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Week Fourteen: Early Playoffs

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday. There were plenty of blowouts on turkey day. It was great if you were the one racking up the points. It was really bad if you had to play catch up on Sunday and Monday. Early playoffs start this week for some leagues that look to prevent the Week 17 resting of star players. I was lucky to secure a No. 2 seed in my Shark League despite drafting 12th. I’ve wrapped up playoff spots in three of six leagues. Need a little help in two of my money leagues this week to get in. I’m still searching for my first money league championship while looking for back to back championships in my Shark League.

Player Spotlight:

Tony Romo, QB DAL

Next year Romo will be in the conversation of QB selected in the first round. Tom Brady will be coming off his injury and both Mannings are having good years but not outstanding ones. Romo finished the 2007 Shark season as the No. 2 QB overall, behind Brady of course. This year Romo has missed three games due to his broken finger but hasn’t missed a beat since returning.

In terms of FPTs per game, he is third overall among QBs with 20.1 ppg, behind Drew Brees at 20.7 and Kurt Warner at 20.3. Consider this season, he’s thrown for 300 or more yards in six of nine games and has three PaTDs in six games as well. Last year he had seven 300+ games total with five games of three or more PaTDs. He’s on pace to finish the year with 3696 PaYDs, 30 TDs and 11 INTs. That would be just 515 PaYDs and six TDs less than he had last season in three fewer games. He would have also thrown eight less picks.

It might be a 2009 draft where there isn’t a QB selected in the first round. Brees is always tops but he slips on draft day for whatever reason. Last year, Romo was selected on average third QB with an ADP of 15.3 according to myfantasyleague.com. Depending on how the RB situation shakes out including the increasing amount of running back by committee’s, you might want to grab Romo as early as you can.

Here are the Top 10 fantasy players over the past three weeks.

Top 10 QBs

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Matt Cassel, NEP                        1st last week

2. Aaron Rodgers, GBP                   New

3. Tony Romo, DAL                        New

4. Drew Brees, NOS                       2nd last week

5. Kurt Warner, ARI                       4th last week

6. Tyler Thigpen, KCC                    3rd last week

7. Trent Edwards, BUF                   8th last week

8. Shaun Hill, SFO                         7th last week

9. Joe Flacco, BAL                         New

10. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT           New

Removed from list:

Chad Pennington, MIA; Kerry Collins, TEN; Jay Cutler, DEN;

Peyton Manning,


Top 10 RBs

Based on Shark League scoring



1. DeAngelo Williams, CAR                 5th last week  

2. Thomas Jones, NYJ                        1st last week

3. Michael Turner, ATL                       2nd last week

4. Marshawn Lynch, BUF                    6th last week

5. Matt Forte, CHI                             3rd last week

6. Steve Slaton, HOU                        New

7. Pierre Thomas, NOS                      8th last week

8. Peyton Hillis, DEN                         New

9. Joseph Addai,

IND                        9th last week

10. Marion Barber, DAL                    New


Removed from list: Adrian Peterson, MIN; Ladainian Tomlinson, SDC; Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC

Top 10 WRs

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Anquan Boldin, ARI                       1st last week

2. Greg Jennings, GBP                      10th last week

3. Terrell Owens, DAL                       New

4. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI                     5th last week

5. Lance Moore, NOS                        2nd last week

6. Randy Moss, NEP                          3rd last week

7. Andre Johnson, HOU                     New

8. Steve Smith, CAR                         New

9. Mark Clayton, BAL                        New

10. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN         New


Removed from list: Wes Welker, NEP; Dwayne Bowe, KCC; Kevin Walter, HOU; Justin Gage, TEN; Ted Ginn Jr., MIA

Top 10 TEs

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Tony Gonzalez, KCC                       1st last week

2. Dustin Keller, NYJ                         2nd last week

3. Chris Cooley, WAS                        New

4. Jason Witten, DAL                        New

5. John Carlson, SEA                        9th last week

6. Donald Lee, GBP                          New

7. Zach Miller, OAK                          New

8. Jeremy Shockey, NOS                  New

9. Jerramy Stevens, TBB                  New

10. Martellus Bennett, DAL               New

Removed from list: Bo Scaife, TEN; Kevin Boss, NYG; Kellen Winslow, CLE; Todd Heap, BAL; Antonio Gates, SDC; Ben Watson, NEP; Dallas Clark, IND

Top 9 Ks

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Rob Bironas, TEN                         New

2. Phil Dawson, CLE                         1st last week

3. Jeff Reed, PIT                              10th last week

4. Adam Vinatieri,

IND                     4th last week

5. Kris Brown, HOU                           New

6. Nick Folk, DAL                             New

7. Matt Bryant, TBB                         New

8. Josh Brown, STL                          New

9. Mason Crosby, GBP                      6th last week


Removed from list: Jay Feely, NYJ; Neil Rackers, ARI; Stephen Gostkowski, NEP; Rian Lindell, BUF; Ryan Longwell, MIN; Garrett Hartley, NOS

Top 10 DEFs

Based on Shark League scoring


1. Buccaneers, TBB                    4th last week  

2. Ravens, BAL                          1st last week

3. Vikings, MIN                          5th last week

4. Steelers, PIT                         New

5. Cowboys, DAL                       New

6. Eagles, PHI                            8th last week

7. Titans, TEN                           New

8. Bills, BUF                              7th last week

9. Raiders, OAK                         3rd last week

10. Giants, NYG                         New

Removed from list: Jets, NYJ; Panthers, CAR; Jaguars, JAC; Packers, GBP

The Golden Mug Awards

Awarded to the fantasy player that came through for their owners.

