Letting go is tough. I still haven't gotten over the time my mother threw away my teddy bear because I left it outside in the rain. I cried for days at the thought of my bear burning up in some incinerator. I was 17 years old, but that's not the point. It's the time in the fantasy season when you need to let go of the big names you built your team around.
You were probably pretty excited when you drafted Joseph Addai or LaDainian Tomlinson, but you've done nothing but complain since then as they kill your team on a weekly basis. With the trading deadline approaching in most leagues, this is your chance to unload them for depth or to fill in a hole in your starting lineup. Just about every league has a couple guys who don't really know football all that well and will be seduced by a name like Addai, even if he's averaging fewer fantasy points than the Packers defense. He might be willing to give up someone like Tyler Thigpen or DeAngelo Williams for Addai. Is it underhanded? Maybe, but nobody ever won a fantasy league by being a nice guy.
On to this week's picks. Jason's off for a couple days, so you won't be able to win money by picking against him. Sorry.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago
Yeah, he had a pretty bad week against the Vikings, but he's back at home and going against a Bears defense that ranks 31st in the league against the pass. If you're the kind of person who's not impressed by stats, consider this: the Titans have barely let Kerry Collins throw all year... and he killed the Bears despite the lack of any semblance of a running game.
Jake Delhomme vs. Detroit
Do you really think the Lions are capable of stopping Steve Smith?
Michael Turner vs. Denver
Turner has been hit or miss most of the season and he is nursing a hand injury, but he's listed as probable and he's going against one of the worst defenses in the league.
Jeff's Risk/Reward Picks
Ladell Betts vs. Dallas
Clinton Portis is almost certain to miss the game, which shoves Betts into the starting lineup. Dallas can be tough against the run, but the Redskins have a strong offensive line and Jim Zorn is not going to put the game into Jason Campbell's hands unless he has to.
Larry Johnson vs. New Orleans
LJ is back with the team after a suspension, he's going against a bad defense and Jamal Charles is unlikely to play. Herm Edwards says he'll be in the mix, but won't commit to a specific number of carries. The Chiefs also may stick with the pass, which has been working lately, as any Tyler Thigpen owner can tell you.
Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Tennessee
Yes, the Titans have a monster run defense. But Matt Forte had a big day against them last week with Rex Grossman at QB. MoJo has a much better QB and a team in desperate need of a win to stay in the playoff race.
Jeff's Players to Avoid as if They've Been Dipped in Ebola
Willis McGahee vs. New York Giants
I give up on the Baltimore RBs. There's no rhyme or reason to which one starts or which one gets the goal line carries. Just when we all thought Mike Shanahan's "Running Back by Committee" offense was the worst thing ever to happen to fantasy football, along comes John Harbaugh and his "Running Back by Chimps Throwing Feces at a Team Photo" offense. There is one certainty: no Ravens back is having a big day against the Giants defense.
Jeremy Shockey vs. Kansas City
Shockey stinks this year. Pick up Billy Miller or Visanthe Shianco.
LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Pittsburgh
What would have been blasphemy two years ago is now the only sane response to LT's brutal season. He couldn't muster more than 10 fantasy points against the Chiefs, so why would you start him against the Steelers? If you have other options, use them. I'd run Jerious Norwood against Denver before running LT this week.
Jeff's Local Picks
Michigan (-3.5) vs. Northwestern
The Wildcats are down to their third-string RB and QB C.J. Bacher may not be at full strength. Michigan will probably be missing RB Brandon Minor and QB Steven Threet, but I think we have a little more skill position depth than Northwestern. We'll send the seniors out with a win at home before certain death next week at Ohio State.
Detroit (+14) vs. Carolina
The Panthers looked awful last week at Oakland and 14 is an enormous spread in the NFL.
Jeff's NCAA Picks
South Carolina (-22) at Florida
The Gamecocks have been playing a lot better lately but the fact that Vegas is setting such a huge line makes me wonder what I'm missing. I just can't see Spurrier getting blown out in a game you know means a lot to him.
Texas (-13.5) at Kansas
Kansas lost to Nebraska last week in a game I picked them to win. I guess I didn't realize how much they stink. I won't get burned again.
Ohio State/Illinois (+/- 47): take the over
Juice Williams and Terrelle Pryor are not going to be stopped all day. This should be a shoot-out.
Jeff's NFL Picks
Jacksonville (+3) at Tennessee
I just have a feeling this is Tennessee's week to lose. The Jags are desperate and flying under the radar. Kerry Collins is due to implode.
Denver/Atlanta (+/- 51): take the over
Denver's defense is awful. Atlanta's is only marginally better. Both teams have great offenses and I only need a 27-24 finish for a push.
San Francisco (-6) vs. St. Louis
No Stephen Jackson means no offensive hope for the Rams. The only issue here is whether or not the 49ers have an emotional letdown after Monday night's soul-crushing loss to Arizona
Jeff's Lock of the Century
Philadelphia (-9) at Cincinnati
The Eagles only giving single digits against the Bengals? Sign me up.
Last Week: 5-4
Lock of the Century: 6-2