Ed Williams III

Snapdraft Football

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Under the Cap: Week 6

Wednesday, October 12, 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 6 squad.


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Joe Flacco
, Ravens, $3,880,000, vs. Texans
The Ravens are coming off a bye and will face a Texans squad that will be without defensive stud Mario Williams. That should give Joe Flacco a little more time to hit his receivers, and he may have Lee Evans back this week as well. Flacco struggled in his last game against the Jets, but he’s also thrown three touchdowns in two of his four games this season. If the Texans key in on Ray Rice and the running game, then Flacco could give you a nice return on his sub-$4 million salary here.

Other value picks

Andy Dalton
, Bengals, $2,970,000, vs. Colts – Dalton likely won’t put up eye-popping yardage numbers as the Bengals rely heavily on Cedric Benson and the running game, but he won’t be afraid to take shots in the end zone to A.J. Green. If you’re looking for a bargain, Dalton could throw a couple TDs and get a win against the Colts.

Rex Grossman
, Redskins, $2,990,000, vs. Eagles – Yes, this is Rex Grossman, but he’s going against an Eagles team that has been giving up big plays all season. The Eagles are in must-win mode here, so it’s a risky pick, but if the Eagles haven’t been able to turn the corner, Grossman could be in for a nice day.

Running back

Matt Forte
, Bears, $4,890,000, vs. Vikings
Surprisingly, the Bears’ running back has been the most potent weapon in Mike Martz’s offense. While Martz loves his team’s to sling the ball, even he has realized Forte is his best bet for success. Even when Forte hasn’t been getting it going on the ground, he’s been one of Jay Cutler’s favorite targets in the passing game. Look for Chicago to get Forte the ball in space and let him do some serious damage.

Maurice Jones-Drew
, Jaguars, $4,680,000, at Steelers
Just about Jacksonville’s only offensive threat at this point, Jones-Drew hasn’t rushed for less than 84 yards all season. Normally when you see the Steelers on the schedule, you want to ignore the running backs going against them, but not this season. Pittsburgh has had trouble stopping the likes of Ray Rice, Joseph Addai, Arian Foster and Chris Johnson, and while the Steelers should still win this one, they’ll have a hard time with Jones-Drew as well.

Other value picks

Shonn Greene
, Jets, $3,850,000, vs. Dolphins – Rex Ryan said the Jets would get back to the “ground and pound” attack, and Greene responded with his best game of the season, rushing for 83 yards and a score against the Pats. Look for the Jets to keep giving Greene the ball and for him to keep getting better.

Cedric Benson
, Bengals, $3,550,000, vs. Colts – Benson only has one touchdown this season, but if you’re looking for a bargain, you at least know he’s going to get plenty of touches. The fewest amount of rushing attempts he’s had this season is 16, so he’s getting his chances, and this game will be no different.

Wide receiver

Stevie Johnson
, Bills, $2,910,000 at Giants
Johnson is coming off a clunker of a game against the Eagles, but he’s still Ryan Fitzpatrick’s top target in the passing game. He should be able to exploit a banged up Giants secondary and rebound with a nice game. He score a touchdown in each of his first three games, so look for him to back into the end zone this week.

Greg Little
, Browns, $1,800,000, at Raiders
Here’s our big gamble of the week. Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said he was promoting Little to the starting lineup, and he’ll be lined up in the slot in three receiver sets. Little has been getting better each week and notched six catches for 57 yards in his last game. With a bye week to get ready, look for Little to give the Browns a spark on offense against a mediocre-at-best Oakland secondary.

Other value picks

Michael Crabtree, 49ers, $1,820,000, at Lions - Crabtree looked like he turned a corner two weeks ago against the Eagles as he looked to have a lot of his explosiveness back after a foot injury. Last week he was used often as a blocker, but this week, the 49ers are facing the high octane Lions. If the 49ers stand a chance in this one, they’ll have to put up a lot of points. Especially with Josh Morgan our, Crabtree’s role should increase this week and going forward. Roll the dice on his sub-$2 million salary.

Mike Thomas
, Jaguars, $2,700,000, at Steelers – Well, Blaine Gabbert will have to throw to someone, and Thomas is probably the best receiver on the team. He’s worth a shot at his salary, especially since the Jags will likely be playing catch-up and having to throw the ball.

Tight end

Jermichael Finley
, Packers, $2,400,000 vs. Rams
Aside from a three touchdown outburst in Week 3, Finley has been relatively quiet. But sometimes numbers can be deceiving. Finley seemed to have a case of the dropsies last week against the Falcons. He managed four catches for 67 yards, but he could have had a monster day. Look for him to get back on track against the hapless Rams.

Other value picks

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals, $1,390,000, vs. Colts – Outside of A.J. Green, Gresham has become one of rookie QB Andy Dalton’s favorite targets.  Gresham has a touchdown in three of his five games, and at such a low salary, that’s what you’re looking for.

Ed Dickson
, Ravens, $1,200,000, vs. Texans – Dickson has at least four catches in three of his four games so far, and his targets have been going up each week. He was targeted 12 times against the Jets, so he could be in line for a nice game against Houston.

Defense/special teams

Oakland Raiders, $1,230,000, vs. Browns
The Raiders have given up a lot of points this season, but they’ve also played some great offensive teams like the Bills, Patriots and Texans. Look for them to clamp down on Colt McCoy and the Browns and pick up a win.

Other value picks

New Orleans Saints, $1,550,000, at Buccaneers – Tampa Bay is coming off a horrible game against the 49ers, and the Saints will be looking to make it two straight poor performances.

Cincinnati Bengals, $1,1890,000, vs. Colts – The Bengals’ defense has been surprisingly very good this season, and they should be able to keep Curtis Painter and company in check.


Mike Nugent
, Bengals, $2,310,000, vs. Colts
Nugent is a perfect 11-for-11 so far this season, and he’s registered at least two field goals in every game but one so far. The Bengals have been able to move the ball this season but can’t always reach the end zone, so he could be very valuable.

Other value picks

Olindo Mare, Panthers, $2,160,000, at Falcons – Cam Newton has made the Panthers’ relevant again, and the offense has been moving the ball. Mare isn’t the best kicker in the world, but this isn’t the position to be spending big bucks at. He’ll get the job done just fine.

Shaun Suisham
, Steelers, $2,300,000, vs. Jaguars – The Steelers should be able to score plenty of points in this one, so at the very least you should be able to get a win and a bunch of extra points. You just have to hope they sputter out in field goal range a couple times.


A.J. Green
, Bengals, $2,870,000, vs. Colts
Green isn’t playing like a rookie. His freakish talents have been on display, and Andy Dalton isn’t afraid to throw the ball up for grabs and let Green go up and get it. He’s hit 90 yards in three games already and has three touchdowns. He’s coming a five reception, 90 yard, one TD game against the Jags and should have another nice day against the Colts.

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