Week 6: Player Downgrades
Jon Kitna was not able to practice Wednesday, and he is scheduled for an MRI on his back. He is in danger of losing his job for good to either Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton. Orlovsky is the likely replacement if he can stay healthy (ankle injury). Through four games the anemic Lions offense is averaging only 17 pts./game. Detroit lacks any sort of offensive production under new coordinator Jim Colletto. Kitna has thrown 5 TDs and 5 Ints and is averaging less than 200 yds/game. Roy Williams continues to complain and is again rumored to be on the trading block. On Sunday against the Bears (playing from behind all day), Kitna managed only 8 completions and 74 yards with no touchdowns in the first half before exiting with a back injury. With one of the worst defenses in the NFL, Kitna will be forced to air it out but his poor offensive line play will make him a weekly risk for a season ending injury. The Lions are in rebuilding mode and are likely to bench the 36 year old Kitna for a younger starter. The youth movement could begin as early as this week.
The Vikings special teams coordinator must be on the hot seat this week after the electrifying 2nd year speed demon out of USC returned two punts for TDs on Monday night. Despite his production on special teams, Bush is averaging less than three yards a carry over the last two games. He is still a valuable commodity in PPR leagues with 38 catches, 321 yards and 2 receiving TDs through five games. The Saints' offensive line is struggling and the re-emergence of Deuce McAllister will limit any goal line production. As a key asset in the high octane Saints offense, Bush should continue to put up strong numbers.; with Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey likely to return from injury in the next month, his receptions could see a drastic decline. Bush is still an every-week starter but unless your league awards points for kick returns, he may be slightly overvalued which makes him an ideal sell high candidate.
LJ has been really hot and cold all season for the Chiefs and this is a trend that could continue all year based on the weak offensive line and poor QB play. The Chiefs are on a bye Week 6 and you may also want to bench LJ in Week 7 against the Titans. In week 5, Johnson was held to just two yards on seven carries by the stout Panthers front seven. His week four explosion against Denver (198 yards, 2TDs) was more of an anomaly than the norm as the Broncos have been prone to giving up big plays all year. One positive is that LJ faces the Broncos again in week 14 (first week of fantasy playoffs). The 28 year old Penn State product is a top notch work horse playing in one of the worst offensive situations in the NFL as the Chiefs are averaging only 13 pts a game. Based on the severely limited offense surrounding him, Johnson will be the focal point of all defenses he faces, making him more of a week to week match-up play at this point.
A consensus top 3 pick in the preseason, it's the same old song and dance as B-west could be slowly becoming the next Fragile Fred. Westbrook suffered fractured ribs in the Week 5 game versus Washington and appears to be a game time decision for this week's matchup at San Francisco. He also missed the week 4 game against Chicago with a sprained ankle. The Eagles have a bye in Week 7, so it might wise for Andy Reid to give Westbrook two weeks to rest. When healthy he's a fantasy stud (especially in PPR), but now might be the time to target a Frank Gore or Clinton Portis before Westbrook's value plummets if he misses considerable time -- depending on the severity of the rib injury. The Eagles may regret investing $21 million over three years on their oft injured 29 year old running back. All B-west owners should already have Correll Buckhalter stashed away but if you don't, run to your waiver wire and pray he is available because it is likely that C-buck will be starting this weekend.
Lloyd was in a large brace after suffering an undisclosed knee injury in week 4. He appeared to re-injure the knee in the second half versus Detroit in week 5, costing the Bears one of their top WR. Other than a big game (124 yards, 1 TD) in week 3 against TB, the 27 year old Illinois product has been average at best for a Bears offense that appears likely to favor running the ball with rookie Matt Forte.