TE Notes: I've been pumping up John Carlson and Zach Miller throughout the week. They are still available on a lot of waiver wires and make better plays than Owen Daniels, Bo Scaife, and Greg Olsen. Miller is doing especially well because he's targeted down the field so often. He's no speedster, but gets targeted on many passes 15-20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Teams disrespect the Oakland passing game so much that Miller always gets single coverage and is crafty enough to beat linebackers and safeties. Miller has great hands and toughness. He could have Jason Witten's career if not for playing in Oakland. … Dustin Keller is second among tight ends in targets over the last month, only behind Tony Gonzalez. He's turned into an every week must start. Jeremy Shockey is back to being a better fantasy option than real-life player. He misses some assignments and drops passes, but he's seeing a ton of targets. I'd feel comfortable playing him during the playoffs. … Tony Gonzalez is opening up a huge gap between him and the next closest tight end. He is making tough catches on every pass level and has Tyler Thigpen's undivided attention. … Chris Cooley is producing against all competition, so don't go crazy with the low ranking here. There just happen to be a lot of good matchups for excellent tight ends this week. There is a big drop-off after Cooley. … Tony Scheffler is hit-or-miss, but he's healthy enough to use in a great matchup. … Kevin Boss is starting to show surprising ability with the ball in his hands and enjoyed a great game against Philly last time. … Greg Olsen is too inconsistent to count on. Week 14 Team Defense
QB Notes: Kurt Warner survived the NFC East gauntlet intact. It was a great sign he only took one sack in two games against the Giants and Cardinals. Since the early disaster against the Jets, Warner has been sacked only seven times in eight games. That bodes well for a healthy finish as a top-two quarterback. … Ridiculous cherry picked stat o' the week: Tyler Thigpen is the second highest scoring quarterback since he took over the starting job for good in Week 8. (Joe Flacco is somehow fifth!) Thigpen is largely ranked so high because he has 288 rush/receiving yards with two scores over that time. He's the closest thing we have right now to Michael Vick. The Raiders game was his worst in a while, so I checked the Shortcuts to see if there was cause for concern. There wasn't. His YPA remained high the last two weeks. He just didn't have the ball that much against Oakland. Thigpen is making a few more mistakes, but that's because he's so confident in his surprising accuracy. He's not great throwing it deep, but no one expects him to be Jay Cutler. I do expect him to throw more than 30 passes to keep up with Cutler this week. I would feel confident starting Thigpen.The G-Men's running game sets up Eli Manning. Washington and Arizona sold out to stop the run, which allowed Eli to go deep against single coverage on the outside. He has a tough matchup against Philly, but he's a borderline QB1 anyway. … After such a promising start, Jason Campbell and the Redskins just can't score. Their one touchdown against the Giants was on an end-around. Over the last half-season, Campbell is producing fantasy points at the same rate as Ryan Fitzpatrick. Only Marc Bulger and JaMarcus Russell have been worse among true regulars over that span. … I like Shaun Hill to have a sneaky good game against a Jets secondary that still has problems. In games where Hill hasn't been affected by Buffalo weather, he's been a remarkably consistent scorer. This is a game plan where Mike Martz should throw plenty. … Jay Cutler is wildly up-and-down, but his owners just have to live with it. Especially against the Chiefs. … The Patriots moved the ball well against Pittsburgh until the five straight turnovers. That sounds like a silly statement, but their offense can rack up yards with the best of them against soft defenses. Seattle qualifies, making Cassel an excellent play.Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger are similar options this week because of the matchup difference. Dallas is much easier to attack through the air than on the ground. Don't ditch Romo, though, for a second-tier option. He's still better than the QB2s with good matchups like Gus Frerotte and Matt Hasselbeck. Rough weather looms. … Philip Rivers is admittedly low on the rankings. He's so streaky and the Raiders have allowed only one touchdown through the air to go with six interceptions in the last four weeks. … It doesn't get much safer than Matt Ryan against the Saints. Ryan has topped 200 yards for seven straight weeks. The Falcons should have to throw to win this week, which isn't always the case. … I'm a huge Matt Schaub fan, but it takes serious cajones to start him in his first game back in Lambeau. … If J.P. Losman starts, he'll be ranked a few spots below where Edwards is. … Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia are too inconsistent to count on. They are an advertisement for quarterback play being overrated to a team's success. Look for a defensive struggle on Monday night. … Aaron Rodgers is coming off one of the most impressive games of his career and faces a weak Houston secondary. He's a must-start.
