Lotta big names on the sidelines this weekend, folks. If you’re
looking to plug some holes or just trying to unearth that diamond
in the rough, you’ve come to the right place. As always, if
you have questions about those not mentioned or simply wish to shoot
the you-know-what, feel free to e-mail me. I’m almost always
able to respond by game time Sunday. ‘Til then, let’s
take a look at the Week 10 recommendations…
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Peyton Manning v. HOU –
If it wasn’t official after the spotless 7-0 start, it certainly
is now: the Colts are prohibitive favorites to take home the Vince
this season. I, like many, was skeptical. However, now that they’ve
dispatched of perennial nemesis, New England, it’s on to
bigger and better things…like a deep playoff run in the
comfy confines of RCA Dome. Don’t bet against them, especially
with Peyton picking things up of late (seven TD strikes in his
2. Jake Delhomme v. NYJ –
It’s anybody’s guess who the Colts will square off
against at Ford Field come February, but my money’s on this
guy and the suddenly resurgent Panthers. They play just enough
defense. They convert in the red zone. They’ve been there
before. Throw in a veteran signal-caller and a game-altering wideout
and you have all the ingredients for a championship contender.
Wait, that sounds like…
3. Donovan McNabb v. DAL - …the
Eagles! Check that: DID sound like the Eagles. The sky might be
falling in the City of Brotherly Love (oh, the irony!), but I’m
not convinced we should be discounting their chances of getting
back to the big game. After all, they made it to three consecutive
NFC championship tilts without _____. Expect Don to put ‘em
on his back again, starting this weekend against Dallas.
4. Tom Brady @ MIA – Not
that we should totally write off Brady and the defending champs,
either. They don’t play much defense and haven’t run
the ball consistently thus far (the primary reasons they’re
4-4), but they’ve certainly been there before (multiple
times) and are fortunate enough to play in a horse crap division.
Not saying they’ll make it. Just saying there’s still
a lot of football to be played.
5. Kerry Collins v. DEN –
The Raiders were never really IN the playoff picture, despite
an embarrassment of riches on offense. Too often betrayed by a
takeaway-allergic defense, Collins and Co. have been forced to
fend for themselves most of the time. He, at least, is doing his
part, as he’s now on pace for career bests in QB rating,
yards, and touchdowns…not to mention a career low in picks.
6. Eli Manning v. MIN –
Speaking of embarrassing riches. Eli’s catching kudos for
exponential progress this year, but what signal-caller wouldn’t
improve with Barber, Burress, and Shockey playing alongside him?
Winning means never having to apologize for your weapons, which
means Manning Jr. should be a great play the rest of the way,
starting this weekend against the horrible Minny D.
7. Matt Hasselbeck v. STL –
If you’re not a believer in “rapport” or “chemistry,”
consider this: the ‘Hawks haven’t lost since losing
Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram in Week 5. Nobody would argue
they’re better off with Joe Jurevicius as the #1 target,
but…well, they are. Give Hasselbeck the start against a
Rams squad he lit up a month ago (316 yards and two scores).
8. Marc Bulger @ SEA –
Seattle’s opponent will finally be at full strength again
as Bulger, Torry Holt, and Ike Bruce return to the St. Louis lineup.
Lucky for them, they won’t hafta carry the offense as in
year’s past. The reason? Steven Jackson. Another one? Coach
Pass-Happy isn’t running the show anymore. Get him back
in there but don’t expect 50+ passes and 300 yards. Those
days appear to be over…thankfully.
9. Jake Plummer @ OAK –
The ongoing saga in Philly has overshadowed a lot of good storylines
this season but none more heart-warming (for Broncos fans, at
least) than Plummer’s sudden maturation. The late bloomer
has always had the talent but now seems to have the discipline
required of Super Bowl-caliber QBs. His totals since Week 3? Eleven
touchdowns. No picks. THAT, my friends, is discipline.
