is definitely worth adding, especially in PPR leagues (he had 14 catches last week). … 2. Michael Bush (see below). … 3. Laurent Robinson is likely to start opposite of Dez Bryant with Miles Austin out with a hamstring injury. … 4. Earl Bennett returned to the field in Week 9, and Jay Cutler completed five passes to his former Vanderbilt teammate for 95 yards and a TD. … 5. You all know about Steelers wideout Antonio Brown.
Five guys I really like this week: 1. Michael Vick should bounce back in a big way against Arizona. … 2. The Jets should ground and pound with Shonn Greene against the Patriots. A touchdown would be a bonus. … 3. Anquan Boldin has averaged double-digit fantasy points in the past four games. He’ll keep it going. … 4. Mario Manning and Victor Cruz are both worth a start if Hakeem Nicks remains sidelined. … 5. Play Greg Olsen.
Reader question: Loyal reader @bigphilMD on Twitter asks, “Other than Michael Bush, is anyone else in the Raiders backfield worth picking up?” Darren McFadden has already been ruled out for Thursday night’s game -- don’t forget to set your lineups before Thursday -- and owners are scrambling to find a replacement. Some have picked up Taiwan Jones. Fullback Marcel Reece has six touchdowns in the past season and a half. But you’re right, Michael Bush is the only guy who is worth adding. Go ahead and start Bush this week if you got him.
Extra point: Well, this is more of a plug really, but whatever. I’ve been participating in a Baltimore media fantasy football league that has been a lot of fun so far, mostly because I’m in second place. My 7-2 team, Bohs and Ayanbadejos, faces the undefeated Fans Fantasy, owned by Ken Zalis, this week. Check out the details of the league if you feel like virtually cheering on my fictional football team, if that’s possible (here’s the link).
Matt Vensel is a blogger and community coordinator for The Baltimore Sun. Send your fantasy questions and comments to Matt.Vensel@baltsun.com, @mattvensel on Twitter or leave them in the comments section below.
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