Authored by Martin Barna - 17th December, 2005 - 12:50 am
With week fifteen now upon us, it?s finally getting down to fantasy crunch time, and if you?re still reading this column, you?re probably still somewhere near the top of your fantasy football league. So how will you get that extra added boost to put your squad over the top to earn your league?s highly-coveted fantasy championship? Read on.
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So you?ve got the starting quarterback, you?ve got the stud running back, and your top receiver is raking in the points, but which plug-in plays make the most and least sense for your second- and third-string starters?
The answers you?ll need are all here in my week fifteen fantasy studs and duds:
Eli Manning (vs. KC) ? The younger Manning has struggled in his last few starts but at home against a soft Kansas City secondary that?s allowed the third most passing yards in the league, he should be able to get back on track. With Tiki Barber stuck in neutral against a strong Chiefs run defense, Manning could throw for two of three scores and upwards of 275 yards.
David Garrard (vs. SF) ? If you got a quarterback like Drew Brees or Michael Vick with a tough match-up this week, Garrard might be a great waiver wire acquisition. San Francisco is ceding an average of nearly 285 pass yards per game and has allowed 26 passing TD?s on the year. Garrard notches 200 yards and two scores through the air, with the strong possibility of a rushing score and 50 yards to boot.
Ronnie Brown (vs. NYJ) ? Brown?s numbers have suffered from carry-splitting in recent weeks, but the Jets have the leagues worst run defense, and at home, there will be plenty of rushing yards to go around for both Brown and Ricky Williams. Put Brown down for one score and at least 90 yards.
Ryan Moats (@ STL) ? Moats turned some heads last week with an impressive two-touchdown performance against the Giants. The young back is primed for another big day against a 29th ranked St. Louis run defense that?s allowed a league-worst 18 rushing touchdowns. Expect 120 yards and a pair of scores.
Tatum Bell (@ BUF) ? In the stinging cold of Buffalo in late December, the Broncos will look to establish an effective ground game against a Bills defense that?s allowing over 140 rush yards per game. Bell will be good for at least one score and could reach 140 total yards from scrimmage.
Anquan Boldin (@ HOU) ? I?m officially jumping off the Larry Fitzgerald Bandwagon and onto Boldin?s. The former Seminole standout has established himself as Arizona?s top receiver and, against the league?s worst total defense, should add another touchdown and 110 receiving yards to his already impressive 2005 campaign.
Jimmy Smith (vs. SF) ? If he can break 100 yards and score against the Colts, it that will undoubtedly come from the league?s worst offense. The Dolphins handled LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates last week, so Brooks Bollinger seems likely that he can repeat such a feat against the 49ers. Smith?s an easy pick here and should be a lock to top the century mark and reach the end zone on Sunday.
Joe Jurevicius (@ TEN) ? Despite losing Koren Robinson in the off-season and Darrell Jackson to injury, the Seahawks reserve receivers have stepped up dramatically to fill the void. Perhaps the best of these receivers, Jurevicius has become a great fantasy wideout. Chalk him up for 90 yards and a score against the Titans.
Jeremy Shockey (vs. KC) ? Shockey will be one of the main beneficiaries of Eli Manning?s big day against the Chiefs. Expect the burly tight end to haul in seven catches for 80 yards and a score.
Tony Gonzalez (@ NYG) ? The Giants are allowing 222 pass yards per game so Gonzalez, Shockey?s Kansas City counterpart, should be able to match his adversary?s numbers in Sunday?s contest at the Meadowlands.
Miami Defense (vs. NYJ) ? Shutouts are always nice for a fantasy defense. So too are the plethora of turnovers and Laverneous Coles shouldn?t pose a threat.
Arizona Defense (@ HOU) ? Arizona?s defense has been mediocre all year, but the Texans offense just plain stinks. The Cardinals should be able to get to David Carr all day long, so expect plenty of turnovers in an ugly win for the Cards.
Brad Johnson (vs. PIT) ? Johnson has been a major reason for the Vikings? six-game win streak, but that streak comes to an end on Sunday, and so too does Johnson?s fantasy production. Don?t expect more than 170 passing yards and a score.
Michael Vick (@ CHI) ? Vick is very dinged up right now and the Bears are the best defense in the league. With Chicago?s strong proficiency for attacking opposing quarterbacks, I wouldn?t be surprised to see Falcon back-up, Matt Schaub, seeing significant time on Sunday.
Tiki Barber (vs. KC) ? Barber has drawn a few ludicrous comparisons to LaDanian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander this year, but make no mistake that against the 5th ranked Chiefs run defense, Barber will struggle. Anything more than 70 yards would come as a surprise.
Warrick Dunn (@ CHI) ? With Vick unable to get the passing game on track, the Bears should be able to pack the line and hold Dunn under 70 yards and out of the end zone. Look elsewhere this week, if possible.
Samkon Gado (@ BAL) ? I just can?t bring myself to endorse Gado this week. He lit up Detroit last week, but that was Detroit and most of his yardage came on one long run. He might score against the Ravens, but anything more than 60 yards is just wishful thinking.
Steve Smith (@ NO) ? I?ve been saying all along how strong the New Orleans? secondary is and they?ll show it once more in Baton Rouge this week. Smith will be held under five catches and 60 yards against a Saints team that allows an average of 180 pass yards per game.
Deion Branch (vs. TB) ? The Tampa Bay defense eats go-to wide receivers for breakfast and Branch will be no exception to that rule. In the cold of Foxboro in January, don?t expect any big days from receivers, so 60 yards on the day for Branch should be right on.
Santana Moss (vs. DAL) ? Moss isn?t a terrible option but, like Tampa Bay, the Cowboys have a tendency to shut down opposing teams? top receivers. Moss should consider himself fortunate to break 70 yards.
Randy McMichael (vs. NYJ) ? McMichael has become a secondary weapon to Chris Chambers in the Miami offense, so don?t expect him to have a great day against the NFL?s third-best secondary. The Jets have allowed just 11 passing touchdowns on the year so don?t expect McMichael to boost that number. I see 40 receiving yards on the day.
Todd Heap (vs. GB) ? Heap is listed as probable for Baltimore?s Monday Night match-up with the Packers. He?s been playing reasonably well in the last few weeks, but Green Bay is actually allowing a league-low 163.3 pass yards per game. Unless you?re okay with four catches and 40 yards, save a nice warm bench spot for Heap this week.
New York Giants Defense (vs. KC) ? The Chiefs offense is just too strong to gamble against, and starting one of the defenses in what is sure to be a high-scoring shootout just won?t be conducive to fantasy success. Negative points, anyone?
San Diego Defense (@ IND) ? The Chargers may have the NFL?s top-ranked run defense, but the Colts are still the Colts. The fact that the game is being played within the friendly confines of Indianapolis? RCA Dome should make the decision that much easier. Sorry, San Diego.
Good luck in week fifteen!
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