Thursday, December 24, 2009

Week 16 Starters & Benchwarmers

You don’t need me advising you to start Drew Brees and Chris Johnson, or to bench Keith Null and Ted Ginn. So I’ll leave the obvious recommendations to the network bozos and focus instead on players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 16.

Watch ‘em roll

Brett Favre, QB, Vikings at Bears. His widely anticipated late-season swoon is in full swing. Look for at least a temporary reprieve under the Monday night lights against a Bears secondary that he torched for 392 yards and 3 TDs just four weeks ago.

Jerome Harrison, RB, Browns vs. Raiders. He’s not likely to break more records this week, but there’s every reason to believe he’ll put up gaudy numbers against one of the NFL’s rushing doormats. A 100-yard, 2-TD outing is well within reach.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals vs. Rams. Why recommend him two weeks running? Because too many of you didn’t believe me last week when I told you his time had come. Trust me, he’ll keep the good times rolling Sunday while Tim Hightower fades further into the background. Only the Raiders have allowed more rushing TDs than the Rams.

Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets at Colts. Coming off his best game of the season, Edwards should continue to prosper against a secondary that has played poorly lately and will probably be resting its starters early. New York still has playoff aspirations, so you know they’ll fight to the final buzzer.

Antonio Bryant, WR, Buccaneers at Saints. One thing seems certain: Tampa Bay will be forced to the air early and often as it desperately attempts to keep pace with the Saints. That could lead to plenty of mistakes by rookie Josh Freeman, but also a lot of targets for Bryant against New Orleans’ vulnerable secondary.

More thumbs up: QBs Tom Brady, Kurt Warner, Alex Smith, Matt Schaub; RBs Cedric Benson, Pierre Thomas, Frank Gore, Jamaal Charles; WRs Greg Jennings, Vincent Jackson, Percy Harvin, Santana Moss.

Roll ‘em back

Peyton Manning, QB, Colts vs. Jets. If I thought he would play the entire game, I wouldn’t worry so much about his matchup against the NFL’s toughest pass defense. Put the two together, and even the great Peyton is a risky start.

Quinton Ganther, RB, Redskins vs. Cowboys. He came back down to Earth last week against the Giants, salvaging an otherwise terrible outing with a late touchdown run. Expect more of the same against Dallas’ tough run defense, but without the garbage time heroics.

Matt Forte, RB, Bears vs. Vikings. Don’t even think about it.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions at 49ers. Sorry Megatron, but I just don’t have a good feeling about Drew Stanton against Mike Singletary’s defense. This game has shut-out written all over it, and Johnson will be fortunate to see more than a handful of catchable balls.

Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts vs. Jets. The only thing worse than being blanketed by Darrelle Revis all day is getting just two quarters to try to beat him. Manning is risky enough, but at least he can target other receivers. Wayne won’t have that luxury.

More thumbs down: QBs Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck; RBs Joseph Addai, LeSean McCoy, Maurice Morris, Julius Jones, Knowshon Moreno, Arian Foster; WRs Terrell Owens, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Roy Williams, Hines Ward.


Justin Snelling, RB, Falcons vs. Bills. For some reason, Atlanta is pushing Michael Turner to play Sunday, despite aggravating his high ankle sprain last week for the second time. With nothing to play for, that’s just ridiculous. Snelling should get the bulk of the workload against the absolute worst rush defense in the NFL. Even if Turner or Jerious Norwood poach some carries, there should be enough left over for Snelling to reward those owners brave enough to gamble on him.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…gets so caught up with all the merriment that he fails to notice the NFL scheduled a game for Friday night. That’s right, the Chargers face the Titans on Christmas night, so make sure you set your lineup before you set out the cookies for Santa.


  1. Thanks for the help last week, you're recommendation for Ward paid off. My struggles this week are similar. First, I'm torn between Alex Smith and Peyton Manning (others are Hasselbeck and Flacco). Based on the above, it seems like you'd go with Smith. You don't think striving for perfection is enough to push Manning deeper in the game? Second, is my wide receivers: (1) Hines Ward; (2) Robert Meachem; (3) Hakeem Nicks; (4) Sims-Walker; (5)Kevin Walter; and (6) Steve Breaston. My thoughts are to go with Ward and Sims-Walker. Nicks seems like a good play to me as well. Thoughts?

  2. I'd go with Smith, though I realize that's a tough decision to make. Just don't think Peyton will play for long.

    I'd rank your WRs in this order: Meachem, Ward, Nicks, Sims-Walker, Walter, Breaston.

    Good luck!

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  4. Championship Game conundrums: Jerome Harrison or Ryan Grant and Fred Davis or Dallas Clark? Not sure how many touches Harrison will get or how long Clark will play. Your thoughts?

  5. Kent,

    Harrison gives you the best chance for big #s (going against OAK), but Grant is safer. If you think you need to swing for the fences b/c of your competition, I'd go with Harrison. Otherwise, Grant should be solid.

    I like half of Clark vs. all of Davis.