Eric Mack
Thursday December 16th, 2010

NFL Week 15: Start 'Em/Sit 'Em
 
San Francisco at San Diego
Thursday, Dec. 16 :: 8:20 p.m. EST
 
START
49ers
TE Vernon Davis, RB Brian Westbrook, D/ST

The Chargers are most vulnerable to TEs (bottom 10) and D/STs (bottom five) this season. The latter is because of Charger miscues from early in the season, though, so only go with the 49ers defense if you don't have a better alternative. Davis and Westbrook are both coming off productive weeks and figure to be used heavily this Thursday. Westbrook rushed only nine times Sunday, so he is being kept fresh at his advanced age. This is an important week to unleash him.

Chargers
QB Philip Rivers, K Nate Kaeding, WR Vincent Jackson, D/ST

This might be one rare week when you should start only a few Chargers. There is something to like about the defense, if you have it available to you. The 49ers' QB is error-prone. Jackson is healthier and should be more productive, especially if Antonio Gates is out as expected.

SIT
49ers
WR Michael Crabtree, WR Josh Morgan, QB Alex Smith, QB Troy Smith, RB Anthony Dixon, WR Ted Ginn, K Shane Andrus

The Chargers defense has moved to No. 1 fantasy vs. QBs and remains No. 2 vs. WRs, which make Crabtree and Morgan bad plays. Really, it is the poor QB play that ruins their value.

Chargers
RB Mike Tolbert, RB Ryan Mathews, WR Seyi Ajirotutu, WR Kelley Washington, TE Randy McMichael

Tolbert and Mathews had solid weeks in a blowout Sunday, but the short rest and the solid 49ers' run defense should make you go elsewhere at such an important position in the league semifinals. Washington stole Ajirotutu's thunder last Sunday, but that could have been a function of the blowout, too. Consider all of these options too risky right now. Gates' absence won't mean much for McMichael or any of the other TEs for the Chargers, because the 49ers are tops in fantasy against TEs this season.

INJURY WATCH
49ers
RB DeShawn Wynn (ankle), K Joe Nedney (knee), WR Kyle Williams (finger) -- Ignore them.

Chargers
TE Antonio Gates (foot), WR Malcom Floyd (hamstring), WR Patrick Crayton (wrist), RB Darren Sproles (concussion), Legedu Naanee (hamstring) -- Floyd is likely the only one who will be useful to you down the stretch here. Use him and keep the others out of your lineups.

 
Kansas City at St. Louis
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Chiefs
RB Jamaal Charles, WR Dwayne Bowe, K Ryan Succop

You should fully expect a rebound week for the Chiefs offense, especially if Matt Cassel can play after his appendectomy. The Chiefs are not going to fall behind like they did against the Chargers. Charles is the RB to run with. Bowe and the kicker should be better with expected Cassel back, too.

Rams
RB Steven Jackson, K Josh Brown

The Chargers laid the Chiefs to waste last Sunday, but the Rams just don't have the same amount of firepower, even at home. You should full expect the Chiefs to play much better defensively in this Midwest showdown.

SIT
Chiefs
RB Thomas Jones, D/ST, QB Brodie Croyle, WR Chris Chambers, TE Tony Moeaki, WR/RB Dexter McCluster

Jones got just three carries in a blowout loss last week and has been getting less and less time as the season has wore on and Charles has assumed more of the duty. He is a risky play against a Rams defense that is top 10 in fantasy vs. RBs. Cassel should return and make the entire offense better, but not good enough to trust these fringe guys.

Rams
WR Danny Amendola, QB Sam Bradford, WR Denario Alexander, D/ST, WR Brandon Gibson, WR Laurent Robinson, WR Marty Gilyard, TE Daniel Fells, TE Billy Bajema, RB Keith Toston

Bradford regressed enough last week to make you wary of him or his supporting cast against the Chiefs, who are hungry to rebound defensively. Most of these were bad fringe options even in a more favorable matchup.

INJURY WATCH
Chiefs
QB Matt Cassel (appendectomy) -- He hopes to play and if you can run with him out of necessity. Hopefully, your fantasy semifinalist team has a more consistent option, though.

Rams
RB Kenneth Darby (ribs), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle) -- Ignore them.

