NFL fantasy start 'em, sit 'em

Publish date:

One game. That's all that stands between you and an elusive fantasy football championship. But before you can do your celebration gavotte in the fabled fantasy end zone, there's work to do. To get this far you obviously have a good team that's been playing well recently, so you probably don't need too much help. But anyway, here are a handful of recommendations that you might not have thought about. Good luck.

Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers

Since taking over as the Niners starter on Nov. 11, Hill has quietly become one of the league's better fantasy quarterbacks. He ranks third over that span in passing yards (1,412), sixth in touchdown passes (nine) and seventh in interception rate (2.0). This will be his second chance at the Rams as a starter, after throwing for 216 yards, two TDs and no interceptions on Nov. 16 at Candlestick. Look for an even bigger output on Sunday as Hill helps Isaac Bruce star in his emotional return to St. Louis.

Jeremy Shockey, TE, Saints

Eliminated from contention in the NFC South, the rest of the Saints season will be all about individual accomplishments, which is usually when the self-promoting ex-Giant shines. His season in New Orleans has been quite a mess, swirling in controversy, unrest and injury. But this week, playing without Reggie Bush, against the lowly Lions, Drew Brees will take to the air, and with the exception of last week in Chicago, Shockey has been one of his better targets, hauling in 21 of the 31 balls thrown his way since Nov. 16, second on the squad to Lance Moore in both categories. Added incentive for Shockey is that he has been held without a touchdown all year, the first time in his seven-year career that he hasn't found the end zone. That will change this week.

Sammy Morris, RB, Patriots

New England's backfield has been a fantasy minefield all year with Morris, Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Benjarvus Green-Ellis and LaMont Jordan all being worthwhile options in your lineup at some point during the season. But they've also been all too inconsistent and unpredictable to count on from week to week. That might change on Sunday for Morris, the Pats' leading rusher for the past two games while contributing a score in each of the last three. The Cardinals defense has been in disarray recently, allowing an average of 169.7 yards per game in ground gains over the last four contests while also allowing four TD passes to the (not-so) immortal Tarvaris Jackson last week in a loss to Minnesota. With their playoff lives at stake, look for Morris and the rest of Bill Belichick's team to answer the bell with a big game at home against the NFC West champs, and the best way to ensure that, is by keeping Kurt Warner, Larry Firzgerald and Anquan Boldin off the field with a strong running game.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers

Tomlinson has been a huge disappointment all season, and if somehow you've made it to the finals after squandering your first pick on him, your luck may have run out. Despite the fact that LT has scored a touchdown in three straight games and four of his last five, he's not a good play this week in Tampa against a very tough Buccaneers defense that, along with the Ravens, are the only teams who have not allowed a touchdown on the ground at home this year. Derrick Brooks' squad has held an All Star cast of Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, Ryan Grant, Jonathan Stewart, Maurice Morris, Deuce McAllister, Chester Taylor, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush to a grand total of 296 yards with no rushing touchdowns (out of 414 total rushing yards allowed at home). It would've been hard to fathom doing it at the start of the season, but you'll be better off with LT watching from the sidelines.

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys

The final game in Texas Stadium history is going to be a doozy as the Ravens and Cowboys are both fighting for their playoff lives. Romo is at the center of the NFL's loudest controversy between Jason Witten and Terrell Owens but will have much more to worry about on Saturday night as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Co. attempt to spoil the party. Making the task even more difficult is the fact that Marion Barber will still not be ready for a full workload, and Tashard Choice will have very little chance to penetrate one of the league's toughest rushing defenses. Historically, Romo has had a tough time in December. Over the past three holiday seasons he has a 74.3 rating, thrown 12 TDs and 16 interceptions with a rating of 74.3. Putting that in perspective, those with a higher rating in that time include Cleo Lemon, Vince Young and Trent Green -- not necessarily the group you want your starting fantasy championship game quarterback to be compared to. Find an alternative. .