Thursday, December 15, 2005


Alrighty boys and girls; if you're still making "Start and Sit" decisions for your Roto-roster... that means you managed to make it to your league's fantasy post-season! That, my fantasy friends, deserves a hearty round of congratulations.
Now, you didn't make it this far by making boneheaded decisions... and you didn't make it this far by putting complete stock in another individual's beliefs. No, you qualified for your leagues' fantasy playoffs by reading and weighing advice and mixing it with your own gut instincts... and thus far, that strategy has served you well.

Good luck to all... and I hope that I... ... and helped you in some way. Don't hesitate to visit the referee (or contact me via email) for Fantasy Baseball and Basketball assistance. And with that...


Matt Hasselbeck: Last week, 'Beck's fantasy value was bandied about the ffspiral Sunday morning chat. I felt that, given the state of the feeble state of the San Fran' Secondary he was facing, the C-Hawk Signal Caller was rock solid. In hindsight... after posting a line of 226/1/4, he sure was.

Trent Green: After throwing for 340 yards, Green cracked the 300 yard mark for the second time in his past 3 contests. This week, against a Giant Secondary that has proven itself vulnerable by allowing opposing Signal Callers to toss over 220 passing yards per game, look for T-Green to approach a 3rd 300 yard effort. And… the G-Men, without big ‘backer Antonio Pierce, will have a hard time containing TE Tony Gonzalez. Gonzo’s a “Must Start” candidate.

Kurt Warner: Warner is a 300 yard passing machine, and the Houston Texan Secondary… much like their run defense, is fictitious. Houston has allowed a whopping 20 passing scores, and Warner’s top target, Anquan Boldin, should hang another 100+/1-2 day. Likewise, with so much attention being paid to Q’, Fitzgerald is a likely Red-Zone candidate as well. Look for Kurt to bank something like 315/3, thus proving the adage “Runinng Game? We don’ need no steenkeeng’ running game!”

Peyton Manning: In an effort to keep his boys sharp for what promises to be a difficult post- C’, you can bet yer’ boots that coach Dungy keep his troops in the game for at least 3 Quarters. And, should the game be close… and it likely WILL be, as San Diego is fighting for their very Playoff lives, look for Peyton and pals to play 4-Quarter Football (Edge' being the sole exception). Against San Diego this week… a team that allows 230+ passing yards per week and has seen a total of 17 passing TDs thrown against ‘em, Manning is a rock-solid start. Especially at Home, mind you.

Carson Palmer: In a tough, “to the bitter end” contest, I don’t know who was calmer… Palmer or coach Marvin Lewis. My guess? With Rudi Johnson running his stripes off, Palmer was the calmer party. Although he hung season-worst numbers, look for a bounce-back game against the toothless Lions.


Brad Johnson: Johnson… I had Johnson nailed as a “Must Start,” big number candidate for last week’s game against the St. Looser’ Secondary. However, “BJ” blew! Throwing for a meager 146 yards, with no scores… and not even a friggin’ pick to spice things up a bit! Seriously though, Johnson has steadied a Viking ship that was way off course with Daunte Culpepper at the helm. C-Pepp’ was constantly looking downfield, and was constantly forcing the ball into spaces no wider than a postage stamp. This week, Johnson and tribe host a frenzied Steeler team. Coming off of a loss, the Steelers look to be tough adversaries. And yet… after reeling off 6 straight and 7 of their last 8, Minny’s become quite the pigskin powerhouse! RB Michael Bennett is capably carrying the mail, WR Koren Robinson is staying between the white lines, and fellow pass catcher Marcus Robinson demands Red-Zone respect. Further, the Vike’ D has made more turnovers the Entenmann’s Bakery these past few weeks… and Johnson looks to be a solid, if unspectacular start against a Steeler Secondary that HAS been picked on of late. If you don’t need Brad Johnson to win your week for you… then you won’t be disappointed!