 
Arizona at Carolina
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Cardinals
WR Larry Fitzgerald, RB Tim Hightower, RB Beanie Wells

Hightower has stolen the bulk of the RBs chores from Wells, but both backs are solid plays against the Panthers defense that is third-worst at stopping running backs. Wells is a nice sleeper for some garbage-time numbers. Hightower is coming off a huge week. Fitzgerald finally had a decent performance despite having been thrown to by an unheralded rookie QB last week.

Panthers
RB Jonathan Stewart, RB Mike Goodson

Stewart and Goodson are the Panthers' offense. They even had productive weeks against a very good Falcons run defense. The good news is they can now take aim on fantasy's worst team against RBs, the Cardinals. Start them with confidence even if you think the Cardinals are going to blow this one out. This duo is all Carolina has.

SIT
Cardinals
WR Steve Breaston, K Jay Feeley, QB John Skelton, D/ST, WR Stephen Williams, TE Ben Patrick, WR Early Doucet, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB Jason Wright

Congrats on getting Feeley off waivers! Now, cut him. The Cardinals could score 21 points in this one and leave the kicker with three measly FGs. He is not worth the risk, like the rest of those Cardinal bums.

Panthers
WR Steve Smith, WR David Gettis, QB Jimmy Claussen, D/ST, K John Kasay, TE Dante Rosario, WR David Clowney, WR Brandon LaFell, RB Tyrell Sutton

Claussen has been pretty terrible, which makes it impossible to start the enormous bust Smith or even the new favorite target LaFell. Ignore everyone in the Panthers passing game.

INJURY WATCH
Cardinals
QB Derek Anderson (concussion) -- He won't start. Ignore him.

Panthers
None.

 
Philadelphia at New York Giants
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Eagles
QB Michael Vick, WR DeSean Jackson, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Jeremy Maclin, K David Akers, D/ST

While the Giants have been playing great defense and slowed the Eagles considerably in their past meeting, these Eagles are too good to sit in your fantasy playoffs. McCoy draws perhaps the toughest matchup after the Giants stuffed Adrian Peterson on Monday, but he is too hot to sit. The defense figures to take advantage of the most turnover-prone QB in the NFL right now.

Giants
RB Brandon Jacobs, WR Hakeem Nicks, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Mario Manningham, K Lawrence Tynes, TE Kevin Boss

The Giants got Nicks going Monday night, but it still figures to be a run-heavy offense in the cold. Jacobs and Bradshaw both steamrolled a very good Vikings run defense. Nicks and Manningham will be go-to guys in a game that figures to be a bit higher scoring than the one in November, while Boss is hot and drawing a favorable matchup: The Eagles are last in fantasy against TEs. It should all add up to a decent week for Tynes.

SIT
Eagles
TE Brent Celek, WR Jason Avant, RB Jerome Harrison

Celek is one of the busts of the season after another two-target, no-catch performance in Dallas. These guys just won't be anything more than token options in the game plan of a crucial week for both teams.

Giants
D/ST, QB Eli Manning, WR Derek Hagan, WR Michael Clayton, TE Travis Beckum, RB Danny Ware, WR Devin Thomas, WR Duke Calhoun

The Eagles are too scary offensively to trust the Giants defense. Philly cannot be stopped and doesn't turn the ball over. Manning does, though. It makes him a bad option in these cold-weather home games down the stretch. Hagan or Beckum could be a situational option for the Giants in the red zone, but these guys aren't consistent enough to be fantasy-worthy.

INJURY WATCH
Eagles
None. It is all hands on deck in the game that will decide the division winner.

Giants
WR Steve Smith (knee) -- He is out for the season.

 
Detroit at Tampa Bay
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Lions
WR Calvin Johnson

He and all of the Lions are coming off a very quiet week against the Packers. The Bucs are no slouches defensively either, especially at home. Megatron is the lone Lions option you should trust in crunch time. It should be another low-production week for both teams.

Buccaneers
RB LeGarrette Blount

Fully expect a busy week for Blount against the Lions, who are seventh-worst in the league at stopping RBs. Dance with the one that brought you. He has been one of the waiver gems of the season.

