ESCANABA - This unpredictable game of fantasy ball threw me for yet another loop last weekend. I'm kicking myself for making a roster decision that just about anyone in my position would have made.
I started two receivers with favorable matchups. Hakeem Nicks against the Lions and Louis Murphy against the 49ers. I also had Roy Williams against the Vikings, which I was iffy on but went with.
Ironically, Williams with the toughest matchup of the three had the best game, scoring 15 points. Murphy had a lousy 4.50 points. Nicks, who has been far and away my best receiver, had a horrible game with a pathetic 1.50 points.
Surprisingly, Steve Smith, who has been having a bad season to this point, and who I had on my team but dropped after week two, had over five catches in the game and was inexplicably Eli Manning's favorite receiver against the Lions.
Meanwhile, I benched Jeremy Maclin this week because he was going up against a good Atlanta secondary. So of course Maclin had an incredible 30 point performance after DeSean Jackson went down with an injury. He caught an 83-yard touchdown pass! And I got nothing for it.
I play Maclin, I win by 25 points.
Instead, after Sunday's slate of games I was down by 9 points with only my tight end Marcedes Lewis left to play. Lewis had scored 9 or more points in four out of five games this season so I still felt good about my chances. Unfortunately Lewis also had his worst game of the season. He had an opportunity for a touchdown but fumbled the ball inside the Titans 10-yard line. And my team went down 106-101.
Lesson learned. Nicks isn't getting benched next week because of one bad game, but Murphy won't be played again until he's needed in a bye week. It's Nicks, Maclin, and Roy Williams from here on out.
So after dropping to 2-4, I fell from sixth place to eighth. I'm still not out of it yet, but I can't lose much more from here on out. The top three teams in the league sport 5-1 records. Everyone else is 3-3 and 2-4 with the exception of one 1-5 team. Six teams make the playoffs which take place in weeks 14-17
I'm going up against my brother-in-law's 2-4 team this week so I have an opportunity to distance myself from the bottom feeders.
I'll be playing Kyle Orton against Oakland rather than Tony Romo against the Giants and their formidable pass rush. I don't like my running back matchups with Rasheed Mendenhall against the Dolphins and Ryan Matthews against the Patriots, but I don't have a good third running back option so I have to roll with it.
If you're looking for a free agent quarterback to pick up, might I suggest Matthew Stafford. The Lions have a bye this week, but Stafford will assuredly return to the starting position in week eight. Shaun Hill, now out with a broken arm, was really making the Lions offense move, even against good defenses, and Stafford with the better arm should as well. He's available in 71 percent of leagues.
If you still need a tight end, Tony Scheffler on the Lions has emerged as a better option than Brandon Pettigrew, who drops a lot of balls. Scheffler has been heating up lately and getting roughly 6-7 points per week which is what you should expect from an average tight end, and he's available in 94 percent of leagues.
If you missed the Marcedes Lewis boat, you might be out of luck. Owners flocked to him last week and he's now only available in 28 percent of leagues.
If you need a receiver, Mike Williams on Seattle just had his breakout game against a good Bears defense. While Williams didn't haul in a touchdown, he had 10 catches for 123 yards, for 17 fantasy points. I dropped Williams earlier in the season after a couple dud games but he might be worth picking up again. Williams is currently available in 85 percent of leagues.