Saturday, December 10, 2005



Now that we're amid the dying throes of the NFL's reuglar season... it's time to keep a couple of things in mind. While YOU may need QBs such as Michael Vick and Peyton Manning, RBs such as Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, Rudi Johnson, and Warrick "I'm" Dunn, and Wide Receivers such as Chad Johnson and Marvelous Marvin" to play balls-to-the-wall, 4 Quarter Football ... most assuredly, their coaches don't. Not now, not with Playoff Berths locked-up. The respective staffs need to keep their star skill po' players sharp... they DON'T need them blunt and burnt.
James is closing in on 400 totes, Marvin is no spring chicken, and some Safety may be inclined to try and seperate Chad Johnson's head from his shoulders due to the smack that continually slides from his gold-gilded mouth.


Peyton Manning:Peyton and his pass-catching contingent clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars and their top passing D. The Jags are surrendering a scant 175 YPG, and that makes them Scrooge-stingy. However... the Week 11 game stats' stipulate that Air McNair hung 200+/2 on the Jags, and the Week 12 numbers clarify Kurt's 315/2 output! Now, we're talkin' a peakin' Peyton here! Don't hesitate to trot him out and 260/2 game is not out of the question. My concern? Coach Tony Dungy, in an attempt to preserve Peyton for the Post-C', pulls the prolific passer and allows backup, "who-dat?" Jim Sorgi to jam hands under the Center's butt. If the game is well in hand, Dungy's gonna pull Edge', Peyton, and maybe even Marvelous.

Carson Palmer: Carson's a criminal! Dude is setting FIRE to the league. This week, Palmer and pals look to set the Brown backfield ablaze. Thr Browns pass defense ranking (11th) belies their vulnerability. Just as a "for instance," Minny' Signal Caller Brad Johnson tossed a TD troika and 200+ during their Week 12 contest. WRs Chad, T.J and Chris Henry are all lethal good... and seeing as how Chad was stymied last week, I look for him to take out his pass-catching frustrations on an innocent Browny' Secondary.


Steve McNair "Air" McNair has been letting it all hang out in recent weeks. Although he's all kinds of banged-up... when ISN'T the guy a "walking Triage Unit?" This week, the offensively resurgent Titans take on the defensively feeble Houston Texans. Houston has threatened to win its 2nd game in consecutive weeks now (Week 12 saw the Rams break their hearts with a 1 point OT W, last week the Ravens mounted a comeback and snared a 1 point victory)... but while it may be closer than some think, McNair, RB Chris Brown, and WRs Roydell Williams and Brandon Jones will triumph. The Titan pass-catchers are sneaky-good starts by the way.

Brad Johnson: Johnson has calmed the soothing Minnesota beast. This week, against a ghastly-bad St. Loser' D, Johnson's as good a start as you'll find anywhere in the NFL. I like WR K-Rob again... and fellow pass catcher Marcus Robinson should benefit from the attention Robinson will garner follwing his 148 receiving yard explosion. Look for an afternoon of 275/3 from the veteran Signal Caller- Minny' may not catch up with Chicago for the Divvy' crown... but they're gonna make it awfully interesting! H-Back Jermaine Wiggins is a far TE start if you're in need.

Kurt Warner: This Cardinal is again soaring! Dude's nailed down a fistful of 300 yard games, and is looking to tack on another. This week, against a 'Skin 2ndry that has been picked upon with increasing frequency... Warner could come close. WRs Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald may be the BEST receiving tandem in the league... and that includes Marvelous and Reggie... Bruce and Holt... and Andre' Johnson and Jabar Gaffney (ok, just kidding 'boy Gaffney.... but A.J is a top 5 talent). Both Card' catchers are rock-solid starts... and if 'Zona diappointment J.J Arrington can provide the team with SOME semblance of a rushing attack... the Cards' could threaten to win this one.


Mark Brunell: The 'Skin slinger has seen his numbers droop like a soggy noodle in recent weeks... but this week? Against a Cardinal Secondary that can hit but struggles to pass defend, look for a solid real and fantasy game from the veteran QB. Keep in mind, though, Bru' struggled against even the listless Ram 2ndry last week, allowing RB Clinton Portis to do all the heavy lifting.