SIT
Lions
RB Jahvid Best, RB Maurice Morris, TE Brandon Pettigrew, RB Aaron Brown, WR Nate Burleson, QB Drew Stanton, K John Hanson, D/ST, WR Bryant Johnson, TE Tony Scheffler

Best took a piece of the pie from Morris last week, which renders them both sits despite facing the run-weary Bucs. Stanton could be sitting for Hill, which could make the TEs more interesting, but the uncertainty makes it a situation to avoid.

Buccaneers
WR Mike Williams, D/ST, TE Kellen Winslow, QB Josh Freeman, RB Cadillac Williams, WR Michael Spurlock, WR Arrelious Benn, K Conner Barth, RB Earnest Graham, WR Sammie Stroughter

It is not because the Lions are a vaunted defense, it is just because the Bucs' only consistent presence is Blount and the power running game. Winslow caught a TD last week, but TEs are the one position the Lions do actually rate well against (seventh-best).

INJURY WATCH
Lions
QB Shaun Hill (finger), QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) -- Hill might return this week, while Stafford remains out. You shouldn't use whoever plays QB for the Lions this week.

Buccaneers
None.

 
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Browns
RB Peyton Hillis

Hillis has carried you to this point and even his fumble issues shouldn't keep him from your starting lineup.

Bengals
WR Terrell Owens, WR Chad Ochocinco, RB Cedric Benson

Benson was useless against the run-stuffing Steelers, but this is a week to get him back in your lineup. While the Browns are solid against the run, Benson figures to be a focal point of the Bengals' attack this week. The WRs figure to remain useful as well, particularly since the Bengals usually are playing from behind.

SIT
Browns
TE Ben Watson, QB Jake Delhomme, WR Josh Cribbs, RB Mike Bell, K Phil Dawson, D/ST, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, WR Brian Robiskie

Watson laid an egg at Buffalo and is back on the fantasy fringe, along with the rest of these uninspiring options.

Bengals
QB Carson Palmer, D/ST, TE Jermaine Gresham, K Aaron Pettrey, RB Bernard Scott

Palmer has earned his status as worthless to you in fantasy, along with these other bungling Bengals. The Browns are a better defense than most give them credit for.

INJURY WATCH
Browns
QB Colt McCoy (ankle) -- The Browns might start him, but that doesn't mean you should in fantasy -- not in the least.

Bengals
None.

 
Buffalo at Miami
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Bills
RB Fred Jackson, WR Steve Johnson

They have earned starting status in crunch time. Jackson has three 100-yard rushing games in his past five outings. The two he fell below the century mark were against elite run defenses of Pittsburgh and Minnesota. He did score through the air in that Steelers game, though. Miami isn't a pushover up front, limiting the New York Jets last week, but Jackson and Johnson figure to be featured aspects of the Bills' attack.

Dolphins
RB Ronnie Brown, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Davone Bess, K Dan Carpenter, D/ST

Brown might be the play of the week. He faces a Bills team that is fourth-worst in fantasy against RBs and he is long overdue for a breakthrough. It might even be one of those 100-yard, three-TD performances coming your way. Marshall and Bess were limited against the Jets, but the guess here is a big week on the ground opens up the gains through the air. Miami has been playing real good defense, too, which makes their D/ST a nice sleeper, especially if you also have the Packers playing at New England or Baltimore hosting New Orleans.

SIT
Bills
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB C.J. Spiller, TE David Martin, K Rian Lindell, D/ST, WR David Nelson, TE Jonathan Stupar

The Bills finally get away from bad weather, but the Dolphins have been playing stingy defense, particularly against QBs, against which they are third-best in fantasy. Don't use a Bills player in crunch time unless absolutely necessary.

Dolphins
RB Ricky Williams, QB Chad Henne, TE Anthony Fasano

Williams and Fasano have favorable matchups and might be tempting, but you would be taking a risk on a marginal player. That is not a good strategy this time of the year, where there are no bye weeks and there are far less fantasy teams competing for waiver-wire options.

INJURY WATCH
Bills
None.

Dolphins
None.

 
Washington at Dallas
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Redskins

WR Santana Moss, RB Ryan Torain

Moss is coming off a rebound week and Dallas is dead last against WRs. Torain also proved healthy and effective last week and should remain a focal point of Mike Shanahan's offense.

