This is the end: Fantasy Clicks

Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
This Is The End
Vincent Jackson: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

So, you've advanced to your league's Super Bowl, eh? Well, congratulations on an achievement that must always be appreciated and never taken for granted. But now that you've reached the Holy Grail of fake football, the summit of fantasyland (dontcha love hyperbole?) ... I have a few questions:

1. Are you happy with just making it to the finals? Are you content with simply taking home a second-place check?
2. Are you going to be bold with your starting selections? Are you going to assess all the factors that come into play -- particularly weather -- before making the mother of all lineup changes?
3. Or are you going to play your studs -- thus ignoring the recent greatness of Vincent Jackson or Tashard Choice -- come (heck) or high water?
4. And ... are you going to give a certain fantasy writer 4 percent of the payola, should you bring home a fake Lombardi trophy?

Week 16 Rules To Live By

1. Sit your Steelers and Giants: Yes, I fully realize that Pittsburgh and New York have a combined record of 22-6 ... but that's an irrelevant fact for the people trapped in real-world football. In fantasyland, the Steelers (excluding Hines Ward) and Giants (excluding Brandon Jacobs) have been sluggish producers of late and both have unbelievably tough games against the Titans and Panthers this weekend.

2. Play your studs in fair weather: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there is no greater fantasy faux pas than the guilt associated with benching Jay Cutler for Seneca Wallace during the playoffs. Trust me!

3. Be weary of bad, bad weather: Have you seen the Sunday forecast for Kansas City (site of Dolphins-Chiefs)? Twenty-one degrees and high winds? What about Foxboro, Mass. (Cardinals-Pats)? Or Denver (Bills-Broncos)? Or Cleveland (Bengals-Browns)? It's enough to drive a flustered football-only fantasy owner into the arms of fantasy hoops or hockey (both indoor sports). But there are a few bright spots to boast about ... namely Jacksonville (site of Colts-Jags) and its fantasy-friendly forecast of 79 and relatively clear. Which brings me to this ...

Think Warm Thoughts

Just like Moons Over My Hammy at Denny's or the pecan-encrusted whitefish at Murphy's (an Atlanta bistro), I cannot resist the fantasy temptation of Colts vs. Jaguars on Thursday night. On the Indy side, I am expecting big, big things from QB Peyton Manning, RB Dom Rhodes (Joseph Addai is persona non grata for me -- even if he suits up), WRs Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez and TE Dallas Clark. And on the Jacksonville side, how can RB Maurice Jones-Drew and TE Marcedes Lewis NOT have great games? Am I crazy here? As always, our friends at Accuscore have brainstormed estimates for this AFC South clash:

Manning: 237 passing yards, 1.8 TDs
Rhodes: 70 total yards, 0.54 TDs
Wayne: 5 catches, 67 yards, 0.42 TDs
Clark: 4 catches, 42 yards, 0.36 TDs
MJD: 111 total yards, 0.6 TDs
Final Score: Indianapolis 22, Jacksonville 18

What Lies Ahead

We interrupt these Fantasy Clicks to heavily promote ... a future Clicks. Next week, Jeff Ritter and I will combine forces to present the's Year-End Spectacular -- a thorough-yet-random, substantive-yet-chaotic look at the 2008 season ... while spinning ahead to the '09 fantasy drafts. It promises to be an entertaining read -- especially if you appreciate timeless column ideas conceived on beer-stained cocktail napkins by two guys ... while at a neighborhood Atlanta bar.

QB Locks -- 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs, Week 16

1. Kurt Warner vs. New England
2. Drew Brees vs. Detroit
3. Jay Cutler vs. Buffalo
4. Donovan McNabb vs. Washington
5. Matt Cassel vs. Arizona
6. Matt Schaub vs. Oakland
7. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Cleveland
8. Brett Favre vs. Seattle

The Money Guys

The way I see it, there's nothing to say in this space that hasn't already been said, ad nauseum. So here it is, one last time, the playmakers who WILL dominate in Week 16:

QBs: Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Shaun Hill, Philip Rivers, Marc BUlger, Kurt Warner, Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning
RBs: Jamal Lewis, Steve Slaton, Pierre Thomas, Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Dominic Rhodes, Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ronnie Brown, Maurice Morris, Larry Johnson
WRs: Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Braylon Edwards, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Randy Moss

RB Locks -- 120 Total Yards and/or 2 TDs

1. Dom Rhodes vs. Jacksonville
2. Jamal Lewis vs. Cincinnati
3. Matt Forte vs. Green Bay
4. Adrian Peterson vs. Atlanta
5. Kevin Smith vs. New Orleans
6. Clinton Portis vs. Philadelphia
7. Steven Jackson vs. San Francisco
8. Thomas Jones vs. Seattle
9. Pierre Thomas vs. Detroit (I will never doubt him again)
10. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Indianapolis
11. DeAngelo Williams vs. N.Y. Giants
12. Brian Westbrook vs. Washington
13. Chris Johnson vs. Pittsburgh
14. Marshawn Lynch vs. Denver

