Thanksgiving is a day where Americans are supposed to appreciate what they have: family, friends, health, etc. Hey there, pal, it’s Turkey Day, enjoy some football and spend time with your loved ones. Unfortunately, many of us fantasy footballers don’t have lots to be thankful for this year. The landscape is strewn with the fallen bodies of either busts (those who were injured/never got going) or fallen heroes (studs who happen to get hurt over the last three weeks). To list the names would take a long time and be very depressing for all involved. And the latest casualty was fantasy’s MVP so far this year, Donovan McNabb, out for the season after tearing an ACL.
So look for the silver lining this Thanksgiving. As for myself, I’m 4-7 and am unbelievably one game out of my division, which is known as Mediocrity Central. I still got a chance. Until one of my running backs breaks his leg in 12 different places.
Miami v. Detroit: You know what says Thanksgiving to me? Joey Harrington returning to Detroit! They can talk about Joey all they want, but Miami’s best offense is still its resurgent defense. Ronnie Brown had almost zero rushing yardage last week. That’s right I said zero. The absence of a number. Still, he could fare better this week against a putrid Lions team. Chris Chambers is a bust. Twelve auction league dollars down the tubes. As for the Lions, add Kevin Jones to the always fun injury list—a killer for PPR leagues. Williams and Kitna is all, unless you’re a Furrey fan.
Tampa v. Dallas: This game would be better if Parcells had to eat through it. I wouldn’t use anyone on Tampa except for Galloway. Cowboys are beasts against the run, so no Cadillac. On the other hand, Romo, Julius/Barber, T.O., and Glenn should all start. I don’t know what to do about Jason Witten, though. I thought Romo’s ascendance would make him a top 10 TE, but it’s been more of the same mediocrity. He must long for the days of Vincenzo Testaverde.
Denver v. KC: Hey, the game that much of America will not be able to see! I could pick a side in this NFL/cable/satellite feud, but it’s picking among three old, crotchety billionaires who want more of my money. Lots of questions for Denver: Will Plummer get the yank? Will either of the Bells play (both on the injury report) or will it be Steve Nash again (I know that’s not his name)? If Cutler plays, does Rod Smith re-emerge or is it all Walker? As for KC, you know you’ll always have Larry Johnson. Check Tony Gonzalez’ availability up to game time.
Pittsburgh v. Baltimore: Hines Ward’s injury makes Fast Willie Parker the only sure pick on Pittsburgh’s offense. Roethlisberger goes from gruesome to glorious in one half, and Heath Miller may match the numbers he put up in his rookie year, but has been nothing to write home about since his monster opening game. We’ve been saying it all year: Baltimore is Jamal Lewis and DST. BJ Sams and the return game did all of the work for the offense. Mark Clayton had a nice day (5 catches for 89 yards); maybe he’s a late-season WR4 or 5.
Carolina v. Washington: There really aren’t any good options on the Redskins right now, although an owner in my league picked up Jason Campbell as a backup QB this week. DeShaun Foster’s injury could mean a De’Angelo Williams start this week. Monitor the situation. Delhomme, Smith and Keyshawn should all be viable options in what will probably a comfortable win for the Panthers.
New Orleans v. Atlanta: Drew Brees only threw for 500 yards last week…and lost. Joe Horn returned with a nice game; however, Mr. Random 2006 Marques Colston left the game with a sprained ankle and is now day-to-day. Thus Devery Henderson became a popular pick-up on the waiver wire. Play Brees and Horn; monitor the other two WRs. The Saints D was roasted by Chad Johnson last week. Fortunately for them, Atlanta doesn’t even have a decent WR. Play Dunn and Crumpler, unless you want to roll the dice with the roller coaster that is Michael Vick.
San Francisco v. St. Louis: Antonio Bryant drives a Lamborghini? My god, has he even had a 1,000-yard season? After this week’s arrest, I hope he saved his money for when he gets cut by his third team. In this game between two teams going in opposite directions, the sure play is the running backs. Bulger and Holt are starters as well.
