Fantasy Fix

By Dan O'Shea

Much of the fantasy football pre-season buzz concerned laments that the top crop of RBs could disappoint this year. The beef with Michael Turner and Matt Forte was that they were over-worked last year and would see their chances limited in more pass-happy offenses this year. Adrian Peterson was supposed to see his workload cut by Brett Favre, while Chris Johnson was likely to see touches limited by a lighter, tequila-free LenDale White. Frank Gore would suffer from poor blocking. LaDainian Tomlinson and Clinton Portis would show their age. Only Maurice Jones-Drew, DeAngelo Williams and Steve Slaton were viewed as rising stars.

So how are the big names stacking up after Week 2, and what should you do about it? Let's check in with our Fantasy Fix Action Ratings and find out.

Player: Adrian Peterson, RB
FFAR: HOLD
Comment: Okay, obviously hold onto him, but the Vikings are definitely passing more with Favre.

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Player: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
FFAR: HOLD
Comment: Bland in his first two weeks with only 111 yards total and 1 TD, but he should be great in Week 3 against Houston.

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Player: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB
FFAR: HOLD
Comment: I'd advise a trade, but he's unsure to start in Week 3 due to injury. Put him on the trading block and listen to offers until he returns. His best days are over.

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Player: Steve Slaton, RB
FFAR: TRADE
Comment: Could be hard to find a taker, but his slow start and QB Matt Schaub's 4 TD passes in Week 2 suggest a shift away from the second-year man.

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Player: Clinton Portis, RB
FFAR: HOLD
Comment: He was a guy I avoided like the swine flu on draft day, and he has shown only modest returns so far with no TDs, but he's against Detroit this week. Hold him for that game, then trade him.

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Player: Chris Johnson, RB
FFAR: HOLD
Comment: I'll predict right now he finishes as the No. 2 ranked RB after Peterson this year. The Titans are using him in ways that set him up for long outside runs while White pounds away on the inside.

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Player: Michael Turner, RB
FFAR: TRADE
Comment: No. 2 pick in many drafts, but 105 yards and 1 TD in Week 2 make it a perfect time to trade a guy who will get fewer chances at such numbers this year.

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Player: Matt Forte, RB
FFAR: HOLD
Comment: A big disappointment after Weeks 1 and 2, but less stingy run defenses on his slate to come, and with Jay Cutler bouncing back, Forte will get more short receptions that he can break open.

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Player: DeAngelo Williams, RB
FFAR: HOLD
Comment: Don't panic after just 116 yards rushing in the first two weeks. Will still get the bigger share of what is billed as an RB tag-team with Jonathan Stewart. His Week 2 fumble also was a rarity.

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Expert Wire
* Yahoo! PickUps of the Week took notice of one of our sleeper faves, Rashard Mendenhall. Willie Parker has had two bad games for the Steelers and Mendenhall, the former Illini stud, broke a nice run in front of a friendly Bears crowd last week.

* ESPN.com reports that QB Kevin Kolb likely will again replace the injured Donovan McNabb in Week 3. But watch out for wildcat set-ups in which Michael Vick could make an appearance, or perhaps even Brian Westbrook or DeSean Jackson.

* Bleacher Report has projected player rankings for Week 3, and is expecting big things to come from QBs Schaub and Joe Flacco. Both are facing favorable match-ups. I like Flacco this year, but you need to keep an eye on Schaub, who tends to alternate good and bad weeks.

* FanHouse advises against panic after WR Greg Jennings completely disappeared in Week 2. Jennings was the third WR drafted in both of my leagues, but he and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers are off to a very slow start after a prolific 2008 season and promising 2009 pre-season.

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Fantasy Baseball
Winning in the fantasy baseball playoffs is all about taking the short-term view. Forget any allegiance to the guys who carried you to the post-season if they are running cold in late September. Here's a few of my current faves for last-minute pick-ups and who to bench in order to start them.

Player: Joey Votto, 1B
FFAR: PICK UP
Comment: He's only 64% owned in Yahoo! leagues, so likely was dropped during an August slump, but he's hitting over .470 during the last week, and made a big late-season stats push last year, too. Start him over Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B. yes, Reynolds has 43 home runs, but is hitting under .100 over the last week.

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Player: Miguel Olivo, C
FFAR: PICK UP
Comment: Only 16% owned, but hitting .350 in the last week with 4 home runs as the K.C. Royals suddenly have turned into the scoring machine Zack Greinke had prayed for all year. Start him over someone like A.J. Pierzynski, who has had a strong year, but is fading and won't get you many homers.

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Player: Drew Stubbs, OF
FFAR: PICK UP
Comment: He's probably starting every game the rest of the way for Cincinnati, and has 3 HRs and is hitting .368 in the last week. Plus, he's a stolen base threat. Start him over a fading power hitter like Carlos Lee, who's hitting .208 in the last week.

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Next week, we'll size up the fantasy football QB ranks, and hand out 2009 fantasy baseball awards.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like It's about.


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