John Biancardi

Sunday Schooled

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Crunch Time

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Ahh, the Finals are finally here!

For you college kids, the finals are here in more ways than one. While you probably should be studying for exams right now, it's okay to procrastinate on Rotoworld. While you're at it, make sure to check out Rotoworld's new game, Snapdraft, if you haven't already.

If you weren't fortunate enough to make it to the "ship" this year and are feeling down, cheer up by listening to some Holiday music -- that usually does the trick.

With that said, let's take a look at the heroes from Sunday's action that helped you make it do the big dance. Good luck to those of you in the Finals!

Top 5 QBs:

1. Matt Cassel – 218 Yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 18 Rush Yds – Now that's more like it. After two very sub par performances in the past two weeks (1 TD and 2 INTs), Cassel was back to his true form on Sunday, picking up where he left off in Weeks 11 and 12, when he had back-to-back three touchdown performances.

2. Tarvaris Jackson – 163 Yds, 4 TDs, 0 INTs – Gus who? Wasn't Jackson supposed to struggle throwing the ball downfield? The Vikings are going to be faced with an interesting decision if Frerotte is healthy enough to play next week. If Jackson gets the nod, I would air on the side of caution, because the yardage totals were nothing to write home about.

3. David Garrard – 238 Yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 31 Rush Yds – If you had the "guts" to play Garrard this week, I tip my cap to you. He has been extremely inconsistent all season long, but that doesn't matter come fantasy playoff time. I'm sure Garrard made some fantasy owner pa-retty happy on Sunday.

4. Philip Rivers – 346 Yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 12 Rush Yds, 1 FL – Rivers tied Drew Brees for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns, as he tossed his 27th and 28th scores of the season on Sunday. He has now thrown for multiple touchdowns in all but four games this season, as he has picked up the slack in a down year for LT2.

5. Ryan Fitzpatrick – 209 Yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 29 Rush Yds, 1 TD – You've got to be kidding me, right? I can't help but scratch my head when I look at some of the guys on this list (see Garrard and Jackson) but, thanks to Don Cheadle, I've come to realize that the impossible is possible.

Top 5 RBs:

1. Michael Turner – 152 Rush Yds, 1 TD, 2 Rec, 30 Yds – "The Burner" has been just about as reliable as you can be, all…season…long. Sunday's performance was his seventh 100-yard game this year, and his third in his past four games. He's officially matchup proof, but you didn't need me to tell you that.

2. Dominic Rhodes – 86 Rush Yds, 2 TDs, 4 Rec, 30 Yds – Talk about an admirable fill-in, albeit against the Lions. If Addai misses anymore time, Rhodes remains a must-start. In a high-powered offense he should continue to get plenty of touches.

3. Tashard Choice – 91 Rush Yds, 1 TD, 4 Rec, 52 Yds – The rook capped off his second consecutive impressive game, as he took full advantage of MBIII being limited. Choice has shown explosiveness when given the chance, while also demonstrating that he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Depending on Barber's practice workload this week, Choice could be worth another look next week, even though he'd be against a stingy Ravens' defense.

4. Maurice Jones-Drew – 48 Rush Yds, 1 TD, 4 Rec, 22 Yds, 1 TD – MJD took full advantage of Fred Taylor's absence, as he added his 13th and 14th touchdowns of the season. With another soft matchup against the Colts next week, MJD owners should be counting their lucky stars.

5. Steven Jackson – 91 Rush Yds, 1 TD, 4 Rec, 36 Yds – Whoa, hold the phone! Is this the same Jackson that was drafted as a top 5 pick in most drafts before the season, only to be riddled by a nagging injury, all while making his owners want to pull their hair out? Yup, same guy. It was nice of him to stop by in the playoffs, but it might have been too little too late for his owners.

Top 5 WRs:

1. Andre Johnson – 11 Rec, 207 Yds,1 TD – The word "clutch" doesn't do this performance any justice. Johnson had 207 of the Texans' 284 receiving yards, giving him 1,408-yards on the season. After totaling just three touchdowns in his first twelve games, AJ now has three consecutive games with a score. Did I mention that the timing couldn't be anymore perfect?

2. Steve Smith – 9 Rec, 165 Yds, 1 TD, 9 Rush Yds – Smith has put up absolutely gaudy numbers after missing the first two weeks of the season. He has now topped the 100-yard mark in seven of his past nine games. Yes, you read correctly. It's always pretty good when you have four consecutive 100-yard games, with a touchdown in each of the past two.