Ben Roethlisberger: Surrendering almost 220 passing yards per game and after allowing 19 scores through the air, some might think Minny’ pass vulnerable. HOWEVER, Big Ben’s a dicey start with his damaged digit, and the Viking pass D has stiffened up considerably over the past 4+ weeks. In addition, Roethlisberger and the Steelers will have to contend with the ear-splitting noise of a rowdy Minnesota Metrodome. Such a venue will challenge the young Signal Caller and his single real receiving threat, WR Hines Ward… TE Heath Miller is a decent start too. The concern? Minnesota hasn’t exactly faced the cream of the QB crop. Aside from picking Eli Manning off 4 times several weeks ago, the Purple and White have faced Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jeff Garcia and Joey Harrington, and Okay, a receiver-less Brett Favre. Still, I expect the Steelers to go run heavy and to ram “The Bus” down the Vikings’ collective throats. While he may end up winning the game… Big Ben’s a marginal fantasy start at best.


David Garrard: Mobile and strong-armed. Better yet, mobile, strong-armed, and opposing the league’s WORST Air defense in San Francisco! After allowing 283+ passing YPG and surrendering a whopping 26 TDs, the Secondary’s just a bold-faced lie. Look for an improving David Garrard, a dual running/passing threat, to boost his stock. Several teams sought him to be their starter… but the backup signed a cap-friendly, 3 year deal. Should he perform well, it wouldn’t be a shocker if one of the numerous QB starved teams sends out a trade-feeler. The Saints, who just gave up on veteran Aaron Brooks, might be a good fit.


Larry Johhnson: The defense has been the backbone of a playoff bound NY Giant club, and the unit has been particularly stout (ranked 8th) against the run. However, yielding almost a C-Note per game against a special runner such as “LJ” is nothing to write mom about. Johnson has whipped the very best run Ds the NFL has to offer, and so long as QB Trent Green offers some semblance of a passing game… LJ should be close to 130/2 by the time the final gun sounds. And that yardage figure, my fantasy friends, may even be slightly conservative.

Shaun Alexander: Shaun-A was almost an ornamental runner last week, as he left the heavy lifting for QB Matt Hasselbeck. The aforementioned Hasselbeck was up to the challenge, and the C-Hawk back scampered for a nearly effortless 108 yards and a touch’ on 21 totes. This week, while the Tenne’D isn’t quite as bad as San Frans’ was… the Titans still surrender almost a buck-10 per. With 23 TDs already in the bank… and 2 games remaining in the regular season, Priest Holmes’ single-season record of 27 rushing scores may be just beyond reach. Not because “Alexander the Great” lacks the talent (With Tennessee and Green Bay still remaining, Alexander could conceivably hit 30 scores)… but because with the Playoffs this close, you can bet that coach Holmgren will give backup back Maurice Morris ample work. Stay tuned, but look for 120/2 from Shaun-A SunDAY!

Rudi Johnson: Rudi is the man… plain and simple. When The Browns shut the lights on Cincy’s passing circus, Johnson played human wrecking ball, blowing through the Brownys’ for a semi-ridiculous 177 total yards (that cat averaged 5.6 YPC!) and 1 TD. This week, against Detroit’s 26th ranked run D (allowing opposing runners 126+), look for RJ to hang his 4th 110+ rushing yard effort.

Thomas Jones: Jones IS the Bear O. There’s no other way around it. QB Kyle Orton has thrown for more than 150 yards in a mere 3 games (of 14), the Bear QB hasn’t tossed a TD in 2 weeks, and he HAS thrown picks in 5 of the last 6 games. If it ain’t Jones… it ain’t anybody. Fortunately for the Chicago faithful, the Bears host the run-defenseless Atlanta Falcons Sunday. The Falcs’ yield almost a C-Note 20 per week, and the downhill running Jones will most likely wear down the warm-weather Falcons with each successive carry. Come the 4th… you may see a lot of half-hearted arm tackles coming from ‘Lanta backers. A line of 130/2 from “T-Jo” wouldn’t be outrageous.

