Matt Pitzer

Halftime Adjustments

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That Time of Year

Wednesday, December 05, 2007




Now, here are some players I'm keeping an eye on this week.

On the rise

Justin Gage. I guess I have to buy in at some point because Gage has had four good games in a row (79.5-yard average, two TDs) and has another good matchup this week against a Chargers secondary that can be had. Defenses keep loading up against the run and the Chargers will not be any different as that is their normal way of playing.

Joey Galloway. The knock on Galloway always was that he was a hit-or-miss player, but he has been more of a hit than anything else lately. Galloway has had 100 yards or a TD in five of the past seven games and had 159 yards last week with Luke McCown throwing to him. Even if McCown keeps playing, Galloway is a lock to finish strong. Check out the schedule: Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Carolina.

Travis Henry. One of our long, national nightmares is over. Henry has won his appeal, and he can play for the rest of the season - or, as long as he stays healthy. Henry is coming off perhaps his most valuable game with two TDs against the Raiders despite just 3.3 yards a carry. The yardage should get better as he gets healthier, but at last, we can stop worrying, reading and writing about Henry's possible suspension and all of its potential repercussions.

Tarvaris Jackson. This is the shocker of the bunch. He has had three solid games in a row with the Vikings averaging 37.3 points a game vs. 18.4 points in their first 11. And with Adrian Peterson back, defenses can't worry too much about Jackson's throwing. He has had so many bad games that I can't get comfortable with him unless you're scraping for quarterback help. Playing the 49ers certainly will help.

Rudi Johnson. He wound up with only 34 yards last week against the Steelers, but the good news is that he scored for a second week in a row and is primed for a big game against the Rams. Johnson continues to round into form and clearly looks like the team's best back now. He was an upgrade last week and is so again here as a virtual must-start.

Fred Taylor. It would be great if he could score more, but in yardage leagues, Taylor is set up for a great finish to the season. He is averaging 97.7 yards over the past three games and has another great matchups this week against the Panthers. Of course, Maurice Jones-Drew is going to get the short TD attempts and Taylor is averaging about 14 carries a game so his upside is limited. Still, not bad for a washed-up 31-year-old.

Taking a dive

Reggie Bush. He can't break big plays, he rarely scores and he is getting beat up. So even heading into what should be a great Monday night showcase against a bad Falcons team, you can't be sure of what you'll get out of Bush. He still has too much potential to sit but has too little production to get excited about. I would bet that he is not a member of too many championship teams.

Chris Chambers. Where have the big plays been? In six games with the Chargers, Chambers has had more than 59 yards once and just two TDs. The team's passing game remains too unpredictable to count on and, given how their season has gone, the Chargers should be in for a dud after two strong offensive games.

Frank Gore. Yeah, I was a sucker in thinking Gore's big day against Arizona two weeks ago would be the start of a great final month. Now? Forget it. You can have him. And he does go nuts in the next four games, good for you. I'm not wasting any more words on him.

Jon Kitna. Losing Roy Williams doesn't help a guy who's been falling in value for about eight weeks in a row. And talking about not everybody going 100% probably will not win Kitna too many friends, even if he is right. Then there's the remaining schedule of Dallas, San Diego, Kansas City, Green Bay. If you made this long with Kitna, you're doing a lot of other stuff right.

Donte Stallworth. We're supposed to get excited about every Patriots player, but what's the big deal with Stallworth? He has been between 42 and 68 yards each of the past five games with no TDs; he has gone over 68 yards only once all year. Stallworth might be an ideal No. 3 receiver for the Patriots but not for your team.

Kurt Warner. He has been a solid play with nine TD passes over the past four games but consider him a one-week downgrade. The Cardinals likely will be without Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald's sore groin still is an issue. Then you have a matchup against the Seahawks who have allowed a league-low seven passing TDs. Try to find somebody else.


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



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