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Gridiron Goldstein: Week 14 (Part One)

December 7, 2006 | By Andy Goldstein | comment on this post

reubendroughns.jpgCleveland at Pittsburgh – Yes! Reuben Droughns, Ben Roethlisberger and Bryant Gumbel! Thursday night football rocks. Despite Droughns’ big game last week, keep him on the bench if you have any other legitimate options. The Steelers’ run defense only allows 3.6 yards per carry. Charlie Frye got banged up, but he should play. I don’t mention that for Frye’s sake, but for owners of Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. You might have to start Winslow, but I’d avoid Edwards if at all possible. He was a marginal starter while everything was going well with Frye. Even a banged up quarterback is enough to knock Edwards down to your bench.”’

The Steelers, meanwhile, should find some mixed success tonight. Roethlisberger is too risky because of the interceptions, but give Santonio Holmes a look. He’s a bit of a sneaky flex start since he seems to be the only healthy option among the Steelers’ wide outs. He could be good for 60 to 70 yards with an outside shot at a touchdown. Willie Parker has underperformed of late, but he’s a must-start against the Browns’ 24th-ranked run defense.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay – Despite everyone and their mothers (or fathers) taking shots at Mike Vick, the Falcons quarterback remains a top fantasy football signal caller. Vick ran for 127 yards in Week Two against the Bucs. Warrick Dunn also ran well, but his season (and career) might just about be done. In the passing game, Alge Crumpler is still the main target, but Michael Jenkins has three touchdowns in the last four games. He’s a sneaky, high risk start.

Baltimore at Kansas City – Even when the Ravens play well offensively, the fantasy relevance is limited. Steve McNair has just been too inconsistent, so don’t start him this week. The same can be said of Jamal Lewis. Either Derrick Mason or Mark Clayton could have a nice game, but which one is anybody’s guess. As for the Chiefs, Larry Johnson will find a way to be a fantasy factor. For those of you considering benching Johnson because of the matchup, come on! Tony Gonzalez came back strong from injury last week, so keep him going. Don’t, however, go crazy with Trent Green. I wouldn’t want to trust my playoff life to a guy who has had one good game all season.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville – This should be one of the better matchups of the day. The Colts and Jaguars tend to play high level football, which isn’t always good for the Colts’ big guns. Yes, you’re going to start Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, but temper expectations a bit. Joseph Addai should go back to the bench. The Jaguars have one of the best run defenses in the league.

Jacksonville will run, run, and run on Sunday. This makes both Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew legitimate fantasy starts. Earlier this season, the two combined for over 200 yards of total offense and a touchdown. In the receiving game, Matt Jones seems to be the newest fad. ESPN named him a good fill in for the fantasy playoff run. I’m not quite as high on him, but he would make for a decent flex play this week.

Minnesota at Detroit – The Vikings have been a season-long one-man fantasy entity. Chester Taylor has been a prime sleeper all year. Unfortunately, he’s banged up this week, and may not play. Monitor his injury status as game time approaches. The Lions will take the opposite approach by passing as often as possible. Jon Kitna is a sneaky start while Roy Williams is a steady one. Mike Furrey actually got more looks, catches and yards last week, but I don’t buy it. Leave the former Panther (From Northern Iowa, of course) on your bench unless you have no other options.

New England at Miami – Well, Tom Brady is a start, and he’s also super-hunky! (“You’re the starter in my fantasy league for two,” indeed.) The Dolphins pass defense is good, but quarterbacks have been able to get touchdowns against them. Corey Dillon is also a good option, since it seems as though he is good for three touchdowns a game. (Okay, maybe not, but still, he’s a start.)

Chris Chambers finally joined the party last week, getting more looks than any other player in the league. As long as that trend continues, Chambers will be a good fantasy playoff wide out. Joey Harrington isn’t quite as hunky as Brady, so clearly there’s no reason to put him in your starting lineup.


N.Y. Giants at Carolina
– Welcome back, Eli Manning. It was nice to see the Giants pass game look competent for a change. This makes Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey safe starts. Unless your league only awards points for touchdowns, Tiki Barber remains a weak first running back option. The Panthers, meanwhile, might be forced to start Chris Weinke. This is bad news for Steve Smith. He’s too good to bench, but it might not be the best stat line for the pro bowler. If DeShaun Foster is out again, DeAngelo Williams is a good flex start. Otherwise, avoid the situation.
Oakland at Cincinnati – The Raiders pass defense is very good on paper. They haven’t exactly faced the best passing attacks this year, but they shut down who they play. You can’t fault them for that. Of course, no one is going to bench Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, or T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but I’m going to be the bearer of bad news. One of the wide outs is going to have a bad game. Rudi Johnson, on the other hand, will be the focal point of the offense.– The Raiders pass defense is very good on paper. They haven’t exactly faced the best passing attacks this year, but they shut down who they play. You can’t fault them for that. Of course, no one is going to bench , , or , but I’m going to be the bearer of bad news. One of the wide outs is going to have a bad game. , on the other hand, will be the focal point of the offense.Good luck during the fantasy playoffs, even to the NFL players who might be reading. (Sorry if I said anything mean about you over the course of the year! Yes, I’m talking to you, Jake Plummer.)– The Raiders pass defense is very good on paper. They haven’t exactly faced the best passing attacks this year, but they shut down who they play. You can’t fault them for that. Of course, no one is going to bench , , or , but I’m going to be the bearer of bad news. One of the wide outs is going to have a bad game. , on the other hand, will be the focal point of the offense.Good luck during the fantasy playoffs,. (Sorry if I said anything mean about you over the course of the year! Yes, I’m talking to you, .)- Andy Goldstein– The Raiders pass defense is very good on paper. They haven’t exactly faced the best passing attacks this year, but they shut down who they play. You can’t fault them for that. Of course, no one is going to bench , , or , but I’m going to be the bearer of bad news. One of the wide outs is going to have a bad game. , on the other hand, will be the focal point of the offense.Good luck during the fantasy playoffs,. (Sorry if I said anything mean about you over the course of the year! Yes, I’m talking to you, .)- Andy Goldstein

– The Raiders pass defense is very good on paper. They haven’t exactly faced the best passing attacks this year, but they shut down who they play. You can’t fault them for that. Of course, no one is going to bench , , or , but I’m going to be the bearer of bad news. One of the wide outs is going to have a bad game. , on the other hand, will be the focal point of the offense.Good luck during the fantasy playoffs,. (Sorry if I said anything mean about you over the course of the year! Yes, I’m talking to you, .)- Andy Goldstein

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