All our week 16 content
Week 16 Upgrades, Downgrades, and Waiver Wire Wonders
by Jeff Pasquino, Jene Bramel, Jeff Haseley, Maurile Tremblay, Aaron Rudnicki, Colin Dowling, Will Grant, and Matt Waldman, exclusive to
- QB Vince Young, TEN
- QB David Garrard, JAX
- QB Alex Smith, SF
- QB Matt Cassel, KC
- QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
- QB Joe Flacco, BAL
- QB Keith Null, STL *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
- QB Charlie Frye, OAK
- QB Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
- QB Jason Campbell, WAS
- QB Jay Cutler, CHI
- QB Tom Brady, NE
- QB Matt Ryan, ATL
- QB Mark Sanchez, NYJ
- QB Matt Schaub, HOU
- QB Kurt Warner, ARI
- QB Brett Favre, MIN
- QB Chad Henne, MIA
- QB Matt Moore, CAR
- QB Eli Manning, NYG
- RB Jerome Harrison, CLE
- RB Chris Wells, ARI
- RB Maurice Morris, DET *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- RB Marion Barber, DAL
- RB Ryan Moats, HOU
- RB Michael Bush, OAK *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- RB Leonard Weaver, PHI *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR
- RB Jamaal Charles, KC
- RB Jason Snelling, ATL
- RB Tyrell Sutton, CAR *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- RB Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
- RB Laurence Maroney, NE
- RB Mike Bell, NO
- RB Derrick Ward, TB
- RB Rashard Mendenhall, PIT
- RB Marcus Mason, WAS *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- RB Arian Foster, HOU
- RB Chris Brown, HOU
- RB Justin Fargas, OAK
- RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR
- RB Reggie Bush, NO
- RB Joseph Addai, IND
- RB Justin Forsett, SEA
- RB Adrian Peterson, MIN
- RB Brandon Jacobs, NYG
- RB Chester Taylor, MIN
- RB Jerious Norwood, ATL
- RB Quinton Ganther, WAS
- RB Michael Turner, ATL
- RB Pierre Thomas, NO
- RB Chris Johnson, TEN
- RB Steven Jackson, STL
- RB Knowshon Moreno, DEN
- RB Darren McFadden, OAK
- RB Tim Hightower, ARI
- WR Lance Moore, NO *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- WR Josh Morgan, SF
- WR Dwayne Bowe, KC
- WR Chris Chambers, KC
- WR Demetrius Williams, BAL *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- WR Steve Smith, CAR
- WR Josh Reed, BUF *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- WR DeSean Jackson, PHI
- WR Greg Jennings, GB
- WR Torry Holt, JAX *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- WR Mike Wallace, PIT
- WR Chad Ochocinco, CIN
- WR Vincent Jackson, SD
- WR Kevin Walter, HOU
- WR Sammie Stroughter, TB *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- WR Donnie Avery, STL
- WR Devin Aromashodu, CHI
- WR Terrell Owens, BUF
- WR Louis Murphy, OAK
- WR Calvin Johnson, DET
- WR Percy Harvin, MIN
- WR Muhsin Muhammad, CAR
- WR Sidney Rice, MIN
- WR Roddy White, ATL
- WR Braylon Edwards, NYJ
- WR Donald Driver, GB
- WR Hines Ward, PIT
- WR Pierre Garcon, IND
- WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
- WR Greg Camarillo, MIA
- WR Anquan Boldin, ARI
- WR Kenny Britt, TEN
- WR Bernard Berrian, MIN
- WR Chaz Schilens, OAK
- WR Andre Johnson, HOU
- WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG
- TE David Thomas, NO *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- TE Marcedes Lewis, JAX
- TE John Carlson, SEA
- TE Jermichael Finley, GB
- TE Fred Davis, WAS *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- TE John Paul Foschi, CIN *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- TE Kellen Winslow, TB
- TE Heath Miller, PIT
- TE Jeremy Shockey, NO
- TE Tony Gonzalez, ATL
- TE Bo Scaife, TEN
- TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN
- TE Jeff King, CAR
- PK Nate Kaeding, SD
- PK Rob Bironas, TEN
- PK Jay Feely, NYJ
- PK Mason Crosby, GB
- PK Garrett Hartley, NO
- TD Philadelphia Eagles, PHI
- TD Arizona Cardinals, ARI
- TD Baltimore Ravens, BAL
- TD Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT
- TD Tennessee Titans, TEN
- TD Green Bay Packers, GB
QB Matt Cassel, KC
- Though the Browns defense isn't among the elite of the league, the Chiefs offense is looking more explosive by the week. With Jamaal Charles running the ball well and Dwayne Bowe back opposite midseason acquisition Chris Chambers, Cassel has a number of weapons to keep the offense moving. Cassel's completion percentage wasn't impressive against the Browns, but his receivers were charged with eight dropped passes, including one in the end zone by Bowe. Cassel was accurate downfield and the Chiefs were willing to take shots down the sideline. The Cincinnati defense will be a tougher test on the road next week, but Cassel has mid-QB2 upside with the weapons now at his disposal.
QB Joe Flacco, BAL
- Flacco had just four TD passes in his last seven games, but he set a new career high with four of them this week against a Bears defense that appeared helpless for much of the game. He got off to a great start with a couple TD passes to Todd Heap in the first quarter and then added two more early in the third quarter to turn the game into a blowout. Flacco had plenty of time in the pocket during the game and rather than throw off play-action, he was able to simply drop back and pick the Bears defense apart. The Ravens travel to Pittsburgh next week in what should be a big game but their pass defense has been struggling so he should remain a solid play.
QB David Garrard, JAX
- David Garrard looked very good in Week 15 as he attempted to keep pace with Peyton Manning and the Colts on Thursday Night Football. Garrard moved within and around the pocket well, distributing the ball to his backs, receivers and tight ends with good success against Indianapolis to the tune of 223 yards and three touchdowns against just one interception. With New England next on the schedule, Jacksonville may find themselves in another shootout and Garrard would have to match Tom Brady's output as best he can, similar to what he did against Manning.
QB Keith Null, STL
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Null was surprisingly productive against Houston. Following on his five-interception game against Tennessee, Null completed two-thirds of his passes for a respectable 6.4 yards per attempt. The Rams offense still runs through Steven Jackson and if you're desperate enough to be starting Null then you are likely out of the playoff race in your league. That said, Null has clearly improved from last week and he'll certainly have the next two weeks to prove his worth to the Rams front office.
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
- Rodgers found himself on the losing side of a classic duel between two great young quarterbacks on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The Packers QB demonstrated strong accuracy on quick hitting plays despite the fact Donald Driver and James Jones had some untimely drops throughout. Rodgers was solid down the middle, hitting Greg Jennings down the seam just under the safety for an 83-yard score. He also demonstrated good touch on a corner fade to Jermichael Finley for a score in the second half. Finley continues to be an up and coming favorite target for Rodgers, but the Packers QB showed the ability to spread the ball around to multiple receivers, including Donald Lee, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones. He also put his athleticism on display with a 13-yard score after getting forced from the pocket, pump faking at the line of scrimmage and taking off for the end zone untouched. However, the most impressive part of his game was his toughness to take some wicked hard shots from Steelers linebackers and perform as well as he did.
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
- Roethlisberger was magnificent against the highly ranked Packers passing defense, throwing for 503 yards and three scores, including bookending scores to WR Mike Wallace on his first and last passes of the game. Roethlisberger's rocket arm and pocket extending mobility were at it's best today, frequently buying time for his receivers on plays not only deep down the sideline but also in the middle of the field on deep crosses and dig patterns to Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Heat Miller. The Steelers QB was fortunate that the replay official overturned a sack-strip-fumble recovery trifecta performed by rookie LB Clay Matthews and invoked the tuck rule, because the play could have gone either way and changed the tone of the game. Otherwise, Roethlisberger was masterful, especially on the final play of the game throwing to his final option Wallace in the corner of the end zone that evoked memories of the final play of last year's Super bowl. If you're playing next week, riding with Big Ben is far from a bad thing when the Steelers are in a situation where they rely more on their offense than their defense.
