Fantasy Clicks: Big Ben, Harrison headline Week 15 Revelations
Ben Roethlisberger: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: It can be argued that neither Ryan Grant (37 total yards, 1 TD), Greg Jennings (5 catches, 118 yards, 1 TD), Donald Driver (3 catches, 76 yards) nor Aaron Rodgers will improve upon their 2009 draft values next year. And lest not forget ... Rodgers (405 total yards, 4 TDs) is currently the No. 1 player in most fantasy leagues -- ahead of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady -- and yet, by and large, he'll still be the fourth QB taken next summer. On the flip side, Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall (111 total yards, 1 TD) will be a Round 3/4 pick in 2010, even though his cold-weather team adheres to a pass-first, pass-second philosophy.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: The way we see it, every prominent Steeler and Packer is a redoubtable start for the Ravens and Seahawks, respectively. From Big Ben, Mendenhall, Ward, Miller and Santonio Holmes (3 catches, 77 yards) ... to Rodgers, Grant, Driver, Jennings and TE Jermichael Finley (9 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD) -- Championship Week is never a good time to overthink your lineup and sit Pittsburgh/Green Bay studs (especially for Rams WR Brandon Gibson -- ugh!).
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... backup RBs Brandon Jackson and Willie Parker. How nitpicky!
Tennessee 27, Miami 24 (OT)
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Johnson is no worse than the No. 2 overall pick next summer (paired with Adrian Peterson, of course) ... and Dolphins RB Ricky Williams (89 total yards, 1 TD) is no worse than a high Round 4 pick -- if Ronnie Brown isn't 100 percent by early September. Regarding the wide receivers, Gage and Kenny Britt (2 catches, 32 yards) could sneak into Round 7 with standard-scoring leagues ... and Davone Bess (4 catches, 58 yards) should carry the torch for the Dolphins next year (perhaps in Round 9) -- unless Miami makes a major-trade play for Anquan Boldin in the offseason.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Tennessee, it's Johnson, Young, Britt, Gage and Bo Scaife (5 catches, 40 yards). With Miami, it's Ricky, QB Chad Henne (349 yards passing, 1 TD, 3 INTs), Bess and Greg Camarillo (5 catches, 46 yards) meriting attention against Houston.
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... Ted Ginn, Jr. or Brian Hartline, even if you're an Ohio State loyalist.
New England 17, Buffalo 10
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Brady, Moss and Welker should all be plucked off the draft boards by Round 4 next year -- regardless of scoring. However, fantasy owners shouldn't be surprised when the three studs are once again tenuous starters during the fantasy playoffs, due to weather (and age). As for the Bills, Jackson will -- once again -- be a steal in the middle rounds, unceremoniously rebuffed by owners who view him as a temporary placeholder to Buffalo's eventual franchise back.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For New England ... it's of course Brady, Welker, Moss and Maroney (sorry, Kevin Faulk). For Buffalo, Jackson, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (178 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 INT) and Terrell Owens (2 cathes, 20 yards) should experience their fair share of fantasy goodness during the championship round.
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch (25 total yards) certainly has the capacity to score at any time, from any distance; but he's largely been a shell of his former self, which doesn't bode well for the Atlanta game -- or the '10 season (even if he joins a new NFL team).
Arizona 31, Detroit 24
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Based on his subpar, injury-plagued season (54 catches, 802 yards, 4 TDs), Calvin Johnson will definitely tumble to the 3rd and 4th rounds of fantasy drafts next summer; but that doesn't mean Calvin's preseason expectations of 90 catches/1,100 receiving yards/10 TDs should be lowered. Simply put, a healthy Johnson is still a top-5 wide receiver in real-world and fantasyland circles ... and now, he'll have the benefit of a healthier and more experienced Matthew Stafford throwing darts his way -- all day! In fact, Johnson would serve as the perfect fantasy complement to Fitzgerald or Boldin in PPR leagues. Speaking of which ... look for Fitz, Boldin and Wells to be Round 3 or higher choices in all fantasy drafts -- regardless of scoring.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: With Arizona, it's Fitz, Boldin, Wells, Tim Hightower (38 total yards, 1 TD) and Kurt Warner (233 passing yards, 2 TDs). For Detroit, it's Morris, Calvin Johnson and QB Drew Stanton -- for fantasy leagues where only Big Ten alums are eligible to play.
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... Stanton (82 total yards, 1 TD) -- in case you didn't catch the above joke.
Jerome Harrison: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (170 total yards, 1 TD vs. Cleveland) is a solid Round 2 pick in next year's fantasy drafts -- regardless of scoring. For standard leagues, he'll make the perfect RB2 for an owner who's lucky enough to land Peterson, MJD, Johnson, Michael Turner or Ray Rice high in Round 1. In PPR leagues, Charles would be a sneaky-good RB1 for owners who prefer building clubs with versatile backs and franchise receivers -- like Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Marshall.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: With Cleveland ... it's Harrison and Joshua Cribbs (2 return TDs) in leagues that reward kick-return touchdowns. For Kansas City ... it's Charles and wide receivers Chris Chambers (5 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD) and Dwayne Bowe (4 catches, 56 yards).
