Ed Barkowitz | Rowand's playoff hunt continues off field

Posted: September 28, 2007

PHILLIES centerfielder Aaron Rowand is having a career year, one that he will parlay into a lucrative contract . . . somewhere.

He is hitting in the middle of the most productive lineup in the National League and is a key member of a team in the thick of a playoff chase. Not only that, but his fantasy football team is 3-0. Things couldn't be better, right?

Wrong.

Rowand has two problems - besides trying to fight back the Mets, Padres and Rockies. Steven Jackson is his only quality running back, and Rex Grossman was his only backup quarterback.

"I have to look at [the waiver wire] soon and get somebody," Rowand said the other day.

Rowand has been a member of CBSSports.com's 14-team MLB Players FFL for the last 3 years. This year, he drafted second and, like many of us, picked Jackson, the Rams running back who injured his groin Sunday. When Jackson got hurt, Rowand looked down his bench and saw only Pittsburgh's Najeh Davenport and the Eagles' Tony Hunt.

To compound matters, Grossman was the only other quarterback on his roster besides Jay Cutler. Rowand quickly jumped on Brian Griese, the Bears' new starter in place of Grossman. Rowand still hadn't made a running back move as of deadline; Seattle pitcher Jarrod Washburn drafted rookie Brian Leonard, Jackson's backup and the Rams starter for at least this Sunday. (Rowand also needs a tight end, since Washington's Chris Cooley has a bye.)

Given that the Padres are one of the teams the Phillies are battling for a playoff spot, it's ironic that Rowand is putting his undefeated fantasy record on the line this week against San Diego pitcher Greg Maddux.

Rowand is a respectable 5-for-16 (.313) against Maddux in his baseball career, but recalls a particularly stinging defeat to the Padres righthander in fantasy football in 2005.

"I was in first place the whole season and looking real good. But the first game of the playoffs, I lost to Maddux," said Rowand, who helped the White Sox win the World Series that year. "My guys just didn't show up, and some guys sat, because their teams had clinched playoff berths. I got screwed, because a couple of my guys only played a couple quarters, and Greg ended up beating me and he ended up winning the whole thing."

Chatter is as much a part of their league as it is for the rest of us. Rowand says Milwaukee's Ben Sheets and the Yankees' Doug Mientkiewicz, the league's defending champ, are the biggest yappers. Sounds as if Rowand might be, too.

"I'm sure I'll be talking to [Maddux] either through the league Web site or on the phone," he said.

"That's half the fun of playing in this league. You get to see guys here and there. When I was in Chicago, I'd see [Michael] Cuddyer all the time, because we played Minnesota so much; we'd talk to each other during the game and before the game."

Aaron Rowand's roster

Aaron Rowand's roster in the 14-team CBSSports.com MLB Players FFL as of press time:

ACTIVE

QB: Brian Griese, Bears

RB: Tatum Bell, Lions

RB: Najeh Davenport, Steelers

WR: Marvin Harrison, Colts

WR: Terrell Owens, Cowboys

TE: Chris Cooley, Redskins (bye)

K: Jeff Wilkins, Rams

Defense/special teams: Patriots

BENCH

QB: Jay Cutler, Broncos

RB: Tony Hunt, Eagles

RB: Steven Jackson, Rams

WR: Muhsin Muhammad, Bears

WR: Jerry Porter, Raiders

K: David Akers, Eagles

Three up

-- Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: His number of carries has gone up each of the last three games, while backfield mate Julius Jones' has declined. It's safe to use Barber as a No. 2 back.

-- Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: His number of carries has gone up each of the last three games, while backfield mate Julius Jones' has declined. It's safe to use Barber as a No. 2 back.

-- Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: A good bye-week replacement (at Atlanta) if he's available.

-- Jeff Garcia, QB, Buccaneers: After watching Joey Harrington throw for 361 yards Sunday against Carolina, Garcia became a bye-week option this week for Drew Brees owners.

Three down

-- LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders: It's a good time to entertain trade offers for Jordan. His value is high, and Dominic Rhodes is a week away from returning from suspension and possibly clogging up Oakland's backfield.

-- LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders: It's a good time to entertain trade offers for Jordan. His value is high, and Dominic Rhodes is a week away from returning from suspension and possibly clogging up Oakland's backfield.

-- Kenny Watson, RB, Bengals: It's OK to take him only to block Rudi Johnson owners looking for insurance. With an unfavorable matchup Monday against the Patriots and a bye next week, Watson might never hit your active lineup.

-- Lee Evans, WR, Bills: Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, the Bills now must turn to rookie quarterback Trent Edwards. Play Evans against the Jets' struggling pass defense and pray. Cut bait if he pigs it up again.

Catch the waive

This week's most popular free-agent add/drops, according to CBSSports.com:

This week's most popular free-agent add/drops, according to CBSSports.com:

ADDED

Roddy White, WR, Falcons

Brian Leonard, RB, Rams

Brian Griese, QB, Bears

Kevin Curtis, WR, Eagles

Kenny Watson, RB, Bengals

DROPPED

Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints

Rex Grossman, QB, Bears

Devery Henderson, WR, Saints

J.P. Losman, QB, Bills

DeShawn Wynn, RB, Packers

Ed Barkowitz, who is paying the price for being high on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis in the preseason, has been writing about fantasy football in the Daily News since 2001.

 

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