QB Alex Smith, SF
- Alex Smith struggled in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing three interceptions and only 61 yards on seven completions, but he did pick up the pace in the second half as he found Josh Morgan for a score and tried to mount a comeback effort that fell short in Week 15. While he did not look that great, he does have very good targets in Morgan, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis and in Week 16 gets to face Detroit as they visit the 49ers. If you need a quarterback, Smith could post surprisingly good numbers in a very friendly matchup.
QB Vince Young, TEN
- Young started the game by throwing an interception (tipped several times) on his first pass attempt, but recovered and threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns en route to an overtime win against the Dolphins. After staring 0-6, the Titans are 7-1 since Young took over as the starter in November, and are now contending for a wild card spot. Young showed good accuracy on his deep passes against the Dolphins, and had his first three-touchdown performance of his career. Just as importantly, he showed fine speed on his two rushes for 24 yards, apparently unbothered by the hamstring injury that kept him listed as questionable all week. Young faces the Chargers this week in a game the Titans must win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Chargers just surrendered 314 yards to Carson Palmer (who had been struggling before that), and Young has been hot lately. (Over the past four weeks, he is the No. 6 fantasy QB.) He is a solid fantasy QB2 at this point, and can be used as a QB1 without embarrassment.
QB Tom Brady, NE
- The Bills controlled the ball for nearly 20 minutes in the first half, which made it difficult for Brady to get into a rhythm in this game. He finished the game with just 11 completions on 23 attempts for 115 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The highlight of the game for him was the 13-yard touchdown pass to Moss, who pulled in a jump ball and managed to get both feet down in the back of the end zone. The interception came on a poor throw over the middle to Welker that was picked off by MLB Paul Posluszny. The Patriots seem to be taking a more conservative approach on offense lately with Maroney getting 20-plus carries in back to back games and Brady throwing just five TDs in his last five games.
QB Jason Campbell, WAS
- You have to admire Jason Campbell for playing through a season of punishment that could have culminated last night with some tough shots that sent him to the locker room late in the first half against the New York Giants, but he showed good leadership to finish the drill. Campbell had no time to consistently drop, plant, and throw the football without defenders in his face and the result were two interceptions; one returned for a touchdown in the second half. The Cowboys are up next, and they need this game to keep pace with the Eagles. Don't expect Campbell to have any more time against Dallas than he did this week.
QB Jay Cutler, CHI
- The nightmare season for Cutler managed to get even worse this week as he finished with a miserable statline of 10 completions on 27 attempts for just 94 yards with 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. It didn't help that the Bears fell behind quickly and the running was ineffective, but Cutler just continues to make poor decisions and force balls into coverage rather than taking the safer, high percentage plays that are available. His QB rating in the game was a disastrous 7.9 and he was mercifully pulled for Caleb Hanie in the fourth quarter. The Bears will need to make some major changes in the offseason, and it's likely the main focus will be finding a new coach that can help Cutler turn his career back around.
QB Charlie Frye, OAK
- Frye got the start on Sunday for the Raiders, but was ineffective in his three-plus quarters of play (9 of 17 for 68 yards and an interception) before being knocked out of the game on a hard hit by LB Andra Davis. Frye hit his head on the turf and may have suffered a concussion, putting his status for next week in doubt. Even if Frye is healthy enough to play this week, and even if he gets the start over JaMarcus Russell, the Raiders passing offense is too ineffective to consider Frye as a fantasy option, even in leagues that start two QBs.
QB Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
- Despite the home game with the crowd behind him, Matt Hasselbeck had a very rough game. He was inaccurate, he made poor decisions and he turned the ball over four times against a team that has struggled mightily this season. The opportunity was there for Hasselbeck to have a productive game, but the opposite happened. Hasselbeck did not attempt many down field passes at all. He often used his TE, John Carlson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh for quick strike, short patterns, but he could not establish any rhythm to sustain drives. Next week Seattle travels to Green Bay, who was just scorched by Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Prior to that game, Green Bay was the No. 2 defense against the pass. Seattle has struggled on the road this year so don't expect a bounce back game. As a result, Hasselbeck is not a good fantasy option next week.
QB Matt Ryan, ATL
- Ryan came back from his toe injury to make his first start in a few games and he did nothing to impress despite making a game-winning pass to Tony Gonzalez on a blown defensive call in the red zone by the Jets. Ryan frequently challenged Darrelle Revis with Roddy White and lost on every play, including a deep throw where White had to interfere with Revis on the play to prevent an interception. He frequently overthrew Gonzelaz, and often found himself throwing the ball to the TE matched up against Revis as well. He even threw a ball up for grabs in double coverage in the end zone on a third down blitz by LB Bart Scott. A lot of people want to blame the Falcons woes on Michael Turner's injury and the inept secondary. These are legitimate concerns, but Matt Ryan is not the next Tom Brady and should not get a free pass for Atlanta's decline in 2009. His pocket presence, decision making, and tendency to be late on the deep ball have been issues that prevent the offense from maximizing its explosive potential.
QB Mark Sanchez, NYJ
- Sanchez had some nice moments in this game, including a perfectly thrown 50-yard post pattern to Braylon Edwards off play action for a 65-yard score in the first half. However, the maturity in his game is clearly lacking because his multiple interceptions were the result of trying to make the aggressive throw down field in down and distance situations where the check-down or throw out of bounds would have been the smarter play. Sanchez was also wide of his targets multiple times. Although there was a stretch in the third quarter where Sanchez showed more patience with the check-down and shorter range options, he couldn't maintain that mindset in crunch time, forcing a throw on a skinny post with the safety in perfect position to jump the route for a game-sealing interception with 1:05 left. Sanchez has more growing pains to overcome and don't be surprised if he's a bit of a roller coaster next season with greater highs, but equal lows.
QB Brett Favre, MIN
- Favre was under constant pressure form Julius Peppers the entire game. The Vikings matched up different guys on Peppers, but were unable to keep the pressure off of him despite only a three or four man rush from the Panthers. Add in the fact that the run game was not a factor, and Favre was forced to do everything himself. His receivers were well defended the entire game, and Favre simply couldn't get it done. A whopping 63 of his 244 yards passing came on a check down to Adrian Peterson with three minutes to go and with the defense playing a game that was out of reach, Peterson was able to break a long gain down the sideline. On the following play, under pressure, Favre threw an off-balance pass in the general direction of Bernard Berrian but it was well under thrown, and the Panthers were able to make an easy pick and end the game. Favre did an OK job given the situation, but there is cause for concern that the Vikings have not played well in two of the last three games.
QB Chad Henne, MIA
- Henne threw for a career-high 349 yards on Sunday against the Titans, but threw just one touchdown versus three interceptions, including his final pass attempt easily picked off by S Michael Griffin to seal the game. Henne's performance on Sunday was inconsistent, but the Dolphins are opening their offense and making the transition from a run-heavy game plan to a more balanced attack. Without a true number-one receiver, Henne has done a good job of spreading the ball around and making use of a fairly deep slew of receivers. (Nine different Dolphins have been targeted at least six times in the past three weeks.) With a good matchup against the Texans this week, consider Henne a solid QB2.
QB Eli Manning, NYG
- Manning had a terrific night against a lackluster Redskins defense that seemed to be counting the minutes for the game to be over (before it even began). Manning was able to hit wide-open receivers down field repeatedly because the Redskins defenders were giving up the outside portions of the field despite having inside help so they could shade their protections accordingly. Manning had lots of time and the ground game looked terrific. However, he's a hold next week because the offensive line is still banged up, and the Panthers looked very strong against the Vikings Sunday night. Manning is still a reasonably good start, but not it won't be a gimmee.
