Fantasy Football

Fan mail: Romo, Williams and more

Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals
Despite a rough outing in Week 1, Williams is a safe investment.
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Joel Beall

Joel Beall is a writer for and He lives with a Golden Tee machine and a jump shot that’s currently broken. Reach Joel on Twitter @FOXSportsBeall.


Rex from Renton: Is Stephen Hill worth picking up this week to play over Sidney Rice or Michael Crabtree?

As a rest-of-season grab, think Hill is a sound investment. Santonio Holmes received more targets against Buffalo, yet Hill, a second-round pick out of Georgia Tech, offers more explosiveness and his 6’4” frame is ideal for a red-zone bull’s-eye. Gang Green’s slate is sprinkled with less-than-frightening defensive foes, and those with formidable units will direct their focus on Holmes or the run game.

However, in regards to this week’s prospects, a date with the Steelers is not the most auspicious of starts. Granted, the Broncos had their way with Pittsburgh in Mile High last Sunday, but the Steel City was also without veteran Ryan Clark, who was sidelined due to his sickle cell trait. Clark is back in the saddle for Week 2, as could James Harrison, who missed Sunday’s affair and all of the preseason with a knee injury. Not very high on any Jets entity this week, so roll with Rice as your rotisserie receiver.

Johnson: Drop Michael Turner for Kevin Smith?

And they say fantasy owners lack patience. Not sure where such a stereotype derives from.

Concededly, there’s a belief that Atlanta’s new up-tempo scheme is not conducive to Turner’s skillset, and the season opener (11 carries, 32 yards) did little to combat this theory. Nevertheless, we’re talking about a runner who racked up 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Even in this new fast-paced attack, the Falcons will be looking to burn clock in the second half, correlating to an abundance of opportunities for their bruising back. Turner is in the twilight of his career, though he continues to hold considerable value in the fantasy realm.

For those keeping score at home, I have been an advocate of Smith attainment since August, as his prowess in the passing game and revitalization in the health department nominates the former All-American as a must-own in all formats. There’s a multitude of managers who consider Mikel Leshoure a viable threat to Smith’s starting status once the backup returns from a two-game league-sanctioned sabbatical, except Leshoure is coming off a few ailments of his own, and was not overly impressive in training camp or the preseason. Leshoure will siphon his share of work, but like Smith as the primary Lions back this season. Still, Turner gets the nod over Smith as your fantasy back.

From Twitter: @ScottSmith73 Dude, you are so off base about Tony Romo. Do you actually get paid for your ignorant rants?

Not only am I on salary, ScottSmith73, but in the words of philosopher/fireballer Kenny Powers, “The amount of money I make would hurt your parents' feelings.”

The above condemnation is stemming from my suggestion to sit Tony Romo in this week’s Fantasy Basement column. In this guy’s defense (although not sure why I’m vouching for someone slamming me), he is not alone in this outcry, as a vociferous contingent has questioned the benching of the Cowboys QB after last Wednesday’s exploits. The thing is, I like Romo’s 2012 outlook. Assuming Dez Bryant stops doing Dez Bryant-like things off the field, this year’s receiving corps will be his most talented arsenal in his Arlington tenure. I’m simply not that crazy about his matchup against a decent Seattle defense in an intimidating environment, that’s all. By the way, judging by the elevated volume of “You’re an idiot!” emails I received in reference to Romo’s forecast, I’m fairly confident that a Bat-Signal-esque distress call is sent to Cowboys fans any time a conceivably disparaging stance is taken against their team. And you know what? I tip my cap to their loyalty. Such fidelity for a signal caller rockin’ a 1-3 playoff record is an allegiance that’s sorely absent in today’s sports world, and for that, I commend you.

Brandon: Why are you so low on Darren McFadden? What makes you say such things Joel?

