If you came looking for the Report last weekend and didn't find
it, I apologize…thoroughly. I simply didn't get it to Mr. Krueger
in time and must now pay for my sloth by letting him beat me in
the upcoming FF Today "experts" league playoffs. Sucks, too, 'cuz
I think I could take him. At any rate, the Week 12 column will
be released as part of my upcoming box set, complete with "B"
sides and hilarious outtakes from FF Today headquarters. If you
can't wait 'til then (or don't wanna pay the hefty $49.99 price
tag), you can find it in my
archive. Sound good? Let's move along to more pressing matters,
such as your Week 13 recommendations.
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Peyton Manning v. TEN –
Three words came to mind as I watched Peyton shred the much ballyhooed
Curtain D last Monday night. Well. Oiled. Machine. Manning’s
arm is the lubricant, as usual, and the only hope opponents have
now is that it falls off in the next five weeks. Heard it here
first, folks: they don’t lose another game. It’s the
Shot Caller guarantee to end all Shot Caller guarantees.
2. Tom Brady v. NYJ –
Here’s another guarantee, just for good measure: Brady will
NOT throw four picks against the Jets this Sunday. Not exactly
going out on a limb here, I know, but if we’ve learned one
thing about Tom Brady through five-plus seasons, it’s that
he never strings bad games together. It’s a divisional game
and one the Pats need, meaning he’ll more than atone for
the Week 12 clunker.
3. Kurt Warner @ SF –
The best receiver tandem in the league? Not Harrison and Wayne.
Not 7-11 and Houshmandzadeh. Not Holt and Bruce. Try Fitzgerald
and Boldin, Warner’s ridiculously talented and precocious
duo. He’s averaging almost 325 yards per tilt in his last
four and now faces the turnstile known as San Francisco’s
secondary. Have fun, kids. Should be a gas of a day by the bay.
4. Carson Palmer @ PIT –
Palmer gets nudged out of the top three only because of the matchup,
a hopping mad Steelers squad coming off consecutive losses. He’ll
probably get his yards and maybe even a score or two but his career
numbers against Pittsburgh are nothing to write home about (185
yards and one score per game in three starts). Go ahead and start
him. Just don’t expect the kind of figures you’ve
come to rely upon.
5. Jake Plummer @ KC –
Jake finally threw a pick on Thanksgiving Day but kept his eyes
on the prize and ultimately led his squad to the big win. The
best part? He didn’t try to do too much, even though the
running game stagnated for most of the day. He should have no
problem topping last Thursday’s numbers this Sunday at Arrowhead.
The Chefs will be ready, no doubt, but don’t have the defense
to stymie the Broncos’ versatile attack.
6. Mark Brunell @ STL –
The ‘Skins are one loss away from being dead and buried
(told you so), but now have the good fortune of facing a Rams’
D that made David Carr look like a good quarterback last weekend.
Yeah, THAT David Carr. Unfortunately, the Washington D could have
its hands full with the explosive St. Louis offense, no matter
who lines up under center. Points are usually cheap at the Edward
Jones Dome and this Sunday is shaping up to be no exception.
7. Drew Brees v. OAK –
Benefit #846 of playing with L.T.: nobody notices when you throw
three picks and almost cost your squad a much-needed game. The
margin for error in sunny San Diego is still slim, so Brees had
better screw his head on straight for this weekend’s matchup
with the Raiduhs. He will as the Bolts stay right in the mix for
a second season appearance.
8. Matt Hasselbeck @ PHI –
The second season is a lead pipe lock for Hasselbeck and Co. thanks
to THREE brutal boots by Jay Feely in the fourth quarter and overtime
last weekend. Hey, nobody said life’s fair in the NFL. This
Monday night, the ‘Hawks draw Philly in a game that looked
a lot more compelling about a month ago. Expect plenty of Shaun
Alexander and just enough Hasselbeck as Coach Holmgren sticks
it to one of his disciples.
9. Eli Manning v. DAL –
The upside of New York’s devastating loss in the Emerald
City? This guy’s continuing maturation. He certainly did
all HE could to get the “W” (344 yards and two scores)
and is now the only QB to throw a scoring strike in every single
game (not including the oft injured Marc Bulger). We expected
that from a Manning. Just not this one. Start him.