QB Matt Moore, CAR
- Moore did enough to win the game for the Panthers, but it's hard to say that he had a 'good' game. He frequently pushed the ball more than threw it, and many of his passes were off balance and off his back foot. His favorite receiver was Steve Smith by a long shot, and a few of times, the completion was more Smith making a good play than a good pass from Moore. To his credit though, Moore was able to spread the ball around enough to prevent the defense from really keying on anyone. Smith was always able to find the open slot and on several plays, he just blew away the DB. The key for Moore was ball placement and despite his bad mechanics, he managed to put the ball in a place where the defender could not make a play. His TD passes to Brad Hoover and Jonathan Stewart were simple routes on the goal line where the RBs found good position vs the defense and made the easy catch for the TD. On the pass to Moore, Smith made an excellent adjustment and simply beat the defender to the ball for a TD. While Moore's stats for the game were impressive, they really exaggerate a mediocre performance.
QB Matt Schaub, HOU
- Matt Schaub put together another quality game against the Rams. For the second straight week, the Texans focused on getting the ball to Andre Johnson and ignored the run except when absolutely necessary. The results were a 70 percent passing day for Schaub to go with one touchdown throw on a short rollout pass to Kevin Walter. Schaub will remain a strong fantasy play for the rest of this season and beyond as long as the Texans stay with what works: Schaub to Johnson.
QB Kurt Warner, ARI
- Warner managed to throw for 233 yards with two TD passes, but he did not attempt many deep passes in the game, despite the salivating match up against the Lions secondary that has been a turnstile to opposing WRs. Warner and the Cardinals had a comfortable lead early, thanks to their running game. As a result, he did not need to air it out deep. When he did pass the ball, he turned to Tim Hightower for short gains, Anquan Boldin over the middle and an occasional pass to Larry Fitzgerald crossing the field behind coverage. Prior to last week's dud at San Francisco, Warner had four consecutive 20-plus FP games. He should be able to have success against the Rams next week, but don't expect a high yardage game if they continue to run the ball, especially against a weak Rams run defense.
RB Marion Barber, DAL
- Marion Barber scored twice in Week 15 against the Saints and looked like the 2008 version of Marion Barber -- a strong runner with the physicality to impact his will whenever defenders attempted to tackle him. Barber pounded the ball hard against New Orleans and now with the Cowboys needing to beat Washington in Week 16 to set up a battle for the NFC East crown in Week 17 against the Eagles, Barber could see more action especially around the goal line.
RB Mike Bell, NO
- Mike Bell only had four carries in Week 15 but two of them were inside of the Dallas 10 yard-line as Bell converted a fourth quarter goal line situation into a touchdown to keep the Saints in the game. The Saints face a nice matchup in Week 16 against Tampa Bay and if they decide to rest Pierre Thomas or Reggie Bush it stands to reason that Bell would see more action.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
- Ahmad Bradshaw may be hurt but he must be coping well with the pain, because he has regained his burst and quickness in the past few weeks and looks more like the player who tore up defenses in September. Although used a lot from the spread formation on draws and screens, he also ran hard in I-formation sets. Jacobs is the starter, Bradshaw looks more and more like the finisher in terms of fantasy production. Start him with confidence.
RB Michael Bush, OAK
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Bush rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against the Broncos en route to a 20-19 upset win. On the season Bush is averaging more than a full yard per carry more than either Justin Fargas or Darren McFadden, but his opportunities have been limited. Sunday's game against the Broncos was the first time all season that Bush has gotten more than half of the team's rushing attempts. Bush entered the game in the second quarter and scored on an impressive 23-yard run on his first carry. He got the bulk of the work after that and had five more touches for more than ten yards (including a 40-yard scamper in the third quarter). While Bush's big day against the Broncos should put him in the mix for the featured role this week against the Browns, it's too hard to predict the Raiders' backfield rotation to have confidence in him as a fantasy RB2. But he does have strong RB2 upside potential if he gets 15-plus touches, making him a high-risk, high-reward fantasy play in week 16.
RB Jamaal Charles, KC
- Charles continues to impress as the Chiefs' primary ball carrier. He ran hard against Cleveland, hitting the holes downhill at the point of attack and breaking tackles for extra yardage. As he has in previous weeks, he showed a breakaway gear on his 47-yard touchdown run when he ran away from three Cleveland secondary defenders. The return of Dwayne Bowe and the downfield threat of Chris Chambers will make it difficult for teams to stack the box to stop Charles. Though he faces a tough Cincinnati run defense in Week 16, he's earned consideration as an every-week RB1 with his recent play.
RB Jerome Harrison, CLE
- It wasn't clear entering the game how the Browns might rotate Harrison and Chad Jennings. Harrison got the start and rotated with Jennings early, but exploded late. Rarely touched at the point of attack, Harrison began running hard downhill and let his vision and quickness take him through the hole. The Kansas City defense overran plays and missed tackles, allowing Harrison into the second level where he used his speed to run away from the Chiefs' secondary. Jennings rarely got a carry after the first quarter, as Harrison assumed the entire offensive load for the rest of the game. Since Jennings was the more impressive of the two backs in Week 14, a repeat performance from Harrison next week against Oakland isn't guaranteed. Still, it seems safe to expect him to get the opportunity to produce like a RB2 against the Raiders in Week 15.
RB Laurence Maroney, NE
- Although the Bills came into the game with the league's worst rush defense, they didn't play like it today. Maroney ran hard and gained plenty of tough yards, finishing with 81 and a touchdown on 23 carries. While many expected the Patriots to use a committee approach at RB, this marks the second week in a row in which Maroney carried the ball at least 20 times. It looks like he has clearly emerged as the feature back in this offense and we can probably expect another strong game from him next week when the Jaguars come to Boston.
RB Marcus Mason, WAS
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- We wouldn't call Mason a hot waiver wire option, but he did get some opportunities to run the ball in the second half of this blowout. His best run of the night was a 20-yard burst off RG against a defense pinning back its ears to rush the passer. The remaining three carries were for five yards, although Mason did add two receptions for 25 yards to his total. He might get another shot against Dallas, but he is an extreme long shot at earning your team solid fantasy totals in week 16.
RB Rashard Mendenhall, PIT
- Mendenhall was not the focal point of the offensive attack against the Packers but he made some excellent plays to keep the Steelers in the game (as well as fantasy owners). He showed tremendous power to bounce off LB Nick Barnett's hit and then lower the boom on the DB to roll over him for a two-yard scoring plunge. Later, Mendenhall made a graceful catch down the sidelines on a third and eight swing pass where he had to show good footwork to keep his feet inbounds. The RB was also patient on a pair of 10-yard runs of left and right end and he showed good awareness to get open on a flea-flicker when Ben Roethlisberger couldn't find anyone open down field. Mendenhall would have had a second touchdown on a middle screen, but Heath Miller was called for pass interference when he engaged his defender with a block down field before the Mendenhall caught the ball. You can count on Mendenhall to be a strong RB2 every week.
RB Ryan Moats, HOU
- All signs point to Moats continuing as the Texans workhorse until season's end. Chris Brown has been reduced to a bit player and Arian Foster did not return to the game after a costly fumble on a reception. The Texans aren't likely to lean on the run much in the coming weeks but Moats is still a decent bet for 15 to 20 touches a game in the next couple of weeks. In larger leagues, he's getting just enough touches to be a solid play for the rest of the season.
RB Maurice Morris, DET
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Morris will be the Lions starting RB now that Kevin Smith has been lost for the year with a knee injury. He was very effective for the Lions ground game and he also added five catches. Morris' speed and quickness enabled him to slip through holes and get around the outside corner on more than one occasion. Morris and the Lions play at San Francisco next week. Detroit leaned on him into the second half, because he was successful and was the primary force for the Lions offense. Expect Detroit to utilize him again, because he's the best weapon their offense has right now. He's worth a flex option start and could provide another solid game, especially in PPR leagues.
