Brodie Croyle, right, should fare much better against Detroit than he did here, moments before getting crushed into the turf. (AP photo by Orlin Wagner)
1. Tom Brady vs. Dolphins – Well, that was a kick in the pants for any Brady owner. Many of you are probably not playing for a championship this week thanks to the Patriots turning to a more run-heavy offense. If you are still alive, Brady should do just fine against the Dolphins. Of course, that will just be more salt in the wound of unlucky Brady owners.
2. Tony Romo @ Panthers – Just about everything I wrote about Brady, I could write about Romo. Except I could also add something about Jessica Simpson. The end.
3. Drew Brees vs. Eagles – If I had Brees as my quarterback, I would be the most confident owner ever. Brees has had a passer rating over 100 each of the last four weeks. The Eagles are officially eliminated from the playoffs and the Saints are as hungry as ever. If I had Brees going into my championship game, I might even start counting my winnings now.
4. Carson Palmer vs. Browns – It’s been a long and winding road for Palmer this year, but a Week 16 game against the Browns is as friendly a matchup as there is. If Palmer doesn’t toss three scores, it will be a disappointment.
5. Derek Anderson @ Bengals – The only reason Palmer is ranked ahead of Anderson is because the game is being played in Cincy. Of course, in the first meeting between these teams, both squads scored over 40 points, and both quarterbacks tossed at least five scores. Needless to say, I’m very excited about what could happen here.
6. Peyton Manning vs. Texans – While statistically, the Texans’ defense isn’t the greatest against the pass, they are actually much improved from last year. In fact, they only allow just over one touchdown pass per game. And Manning only managed one score earlier in the season against Houston. But it is Manning, so you’re going to start him anyway. I would have been better off just skipping this one, right?
7. Ben Roethlisberger @ Rams – The most important player for Roethlisberger’s success might actually be Santonio Holmes. Holmes stretches the field and opens up everything else around him. Roethlisberger takes advantage of this as well as any quarterback in the league. This trend should continue against the Rams.
8. Brett Favre @ Bears – Favre is headed for the Pro Bowl, but I think he might struggle a bit against the Bears. Injuries have ravaged Chicago’s defense, but last week, it played its best game of the season. Favre should still be good for a couple scores, but I think the interceptions will be up as well.
9. Kurt Warner vs. Falcons – Talking about interceptions, Kurt Warner everybody! Luckily, Warner and the Cardinals go up against Atlanta this week, which is like chicken soup for the NFL quarterback. Expect at least a couple of touchdown tosses.
10. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Ravens – Hasselbeck has actually been somewhat inconsistent over the last few weeks. Also, there’s a Ravens’ fan that’s staying on his roof until the team wins. Clearly, this is a perfect storm for a sub par Hasselbeck game.
11. Jay Cutler @ Chargers – The most important part of this contest is the fact that both offenses are playing well. Both teams should have their starters in for the whole game. This means that Darren Sproles won’t be the top scoring running back of the week, and Cutler has a shot at being one of the higher scoring quarterbacks.
12. Donovan McNabb @ Saints – As long as McNabb is healthy, he’ll be the man under centre for the Eagles. Unfortunately, this isn’t 2004 anymore. McNabb needs bona fide wide outs to be successful, and Reggie Brown has been a serious disappointment. Anything could happen this offseason, but if McNabb is still around next season, he better have a stud receiver with him.
13. Jeff Garcia @ 49ers – Two touchdowns and no interceptions. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Lock it up.
14. Brodie Croyle @ Lions – Basically, anyone who quarterbacks against Detroit has to be in the top 15. My prediction is Dwayne Bowe gets 200 receiving yards and Croyle gets, I don’t know, 250 passing yards. That sounds about right.
15. Jon Kitna vs. Chiefs – If Kitna could just cut back on the interceptions, he would actually be a legitimate starting option. Unfortunately, this is championship weekend and there’s very little chance that Kitna-led fantasy teams are still playing. Still, he should throw a couple touchdowns.