NEWS

Joey Baskerville: It can always get worse

Joey Baskerville

Life has a funny way of reminding you that it can always be worse.

Perhaps you watched the slew of awful football games on Thanksgiving, realizing in mid-bite of a fork full of turkey/dressing/cranberry sauce/mash potatoes/green beans (casserole)/etc. — yes, all at once — that the players scoring touchdowns were the ones playing against you this week.

Or maybe Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, your quarterback that’s supposed to be a safe pick for the year, has turf toe and gave you a whopping zero points.

Mike Turner re-injured his ankle, Arizona QB Kurt Warner and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger are too concussed to play and Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson got his first concussion.

And if you had the displeasure of playing against New Orleans QB Drew Brees vs. New England ... I think you get the point.

Still it could be worse.

You could be a golfer whose name rhymes with Fiber Goods.

I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

Still that doesn’t take away from the fact that some of you could be in the final week of meaningful fantasy football this season, unless you take consolation brackets seriously.

And for that, I feel sorry for you.

Final week of regular season: don’t panic

As great as some of the weeks have been in six leagues, I’m in a bind like several other owners are in.

I’m 6-6 in two leagues and this week’s finish could determine whether or not I’m in the playoffs or already mulling over bad draft choices and strategies.

It’s survival of the luckiest or most prepared.

Pitt, one of my former college roommates and my biggest fantasy rival, has a saying about times like these: don’t panic.

So while it may seem like this is the week to start, say, Terrell Owens (Buffalo WR), over a struggling Vincent Jackson (San Diego wideout) or Mike Sims-Walker, think again.

Jackson has been dependable all year up until the last three weeks. Still it’s just too risky to sit him.

Sims-Walker is still the No. 1 deep threat and he’s young.

Notice how you can’t say those same things about Owens?

I actually like Owens for the playoff stretch, starting next week, with opponents like Kansas City on the road, vs. New England, at Atlanta and home against Indianapolis.

He won’t line up against New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is the closest thing to a shutdown corner that we’ve seen in years, those weeks.

Point is: stick with the players that got you in position to win a playoff spot.

Just because you’re desperate for a win doesn’t mean you have to act, well, desperate.

Ignore the match-ups, close your eyes and just hope your guys come through in the biggest week of the year.

Ride or Rot

Now I’m going to slightly contradict what was written above. Just slightly.

It’s well-documented how bad Chicago running back Matt Forte has been this season. He hasn’t had a good week since Week 10 and hasn’t been great since the Cleveland and Detroit games.

He’s not good unless he plays atrocious competition.

Enter the St. Louis Rams.

They’re tied for second-most allowed rushing touchdowns in the league, fifth in rushing yards allowed and tied for first in average yards per rush allowed.

For the last time this season, ride with Forte. Then vow to never draft him again.

Others to ride with: Jackson at Cleveland, Buffalo RB Fred Jackson vs. Jets, Pats RB Laurence Maroney at Carolina, Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles vs. Denver, Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno at KC, Houston QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson at Jacksonville, Cincinnati WR Chad Ochocinco vs. Detroit, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers vs. Baltimore, Tampa RB Cadillac Williams at Carolina, Bears QB Jay Cutler vs. St. Louis (trust me).

His career is not over, but at some point you’re got to say — only in terms of fantasy — it’s over.

Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck scored just five fantasy points against the Rams.

Think about that for a second.

Five points.

Rams.

Let him rot this week.

Others to let rot on the bench: New York Giants QB Eli Manning vs. Dallas, Detroit WR Calvin Johnson at Cincy, Giants RB Brandon Jacobs vs. Cowboys

Dream team

If there’s one thing the Panthers can do well, it’s run the ball.

DeAngelo Williams against a 30th-ranked rush defense.

I’m sold.

Others on the dream team: Jets RB Thomas Jones at Buffalo, Tennessee RB Chris Johnson at Colts, Maurice Jones-Drew at Houston, Colts QB Peyton Manning and WR Reggie Wayne vs. Titans, Pats WR Randy Moss at Miami, Cowboys WR Miles Austin at Giants, Chargers QB Philip Rivers at Cleveland, Bengals QB Carson Palmer vs. Lions

Dread team

Chiefs QB Matt Cassel vs. Denver, Lions RB Kevin Smith at Cincy, WR Eddie Royal at Kansas City

Don’t sleep on my sleepers

Jacksonville QB David Garrard vs. Houston, Washington’s RB Rock Cartwright vs. New Orleans, Bears WR Johnny Knox vs. St. Louis

Joey Baskerville is a sports writer for The Journal-Standard in Freeport, Ill. Good luck and get ready for the most mind-numbing weeks of fantasy football. He can be reached at jbaskerville@journalstandard.com.