RB Jason Snelling, ATL
- Snelling continues to show toughness and smarts as a runner that compensates just enough for mediocre athleticism relative to other pro RBs. He showcased hard running on a 10-yard pitch to left in on the second series of the game and although he was stuffed twice at the goal line that forced a field goal, he later showed good burst, balance, and strength up the middle for a 20-yard gain, running through the grasp of a DT to get to the 10 yard-line in the final drive. With both Jerious Norwood and Michael Turner hurting, Snelling should remain the main back for the rest of the year.
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR
- Jonathan Stewart took over for the injured DeAngelo Williams and eventually wore down the Viking defense in the fourth quarter. They Vikings held him in check for most of the game, but mid-way through the second half, the defense started to break down. Stewart ran through arm tackles and his cutbacks were causing the first defender to miss, turning the two- and three-yard gains of the first half into big plays in the second half. From the six-minute mark in the third quarter, Stewart carried the ball 13 times. Nine of the carries were for three yards or less, but the other four were big plays of 17, 10, 23 and 15 respectively. The last one was the biggest, putting the game away for good. With the Panthers playing only for pride and Williams unable to return to he game, look for Stewart to get more carries next week and perform well.
RB Tyrell Sutton, CAR
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Sutton stepped in as the change-of-pace back when DeAngelo Williams went down to injury. He ran hard after the catch and also performed well in his blocking opportunities. If Williams can't go next week due to his injuries, Sutton would be a backup to Stewart. His burst, balance, and hands make him a player with strong potential to produce if given an extended chance.
RB Derrick Ward, TB
- The Buccaneers turned to both Derrick Ward and Cadillac Williams to help control the ball against the Seahawks. The idea worked to plan and may be something we'll see again next week against the Saints, who have shown some deficiencies against teams that can pound them in the ground game. Ward showed excellent burst and speed against a Seattle defense that struggled to contain the run. Ward has not had many carries this year, which could come in handy in the last two games if the Bucs plan on using ball control and a strong running game to counter the Saints high-octane offense. He's a risky play, but he's someone who could be a surprise performer for a critical week 16 fantasy championship.
RB Leonard Weaver, PHI
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Leonard Weaver posted 70 combined yards on 19 total touches, dominating the Philadelphia backfield as far as workload against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15. Weaver did yield some touches to rookie LeSean McCoy, but until Brian Westbrook is cleared to play again it will be Weaver and McCoy getting all of the chances in the Eagles' backfield. Philadelphia faces both Denver and Dallas in the next two weeks, games in which they will need a viable ground game to keep the opposition honest. Weaver will be a big part of that ground attack over the next two weeks and has nice upside.
RB Chris Wells, ARI
- Wells was able to make a couple big plays and could've added at least a second TD, if not a third. Arizona twice had first goal from the one yard-line, but one time Kurt Warner passed to Larry Fitzgerald for a TD and the other, Tim Hightower received the goal line carry for a score. Wells and Hightower alternated who was in the game on every other possession, but Wells clearly was the RB the Cardinals turned to when they needed to run the ball. Hightower had as many carries as he did receptions (six) and was not a factor in the running game. Expect Wells to continue his rise next week at home vs. St. Louis. If you've got him, start him next week.
RB Joseph Addai, IND
- Joseph Addai was a minimal contributor on a night where the Colts scored 35 points, but that was mostly by design as Jacksonville is very susceptible to a good passing attack. Addai looked good on the few plays where they did call his number, running in huge holes through the Jaguar defense. Since the Colts may want to rest players soon and with a tough matchup against the Jets next in Week 16, Addai's upside value is not very high.
RB Chris Brown, HOU
- Brown has been reduced to a bit player for the Texans. His running style, pass-catching and protection skills should make him a natural fit to get more snaps for Houston but the last few weeks have seen him on the sidelines far too much. If you selected Brown this season with the hopes that he might vulture some goal line carries and short touchdowns, it's likely that you've already seen the payoff. We don't expect Brown to be a fantasy factor for the rest of the season and wouldn't be surprised if he isn't back with the Texans next year.
RB Reggie Bush, NO
- Reggie Bush looked good at the onset of Week 15, racking up 46 yards on just three plays in the first half. Unfortunately for Bush and his fantasy owners alike, he came up lame on a crossing route in the second quarter and hopped to the sideline and then straight to the bench. Bush did not return to the game after the injury which might have been just cramps, but as a precaution the Saints held him out the rest of the way. It remains to be seen if the leg injury will affect him in Weeks 16 and 17 or even in the post-season.
RB Justin Fargas, OAK
- The Raiders have a good matchup against the Browns this week, but there's no telling who will get most of the carries. Fargas, the presumed number one RB for the Raiders, got just three carries on Sunday against the Broncos. Michael Bush had an impressive 23-yard run in the second quarter and carried the load from that point forward while Fargas remained on the bench. No mention of an injury to Fargas was made during the game. It was revealed afterward, however, that Fargas had tweaked his knee in the first quarter, though he could have returned if he'd been needed. The fact that the Raiders stayed with Bush against the Broncos, and the fact that Bush was so impressive with his opportunities (144 yards on 19 touches), suggests that Bush may be the lead back this week against the Browns as well. Or the Raiders could go back to Fargas -- with the Raiders' backfield rotation, there's no telling. But that's the point of this downgrade: Fargas is not guaranteed to play a significant role going forward, and fantasy owners should not rely on him during their championship quests.
RB Justin Forsett, SEA
- Forsett was expected to see an increase in touches against a weak defense, however the weak Buccaneers defense did an about face and the increased touches didn't go to plan. Forsett shared carries with Julius Jones most of the game, despite having the first crack in the first few possessions. The Seahawks look to be in a full force RBBC, which does not bode well for those hoping for lightning in a bottle with Justin Forsett. Next week the Seahawks travel to Green Bay, which is not a good match up. As a result, Forsett again drops down to a questionable flex option.
RB Arian Foster, HOU
- Foster had a fumble on a first half screen pass against the Rams and did not return to the game. Foster has some natural running ability, but fumbling the ball in Rams territory was his end against St. Louis. He may get another opportunity, but with the Texans having so much success through the air, and Gary Kubiak's fickle nature with his backfield, we wouldn't suggest counting on Foster in any fantasy format.
RB Quinton Ganther, WAS
- Ganther scored a touchdown on a run off left end in the fourth quarter, but for most of the game he was either shut down or the Redskins had to abandon the ground game early after the Giants jumped ahead 24-0 in the first half. Dallas won't be much easier, and with Ganther already a mediocre flex option, don't count on better numbers next week.
RB Brandon Jacobs, NYG
- With Ahmad Bradshaw's burst returning to his legs, Brandon Jacobs is more of a lame duck fantasy option. Even with twice the carries, he's half as effective as his teammate. The reason is the offensive line experiencing difficulty opening large enough creases for Jacobs to punish the linebackers and secondary. Jacobs is a back that needs momentum to impose his will on a defense. Bradshaw needs smaller creases to accomplish the same and with less risk of enduring punishment in the process. Even a struggling Adrian Peterson was a better option against the Panthers than what Jacobs will be next week. Avoid him unless you can use him as a flex option.
RB Jerious Norwood, ATL
- Norwood made the first man miss in the backfield and went around left end for six yards on his first carry, but limped off the field. He did return for the third series, but didn't do much until he caught a third down flat route against a blitz for a 48-yard gain in the second half, putting a move on safety Kerry Rhodes and ran past CB Darrelle Revis for the gain. However, he seemed hampered with minor injuries throughout the contest that frequently forced him to the sideline. Norwood is not a player you can count on to remain healthy long enough to make a consistent impact throughout a season, yet a game.