Cowboys
WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten, RB Felix Jones, WR Roy Williams, QB Jon Kitna, D/ST, K David Buehler

The Redskins rank in the bottom 10 against QBs, WRs and TEs, so expect Dallas to continue to put up a lot of points at home. Williams becomes a nice sleeper if you need a WR option, though a groin injury in practice might give you second thoughts on him. The defense and kicker are potentially interesting, too.

SIT
Redskins

TE Chris Cooley, RB Keiland Williams, TE Fred Davis, D/ST, WR Anthony Armstrong, WR Joey Galloway, K Graham Gono, RB James Davis, RB Roydell Williams, RB Chad Simpson

Dallas has been pretty good against TEs and Cooley just hasn't been getting targets or TDs. It is a week to find a stopgap for him. The rest of the Redskins offense is a crapshoot, especially if the starting QB's hamstring becomes an issue.

Cowboys
RB Tashard Choice

Choice was the waiver-wire flavor of the week and laid an egg. He is in for another quiet week, especially if he drops to third on the depth chart like we expect.

INJURY WATCH
Redskins
QB Donovan McNabb (hamstring) -- He is expecting to play and the Cowboys rank 31st in the league against QBs. This is a nice sleeper, perhaps even off the waiver wire, if you have someone playing a tough defense in bad weather this week.

Cowboys
QB Tony Romo (shoulder), RB Marion Barber (calf) -- While Romo is out, Barber might play. He shouldn't be trusted until he proves healthy and productive again, though.

 
Jacksonville at Indianapolis
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Jaguars
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, RB Rashad Jennings, TE Marcedes Lewis, K Josh Scobee

The Colts are sixth-worst in the NFL against running backs. MJD and Jennings should both be very busy in a must-win game. Jennings is far more of a risk, obviously, but the amount of runs you should expect the Jags to throw at the Colts will make them both productive enough for fantasy usage. Lewis is coming off a big week and the Colts have dropped precipitously into the bottom half of fantasy against TEs. Scobee should be relied on heavily as the Colts defense bends but doesn't break in the red zone.

Colts
QB Peyton Manning, RB Javarris James, WR Pierre Garcon, WR Blair White, K Adam Vinatieri

Injuries have decimated the Colts and made things tough on Manning, but they got healthier against the Titans last Thursday and have even more days off to improve. You should still like James, Garcon and White as sleepers, though. They will only be affected negatively if the Colts' other options wind up participating fully in practice late this week. Vinatieri looks like he could be back to being an elite kicker option, too.

SIT
Jaguars
WR Mike Thomas, QB David Garrard, D/ST, WR Jason Hill, WR Mike Sims-Walker

The Jags defense has been one of the more abused in fantasy and the Colts are motivated for a signature victory at home. The Jags passing game will only be a factor if the Colts get up big early. Don't expect that to happen. The Jags game plan figures to be run, run, run some more at the Colts.

Colts
D/ST

The Jacksonville offense is humming right now and this game figures to become a high-scoring affair for the division title. You should find a better sleeper defense to use.

INJURY WATCH
Jaguars
None. It is all hands on deck.

Colts
WR Reggie Wayne (knee), RB Joseph Addai (neck), TE Jacob Tamme (hamstring), WR Austin Collie (concussion), RB Donald Brown (ankle), RB Mike Hart (ankle), WR Taj Smith (hamstring) -- Wayne looks like the only one that figures to be useful in fantasy this week. If you can be sure about Collie playing, he might be a decent option, too. The RB situation is too messy to touch.

 
New Orleans at Baltimore
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Saints
QB Drew Brees, WR Marques Colston, K Garrett Hartley

No team gets to the Ravens defense until late, so expect Hartley to be busy with FGs early and Brees throwing his way back into a tough ballgame on the road. It is not a great matchup for any Saints, but this trio looks like the best of their options this week.

Ravens
RB Ray Rice, WR Anquan Boldin, K Billy Cundiff

You should play it fairly conservative with the Ravens coming off their Monday night OT victory. Rice, Boldin and Cundiff are all you should trust. Boldin was quiet Monday night but expect more of the action to come back his way.

