A cynic's view and Thanksgiving rhetoric

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In a recent episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Danny DeVito's character Frank tries to convince the gang to do something nice for their head-hanging friend Charlie in the form of throwing him a surprise party.

At first this seems like too much effort for the group, who don't appear to be that interested in putting in the work necessary to pull off the celebration. Dee, Mac and Dennis finally get motivated after being labeled as cynics by Frank, who of course as it turns out, is actually trying to get the group to throw a birthday bash for him and could care less about Charlie's misery.

Fantasy football enthusiasts are the same way. We cheer for individual players regardless of team affiliation, root for injury to cripple probably really nice guys and allow an electronic game of simple number adding to influence our mood for the whole day if not the entire week.

I say embrace it; being an optimist is overrated anyway.

That brings us to Thanksgiving, also known as a cynic's kryptonite. We are all expected to gather around the table amongst a plethora of food and highlight everything that has made us happy this past year knowing deep down inside that if Calvin Johnson doesn't catch at least two touchdown passes, the walls will run red with the smearing of cranberry sauce.

That being said, there are a few people who I won't be inviting to my festive 2010 spread. Not that they would come anyway.

Target number one is Chiefs' head coach Todd Haley. Yes, I get that you have the best run game in the league, but is it so hard to let Jamaal Charles finish off the short touchdown runs he sets up with his big plays. Haley and Thomas Jones can spend their Thanksgiving at Taco Bell for all I care.

Hey Randy Moss, remember when just about everyone this past summer spent a first or second-round draft pick on you? Three catches in three weeks and just 23 receptions all season? Really? Moss is sitting at the kids table this year.

Any chance Peyton Manning can stop throwing touchdown passes to waiver-wire residents like Blair White and Gijon Robinson and start looking Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon's way a little more? Nobody wins when Manning spreads the ball out.

Except Manning owners.


Here are three players I'm loving for Week 11:

Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland Browns - Hillis has been a breakout fantasy star for the Browns all year and his workload should increase given that every able-bodied quarterback in the state of Ohio is hurt. Expect Hillis to get a lot of touches this weekend against a weak Panthers defense.

Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers - Over 350 yards and four touchdowns in the past three weeks? Check. Big-play ability? Check. A matchup with the Bills? Big fat check.

Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions - It wouldn't be a Thanksgiving without mentioning a Lions' player and since you are going to start Calvin Johnson anyway, also give Pettigrew a look against a struggling Patriots pass defense.


Be wary of these three players for Week 11:

Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington Redskins - McNabb threw for nearly 400 yards last week and has a touchdown pass in all but one game this year, but faces a Vikings club that has finally shed the painful headache known as Brad Childress.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars - Lewis is one of the top red-zone threats in the league right now, but the Giants' constant pressure on quarterback David Garrard will have him looking towards Maurice Jones-Drew a whole lot.

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills - He may have been the top fantasy producer named Jackson last weekend, but 100 yards and two touchdowns isn't happening against the Steelers.


Here is my top sleeper pick for Week 11:

Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers - He's back. Jackson hasn't played since January 17th, but quarterback Philip Rivers can shake the rust off his wideout quick. Jackson will have a big role on Sunday versus the Colts by default given that Patrick Crayton, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates are all banged up.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Michael Rushton at mrushton@sportsnetwork.com.

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