The Fire Sale: Here Comes the Pain

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Fantasy, Fire Sale, NFL
Tags: , ,


It’s back. The most successful, talked about, entertaining column in fantasy sports over the last 12 years. Actually, it’s none of those things but The Fire Sale has returned for its 13 season and generated quite a following since I came up with the idea one day in my living room.

The Fire Sale has been featured on the last two years and you’ll be able to catch it here every Tuesday during the NFL season. That’s assuming my health doesn’t continue to get worse and I’m still alive come September. If not, you won’t have The Fire Sale but the world will be a better place, so it all evens out in the end.

The Fire Sale normally doesn’t start until August but I thought I would start bringing the pain a little early this season, so here we go with an abbreviated version. Now, on with The Fire Sale

Going Up

Ryan Williams, RB Cardinals - And so it begins. Beanie Wells went from a routine knee scope to beginning training camp on the active/PUP list. That’s so Beanie. In other words, if you think Wells is going to play more than 10 games you’re smoking the kind of good weed my roommate used to keep in our freezer. You may as well stick a fork in Beanie because the writing is on the wall. This knee injury will have him in and out of the lineup all season. Mr. Game-Time Decision is back in full force ladies and gentlemen.

The other thing that will be keeping Beanie on the bench is Williams. Last year I had Williams ranked as a Top 15 talent coming into the draft and right there with Mark Ingram as my top running back in the class. Williams is actually one of my favorite college players of all-time. I love his running style and versatility. If he can stay healthy I think Williams is going to have a big season.

Here’s the thing: The Cardinals desperately want to run the football to take pressure off their inconsistent offensive line. Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald but its line and quarterback situation isn’t built to throw the ball 40 times a game. In my opinion the coaching staff is losing confidence in Beanie and his ability to stay healthy. I mean, can you blame them? Williams will get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do early on in the season and that’s all he’ll need to become the main man in Arizona’s backfield.

Now that I know Wells is already starting training camp behind the 8-ball my confidence in predicting a big season from Williams is growing. I’m calling for 1,100 yards and 10 scores. I’ll draft Williams in Round 7 and laugh all the way to my league title. Mark it down. And while you’re marking things down, apparently I’ll be drafting Williams, Eric Decker and Ronnie Hillman all in the seventh round this year.

Robert Turbin, RB Seahawks - I’m 39 and married with a young son so what I’m about to say I’m not proud of. Back when I was young and stupid I used to drink and drive from time-to-time. I was actually kind of good at it, so I was the one who would drive home from the bars. Again, I’m not proud of it now but when you’re 22 you think nothing bad will ever happen to you.

Never when I stupidly got behind the wheel after drinking did I swerve in and out of traffic and almost hit other cars. If anything, you try even harder to drive safely so you don’t get pulled over. So my question is what the hell was Marshawn Lynch doing? Does he know he plays in the NFL? Does he really need me to tell him that if he’s going to be an idiot and drive drunk that he probably shouldn’t try and run other people off the road like he’s in a demolition derby at the county fair?

You know, I’ve heard Lynch was an idiot ever since he came into the NFL and this latest incident did little to change that label. I’ve written some about Turbin already and he’s a guy who’s pretty talented overall. Turbin is a tough inside runner and he actually reminds me of Lynch…on the field. Let’s hope that doesn’t carry over off the field. I personally like Turbin more in a backup role as a rookie in Seattle’s power running game but there’s a chance he could see an increased workload early depending on what happens to Lynch.

Turbin is built like a tank. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the arms on this guy but think Hulk Hogan, only bigger. Turbin is an absolute beast but don’t forget Michael Smith also saw time in Utah State’s backfield last season. If Lynch misses a couple of games, Leon Washington will also be in the mix for touches because while Turbin has potential, I don’t think he’s quite ready to be an every-down back in the NFL yet. Then again, there’s only like five of those left in the league at this point, so I guess that sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Turbin is an interesting player who’s obviously moving up draft boards thanks to Lynch’s latest display of buffoonery. Just don’t go overboard trying to get him on your roster because Lynch likely won’t face a long-term suspension.

Kellen Davis, TE Bears - Those of you that follow me know that I have no interest in blowing smoke up your backside. I don’t tell you I have sources I don’t have or inside info that doesn’t exist. I mean, who am I really lying to in that case besides myself?