SIT
Saints
RB Reggie Bush, TE Jeremy Shockey, D/ST, WR Robert Meachem, WR Devery Henderson, WR Lance Moore, TE Jimmy Graham

Moore, Henderson or Meachem: Who is it going to be this week? As Montgomery Brewster said: "Vote for none of the above." Bush faces a tough Ravens front seven and all of the interchangeable Saints parts look like risky plays.

Ravens
D/ST, QB Joe Flacco, WR Derrick Mason, WR T.J. Houshmanzadeh, RB Willis McGahee, WR Donte' Stallworth, TE Ed Dickson, RB LeRon McClain

The Ravens defense is good, but not great enough to start every week without looking at the opponent. The Ravens haven't performed like an elite fantasy unit for most of this season and they won't against Brees. Flacco draws the toughest matchup. The Saints are No. 2 in fantasy against QBs and No. 1 against WRs. It looks like a bad week for the passing game. The backup RBs and TEs just are not promising enough either.

INJURY WATCH
Saints
RB Pierre Thomas (ankle), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), RB Julius Jones (ankle) -- They are not 100 percent and they are facing a defense that very good against the run.

Ravens
TE Todd Heap (hamstring) -- He is too banged up to trust, even if he is ruled active Sunday before kickoff.

 
Houston at Tennessee
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 1 p.m. EST
 
START
Texans
RB Arian Foster, WR Andre Johnson, QB Matt Schaub K Neil Rackers, TE Owen Daniels

The only real surprise entry here is the return of Daniels. He is coming off a productive week, proving healthy and becoming a sleeper start against a Titans team that is in the bottom 10 of fantasy vs. TEs. Use Daniels if you're lamenting the likely season-ending loss of an Antonio Gates.

Titans
RB Chris Johnson, QB Kerry Collins, TE Bo Scaife, K Rob Bironas

It is a rare week to jump on the Titans bandwagon. The Texans are worst in fantasy vs. QBs and second-worst vs. WRs and TEs. Collins and Scaife are both coming off solid weeks, too. Bironas should benefit from yet another shootout in a Texans game.

SIT
Texans
WR Jacoby Jones, WR Kevin Walter, RB Derrick Ward, RB Steve Slaton, D/ST

Jones and Walter were pleasant surprises on Monday night, but expect it to be easy come, easy go. The Titans are a lot better defense than given credit for being and this could be a week they show it, especially with one less day to prepare. Most of the passing points from the Texans came in garbage/comeback time against the Ravens. There figures to be far less of that against the Titans this week.

Titans
WR Randy Moss, WR Kenny Britt, D/ST, WR Nate Washington, RB Javon Ringer, WR Justin Gage

You likely really wish you could trust one of the Titans WRs in this very favorable matchup. The problem is you cannot figure where the targets will go. Moss has been dead silent, Britt is just coming back from injury and Washington was a lot better with Vince Young at the helm earlier in the year. Moss or Britt can be called sleepers, but if you're trusting those guys, you're a big-time gambler with your fantasy playoff life.

INJURY WATCH
Texans
WR David Anderson (shoulder), TE Joel Dreessen (ribs), TE Joel Dreessen (shoulder) -- Ignore them.

Titans
None.

 
Atlanta at Seattle
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 4:05 p.m. EST
 
START
Falcons
RB Michael Turner, WR Roddy White, QB Matt Ryan, K Matt Bryant, D/ST

It should be a banner week for your Falcons. The Seahawks are better at home, but they are still among the bottom-feeders at stopping QBs (sixth-worst), RBs (fifth-worst) and WRs (third-worst). Most of these are fairly obvious starts, save for the Falcons D/ST perhaps. The Seahawks are 11th-worst against D/ST units.

Seahawks
None.

The Seahawks stunk against the 49ers in San Francisco and now face the No. 1 team in the NFC. Granted it is at home, but this could be the best defensive team the Seahawks are facing since the Giants came to town. Remember, that one was terribly ugly.

SIT
Falcons
WR Michael Jenkins, WR Brian Finneran, WR Harry Douglas, TE Justin Peele, RB Ovie Mughelli

The Falcons' secondary weapons are a crapshoot as always. Douglas caught a rare TD last week, but Jenkins could just as easily be the one that surprises us this week. Ignore these guys.

