Matt Pitzer

Halftime Adjustments

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Wasting Space

Wednesday, November 28, 2007




Adrian Peterson. It is hard to keep him out of this category even though I think hopes might be a little high. Some folks are overjoyed to get Cedric Benson out of the way and Peterson would win points for effort. But he is averaging just 3.6 yards a carry (to Benson's 3.4) and just 2.6 over the past three games. He also has only four career games with more than 10 carries so durability will be an issue. Start Peterson not because he will have great totals but because he should get the occasional TD.

Javon Walker. Walker barely played last week against the Bears and did not have a catch, but he got through the game without further injury to his troublesome knee. That sets him to make an impact against a suspect Raiders secondary. You should be pleasantly surprised if you put him in as a third receiver this week.

Derrick Ward. He gets a mention here only because some folks might be tired of waiting for his return and dumped him since he last played in Week 7. Ward could wind up starting this week with Brandon Jacobs still hurt, and the Giants clearly need a big rushing game, as evidenced by Eli Manning's "performance" against the Vikings. Remember, Ward had at least 80 rushing yards in each of the first four games as a feature back so he would be a solid No. 2 runner against the Bears' 27th-ranked run defense.

Taking a dive

Jerricho Cotchery. His numbers did not exactly spike last week when Laveranues Coles sat out, and Cotchery has three catches the past two games. A pitiful passing game from the Jets last week - 120 passing yards, 0 TDs in a blowout loss - call into question how much Kellen Clemens can move the team as well as how much Cotchery can benefit from Coles sitting out. You still might pencil Cotchery in as a third receiver but he is no great sleeper.

Chris Henry. He has done about as well as you'd expect in his three games back with an average of 73.6 receiving yards and one TD. My concern is if Chad Johnson's revitalization has legs. The Bengals are not good enough as they were in recent years to support three solid receivers. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is having an outstanding season and if Johnson picks up the pace as well, there simply will not be enough left over for Henry.

Ron Dayne. The Texans say Ahman Green will try to play this week and while I have my doubts about how that might work, if Green does return, it obviously takes time away from Dayne. Dayne has averaged a respectable 96.3 yards over the past three weeks with one TD, but he would not be a good start against the Titans anyhow if Albert Haynesworth finally returns after missing three weeks.

Peyton Manning. I told you to stick with the struggling Manning last week and that can count as this blind squirrel's nut for the month. But sit him down against the Jaguars if you have another solid quarterback. The Colts' injury problems might be abating, but they still have significant issues and this is not a good matchup. Manning has four TD passes (and three rushing TDs) in his past five games against Jacksonville and the Jaguars will play him tough again.

Maurice Morris. Keep an eye on the Seahawks over the next couple of days because Shaun Alexander could get back on the field. Morris still will play; he has been too good and Alexander too bad this season for Morris to sit, but his yards will be cut way back and he also will have fewer scoring chances. That would take him from being a No. 2 back to somebody you can do better than.

Ravens defense. The season continues to spiral out of control for a defense left out to hang by its pathetic offense. They gave up 32 points to the Chargers last week, face a somewhat angry Patriots offense this week and then get a potentially recovering Colts offense the week after that. This once-great fantasy defense is on the ropes and should be on your bench for at least the next two weeks.


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Matt Pitzer writes about fantasy football for USAToday.com.
Email :Matt Pitzer



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