Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Thursday Night Revelations
Brady Quinn: AP
Cleveland 13, Pittsburgh 6
  • Say what you want about Steelers-Browns from Thursday -- and we have plenty of negative thoughts to share -- but there's no denying the folks at Cleveland Browns Stadium made the action seem more thrilling the final score indicated. Of course, the pregame frost on the noses of Matt Millen and Bob Papa (the NFL Network game analysts) extended the entertainment factor, as well:

    1. Santonio Holmes survived the fantasy carnage: On a blustery night when just three players posted superb fantasy numbers -- Josh Cribbs (96 total yards), Chris Jennings (73 rushing yards, 1 TD) and Holmes (6 catches, 93 yards) -- only Santonio owners made a bold first strike in their crucial playoff matches. Hence, we're assuming that 95 percent of 12-team leagues didn't have Jennings or Cribbs in their starting lineups.

    2. Ben Roethlisberger's mediocre night is yet another example ... ... of what happens when fantasy owners ignore freezing-cold temps and high winds and naively start the quarterback who's carried 'em throughout the season. In fact, those same owners should be grateful that Roethlisberger's stats (211 total yards, zero TDs/INTs) weren't stifled more by the coldest Browns-Steelers game in the rivals' long and illustrious history. If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: No QB is immune to winds that exceed 25 mph -- especially in cold weather; and that's why unheralded quarterbacks who play in comfy, cozy, climate-controlled domes from Weeks 14-16 MUST always be starting considerations. Even if Tom Brady is your presumed starter.

    3. Rashard Mendenhall owners should feel cheated: There's simply no excuse for Mendenhall (70 total yards) only getting 17 touches in a non-blowout affair amid horrible playing conditions. Yes, we realize that Bruce Arians is a pass-first, pass-second offensive coordinator who prides himself on being aggressive in all situations ... but this was not the night to feed one's ego in the passing realm. As a result, Pittsburgh has dropped five straight games and tumbled to 6-7 -- even though its top-10 tailback has been relatively healthy for the season. If there's any consolation to this debacle ... it's that Mendenhall remains a strong fantasy play for Week 15 (vs. Green Bay).

    4. Brady Quinn pulled a Jay Cutler and won without completing 10 passes: But it's not like anyone had Quinn (92 total yards) in their starting lineups. Heck, not even a Quinn relative would've been starting Brady in high winds ... against the vaunted Steelers ... with Mohamed Massaquoi (1 catch, 37 yards) as the only genuine go-target.

    5. Nobody was buying Hines Ward's fantasy act before the game: Ward should be commended for toughing out a hamstring injury and suiting up in a virtual must-win for Pittsburgh. However, his fantasy expectations were only slightly worse than his actual performance from Thursday night (4 catches, 21 yards). Just like quarterbacks aren't immune to high winds in the wintertime, wide receivers rarely overcome the treachery of a bad hammy around Christmastime.

  • QB Locks For 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs

    1. Drew Brees @ Atlanta
    2. Peyton Manning vs. Denver
    3. David Garrard vs. Miami
    4. Matt Schaub vs. Seattle
    5. Brett Favre vs. Cincinnati
    6. Philip Rivers @ Dallas
    7. Tony Romo vs. San Diego
    8. Donovan McNabb @ N.Y. Giants
    9. Kurt Warner @ San Francisco

    Five Highest-Scoring Games -- Week 14

    1. San Diego @ Dallas
    2. Buffalo @ Kansas City
    3. Seattle @ Houston
    4. Cincinnati @ Minnesota
    5. Arizona @ San Francisco

    Welcome Back, Accuscore!

