December 16, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Jeff Ritter
Eagles Soar On Monday Night
Donovan McNabb: Damian Strohmeyer/SI

Some quick thoughts from the Eagles' 30-10 win over the lifeless Browns on Monday night.

  • Donovan McNabb wasn't at his absolute best, but he was pretty good. It helps that the Browns really are that terrible. The Eagles' quarterback finished 26-for-35 for 290 yards, with two TDs and one pick. Nice night, and it probably helped a lot of fantasy teams remain in the title hunt.
  • Hope you weren't depending on a big game from Brian Westbrook to keep your fantasy playoff hopes alive. The Eagles' workhorse finished with a disappointing 67 total yards and no touchdowns. Westbrook just wasn't needed on this night, and the Eagles began rotating Correll Buckhalter early. Westbrook is still a top-tier fantasy option next week when the Eagles face the Redskins.

  • Before Monday, the Browns had gone three games without scoring a touchdown. For an offense that was so potent in 2007 and offered so much promise heading into this season, that's just embarrassing.

  • Ken Dorsey was lousy, but he didn't have much of a chance against the Eagles' relentless pass rush. He finished 11-for-28 for 156 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned by Asante Samuel for a score.
  • In fact, the Browns' entire offense pretty much consisted of Jamal Lewis (14 carries, 32 yards) getting stuffed at the line and Dorsey running for his life while occasionally flinging it to Braylon Edwards (5 catches, 102 yards, no drops), who was the only Brown is have a decent night ...

  • ... besides cornerback Brandon McDonald, who made a circus-catch interception on the last play of the first half and returned it 98 yards ... but got caught just before the end zone. In the fourth quarter he snagged a Kevin Kolb pass and returned it for a score to end the Browns' TD drought. Small consolation on an awful night for Cleveland.

  • Big Names Don't Always Win Fantasy Titles

    Week 15 featured a ton of unheralded draft picks and free agent pickups stepping up to lead fantasy teams to the cusp of titles. Among the big performances:

    Antonio Bryant. And to think the Bucs' wideout most fantasy owners coveted in August was Joey Galloway. Bryant has emerged as the top target in Tampa, and followed up his first career 200-yard effort with 108 yards and a score on Sunday against the Falcons.

    Cedric Freaking Benson. I still can't believe he has a job, but there is something poetic about the troubled runner landing in Cincy. Also poetic: 161 rushing and receiving yards in one of the most crucial fantasy weeks of the year.

    Pierre Thomas. No one, and I mean no one, drafted Pierre Thomas in fantasy leagues this year. But there he was Sunday, rolling up 146 total yards and two scores against the Bears while continuing his run as a valuable No. 2 running back. By the way, Reggie Bush -- the guy who probably went somewhere in Round 3 in your draft -- limped off the field after 46 total yards in eight touches. Ouch.

    Sammy Morris. Many pundits predicted this would be a bounce-back season for Laurence Maroney. Those predictions were completely and utterly incorrect. Morris continued his solid season by rushing for 117 yards and a score against the Raiders.

    Other big games by unlikely players:

  • JaMarcus Russell, QB, Raiders: 17-for-31, 242 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bengals: 16-for-29, 209 yards, 29 rushing yards, 2 total TDs.
  • Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Vikings: 11-for-17, 163 yards, 4 TDs.
  • Dominic Rhodes, RB, Colts: 20 carries for 86 yards, 4 receptions for 30 yards, 2 TDs.
  • Tashard Choice, RB, Cowboys: 9 carries for 91 yards, 4 receptions for 52 yards, 1 TD.
  • Kevin Faulk, RB, Patriots: 6 carries for 45 yards, 6 receptions for 66 yards, 1 TD.
  • P.J. Pope, RB, Broncos: 7 carries for 51 yards, 3 receptions for 24 yards, 1 TD.
  • Dennis Northcutt, WR, Jaguars: 5 receptions for 125 yards, 1 TD.
  • James Jones, WR, Packers: 4 receptions for 132 yards.
  • David Martin, TE, Dolphins: 2 receptions, 66 yards, 1 TD.
  • Ten Guys With Great Matchups This Week

    1) Brett Favre (vs. Seahawks)
    2) Matt Cassel (vs. Cardinals)
    3) Ronnie Brown (vs. Chiefs)
    4) Pierre Thomas (vs. Lions)
    5) Marshawn Lynch (vs. Broncos)
    6) Matt Forte (vs. Packers)
    7) Calvin Johnson (vs. Saints)
    8) Dwayne Bowe (vs. Dolphins)
    9) John Carlson (vs. Jets)
    10) Chris Cooley (vs. Eagles)

    A Word To The Two Remaining Detroit Lions Fans
    Detroit Lions fans: AP

    Actually, I don't even know what to tell you. (Even distraught Redskins fans have it better.) But last week I learned that about two years ago a man from Sterling Heights, Mich., purchased the rights to the Web site name, Would you care to guess where it redirects?