10. Brett Favre @ ATL –
Favre called in “lethargic” this Wednesday, but we
could have excused him if he were just plain “fed up”
or “apathetic.” Injuries have decimated his once-proud
Packers and I’m guessing retirement will sound like a pretty
refreshing alternative come January. ‘Til then, keep starting
him. He still chucks the best fastball in the biz and will post
a few more stellar stat lines before he calls it quits.
Grab A Helmet:
Michael Vick v. GB – Michael
Vick is one of my favorite players (or hadn’t you noticed?),
but he’s staring at an 0-2 count after these two morsels.
Strike one: he indicated he could actually play with _____ should
the Philly star need a change of address next season. Strike two:
he said he’s looking forward to the matchup with Brent (sic)
Favre this Sunday. Respect your elders, young grasshopper, lest
you be blown away by a chest-high heater.
Trent Green @ BUF – KC’s
two-headed monster is down to one head now that Priest has been
placed on IR. Logic would dictate Green’s value might be
on the uptick as a consequence. He’s certainly been better
of late (almost 300 yards/game in his last three), but it sure
would be nice if he could throw one of those 350-yard, three-TD
days up on the board. Maybe next week.
Byron Leftwich v. BAL –
Did somebody say three-TD day? Hard to believe but he’s
never done it. Even Kyle Boller and David Carr have turned THAT
trick, though nobody would trade Leftwich for one of those clowns.
What he lacks in prolificacy, he makes up for in boring old reliability,
usually throwing for 200 yards and a score or two. Expect more
of the same against Mr. Boller’s Ravens this Sunday.
Brad Johnson @ NYG – Heh?
What did I tell you? The Bull can still sling it around a bit.
It wasn’t exactly Culpepper-esque (136 yards and two scores)
but then it wasn’t exactly…well, Culpepper-esque,
either (no turnovers). If it’s boring old reliability you’re
looking for, look no further. Don’t forget the G-Men are
yielding almost 250 passing yards per contest.
Drew Bledsoe @ PHI – After
a sizzling start, Bledsoe has cooled off of late, accounting for
only three scores in his last three games…and six turnovers.
He’ll need to be better down the stretch and I suspect he
will be, though the schedule doesn’t get much easier. Give
him a go against Philly’s overrated D (348 yards/game to
Grab A Clipboard:
David Carr @ IND – He
certainly looks dashing in a double-breasted overcoat. Nevertheless,
nine weeks into the season, the man GQ labeled a “rising
star” is still 1-7 and still waiting on that first multiple-TD
performance. Look on the bright side, ladies. The paltry stats
and the unconscionable sack totals mean he’s one step closer
to the runway. Sit him down against Indy’s ferocious pass
Chris Simms v. WAS – Two
words come to mind when thinking of Tampa’s young signal-caller:
turnover machine. The yardage totals are nice (259 and 264 in
two starts) but he still makes way too many mistakes and rarely
makes the big throw when his squad needs it. If you wanna know
why nobody’s mentioning “Bucs” and “playoffs”
in the same sentence anymore….
Cody Pickett @ CHI – The
pride of Chicken Dinner Road gets the nod for the Niners again
this weekend, fresh off a 102-yard, one-pick performance in Week
9. Many more performances like that and he might just be able
to secure a job as…
Charlie Batch v. CLE –
…Ben Roethlisberger’s backup in Steel Town. Seriously,
has a QB ever thrown for 65 yards, no TDs, and a pick…and
still emerged victorious? Amazingly enough, he could pull the
trick twice, as Coach Cowher will almost certainly ask him to
do nothing more/nothing less this Sunday night against the Browns.
Don’t even think about it, not even if your only alternative
Kyle Boller @ JAX - …this
guy. The Ravens are actually excited to get Boller back, proof
enough that all is not well in the Charm City. Some would argue
he can’t possibly be worse than backup Anthony Wright. “Some”
does not include yours truly. Steer clear unless you wanna be
sitting at home come playoff time.