I do have one good NFL contact; the guy who lent me those draft prospect videos this year. So when he found out I wasn’t feeling well he got in touch with me. After wishing me well he said, “There’s a player I want you to promote for fantasy. Kellen Davis. I’ve heard around Chicago that he’ll have a big role in the offense this year. It will make you look like you know what you’re talking about for a change.”

Fine by me. I prefer to look like I know what I’m talking about every know and then. I’ll give my source his due once and then if Davis blows up not mention this conversation ever again and take all the credit myself. I’m good with that. I’m not one to turn my back on a tip from a guy who is way more important than I am, so I looked further into Davis after our conversation.

New offensive coordinator Mike Tice will certainly use the tight end more than Mike Martz, who believes the tight end is ineligible to go out for passes. Now Davis only has 28 career receptions in three seasons but my source insists the Bears coaching staff believes he’s a much better receiver than his numbers suggest. They also believe Davis’ 6-7, 267-pound frame can create mismatches in the red zone and they want to exploit that this year.

Now should you run out and draft Davis in Round 9 to be your starting fantasy tight end? Of course not. I’m just passing along information and telling you to keep an eye on a tight end that so far has been an afterthought on draft day. If my source is correct and Davis is a bigger part of the Bears passing game in 2012, he could be a nice waiver wire pickup at some point during in the season.

Coming Down

Delone Carter, RB Colts - The Colts running back pecking order is one of the more intriguing training camp battles for fantasy owners to keep an eye on. After getting to see Carter play quite a bit at Syracuse I liked his chances to be a successful NFL running back. Well, after one season I was wrong.

I was really disappointed when I saw Carter last year. I obviously wasn’t alone considering he was awarded the starting job and then demoted two weeks later. I went back and watched some of his runs from last year and it wasn’t pretty. As a matter of fact if you take away a 42-yard scamper against the Saints Carter may have been the worst running back in the NFL last year who got at least 100 rushing attempts. He was that bad.

Carter was indecisive, slow and easy to tackle. I don’t know about you but that usually doesn’t sound like a recipe for success when it comes to NFL running backs. Maybe Carter lost his confidence but at times he was really hard to watch last season. If he doesn’t get a lot better in a hurry, Carter will get buried on the depth chart, even the Colts depth chart.

A guy to watch in Indianapolis is rookie Vic Ballard. If Carter and Donald Brown don’t get the job done, Ballard could be one of those players who comes out of nowhere and has fantasy success. Chart Ballard’s progress closely in training camp and preseason. If he looks good and Carter struggles, Ballard could be the second best fantasy option to start the season behind Brown.

I wouldn’t completely close the door on Carter quite yet but based on what I saw from him last season, the door is already halfway shut.

Kenny Britt, WR Titans - You know what concerns me? Guys who continue to have knee problems. I don’t care if you tear your ACL and come back from the injury. An ACL tear is like a bruise these days. I’m not really worried about Wes Welker’s knee. What worries me is when a player has surgery and then these “minor procedures” pop up out of nowhere. Well, Britt has now had three knee procedures in the last 10 months. I’m not a doctor but that doesn’t sound all that encouraging to me.

I’m not saying the Titans selected Kendall Wright in the first round solely because they didn’t think Britt wouldn’t be ready for the season. Even with Britt Tennessee could have used Wright’s speed on offense. However, looking back I do believe there may have been some concern about Britt’s slow recovery and I believe there’s concern about Britt overall going forward within the Titans organization.

People keep comparing Britt to Marques Colston, another receiver who’s dealt with knee issues. That’s a completely ridicolous comparison. Britt is a younger receiver whose game is predicated on speed right now. If his knees are already making him lose some speed and quickness, that’s a major concern. I’m going to personally guarantee you Britt doesn’t run routes like Colston does at this point in his career.

Fantasy owners are still living off of a lot of potential when it comes to Britt. He’s had a few big games but Britt has also battled injuries so far in his career. Once you start having three knee surgeries in 10 months, some of that potential begins to go away. I’ll take a pass on Britt this year. I’ve liked Nate Washington all summer and in my opinion he and Wright are the safer fantasy options right now.

Also, see “Mark Ingram” for players with knee injuries that concern me.

