I'll be able to answer e-mails Friday evening (late) so hang tight
if you're waiting for specific guidance. If you're looking for something
more general…here you go. Your Week 15 recommendations.
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Peyton Manning vs. BAL -
The Ravens got a peek at Manning Future last week. This week,
they draw the much scarier Manning Present. He's been somewhat
disappointing of late (five TDs in his last two) but that's no
reason to sit him down, especially on the fast track at Indy in
front of a raucous Sunday night crowd. He's still your #1 option,
2. Daunte Culpepper @ DET -
The Vikes are mired in yet another late-season slump and Daunte's
spotty play is either the cause or the result, depending on how
you look at it. Regardless, he needs to be better against the
Lions this Sunday if Minny has any hope of running down the Pack
for the NFC North crown. He will be
even if they don't.
3. Donovan McNabb vs. DAL -
Until the Eagles have secured home-field advantage, there's no
reason to think Don and Co. will ease off the throttle. Though
he struggled a bit against Washington's above-average group last
week, he should get back on track against a Dallas squad he torched
in Week 10 (345 yards and four scores). One note of caution: T.O.
appears to be out this week.
4. Billy Volek @ OAK - I tend
to prefer proven commodities when playoff lives are at stake but
there's no denying his recent, eye-popping numbers. He's averaging
343 yards and three scores in his last three starts and now draws
an Oakland D that has yielded 24 touchdown passes on the season
(against just six picks). If he gets any protection whatsoever,
he should have another huge day.
5. Jake Plummer @ KC - In fact,
the only thing better than facing Oakland's squishy secondary
is facing KC's buttery-soft bunch. The Chefs surrendered 400+
yards and four scores to the aforementioned Volek last week
won. That tells me this Sunday's matchup will be a classic AFC
West affair (read: shootout city). It also tells me KC is the
perfect antidote for what ails the suddenly cranky Snake. Expect
a redemptive effort at Arrowhead from Denver's enigmatic leading
6. Trent Green vs. DEN - Plummer's
oppoenent this weekend will be coming off consecutive three-TD
performances and, more importantly, two victories. Though KC isn't
going anywhere this postseason, the wins (road wins, no less)
speak volumes about the team's character. All things being equal,
you want guys who play for teams who won't lay down at this point
in the season.
7. Brian Griese vs. NO - Somewhat
surprisingly, last week's matchup with San Diego turned into a
high-scoring affair. The chief beneficiary from a fantasy standpoint?
This guy. He tossed it around for almost 400 yards and three scores.
Though he also threw three picks, he draws a horrid New Orleans
secondary this Sunday that isn't particularly opportunistic. That
should translate into a pretty solid day at Raymond James.
8. Byron Leftwich @ GB - Unlike
Joey Harrington, the strong-armed Leftwich should have no problem
dealing with the Green Bay elements this weekend. He's used to
crummy weather from his days at Marshall and is just the type
of QB to give the Pack fits if they don't get a strong pass rush.
I'm suspecting they won't in a game that could turn into a bit
of a shootout.
9. Brett Favre vs. JAX - The
other side of that coin? Favre and his trio of dangerous wideouts
vs. Jacksonville's average to below-average secondary. The Ol'
Gunslinger is famously difficult to sack and the Jags don't possess
a very strong pass rush as it is. If they're forced to blitz some,
look for some big plays by the Pack's passing game, even in the
10. Michael Vick vs. CAR - Though
he almost single-handedly dashed my championship hopes in two
leagues, I can't stop recommending him. It's a sickness, I guess.
He's a huge game waiting to happen (and waiting
and will be carrying most of the offensive burden this week with
T.J. Duckett and Justin Griffith out. Give him a look if you managed
to survive to this point.
Grab A Helmet:
Jake Delhomme @ ATL - The Panthers
failed to score 20 points in a game until Week 9. Since then,
they haven't scored FEWER than 20. Is it any surprise they're
riding a five-game winning streak and now have a legit shot at
the playoffs? Delhomme's improved play has been a major reason
for the turnaround and though his numbers don't jump off the page
at you (nine TDs during the streak), he's still a decent start
against an Atlanta team that gives up plenty of yardage (236.9/game)
through the air.
Drew Bledsoe @ CIN - Carolina's
about-face is impressive enough but Buffalo's might be even more
so. Why? There was simply no reason to believe this team was capable
of winning seven of their last nine. Bledsoe isn't the primary
reason things have gotten better (try improved line play and the
emergence of Willis McGahee) but his numbers are certainly up,
regardless. If you're stuck and need someone who can fetch you
decent numbers, give him a look. The game in Cincy might just
turn into a high-scoring affair.
Jon Kitna vs. BUF - Carson Palmer
had the Cincy offense rolling of late (against some good competition)
but don't feel too sorry for the Bengals. Jon Kitna is probably
one of the top three backups in the league. All he did last week
(against the defending world champs, no less) was complete nine
of 13 passes for 126 yards and a touch. This, despite not playing
a single SNAP prior to that point. If you need a super-sneaky
playoff starter, he might just be your guy.
Tom Brady @ MIA - There's nothing
super-sneaky about Brady. Thanks to the emergence of Corey Dillon,
the 40-pass, three-TD games are a thing of the past. You're better
off expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 225 yards and a
couple touchdown tosses, the type of day he delivers with dogged
consistency. Hey, don't complain. You could do a lot worse.
Kerry Collins vs. TEN - Need
proof? Check out Collins' stats last week (14 of 28 for 166 yards
and a pick). He's the anti-Brady, it seems, throwing up huge numbers
and ghastly ones on an alternating basis. Lucky for his owners,
the Raiders draw the decimated Titans D this week, a unit that
yielded a whopping 49 points at home last week. Give him a go..
Grab A Clipboard:
Eli Manning vs. PIT - With the
advent of short passing games and West Coast offenses, it's exceedingly
rare to see a QB complete 50% of his passes. If only Eli could
complete THAT many. He's currently below FORTY percent (38.2%
to be exact) and has thrown just a single TD pass in four starts.
There's no sugarcoating his performance thus far. It's been dreadful
and is unlikely to get better against the 12-1 Curtain this Saturday.
Joey Harrington vs. MIN - Like
Eli, you could have counted Joey's completions on one hand last
week. The elements certainly played a part (his passes had almost
no chance of reaching his receivers) but it's not like he was
tearing it up before last Sunday, either. Coach Mooch is sticking
by him for now but that doesn't mean you have to. Abandon ship
if you haven't already done so.
Chad Hutchinson vs. HOU - I
told you not to expect much from this guy and, true to form, he
laid an egg against the Jags last week (212 yards, no TDs, and
a pick). I doubt you're still in the playoffs if you started him
but if you did (and survived), don't do it again. You'll be sorry
Vinny Testaverde @ PHI - Facing
a very susceptible Saints squad with a playoff spot on the line,
Vinny had perhaps his worst game of the season, completing just
14 of his 35 passes for 160 yards and one, really bad pick. This
week, he draws the NFC's best, Philadelphia, in a game the 'Boys
must win. Don't count on it and don't count on him putting up
good numbers, either.