TheDC’s Fantasy Outsider: Part III

Andy Hayes Contributor
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Without further ado, the “outsider” reveals his take on this week’s QB rankings.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any specific line-up questions or general thoughts on the rankings.

1.    Vernon Davis – stud last year, stud this year, stud Sunday.
2.    Dallas Clark – most reliable TE out there.
3.    Brent Celek – the Packers are not good at covering TEs. TEs tend to gravitate toward the middle of the field where AJ Hawk plays, and they have their way. I expect Celek to be big Sunday.
4.    Kellen Winslow – this is a guy who slipped way too far in most drafts/mocks I saw. He’ll be very good this year and Josh Freeman, his QB, will be legit this year. Last year, TB beat the Pack because of Freeman and Winslow.
5.    Jermichael Finley – great player and my #1 TE this year. This week could be tougher for him as the Eagles are no doubt scheming to stop him and Philly is a tough place to play. But he’ll still make plays because he’s just so hard to defend. He has tremendous hands (was being looked at in high school by some NBA teams). .
6.    Visanthe Shiancoe – Shiancoe played well last night and will have a big season in MN. Without Rice, Favre will look to Shiancoe more than any other WR – Favre loves TEs.
7.    Chris Cooley – comeback year for a good guy. Cooley should trip up the Cowboys this weekend.
8.    Jason Witten – good player and Romo’s favorite “bail me out” option. OK game Sunday.
9.    Todd Heap – Heap could do serious damage this year because he’s healthy and I expect Flacco to be throwing more this year than ever before. Could be a sneaky start Sunday.
10.    Zach Miller (OAK) – apparently Jason Campbell’s favorite target and Oak will be throwing Sunday.
11.    John Carlson – Hasselbeck calls him his “fantasy sleeper” and predicts a big year for him. Last year, Hasselbeck called him his “fantasy sleeper” and didn’t throw it to him. Carlson could be great this year, but it depends on how quickly the Pete Carroll offense gels.
12.    Jermaine Gresham – would be a risky play Sunday but he has big upside. Palmer loves this rookie.
13.    Anthony Fasano – whenever I watch highlights and they show the Dolphins, it seems 90% of the time, they’re showing Fasano score a TD. Not a great play but the Buff D will be focused heavily on stopping Brandon Marshall so it’s possible Fasano and Bess may be freer to operate.
14.    Tony Scheffler – risky play Sunday, but Scott Linehan likes throwing to TEs and I can see Scheffler becoming a go-to guy for the young Stafford. Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew were starting to connect nicely before Pettigrew got hurt.
15.    Tony Gonzalez – tough match-up for Tony this weekend in Piit, but he just may be the best TE when it comes getting open by finding the soft spot in a zone and essentially posting up (he is a good basketball player, makes sense).

Defense/Special Teams:
1.    Tennessee – I’m not liking Oak’s chances this week in Tenn. I don’t think Tenn is that good but they’ll be tough to deal with Week 1. Curious that Tenn flirted with re-obtaining Albert Haynesworth – makes me think that if Oak does anything offensively, it may be on the ground with McFadden.
2.    Pitt – Atlanta has a tough draw here. Pitt is very good at home and Polamalu is back.
3.    NY Giants – New stadium, new season, optimism. I see the Giants stuffing Carolina’s running game and while Matt Moore may not be terrible throwing the ball, NYG should be a top D.
4.    Falcons – I don’t see the Atlanta/Pitt game being a high scoring game. I see it ending up kind of like the NO/MN game last night.
5.    Redskins – Dallas will be running into an underrated unit this weekend. While Dallas does have some scary offensive weapons that could render this a foolish pick, I think the Redskins defense will be the story of the night Sunday night.
6.    Bears  – though Det may rack up some yards and even score some TDs, the Bears special teams may score some points in this one.
1.    Garrett Hartley – in the interest of full disclosure, Hartley was my first kicker. Ugh, horrible game last night.
2.    Robbie Gould – I expect Det and Chic to put up points Sunday.
3.    Ryan Succop – I expect KC to put up points on Monday night.
4.    Neil Rackers (Houston) – I expect Hou to put up tons of points.
5.    Jeff Reed – I expect Pitt to get most of its points via FGs.

In the following section, I have listed specific players who might be riskier plays but who also have the chance to deliver big games. Often these guys are not listed in the rankings. These will be guys who aren’t as highly regarded in fantasy circles, but guys who offer upside because of the match-up – and usually guys I can see scoring.

You might take a flier on:
1.    Dexter McCluster – KC WR/RB/KR could be a nuisance Monday night. Todd Haley plans to get him involved and with the recent injury to #3 WR Jermaine Urban, McCluster should have more touches now.
2.    John Carlson – Seattle’s TE could have a big game Sunday. Yes, he’ll be covered at times by the best LB in football (Patrick Willis), but when Hasselbeck was healthy 2 years ago, he often looked for Carlson around the end zone.
3.    Derrick Mason – The Balt WR may find himself open a fair amount this weekend as Revis will be focused on Anquan Boldin and the Jets may also be extra aware of new Raven TJ Housh. Mason and Todd Heap could benefit.
4.    Todd Heap – Balt TE, like Mason could be on the receiving end of several passes, possibly around the end zone.
5.    Matt Cassel – QB for KC may really open things up in Week 1. I think coach Todd Haley wants to send a message to other teams that his offense is balanced and creative.
6.    Jermaine Gresham – the Cincy TE could get the ball a lot. NE is likely to roll coverage over to both T.O. and Ocho possibly opening up the middle of the field for Gresham.
7.    Mike Sims-Walker – Jax WR plays well at home – really well. In fact, most of the stats he produced last year were from home games. He doesn’t do much on the road at all.
8.    Mike Wallace – Pitt WR Wallace could see the end zone this week. Seems like the kind of game that will be really compact, dominated by the defenses and run games – the perfect situation for a well-timed deep pass to Wallace for a score.
9.    Mike Williams – TB WR Williams may end up being the quiet steal of the draft. The rookie has been fantastic in the offseason and is now the #1 WR in TB (though that’s not saying much I guess). Good match-up for him this week against the Cleve.
10.    Jerome Harrison – the Cleve’s RB feels slighted by the media after having a few monster games to end last year (against some decent teams no less) and getting no media love this year. He has a chip on shoulder as a result. Could be a good player this year and this weekend, I don’t expect Tampa’s D to offer much resistance.
11.    Devin Aromashadu – the Chic #3 WR is one of Cutler’s favorite targets. Knox could also be good and will see a lot of passes Sunday, but there is a chance the big guy Aromashadu will be the guy with the TDs.
12.    Tony Sheffler – the Det TE may become the safe option for young QB Stafford this year. Sheffler was really good a couple years ago in Denver and it seemed like his decline last year was due more to a system change than any change in skill level.
13.    Jax Defense – this is not a very good defense and I don’t see great things for them this year, but this weekend, a major hunch is telling Denver’s offense won’t get going.

Andy Hayes is a workplace consultant and a weekly sports columnist for TheDC. He lives in Brookfield, WI and has been a Green Bay Packer fan since age one second. Andy is the editor of, a Packer blog. He is married and the father of an active 3 year old boy (whom Andy is grooming to be an NFL place-kicker, or punter).

Read Saturday’s column on QBs and WR here.

Friday’s column about RBs here.