Target Practice
Calvin Johnson: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

A receiver is only as good as his quarterback ... and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch (known as Targets). So, while the fantasy world applauds Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson for his 9-catch, 110-yard, 1-TD effort against Indianapolis last week, I am also marveling at the 18 passes that came his way. Not to belabor the point, but Targets are a must-know for fantasy owners -- especially in PPR leagues. This underrated stat is the best way to safeguard against one-hit wonders during a long, long, long fantasy season. To wit, presents a list of the 20 pass-catchers (including one tight end) who are averaging at least 8.5 Targets since Week 12:

1. WR Andre Johnson, Texans (11.8 Targets)
2. TE Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs (11.5 Targets)
3. WR Wes Welker, Patriots (11.5 Targets)
4. WR Greg Jennings, Packers (11.5 Targets)
5. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions (11.3 Targets)
6. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (11.3 Targets)
7. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos (11.0 Targets)
8. WR Randy Moss, Patriots (10.8 Targets)
9. WR Isaac Bruce, 49ers (10.5 Targets)
10. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns (10.5 Targets)
11. WR Steve Smith, Panthers (10.3 Targets)
12. WR Roddy White, Falcons (10.0 Targets)
13. WR Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers (9.8 Targets)
14. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (9.8 Targets)
15. WR Terrell Owens, Cowboys (9.5 Targets)
16. WR Santana Moss, Redskins (9.5 Targets)
17. WR Domenik Hixon, Giants (9.3 Targets)
18. WR Steve Breaston, Cardinals (9.0 Targets)
19. WR Marques Colston, Saints (8.8 Targets)
20.. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals (8.5 Targets)

Speaking Of Targets ...

If recent history has taught us anything ... Browns WR Braylon Edwards is a lead-pipe cinch to have either five or 16 balls thrown his way in Week 16 against the Bengals. In Braylon's last five games, according to figures, he has posted 5 targets twice and 16 targets three times. So which is it ... five or 16? My fantasy intuition says he'll register 16 targets, 10 catches, 139 yards and one touchdown. Not a bad afternoon's work!

Survivor Game

There's nothing like a second chance in life, and the same thinking applies to fantasy football, as well. presents the ultimate fantasy game for owners whose dreams of a fantasy title went unfulfilled in the regular season, or the greedy owners who simply covet two championships in the same year: Facebook's Postseason Fantasy Football.

This test of fantasy survival is like no other game you've ever played, but it'll call on your keen abilities to predict the future -- one NFL week at a time. Are you game? Are you savvy enough to bring your fantasy expertise to a whole new level? This is a golden opportunity to win a slew of fantastic prizes, along with getting one last shot at redemption after taking Tom Brady in Round 1 of your fantasy-league draft.

Kicker Locks For 3 Field Goals

1. Rob Bironas vs. Pittsburgh
2. Nate Kaeding vs. Tampa Bay
3. Matt Bryant vs. San Diego
4. Matt Prater vs. Buffalo
5. Robbie Gould vs. Green Bay
6. Josh Brown vs. San Francisco
7. John Kasay vs. N.Y. Giants
8. Joe Nedney vs. St. Louis
9. Stephen Gostkowski vs. Seattle

A Word About The Pro Bowl

Seriously, is there anything more annoying -- or disingenuous -- than NFL media types prattling on and on about which player got snubbed, in the wake of the Pro Bowl selections? Why should anyone care about this game -- outside of the agents and family members of the players who were chosen for an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii? Even if the NFL plans to move the event inland to the Super Bowl site -- while playing the game the week before The Big Game -- it'll always be an irrelevant exhibition, and thus, nothing to lose your head over. And yet, that's exactly what happens ... tsk-tsk.

Which leads me to yet another reason why fantasy football rules the world: My "Pro Bowl" team isn't some agenda-based exercise in subjectivity; these guys simply posted the best numbers from Weeks 1-15 (standard-scoring leagues).

QB: Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers (over Jay Cutler, by virtue of that late TD pass to Vincent Jackson in Week 15)
RB: Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, Adrian Peterson
WR: Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson (over Roddy White, by virtue his long catch-and-TD-run against Indy last week)
TE: Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Dallas Clark
K: Rob Bironas, Stephen Gostkowski, David Akers
Individual defenders: James Harrison, Patrick Willis, DeMarcus Ware, Jon Beason, D'Qwell Jackson, Chris Gamble, Lance Briggs, Barrett Ruud, Quentin Jammer, Gibril Wilson, Charles Tillman

If I Were A Bidding Man ...

