Ready ... set ... no!

You've heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), right? As the days get darker and the nights colder, people fall into a state of sleeping too much, exercising too little, snacking on sweets more frequently and generally feeling depressed. It's a nasty little condition that afflicts millions of Americans each year. Less known to the general public, but perhaps more severe, is what happens to the millions of fantasy owners out there whose seasons come to a crashing halt over these next few weeks. To some it's just a hobby, but to others, it's a lifestyle. And the end of the season can bring feelings of depression and sadness every bit as real as those suffered through with SAD. Oh sure, there's fantasy basketball to mess around with, and maybe you're lucky enough to still have your real team in playoff contention, but it's just not the same.

With that mind, let's take a look a some players who will keep you off the Prozac for a couple more weeks, and a few guys who will leave you sitting in a darkened room, pants-less, eating peanut butter out of the jar and watching NFL Network on a continuous loop.

Ready ...

Kurt Warner vs. St. LouisJay Cutler vs. Kansas CityPeyton Manning vs. CincinnatiDrew Brees vs. AtlantaAaron Rodgers vs. HoustonMatt Cassel @ SeattleMatt Ryan @ New OrleansDonovan McNabb @ New York GiantsEli Manning vs. PhiladelphiaBrett Favre @ San FranciscoTyler Thigpen @ DenverTony Romo @ Pittsburgh

Set ...

Matt Schaub @ Green BayShaun Hill vs. New York JetsPhilip Rivers vs. OaklandBen Roethlisberger vs. DallasMatt Hasselbeck vs. New EnlandJeff Garcia @ CarolinaGus Frerotte @ DetroitJoe Flacco vs. WashingtonChad Pennington @ BuffaloKerry Collins vs. Cleveland

No!

Jason Campbell @ BaltimoreMarc Bulger @ ArizonaDavidGarrard @ ChicagoKyle Orton vs. JacksonvilleJake Delhomme vs. Tampa BayRyan Fitzpatrick @ IndianapolisJ.P. Losman/Trent Edwards vs. MiamiDaunte Culpepper vs. MinnesotaJaMarcus Russell @ San DiegoKen Dorsey @ Tennessee

The Anti-Depressants:

• If you've been stuck riding the topsy-turvy, vomit producing roller coaster that is the "Sage Rosenfels Experience" over the past few weeks, the sight of Matt Schaub warming up on the sidelines Monday night had to bring a joyous tear to your eye. After a rough start against Pittsburgh and Tennessee, he was completing over 70 percent of his passes, tossing nearly two scores a game, and averaging over 300 yards passing before the knee injury. He was also hooking up with Andre Johnson at such a frequent rate that it could only be compared to a sex-starved college kid finding romantic bliss with a willing cougar. People will tell you that the strength of the Green Bay defense is their top-notch secondary, but anyone who watched them get exploited by Drew Brees and Steve Smith over the past two weeks, has to question that logic. Assuming he actually does start, Schaub will be the perfect remedy to stave of those end-of-the-fantasy-season blues.

• There was some serious steam associated with the notion that Shaun Hill was a viable fantasy option heading into last week. Of course, a 161-yard, one-touchdown effort in frigid Buffalo cooled the fanfare considerably, but this week he's heading back to the Bay to face a Jets team that has allowed an average of 333.3 yards passing and six touchdowns over their last three games. Despite the fact that Shaun "don't call me Salisbury" Hill has earned the damning reputation as a "game manager," he has enough talent -- and just the right amount of confidence -- to stay within his capabilities and still give you a solid 15 point fantasy effort. Plus, if you win with him at the helm, you can send annoying e-mails to your opponent declaring that he's just been "king of the Hilled" and that "Hill will freeze over before he ever beats you again." Sometimes it's just fun to kick a man when he's down.