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RB Notes: The Redskins sold out to stop Brandon Jacobs last week. Despite the slow first-half, he looked strong and fresh in the game. He broke tackles and had speed to the outside; the holes just weren't there for most of the game. Derrick Ward didn't run well either. Look for a similar approach by Philly, which could lead to a modest yardage total to go along with Jacobs' usual touchdown. … Since most of my running back notes are above, I won't repeat them here. Reggie Bush's health affects Pierre Thomas greatly. Don't expect Thomas to dominate the workload again this week. Since New Orleans doesn't run much, 12-15 touches are a reasonable hope. That makes Thomas a decent flex option. He'll get the short-yardage snaps. … Warrick Dunn played well last week despite the average numbers. He carried some defenders, which is surprising. Against a solid Panthers rush defense, though, Dunn is a poor RB2. Cadillac Williams will take a handful of carries and Dunn isn't guaranteed the goal-line snaps. Ryan Grant's thumb may not be as big a factor as we expected. He practiced fully Wednesday. … It sounds crazy to bench DeAngelo Williams, but it's not out of the question because I respect the Bucs defense so much. Jonathan Stewart's cramp last week though may have clinched goal-line carries moving forward for Williams, which is big news in his favor. Tampa has only allowed one rushing score all year and held Williams/Stewart to 39 combined yards last time, although that game was over after one quarter. Carolina's offensive line is playing too well for that to happen again. … Joseph Addai is struggling to score on runs inside the five-yard line. If this matchup can't cure that problem, I'm not sure what will. … Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk are quietly playing very well and enjoy a plus matchup against Seattle. They had more success than any team against the Steelers rush defense. This is a good week to use Morris if the Patriots can get ahead early. Morris is definitely getting the short-yardage carries.Justin Fargas is back to doing his Justin Fargas thing: running wildly through tackles and playing with intense emotion. Darren McFadden looks decent, but still isn't making people miss in the open field. Fargas remains the better play on Thursday night, with McFadden getting most of his snaps on passing downs. … Michael Turner doesn't catch any passes, which hurts him in PPR leagues, but he's earned the right to start every week. A depleted Saints defensive line shouldn't offer much resistance. … Kevin Smith owners need to keep a close eye on the Williamses' legal proceedings. … Mike Shanahan has roped me in again with Peyton Hillis. The key here is the Kansas City defense, which is ridiculously soft in the middle. … Willie Parker is healthy enough, but he won't get all the carries in a tough matchup. … LenDale White is set up for a similar workload to the Detroit game. … The Ravens are expected to get Willis McGahee back in the mix, so the Ravens are best avoided. McClain remains the safest choice of the Baltimore three. … Maurice Morris will start against the Patriots, making him a decent flex play if you are in trouble. Week 14 Wide Receivers
WR Notes: Tough call on Mark Bradley this week. The matchup is right, but he didn't have a single catch last week against Oakland coming off an injury. He's not worth the risk. … Santana Moss hasn't topped seven standard fantasy points since facing Detroit in Week 8. He has four games over ten points all season, but three were against the worst defenses in the league. He's down to a WR3 option in a tough matchup. Washington needed one of their young receivers to emerge and it isn't happening. Malcolm Kelly blew a few chances last week. … Domenik Hixon is undoubtedly the most valuable Giants receiver. He lit up a strong Washington secondary and could have gone for much more if not for some overthrows and miscommunications with Eli Manning. He's a deep threat that should get single coverage, making him a strong WR3. … My Davone Bess hype worked out last week for owners in need. He's seen 19 targets over the last two weeks and had a chance for a score against St. Louis. The Buffalo matchup is tougher, but they have struggled defending against the short pass all year and the game is indoors. Bess is a solid, not spectacular, WR3 once again. Brandon Marshall is struggling to overcome the extra attention sent his way, but I'm not losing faith. Kansas City has no lock down defender to send at him. It's hard to kill a receiver who has topped 75 yards in every game but three this season. That is as consistent as it gets at the wideout position. … Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers don't rate on the trustiness scale. … Lee Evans isn't effected by the switch to J.P. Losman much. It's a blessing that the game is on turf and Losman loves to throw it deep. … Wes Welker looks safe to play in a great matchup. The Patriots should be able to throw all over the Seahawks. … Marques Colston is back to being an every-week option. … Santonio Holmes has shown flashes of his talent lately, but Hines Ward remains the safer Steelers wideout. … Bernard Berrian could be helped by the Vikings suspensions. Minnesota is more likely to need to throw to win, even against Detroit. Mark Clayton keeps making plays, but he's way too inconsistent to consider using against Washington. … I made a bet that Reggie Wayne will top 12 standard fantasy points this week and feel very confident in it. … The matchup against Houston makes Donald Driver a viable WR2 and a strong WR3. … The matchup for Antonio Bryant isn't great, but they just don't have any receiver who can make plays. He continues to get a lot of targets and play tougher than his reputation. … I like Housh and Ocho Cinco more than I normally would against the Colts because Indy is missing so many defenders. … DeSean Jackson is showing no signs of hitting the rookie wall. Most of the teams that have played on Thursdays have come out very strong the following week after their mini-bye, so we'll see if that holds true. … Deion Branch has shown flashes of being ready to break out, but he's not much of a touchdown scorer. … Devin Hester is getting more targets every week now that he's off kick returns. … Choosing Donnie Avery or Torry Holt at this point is also choosing Marc Bulger. I know it's a good-looking matchup, but it's so hard to trust the Rams passing game. Week 14 Tight Ends