    We channeled the lovable eggheads at AccuScore to solve a mini-crisis around the office: Who are the best five fantasy WRs from this point forward? ... prompting these computer findings (as simulated one billion times -- or something like that):

    1. Wes Welker (35.76)
    2. Andre Johnson (28.91)
    3. Reggie Wayne (25.61)
    4. Larry Fitzgerald (25.6)
    5. Anquan Boldin (22.95)
    6. Steve Smith -- NYG -- (22.17)
    7. Brandon Marshall (21.90)
    8. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (20.88)
    9. Kevin Walter (20.25)
    10. Chad Ochocinco (19.3)

    Receiving Yards
    1. Andre Johnson (379)
    2. Larry Fitzgerald (379)
    3. Wes Welker (369)
    4. Reggie Wayne (330)
    5. Anquan Boldin (294)
    6. Miles Austin (291)
    7. Marques Colston (287)
    8. Vincent Jackson (277)
    9. Randy Moss (277)
    10. Steve Smith -- CAR -- (268)

    1. Larry Fitzgerald (3.61)
    2. Randy Moss (2.70)
    3. Marques Colston (2.52)
    4. Andre Johnson (2.51)
    5. Miles Austin (2.47)
    6. Reggie Wayne (2.33)
    7. Anquan Boldin (2.26)
    8. Vincent Jackson (2.11)
    9. Hakeem Nicks (1.69)
    10. Wes Welker (1.63)

    For more amazing NFL-related information from Accuscore, simply click here or access the home page @ AccuScore.

    RB Locks -- 120 Total Yards and/or 2 TDs

    1. Frank Gore vs. Arizona
    2. Chris Johnson vs. St. Louis
    3. DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart @ New England
    4. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Miami
    5. Steven Jackson @ Tennessee
    6. Ray Rice vs. Detroit
    7. Fred Jackson @ Kansas City
    8. Jamaal Charles vs. Buffalo
    9. Joseph Addai vs. Denver
    10. Thomas Jones @ Tampa Bay
    11. Pierre Thomas @ Atlanta
    12. LeSean McCoy @ N.Y. Giants
    13. Knowshon Moreno @ Indianapolis
    14. LaDainian Tomlinson @ Dallas (never underestimate the power of Texas natives -- and future Hall of Famers -- playing in their home state once in a blue moon)

    WR Locks -- 110 Total Yards and/or 1 TD

    1. Larry Fitzgerald @ San Francisco
    2. Miles Austin vs. San Diego
    3. Sidney Rice vs. Cincinnati
    4. Reggie Wayne vs. Denver
    5. Anquan Boldin @ San Francisco
    6. Lee Evans @ Kansas City
    7. Marques Colston @ Atlanta
    8. Andre Johnson vs. Seattle
    9. Donald Driver @ Chicago
    10. Randy Moss vs. Carolina (we're not scared off by his Wednesday punishment for being late)

    Target Practice
    Davone Bess: Doug Benc/Getty Images

    A receiver is only as good as his quarterback ... and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch (known as Targets -- an absolutely critical stat for PPR leagues). This underrated category is the best way to safeguard against one-hit wonders during a looooong fantasy season. To wit, presents a list of the 22 wideouts with at least 40 Targets since Week 9:

    1. Roddy White, Falcons -- 61 Targets
    2. Wes Welker, Dolphins -- 60 Targets
    3. Calvin Johnson, Lions-- 56 Targets
    4. Brandon Marshall, Broncos -- 53 Targets
    5. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 52
    6. Derrick Mason, Ravens -- 51
    7. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 50
    8. Santonio Holmes, Steelers -- 49 (excluding Week 14)
    9. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 49
    10. Davone Bess, Dolphins -- 46
    11. Hines Ward, Steelers -- 46 (excluding Week 14)
    12. Pierre Garcon, Colts -- 45
    13. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks -- 45
    14. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 44
    15. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 43
    16. Steve Smith, Giants -- 43
    17. Sidney Rice, Vikings -- 42
    18. Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- 41
    19. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars -- 41
    20. Devin Hester, Bears -- 40
    21. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 40
    22. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- 40