The Depressants:

Facing the King Kong of NFL defenses, in a city forecasted to have freezing temperatures with snowy precipitation, and saddled with a history of completely falling apart after Thanksgiving, Romo isn't a sure bet to continue his streak of fantasy godliness. I'm not necessarily saying bench him, but if the thought crosses your mind, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do ... Up until his recent bout of arm diarrhea, Rivers' worst game of the season came against these same Raiders. As with Romo, you hate to bench your studs at this point in the season, but if you have another option with a friendly matchup ... If you're thinking about starting Delhomme, just go ahead and express mail a white flag to your opponent because you have no shot. I can guarantee you that there are better options withering away in your free agent pool ...

Ready ...

Adrian Peterson @ DetroitMichael Turner @ New OrleansThomas Jones @ San FranciscoMatt Forte vs. JacksonvillePeyton Hillis vs. Kansas CityJoseph Addai vs. CincinnatiSteven Jackson @ ArizonaChris Johnson vs. ClevelandBrandon Jacobs vs. Philadelphia|Larry Johnson @ DenverLaDainian Tomlinson vs. OaklandBrian Westbrook @ New York GiantsMarshawn Lynch vs. MiamiFrank Gore vs. New York JetsSteve Slaton @ Green BayRyan Grant vs. HoustonReggie Bush vs. AtlantaLenDale White vs. ClevelandDeAngelo Williams vs. Giants

Set ...

Ronnie Brown @ BuffaloMarion Barber @ PittsburghMaurice Jones-Drew @ ChicagoPierre Thomas vs. AtlantaJustin Fargas @ San DiegoWarrick Dunn @ CarolinaLeon Washington @ San FranciscoSammy Morris @ SeattleKevin Faulk @ SeattleDarren McFadden @ San DiegoMewelde Moore vs. DallasWillie Parker vs. DallasKevin Smith vs. MinnesotaDerrick Ward vs. PhiladelphiaLe'Ron McClain vs. WashingtonDominic Rhodes vs. Cincinnati

No!

Willis McGahee vs. WashingtonRicky Williams @ BuffaloJamal Lewis @ TennesseeClinton Portis @ BaltimoreCedric Benson @ IndianapolisFred Taylor @ ChicagoJonathan Stewart vs. Tampa BayRay Rice vs. WashingtonFred Jackson vs. MiamiJerious Norwood @ New OrleansCarnell Williams @ CarolinaBrandon Jackson vs. HoustonJ.J. Arrington vs. St. LouisJulius Jones vs. New EnglandMaurice Morris vs. New England

The Anti-Depressants:

• At various points this season it was thought that Selvin Young, Andre Hall, Michael Pittman, Ryan Torain or even Tatum Bell were destined to be the next in the long line of productive Denver fantasy backs (or in Bell's case, reclaiming the title). Heck, I even saw a few people dabbling in some P.J. Pope a couple weeks ago. And then out of nowhere comes this rookie fullback named Peyton Hillis. Last week he punctured the previously impenetrable Jets defense to the tune of 129 yards and a touchdown. Now Mike Shanahan is talking about using him as a hybrid tight end in addition to his role as halfback, making him some kind of freakish combination of Dallas Clark, Boomer Grigsby and Craig James. Whatever you do, do not let another strong Hillis performance go to waste on your bench.

• I got into an argument with a friend over the weekend on his decision to bench his franchise back, Reggie Bush, in favor of the multi-talented, but somewhat limited Leon Washington. I was wrong, and really I should have been more prudent in my assessment of Bush's chances on a wet field against the swashbuckling Buccaneers defense. Those were not the right circumstances to plug an agility runner returning from knee surgery back into your lineup. The perfect time, as I now see in hindsight, is this week at home in the dome against an improved, but still mediocre, Falcons defensive unit. Don't forget that despite missing four and a half games, Bush still leads all fantasy backs in receiving yards and has scored eight touchdowns on the year. Don't let the Pierre Thomas infusion scare you off; this is one Bush that you want in a position of responsibility. You know, assuming that responsibility is propelling your team to a playoff victory.