Ben Roethlisberger: Ok, so Big Ben got his bell rung by the Bengals last week. Roethlisberger's run game gave him about as much support as a silk Jock-Strap, and with a bum-thumb... Ben tossed Interceptions in triplicate. However, the Steeler strong-man also threw for a whopping 386 yards and 3 TDs. Nice, right? Not all bad. However, this week the Steelers oppose the mighty Bears and their imposing Secondary; CBs Vasher and Tillman are ball-hawks, and Safety Mike Brown remains a force. The Bear front-4 can bring excrutiating pressure, they excel at shutting down the run, and we all saw how Pitt' fared without a rushing attack last week. Further, WR Hines Ward is doing yeoman's work... and should the Bears effectively take him out of the game, Roethlisberger can rely upon only TE Heath "Big Money" Miller. Pittsburgh sorely misses the dearly departed WR Plaxico Burress. While there are certainly "worse" starts than Ben... if you DO have a better option at fantasy playoff time, I'd be inclined to use him.

Michael Vick: Vick seems to struggle against the 'Aints. Now... I "ain't" telling you to bench an improving Vick... but I WILL tell you that when last he faced New Awlins', which was Week 6, slick Vick struggled; 112/1/1 with 51 rushing yards.


Edgerrin James: Peeps', the Colts are caught in a sticky dilemma. Or more to the point, coach Tony "rapidly-rising resident genius" Dungy is caught in a sticky dilemma. Do the Colts go for the undefeated record? Or, do they practice prudence and pull their studs/rest them when Home-Field is in hand? The players wanna' play, but the players ALWAYS wanna' play. Keep this in mind. Much as Seahawk chieftain Mike Holmgren did last week with Shaun "Alexander the Great," if this game is laughable by the Half... my dollars to your donuts says Edge' is out, Dominic Rhodes is in. Still, against a 14th ranked Jaguar run D... even a half could be 90/1 for James. And that, my fantasy friends, isn't too shabby.

But just as an aside, allow me to give Dungy his due props. Back in the day, both Tony Dungy and Card' capitan' Denny Green worked for the Minnesota Vikings and had positions of authority. The Vikes', most unwisely, decided to keep Denny Green and sent Dungy packing (he ultimately ended up, quite successfully, in Tampa Bay). At the time, I knew... just knew, they let the wrong man go. And really, the fact of the matter is, the Vikings would have been a top franchise had Dungy been left to work his magic. Dungy developed a system in Tampa... he brought it to Indy, and the Colts look 'Bowl bound. Coach Gruden was able to build upon the steel-solid foundation left by Dungy.. and they too have Mo-Town aspirations. The Vkings, even during this winning run, often get in their own way... a task-master such as Dungy would've been wonderful for that franchise... and I am far from certain that Mike Tice is the man for this rebuilding job.

Shaun Alexander: "Alexander the Great" recorded 49 yards and 2 scores... by the Half! A fantasy day?? clearly Shaun-A was on his way! However, Coach Holmgren yanked his CASH-MONEY honey, inserted back-up Maurice Morris, and in so doing...cost several owners their weeks (ummhmm, myself included). Holmgren is not, however, interested in making fantasy Football friends and winning popularity contests. Rather, the coach is interested in getting his team to the post-season in intact fashion. Can't blame the guy. Again, this week... against a stupid bad Niner' run D, Alexander may receive a half of work.. and no more. Still, an afternoon of 60/2 can't be disputed. If Holmgren leaves Alexander in for the entire game... as Shaun-A is hot for Priest Holmes' single-season TD record (27 6's), a line of 130/3 is not inconceivable. Here's hoping!

Larry Johnson: NO runner has been more reliable, and few have been as fantasy dependable. I am not gonna' hurl eye-twirling diggies' at you... but this week, look for another solid game against the Dallas Cowboys. The 'Pokes are a solid 8th against the pass (allowing 180-ish) and a middling 10th against the run (ceding 102). That being said, NO D has been able to trip LJ up. The 'Boys Post-Season hopes ride on every game, look for coach Bill Parcells to open UP on QB Trent Green and Co. Sunday. Still, I would look for 100+ yards of fantasy rushing bliss... and another TD. Multi-TDs would be ambitious... but not impossible. **NOTE: The Cowboys couldn't keep G-Man Jeremy Shockey outta' the 'Zone, and TE Tony Gonzalez might enjoy the same freedom.

LaDainian Tomlinson: LT knocks heads ... and a bum ankle, with a terrible Dolphin run D. Like a fish out of water, Miami has floundered against opposing backs, yielding almost 120 per game. Even with a potentially bad ankle, look for 80/2 from LT... and one score should come on a reception. **NOTE: Antonio Gates should give the 'Phins fits.

