Saturday, December 6

Da Games: Early Sundayers

In our attempt to provide every possible way for you to have more reason to kick yourself after a well researched fantasy loss, we antagonizingly analyze each and every weekend matchup. Wow. (A one word lead! I'm Matthew Berry!) Perusing the internet I was and I came upon an interesting document from Neilsen, those ratings guys who have little leprechaun spies in your TV that know what programs your watching. (Bro-hug to Awful Announcing.) It says that 75 Million people visited sports websites in October. It also says that 11.6 million unique users logged more than 1.2 billion minutes on fantasy sports sites in 2008. 1.2 Billion minutes. With a B. And an illion. But FF Writers With Hair is getting only like 450 visits a month. With no illion. Not even an ousand. Just undred. That's a joke. Side note: We recently got a visit from somewhere in the District of Columbia. Bush? Condy? Me thinks we have powerful friends in high places. Or average blow White House workers just use their free time to set their lineups instead of keeping the President from getting sniped. Both the former and the latter would be pretty darn sick.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Chicago Bears
Fantasy Impact Players QB Kyle Orton, David Garrard RB— Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor WR— Matt Jones, Devin Hester TE— none Key Stat 1— Since 1988, Chicago has scored more than 23.4 points per game (their average this year) just once, in 2006, and since entering the league in 1995, Jacksonville has given up more than 22.5 points per game just once, in '95. Our Take Tosten Burks— Matt Jones should never be the best wide receiver in a professional football game. Goodness. This will be a matchup dominated by the run on both sides. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see Orton get back in the groove this Sunday. Zach Fein— Jacksonville's been downright terrible this year. You saw what Steve Slaton did against them; look for Matt Forte to do the same. Alex KozoraMJD's strength has been touchdowns this year ... only touchdowns. I still label him as a risky play. Kyle Orton has struggled lately, but Matt Forte is a great start. The Jags defense is playing nowhere near the level it was last season.
Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub RB— Steve Slaton, Ryan Grant WR— Andre Johnson, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Kevin Walter TE— Owen Daniels, Donald Lee Key Stat 3.25— The Packers have outscored opponents by 3.25 points per game, yet are two games under .500. Since 1994, no team under .500 has had a higher scoring margin than Green Bay this year. Our Take Tosten Burks— Last weekend, Gary Kubiak lamented about not using Slaton enough in the first half. Then he gave the ball to him 2093 times in the second half. And then he raved after the game about how mature Slaton is. I'm thinking about going back and switching my mancrush. Expect huge numbers from the rookie. Zach Fein— As noted in the key stat, the Packers have been considerably unlucky this year. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-teens, so a low-scoring, old-school football game with little passing should be the final outcome. Alex KozoraMatt Schaub returns, but expect him to be rusty. Don't think about benching Andre Johnson though. Not much to note for Green Bay; Rodgers, Jennings, and Grant are all good plays.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Fantasy Impact Players QB— none, don't give me Culpepper and Gus Bus, get that outta here RB— Adrian Peterson, Kevin Smith WR— Calvin Johnson, Bernard Berrian TE— Visanthe Shiancoe Key Stat 0— The Detroit Lions have zero wins this year. Wait, you already knew that? Our Take Tosten Burks— Not going to lie, I have no idea if the Vikings D-linemen who tested positive for the banned substance in the StarCaps pills are going to play against Detroit. If someone knows, hit up the webmail, If they do, Calvin Johnson is the only Lion worth starting. If they don't, Kevin Smith is a top-eight running back. [Ed's note: Yes, Kevin and Pat Williams are playing.] Zach Fein— If the Williams duo was out this week, I would pick the Lions to win their first game this year. They're not, so the Vikes should pull out the win in the final minutes of the game. Start everyone for Minnesota. Calvin Johnson is a top-five wideout, and Kevin Smith is still a flex play this week, in my opinion, even with the Williamses playing. Alex KozoraAnother easy call. With Kevin and Pat Williams expected to play, I would look at other options than Kevin Smith if you're in need of a running back to start. You could start Calvin Johnson on his pure talent, but I don't expect any Lion to have a good game. Peterson owners have been waiting for this day since ... well, the last time the Vikings played the Lions.