- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 17, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I’ve been thinking a lot about value lately. Most of us have a good deal of inherent value. But it’s different in fantasy football. An individual’s value is based solely on what he can provide to others, with no reciprocal relationship. On second thought, maybe it’s not that different from real life.

In any case, value is the key to winning at fantasy football. Everyone drafts from the same general pool of players early in drafts. But if you know what you’re doing, you find values to fill out your roster — in the draft and subsequently on waivers. Entering Week 7, let’s talk about fantasy football’s best values. Moving forward, keep the following players in your lineup or do what you can to acquire them:

Philip Rivers: Given that he wasn’t drafted in many leagues, the Chargers quarterback has been the best value of the year, especially considering how many of his peers have underachieved. It was unthinkable at the start of the season, but Rivers will be a key factor in the success of many fantasy teams over the next couple of months.

• Tony Romo: The only QB who could outduel Peyton Manning amid the greatest stretch of Manning’s great (regular-season) career and still be underrated. His 14 TDs are tied for second in the league with Rivers and Drew Brees, and the Cowboys signal-caller will continue to outplay the majority of QBs drafted ahead of him.

• Eddie Lacy: The Packers appear to finally be committing to the run, and that commitment should only get stronger with wide receiver Randall Cobb out for up to two months and fellow WR James Jones hobbled by a knee injury. Fully recovered from a concussion sustained on a nasty hit from the Redskins’ Brandon Meriweather, Lacy has rushed for 209 yards on 46 carries the past two weeks.

• Knowshon Moreno: Finally healthy and living up to his potential in the Broncos’ pinball offense, he’ll continue to produce as a Top 10 back as long as he has the trust of his record-setting QB.

• Justin Blackmon: His four-game suspension to start the season, his talent and his status as the primary WR on a terrible Jaguars team forced to play from behind every week was the perfect storm for fantasy value. As he was in the second half of last season, he will be one of the top fantasy WRs from here on out.

• Antonio Brown: Particularly valuable in PPR leagues, Brown has been and will continue to be the only reliable performer on the Steelers’ offense. He’s averaging more than eight catches and almost 100 yards per game, and his big-play ability was evident in a 196-yard, 2-TD performance in Week 3.

• DeSean Jackson: I spent lots of time on the road last week listening to fantasy sports radio. I can’t tell you how many times I was warned not to play the Eagles’ top WR against the Bucs. He ended up scoring two TDs in his “terrible matchup.” Jackson, whose 589 yards are second in the NFL, is developing into more than a deep threat. Chip Kelly’s offense is not the revolution or revelation it was made out to be, but it’s a very good offense and Jackson, not the QB, is the key to its passing game.

• Denarius Moore: As long as Terrelle Pryor remains the Raiders QB, Moore is a solid flex option each week. He’s scored in four of the five games Pryor has started, including the last three.

• Julius Thomas: It doesn’t matter that he’s technically the fourth option in the Broncos’ offense; there are plenty of TDs to go around. He won’t put up big yardage numbers, but he leads all tight ends in TDs with seven. He’s not Jimmy Graham, but with Jordan Cameron having to deal with a downgrade at QB, Tony Gonzalez staring at constant double-teams with Julio Jones out and Rob Gronkowski’s future on hold, Thomas is in the running with Vernon Davis as the next-best thing right now.

Week 6 Lineup Crime: Another idiocy-free week. Things are looking up!

Week 7 Lineup Time: Playing without Julio Jones and Roddy White will be a challenge for Matt Ryan, but he’s at home and the Bucs just got lit up by a backup QB in Tampa, so you should be fine if he’s your starter. Cowboys-Eagles will be a shootout, so a guy like Terence Williams is a great bye-week starter, and I expect the aforementioned backup QB, Nick Foles, to have another good game. Alfred Morris has a great matchup against a Bears defensive line that couldn’t stop a 50-year-old, 300-pound Brandon Jacobs. Don’t get too excited about Cam Newton this week. The Rams defense is opportunistic and on a roll. … The Chiefs defense should have a field day against a reeling Texans team with a backup QB. If you’re wavering on Andrew Luck, I think he’ll rebound and have his biggest game of the year against a Broncos defense that doesn’t need to stop anybody.