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... Cleveland's Brady Quinn, who may be the only quarterback in league history to preside over a 41-point explosion WITHOUT throwing for at least 75 yards and/or one touchdown. Yikes!
San Diego 27, Cincinnati 24
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Sad but true ... it's probably too late for LaDainian Tomlinson (117 total yards) to stump for Round 1 votes. Given his age (31 in 2010), constant batch of lingering injuries and evolution of the Chargers' passing attack, he's a minimum bet for the second round (standard and PPR leagues). That aside, his progress in the last six games (474 total yards, 7 TDs) has been nothing short of phenomenal -- even if he isn't finding the end zone three times a week (like 2006). The same likely holds true for WR Vincent Jackson (5 catches, 108 yards, 2 TDs), whose fantasy owners won't forget his disappearing act from Weeks 9-13 -- unless he dominates the Titans during the championship round. Another 120-yard, 1-TD outing just might do the trick.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Cincinnati, it's always the Big Three of Palmer, Benson and Chad Ochocinco (3 catches, 79 yards, 1 TD). With San Diego, it's Tomlinson, Jackson, Antonio Gates (4 catches, 33 yards, 1 TD) and, of course, Philip Rivers (308 passing yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs). Conservatively, Rivers is a lock for 275 yards/2 TDs against the Titans on Christmas Day. Boom!
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... Bengals tight end J.P. Foschi. In fact, it's best to erase all knowledge of Foschi's out-of-the-blue seven catches for 82 yards when making lineup choices in Week 16. Bottom line: Could you really commit to starting a no-name quantity ... and one who's connected to a franchise that hasn't had a rock-solid tight end since Bob Trumpy or Dan Ross?
Houston 16, St. Louis 13
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Steven Jackson deserves some kind of medal for remaining a top-7 draftee in the last five seasons -- plus next year -- given his team's stunning lack of supporting playmakers. But better days are likely ahead for the battering-ram rusher, when factoring in the Rams' renewed commitment to strengthening the offensive and defensive lines through the draft (and presumably free agency). In essence, some lucky fantasy owner should revel in getting S-Jax between the 10th and 15th slots next year ... while watching him average 115 total yards/0.75 TDs per game (if healthy).
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Houston, it's Schaub, Johnson, Ryan Moats and Kevin Walter (4 catches, 42 yards, 1 TD) in deeper PPR leagues. With St. Louis, it's The S-Jax Show (or El Lobo Solo).
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... Rams QB Keith Null (173 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) or WR Donnie Avery (4 catches, 32 yards). For the Texans, don't say we didn't warn you about the perils of RB Arian Foster (20 total yards) ... haha, suckers!
Atlanta 10, N.Y. Jets 7
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Turner is no worse than the 5th overall pick in standard-scoring leagues next year. Why? Because the Falcons are a run-oriented team and Turner's a red-zone monster, when healthy. After all, we shouldn't forget that he had 111 rushing yards on just nine carries in Week 10 -- prior to sustaining a problematic ankle injury. On the surface, RB Thomas Jones should be a strong candidate for Round 2 in standard leagues ... but there'll be a sizable question mark attached to his name during the offseason, until he re-signs with New York OR bolts for another club (read: greener pastures). And if he should leave, Shonn Greene (30 total yards) automatically becomes a Round 3/4 stud, behind the league's best run-blocking offensive line.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Atlanta, there's Snelling, Tony Gonzalez (3 catches, 32 yards, 1 TD) and Matt Ryan/Roddy White (as a handcuff-tandem only) against Buffalo. For the Jets, everything begins and ends with Jones ... but you already knew that!
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... The list is long -- from Turner (unforunately) and Jerious Norwood to Sanchez, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, Brad Smith and Danny Woodhead. Obviously, none of the above (excluding QBs) has 60-plus-yards value in Week 16.
Joe Flacco: AP
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Here's why fantasy owners aren't always the brightest bulbs in the room: Flacco may have outclassed Bears QB Jay Cutler (94 passing yards, zero TDs, 3 INTs) in every category ... but Cutler will most likely be taken ahead of Joe Cool in next year's drafts -- once the memories of Sunday's debacle wash away forever. You see, fantasy GMs -- like NFL personnel execs -- tend to obssess over QBs with amazing presence and bazooka-like arms. Technically, Cutler gets the edge in both areas ... but we'd still rather have Flacco next year, and here's why: Flacco could beat Cutler IF he had Chicago's current cast of playmakers ... and IF Cutler had Mason, Todd Heap (5 catches, 56 yards, 2 TDs) and Ray Rice joining his huddle. The unimpeachable truth: Flacco would actually make Matt Forte a fantasyland superstar again.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Baltimore, it's Flacco, Mason, Heap, Rice and maybe Willis McGahee (in TD-heavy leagues). With Chicago, it's only TE Greg Olsen and Forte (69 total yards), who's looking at a Round 3 pre-draft designation -- even though he still has first-round talent (especially in PPR leagues).
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... Cutler, Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester and Devin Aromashodu are all receivas non grata next week against Minnesota -- prime time be damned!