The Depressants:

I love playing the matchups, especially at this late date in the season when all teams have finally been exposed for what they truly are. So why am I declaring Benson a recipe for gloom against a Colts defense giving up 133.8 rushing yards a game? Because he's Cedric Benson, and because he plays for the Bungles. Do I really need to say any more? ... The last time McClain's value was this high was entering Week 6 against Indianapolis. He then proceeded to collectively kick fantasy owners in the groin by rushing for negative two yards and fumbling. If you choose to put your faith in McClain and the utterly unpredictable Ravens rushing game then you're a much braver man than me ... I hope you're not counting on Lewis to deliver his usual 70 yards and the occasional score with Ken Dorsey as his quarterback. If the term "daring him to throw" means anything to you, you'll get Lewis out of your lineup quicker than the time it takes Phil Savage to fire off an expletive filled e-mail to the fans of Cleveland.

Ready ...

Anquan Boldin vs. St. LouisAndre Johnson @ Green BayRandy Moss @ SeattleLarry Fitzgerald vs. St. LouisBrandon Marshall vs. Kansas CityRoddy White @ New OrleansGreg Jennings vs. HoustonMarques Colston vs. AtlantaCalvin Johnson vs. MinnesotaReggie Wayne vs. CincinnatiSteve Smith vs. Tampa BayTerrell Owens @ PittsburghEddie Royal vs. Kansas CityWes Welker @ SeattleLance Moore vs. AtlantaDwayne Bowe @ DenverT.J. Houshmandzadeh @ Indianapolis

Set ...

Laveranues Coles @ San FranciscoJerricho Cotchery @ San FranciscoSantonio Holmes vs. DallasDeSean Jackson @ New York GiantsDonald Driver vs. HoustonHines Ward vs. DallasSantana Moss @ BaltimoreBraylon Edwards @ TennesseeDerrick Mason vs. WashingtonDomenik Hixon vs. PhiladelphiaBernard Berrian @ DetroitAntonio Bryant @ CarolinaDeion Branch vs. New EnglandAmani Toomer vs. PhiladelphiaChad Johnson @ IndianapolisKevin Walter @ Green BayRoy Williams @ PittsburghTed Ginn Jr. @ BuffaloLee Evans vs. MiamiMichael Jenkins @ New OrleansAnthony Gonzalez vs. CincinnatiMarvin Harrison vs. CincinnatiKevin Curtis @ New York GiantsIsaac Bruce vs. New York JetsDavonne Bess @ BuffaloJustin Gage vs. ClevelandSteve Breaston vs. St. LouisBobby Engram vs. New EnglandDevin Hester vs. JacksonvilleTorry Holt @ ArizonaMark Bradley @ DenverJosh Reed vs. Miami

No!

Chris Chambers vs. OaklandVincent Jackson vs. OaklandJason Hill vs. New York JetsHarry Douglas @ New OrleansAntwaan Randle El @ BaltimoreBrandon Stokley vs. Kansas CityMuhsin Muhammad vs. Tampa BayDonnie Avery @ ArizonaMark Clayton vs. WashingtonIke Hilliard @ CarolinaMalcom Floyd vs. OaklandKoren Robinson vs. New EnglandReggie Brown @ New York GiantsSteve Smith vs. PhiladelphiaJoey Galloway @ CarolinaAshley Lelie @ San Diego

The Anti-Depressants:

• Listen, I understand if you want nothing to do with anyone employed by the Seattle Seahawks, but hear me out. This week they're going against a seriously flawed Patriots defense that has given up 95 points over the last three weeks, and roll out a secondary that resembles the patchwork on a homeless man's coat. Not even Bill Belichick and his magically scheming wand can cover up for the injuries and lack of talent that litter the defensive backfield in New England. Which brings me to former Patriot Deion Branch. The Seahawks passing game has dealt with some major issues this season, last week though, despite not scoring any touchdowns, the semblance of an aerial attack finally started to emerge. Hasselbeck finished the game with a season-high 287 passing yards, and Branch was the recipient of 56 of those yards to go along with five catches. Throw in the added revenge factor that comes with facing a team that refused to pay him a reasonable salary increase -- he was a Super Bowl MVP after all -- and you get the sense that Branch may be in for a very useful fantasy afternoon.

