Some things to be thankful for this fantasy season

ASSOCIATED PRESS Cardinals' La'Rod Stephens-Howling (left) is not expendable just yet.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Cardinals' La'Rod Stephens-Howling (left) is not expendable just yet.
Posted: November 23, 2012

A MAN NAMED Frank Clark once said that if a man isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get.

So as the playoffs rumble closer - and we're hopeful for things yet to come - let's take a look at some of the things fantasy owners ought to be grateful for.

You are thankful if . . .

* You unloaded Shonn Greene after his 161-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Colts in Week 6. Greene entered Thursday night's contest against New England with 253 yards on 64 carries (3.9 per) and one score in the four games that followed his monster. Coach Rex Ryan earlier this week said the Jets would use multiple RBs from here on out.

* You stuck with the Titans' Chris Johnson, who has rewarded you with an average of 130.4 yards over the last five games with four scores. He's on pace for nearly 1,400 yards.

* You were one of the few people who had Golden Tate when he made the disputed catch against the Packers in Week 3 that essentially led to the end of the replacement referees. More people, it seemed, were stung because of the points Green Bay's defense allowed in the 14-12 loss.

You are thankful if . . .

LeSean McCoy was taken before you had a chance at him. Ditto for Darren McFadden and Larry Fitzgerald.

* You waited patiently while Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton and Michael Vick were drafted, then scooped in and grabbed Peyton Manning. So much for that neck injury.

* The Bears' defense has scored more than your tight end.

* You've won some games at 11 o'clock on Monday nights.

When the home team is 3-7 and circling down the turlet (as Grandmom used to call it), let us follow Clark's advice and be thankful we have a fantasy football team. Otherwise, it could be a quick exit from the playoffs.

Contest results

We promised T-shirts to two randomly selected Daily News readers who contributed ideas for the annual gratitude salute. Ken Busch, of Plainsboro, N.J., was thankful he didn't draft any Eagles. Joe Corcoran, of Delran, N.J., was grateful "we can still count on the Patriots to throw the ball - and score - even when up by 30 points."

John Braithwaite, of Villanova, won our Nick Foles-Robert Griffin III contest by guessing that Foles would throw for more passing yards last week. Foles had 204, Griffin 200. He, too, earns a DN fantasy T-shirt, which he'd probably be wise to regift to cousin Mel.

Position watch * 

Quarterbacks: If fantasy fans had any say - particularly those who own Vernon Davis - Colin Kaepernick easily would be the starter in San Fran. Kaepernick has a number of weapons, a reliable offensive line, and is more valuable as a flier in keeper leagues than, say, Nick Foles or Christian Ponder . . . Carson Palmer returns to Cincinnati for the first time since the Bengals dealt him to Oakland. Palmer is on a three-game run of multiple touchdowns and at least 300 yards. The only time Cincy has given up 300 this year was the 322 yards Cleveland's Brandon Weeden notched in Week 2.

* Running backs: Ronnie Hillman is the back to own in Denver while Willis McGahee (torn ACL) is out, likely for the remainder of the regular season. It speaks volumes that the Broncos are going with Hillman, a rookie third-rounder, rather than 2009 first-rounder Knowshon Moreno, a bench-warmer since Week 2. Five of Denver's remaining six games are against teams ranked in the bottom third against the run . . . Don't drop Arizona's La'Rod Stephens-Howling just yet. Beanie Wells isn't exactly the Cal Ripken of running backs . . . Bryce Brown, as bad as Carolina is, should be considered only as an RB3/flex.

Wide receivers: Even though Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is progressing from the ankle injury that's kept him out the last few games, leave him on the bench even if he is cleared to play. With Charlie Batch under center, Mike Wallace is a midlevel WR2, and slumping Heath Miller is only a borderline starter at tight end. Plaxico Burress did have eight TDs last year, but he's worth adding only as a flier in large leagues.


Ed Barkowitz, who had a killer loss last week to former Daily News boxing writer Bernard Fernandez, has been writing about fantasy football since 2001. Email: FantasyFootball@phillynews.com

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