Seahawks
RB Marshawn Lynch, RB Justin Forsett, QB Matt Hasselbeck, K Olindo Mare, D/ST, RB Leon Washington, WR Golden Tate, WR Brandon Stokley, TE Cameron Morrah, WR Ruvell Martin, RB Michael Robinson

Avoid all Seahawks. Their best weapons come in the ground game, but that is precisely what the Falcons do better than most: They swarm runners and are a close No. 4 against RBs with some elite company, behind just the Steelers, Jets and Packers.

INJURY WATCH
Falcons
TE Tony Gonzalez (ankle), RB Jason Snelling (hamstring) -- Use Gonzalez with confidence; ignore Snelling.

Seahawks
WR Mike Williams (foot), TE John Carlson (hip), WR Ben Obomanu (hand) -- These guys shouldn't be counted on in fantasy crunch time, even if they play.

 
New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 4:15 p.m. EST
 
START
Jets
D/ST

The Jets have gone into an offensive tailspin, but there is one thing that doesn't slump: stout defense. There is no real reason to sit this unit, especially since the Steelers beat the defensive-mind Ravens a couple weeks ago without doing much offensively.

Steelers
D/ST

The Jets have done very little offensively in their past two losses. The Steelers' defensive strength is stopping the No. 1 thing the Jets want to do: Run the ball. Keep them active, regardless of whether you believe the Jets are overdue to rebound.

SIT
Jets
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, WR Santonio Holmes, TE Dustin Keller, QB Mark Sanchez, WR Braylon Edwards, K Nick Folk, WR Brad Smith,WR Jerricho Cotchery

There cannot be much to like of late from your Jets fantasy options, and this is a much better defense than the Patriots or Dolphins posed against them in the past two weeks. If you are still alive in your fantasy playoffs despite having struggling Jets on your roster, thank your lucky stars. Then proceed to find replacements for all of these guys for this week.

Steelers
RB Rashard Mendenhall, WR Hines Ward, QB Ben Roethlisberger, TE Heath Miller, K Shaun Suisham, WR Mike Wallace, WR Antwaan Randle El, RB Mewelde Moore, RB Isaac Redman, TE Matt Spaeth

It might be tough to sit guys like Mendenhall, Ward and Big Ben, but these Jets are thirsty for a victory and their defense is too, too good. The way this game will be played close to the vest likely will make both teams conservative, too. One big play might win the game 7-0, making it possible neither team takes any chances offensively.

INJURY WATCH
Jets
RB Shonn Greene (neck) -- He will play, but this is the Steelers. They just are too tough of a matchup to trust a player who never fully got off and running this year for your fantasy team.

Steelers
WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) -- He is too fringy to take a chance on even if he was 100 percent.

 
Denver at Oakland
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 4:15 p.m. EST
START
Broncos
Knowshon Moreno

Moreno has been clutch down the stretch and faces a Raiders defense in the bottom 10 against RBs. Consider him a must-start regardless of how inept the Broncos might be after Josh McDaniels' firing.

Raiders
RB Darren McFadden, K Sabastian Janikowski, RB Michael Bush, TE Zach Miller, D/ST

The Broncos defense is clearly one to take advantage of right now. The Raiders just happen to have some useful parts that are hot, too. McFadden has become a must-start and Bush is intriguing as well against a Broncos team that is second-worst in fantasy vs. RBs. Bush had a bad week against the Jags as McFadden starred, but you should expect him to get more use this week, particularly near the goal-line. Miller also looks good considering that the Broncos struggle against TEs and he has become the QB's primary target.

SIT
Broncos
QB Kyle Orton, WR Brandon Lloyd, WR Eddie Royal, D/ST, TE Daniel Graham, RB Correll Buckhalter, Laurence Maroney, WR Jabar Gaffney, K Steven Hauschka

Orton and the Broncos passing game went thud after McDaniels' exit. That makes Orton difficult to trust right now, along with all of his receivers. The Raiders have a decidedly better secondary than the vulnerable Cardinals that made the Broncos look inept last Sunday. Avoid all these Broncos if you have viable replacements.

Raiders
WR Louis Murphy, QB Jason Campbell, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

If the Broncos do anything well, it would be slowing the passing game -- although that could also be a function of their complete inability to stop anyone on the ground. If this game goes according to stats, it will be a quiet day throwing the football.