RB Adrian Peterson, MIN
- RED ALERT. Viking fans and Peterson fantasy owners should be in full blown panic right about now. Adrian Peterson is averaging less than 3.2 Yards per carry over the last five games. His offensive line was healthy, and he had the opportunities early, but simply couldn't get anything going against the Carolina defense. His four-yard TD run in the second quarter and 63-yard garbage time check down on the second to last play of the game for the Vikings prevented the game from being a total fantasy bust but if you are in the playoffs with Peterson as your primary back, you need to start praying for other guys on your team to step up. The offensive line was unable to really keep the defense off of Peterson and he was frequently gang tackled after a short gain. He was patient in finding the holes but didn't really have any opportunity to explode out of the gate like he has earlier this season. The Vikings have Chicago next week, and maybe he will finally break out of his rut. Fantasy owners can only hope at this point.
RB Chester Taylor, MIN
- Taylor's success usually is a mirror of Adrian Peterson's success and that was very true with this game as well. Taylor had only three touches for the game and was ineffective with all of them.
RB Michael Turner, ATL
- Turner came back from his ankle injury to start the game with a seven-yard gain off LG through a huge hole off LG for seven yards. However, that was his first and last play, getting his ankle rolled on the carry and missing the rest of the game. Don't be surprised if the Falcons shut him down for the year.
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR
- Williams was ineffective in the limited action that he had in the first quarter. He sprained his ankle near the end of the first quarter and left the game. He eventually went back to the locker room, but was not able to return to the game. His status for next week is uncertain at this point, but it is a similar injury to the one that kept him out of action two weeks ago.
RB Tim Hightower, ARI
- Tim Hightower had a one-yard TD plunge as part of his six carries, but his role with the team is more of a pass-catching back. Against Detroit, Hightower caught six passes and was often used as a release valve for Kurt Warner. Most of his catches were on check downs, but some were designated plays where he had a mismatch or no coverage in the flat. Hightower is not the team's best RB (that title belongs to Beanie Wells); however, Hightower still has value, especially in PPR leagues and is an adequate start next week at St. Louis.
RB Steven Jackson, STL
- Jackson finished Sunday with 123 total yards and is clearly the centerpiece of the Rams offense. Despite the Rams mediocre play at offensive line and defenses focused on stopping the run, Jackson is still finding a way to get his yards. He ran well between the tackles against the Texans front seven and was utilized effectively in the passing game as both a receiver and a blocker. Due to his workload and ability to score at any time, Jackson remains a must-start in most every format.
RB Chris Johnson, TEN
- Johnson ran for over 100 yards on Sunday against the Dolphins, but that's hardly news at this point: it was his ninth consecutive 100-yard game. With two games left, Johnson needs to average 135 rushing yards per game to reach 2,000 (and needs to average 188 per game to reach Eric Dickerson's record of 2,105 yards). Facing the Chargers and Seahawks in weeks 16 and 17, he has a realistic shot. Moreover, Johnson is currently on pace to break the NFL record (currently held by Marshall Faulk) for most yards from scrimmage in a season (2,429). The Titans are still in contention for a wild card spot, which means getting Johnson some records will take a back seat to the more important goal of beating the Chargers and Seahawks. Nonetheless, expect Johnson to figure heavily in the Titans' offensive game plan. The Chargers have had trouble slowing down opposing RBs (giving up 4.4 yards per carry). Johnson obviously remains a must-start fantasy RB in every league under every scoring system.
RB Darren McFadden, OAK
- McFadden gained 74 yards on 12 rushes against the Broncos on Sunday, finding success particularly on his runs to the outside. He almost scored on a 28-yard run but was stopped at the three yard-line. Three plays later, he was stuffed inches short of the goal line. While McFadden is playing well and has a great matchup this week against the Browns, the Raiders' backfield makes for a risky fantasy play because the rotation is unpredictable. Either Justin Fargas or Michael Bush is likely to get the majority of carries in a given game, with McFadden playing a supplementary role. McFadden is a borderline RB3/flex against the Browns.
RB Knowshon Moreno, DEN
- Knowshon Moreno rushed 19 times for just 42 yards against the Raiders, and for the second week in a row struggled in short-yardage situations. Heading into week 15, the Raiders had been giving up an average of 154 rushing yards per game, so Moreno's struggles were disappointing. After the first drive (on which Moreno had 41 yards from scrimmage), the Raiders loaded up to stop the run and were successful in clogging the running lanes. Moreno is still a decent RB2 or solid flex play this week against the Eagles, however, with Correll Buckhalter likely limited by a high ankle sprain; and in week 17 against the Chiefs, Moreno will be a strong RB2 against a run defense that just surrendered 286 yards to the Browns' Jerome Harrison.
RB Pierre Thomas, NO
- With the Saints trailing big for most of the second half, Pierre Thomas did not get any carries after halftime and was limited to just five catches in the fourth quarter. Thomas did finish with 70 yards despite just 11 touches in Week 15, so as long as the Saints get the ball in his hands going forward he should be productive. There is a concern that Mike Bell may steal some touches, but Reggie Bush looked to be out with a leg injury, which should boost Thomas' value. New Orleans also has a favorable matchup in Week 16 against Tampa Bay.
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC
- Bowe returned from a four-game suspension and was immediately back in the starting lineup, something that wasn't a foregone conclusion given the lineup shuffling from Todd Haley at times this season. Bowe was targeted on the first passing play of the game, a short completion, and throughout the game. His ten targets were double that of any other Kansas City wide receiver. Unfortunately, Bowe dropped three of his targets, including one in the end zone, and had only four catches on the day. That total included a fluke 23-yard reception on a pass that bounced off the hands of Chris Chambers. Still, the targets are a reassuring stat and suggest that Bowe's production should approach that of a WR3 (or better) next week against Cincinnati.
WR Chris Chambers, KC
- Chambers may benefit most from the return of Dwayne Bowe and the continued strong running of Jamaal Charles. Matt Cassel targeted chambers downfield often and two of Chambers' catches were on high passes along the deep sideline that he went up to take at the highest point. He was also successfully targeted on a fade route in the end zone that he snatched over a Cleveland defender. His targets may be inconsistent over the next two weeks with Bowe drawing more attention in the game plan, but the overall improvement in the offense should allow him some high leverage deep and red zone targets. He's an upside WR3/WR4 in his final two games.
WR Torry Holt, JAX
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Torry Holt is the forgotten veteran player on the Jaguars, quietly going about his business on the other side of Mike Sims-Walker. Holt snagged three catches on six targets in Week 15 against the Colts, including a 17-yard dig route over the middle in the third quarter. He is starting to get more looks from David Garrard of late and could be a modest spot starter against the Patriots in Week 16 if the game were to be another shootout.
WR DeSean Jackson, PHI
- DeSean Jackson continues to get open for the Eagles, no matter how much attention is paid to him each week by opposing defenses. Jackson has such good speed and quickness that he is very hard to contain, resulting often in big plays for Philadelphia practically every week. Donovan McNabb looks in his direction often and is never afraid to go for the deep strike to Jackson, which happened in Week 15 as Jackson broke free in the fourth quarter, getting deep for a 59-yard catch before he was forced out of bounds. Jackson has five games over 100 yards receiving this season and has topped 140 yards the past two weeks. Expect the Eagles to try and get him open deep against both Denver and Dallas in Weeks 16 and 17 to close out the season.
WR Vincent Jackson, SD
- Jackson had been a major disappointment over the past month as very mediocre numbers replaced the huge games he'd had earlier in the season. Jackson was back with a vengeance against Cincinnati. Phillip Rivers didn't look to him much early, but Jackson began to break out in the second quarter. Jackson beat Leon Hall after faking a post and running a corner route, then made a nice catch coming back to the ball for a touchdown. Jackson again beat Leon Hall for his second score, beating a jam down the line and getting behind Hall on a sideline go route. Jackson was also targeted on passes over the deep middle, when he found the soft spots in the Cincinnati zone for good games. Consider Jackson at least a WR2 with the Chargers continually willing to target him downfield.