Here are seven free agents I'd spend all of my remaining monies for blind-bidding leagues when handling waiver-wire pickups ($100 salary cap):
1. QB Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings (if only he could face Arizona's D every week)
2. WR Steve Breaston, Cardinals (how is this guy still a free agent?)
3. TE Greg Olsen, Bears (I'm back on the bandwagon)
4. PK Robbie Gould, Bears (the direct beneficiary of Chicago's red-zone-challenged offense)
5. RB Tashard Choice, Cowboys (he's the Pierre Thomas of 2007)
6. QB Shaun Hill, 49ers
7. WR Chris Henry , Bengals (he's a better cold-weather receiver than a warm-weather one)

From Huddles To Hoops

Before Monday night, the biggest fantasy trade I had ever made in any sport -- baseball, football, basketball -- was a 5-for-2 NFL deal involving Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Gates and Jonathan Stewart. But I took the swap-meet game to a whole new level the other day when I consummated an unprecedented 10-man NBA deal: In our & Friends league (weekly head-to-head), I surrendered Andre Iguodala, Mike Miller, Nate Robinson and centers Spencer Hawes and Andrea Bargnani, while getting Pau Gasol, Charlie Villanueva, Raymond Felton, Thaddeus Young and Andray Blatche. At first blush, I got the better end of the trade by a slight margin; at second blush, I may have fleeced the other owner, my media friend Brandon Marcus (who reads my Clicks, by the way). What do you think?

My guys:
Gasol -- 18.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks
Villanueva -- 13.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.8 blocks
Felton -- 13.4 points, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals
Young -- 13.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.9 3-pointers, 1.0 steals
Blatche -- 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds

Brandon's guys:
Iguodala -- 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals
Miller -- 10.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 3-pointers
Robinson -- 15.9 points, 1.8 3-pointers,
Hawes -- 12.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks
Bargnani -- 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds

Verdict: With Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony and Carlos Boozer already in tow, I now own four 20-point scorers. And every one of my 11 starters averages double-figures in points and at least five assists or rebounds per game on the season. And although I hated parting ways with Iguodala, Robinson and Hawes, I also know that Miller (who's struggling big-time in Minnesota) and Bargnani are nothing more than fantasy reserves. Of Gasol, Villanueva, Blatche, Felton, and Young ... only Blatche is the typical benchwarmer -- unless he can continually replicate his Monday effort of 19 points (on 7-of-15 shooting) and one block.

Permission To Talk Fantasy Hoops

Only two more weeks until we dive full-bore into the land of hardwoods and soft perimeter defenders. In the meantime, here are three substantial rotisserie lists for fans of fantasy cross-pollination -- dating back to Nov. 17:

18.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds
LeBron Jamesl, Cavaliers
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Josh Howard, Mavericks
Chris Bosh, Raptors
Kevin Durant, Thunder
Caron Butler, Wizards
Al Harrington, Knicks
Vince Carter, Nets
Danny Granger, Pacers
Zach Randolph, Clippers
Brandon Roy, Blazers
Antawn Jamison, Wizards
Al Jefferson, Timberwolves
Amare Stoudemire, Suns
Dwight Howard, Magic
Carlos Boozer, Jazz
David West, Hornets
Chris Paul, Hornets
Yao Ming, Rockets
Tim Duncan, Spurs
Rashard Lewis, Magic
Rudy Gay, Grizzlies
Corey Maggette, Warriors
Paul Pierce, Celtics
Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
Pau Gasol, Lakers

5.2 assists/1.3 steals per game
Chris Paul, Hornets
Baron Davis, Clippers
Jason Kidd, Mavericks
Rajon Rondo, Celtics
Dwyane Wade, Heat
Raymond Felton, Bobcats
LeBron James, Cavaliers
Jameer Nelson, Magic

1.8 3-pointers made/84% Free Throws
Rashard Lewis, Magic
Ray Allen, Celtics
Al Harrington, Knicks
Peja Stojakovic, Hornets
Roger Mason, Jr., Spurs
Jamal Crawford, Warriors
Quentin Richardson, Knicks
Chauncey Billups, Nuggets
Vladimir Radmanovic , Lakers
Rudy Fernandez, Blazers
Steve Blake, Blazers
D.J. Augustin, Bobcats
Keith Bogans, Magic
Jose Calderon, Raptors
Michael Redd, Bucks
Rasheed Wallace, Pistons
Kevin Durant, Thunder
Hedo Turkoglu, Magic
Steve Nash, Suns
James Posey, Hornets

I Want My MTV

This is completely random ... but as I was flipping TV channels the other day, I came across the video for Mariah Carey's Hero, a lovely song that captures Miss Mariah during a quite-fetching period of her life. That aside, I am convinced "Hero" and the video for Guns & Roses' "November Rain" were filmed at the same concert venue -- and by the same director! (Same choreographer too, I bet) Whowouldathunkit ... the world's biggest rock band (circa, 1991) and the world's highest-cheekboned diva (circa, 1993) essentially coming together during MTV's final days as a network that actually played music videos.

Speaking Of G&R

The following is a message to my amazing friend (and noted Notre Dame football/Guns & Roses sychophant) Ryan O'Donnell: There will NEVER be another like you, buddy, I love ya man! Godspeed to one of the greatest people I have ever known or will know ... rest in peace.

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