Domanick Davis: Carr is a lemon and WR Andre Johnson’s a 1-man band. In an effort to convince the Houston brass that they need not draft ultra-talented USC’s-NFL star-to-be Reggie Bush, Double-D has put on quite a show in recent weeks! Over his last 4 contests, Davis has notched 590 combined yards and 3 TDs. The problem is, Davis has a mere 2 rushing scores all season, and has surpassed 100 yards rushing in 3 of his 11 games (Davis missed Weeks 9 and 10 due to injury). Continuing his roll, look for Doub’ D to do Arizona’s pathetic ground D ugly. Allowing almost 115 rushing yards per game, Davis should be somewhere around 125/1-2 by the end of the 4th. Actually, given ‘Zona’s potent passing attack… and Houston’s feeble passing D (20 passing TDs allowed), this one should be quite the shootout. I would start WR Andre Johnson and hope that Domanick Davis’s hard-charging style forces the defenders to creep up in an effort to slow him down.


Edgerrin James: Edge’ has been THE most reliable runner in the NFL. However, the Bolt’ D is rather lopsided; ranked 1st against the run (yielding a scant 78-ish YPG) and 27th against the pass (surrendering almost 230 passing YPG), Peyton and his pass catchers will probably play the larger role in this one. Further, the San D” will be hitting like sledge-hammers as they must "win the string" (and even if they do that they’ll need help) if they’re to keep their playoff hopes alive. Predicated upon how big a lead… IF there’s a lead the Colts jump out to… Dungy could yank Edge’ by Half-Time and replace him with reliable and sturdy Dominic Rhodes.

Carnell Williams: This may not be the best week to hang your hopes on a Buccaneer back. Tampa travels to snowy New England, “The Cadillac” has already admitted that he harbors concerns about running in inclement weather… and who wants to have their fantasy feature “tread with dread?” Further, that Patriot run D is improving by the week… just in time for the Playoffs. Hey… who was it that said “Dynasty-Shmynasty?” We’ll see… New England needs this “W.”

Tiki Barber: Barber’s been THE most unheralded runner in the league, period. And, hot on the heels of last season’s career best production, Tiki just set another impressive mark- a quartet of consecutive 100+ rushing yard games. Over his last 4 games, Tiki has rumbled for 502 rushing yards… and during the week 10 game against Minnesota, Barber ran for 95 and added an additional 111 receiving yards. The sole concern? Tiki has a single score over his last 4. Against a Jerky-tuff KC run D, look for 75/1 kind of numbers.

Mike Anderson: “Marine” Mike and the Broncs’ face off against a run-generous Buffalo Bill squad. With this being a crucial game… and Plummer slipping backwards a bit, look for coach Shanahan to give Anderson additional work.


Willis McGahee: Not against a very swift, tough, and sure tackling Bronco ‘backer corps, and not with Willis struggling mightily and lackin in confidence.

LaMont Jordan: Jordan has slumped lately… but, with Kerry Collins back over Center, LaMama' once again has a shot at putting up #1 back figures. Cleveland did a much better job stopping the pass last week when they miraculously managed to keep Carson Palmer and crew to under 100 yards passing. That being said, RB Rudi Johnson ran through the Browny' backfield like a hot knife through buttery 'backers. I do, however, find it odd that the Raiders threw Tuiasosopo out against a Jet team that was in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes... and now, now it's Collins' team again. Am I the only one who sees this?

Clinton Portis: C-Port and his fellow Washingtonians play a critical.... and HEAVY emphasis on the "critical," game of "Cowboys and Indians" Sunday. When last the 2 teams met (Week 2) Portis stumbled along for a spare 52 yards (AKA 156 feet) on 17 carries, with Dallas out'Poking the 'Skins by a point. While Portis HAS run better in recent weeks, the Dallas D has improved demostrably. Portis is a feast or famine kinda' back... I would look for a relatively humble day with so much riding on a Dallas W.