• Now that Plaxico Burress has thankfully put himself out of his own misery, it finally clears the way for the exponentially explosive Domenik Hixon to give fantasy owners a long awaited taste of what he's capable of. In the three games that "Safety-Off" Burress has missed, Hixon's caught 15 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown. He's been among the most dangerous punt return men all season, and in the lone game that he returned kickoffs, he brought back one for 83 yards and another for 68. Basically, he's DeSean Jackson stretched into a six-foot-two frame. Manning clearly feels comfortable with him -- all five of Hixon's catches last week went for first downs -- and with a dominating ground game and enough pass catching weapons to keep him from being focused on by defenses, there's no reason to think he can't be one of the most productive fantasy receivers over the last few weeks of the season. I'm definitely fixin' to get me some Hixon implanted permanently into my flex spot.

The Depressants:

Breaston is coming off consecutive six-catch games, and this week's matchup against St. Louis is seemingly perfect. Just like it did in Week 11 against the Seahawks when Breaston caught two balls for 15 yards. Or two weeks earlier, when the Cardinals faced the Rams for the first time and he again caught just two passes. He's a burgeoning stud there's no doubt about that, but with so many hungry mouths to feed, and the need to establish a run game, Breaston is not a guy you want to count on this week ... Don't do it. Doooonnn't do it. Mark Clayton cannot be trusted. Sure he's scored in back-to-back weeks, and that one-handed grab he hauled in this past Sunday actually made me squelp (a weird combination of a squeal and a yelp that drew confused stares from everyone in the bar), but before that he was averaging 2 catches and 23.5 yards-per-game. He'll be lucky to hit those numbers against the Redskins ... Let's see, Evans will either have an overwhelmed J.P. Losman or a groin-inhibited Trent Edwards throwing him passes in an unfamiliar Canadian stadium. Ehhhh, considering Evans is a guy who has no trouble pulling a "Houdini" and disappearing for games at a time, I think I'll pass ...

Ready ...

Tony Gonzalez @ DenverAntonio Gates vs. OaklandDallas Clark vs. CincinnatiDustin Keller @ San FranciscoJason Witten @ PittsburghChris Cooley @ Baltimore

Set ...

Zach Miller @ San DiegoOwen Daniels @ Green BayTony Scheffler vs. Kansas CityJeremy Shockey vs. AtlantaKevin Boss vs. Philadelphia|Heath Miller vs. DallasJohn Carlson vs. New EnglandBo Scaife vs. ClevelandDonald Lee vs. HoustonGreg Olsen vs. JacksonvilleVisanthe Shiancoe @ DetroitTodd Heap vs. Washington

No!

Billy Miller vs. AtlantaJerramy Stevens @ CarolinaAlge Crumpler vs. ClevelandL.J. Smith @ New York GiantsBrent Celek @ New York GiantsMartellus Bennett @ PittsburghVernon Davis vs. New York JetsJustin Peelle @ New Orleans

-At this point, I think it's safe to say that we've got the tight end position pretty much figured out. If you have a healthy Gonzalez, Gates, Witten, Clark, Cooley or Keller, you can stop reading right now. Those guys are starting, and no amount of statistics or sexy matchups should convince you otherwise. If you're not lucky enough to own one of the big six, your next best options are Scheffler, the two Miller boys (Zach and Heath), Boss, Carlson, Daniels and Shockey. If you're in an incredibly deep league, or just extremely desperate, Lee, Heap, Scaife, Olsen or Shiancoe could be possible plays, although you're probably not getting much more than five points. That's 18 players; hopefully you own one. If not, you might as well be picking names out of a hat.

By the way, your mood-brightening tight ends? Daniels, who gets his preferred pass thrower back (4.6 receptions and 58.4 yards-per-game with Schaub quarterbacking, compared to 3.3 catches and 38 yards with Rosenfels), and Zach Miller, who gets to play against every tight ends favorite defense (San Diego has surrendered 75 catches, 863 yards and nine touchdowns to opposing tight ends).

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