There comes a point in every fantasy football season when owners have to make a decision: Now, or next year?
Well, at least for those in keeper leagues.
For those playing in standard redraft leagues, the answer always is emphatically NOW. There is no next year. But in the increasingly popular keeper format, owners out of the playoff picture this late in the game should start turning their attention to the next campaign if all realistic chances of making the playoffs are gone.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders: The diminutive but fast receiver for Oakland looks healthy again, at least for now. Ford really can do it all — he is a starting receiver, he runs reverses and he returns kickoffs. Think of him as Percy Harvin, but better.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins: Thomas has battled injuries all year and now has to battle a suddenly resurgent Reggie Bush. There is a good chance the Thomas owner in your league will unload him for less than value.
Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Hines Ward is no spring chicken. Emmanuel Sanders was supposed to be Ward‘s heir apparent, but a leg injury kept him out of the preseason while Brown seized the opportunity. Brown is the next best receiver on this team now, second only to fantasy stud Mike Wallace.
Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: 14 catches. That number jumps off the page after Helu’s first start in Washington last weekend. Helu clearly has the talent to be an all-around running back, but starting a player coached by Mike Shanahan is legalized gambling every week. Still, there is too much talent in Helu to avoid.
James Starks, RB, Packers: The numbers have not been great for Starks because of the greatness of Aaron Rodgers. Perhaps when the weather turns colder Starks will get more opportunities to score. Regardless, though, Starks is the running back of the future for a great offensive team. The touchdowns will come.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: An injury to Ingram now has slowed him solid rookie campaign. Solid, not stellar. And that is a good thing for fantasy owners looking to grab him for cheap right now in keeper leagues. Ingram only is going to get better.
Sam Bradford, QB, Rams: For whatever reason, Bradford just cannot throw touchdowns this year. It is an anomaly. Injuries to the wide receiving corps have decimated this team all season. This is a down year, but I think next year will be a big bounce-back season for Bradford and Co.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: Fred Jackson is having the season of his life. But he is getting older and the Bills will need to look toward the future soon enough. Spiller was drafted to be that future and a few seasons behind Jackson may have been good for him.
Delone Carter, RB, Colts: He probably would have been a lot more service-able this season had Peyton Manning not been hurt. Carter now has taken a back seat to Donald Brown because the Colts cannot play with a lead — or anything close to it. The future still is bright for this guy to potentially be a 15+ carry guy one day.
Steelers’ wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to miss several weeks … Kevin Kolb could miss another week, but it should not bother Larry Fitzgerald much. John Skelton gets him plenty of targets to be productive … Darren McFadden is out for Thursday night against the Chargers. Get Michael Bush in lineups again this week … Miles Austin is out two-to-four weeks with a hamstring strain. Go get Laurent Robinson off the waiver wire this week … Speaking of Kendall Hunter, Frank Gore sprained his ankle in Week 9. Hunter could see more work this weekend to help keep Gore off it … No Jahvid Best, Peyton Hillis or Montario Hardesty again this weekend.
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