Gridiron Goldstein: Week 14 (Part Two)
Philadelphia at Washington – Yes, we get it, FOX, CBS and ESPN. The NFC is so bad that the Eagles are in a playoff spot and the Redskins are still in the picture. Find a new angle. Anyway, I have something absolutely frightening to tell you, my readers. This will send chills up and down your spine. The next sentence makes The Exorcist look like Teletubbies. (Actually, even more horrifying would be The Exorcist as done by the Teletubbies.) Ahem, anyway: Jeff Garcia is a decent sneaky start. It’ll be okay, it’ll be okay. Just breathe. The Redskins pass defense is tied for worst in the league against passing touchdowns, so Garcia should get a couple. Dont’ Stallworth is a marginal second fantasy option while Reggie Brown is again a touchdown threat.Ladell Betts, meanwhile, might be the start of the game. He is working on two straight 100-yard games and is now facing a defense that gives up over 135 yards per game on the ground. Avoid using any other Redskins. Jason Campbell has been an okay NFL quarterback, but his fantasy value is limited. Plus, the Eagles are quite effective against the pass. Oh, and the NFC stinks. Thanks for listening.
Tennessee at Houston – His completion percentage isn’t, well, good. His mechanics need help. His supporting cast is low on talent. But Vince Young isn’t a bad fantasy option. He keeps scoring touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Last time he faced Houston, he got two touchdowns, and now he’s a bit more used to the speed of the game. I think he’s a fine start. Even Drew Bennett is a deep sleeper at wide out. Travis Henry is also a great flex play if you need a spark.
Andre Johnson had a terrible game last week, but if he’s on your roster and you’re in the playoffs, he’s probably a big reason as to why you’re there. This is no time to bench him. The Titans are 28th in the league in pass defense. Please stay away from the running game. Ron Dayne, Samkon Gado or Wali Lundy? Who knows. We’re talking about Ron Dayne here. Ron…Dayne.
Green Bay at San Francisco – No disrespect to Brett Favre, but the Packers flat out bore me. Donald Driver and Ahman Green are good starts. Same ol’, same ol’. For some reason the 49ers seemed to go away from Frank Gore last week. Yes, the Saints score points quickly, but Gore is the only consistent offensive player San Francisco has! How does an NFL team forget its bread and butter? I assume the ‘Niners will relearn how good this kid is this weekend. Don’t hesitate to start the former Hurricane. Antonio Bryant is a good third wide out, but Alex Smith needs more time to mature.
Seattle at Arizona – You don’t need me to say this, but start Shaun Alexander. In his last four games against the Cardinals, he’s scored 10 touchdowns. That’s not a bad average. Basically, this is a ‘start ’em if you got ’em’ game. Matt Hasselbeck, Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch should all have good games. On the other side of the ball, Arizona’s offense has been maddeningly inconsistent. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are too good to bench, but Edgerrin James should remain on the sidelines.
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets – As of this writing, it seems as though Willis McGahee is a go on Sunday. If he does play, he’ll be a good second back. The Jets pay attention to the run about as much as Britney Spears pays attention to panties. Other than that, Lee Evans is always a threat for a big game, but you don’t want to start J.P. Losman.
The Jets have had a pretty consistent passing attack all season. Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are good fantasy wide outs. They could both score this weekend. The running game also picked up last week behind Cedric Houston. He’s a deep sleeper if you need a boost.
Denver at San Diego – So the Jay Cutler era didn’t exactly start off on a strong note. It will be all right, I mean, the Broncos are probably playing a weak opponent this week anyway. Right? What’s that? The Chargers? Oh. Never mind. I can safely say: Don’t start any Denver players. As for San Diego, this would be a good week to start Philip Rivers since the Broncos pass defense won’t be able to handle Antonio Gates. And LaDainian Tomlinson was on the Tonight Show a few days ago. Cool!
. Cool!New Orleans at Dallas – The question of the week is whether or not to start Reggie Bush. Almost every owner who has Bush has probably rotated him in and out of his (or her) lineup five times this week. My vote is, sadly, ‘not yet.’ If Bush had a breakout game on the ground, I’d be okay with starting him. But 10 carries for 37 yards is still sub par. I realize he’s a beast in the passing game, but that’s a fickle statistic for a back who won’t contribute at all on the ground, especially against a stout run defense in the Cowboys. It’s too much of a gamble during fantasy playoff time. It seems as though all of the Saints wide outs are banged up. If you know your New Orleans wide out is a go, start him.
The Cowboys have an interesting matchup to play with. The Saints pass defense is ranked fourth in yards allowed, but 29th in touchdowns allowed. Expect Tony Romo to have a subdued yardage day, but toss two or three touchdowns. Believe it or not, Marion Barber is clearly the better running back option in Dallas. He’s a marginal second starter and great flex play.
Chicago at St. Louis – Man, that Rex Grossman is awesome, isn’t he? Uhh, yeah. Thomas Jones is losing carries rapidly to Cedric Benson, which makes Jones a bad start despite the friendly matchup. In fact, Benson is a better option of the two. As for the Rams, Steven Jackson should get to 100 yards, which is nice. Tory Holt also has an outside chance to have a good day, since the Bears do allow top wide outs to get their stats. Unfortunately, Marc Bulger will be under pressure all day, which makes him a very risky start.
Good luck and if you’re bored, check this out. Also, realize by clicking that, you will have to sacrifice at least a few hours of your life. You have no choice.
– Andy Goldstein