Donovan McNabb – 27 for 39, 260 PaYDs, 4 PaTDs. McNabb comes out swinging to quiet all the critics and prove that he’s still got it. Now if he can be consistent is another question that he will have to answer as the he gets to face the Giants on the road. Four weeks ago playing at home, McNabb managed 194 PaYDs but still threw three PaTDs to one INT. He remains the sixth-best QB in Shark Leagues, averaging 17.3 FTPs per game. It will be tough for him to play like he did last week, but heading into the fantasy playoffs you have to roll with your best players.

Brian Westbrook – 22 car. for 110 RuYDs, 2 TDs; 3 rec. for 20 ReYDs, 2 ReTDs. Does the run open up the pass or does the pass set up the run? In

Philadelphia, they have struggled in the run department especially where they rank 24th in the league with 102 RuYDs per game. Westbrook finally got out of a slump after posting four bad games due to injuries, something Westbrook owners always have to deal with. Although Westbrook hasn’t put up Top 5 RB numbers through 13 weeks, he’s still the 13th-best RB trailing Chris Johnson of

Tennessee by four FTPs. If he can hold up, you’ll be able to ride him through the playoffs.

DeAngelo Williams – 21 car. for 72 RuYDs, 4 RuTDs. I said it before and I’m telling you again, Williams is one of the best draft day steals in 2008. I will admit that the injury to Jonathan Stewart did help but opportunity is what helps in this league. Since the bye week he is averaging 28.3 FTPs per game. Tough matchup this week against the


Bay defense that held Williams to just 27 RuYDs in Week 6 and has given up just one RuTD on the season.

The Urinal Cake Awards

Awarded to the fantasy player that you would like to, well you know.

Peyton Manning – 15 for 21, 125 PaYDs, 2INTs. Manning’s performance killed the playoff chances of many owners. Not only as a QB but also for owners counting on the Colts receivers to produce. It was a good matchup that many would have thought would produce plenty of scoring. It was Manning’s first game without a TD since Week 9 against the Packers. If you survived then there is good news ahead. Manning faces the Bengals, Lions and Jaguars in the next three games.

Ryan Grant – 12 car. for 39 RuYDs. Grant is looking like a bust for 2008 as he is now the 23rd-best RB. He needs just 124 RuYDs to reach 1,000 but he hasn’t provided much fire power with just three RuTDs on the season. He has decent matchups coming up against the Texans, Jaguars and Bears but hasn’t taken advantage of opportunities he’s had this season.


Portis – 11 car. for 22 yards. Portis has been a Top 10 RB this season but had the worst game of the season last week. Granted, he was facing a tough Giants defense but the offense depends on him to get them going. He has been on the injury list the past eight weeks and has two tough matchups over the next three weeks coming up against the Ravens, Bengals and Eagles.


Thursday night games would be as exciting as Monday night football if they had better matchups to watch.



San Diego, 8:15pm

– These teams played in Week 4 with

San Diego winning 28-18. Since that game the Chargers are 2-6 and look to be all but out of the playoffs baring a Bronco collapse. The Raiders haven’t played much better as well, also going 2-6 since that Week 4 game. The Raiders will look to keep the Chargers down and split the series. This may turn into a shootout, helping some owners.

The matchups I like this week for QBs:

Matt Cassel against the Seahawks. Cassel struggled last week against a tough

Pittsburgh defense but remains a Top 10 fantasy QB through 13 weeks. Owners will need him this week, and he has a good chance to bounce back with a matchup against the Seahawks that give up a good amount of scoring opportunities.

Seattle is allowing 265.2 PaYDs per game which is the worst in the league. They also have given up 19 PaTDs on the year (27th). Do or die time for

Cassel owners.

Matt Ryan against the Saints. Ryan has been good for a rookie in fantasy leagues if you needed to fill in a spot or have a better matchup. Can he be counted on during the playoffs? Ryan is the 15th-best QB in Shark Leagues ahead of QBs such as Jason Campbell, Jake Delhomme and even Ben Roethlisberger. He could be a good play with the right matchups as his last four games are against the Saints, Buccaneers, Vikings and Rams. The Saints defense has been a QBs friend as they are allowing 224 PaYDs (24th) per game and have given up 19 PaTDs.