Carolina 26, Minnesota 7
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: The draft fates of Steve Smith (9 catches, 157 yards, 1 TD) and Jonathan Stewart (123 total yards, 2 TDs) solely rest on the shoulders of whomever is quarterbacking the Panthers next season. If it's Matt Moore or a hotshot rookie like Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford ... they'll likely be pegged for Rounds 4 and 6, respectively. If Jake Delhomme is (inexplicably) calling the shots ... then Smith/Stewart should (understandably) drop 2-3 rounds. Luckily for us, DeAngelo Williams (16 total yards on just seven carries) is impervious to such QB trivialities. Simply put, he is a lead-pipe cinch for the 7-10 overall slots in all drafts; and if healthy, he should come through for a minimum of 1,600 total yards/12 TDs next year.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Minnesota, as of this moment ... it's only Peterson. For Carolina, Smith is the only surefire starter -- although Williams or Stewart will emerge as a lock sometime this week (depending on DeAngelo's injury). Heck, maybe even Moore (299 passing yards, 3 TDs) will transform into an emergency start -- for less-ballyhooed Toilet Bowl title games (where winners usually earn some cash).
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... any Vikings player who might only see one half of action against the Bears. August-like preseason efforts are never good for December fantasy finales.
Oakland 20, Denver 19
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: Oh sure, McFadden (74 rushing yards) and Michael Bush are locks to be drafted next year ... but perhaps fantasy owners would be wise to just ignore 'em altogether. After all, there is no rhyme or reason to which tailback stars for Oakland from week-to-week -- including the NFL's best third-stringer, Justin Fargas. On any other NFL (or CFL, UFL, NCAA, high school) team, Bush (144 total yards, 1 TD) would be the clear favorite for extensive carries in Week 16 against Cleveland; but with the Raiders, we're not even sure if he's desirable for next summer.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Denver, it's Moreno, Kyle Orton (278 yards passing, 1 TD) and WR Brandon Marshall (7 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD). With Oakland, it's Bush, D-Mac and WR Chaz Schilens -- if Bruce Gradkowski, JaMarcus Russell or Charlie Frye starts at quarterback. IF J.P. Losman gets the nod (don't laugh, stranger things have happened with the Silver & Black), no receiver comes close to sniffing the starting lineup.
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... any Raiders quarterback in 10-, 12- or 14-team leagues. After all, this is THE championship round. Do you really want to hitch your wagon to these fantasy yokels?
Tampa Bay 24, Seattle 7
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: In a perfect world, RB Justin Forsett (69 total yards) would become the Seahawks' starter from Day 1, even if it required purging Julius Jones (65 yards) from the roster. Instead, our reality centers on Jones and Matt Hasselbeck (256 passing yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs) serving as pillars to Seattle's fading quest for NFL über-respect. It's a sad state of affairs, for sure ... at least for the fantasy owner who hasn't already blackballed 'em from predraft sheets.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Tampa Bay, it's only Winslow ... but that's one more rubber-stamped starter than Seattle can boast. The only genuine possibilities are either Forsett or TE John Carlson (7 catches, 86 yards, 1 TD) -- even though we sincerely doubt he'll be special in consecutive outings. Carlson's spotty track record says it all.
We Wouldn't Recommend Starting ... any yet-to-be-named Seahawks player who successfully ties their shoes/locates their helmet in the Lambeau Field visitors' locker room next week (a group that should include T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Justin Griffith). Of course, we're not stumping for guys who suffer a debilitating slip-and-fall accident while executing a Windsor knot, either.
Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 13
What You'll Remember For Draft Day 2010: We'd love to tab RB LeSean McCoy (56 total yards, 1 TD vs. San Fran) as a sneaky-good prospect in Rounds 4/5 ... but there's just too much uncertainty surrounding the welfare of Brian Westbrook and, on a smaller scale, QB Donovan McNabb (311 total yards, 2 TDs). Yes, McNabb and Westbrook, when fully healthy, are top-10 fantasy studs at their positions; and yes, they get to flourish in one of the NFL's most progressive offenses (led by Andy Reid/Marty Mornhinweg). But it's just wayyyyyyy too early to rubber-stamp Westbrook or McNabb as Philly stars in 2010, given the talents of McCoy and Kevin Kolb (the only QB in history to exceed 300 yards passing in his first two NFL starts) ... and the club's disdain for over-30 stalwarts. On the other hand, DeSean Jackson (6 catches, 140 yards, 1 TD) and TE Brent Celek (4 catches, 73 yards) are immune to any possible changes come draft day. In a nutshell, fantasy owners would be crazy to let 'em slide past Rounds 3 and 5, respectively.
Starting Considerations For Week 16: For Philly, it's McNabb, McCoy, Jackson, Celek and maybe even RB Leonard Weaver (70 total yards) in TD-only leagues. With San Francisco, like we mentioned before, it's all about buying in bulk against Detroit. (Of course, we said the same thing about Seattle for Week 15.)
Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night ( @SI_JayClemons), accessing your fantasy questions and comments. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday and Monday during the NFL season.