What to watch: Slaton, Hasselbeck, Austin
November, 6, 2009
By Eric Karabell | ESPN Insider
Everyone is watching Steve Slaton this weekend. He's not the only running back with pressure on him, but Jamaal Charles and Rashard Mendenhall weren't second-round picks in most leagues, either. Slaton was. Ryan Moats, who seized the opportunity when the fumbling fool angered his coach a bit too much, ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns and produced 32 standard fantasy points. For reference, only four running backs have a game with that many fantasy points all season (Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore and Maurice Jones-Drew). That was a really big game, and since nobody had Moats active -- or really even owned him -- everyone wants to catch lightning in a bottle once more, add him and get lucky again. I think in three weeks we're going to wonder why we ever discussed him in the first place.
Well, I think the Houston Texans know that if they're going to win games, especially with one of their key weapons done for the season -- no tight end has more fantasy points this season than Owen Daniels -- then Slaton is going to have to step up, hold on to the football and make plays, like he did as a rookie. It's only Friday, but indications I'm getting from the fantasy football world -- the pulse, if you will -- are that Slaton is absolutely being trusted. When I looked mid-Friday, only nine running backs were active in more leagues. That's stunning for a guy who might have either lost his job or created a time-share, who wasn't given the coach's vote of confidence and who delivered a minus-1 last week. Moats, the most popular free-agent pickup in ESPN leagues this week, was active in fewer leagues than Larry Johnson, Tashard Choice, Derrick Ward and six running backs on the bye week. OK, so that's a bit extreme.