Donald Brown is coming off one of the best performances of his young career for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15, where he rushed for 129 yards and a score against Jacksonville. His touchdown came on a nice 43-yard run down the sideline and greatly helped fantasy owners that were smart enough to start him in their playoff matchups. After this outing Brown is a must start this weekend at Oakland. Joseph Addai still probably won’t play on Sunday and Oakland’s run defense is very bad, so do the math. Brown has a lock on the starting running back position and should see 14-18 carries plus see some pass targets out of the backfield. Ride him while he’s hot as you make your final push to fantasy greatness.
Tashard Choice owners will want to make sure he’s in their lineup on Sunday as well. Marion Barber’s status is still up in the air and Choice has been getting significant carries the last few weeks, especially late in the game and on the goal line. In fantasy, these are the carries that matter. I understand the Dallas backfield is crowded right now and if Barber does suit up then this hurts Choice’s value somewhat, but the fact is, the Cowboys are winning with Choice in there. He’s averaging about 17 carries and 75 yards a game over the last two games and has found paydirt in each of the last three. That’s enough reason for me to roll with him again in Week 16.
Rashard Mendenhall has been a quiet monster all season and should finish 2010 with a bang. He’s coming off a 100-yard rushing performance against a stingy New York Jets defense. This is significant because the Jets hadn’t allowed a 100 yard rusher in more than a year. Mendenhall is on pace to rush for more than 1,300 yards and has Carolina’s poor defense to look forward to tonight. If you are going to win your fantasy matchup this weekend then Mendenhall is going to be a big reason why. He should have a field day against the Panthers and anything less than 100 yards on the ground with at least one touchdown will be a bust for the Steeler running back.
Blair White, WR, Indianapolis
With news that fellow receiver Austin Collie is done for the season, White’s value just increased immensely. I think White is the No. 1 sleeper in Week 16 and consider him a must start in most formats. He should get the start and all the slot work and red zone targets that Collie normally gets. It seems like every game where White gets playing time, he finds the end zone. In all likelihood, Reggie Wayne will be guarded by Nnamdi Asomugha, so that makes White an even more intriguing play this weekend because he’ll see a lot of single coverage over the middle. The Colts are still trying to clinch a playoff spot so this game is as important as they come and I fully expect White to have a good amount of targets and hit pay dirt.
Tim Tebow, QB, Denver
Yes, Tebow did have a very nice outing in his first career start and I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon after just one game, but he does bring a lot of fantasy value to the table. With his running ability, Tebow is a poor man’s Michael Vick, and as Vick has proved this can go a long way in fantasy. I’m not saying that Tebow will put up numbers that are even close to Vick, but the fact that he ran for 78 yards and a score and threw for 138 yards and a score does warrant a start in fantasy if you don’t have one of the top-tier quarterbacks on your squad. He also has a solid matchup against the Houston Texans, so Tebow is a nice sleeper on Sunday. A day similar to last week should be in store for the young quarterback. I’ll take 20-plus points out of my quarterback all day long.
Anthony Armstrong, WR, Washington
Armstrong is another interesting play for Week 16. Washington is coming off a quarterback change last week where Rex Grossman started in place of Donovan McNabb and no player benefited more than Armstrong. He had five receptions for 100 yards and though he didn’t score, Armstrong has turned into the big-play game changer for the Redskins. Grossman will be the starter for the remaining two games of 2010 and loves to throw the ball downfield, so expect Armstrong to be in the mix. He’s averaging almost 100 yards receiving the last two weeks and for the season is gaining close to 20 yards per reception. He has a great matchup against Jacksonville on Sunday and could be a nice WR3 option with lots of upside.
Lock of the Week
Any receiver named Mike Williams
Mike Williams of Tampa Bay matches up against Mike Williams of Seattle this weekend and both are solid plays in the fantasy playoffs. Both of these young receivers have turned into the No. 1 option on their respective teams and are putting together very good seasons. Williams of Tampa Bay is right at the top of the list for NFL Rookie of the Year with his 880 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, while Seattle’s Williams has just one touchdown, but has 60 reception and 720 receiving yards. Expect both players to get double-digit targets on Sunday and find their way into the end zone as well. Each receiver also has a knack for coming up with a big gainer week after week so both of them should be started in your fantasy league.