Sorry so late, folks. Busy week. Please e-mail me with questions/concerns/etc.
if you have them. I can answer all inquiries by game time.
Your Week 13 recommendations
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Peyton Manning vs. TEN -
This is getting plain ridiculous. He's throwing a touchdown pass
almost every nine attempts and if that's not an NFL record, it
oughta be. As it stands, he'll own almost every single-season
record there is by year's end. This Sunday, he draws a Tennessee
pass defense currently ranked in the top third of the league
2. Donovan McNabb vs. GB - Everyone
will be talking about "4th and 26" this week but they'll
likely forget the most salient point of that fateful play: somebody
had to complete the pass. That somebody happens to be on pace
for his most prolific season yet
by far. He'll like what
he sees in the defensive backfield this week, a Packer secondary
that still gives up boatloads of yards and plenty of TDs (257.3/game
and 23, respectively).
3. Michael Vick @ TB - The only
question now is who's gonna stop him in Madden 2005? After accounting
for only two scores in his first five games, the fleet-footed
one has cut loose for 11 (nine passing, two running) in his last
six. The competition gets tougher this week but no defense is
capable of totally containing him. Start him as usual.
4. Daunte Culpepper @ CHI -
He got his main man back last week and promptly found him with
a dart to the back of the end zone for the winning points against
the Jags. Though it was a fabulous catch, it was a better throw.
Simply put, Culpepper's confidence grows exponentially when Randy's
on the field. Expect them to hook up for another TD (or two) against
the lowly Bears this Sunday.
5. Brett Favre @ PHI - If you
think "4th and 26" is still in his head, you're right.
If you think it will negatively affect his performance, you're
not. They just don't come any mentally tougher than the Ol' Gunslinger
and I have a sneaking suspicion he'll lay last January's demons
to rest in Philly this weekend. Go ahead, Philly fans. Lay it
6. Jake Plummer @ SD - I know,
I know. I tell everyone the Broncos are underrated and then they
go out and lay an egg on national TV. Though he didn't have a
great game (14 of 23 for 245 yards and a score), he DID engineer
the potential game-winning drive in the final minutes. You didn't
expect him to kick the field goal too, did you?
7. Jake Delhomme @ NO - After
a rotten stretch from Weeks 2 through 6, the other Jake has rebounded
nicely to throw for at least two touchdowns in his last five contests.
Amazingly, he's also put the Panthers in position to earn a playoff
berth. Don't laugh. Carolina still gets the Saints twice, the
first time this Sunday in the Big Easy. If you thought he looked
good against Tampa, wait'll he gets a shot at the abominable New
Orleans defense (275.3 passing yards yielded/game).
8. Drew Brees vs. DEN - On paper,
the game vs. Denver shapes up to be a defensive struggle. Don't
buy it. These are two high-powered offenses squaring off for the
AFC West lead. I'm expecting plenty of offense (it's still the
AFC West) and definitely more punch from Brees than he manufactured
in the first meeting (a mere 121 passing yards and 13 points).
Keep him in there.
9. Marc Bulger vs. SF - How
does a guy throw for 448 yards (!) and two scores and lead his
team to just 17 points? If there's a record for things like that
(most yards/fewest points), he probably broke it. Bottom line?
He doesn't make the big play when his team needs it. Luckily for
you, fantasy games can still be won with between-the-twenties
mileage. Start him against the league's worst squad.
10. Tom Brady @ CLE - Of course,
if you watched the Browns' turnstile impersonation last week,
you might actually question who's the worst team in the league
at this point. Quite frankly, I've NEVER seen an NFL defense lay
down like that. They'd better get up in a hurry with the defending
world champs coming to town. Expect a more concerted effort but
the same result...and solid fantasy numbers from Mr. Brady.
Grab A Helmet:
Brian Griese vs. ATL - Speaking
of solid fantasy numbers, this guy's been putting them up rather
regularly of late. He didn't get the win last week but DID throw
for almost 350 yards and two scores. If the Bucs aren't able to
get anything going on the ground (questionable, at best), he'll
likely take to the airways again this Sunday. That might be a
good thing since Atlanta can be had through the air (253 yards/game).
Aaron Brooks vs. CAR - Like
a lot of NFL quarterbacks, he's only as good as the people around
him. In case you haven't noticed, the people around him aren't
very good. He'll continue to post decent fantasy numbers (I think)
but if you're counting on him to lead you to the promised land,
forget about it. He's not a top-notch signal-caller and, barring
a change of scenery, will likely never be one.
Steve McNair @ IND - He, on
the other hand, IS a top-notch quarterback. Check that. Was. Though
McNair is probably bluffing about retiring after the season, there's
no question he's on the decline. The prudent thing to do at this
point would be to start him only when the matchup is good. Though
the Titans will get blasted this weekend, the matchup is definitely
good, at least from a fantasy perspective. Start him.
Matt Hasselbeck vs. DAL - Can
it get any worse for the preseason darlings, Hasselbeck and the
'Hawks? Actually, yes. But not this week. Though he's having an
awful year, the BC product still possesses top 10 ability and
will be amped to showcase it on the Monday night stage. I'm going
against the grain here and telling you to expect about 200 yards
and two scores.
Kerry Collins vs. KC - I can't
believe I'm doing this, but
here goes. He finally demonstrated
the deft deep-ball passing touch he's shown in the past (339 yards
and four touchdowns against Denver) and should have more than
a few opportunities to do so again this week, especially with
Ty Wheatley on the shelf. The Chiefs flat-out suck against the
pass (not to mention the run) and don't generate the kind of pass
rush that can fluster the eminently fluster-able Collins. Expect
a nice game and maybe even a huge one in Oaktown Sunday.
Grab A Clipboard:
Chad Hutchinson vs. MIN - There's
nothing deft about Chicago's latest QB imposter. After a stint
in NFL Europe, he competed against such luminaries as Drew Henson
and Tony Romo in Dallas' training camp this past summer
promptly got axed before the season started. I'm guessing you're
not as desperate as Lovie's Bears are.
John Navarre @ DET - I've always
been a big Denny Green fan but I gotta wonder at this point: has
he COMPLETELY lost his mind? The switch to Shaun King was goofy
enough (coming on the heels of a two-game win streak) but now
he's decided to cast his lot with a seventh-round draft choice
who, by most accounts, should have been left undrafted. Here's
hoping you didn't draft him either
or pick him up off the
waiver wire, for that matter.
Eli Manning @ WAS - The good
news? Gimme a sec. I'm thinking. Oh, yeah. He completed a couple
of nice long balls to Jamaar Taylor (two of his six [!] completions).
If you're wondering who Jamaar Taylor is, join the club. That
would be the club of fantasy GMs who AREN'T relying on greenhorns
like Eli to run their fantasy teams.
Patrick Ramsey vs. NYG - No
squad (not Miami, not Chicago, not Arizona) has scored fewer points
than the 'Skins this year. Think that's what Daniel Snyder had
in mind when he shelled out the big dough for Clinton Portis and
Mark Brunell this past offseason? Me neither. You simply don't
want Washington's quarterback running your show, no matter who
Drew Bledsoe @ MIA - If you
caught the score on the ticker last week (38-9), you couldn't
have been faulted for thinking Bledsoe had a big day. Naturally,
he didn't (one TD against three picks). Though his team will probably
win this week (McGahee fever
catch it!), it won't be because
of him. Don't forget his opponent, the Fish, currently field the
#1 pass defense in the league (167.7 yards/game).