Chad Whatever, WR Dolphins - Call yourself whatever you want, it doesn’t matter. This guy can’t get open anymore and that’s the bottom line. It’s something I noticed watching Whatever last preseason. Here’s what I wrote in the Fire Sale last August:

I’ve watched all three of New England’s preseason games and I see one alarming trend with Ochocinco: Corners are covering him like a blanket. My argument against Roy Williams rekindling his magic with Mike Martz is he simply can create separation anymore. I’m starting to wonder if we’re seeing the same thing happen to Ochocinco.

I don’t know if it’s that Tom Brady and Ochocinco haven’t gotten in synch yet or what but he looks like a receiver just trying to make the team rather than a former Pro Bowler. Ever since Ochocinco was traded to New England his draft stock has risen to where he’s getting selected around the fourth round area. That’s a bit insane if you ask me.

Now, all isn’t lost for Ochocinco. He does have Brady throwing him the football and that means he doesn’t really need a lot of separation in the first place. However, it’s a little concerning that Ochocinco is having trouble getting open against single coverage in the preseason. Sometimes players get old overnight. Time will tell if that’s the case with Ochocinco.

Well, time told that was the case. Now you tell me why 2012 is going to be any different? Because Whatever got another year older and slower? Oh, I know, it’s because he was open last year and Brady just didn’t throw him the ball. Right, because Brady hates throwing to open receivers and virtually every scouting department in the NFL watched film on Whatever and laughed at his eroding physical skills.

Here’s a call: Whatever doesn’t even last the season in South Beach. He’ll get cut. He can fool all those sheep that follow him on Twitter by saying he’s going to have a monster season but he’s not fooling me. Call him whatever you want but he’s done. His career is over. You would be better off having Brian Hartline or Charles Clay on your fantasy squad instead of this joker.

Follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy

  1. Don says:

    Can you share more with us about your ailment? Something we should learn from your experience?
    I’ve been a Fire sale fan for 6 years now. Fantasy football is better because of you!

    • Thanks a lot Don. I don’t want to get too personal online, mainly because I’m not sure to the extent of the problem yet. I’ve been a Type I diabetic for 30 years and I’ve just run into a complication. I’m treating it and we’ll know more in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal by the end of summer, or at least as close to normal as I can get. It’s just taking a lot out of me at the moment. Thanks again for following the Fire Sale. I always appreciate the support, especially from the long-time followers.

  2. Craig says:

    Get well soon.

  3. MDhawkfan says:

    Sorry to hear about your situation. I wish you the best as I consider you the finest, closest to my opinions, fantasy writer I have come across.

  4. JT Marlin says:

    Nice to see the Fire Sale back early! Already in mid-season form with some of those rants.

    How concerned are you about Williams own injury history and his return this season from last preseason’s ruptured patella tendon? Aren’t those injuries sometimes tricky to return from in year 1? Better page Stephania Bell on this one…

    Kellen Davis definitely has some hidden sleeper potential and it wouldn’t shock me if he becomes a big red zone factor and has a Mercedes Lewis-like 2010 season with about 45 catches for 600 yards and 8 TD. Everyone is forgetting the Chicago TE after Martz’s horrible OC tenure there but the facts are that Davis is the clear starter, has size & can move pretty well, and former TE and current Bear’s OC Mike Tice is going to incorporate the TE position in this offense. He’s a guy you can definitely grab for $1 at the end of your auction that has a decent chance of actually helping out your team.

    • Stephania Bell is one of the best people ESPN employs. She is one of the few people that actually tells you something. I’m a little concerned about Williams but he seems to be doing well. Going by just toughness, Williams is one of the toughest players I’ve watched and Beanie is far from it. Davis may be worth a shot. I just figured I would pass along the info. I wouldn’t have come up with it on my own.

  5. German C. says:

    now mark this down, i do not care if Ryan Williams looked like Superman prior to injury, but he will never be a factor in fantasy after he tore his Patella tendon. it is a big difference if Rehab. is going well and that he could be back playing , and actually being himself after such major injury which is by far more serious than ACL one. No Player in Football or any other Sports with running , cutting changing directions , run into 300 pounds guys who try to kill you came back from this kind of injury with same speed , burst etc. ……sorry guys , he is a bust in fantasy. Will he help Cards in spelling Wells and on passing downs , yes he will, could he have a nice game here and then, yes he could ,but he will never be a constant producer for your fantasy team to be drafted in usual formats unless you play in a 24 Teams Dynasty league, and you are good with any kind of productions out of him.