Shaun Hill against the Jets. Hill has been available in most leagues and only the owners who were desperate for help at the QB position have taken a flyer on him. Hill hasn’t played that bad as he is currently the eighth-best QB over the last three weeks, averaging 17.7 FTPs in those games. He faces a Jets team that plays the run well but has been poor in their pass defense. They are giving up 249.2 PaYDs (30th) per game with 17 PaTDs allowed (12th). In the past three games the Jets have given up 333.3 PaYDs and six PaTDs.

The matchups I like this week for RBs:

Ladainian Tomlinson against the Raiders. LT and the playoffs seem to always go hand in hand, so it goes without saying that you would love to have him on your roster for the post season. LT is defiantly having a down year but he’s still productive as the eighth-best RB in Shark Leagues on the season. Last week, a TD saved a poor rushing day but he has a great matchup coming up. In Week 4, LT racked up 106 RuYDs and two RuTDs, so he should be good for another great game. The Raiders have not improved, no matter who they have coaching them. They have allowed 158.8 RuYDs (29th) per game and have given up 17 RuTDs (27th).

Sammy Morris against the Seahawks. Morris is never a guy you would grab in a draft until the end or maybe even off the waivers. He’s never a RB you would use other than a flex position but he can sneak up on your opponents and put up numbers from time to time as he did in Week 7 against the Broncos when he had 138 RuYDs and a TD. Morris may have another good game this week as he faces the Seahawks who allow 121.5 RuYDs (22nd) per game and have given up 11 RuTDs (17th).

Chris Johnson against the Browns. Johnson showed up on turkey day to get back on track and helped his owners who really need him to come through. The Browns now have the worst starting QB situation (third-stringer Ken Dorsey will be starting with Josh Cribbs as the back up) in the league and the Titans will just control the clock and grind it out all game. The Browns are allowing 141.2 (24th) RuYDs per game and have surrendered 11 RuTDs (17th).

The matchups I don’t like this week for QBs:

David Garrard against the Bears. The Bears were lit up last week against

Minnesota and haven’t played the pass particularly well. You would think that since the Bears allow 240.5 PaYDs (29th) per game, it would be a good matchup for Garrard. The way that the Jaguars have been playing, Garrard just isn’t getting the support from his receivers. He has only four PaTDs to five INTs in the last five games.

Joe Flacco against the Redskins. Flacco has been overshadowed some by the success of Matt Ryan but Flacco has been just as productive. Ryan averages 13.8 FTPs per game while Flacco is averaging 14.2 FTPs. Flacco has thrown atleast a TD in the past seven weeks with four muli-TD games. He has a tough task this week against a Redskins defense that can’t afford to lose anymore ground in the playoff race having lost three of the past four games. The Redskins are allowing 192.2 (7th) PaYDs per game with 13 PaTDs (11th).

Jeff Garcia against the Panthers. Garcia hasn’t played well in the past two weeks despite having great matchups. This is going to be a good game on Monday night to determine the NFC South leader. In the Week 6 meeting, the Panthers were trounced but the Buccaneers but Garcia managed just 173 PaYDs and one TD. Look for more of the same form old man Garcia in this contest. The Panthers are allowing 200.5 PaYDs (12th) per game with 11 PaTDs (4th).

The matchups I don’t like this week for RBs:

Steven Jackson against the Cardinals. When draft day came, many owners were worried about

Jackson’s holdout but it has been his injuries that have hurt his owners this season.

Jackson returned to the lineup last week to run for 94 yards but hasn’t played much since the

Dallas game where he ran for 160 YDs and three TDs. That game will comeback to haunt his owners because they see the potential to put up those numbers. However, the way the team has played and how much he has struggled to stay on the field is what can cost you for leaving him in the lineup. The Cardinals play the run well, allowing 97.5 (13th) RuYDs per game with 10 RuTDs surrendered (17th).

Marshawn Lynch against the Dolphins. You’re going to have Lynch in your lineup. I’m not listing him here as a player to bench but as a caution that he may struggle this week. Lynch had a decent game in Week 8 against the Dolphins with 61 RuYDs and a TD. The Dolphins have put themselves in a position to compete for a playoff spot and they will want this game more and that will be the struggles of the Bills offense. The Dolphins haven’t been bad against the run as they allow just 97.0 (11th) YDs per game with eight TDs given up (8th).

Marion Barber against the Steelers. Another RB you are going to play this week but he will have a tough time. Barber is facing a great Steelers defense that is tops in the league against the run. They allow just 71.2 (1st) RuYDs per game and have allowed just five RuTDs all season (3rd). Keep in mind that the Cowboys and Steelers rivalry is one of the biggest non-divisional matchups in the NFL. The key to him playing is his ability to practice on Friday. If you have roster space grab Tashard Choice, but don’t start him this week.

Week 14: put the pedal to the metal and kick ass heading into the playoffs.

Good Luck to everyone in Week 14!


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