Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups
Sorry for the delay, folks. Shot Caller has been scrambling to prepare
for the imminent arrival of Baby Shot Caller and can't devote as
much time as usual to the really important stuff
like how to
win his league championship and such. Mind if we (once again) dispense
with the chitchat and get right down to business? Didn't think so.
Your Week 15 recommendations
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Peyton Manning vs. ATL - Michael
Vick returns and the Atlanta defense finally has a pulse. Though
that makes no sense, it can't be mere coincidence. Regardless, Peyton
should sizzle against a still susceptible secondary (245.6 yards/game
and 18 TDs). He's the best option under center.
2. Daunte Culpepper @ CHI - He
finally rushed for fewer than 40 yards but made up for it by tossing
three touchdowns against the struggling Seahawks. In other words,
he can score for you in a variety of ways. He leads all QBs in rushing
(for now) and is still throwing the pigskin to the best receiver
3. Marc Bulger vs. SEA - Seattle
gives up over 27 points a game on the road. St. Louis scores more
than 35 points a game at home. If the playoffs are all about playing
well, what are you waiting for? He should have a big
day at Edward Jones.
4. Michael Vick @ IND - My championship
hopes were on life support heading into last Sunday night's game.
"Paging Dr. Vick." Only five RUNNING BACKS rushed for
more yardage in Week 14. That's pretty astounding considering how
many backs put up huge days. Expect more ankle-breakers from the
fleet-footed one on Indy's fast surface.
5. Trent Green vs. DET - I told
kinda. The Chiefs dropped their second game of the year
but since it wasn't even close, Green managed to put up some fairly
large numbers (397 yards and two TDs [one rushing]). Sunday's game
shouldn't be any closer so you can expect him to throw for less
yardage but perhaps, more scores.
6. Matt Hasselbeck @ STL - He
undoubtedly cost a lot of people a chance at fantasy glory with
his dud performance in Minnesota (218 yards, two picks, and no scores).
If you managed to survive his off day, give him another shot. Maybe,
just maybe, his receivers will learn how to catch a freakin' ball
by this Sunday.
7. Brett Favre @ SD - You can't
know how much it pains me to say this but he might be slowing down
some. Sigh. On the bright side, he IS tied for the league lead in
touchdown passes. A trip to San Diego promises better weather and
a great matchup against the abysmal Chargers secondary (29 TD passes).
8. Chad Pennington vs. PIT - Here's
hoping you stayed on top of the weather reports and kept him on
your bench. Though conditions won't be significantly better in Jersey
(possible rain and snow), he'll at least be facing a less formidable
Steelers secondary (19 TDs yielded so far). Go with him if you don't
have a better option.
9. Donovan McNabb @ MIA - He torched
a very good Dallas secondary for 248 yards and three scores in Week
14. Miami's secondary, though solid, isn't appreciably better. On
the big stage (Monday night) with home-field advantage on the line,
I like Donovan's chances of shining again.
10. Jon Kitna vs. SF - Like Hasselbeck,
he may have sunk you last week. Unlike Hasselbeck, he had a pretty
good excuse (Baltimore's stellar defense). The matchup is more favorable
in Week 15 so feel free to start him again if you're still in the
Grab A Helmet:
Jake Delhomme @ ARI - Don't blame the game-clinching INT on him.
His receiver (Muhsin Muhammad) cut off a perfectly good crossing
route, costing Carolina their third straight game. Who better to
bounce back against then a Cardinals team merely going through the
motions? Expect a solid day from Mr. Delhomme, not unlike the one
Jeff Garcia @ CIN - Talk about solid. He positively roasted the
Cards last week to the tune of six total TDs (four passing and two
rushing). Though he won't match those numbers this week, he seems
to have rediscovered his game enough to cause problems for a Cincy
secondary that is only so-so. Give him a go.
Brad Johnson vs. HOU - How decimated is the Bucs receiving corps?