WR Greg Jennings, GB
- This was the type of game most fantasy owners expected from Jennings for the majority of the year. His 83-yard scored was a third and five, pass down the deep seam that he caught just under the safety, spun away from the DB's glancing blow, and outran the secondary to the left pylon for about half of the yardage credited for the pass. He also was the recipient of shorter passes such as an eight-yard hitch and an eight-yard quick out. Although he limped off the field with a dinged ankle in the third quarter, he came back to catch a sideline pattern of 14 yards, taking a big hit in the process.
WR Lance Moore, NO
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Lance Moore was finally back in action after weeks of dealing with a high ankle sprain, and he made an impact late in the contest with a seven-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Moore caught a wide receiver screen to the right, got nice blocking in front of him as Dallas was outnumbered and walked into the end zone untouched. With the Saints looking to rest some of their starters and also wanting to evaluate players that have missed time of late, expect Moore to see more action in Weeks 16 and 17 than possibly Robert Meachem or Devery Henderson.
WR Josh Morgan, SF
- Josh Morgan had a strong performance despite a poor effort overall by Alex Smith and the entire passing attack against a stout Philadelphia Eagles defense. Morgan led all 49ers with seven catches, 61 yards and a nice 12-yard touchdown grab over the middle as he eluded a would-be tackler on his way to the end zone. Morgan looks to have developed good rapport with Alex Smith and now with Detroit next on the schedule the favorable matchup could make Morgan a very nice spot starter in Week 16 for many fantasy owners.
WR Chad Ochocinco, CIN
- Ochocinco was focused throughout the game, running crisp routes and looking to make yards after the catch. He got behind the Charger secondary on a deep sideline route for a touchdown in the first half and connected on two other timing routes with Carson Palmer during the game. He was also elusive during an end around when he changed direction and cut back across the flow of the play for a nice gain. Though he had only five targets in the game, Ochocinco gets the upgrade as the Bengals took many more shots downfield against the Chargers, making the upcoming matchup against Kansas City a favorable one.
WR Josh Reed, BUF
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- The signing of Terrell Owens has turned Reed into a non-factor for much of the season, but he was targeted a team-high eight times in this game and finished with four catches for 63 yards. Reed is normally a very good blocking receiver who does a good job working the middle of the field, but his numbers have suffered because the entire Bills offense has struggled to sustain drives and stay on the field. He came through with a huge 29-yard catch on a fourth down play and was targeted on another fourth down play near the end zone that he dropped. If Owens leaves after his one-year contract expires, Reed could once again be in line for a bigger role in the Bills offense next year although his fantasy upside is still limited.
WR Steve Smith, CAR
- Smith had a big game for the Panthers, coming up with three huge plays in the fourth quarter to help Carolina regain the lead and eventually win the game. The first was a 42-yard touchdown reception on 3rd and 26. Smith was well covered, but broke away at the last minute to come down with the TD reception. He made a similar catch two plays earlier for a TD but it was called back due to holding penalty. On the next series, Moore rolled out and found Smith just beyond the first down marker. Smith made the catch and spun away from the defender. When the DB fell down trying to recover, Smith found himself all alone down the sideline and raced toward the end zone. He was dragged down at the three-yard line and the Panthers scored two plays later. With Seven minutes left in the game, and the Panthers facing a 3rd and 9, Smith ran a quick comeback route on the sideline and when the defender fell down, Smith was able to make the wide-open reception, turn up field and gain another 16 yards. The Panthers would eventually score and put the game away for good. Moore looked to Smith whenever he was in trouble, targeting him on 14 of his 21 passing attempts. As long as Matt Moore remains the Panther QB, he's going to find a way to get Smith the ball and that should mean big numbers for fantasy owners when the need it the most.
WR Sammie Stroughter, TB
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Rookie Sammie Stroughter has improved his play since the beginning of the year. He is starting to become someone Josh Freeman turns to for a quick strike outside the numbers. He has seven games this year where he has caught three passes, but never more - until this week he had a four-catch game. Next week the Bucs face the Saints on the road. Teams have found success against the Saints depleted defense recently and it could mean good production from the steadily improving Stroughter. If you're in dire need of a WR4 or flex option, consider Stroughter, who has shown good consistency this year with a chance for more next week.
WR Mike Wallace, PIT
- Wallace continues to see deep targets as the Steelers third or fourth option in the passing attack, but his speed is so good that he's making good on them more consistently than one would expect from a player this low on the pecking order. He beat CB Jarrett Bush by five yards on a 60-yard streak for a TD, turning back to wait for the pass and then running through the CB after the catch for the score on the Steelers' opening series. He then ended the game with a Santonio Holmes-like catch with no time left to tie the game in the corner of the end zone, showcasing excellent concentration to keep his feet inbounds as the fifth option in an empty back set. Wallace is only a desperation flex option in most leagues, but as desperation options go, he's a good one.
WR Kevin Walter, HOU
- Walter finally started getting some looks near the goalline on Sunday, converting one reception in to a short touchdown on a rollout from Matt Schaub. Walter is still being used primarily outside of the hashmarks, but the explosion in Andre Johnson's production could create a perfect storm for Walter before season's end as defenses are forced to do more to stop Johnson.
WR Demetrius Williams, BAL
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Williams has always had the talent to be a quality starting WR in the league, but he just hasn't been able to stay healthy and play consistently enough to take advantage of his opportunities. With Mark Clayton injured, however, he has gotten a chance at regular playing time and he took advantage of it this week. Williams had a highlight catch early in the second half in which he was double covered and clearly interfered with, but still managed to bring the ball down for a 32-yard touchdown. He finished with four catches on six targets for 71 yards and a touchdown. With Derrick Mason nearing retirement and Mark Clayton headed for free agency, there is certainly a chance that Williams could earn a starting job in Baltimore next season with a strong finish.
WR Devin Aromashodu, CHI
- Coming off a huge breakout game last week in place of Devin Hester, Aromashodu had a miserable outing this week against Baltimore. He started the game in place of Hester and had plenty of opportunities with 10 targets, but he only managed to bring in two of them for a total of 10 yards. Aromashodu is a big target with some speed who has shown good chemistry with Cutler in the past, but this flop is likely to hurt his chances for more playing time going forward. He will need to rebound next week to salvage future opportunities -- if Hester doesn't play.
WR Donnie Avery, STL
- Of all the candidates for "breakout receiver" in 2009, Donnie Avery has to be one of the biggest disappointments. Given the No. 1 receiver role on a team with a historically potent passing attack has not translated into much success for Avery. Even when healthy, he is not catching many balls and the ones he is catching are not deep balls or touchdowns. We can't recommend starting him except in the deepest leagues.
WR Percy Harvin, MIN
- Harvin was back in action for the Vikings this week but you'd never know if from watching the game. The Vikings didn't score enough to get him involved as a returner, and he was well covered on the few passes that were thrown his way. The Vikings put him in motion a few times, faking the reverse before throwing the ball downfield. However, Harvin wasn't even targeted in the passing game until the fourth quarter. He had one nice catch over the middle for 10 yards and a first down, but he was immediately tackled. He was targeted two additional times, but the passes were not thrown well enough to be completions. There were at least four other times Favre was looking in his direction, but the Carolina pass rush made it impossible to find an open lane to deliver the ball. If he can complete a healthy week of practice, he's still worth considering as a WR3 with a bye week in the playoffs still on the line for the Vikings.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET
- Johnson was limited in practice all week with a lingering knee injury that has caused him problems this season. He played this week, but was not able to connect with Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton for much of anything worthwhile. Several passes thrown his way were not on the mark. Johnson is a risk next week at San Francisco due to his injured knee and the lack of a down field threat at the QB position.
WR Muhsin Muhammad, CAR
- Moose is just an after-thought in this offense as most of the downfield passes come to Steve Smith. Any additional passing is usually a check down to Jeff King or one of the other backup tight ends. The key to the offense is the big rushing attack, and Muhsin is more of a possession receiver now. He had just two medium range receptions, but both were for first downs. This is a run first, pass to Steve Smith second team.
