Adam Levitan

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Midseason Mock

Wednesday, November 17, 2010




13. MICHAEL TURNER: The quick turnaround from a 24-carry game on Sunday of Week 9 to Thursday of Week 10 adversely affected the Falcons' physical back, and Baltimore's stifling defense didn't help. Turner remains a safe bet for a high-scoring finish with the long week to rest and just one matchup left against an opponent ranked in the top half of the league in yards-per-carry average allowed (the spurious Seahawks in Week 15). (ES)

14. RASHARD MENDENHALL: If this draft was before Mendenhall's poor Week 10 showing on national television, he probably would have gone higher. As a true-every down back with goal-line duties, Mendenhall will feast as the weather turns bad. Outside of a Week 15 matchup with the Jets, the schedule is soft. (AL)

15. RAY RICE: Averaging 128 total yards per game over his last five weeks, which feels a lot like his epic 2009 season. Rice was at 127.5 total games over 16 games a year ago. (GR)

16. HAKEEM NICKS: Nicks should be a target monster over the next 2-3 weeks with Steve Smith (pectoral) out. He's already third in WR fantasy points and tied for first with nine receiving touchdowns. (CW)

17. DESEAN JACKSON: Jackson has 531 receiving yards in Michael Vick's 19 quarters under center, good for an average of 112 yards per game. This does not include Jackson's valuable rushing stats. Despite having missed one game and most of another, D-Jax ranks eighth among all fantasy receivers. I'd be stunned if he didn't finish in the top five in the final month and a half. (ES)

18. AARON RODGERS: Rodgers scored more fantasy points than Peyton Manning or Drew Brees in the first nine games, and there's no reason to think that won't continue. Although the weather will get bad, Rodgers proved last year that isn't a problem when he posted nearly identical numbers in games 1-8 as he did in games 9-17. (AL)

19. ANTONIO GATES: I don't know if this fictional league has tight ends, but the gap between Gates and the next best at his position is a huge difference maker. (GR)

20. PEYTON HILLIS: I'll take Hillis over S-Jax because he catches passes, scores TDs and is now matchup-proof. (CW)

21. GREG JENNINGS: Dominant since Jermichael Finley's injury, Jennings has come full circle as a complete NFL receiver this season, destroying opponents in the short-to-intermediate areas from the slot while also making plenty of vertical splash plays. (ES)

22. STEVEN JACKSON: S-Jax has managed to make it this far without getting seriously hurt and he figures to keep chugging along with the Rams in the thick of the playoff chase. (AL)

23. DREW BREES: Only two outdoor games left (Bengals, Ravens) and only one moderately tough matchup (Ravens). Brees is still racking up points this season despite not playing great. Room for improvement here. (GR)

24. DEZ BRYANT: He was one of "my guys" this summer, Kitna loves throwing to him, and he's quite possibly the best player on the Cowboys already. (CW)

Again, if you want to keep going with this kind of list, check out Chris Wesseling's top-200 in the Season Pass. It is updated every Wednesday.

TUESDAY HEADLINES
NEWS OF THE DAY #1
By now, it is clear that Tyler Thigpen will be starting for the Dolphins on Thursday night. And beat writer Omar Kelly thinks that Thigpen can actually help the cause of scuffling Brandon Marshall, who is averaging 4.5 catches for 46.2 yards over the last four weeks.

Kelly's point is well taken. Chad Henne seemed to be ignoring Marshall over the last few weeks, instead honing in on Brian Hartline. Thigpen is also very mobile and can improvise, something that Marshall is good at as well.

Look for Marshall to be targeted heavily going forward as the Dolphins try to improve their red-zone woes.

INJURY QUICK SLANTS
Two Vikings beat writers believe Sidney Rice (hip) will not play at all this season. ... Hines Ward (concussion) is fully expected to play this week. ... Ryan Torain (hamstring) is headed to see a doctor. Never a good sign. ... Clinton Portis (groin) says the chances of him playing this week are 50-50. ... Jerricho Cotchery (groin) has not been ruled out of Week 11 just yet. ... Matthew Stafford's latest timetable is similar to the one he was on early in the season. He is unlikely to play again this year. ... Brett Favre now says his shoulder injury is no big deal. ... Joe Nedney (knee) is likely out this week. ... Tony Moeaki reportedly suffered a concussion Sunday. He is in danger of missing Week 11.

DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
Jeff Reed was waived in favor of Shaun Suisham. ... Colts waived Chris Brooks, possibly meaning one of Austin Collie (concussion) or Blair White (shoulder) will be back this week. ... With Ramses Barden done for the year, the Giants signed Derek Hagan. ... Donovan McNabb's contract is not as bad as it looked. The Redskins can cut ties very cheaply following either this year or next. ... Donald Driver missed practice Tuesday for personal reasons. James Jones' arrow is pointing up. ... The Titans insist that they will get Randy Moss more involved this week. ... The Titans worked out Larry Johnson, but he would be no threat to Chris Johnson even if signed.

Editor's Note: Pick a new fantasy team just for today and win real cash with Snapdraft!

Follow Adam Levitan on Twitter.


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Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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