Warren Sapp (!!!) has actually become a viable option in the passing
game. That hurts the value of everyone not named Keenan McCardell
but boosts Johnson's value somewhat. Tampa should move the ball
freely and he'll likely be in position to put the ball in the endzone
a couple more times.
Jake Plummer vs. CLE - He was justifiably overlooked last week but
238 yards and a touch isn't terrible. If Portis opens things up
again (duh), he could find himself in the red zone early and often.
Multiple trips to the red zone = multiple opportunities to score.
Doug Flutie vs. GB - Believe it or not, he has thrown 11 touchdowns
and only four interceptions since taking over for Drew Brees. Though
the Pack's pass defense has improved considerably in the last few
weeks, Flutie is definitely capable of causing some damage. If you're
in a bind, he might be your saving grace.
Grab A Clipboard:
Quincy Carter @ WAS - For a supposedly mobile quarterback, he sure
doesn't do much with his feet (one score on the year). Needless
to say, he hasn't been doing much with his right arm lately, either.
He completed precisely one pass to a wide receiver last week. That
receiver's name? Zuriel Smith. Ouch.
Jay Fiedler vs. PHI - Blame the snow if you like but don't go overboard
and consider starting him this week. He's facing a confident Philly
squad that hasn't given up more than 20 points since October 12th.
Not to mention, he's listed as questionable on the injury report.
Steve McNair vs. BUF - Speaking of questionable, he insists he'll
play this Sunday. Though there's no reason to doubt him, there is
one very good reason to consider benching him. Namely, Buffalo has
the second-best pass defense in the league (184.1 yards/game and
11 TDs). If you have a decent backup, go with him. If not, well
am I to tell you to sit the league's likely MVP?
Byron Leftwich @ NE - Care to guess how many points the Pats have
given up in their last four home games? Here's a hint: you only
need two hands. Sunday's forecast is for more snow so don't even
think about relying on this rook.
Rex Grossman vs. MIN - Ditto this rook. He's making his long-awaited
debut and though the matchup is somewhat favorable, it's hard to
believe Coach Jauron will put too much weight on his shoulders.
Expect heavy dosages of the A-Train and only modest numbers (if
that) from Grossman.
Tim Hasselbeck vs. DAL - The job is his by default. Unfortunately,
he's facing an excellent Dallas D that was embarrassed by the Eagles
last week. This rivalry tends to bring out the best in the Cowboys
of late so it would probably be wise to sit him down.
Must Start: The Top 15:
1. Priest Holmes vs. DET - He
only managed 12 carries in the blowout loss to Denver, his fewest
so far. However, he still found paydirt twice and now has 19 touchdowns
on the season. I GUARANTEE he'll score number 20 (at least) this
weekend against the pitiful Lions.
2. Ahman Green @ SD - He admitted
to the press earlier in the week that he's a bit "beat up."
That would normally be cause for concern but the Packers are going
nowhere without him. Coach Sherman knows this and will ask Green
to take one for the team
and then another
Expect stellar numbers and a touch or two in SoCal.
3. Jamal Lewis @ OAK - The Ravens
grabbed the upper hand on Cincy and can thank this guy for it. In
a must-win situation, he carried the rock 30 times for 180 yards
and three scores. He might not match that production against Oakland
but there's no reason he couldn't if called upon to do so. The Raiders
are giving up nearly 150 yards/game on the ground.
4. Clinton Portis vs. CLE - I
was openly criticized for panning the Chiefs' defense earlier in
the season. Funny. Haven't heard too much from those critics recently.
I'm no historian but I'd be willing to bet no Super Bowl team has
ever given up more than three rushing touchdowns (let alone five!)
to a single player in one game.
5. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. GB
- He may be a running back but he actually had more receiving yards
than ANYBODY last week (148). Of course, he did just fine running
the ball too (88 yards). If that's not enough, he also scored San
Diego's only two touchdowns. Remind me again why he's averaging
less than 25 touches per game?