WR Louis Murphy, OAK
- Murphy was limited to just two catches for 21 yards against the Broncos. In his last two games combined he has caught just three passes for 29 yards. Without better quarterback play from the Raiders, Murphy has no fantasy value for the rest of this season.
WR Terrell Owens, BUF
- Owens came into this game with three touchdowns in his last four games, but he was a non-factor. He caught a nine-yard screen pass early in the game and that was his only target until late in the fourth quarter, when he caught another short pass for an 11-yard gain. The Bills had a great opening drive to open the game that took up 14 plays and lasted for more than nine minutes, but otherwise they struggled to move the football all game. Playing behind an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries, they took few chances throwing the ball downfield and that is probably not going to change much the rest of the season.
WR Bernard Berrian, MIN
- Bernard Berrian had a typical game for the Vikings, and his stats suffered because of the general ineffectiveness of the offense. He was primarily used on slant routes, with his biggest gain coming early in the fourth quarter when Favre hit him on a medium slant that he was able to bring in for a nice 17-yard gain. However, he was well covered for most of the game, and Favre was unable to get him the ball in the typical short, quick passes that have made Berrian effective these last few weeks. On the interception late in the fourth quarter, Berrian was the target of the pass but it was well under thrown and the defender was able to make the easy interception. He might make a decent flex option next week with a match up against his old team with a bye week in the playoffs on the line.
WR Anquan Boldin, ARI
- Kurt Warner was able to lean on Anquan Boldin for intermediate plays over the middle, amongst the LBs. The bigger Boldin was the WR of choice for Warner against the Lions. Arizona did not attempt many deep passes, mainly because the running game and the early comfortable lead did not dictate the need to air it out. Boldin bailed out Warner with clutch grabs on second or third and long and was the primary receiver for Warner in the game. Next week, the Cardinals host the Rams, but we may see more of the same - ball control and exploitation of their weak run defense. Boldin is still a good start, but don't necessarily expect big numbers.
WR Kenny Britt, TEN
- Britt was held to just two catches for 32 yards against the Dolphins, but he is still the Titans' number one receiver. His low output on Sunday was caused by (a) a conservative game plan after Tennessee took the lead midway through the first quarter (which they held until after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter), and (b) a finger injury that caused Britt to leave the game temporarily in the third quarter. He was shown on the sideline in pain as several trainers treated what may have been a dislocated finger. He returned to the game later, suggesting that the finger should not limit him in future weeks. Britt is not consistent enough to rely on even as a solid fantasy WR3, but he has enough upside potential to work as an adequate WR3/flex if you're willing to gamble.
WR Greg Camarillo, MIA
- Camarillo caught five passes for 46 yards against the Titans. He was targeted in the end zone in the first quarter, but the ball was too high, just out of his reach. While the Dolphins do not have a true number one receiver, and QB Chad Henne targeted nine different receivers on Sunday, Camarillo has led the Dolphins in targets and receptions for each of the past two weeks. The Dolphins have a good matchup this week against the Texans, and Camarillo can be used as an (barely) adequate fantasy WR3 in PPR leagues.
WR Donald Driver, GB
- Driver was just overthrown on a deep roll out early in the first quarter and then overthrown on a quick look-in on a second and four in the same quarter. CB William Gay jumped the next pass, a curl route. Driver later dropped a slant that would have easily gone for 15 to 20 yards, but he did have a 49-yard gain on a third down reception where he nearly outran the defense for the score. Statistically it was a decent, but unspectacular day for Driver and there's no reason not to expect better next week.
WR Braylon Edwards, NYJ
- Edwards got great separation on a deep post 50 yards down field for a 65-yard score. However, the Falcons secondary is weak and Mark Sanchez continues to display immaturity as a decision maker, which hurts Edwards because teams will over play the deep routes. This will keep the offense too predictable until Sanchez learns how to play the chess match with the shorter and intermediate routes to set up Edwards later in the game.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
- Larry Fitzgerald showed no signs of difficulty due to the sore knee he suffered last week at San Francisco. If he did not have a one-yard TD grab in the first quarter, he would've had a very un-Larry like day. The Cardinals got off to a comfortable lead and did not need to make many down field plays that surely would've benefited Fitzgerald. The Cardinals host the Rams next week and while that looks like a good match up, we could see more of the same - ball control and exploitation of their weak run defense. He's still a must start, but don't necessarily expect big numbers.
WR Pierre Garcon, IND
- Pierre Garcon started for the Colts but was only targeted minimally in Week 15 as he apparently banged his hand and was kept out for most of the second half. Indianapolis may start to want to rest players over the next two weeks, but given that the Jets are next in Week 16 and they are a potential playoff foe, the Colts could play the starting offense more than many may expect. Garcon also may see extra time to make sure that he is healthy and to build up his timing with Manning.
WR Andre Johnson, HOU
- For the second straight game, Matt Schaub focused on Andre Johnson with amazing results. Johnson finished with 196 yards on nine receptions, giving him a staggering 20 catches for 389 yards in the last two weeks. No receiver in football is as hot as Johnson right now and if you are fortunate enough to have him on your roster, you don't likely need us to recommend starting him. If Johnson is able to continue this pace through next week, he will likely be the catalyst of a number of championships won across the landscape of fantasy football.
WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG
- Nicks looks better every week. His dig route for a catch and run of 45 yards looked like something you would see from an elite five-year vet. He also had another nice gain, breaking tackles along the sideline after the catch. However, he did leave the game late in the half, and with the Giants up by 24, did not return. Early accounts indicate the injury is minor, but stay tuned prior to the Panthers game. Nicks is clearly the starter alongside Steve Smith when healthy, and play maker option 1A to Ahmad Bradshaw.
WR Sidney Rice, MIN
- Rice was the 'go to' guy for Brett Favre in this game, but he had very limited opportunities given the pressure that Favre was under for most of the game. Rice was targeted only four times, but he came down with the reception on all of them. In the third quarter Favre hit him on a quick slant, and he turned a nice catch and run into a big 25-yard gain. Later in the quarter he caught a pass over the middle and despite drawing contact immediately, he dragged his defender a few more yards before going down. Unfortunately, he took a hard shot and the ball was knocked out and recovered by Carolina. Rice's stats also reflect a poor performance by the Viking offense. Expect a better week versus the Bears because the Vikings need to play well to hold off the Eagles for a playoff bye week.
WR Chaz Schilens, OAK
- Schilens led the Raiders with five receptions for 37 yards against the Broncos, and appeared to develop some chemistry with QB JaMarcus Russell on the Raiders game-winning drive. On that drive, Schilens caught the final two passes -- a 13-yarder to put them into scoring position, and then a 10-yard touchdown for the go-ahead score. While Schilens may be the Raiders' best WR and may have a bright future ahead of him, the Raiders' passing game is too anemic to consider starting any Oakland WRs in the fantasy playoffs. Even against the Browns, Schilens and all other Raider receivers should be avoided.
WR Hines Ward, PIT
- Say what you want about the supposed division in the locker room. On the field, Ward and Roethlisberger are a great team. Ward once again made tough catch after tough catch over the middle on deep crosses and digs, taking the hit or getting yardage after the catch. He also got open on a 29-yard corner pattern showing good concentration to turn back to the football. He remains the most consistently productive Steelers receiver and makes a solid No. 2 - No. 3 fantasy receiver.
WR Roddy White, ATL
- Don't fault White for the fact he drew Darrelle Revis on Sunday and Matt Ryan continued to look his way despite Revis blanketing the Falcons receiver. White was actually so well covered by Revis on a deep pass in the first series, he interfered with the CB to prevent an INT. Not surprisingly, White's most productive targets came on plays he wasn't covered by Revis. Expect White to rebound next week.