Rudi Johnson: Allowing almost a buck-30 by ground, the Browns are wussy-tuff' against the run. Rudi faced a MUCH tough Steeler run D last week, and coming off that extraordinary game (21/98/2)... look for a rock-solid 85+/1-2 TD HALF. My concern? Once the Browns are buried, the Bengs' will pull Johnson and stick explosive young RB Chris Perry in the game. Much as the Chiefs once did with Priest and Larry Johnson (when Holmes was healthy), look for the Bengs' to try and develop a devastating 1-2 rushing punch. Perry offers an intriguing blend of power, speed and hands... don't be shocked if he receives an entire Half of work if this tilt is over by the 3rd Q'.

Clinton Portis: Again, I remain unconvinced that Portis's runniing style meshes with the Redskin blocking scheme. Still, are you really gonna' argue with success? Look for yet another solid outing against the awful 'Zona D Sunday.


LaMont Jordan This week, the hapless Raiders clash with the far more helpless Jets. The Jet season crashed and burned weeks ago... and LaMama' is looking to punish his old team for allowing him to leave. Although LB Jonathan Vilma and DL DeWayne Robertson are tough against the run.... Jordan is a rare blend of size, speed, hands, power and wiggle. Look for 125 combined yards and a pair o' TDs Sunday.

Chris Brown Brown, like his QB, is nicked-up. Still the productive Titan back has shown admirable toughness and has kept former Bill back Travis Henry bench-bound. Indianapolis turned the lights out on C-Brown last week, holding him to a scant 32 yards on 11 totes. Oddy enuff', the week before saw the San Fran "Forty-Feeblers" hold Brown to 30 yards on 10 attempts... but lest we forget 102 receiving yards and a touch' on 3 receptions? Sure, Brown's ankle hinders his ability to make cuts... but the Texans would allow a Pop-Warner back to find the "6 Point Promised Land."

Michael Bennett: Last week, Bennet slipped out of coach Mike Tice's dog house and had a great day. This week, the rolling Vikings collide horns with a reeling Ram team. Given the Rams' bold-faced lie of a D, Bennett is a sneaky-solid, 110/2 kinda' start. However, allow me to toss out this disclaimer- you never know if Tice will pull Bennett and insert his chum Mewelde Moore. Given Bennett's fine production last week, though, my money says Bennet plays a full 60.

Warrick Dunn: Warrick hasn't found the 'Zone in 3 weeks. However, the guy's playing the Saints, at Home, on turf, and has enjoyed some tremendous games against the 'Aints. When last they met, the Falcs visited "New Orleans" and escaped with a 3 point win. Dunn was instrumental in that victory, having rushed for a C-note and a TD. At Home, on Faux' grass, Dunn's a stupendous start.

Domanick Davis: Dom' and friends face a porous Tenne'D this week. Last week, against a supposedly solid (but far from great) Balty ground D, the Houston back rumbled for an improbable 155 rushing yards. This week, against a Titan run D that permits opposing backs 105 YPG, look for another solid game from a Runner who's interested in proving to his franchise that they need not draft USC's RB Reggie Bush with their likely first overall draft pick. Look for a 130/1 day from Doub' D Davis.


Steven Jackson It's not so much that the Vikings are so good as it's that the Rams have been reduced to being so predictable. Everyone was on a Hash kind of high following Ram 3rd-stringer Ryan Fitzpatrick's 300+/3 TD game against the fictitious Texan D. No, no, no! Fitz' may have po'... but the guy's an Ivy League signal caller and has about as much experience in a pro system as I do (ummm, like less than zero)... I'd see a guy like S Troy Polamalu coming at me and I'd scream, throw up my hands in abject terror, then... then I'd just throw up. While Minnesota's no defensive juggernaut, they HAVE been playing much better ball. Given Fitz's limitations, the Vikes will challenge him to beat them while stacking the line with a linebacker lynch mob. I don't see Jackson accumulating more than 70 rushing yards... and I'd be surprised to see him cross the stripe. Minny's on a mission!

Curtis Martin: Both Martin and coach Herm Edwards surprised reporters by announcing that the living legend runner was playing at half-speed. Against Oakland? I wouldn't hesitate to slide "Martin" over to "bench." The Jets will have an interesting conundrum on their hands... do they take C-Mart's successor, Reggie Bush, or Chad Pennington's replacement, Matt Leinart or Brady Quinn? Rumor has it that Raider leader Al Davis SO hates the Jets, he's ordered coach Norv Turner to bench QB Kerry Collins and start young what's his name Tuiasosopo. Why? So the Jets garner a win and are unable to draft either Leinart or Bush... Daaaammmmnnn, that's a grudge! I though Davis only hated RB Marcus Allen that much!


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