6. Deuce McAllister vs. NYG -
Tampa finally figured out how to slow him down. New York probably
could as well
if they cared to. Alas, the G-mice quit on Coach
Fassel over a month ago. Expect Deuce to put up big numbers in a
nationally televised contest this Sunday night.
7. Stephen Davis @ ARI - His yards-per-carry
have slipped a bit in the past month but that's probably due to
stiffer competition and a general offensive swoon. The competition
will be anything but stiff in the desert. The Panthers desperately
need a 'W' and Davis gives them the best chance of securing it.
He'll post good numbers.
8. Marshall Faulk vs. SEA - Four
straight 100-yard games tells me he's fresher than a lot of other
backs out there. He should be since he missed six games earlier
in the year. Seattle's only chance of slowing down St. Louis is
slowing him down first. Don't count on it.
9. Shaun Alexander @ STL - Of
course, the 'Hawks could always try to outscore the Rams. To do
that, they'll need a big day from Mr. Alexander. He was virtually
non-existent last week but should find some room to roam against
a St. Louis D allowing nearly five yards per carry.
10. Edgerrin James vs. ATL - He
has scored seven touchdowns in his last four games and now faces
a Falcons team that has given up a rushing touchdown in EVERY SINGLE
game this year. They probably don't take prop bets on stuff like
this but if they did, you know where my money would be.
11. Ricky Williams vs. PHI - Edge
has seven in his last four games but Ricky has only eight all year.
How is that possible? A lousy offensive line is partially to blame
but even Ricky said he isn't running as hard this year. He better
start doing so if Miami hopes to avoid yet another December collapse.
12. Jerome Bettis @ NYJ - If you
were smart enough to peek ahead at Pittsburgh's fourth quarter schedule
and snap him up, good for you. He's only 128 yards behind Marcus
Allen on the all-time rushing list so he should be properly motivated
to rumble the rest of the season. It doesn't hurt that he's facing
a Jets defense giving up more rushing yards per game than anyone
13. Fred Taylor @ NE - He has
85 carries in his past three games and, miracle of miracles, has
lived to tell about it. New England poses a serious matchup problem
but Taylor is talented enough to do some work, regardless. Keep
14. Travis Henry @ TEN - Two touchdowns
in his last six games might scare most people away but he has managed
to rush for over 100 yards in four of those tilts. He'll be hard-pressed
to do that this weekend in Nashville. The hope here is that he gains
60-80 yards and sneaks into the endzone once.
15. Kevan Barlow @ CIN - We could
ask what took so long but what's the point? The relevant fact is
that the job appears to be his
and just in time. He faces a
below average Bengals front that is giving up 4.5 per carry and
over 125 yards a game. That makes him a good playoff start.
Grab A Helmet:
T.J. Duckett @ IND - The big man has only 203 rushing yards in his
last six games. So why am I recommending him? He also scored in
each and every one of those games. He shares carries with his QB
but that same QB makes it possible for him to run freely most of
the time. Expect him to find paydirt again in Indy this Sunday.
Thomas Jones vs. HOU - Well, color me surprised. I never thought
we'd hear from him again but Coach Chucky has decided to hand him
the starting job for the rest of the season. Speed has a way of
buying you multiple opportunities in the NFL and he certainly has
it. He's a sneaky start facing a Houston team that doesn't defend
very well (140 rushing yards/game).
Anthony Thomas vs. MIN - He was worthless last week but we'll blame
the pneumonia and move on. He gets the Vikings this week, a team
that yields five yards a pop and almost 125 per game. With young
Mr. Grossman under center, don't be surprised to see Thomas get
at least 20 carries, even if Chicago falls way behind.
Michael Bennett @ CHI - It's too early to tell whether he'll be
ready but if he is, he's not a bad start in the Windy City. The
Vikings should have no problem staking a big lead and when they
do that, Bennett generally ends up near 100 yards. If he can't go,
Moe Williams will get the call. He's not a bad start either, for
Grab A Gatorade:
Any Detroit RB @ KC - A couple of you admitted to having used one
of these guys in your run to the playoffs. Kudos? I wouldn't press
your luck, even against a KC defense that is porous against the
rush (5.2 yards per tote).
