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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fantasy football: No-huddle offense for Week 3

The Giants didn't have a player with 600 yards receiving last season, when Plaxico Burress' suspension derailed their hopes of repeating as Super Bowl champs.

This year, they might have two 1,000-yard receivers, and somehow, both are owned in fewer than 26 percent of the leagues on

Steve Smith (owned in 25.3 percent of the ESPN leagues) has caught at least six passes in each of the first two games and has 14 receptions for 214 yards and a TD on the season. Mario Manningham (owned in only 5.4 percent, a number that likely will be multiplied by at least 10 by Sunday), like Smith, caught 10 passes on Sunday. In two games, the second-year receiver has 188 yards and two TDs.

You shouldn't need me to tell you to start both.

If you're not convinced, take a glance at the Giants' next five games: Week 3, at Tampa Bay; Week 4, at Kansas City; Week 5, Oakland; Week 6, at New Orleans; Week 7, Arizona. The quintet rank 27th, 14th, 20th, 28th and 18th, respectively, against the pass this season. The five teams have combined to allow 15 touchdown passes and 2,480 yards passing in 10 games.

It's enough to make even Eli Manning give more than an awkward smile.

On to the rest of the no-huddle ...

-- On an Eagle's wing: I was against starting Kevin Kolb last week against the Saints, and 391 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions later, I'm backpedaling faster than Robert Henson, the Redskins' rookie who quit Twitter after calling the team's fans "dim wits."

Kolb was far from great against the Saints, but he showed enough that he's an intriguing option -- should Donovan McNabb sit a second straight week, as expected, because of a fractured rib -- Sunday at home against the Chiefs. Kolb is owned in a whopping 0.3 percent of the ESPN leagues, but if you're desperate for a quarterback, he's a halfway decent one-week option against Kansas City. The Chiefs have allowed 667 total yards and 51 points in their 0-2 start.

-- Jonesing for an alternative: Thomas Jones owners likely were encouraged by his strong Week 1 showing against the Texans. A game later, they're cursing yet another backfield time share gone bad.

In two games, Jones and Leon Washington both have 35 touches. Jones has better rushing numbers (34 carries for 161 yards, a 4.7-yard average, and two TDs), but Washington is a much better receiving option (six catches for 42 yards). In PPR leagues, Jones is all-or-nothing -- either he gets 100 yards and a score on the ground, or he's a dud.

It's telling that both backs received 14 carries last week against the Patriots, and with the Jets' early success, I wouldn't expect that to change. All of which means you should bench Jones this week against the Titans, who rank second to the Ravens in run defense in the early going. Tennessee has allowed the opposition to rush for only 99 yards on 52 carries, a 1.9 average, and zero TDs.

-- No rush, L.T.: Darren Sproles owners, the solution is simple. If LaDainian Tomlinson doesn't play for a second straight week because of a sprained ankle, play the diminutive back who is a huge asset as the primary ball-carrier in point-per-reception leagues. Sproles had only 10 carries for 26 yards last week against the Ravens, but he caught seven passes for 126 yards, including an 81-yard score. In two games, Sproles has 12 catches for 167 yards, and he's scored once in each game.

He'll never be a 20-carry back, but he certainly seems to be more effective than Tomlinson at this point in their careers. That said, I wouldn't start Sproles if Tomlinson is active, since the latter will get the majority of the carries when he plays.

-- Hightower power: Beanie Wells was the Cardinals' first-round pick last spring, but it's Tim Hightower who's playing like a fantasy starter. Hightower -- until this point known as the back who scored short touchdowns but did nothing else last season -- has rushed for an unimpressive 87 yards on 23 carries (3.8). PPR owners love the next stat, though: Hightower's 15 catches (12 in Week 1) for 133 yards.

If you're in a point-per-catch league, Hightower is a quality option the next three weeks against the Colts (No. 30 vs. the run, three rushing TDs allowed in two games), Texans (No. 32, 4 TD, 6.3 yards per carry) and Seahawks (No. 26, 2 TDs, a league-worst 7.1 yards per carry by the opposition).

Hightower is an ideal flex play in PPR leagues, and is an OK option in other formats, at least until Wells gets more than seven rushing attempts per game (a figure he has yet to surpass). The former Buckeye was forced to carry a football everywhere he went this week after fumbling twice last Sunday, and he's strictly a reserve until he takes over the featured role, which should happen later this season.

-- On deck: Thursday at 4 p.m., we'll have our weekly live chat. To ask a question or just watch the drama unfold, go to the homepage of and look for the link to join the chat.

Saturday, we'll break down the disappointing starts of several first-round fantasy picks. That column can be read by going here. We'll also have the "big blog," including the expanded playlist and start-and-sit advice, early Saturday. That can be read on this blog, and on the N-H's main site.

Good luck and remember to curse the owner whose team is so bad he or she were awarded Manningham on waivers ahead of you.

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Blogger Hot Cover Girls Central said...

just dropped by, interesting post. :)

-cathy young

September 26, 2009 at 4:18 AM 

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