Missing 16 games the past three seasons has a little something to do with it, Brandon. Not helping his case is the Oakland offensive line, which looked shakier than the Taken 2 trailer against San Diego. (Hey, I love Liam Neeson, but I’m supposed to believe his daughter gets kidnapped again? At some point, you have to cut your losses and let Darwinism run its course.)

Run DMC has the ceiling of a top-5 back, and can certainly envision the Raiders runner submitting fantasy gems in the upcoming weeks. Conversely, I can also imagine McFadden writhing on the ground after blowing his knee out. In PPR leagues, ride the train while it’s chugging along, because it’s only a matter of time before it derails.

Replacements: Need running back help - Ryan Williams or Isaac Redman?

Williams. Not the greatest of debuts for Williams in the desert last week, yet he’s going to be an integral part of the Arizona air assault and could overtake Beanie Wells for the starting role in the backfield. Though he might not come to fruition in the box scores until October, Williams is worth the stash on your roster.

The same cannot be said for Redman, whose value is plummeting with the rapid recuperation of Rashard Mendenhall. Undoubtedly he’ll see an allotment of touches, especially if Jonathan Dwyer’s foot injury fails to heal, but Redman holds little long-term worth.

Colin from Tecumseh, Ontario: I need to start either Robert Griffin III or Peyton Manning this week. I was thinking of RG3 against the Rams, but can't decide.

Griffin III’s NFL introduction was remarkable, as he looked in total command of the offense, was quick with his release and was deadly accurate. Nonetheless, it was against New Orleans. Not that the Rams defense is echelons above the Saints, yet St. Louis should surmount a somewhat defiant resistance against Washington. While he could post another outrageous output, odds are RG3 comes back to Earth in Week 2.

On the opposite side of the spectrum sits Manning, who, despite facing one of the better defenses in the league and viewing almost the entire 3rd quarter from the sidelines, threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos are expected to operate from the no-huddle in a higher degree of regularity this weekend, a jarring thought since Denver seemed unstoppable when working from the alignment last Sunday. As a corollary, expect Manning to see an extra 12-14 pass attempts compared to his 26 flight forays in Week 1. With nothing particularly daunting concerning the Falcons, Manning is your best bet.

Brook: Is Stevan Ridley for real? Should I start him against Arizona?

Realer than “Real Deal” Holyfield. New England had enough confidence in Ridley to release the reliable BenJarvus Green-Ellis last offseason, and the LSU product validated this conviction with 125 yards off 21 carries against Tennessee. Make no mistake, New England remains a pass-first attack, yet the Patriots running game should see an amplified presence in Foxborough in 2012. Shane Vereen may seize a handful of carries once he returns from a foot strain, but Ridley will be a force all season.

Scott: Owen Daniels or Jason Witten?

Probably lost all Dallas backers paragraphs ago, a shame since I’m about to say something positive about the ‘Boys. For those not composing a hate letter in my direction, Witten has practiced all week without hindrance after being visibly uncomfortable against the G-Men in Week 1. Daunting Seahawks defense aside, Witten is always a top-5 TE when healthy. While not 100 percent, I predict Witten to enjoy a bounce-back afternoon in the Emerald City.

As for Daniels, it’s extremely encouraging to see the tight end healthy for the first time in three years. Though this week’s tilt against Jacksonville isn’t the best facilitator of fantasy success, Daniels is a commodity available in most leagues that could finish as an elite performer at the position. Even if you already employ a serviceable tight end, snatch him up if he’s still obtainable, as the 29-year-old could amass 70 receptions this year.

Have a question or rant for Joel? Send your inquiries by hovering over the author byline above or follow him on Twitter @FOXSportsBeall.

Tagged: Falcons, Bears, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Raiders, Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Redskins, Cardinals, Steelers, Texans, Peyton Manning, Ryan Clark, Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Michael Turner, Owen Daniels, Kevin Smith, Dez Bryant, Isaac Redman, Mikel Leshoure, Ryan Williams, Stevan Ridley, Robert Griffin III, Stephen Hill

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