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OTHER ITA SITES:
Fantasy Notes This Week: Which Steelers QB is the RIGHT One?
October 25, 2006
By Jim McLauchlin
The Pittsburgh Steelers are suffering from a heavy Super Bowl hangover, mired with a 2-4 record. The injury problems of QB Ben Roethlisberger are well-documented, but what’s not so apparent is the boost the team has gotten from backup Charlie Batch.
Batch has appeared in three Steelers’ games this year, starting one, and has posted a sky-high 136.8 passer rating. With Big Ben banged up again, and coach Bill Cowher playing close to the vest with injury news, Batch may get the start come this Sunday against a weak Oakland squad. If so, put a “go” on your Steelers receivers! Hines Ward scorched things up against Atlanta last week with three TDs, and Cedrick Wilson, Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington are also worth a peek if your team doesn’t go too deep at the WR position.
Granted, it’s a short track record, but Charlie Batch has been the Steelers QB who’s fueled the fantasy engine this year.
More quarterback woes: Now that Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck is out 2-4 weeks, the Seahawk offense is in trouble. Stud RB Shaun Alexander is likely another week away yet from recovering from his foot injury, and backup RB Maurice Morris hasn’t delivered the goods. With backup QB Seneca Wallace calling the signals, look to sit your Seahawks. The ’Hawks go up against Kansas City this week, and the Chiefs’ defense has been surprisingly good this year.
Who knew? Are kickers the new defenses?
When scoring was down, down, down early in the year—and it’s only picked up in the last few weeks—team defenses were the new fantasy studs. Now, especially in leagues that reward long field goals, kickers are getting a teeny spotlight thrown on ’em.
No, it’s not time to trade Larry Johnson for Ryan Longwell, but Matt Bryant of Tampa Bay had a very nice week with two XPs and three FGs, including that booming 62-yarder. Waiver wires are typically clogged with kickers, so if yours is underperforming, look to upgrade. Robbie Gould of Chicago has been a scoring machine all year, and Jeff Wilkins of St. Louis could be another nice add as well.
No sooner did Shawne Merriman get slapped with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, than Merriman slapped back. The play right now is that Merriman has said he will appeal the suspension, citing that the positive test for steroids came from a legal supplement. San Diego’s team D may suffer if the suspension sticks, as Merriman is a high-octane, no-stop blitz machine. Plan accordingly.
Ah, running back woes…
Edgerrin James’ fantasy output for the Arizona Cardinals has been well below what owners hoped. In reality, a goodly portion of the blame can be put at the feet of a woeful Cards’ offensive line, but that doesn’t help you come Sunday if you have the Edge on your squad. Look to upgrade, and fast, if you can.
The rotating Ferris wheel of Houston Texans RBs continues to spin, with Ron Dayne, Samkon Gado and Wali Lundy all getting carries. Lundy seems to be flavor-of-the-week, and the once-hot, then-not fantasy pick is on the upswing again, coming off 93 yards and a TD in last week’s win over the Jags. Wali is worth a sniff, the other Texas are not. Take a look at starting Lundy against Tennessee this week.
And it looks like the running back situation may have finally stabilized for the New York Jets. Leon Washington is averaging 4.9 yards a clip, and has two 100-yard games out of his last three. He even scored two big touchdowns last week against the Lions. Washington was likely snapped up off your waiver wire about three weeks ago, and looks to be a good start against Cleveland this week. If you don’t have him, look to swing a trade before his stock really rises.
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