INJURY WATCH
Broncos
WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle), K Matt Prater (groin) -- Avoid them.

Raiders
WR Chaz Schilens (knee) -- He is a non-factor regardless.

 
Green Bay at New England
Sunday, Dec. 19 :: 8:20 p.m. EST
 
START
Packers
WR Greg Jennings

This is a rare week where Jennings is the only Packer to consider safe. He might be the only one immune if Aaron Rodgers does not play. Regardless, expect him to be a factor if the game gets a little loose early, like you should expect.

Patriots
QB Tom Brady, WR Wes Welker, WR Deion Branch

This offense is humming right now and quick, slashing WRs like Welker and Branch are difficult to keep up with in the snow. Rough weather looks like it could be on tap again.

SIT
Packers
RB Brandon Jackson, RB James Starks, D/ST, K Mason Crosby, QB Matt Flynn, WR James Jones, WR Jordy Nelson, RB John Kuhn, TE Donald Lee, TE Andrew Quarless

The uncertainty of the QB's health is only part of the factor here. Most of these guys haven't been sure things for awhile. The defense is facing a buzz-saw, and despite being No. 2 in fantasy points, you need to find a replacement for that D/ST this week. The Pats are just too hot to risk facing them in such a critical week.

Patriots
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, TE Aaron Hernandez, RB Danny Woodhead, K Shayne Graham, TE Rob Gronkowski, D/ST, WR Brandon Tate, RB Sammy Morris, WR Julian Edelman, RB Fred Taylor

The Packers are a stout defensive team that stuffs the run with the best of them, so be wary of the RBs this week -- even if they did well against the Jets a couple of weeks ago. The TEs are also problematic, too, because picking with one stars is fantasy roulette. The defense will only be useful if Rodgers is out, but that doesn't appear certain right now.

INJURY WATCH
Packers
QB Aaron Rodgers (concussion), WR Donald Driver (hand), RB Korey Hall (knee), RB Dimtri Nance (concussion) -- Rodgers is the million dollar question this week. He likely will play, but it takes just one sack to get him right back to what you got out of him last Sunday. Still, dance with the one that brought you. Driver should play, too, and he will only be a factor is Rodgers plays.

Patriots
None.

 
Chicago at Minnesota
Monday, Dec. 20 :: 8:30 p.m. EST
 
START
Bears
QB Jay Cutler, D/ST

We list just two solid options for the Bears against a Vikings team that is playing much better defense since the offensive-minded Brad Childress was fired. Cutler isn't a great option, but the Vikings run defense is so good, it will take throws to score and win this game. Cutler is capable of coming through for you. The Bears defense has a favorable matchup against a Vikings team that has had terribly questionable QB play all season, too.

Vikings
RB Adrian Peterson, D/ST

Expect coach Leslie Frazier to play this one old school: A.P. and a cloud of dust. The Vikings defense is actually useful again against a Bears team that is third-worst in fantasy in D/ST points against.

SIT
Bears
RB Matt Forte, K Robbie Gould, TE Greg Olsen, WR Johnny Knox, WR Earl Bennett, WR Devin Hester, WR Devin Aromashodu, RB Chester Taylor

You wouldn't know it from what the Giants did to the Vikings on Monday night, but this is a real good run defense the Bears will be facing. That makes Forte a tough start and most of the offense a bit sketchy in a game that could be a defensive struggle. Sit Forte if you are loaded at RB, though chances are you have to ride with him, anyway.

Vikings
WR Sidney Rice, K Ryan Longwell, RB Toby Gerhart, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, WR Bernard Berrian, WR Greg Lewis, QB Joe Webb, WR Greg Camarillo

Not only are the Bears a much better defense than they showed against the Patriots, they also could be facing a rookie at QB in Webb. That means bad news for the Vikings offense. Even if one of the banged-up veteran QBs play, they will be limited, too. This is a mess to avoid if possible.

INJURY WATCH
Bears
None.

Vikings
WR Percy Harvin (migraines), QB Brett Favre (shoulder), QB Tavaris Jackson (toe) -- Harvin could play, but the uncertainty of the QB situation makes him a risk on top on his migraines.

 

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