Corey Dillon/Rudi Johnson vs. SF - Coach Lewis seems determined
to get them both carries, though Dillon is getting the lion's share
right now. Unfortunately, neither player has distinguished himself
in the last few weeks. That trend may continue this week against
a San Fran club giving up less than 100 yards a game.
Marcel Shipp vs. CAR - Since his monstrous games in Weeks 8 and
9, Shipp has all but disappeared. Not surprisingly, so have the
Cardinals. You probably wouldn't wanna use him anyway since he has
as many touchdowns this season as me.
Eddie George vs. BUF - If McNair sits, Coach Fisher might be inclined
to lean on George a bit. Coach Fisher better hope McNair doesn't
sit. Though the veteran has been steadier of late (over four yards
per carry for three consecutive weeks), he's still not someone you
can count on this time of year. Besides, Buffalo's defense is surprisingly
good (96.7 rushing yards/game).
Antowain Smith vs. JAX - He carried the ball 27 times against Miami
last week, which is 10 more times than he's carried it in any other
game this season. The problem? He still only gained 60 yards and
didn't score. Smith appears to be the cold weather back but facing
a Jacksonville defense that has been impenetrable of late, he's
not a good play in Week 15.
Must Start: The Top 15:
1. Randy Moss @ CHI - After a
couple of mediocre performances, Moss has rocketed back into the
stratosphere the past two weeks. His combined totals in Weeks 13
and 14: 18 catches, 293 yards, and three scores. Can you think of
a good reason why he won't pad those stats against lowly Chicago?
2. Torry Holt vs. SEA - His quiet
weeks have been few and far between but unfortunately, one of them
occurred last week (four receptions for 31 yards and no TDs). He
will bounce back big against the Seahawks on Sunday. I promise.
3. Marvin Harrison vs. ATL - Despite
Indy's recent success, Harrison only has two touchdown receptions
in his last seven games. Does that mean he's starting to fade a
bit? Let me ask you another question. Did you see that one-handed
grab at Adelphia last week? Expect vintage Marvin in Sunday's contest
at the RCA Dome.
4. Chad Johnson vs. SF - He's
calling himself "7-11" these days
which is appropriate
when you consider a 7-11 cashier could probably have put up the
same numbers he put up last week (two catches, 15 yards). Come on,
Oracle. You know the drill. Less talking, more balling. Chop, chop!
5. Terrell Owens @ CIN - The Niners
will reportedly place the franchise tag on Julian Peterson instead
of him at the end of the season. That means every game from here
on out is an audition. Think he likes being on stage? I know
6. Hines Ward @ NYJ - Thanks to
a resurgent Bus, the Curtain didn't need him much last week (four
catches for 67 yards). Thanks to a crummy Jets run defense, they
may not need him much this week, either. Then again, the Jets will
likely make Pittsburgh score some points. That's where Mr. Ward
7. Santana Moss vs. PIT - The
conditions in Buffalo weren't exactly forward pass-friendly. Nevertheless,
he managed to tally 61 receiving yards. That may not be enough to
get you to the promised land but it might have been enough to keep
you alive last week. If you're still kicking, give him another start.
He's a huge play waiting to happen and Pittsburgh's secondary is
8. Darrell Jackson @ STL - If
he's so great, why is he being outgained by Bobby Engram? Just a
question. Don't jump all over me. I gotta think the 'Hawks O will
rebound somewhat this week. They had certainly better if they hope
to have any chance of beating the Rams and fending off the Pack
for a wildcard spot.
9. Anquan Boldin vs. CAR - His
numbers have been consistently good all year long and there's no
reason to think he'll hit the wall now. He'd have done it already.
Besides, the Cardinals are getting smoked every single week out
so he'll continue to see plenty of garbage time opportunities.