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Peyton Manning RB— Joseph Addai, Cedric Benson WR— Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Chad Ocho Cinco TE— Dallas Clark Key Stat 1— Of the Colts' eight wins on the year, only one has been by a touchdown or more. Our Take Tosten Burks— What a bleh game. I don't care about the Colts and the Bengals are a vaudeville act. Anybody else wish their name was Visanthe? Zach Fein— This would have been a 40-37 game, two years ago. Play the usual Colts and bench all your Bengals. Alex KozoraHoushmandzadeh remains the only dependable Bengal. You could get away with starting Ocho Cinco, but that's where I draw the line. Manning, Wayne, Gonzalez, and yes, Addai should be starting in fantasy lineups across the U.S.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans
Fantasy Impact Players QB— none, Collins and Dorsey are not startable anywhere RB— Chris Johnson, LenDale White, Jamal Lewis WR— Braylon Edwards, Justin Gage TE— Bo Scaife Key Stat 7, 4, 13— Seven wideouts have more fantasy points, four have more receiving yards, and 13 have more touchdowns than all Cleveland Browns receivers have combined. Our Take Tosten Burks— Winslow is out with a high ankle sprain, which will make Ken Dorsey's return to startingdom even more fun. Hey seuss, Justin Gage might be a better option than Braylon. I'd just start all the tailbacks. Zach Fein— Ken Dorsey has attempted four passes in the last 1,104 days. Don't get cute. Even in 32-team leagues. Alex KozoraI made a joke about Ken Dorsey early in the week, but the Titans won't have any film on him. He could get away with some average performances his first outing or two, a la Brian Griese awhile back. Similar to when Brady Quinn started, the Browns will likely be playing small ball. In emergency situations, Steve Heiden or Martin Rucker can be used as flotation devices. Jamal Lewis will see a lot of carries, but then again, he has to go against the Titans' run defense. Start your usual Titans: Chris Johnson and Kerry Collins. Bo Scaife has been flying under the radar, too.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning RB— Brandon Jacobs, Brian Westbrook WR— DeSean Jackson, Amani Toomer, Domenik Hixon, Kevin Curtis TE— Kevin Boss Key Stat(s) 1— The Giants have lost once in their past 16 games. 32— In wins, the Eagles have scored 32 points per game. In losses, the Eagles have given up 32 points per game Our Take Tosten Burks— All eyes will be on the Giants to see how they play in the midst of the Plaxico scandal. They'll be distracted. The Eagles have momentum from last week's Thursday beatdown. The Eagles have the urgency. I like Philly. A lot of good starts on both sides though. Zach Fein— Antonio Pierce is what keeps the Giants defense as good as it is. If he's not mentally stable after the Plaxico Burress incident, the Giants are going to struggle. I think this game is going to be a shootout just like the first time they played this year (36-31). Start everyone, including Derrick Ward, who is a very good flex play and low-end No. 2 RB in standard leagues. Alex KozoraI wouldn't sit anyone you usually start because anyone you usually start is probably a star (Eli Manning, Brandon Jacobs, Brian Westbrook). Dominik Hixon and Amani Toomer have played very well in Burress' absence and both are considered average flex plays. Kevin Boss' targets should increase, too. McNabb is a decent start despite the Giants great pass rush.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Drew Brees, Matt Ryan RB— Michael Turner, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush WR— Roddy White, Marques Colston, Lance Moore TE— Jeremy Shockey Key Stat 2.5— Drew Brees has a 9.6 yards per attempt at home, which is 2.5 yards more than his 7.1 on the road. Our Take Tosten Burks— Reggie Bush is still hurt. Deuce McCallister isn't going to play because he's too busy cutting weight. Sean Payton says, "You'll see him get a lot of touches this weekend." Who is him? Pierre Thomas. I love Thomas this week. Zach FeinThe Falcons are 8-4, but have been underdogs the past two weeks to a 4-7 Chargers team and a 6-6 Saints team. Can the Falcons get some love? This game will be a high-scoring slugfest. Play everyone on both sides. As for the Saints RB situation, I like Bush the most out of all, followed by Thomas. Alex KozoraAtlanta is on the road, a place where they don't play nearly as well. Great news for Brees owners though it's not like you'd ever find yourself in a situation where you sit him. Start Colston, Lance Moore, and Pierre Thomas with confidence. Ryan is a fringe start to me, but you could do worse. Turner and Roddy White should be starting in almost all leagues.

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