    Ten Guys With Terrible Matchups This Week

    1) Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys (vs. Ravens)
    2) Kerry Collins and the rest of the Titans (vs. Steelers)
    3) DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart (vs. Giants)
    4) Larry Johnson (vs. Dolphins)
    5) Michael Turner (vs. Vikings)
    6) Clinton Portis (vs. Eagles)
    7) Andre Johnson (vs. Raiders)
    8) Vincent Jackson (vs. Bucs)
    9) Hines Ward (vs. Titans)
    10) Tony Gonzalez (vs. Dolphins)

    You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers

    I'm in the championship game of my league. My team is the biggest hodge-podge of players after I lost Tom Brady and Michael Pittman. My question is this: is there any reason to consider sitting Warner this week at NE? My back-up is Schaub. Any thoughts? Thanks,

    - Ben, Studio City, CA

    Hey, Ben, thanks for the question. Have you ever heard of the old adage, "Dance with the girl who cooked you dinner"? Stay with me here. I love Italian food, and if a woman makes me Italian food -- say, manicotti, or something that takes a lot of prep work -- then I absolutely owe her one, even if I have to man up at a wedding reception and dance to a crappy song like "Never Say Goodbye," or something like that. What's my point? Kurt Warner is like that girl who made you tortellini, and now you're at the wedding reception, you've had a few 7 & 7's, and suddenly you're tempted to make a run at the trashy-looking bridesmaid (who, in this analogy, is Matt Schaub). That bridesmaid is nothing but trouble, Ben. Stay away. Stick with Warner, win your league title and enjoy a nice plate of baked ziti.

    I'm amazed you could put 16 running backs in your 2009 top 20, yet not list DeAngelo Williams. Williams is now the number one fantasy back in the NFL -- check the stats. I hope I'm in drafts where people think that Marshaun Lynch, Willie Parker, and Ryan Grant are more productive than Williams. Don't just believe the hype, look at the stats.
    - Randy, Central City

    It's a great point, and I'm well aware of Williams' monster season. Truthfully, if I extended my top 20 to 25, I'm pretty sure DeAngelo makes the cut. Here's my rationale: Running backs who share carries always make me nervous in the first round of drafts, which is why -- despite Williams' astounding success this year -- there's no way I can put him in my top 10-14. I have no problem taking him as No. 2 back in drafts next year, but Jonathan Stewart isn't going anywhere, and how do we know the Panthers' ground game will be this dominant again? I like Williams, but I'm not sure he can approach his current stats again in 2009.

    Which one of the three WR is should I start in Wk 16. Holmes @ Ten , Holt @ SFO or Hixon vs Panthers. Also, RB Question: Rhodes at Jags ,S Morris vs Cards, Fargus vs Texans.
    - Sam, Plainfield, N.J.

    Hi, Sam. Tough matchups all around, but I'd rank your receivers like this: Holmes, Holt, Hixon. For the RBs, if Addai sits I'd start Rhodes, but right now it looks like Addai will play. If that happens, I think Morris becomes your best option.

    Two questions for you ... Ryan Grant or Chris Johnson and Owen Daniels or Jeremy Shockey?
    - Shawn, Calgary, AB

    Canada in the house! One of these weeks I should tell the story of the bachelor party I attended in Windsor, Canada about eight years ago. (Come to think of it, I'm not sure if it's safe for anyone from that group to attempt to re-enter the country. Let's just move on.) These are easy lineup choices, Shawn: Once again, you dance with the girl who made you lasagna. Start Johnson and Daniels, and don't look back.
    A Final Thought On The Fantasy Playoffs

    Looking to get yourself pumped up for championship week? Here are 40 inspirational movie speeches condensed to 2 minutes.

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