Warrick Dunn: Dude', in the bitter winter clime of Chicago? No way. Okay, Dunn's been running VERY well and has very quietly assembled a top 8-ish Fantasy season and has been a top 6 REAL back. There is a difference and it is VERY important to weigh NFL'ers on their real performances and not just how they perform for your fantasy teams. I.E Wide Receivers such as LaVeranues Coles haven't hung the numbers expected of them... but each week, they're out there... tossing their bodies about and helping pave the way for the run game. These are the little things that top players do... that don't manifest themselves in fantasy-world. Start Dunn.... but don't expect a whole lot. Duckett will get ANY G-line touches, and Dunn doesn't seem to play very well against the Bears. Last time these teams met, Warrick "rumbled" for 27 yards on 10 totes, and in 11 career games against the new Monsters of the Midway, the Falc' feature has AVERAGED 51 YPG.

Steven Jackson: S-Jax has 91 total rushing yards in his last 2, and with an inexperienced Ryan Fitzpatrick still shepharding this herd of Rams... they're really sheep. Jackson is a risky start against a spunky Eagle squad. If Fitz' found no success against Minnesota's terrible ground D last week... I would expect similar numbers this week. If your options are limited... cross your fingers and hope that Fitz' finds his receivers against a thin Eag' Secondary.

Michael Bennett: Michael Bennett has been given back his feature back job based on the strength of his last 3 (or so) games. However, Minny' knocks heads with a VERY surly Steeler team this week... and I would expect Minny's ground game to be minimal.


Ryan Moats: The bold Eagle was drafted and immediately annointed "a Brian Westbrook Clone." Well, Westy's side-pined' with an injury and won't return this season, and Philly's playing for pride... which again, makes 'em awfully dangerous. As I stated last week, back-up QB Mike "Ain't The" Mc-Man." With the real McQb D-Nabb watching from the sidelines, the fill-in Field General threw for 342 yards, no TDs, and 2 INTs... over the span of his last 3 games! With McMahon floundering and throwing like a "girlie-man," an embattled coach Andy Reid turned to his run game and rookie runner. Against the Giants last week Moats assuredly didn't disappoint, rumbling for 114 yards and 2 TDs. Now, with a ghastly St. Louis Ram D-unit next on the Eag' menu... look for Moats to further entrench himself as a legit' contender for 3-down duty. A line of 90/1 might even be on the shy side.

Jerome Bettis: Man... you NEVER know how coach Cowher's gonna' use his backs. However, one MUST assume that the league's longest tenured coach kept "The Bus" up on blocks for precisely this time of year... and precisely this kind of weather. Against Chicago last week, Bettis rumbled for 100+/2 against a stout run D. With a resurgent but still run-vulnerable Viking team next on the slate... a Playoff-desperate squad o' Steelers, captained by a bum-thumbed QB, will probably go run-heavy. RB "Fast" Willy Parker and "The Bus" will attempt to run over, through, and around Minnesota. Still, playing in the Metrodome will be a challenge. Count on Bettis getting the G-Line totes... and these last few games could be Jerome's swan-song. At his age... it's not inconceivable that Bettis hangs up his well-worn spikes.

Sam Gado: Oh no… it’s Gad-O! Look-out NFC North, Sam “The Scram” Gado is back! After having his feature back position threatened due a maddening case of stone-hands, (he put the ball on the ground 4 times inside of 3 games) Gado has become a true plough-horse runner. Gado put the Pack’ on his back last week, rushing for a team record 171 yards and a TD on a career-best (however brief that “career”) 29 carries. The undrafted rook’ has crashed through the 100 yard mark in 3 of his last 5 games, and possesses a credible pair o’ pass catching hands. This week, Green Bay knocks heads with a stark-ravin’ Balty’ team! Disappointing on defense, underachieving on offense, coach Billick and his staff need to examine the Ravens entire offensive scheme from top to bottom; from Quarter to Running Back. Anyway, look for Gado to enjoy some success against a Raven team that HAS been run upon.

T.J Duckett: Although Chicago's run D is tuff, they were bowled over by Bettis and Parker. Last Sunday, "The Bus" blasted his way through the Bear D-line for a C-note and across the Goal line for twin TDs... Duckett should be good for at least 15 yards... and a TD this week.


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