    10 Best Draft Values Of '09

    1. QB Brett Favre, Vikings (15th round, 179th overall)
    2. WR Sidney Rice, Vikings (13th round, 148th overall)
    3. RB Chris Johnson, Titans (2nd round, 20th overall)
    4. TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings (13th round, 147th overall)
    5. RB Ricky Williams, Dolphins (12th round, 143rd overall)
    6. WR Miles Austin, Cowboys (11th round, 130th overall)
    7. RB Ray Rice, Ravens (10th round, 120th overall)
    8. RB Cedric Benson, Bengals (9th round, 106th overall)
    9. WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers (7th round, 79th overall)
    10. TE Brent Celek, Eagles (12th round, 137th overall)
    * -- Assessments determined from Sports Illustrated fantasy preview mag

    Five Players Who'll Disappoint -- Week 14

    1. QB Eli Manning, Giants
    2. WR Santana Moss, Redskins
    3. RB Tim Hightower, Cardinals
    4. WR Antonio Bryant, Bucs
    5. WR Steve Smith, Panthers

    10 Worst Draft Values Of '09

    1. RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles (1st round, 6th overall)
    2. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders (3rd round, 28th overall)
    3. RB Derrick Ward, Buccaneers (4th round, 48th overall)
    4. WR Anthony Gonzalez, Colts (5th round, 55th overall)
    5. WR Bernard Berrian, Vikings (5th round, 49th overall)
    6. RB Brandon Jacobs, Giants (2nd round, 16th overall)
    7. RB Steve Slaton, Texans (1st round, 7th overall)
    8. RB Clinton Portis, Redskins (2nd round, 15th overall)
    9. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns/Jets (4th round, 47th overall)
    10. RB Felix Jones, Cowboys (3rd round, 33rd overall)
    * -- Assessments determined from Sports Illustrated fantasy preview mag

    Five Unsung Fantasy Heroes -- Week 14

    1. RB Willis McGahee, Ravens (could score two TDs against the Lions)
    2. WR Legedu Naanee, Chargers
    3. TE Brad Cottam, Chiefs (SOMEONE has to account for Kansas City's 5 TDs -- HA!)
    4. WR Mike Thomas, Jaguars
    5. WR Johnny Knox, Bears (could pull down six catches/50 yards/1 TD)

    I Tweet, Therefore I Am

    @gnpath wonders: I'm starting Rashard Mendenhall/Steven Jackson as my RB1/RB2 for Week 14. Whom would you want for the two WRs and flex spot: Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Thomas, Sidney Rice, Kenny Britt, Steve Smith (NYG)?

    Answer: I would ride Sid Rice, Reggie Wayne and P-Thomas (flex) with Mendenhall and S-Jax for Week 14. In fact, that's one heckuva stacked playoff lineup for this week. Should I just congratulate you for advancing to Week 15 right now?

    @airT08 poses this question: Fantasy lineup Week 14: Would u rather start Brandon Jacobs (vs. PHI) or Chris Brown (vs. SEA)?

    Answer: Yes, I know Steve Slaton is done for the year, and yes, I know Matt Schaub can't carry the mail by himself with the bad thumb. That aside, I'd start Jacobs over Brown ... but MAYBE not over Ryan Moats. Is there any chance of getting Moats at this stage in the game?

    @quickturtle asks: Starting Santonio Holmes/Marques Colston at WR and cannot decide between Robert Meachem/Percy Harvin at the third WR slot. I'm usually scared to play two WR on same team despite production. Help?

    Answer: If you're scared to death of starting Meachem, then start Harvin ... he's been lights-out for five straight games ... boom! Come to think of it, Meachem's been on fire, as well. Talk about Sophie's Choice. If it were me, I'd slightly lean toward Meachem, since I am guaranteeing New Orleans will score 40 on Atlanta ... whereas I'd be shocked if Minnesota did that to Cincinnati in Week 14.

    @ddmjr asks: I have a WR/TE flex spot. Should I use it for Roddy White, Vernon Davis or Jason Witten? I already have Wes Welker/Sidney Rice at wide receiver.