    btw.: Wells is no Foster by any means, but he is startable as No.2-3 RB. he has no special talent , he does nothing special, but he run for over 1000 yards and scored 10 TD’s last season on a bad team with one of the worst Ofensive -Lines in the NFL.

    he had a knee clean up ( from timetable of recovery could be a microfracture proccedure !?) in january 2012, he had Knee problems in the past ….ok….

    now other players , see Colston had these problems and clean up in the past too, and back then lot of people were ready to declare Colston a one year wonder bust. even at the start of MJD career he had question marks written all over him because of knee problems too.

    so not so fast guys, first of all history provided us in the past that these obstacles could be overcome some day. see MJD and Colston , then if Cards were not confident in Wells why did they drafted or traded for another Back. ( forget the Williams argument for a moment please).

    last season Wells showed he could handle full workload under pressure situation.
    i can not see why he should not repeat when healthy again.

    he is and won’t be a Foster, Rice etc, kind of Player , but i would rather have him than Shonn Greene, Starks, etc.

    you will not count on Wells being your no. 1 RB , but a RB2 one to manage a long season and help you win ,is what you get and he is one of the better RB’s in this range of Expactations.

    All said depends on your league Format and Scoring system.

    • German C. says:

      Best wishes ,get well soon.

    • JT Marlin says:

      This is the point I was bringing up in my earlier post. It was my understanding that his injury was devastating and tough to bounce back from, especially in 1 year’s time. Isn’t this the same injury that ultimately zapped Cadillac Williams of all his juice? I think he had one more decent season a few years after the injury but Caddy was never the same player again. Round 7 may be too early to reach for RWilliams, especially if guys like Decker (along with a bunch of other WR) and high upside rookie RB like DWilson and Hillman are still there.

      • I’ll be honest, I love Hillman and I think Round 7 is a little early for him. You know better than anyone than I started the Hillman bandwagon but it’s getting a little out of control at this point. Mt question is; how can all of these writers change their opinion on a guy when he hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet? I thought he danced too much? I thought he was too small? I thought he lost too many yards? This is my constant criticism of fantasy writers. My criticism is very few have an original opinion. A couple of the main guys hop on a player and the others follow. I’m not talking about me, I’m not a main guy. I’m a joke. I’m saying some mainstream fantasy writers fell in love with Hillman now everyone has changed their opinion of him. No one said a word about the guy before the draft. Rotoworld’s draft “expert” had Hillman as the 13th best RB in the class and barely gave him two sentences worth of analysis despite all the so-called “tape” he claims to have. You know what that tells me? Very few people knew anything about him in the first place. It just supports what I’ve been saying for years. The only thing that makes a person a “fantasy expert” is having some writing ability. The only reason I’m on SI and Fantasy Sharks and some of you aren’t is because I have a degree in journalism and my skill is getting my ideas across in the written word. That’s a fantasy expert. Most fans I talk to know more than these so-called experts. Think I’m way off-base? Take a look at the Pros vs. Joes results every year and count how many “experts” win. Sorry for the rant but I want to know what changed in Hillman’s game over the last three months for so many writers to vastly switch their opinion of him. Answer: nothing.

      • I’m just assuming he’s on HGH like every other athlete. Back when Cadillac suffered the injury, HGH wasn’t as popular. If HGH can help an Achilles, it can help a Patella. We’ll find out soon I guess.

  6. anarchyraliv says:

    lmao at this column today. :D Chad Whatever lolol

    I was wondering how on earth I am going to draft all these sleepers in the 7th round.

    Great article. I am ready for football to be on my TV NOW. Get well soon.

    • I realized that every guy I like I’m drafting in Round 7. I’m going to need like five picks in the seventh round this year. Watch me get none of these guys. That will be tough to explain to people, especially if they all end up bombing.

  7. Andybacca says:

    How long is Marshawn supposed to be suspended?

  8. German C. says:

    i can’t agree more with What said about these so-called experts. now few thoughts on Hillman.

    Everything rises and falls with P.Manning’s Neck. Is he realy healthy ? we will see sooner than later. we only know if healthy than Manning will make everyone around better and help a player to become a breakout player or sleeper. now here we enter Hillman, does he has skills and a profile which would fit well in Manning’s system? of course yes. Is McGahee aging and does not realy fit in Manning’s style of ofense ?, yes.

