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.
• 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
• There was some serious steam associated with the notion that
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 ...
• At various points this season it was thought that
• 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.
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
• 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
• Now that
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
-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).