Houston v. Jets: FEEL THE EXCITEMENT ON CBS! Either Jets wide receiver should be in your starting lineup. They are the team’s primary ball carriers, as the RBBC was in full effect last week. Speaking of RBBC, I have grown weary of Gary Kubiak and his use of both Lundy and Gado. Just throw it to Andre Johnson or Owen Daniels, please. Enough of this tomfoolery. Do you see #84, son? He used to be Eric Moulds.
Minnesota v. Arizona: Let’s keep rolling with the stinkers. It’s unfathomable that Minnesota could hold a team to negative yards rushing and lose. But the Vikings did it. Great job, fellas. Even though he has a case of fumbleitis, Chester Taylor is the only Viking worth playing. Edge won’t get his yards against the sturdy Minnesota run D, so look elsewhere. Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald should do some damage in the air as other teams copy the Patriots blueprint from weeks ago.
Cincy v. Cleveland: Whenever I see this game, all I can think of is Sam Wyche. “You don’t live in Cleveland, you live in Cincinnati!” Way to get yourself banned in a city, Sam. Anyway, Cincy’s offense seems to be close to running on all cylinders, with Chad blowing up for a second consecutive week. However, I would like to see some extra TDs from the Rudi Johnson. Cleveland seems to be getting the ball more to Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, but this is still a bad offensive team. Maybe things would be different if they didn’t lose 15 centers before the season started.
Jacksonville v. Buffalo: Wow, the hits just keep on coming, don’t they? Fortune continues to smile upon David Garrard, as he gets yet another winnable game on the schedule. He’s been a solid backup in fantasy circles so far. Other than that, I can’t recommend any JAX player other than the DST and Fragile Fred, who scored one touchdown last week before coughing up a sure second. J.P. Losman and Lee Evans may have had big days last week against Houston, but probably won’t this time against the Jacksonville D. Evans is still a serviceable WR2.
Oakland v. San Diego: What is going on here? Do I even need to right about this game? Pick all San Diego studs, including the defense. Do not pick a Raider. I’m sure both Lamont Jordan and the Jets are wondering what might have been right now.
NYG at Tennessee: This week’s schedule sure is the pits. I’m sure CBS and FOX are loving it. I don’t know what to tell you about the Giants at this point. If they win this game, it helps their season immensely. If they lose this game, they probably won’t make the playoffs. You have to play Tiki and probably Plax. If you can sit Eli, do so. Perhaps they’ll attempt to throw to Shockey this week. I would play Travis Henry this week, as he’ll probably gash the depleted Giants defense. I don’t want to talk about this game anymore; it’s making me ill.
Chicago at New England: Now we’re getting somewhere. If you can beat the Bears, you have to do it by running up the middle. The Giants and Jets were both successful at it for a time, before Manning and Pennington gave the games away. New England has Brady, who will not give it away. Lots of Dillon, lots of Maroney, lots of Ben Watson. For the Bears, it’ll be Thomas Jones. Mushin Muhammad could get rolling because of the constant blitzing I expect from Belicheck.
Philadelphia v. Indianapolis: I don’t know what the return of Jeff Garcia means for Philly. Does it mean more Westbrook/Buckhalter? I think it does, especially for receptions out of the backfield. Maybe for L.J. Smith, as well. But does Garcia have any arm left to get it down the field to Reggie Brown and Donte Stallworth. We’ll find out. Peyton Manning didn’t have a bad game last week, he just had an average game. Sure, he missed some throws, but there were some drops, receivers didn’t fight for the ball, and Dallas got away with some illegal contact. Play all your stud Colts, including Joseph Addai. Philly will wear down, and they have problems stopping the run. Broderick Bunkley is Mike Mamula II so far.
Green Bay v. Seattle: My thoughts are to don’t watch the game. The ESPN broadcast is abominable.
Enjoy your holiday weekend and I’ll see you next week.