    Answer: I could not, in good conscience, start Roddy over Vernon/Witten with Chris Redman at QB. If Matt Ryan plays against the Saints (which I don't think will occur), Roddy is certainly an attractive option. But assuming it's Redman ... ride Witten over V-Davis in standard-scoring leagues. And with Points Per Reception leagues, I'd take Vernon over Witten. How's that for waffling?

    @mcollyer71 wonders: Would you start Mike Bell over LaDainian Tomlinson this week? Or should I drop Beanie Wells for Ryan Moats and give Moats the start?

    Answer: As a native Texan, it is LT's DREAM to do well on Sunday before the home folks. Start with him supreme confidence over M-Bell! As for your other dilemma, I'd want Beanie over Moats for the rest of the fantasy playoffs -- barely.

    @coachzimm asks: Matt Schaub has been really good for me all year. But with his weapons disappearing, should I consider my backup, Alex Smith?

    Answer: I see nothing wrong with starting Alex Smith in Weeks 14 and 16 (vs. Detroit -- cha-ching!) ... but I do like Schaub a teeny-bit better against Seattle. Thanks!

    Target Practice, Part II

    One good turn deserves another. Here are the 23 RBs with 15 or more Targets since Week 9:
    1. Frank Gore, 49ers -- 37
    2. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 32
    3. Justin Forsett, Seahawks -- 30
    4. Matt Forte, Bears -- 27
    5. Steven Jackson, Rams -- 26
    6. Chris Johnson, Titans -- 26
    7. Kevin Faulk, Patriots -- 25
    8. Kevin Smith, Lions -- 24
    9. Pierre Thomas, Saints -- 24
    10. Darren Sproles, Chargers -- 22
    11. Joseph Addai, Colts -- 21
    12. LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- 21
    13. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- 20
    14. Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 19
    15. Steve Slaton, Texans -- 19
    16. Rock Cartwright, Redskins -- 18
    17. Jerome Harrison, Browns -- 18 (excluding Week 14)
    18. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- 18
    19. Marion Barber, Cowboys -- 17
    20. Reggie Bush, Saints -- 17
    21. Tim Hightower, Cardinals -- 17
    22. Fred Jackson, Bills -- 17
    23. Brandon Jackson, Packers -- 15

    One Big Lookahead

    We're still about 130 days away from the 2010 NFL Draft, but that doesn't mean we can't take a little peak at who may go where -- even though things will change greatly between now ... and the time the '09 regular season ends in January ... the combines commence in February ... media überhype takes over in March ... and franchises play the always-hilarious game of draft chicken in April. That aside, here's the first of many mock drafts from

    1. Cleveland -- Ndamukong Suh, DL, Nebraska
    2. St. Louis -- Jake Locker, QB, Washington
    3. Tampa Bay -- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
    4. Detroit -- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
    5. Oakland -- Everson Griffen, DE, USC
    6. Buffalo -- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
    7. Kansas City -- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
    8. Seattle -- Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee
    9. Washington -- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
    10. Denver (from Chicago) -- Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
    11. N.Y. Jets -- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
    12. San Francisco (from Carolina) -- Taylor Mays, S, USC
    13. San Francisco -- Terrence Cody, NT, Alabama
    14. Tennessee -- Brian Price, DT, UCLA
    15. Houston -- Joe Haden, CB, Florida
    16. Miami -- Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU
    17. Atlanta -- Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
    18. Baltimore -- Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
    19. Jacksonville -- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
    20. Seattle (from Denver) -- Charles Brown, OT, USC
    21. Green Bay -- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
    22. N.Y. Giants -- Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
    23. Philadelphia -- Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
    24. Pittsburgh -- Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
    25. Dallas -- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
    26. Cincinnati -- Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
    27. San Diego -- Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State
    28. Arizona -- Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas
    29. New England -- Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU
    30. Minnesota -- Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
    31. Indianapolis -- Arthur Jones, DT, Syracuse
    32. New Orleans -- Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss

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