    But, would you feel comfortable to trust Hillman to pass protect Manning ? could you put Manning’s Neck and the Broncos hope in the hands of a Rookie ? last time i checked Fox was still the Headcoach of the Broncos. He always went Veteran first, even with better talent on the rookie side.

    i believe situation beats talent in some cases. Hillman is more talented than McGahee but in this special situation with Manning’s Neck on line , he will be used as change of pace but won’t be constant producer til maybe mid or late season , if he shows he could handle Manning’s protection.

    Hillman still be in a RBBC situation involved. a sleeper on flex yes, but will not meet the overhype he is getting. round 7 too early for him IMO.

    • It will all come down to pass protection. I know Hillman has talent because I saw him in college and watched tape on him. I’ve never been worried about that part. Pass protection will determine how much he plays. Here’s the thing about Hillman. When he was being drafted in Round 11 on average, I could grab him in the ninth or tenth rounds to make sure I got a rookie sleeper I love. But now I have to basically take him in Round 7 to make sure I get him? That’s crazy. No matter how much I love a player in terms of NFL talent, I won’t overpay for him in a fantasy draft. Hillman is still a rookie and Willis McGahee is still around. I like the guy a lot for both this year and especially the future but at some point people hype players out of unrealistic draft slots.

    • JT Marlin says:

      Good point, the John Fox factor is very relevant with regards to evaluating HIllman’s fantasy prospects for this season. This is the same HC who stubbornly stuck with DeShaun Foster over DWilliams for 2 seasons in CAR (06-07), only then to watch Williams blow up in 08 with 1600+ tot yds and 20 TD. The guy likes his veteran’s. Unless the situation really changes in HIllman’s favor during training camp/preseason, rd 7 is way too high to draft him.

      • Irish says:

        Anybody liking Mario Fannin here as a deep sleeper? Its’ too bad he is buried so deep on the depth chart and it will probably take a couple of key injuries for him to get a real shot at starting. He really shined in camp last year before he got injured. He has elite measureables, good receiver out of the backfield, good in pass protection. Definitely a waiver wire pick up if he stays under the radar.

        PG, word is Hightower is a little gimpy first day of camp, slight limp, etc. Really looks like a competition between Helu and Royster at this point. Not sure what Shanny’s deal is with giving first 1st team reps to Royster. More headgames with Helu?

      • You know I’ve loved Hillman before he was ever on an NFL team but there’s no question that Denver running back situation could turn into a clusterfuck at some point. Hillman is actually now breaking my cardinal rule. Whenever these fantasy idiots all start falling in love with a rookie I know they never saw play in college, that guy is in trouble. It just so happens to be the one guy I love this year. I have a bad feeling about Hillman. Too many people who wouldn’t know him if he fell on their head love him now. That’s a bad sign. You’re asking me to tell you what Mike Shanahan is thinking? I’m sorry but that is well beyond my powers. No clue what that guy does but he might want to try winning some games for a change instead of conducting all these psychology experiments.

  9. JT Marlin says:

    I’m very interested to see how camp and preseason goes for David Wilson. Last season the Giants were dead last in team rushing yards - 32 of 32 NFL teams!… They did have 17 rushing TD’s, which was 6th best in the league, so obviously not all production was lost. NYG team rushing yards the previous 4 seasons ranked: 2010 - 6th (along with 17 TD), 2009 - 7th (14 TD), 2008 - 1st (19 TD), 200 - 4th (15 TD). My main point being that the NYG are most likely going to revert to the mean and finish in the upper half of the league’s team rushing yard ranks. Jacobs is gone and Bradshaw has had increasingly bad foot problems the last 3 seasons (missing 4 games last year). I didn’t watch many VTech games last season but have checked out Wilson’s stats and YouTube highlight reels and can say that the guy looks really good. He has a lot of talent, is in a good situation in NY, and he’s one Bradshaw injury away from having a huge opportunity to be the lead back in one of the league’s best offenses. I’m really starting to like this guy as a 4th RB with huge upside.

    • You just described why Martellus Bennett was signed and why he won’t be a fantasy factor as a receiver. Bennett has one strength and it’s run blocking. There’s no doubt in my mind the Giants will use him like an extra tackle, that’s why he bulked up in the offseason. I agree Wilson has a ton of talent. He is actually being underrated with people now drooling over all the other rookie backs.

  10. DePratt says:

    First season of fire sale for me.
    I’ve commented a little bit on some of your articles but this might be the best comment i make on the site ever. Health > Football. Be well

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