10. Kerry Collins @ SD –
Oakland appeared to be turning the corner toward respectability
until laying an egg at home against the Fish last Sunday. Collins
was largely responsible, throwing two picks and no scores in the
lackluster effort. He’ll get plenty of opportunities to
make up for it as the Raiders attempt to keep pace with the high-scoring
Bolts in Week 13. Expect solid numbers but, alas, another defeat.
Grab A Helmet:
Drew Bledsoe @ NYG – He
actually outplayed The Snake on Thanksgiving Day but continues
to make critical mistakes that lead directly to points for the
opposition. How directly? Try Champ Bailey pick-six directly.
He’ll need to be better this Sunday if the ‘Boys have
any hope of stealing one from the hated Giants. I think he will
be, though they won’t pull it off.
David Garrard @ CLE –
Word on the street is Garrard would make a pretty good starter
someday. Someday has arrived, though certainly a lot sooner than
Coach Del Rio and Co. anticipated (or desired). At least he’s
big, has a rifle for an arm, and has experience running the show.
If you’re struggling to field a legit starter at the QB
position, go find the former Pirate. He might just be available
and is better than at least half the starters out there right
Jake Delhomme v. ATL –
Are opponents getting wise to the one-trick pony Carolina passing
attack? Only time will tell but the last three weeks have certainly
left a lot to be desired. I wouldn’t recommend sitting Delhomme
but I’d be very careful with him as we head down the stretch.
QBs with limited targets don’t often make the most reliable
options come playoff time.
Michael Vick @ CAR – He’s
anything BUT a one-trick pony. Just ask him. Better yet, take
a look at his numbers the last three weeks: six TD passes, one
more with his legs, and only one INT. Sounds like he might be
warming up just in time for the playoffs, huh? Give him another
look against the Panthers this weekend. I have a feeling the offenses
will put on quite a display.
Brett Favre @ CHI – That
will not be the case in the Windy City where Favre brings his
bedraggled Pack into town for a showdown with the reviled Bears.
Nonetheless, there’s something about Chicago that seems
to bring out the best in the Ol’ Gunslinger. He’s
thrown 46 career TDs against them in just 22 career starts. Do
the math. Times have changed, yes, but old habits often die hard
(bad or good). Keep him in there.
Ben Roethlisberger v. CIN –
It was a pretty tall task last Monday night in Indy, made especially
difficult by the fact he’d been out of action for almost
a month. This week, he draws the much more amenable Bengals D,
fresh off a dubious effort against, of all people, Kyle Boller.
The Steelers need the “W” to draw even atop the AFC
North and may get it if Big Ben avoids the big turnover.
Grab A Clipboard:
David Carr @ BAL – Carr.
Kyle Boller. Aaron Brooks. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Four members of the
Week 12 three-TD toss club, folks. Now, back to reality….
Kyle Boller v. HOU – Boller’s
reality took a change for the better only during garbage time
last Sunday…and only after a typically crappy 2.5 quarters
(no points, two picks, and a fumble as the Ravens fell behind
34-0). Be honest with yourself. Are you really compelled to play
him just ‘cuz he posted some meaningless points when the
game was well out of reach? You must be desperate.
Aaron Brooks v. TB – Of
the four, Brooks is clearly the most capable of reproducing his
stellar Week 12 totals. Moreover, his career numbers against Tampa
are surprisingly good (13 scoring strikes in seven games). All
that aside, I have a hard time believing the Bucs will give him
much of an opportunity to hurt them, especially with the running
game posing no threat. Sit him down.
Jeff Garcia v. MIN – I
won’t pretend to know what it’s like playing behind
Detroit’s abominable O line, but I think I have a better
idea after watching Baby Shot Caller bounce a ceramic bowl off
her mother’s head last weekend. Ceramics don’t bounce,
people. Neither do quarterbacks. The mess in Motown is one you
definitely want to steer way clear of, no matter who’s taking
Trent Dilfer v. JAX –
The Browns have already surpassed my expectations this season
but will need someone else running the show next year to make
further strides. Dilfer’s a pro and capable of posting good
numbers against questionable opponents. However, he’s not
gonna win games by himself and has always required those around
him to elevate their play. By the way, Jacksonville is not a questionable