Brad Morgan

Red Zone Report

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The Replacements

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


So I'm two weeks deep into my explorations of the world known as Twitter (@BradMorgan27), and aside from giving me yet another tool to help me lose the battle against procrastination, I've noticed a couple things. The first is simple and essential: less is more. Not even 14 days into Twittering and my hand has already been forced multiple times to nix people I was following who couldn't stop tweeting -- and those who couldn't decipher between interesting and meaningless minutia (I'm looking at you Joe Rogan, I had such high hopes…). Another fairly obvious thing I've noticed is that small details are not only relevant on Twitter, but they are fundamental. You could argue Twitter exists solely to magnify the small things.

Fantasy Football is very similar to Twitter in this respect: seemingly unimportant details are indispensible. Think about it: most of us in fantasy playoff races are separated by anywhere from 10 to 50 points. Only a few points extra each week are responsible for those tiny gaps in scoring.

A better example is how Monday night's blowout win for the Saints resulted in a nail-biting victory for my squad (The Redeem Team). Up by just 4 points with Brees and the Saints driving with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, I was praying that Drew wouldn't rack up all-important touchdown number 6. As a tightly thrown spiral flew over Devery Henderson's head and past the endzone, I was on the brink of having a fantasy-induced heart attack. Thankfully, the sixth touchdown never happened. And while it would've meant close to nothing for everyone in attendance at The Superdome, it would've ruined my entire week.

We all know how important that morning-after feeling in Fantasy Football is, and in the interest of making sure you have more good ones down this stretch run, I'm going to look at players this week who are probably on your waiver wire, and can help you today (many because of injuries to teammates).

Hi, I'm here about your Help Wanted sign

Jason Avant, Eagles WR

Avant has always had excellent potential, but due to a combination of inconsistent performances and insufficient opportunity, he's never fully cashed in. Recently, however, Avant has looked pretty good. Over his last three games he's been targeted with 20 passes, and caught an astounding 17 of them, averaging 12 fantasy points over those games. In addition, Avant is 3rd on the Eagles with 10 RZ targets (DeSean Jackson has 11, Brent Celek has 19), and gets his fair share of scoring chances.

If that wasn't enough to convince you to go grab Avant, Jackson said today that it's extremely unlikely he'll be able to play this weekend (concussion). Jackson's injury could so much as move Avant into the #1 WR spot on the Eagles, and result in more solid fantasy days over the next few games.

Owned in less than 3 percent of ESPN standard leagues, Avant is available in virtually every league. If you see him on your waiver wire, he is a must pickup. Facing Atlanta's awful pass defense this weekend, Avant is a great WR3 play and potential WR2 if you're desperate.

Jerious Norwood, Falcons RB

I wrote a few weeks ago, with Michael Turner on the shelf, that I'd take Jerious Norwood over Jason Snelling (assuming both were healthy). Norwood, unfortunately, wasn't quite healthy enough to play in Week 11, leaving Snelling the chance to have a big fantasy day. Although 76 yards and 2 touchdowns are fantasy gold, his 3.0 ypc average on 25 carries wasn't impressive from a real-football standpoint.

This past weekend, Norwood showed why I thought he was a better option than Snelling -- he is an incredibly explosive runner. Even with Turner in the lineup, Norwood produced a solid 11 fantasy points, on just 8 touches.

Now, in light of Turner hurting his ankle again and teammates speculating Norwood will get the start (although coach Mike Smith hasn't ruled out Turner), Jerious looks like he's in line to see a good amount of touches (think around 15) this Sunday. Even if Turner plays, he'll be limited and the Falcons will be forced to share the rushing load with Norwood and Snelling. Norwood is clearly the more effective runner, hence his Chris Johnson-esque 5.7 career yards per carry (CJ's career avg is 5.6).

Owned in just 25% of ESPN standard leagues, Norwood MUST be picked up in any league. Assuming Turner's ankle doesn't get back to 100% overnight, Norwood is a great flex play, and a low end RB2.

Larry Johnson, Bengals RB

Two weeks ago, Johnson was left out of the Cedric Benson replacement committee (Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard shouldered the load). This past Sunday, however, Johnson was a huge part of the Bengals' offensive game plan, and performed quite well (107 yards on 22 carries). Clearly, Johnson showed he still had something in practice. What a difference a few weeks and a decent offensive line can make. In addition, LJ got every RZ carry for the Bengals (4) and even picked up a RZ target. Much like Week 11, Bernard Scott was taken out of the game in scoring situations.

This week Cincinnati faces every Fantasy owner's dream: the Lions. Although Marvin Lewis has already said Benson will start and be the dominant back, he may again be listed as questionable (just like last week, when he was a late inactive). In addition, Bernard Scott was seen Monday with crutches and in a walking boot. Even assuming Benson plays, Johnson should be in line to see a good amount of touches as the Bengals backup RB.

LJ has been dropped in a ton of leagues (hard not be dropped in fantasy, when you're dropped in reality), and is a decent flex option against Detroit regardless of the Benson's status. Despite Coach Lewis' comments, there is very little incentive to give Benson a ton of work against the Lions. If CedBen is a late sit again, I would start Johnson as an RB2 with confidence.

Fred Davis, Redskins TE

Once you get outside the Top 5 (Vernon Davis, Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, and Brent Celek) Tight Ends have been little bit of a gamble this season. But they can make all the difference if you guess right. Fred Davis looked like he would become a decent TE option once Chris Cooley went down, but that didn't quite materialize. This past week, however, Jason Campbell threw to him 9 times, including 3 times in the RZ (resulting in TD).

Owned in just 4% of ESPN standard leagues, Davis is definitely available. If you're in need of a TE, give Davis a look against the Saints this weekend. The Redskins will be throwing early and often.


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