Ed Williams III

Snapdraft Football

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Under the Cap: Week 4

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Snapdraft is a weekly game in which you select a team that fits under a $27 million salary cap. There’s a wide variety of league sizes, and while each league costs at least $1, there are cash prizes as well. Each week I’ll take a look at the matchups and the salaries and put together a winning combination. Since there’s a salary cap, you can’t just stack your team with a bunch of studs, so finding some bargains will be key. Here’s the Week 4 squad.

 

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Quarterback

Eli Manning, Giants, $4,670,000, at Cardinals
In the first few weeks, I was going with more pricey quarterbacks that were sure things. Even though Eli Manning is known to throw a pick or two, he’s been finding the end zone with quite a bit of regularity and is a great value pick here. Manning bounced back from a bad opening game against Washington to throw two TDs against the Rams and then four against the vaunted Eagles secondary. Arizona is not known for its defense, so look for Eli to have another big day and save that extra $1 million or so for another position.


Other value picks

Chad Henne, Dolphins, $3,310,000, at Chargers – If you want to roll the dice, Chad Henne is your man. He’s been much better than advertised this year. He has just four touchdowns in three games, but is averaging 280 yards per game. Brandon Marshall was shut down last week, so look for Henne to try and get him going against the Chargers.

Jay Cutler
, Bears, $3,710,000, vs. Panthers – Cutler has cracked 300 yards twice in his first three games, and the Panthers should be his third victim. He could be a steal at under $4 million, but with a porous offensive line, there is always some risk involved.


Running back

Fred Jackson, Bills, $4,430,000, at Bengals
Jackson has been one of the best running backs in the entire league in the first three weeks of the season, and that trend should continue against the Bengals. After rushing for more than 100 yards in his first two games, Jackson showed he could catch the ball as well last week, as he tacked on 87 receiving yards to go along with 74 rushing yards. The Bills offense has been explosive, and Jackson is a major reason why.

Daniel Thomas
, Dolphins, $2,900,000 at Chargers
After a poor preseason, it looked as though Daniel Thomas wouldn’t live up to the hype in his rookie season. But he’s re-opened some eyes in the last couple of weeks with 107 yards rushing against the Texans and 95 yards against the Browns. It’s clear that Reggie Bush can’t handle being a feature back, so Thomas is sure to keep getting plenty of carries. At this price, it’s hard to ignore the rookie.


Other value picks

Tim Hightower, Redskins, $2,870,000, at Rams – There’s nothing flashy about Hightower, but he’s still the feature back despite Roy Helu showing flashes of brilliance. At under $3 million, he could easily have a nice game against a reeling Rams team.

Willis McGahee, Broncos, $2,000,000, at Packers – Even with Knowshon Moreno active last week, McGahee got the bulk of the carries. He lacks any explosiveness, but he’s getting plenty of carries and is the goal line option. For just $2 million he could be a steal if he reaches paydirt.


Wide receiver

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, $3,910,000, vs. Giants
While the Eagles failed to exploit the Giants’ ravaged secondary last week, don’t expect the same from Fitzgerald. He now has a touchdown in each of his last two games, and Kevin Kolb is getting more and more used to playing with the elite WR. Look for Fitzgerald to carry the Cardinals' offense this week in what could easily turn into a shootout.

Lance Moore
, Saints, $2,300,000, at Jaguars
After suffering a groin injury early in Week 1, Lance Moore returned in a major way last week with 88 yards and a touchdown. With Marques Colston still hurt, Moore will be one of Drew Brees’ go-to guys. Brees does have plenty of options at his disposal, but he throws so much that Moore is almost guaranteed to get a bunch of catches.


Other value picks

Denarius Moore, Raiders, $2,630,000, vs. Patriots – The preseason darling exploded in Week 2 with 146 yards and a touchdown. And even though he came back down to earth with 34 yards receiving against the Jets, he still found the end zone on a 23-yard run. The Pats have been giving up points in bunches, so Moore could put up a huge day.

Stevie Johnson
, Bills, $2,910,000, at Bengals – Stevie Johnson has reached the end zone in all three games so far this season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven that the Bills’ offense is for real, and the Bengals shouldn’t be able to prove otherwise.


Tight end

Greg Olsen, Panthers, $1,320,000, at Bears
Olsen isn’t a sure thing, but at his salary, we’re willing to take a gamble. He caught four balls for 78 yards in Week 1 before being held to just one catch in Week 2. Then last week, in the pouring rain, he hauled in seven receptions for 57 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Cam Newton has been airing it out, and other than Steve Smith, Olsen has been one of his favorite targets. The Bears’ defense could force Newton to check down to Olsen a lot on Sunday.


Other value picks

Randy McMichael, Chargers, $1,230,000 vs. Dolphins – With Antonio Gates out, McMichael has a chance to step up with a nice game here. While he won’t get downfield as much as Gates did, he could still be a nice red zone target for Philip Rivers.

Evan Moore
, Browns, $1,160,000, vs. Titans – Moore hasn’t hauled in a lot of balls, but he does have two touchdowns in his first three weeks. If you want to roll the dice, you could do much worse than Moore here.


Team defense/special teams

New Orleans Saints, $1,550,000, at Jaguars
The Saints have given up a ton of points to the Packers and Texans, so they may be overlooked here. Look for the New Orleans D to shine in this one against the Jags. Even when they have been giving up a lot of points, the Saints are getting sacks and Sproles is always a threat to break a return for a TD. And the Saints beating the Jags is as close to a lock as you’ll get, which is three points right off the bat.


Other value picks

Atlanta Falcons, $1,750,000, at Seahawks – The Seahawks will be at home, which makes them close to a competent team, but the Falcons should be hungry after a tough loss to the Bucs last week. Look for them to force Tarvaris Jackson into several mistakes.

Washington Redskins, $1,700,000, at Rams – The Rams are all banged up and just don’t look right. The Redskins, meanwhile, look a lot better than expected, especially on defense.


Kicker

Graham Gano, Redskins, $2,000,000, at Rams
Gano isn’t the most reliable kicker in the world, but the Rams are giving up a lot of points this year. Even if they can keep the Redskins out of the end zone for a while, Washington should manage to get into field goal range. And since it’s in a dome, Gano’s shakiness will be minimized.


Other value picks

Ryan Longwell, Vikings, $2,170,000, at Chiefs – Look for the Vikings offense to get on track against the Chiefs, which should lead to some opportunities for Longwell.

Connor Barth
, Buccaneers, $2,030,000, vs. Colts – The Colts looked much better against the Steelers last week, but the Bucs should still be able to move the ball. It’s not worth spending too much money on a kicker, so Barth could be a nice bargain.


Flex

Jason Campbell, Raiders, $3,460,000, vs. Patriots
Here’s a reminder that you can use quarterbacks in the flex position. The Patriots have given up 76 points in three weeks, so the Raiders shouldn’t have a hard time finding scoring opportunities. With Denarius Moore coming on strong, Campbell could have a big day in what could be another Patriots shootout.






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