TE John Carlson, SEA
- This could be too little, too late, but John Carlson finally was utilized more in the passing game. Perhaps it was due to the not having Nate Burleson in the lineup, or maybe it was just Hasselbeck taking advantage of the Buccaneers giving plenty of room for quick, short passes. Carlson often found the ball going his way for middle screens and peel-off the line dump offs. The question is - will we see more of Carlson like this in the last two games or was this just a result of what the defense was giving Seattle? We tend to lean on this being more of an exploitation of the short underneath routes the Buccaneers allowed, but we also think Carlson will continue to see more looks with Nate Burleson sidelined with a high ankle sprain.
TE Fred Davis, WAS
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Davis continues to be the most consistent offensive option on the Redskins and he seems to be improving with each passing week. Davis was a star running back in high school before converting to TE at USC, and he put his after the catch skills on display as he patiently ran through and around two defenders down after catching a pass down the seam for an 11-yard score. He almost scored late in the first half on a catch between two defenders, but he could not manage to maintain possession of the football with those two Giants hanging onto him. Start Fred Davis with confidence if you have him, and consider starting him over some of the better performing tight ends this year.
TE Jermichael Finley, GB
- The second-year Packers TE might be playing with a gimpy knee, but he's making plays like a young Gonzalez or Gates. His was very effective split from the formation either as a WR or in the slot. His corner fade for a touchdown over the defender was an excellent display of body control to grab the ball at its highest point and turn away from the defender before the Steelers DB could swat at the ball. Aaron Rodgers clearly targets Finley as much as his receivers Driver and Jennings so start Finley with confidence if you have a matchup next week.
TE John Paul Foschi, CIN
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- Foschi was targeted nine times against the Chargers. Many of his targets came on third downs and other long passing situations. Foschi has been targeted in the red zone in previous weeks as well. That combination makes for an interesting upside play if you're in a bind at the tight end position in the playoffs.
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAX
- Marcedes Lewis played well against Indianapolis in Week 15, catching four balls for 53 yards as he reeled in three grabs of 10-plus-yards for the Jaguars. Lewis took advantage of his unique combination of size and speed to work the middle of the field and grab three passes that all gave Jacksonville a first down, including a 25-yard gain in the second quarter. Jacksonville faces New England next week.
TE Heath Miller, PIT
- Miller had his best game of the season as a receiver. He repeatedly burned the Packers LBs over the middle for big gains after the catch on crossing routes, turning up the sidelines for gains for 14, 27, and 12 yards outrunning the pursuit. He also showed great athleticism to fully extend on a deep out and keep his feet inbounds on a third and 15 throw. He isn't likely to have another huge game like this one, but to do this against the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL we're giving him a slight upgrade based on his consistency and potential to do more when called upon.
TE David Thomas, NO
- *** POTENTIAL WAIVER WIRE GEM ***
- With Jeremy Shockey sidelined, Dave Thomas got the start in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas saw a higher number of targets than usual as he roamed the middle of the field and ran the routes that Shockey normally does, and Drew Brees looked quite often in his direction. Thomas put up a solid performance as the leading Saint in both targets and catches in Week 15 and would be a nice fantasy pickup if Jeremy Shockey is out again in Week 16.
TE Kellen Winslow, TB
- The Buccaneers don't have a very potent offense, but Kellen Winslow is clearly one of Josh Freeman's favorite targets. Winslow was able to make plays on over the middle crossing routes as well as middle screens and mismatches on deep patterns where he was being covered by a single LB. Next week the Buccaneers go on the road to division rival New Orleans. Expect them to move the ball well again next week, because the Saints have struggled defensively in the last few games. Winslow has a great chance to put up solid numbers once again and is considered a good start.
TE Jeremy Shockey, NO
- Jeremy Shockey was unable to suit up in Week 15, and with the remarkable performance by Dave Thomas in his stead the Saints may start looking toward Thomas rather than Shockey in the near term.
TE Tony Gonzalez, ATL
- Gonzalez no longer has the great intermediate-deep speed that made him the top TE in football, but he is still athletic enough to be used as a receiver split wide of the formation and he made good in this game with a sideline fade against a DB to get the Falcons inside the two yard-line in the second series of the game. He also drew CB Darrelle Revis on several plays, which shows you the respect defensive coordinators still have for him. Gonzalez's score on a fourth and goal pass at the end of the game was something he even intimated to the media in the on-field, post-game interview was a surprise because it was a basic formation where he didn't expect to be open. Gonzalez continues to be a solid option every week because of his savvy, his hands, and lack of dangerous receivers after Roddy White.
TE Jeff King, CAR
- Of the three Carolina TEs that had receptions in this game, King was the one that was targeted the most. He had three short receptions for just 17 yards total, and was not much of a factor in this game.
TE Bo Scaife, TEN
- Scaife has been pretty consistent this season, and has gained at least 40 yards in each of his last four games (and 38 yards the game before that). His upside potential is rather limited, however, and he has not been targeted frequently in the red zone. He is in no way a fantasy TE1, but you can plug him in if you are desperate and feel pretty confident that you won't be shut out. The Titans host the Chargers next, who have been soft against opposing TEs this season and last, so Scaife is a decent TE2 especially in PPR leagues.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN
- Shiancoe was kept out of the end zone for the second straight game, and finished with only three short receptions for eight yards apiece. He was well covered for most of the game, and Favre checked down to him only when the outside receivers were covered, including a short shovel pass while Favre was rolling out under pressure. He also dropped a pass that came off an incredible scramble from Favre where the QB fired it between three defenders. However, Shiancoe was used more as a blocker in this game, trying to slow down Julius Peppers and give Favre more time to pass. It didn't help and Peppers ran wild in the Viking backfield.
PK Rob Bironas, TEN
- Rob Bironas is perfect on 14 PATs and has missed only one of 12 FG attempts in the last five games. Look for many more attempts in Week 16 as the Titans and Chargers clash in what should be a festival of scoring.
PK Nate Kaeding, SD
- Points, points, and more points is what you get from Nate Kaeding (he has kicked 28 total FGs and PATs in the last five weeks). The Week 16 contest with the Titans should provide more of the same.
PK Mason Crosby, GB
- What a game. Somewhat overshadowed by the amazing finish was another short miss by Mason Crosby. He now has missed four FGs in his last five games. Unacceptable.
PK Jay Feely, NYJ
- When a kicker misses two chip-shot FGs in a 3-point loss, there is a chance he'll be out of a job soon. At the very least, Jay Feely is a guy that no one (not even himself) has confidence in.
PK Garrett Hartley, NO
- Five points during your fantasy playoffs is a bummer, but look for Garrett Hartley to bounce back in Week 16. He and the Saints should score at will against the Buccaneers.
TD Arizona Cardinals, ARI
- The Cardinals merit the uptick for two reasons: 1) they are playing pretty well lately (nine forced turnovers and 13 sacks accumulated over their last five games), and 2) they host the Rams in Week 16.
TD Philadelphia Eagles, PHI
- In leagues that penalize for yards and/or points allowed, this group can be very inconsistent in scoring fantasy points. However, in most scoring systems, the Eagles defense is crushing the competition. They are forcing turnovers in bunches (14 over the last five games), sacking the quarterback with regularity 10 sacks over the span), and even scoring (three touchdowns over that span).
TD Baltimore Ravens, BAL
- We beat on the Ravens earlier in the season for not creating enough havoc. While the sacks are still pitiful (with only four in the last five weeks), Baltimore is leading the league with 15 forced turnovers in the last five weeks.
TD Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT
- While we can overlook a team getting torched on occasion, the Steelers get the downtick because they simply can't stop anyone. Even Mike Tomlin agrees with us.
TD Tennessee Titans, TEN
- Excepting an excellent Week 14 effort, the Titans defense has been pretty mediocre lately. They'll be fortunate to merit that label in Week 16 against the Chargers.
TD Green Bay Packers, GB
- Yes - Ben Roethlisberger threw for a bajillion yards in Week 15, but the Packers are better than that. They get to the quarterback with regularity and are excellent at forcing turnovers. This defense will bounce back with a great effort against the struggling Seahawks.