10. Keenan McCardell vs. HOU -
He hasn't scored in three weeks but is averaging almost 80 yards
receiving per game. Facing a Houston team that is horrendous against
the pass (239.2 yards/game and 19 TDs), he should find the endzone
in Week 15.
11. Steve Smith @ ARI - He hasn't
been below 50 yards receiving in the past nine games. That means
he's consistent at the very least. Chad Johnson and T.O. owners
can appreciate the importance of consistency, right?
12. Derrick Mason vs. BUF - Speaking
of consistency. Mason may struggle against a solid Bills secondary-especially
if Air McNair sits out-but he always manages to give us something.
In fact, he's scored two consecutive weeks now. Even if Volek gets
the nod, he's a good bet for 50+ receiving yards and maybe even
13. Joe Horn vs. NYG - From Mr.
Consistency to Mr. Inconsistency. Horn all but vanished from Weeks
9 to 13 but he rebounded last week against a tough Tampa D (9 grabs
for 118 yards). Can he build on that momentum against a crummy Giants
14. Tony Gonzalez vs. DET - I'll
take 73 yards from a tight end every week. I'm betting most of you
don't get half that most of the time.
15. Isaac Bruce vs. SEA - Remember
when I used to lament his lack of touchdown receptions? Disregard.
He's tallied three in the last three weeks and seems to have emerged
as a favorite red zone target of Bulger again.
Grab A Helmet:
Peerless Price @ IND - His rise in production has-not surprisingly-coincided
with the return of Mr. Vick. It's only a matter of time before he
starts finding the endzone regularly. He almost did last week but
couldn't keep both feet in bounds after a circus grab.
Reggie Wayne vs. ATL - Where has he been the past three weeks? I
don't usually recommend starting ice cold players but something
tells me he'll score against the Dirty Birds this week. He's still
getting about seven balls a game thrown his way.
Javon Walker @ SD - If this guy got seven balls a game, he might
be even more dangerous. Alas, the Ol' Gunslinger still prefers sharing
the wealth. No matter. When Walker catches it, he often scores.
In fact, he's scored once a game three weeks running. There's a
solid chance he'll do so again facing the horrid Chargers secondary.
Peter Warrick vs. SF - He picked up the slack for The Oracle last
week (11 catches, 90 yards, and a touch) but it didn't make much
difference. If the Niners manage to slow down Johnson as well, Warrick
could again emerge as the main Cincy threat.
Marcus Robinson @ OAK - Three weeks. Six touchdowns. Maybe it's
time I gave him a little credit, eh? I never disliked his talent
(that's why I used to own him in one of my dynasty leagues) but
I thought the injuries had robbed him of speed. Fortunately, they
haven't robbed him of valuable size. Ride that hot hand if you've
made it this far.
Grab Some Wood:
Chris Chambers vs. PHI - Am I seriously gonna tempt fate and recommend
a sit-down for Mr. Chambers again? We all know how that turned out
last time. I like my chances better this time around as the rejuvenated
Eagles secondary should stifle a below average Miami passing game.
Any Dallas receiver @ WAS - Have you forgotten how many passes these
guys caught last week? Even if they do rebound as a unit, who individually
is gonna be doing most of the rebounding? It's anybody's guess and
it has been most of the year. Move on.
Plaxico Burress @ NYJ - He scored his second touchdown of the season
and his first since Week TWO against the Raiders last week. On a
roll he most certainly is not. The weather should be sufficiently
frightful in Gotham so go in a different direction if you've managed
to survive his hugely disappointing season to this point.
Donald Driver @ SD - Did somebody say "huge disappointment?"
Nobody has disappointed more than Mr. Driver this year. Trust me.
It now appears Javon Walker will become the man in Titletown and
even if he doesn't, Robt. Ferguson is next in line.
Jimmy Smith @ NE - This is NO reflection on his ability as a receiver.
He's good. Unfortunately, he's heading to Foxboro where the elements
will combine with a fierce Patriots defense to prevent Mr. Smith
from producing. At least, that's the way I see it.