3. Randy Moss – 5 Rec, 67 Yds, 2 TDs – Believe it or not, Moss now has double-digit touchdowns on the season (10), as he and Cassel have developed a nice chemistry. While he has been a bit inconsistent this season, when he's had a big game they have been no joke.

4. Dennis Northcutt – 5 Rec, 127 Yds, 1 TD – Where the heck did this performance come from? Before this game, Northcutt's best game of the season was a whopping 49-yards against the Browns, in Week 9. Not really much to say on this one.

5. Antonio Bryant –8 Rec, 108 Yds, 1 TD – After lashing out against Emmitt Smith and Trent Dilfer this past week about their comments regarding his off the field troubles, Bryant once again delivered on the field for the Bucs. Bryant now has a score in three consecutive games, as he continues to finish strong on a surprising '08 campaign.

Top 5 TEs:

1. Dallas Clark – 12 Rec, 142 Yds, 1 TD – Clark continued to add to his stellar season on Sunday, as he now has a touchdown in two consecutive games, with a total of five scores on the year. He has been Peyton Manning's favorite target in the redzone, and remains a TE1 play next week against Jacksonville.

2. David Martin – 2 Rec, 66 Yds, 1 TD – Martin made a circus like catch to haul in his 61-yard score. The reality is that he's a backup tight end in an offense that likes to run the ball. He hasn't found a spot on your roster this season for a reason.

3. Tony Gonzalez – 6 Rec, 62 Yds, 1 TD – Whether it's Tyler Thigpen or Larry Johnson throwing touchdowns, who cares? Tony G has scored in three of his past four games, and from the tight end position that's more than enough. Gonzalez gets better with age, as he is in line for his best season in the past four years.

4. Antonio Gates – 7 Rec, 78 Yds, 0 TDs – Nice of you to stop by Mr. Gates. It would be an understatement to say that his 2008 season has been a major disappointment – before Sunday's game he had gone over the 70-yard mark only one other time. To give you a microcosm of just how bad he's been, Gates' 78-yards on Sunday were more than his combined total output in his last four games.

5. John Carlson – 5 Rec, 76 Yds, 0 TDs – Carlson has been a real pleasant surprise in the last month, as he has totaled 7-plus fantasy points in his past four games. The Seahawks have been targeting him often, and he remains a strong play against the Jets next weekend.

Bottom 5 QBs:

1. Joe Flacco – 115 Yds, 0 TDs, 2 INTs
2. Matt Ryan – 206 Yds, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 19 Rush Yds
3. Seneca Wallace – 226 Yds, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 FL
4. Eli Manning – 191 Yds, 0 TDs, 2 INTs – Is the loss of Plax starting to show?
5. Kerry Collins – 181 Yds, 0 TDs, 1 INT

Bottom 5 RBs:

1. Marion Barber – 2 Rush Yds, 2 Rec, 24 Yds, 0 TDs – Clearly, he wasn't that healthy.
2. Willis McGahee – 18 Rush Yds, 2 Rec, 15 Yds, 0 TDs
3. Tim Hightower – 20 Rush Yds, 5 Rec, 20 Yds, 0 TDs – Really hasn't justified the benching of Edgerrin James.
4. Willie Parker – 47 Rush Yds, 2 Rec, 9 Yds, 0 TDs
5. LenDale White – 26 Rush Yds, 0 TDs – So how does this work? Since "Smash" and "Dash" put up a stinker, is it okay to relinquish the nickname? Just make sure you ask LenDale if it's allowed.

Bottom 5 WRs:

1. Kevin Walter – 2 Rec, 8 Yds, 0 TDs
2. Anquan Boldin – 6 Rec, 34 Yds, 0 TDs, 1 FL – Rare to see this from this season's most consistent wideout.
3. Lee Evans – 4 Rec, 22 Yds, 0 TDs
4. Ted Ginn Jr. – 2 Rec, 6 Yds, 0 TDs
5. T.J. Houshmandzadeh – 3 Rec, 19 Yds, 0 TDs

Bottom 5 TEs:

1. Tony Scheffler – 0 Rec, 0 Yds – Very disappointing day for Denver's offense.
2. Marcedes Lewis – 2 Rec, 7 Yds, 0 TDs
3. Visanthe Shiancoe – 1 Rec, 8 Yds, 0 TDs
4. Donald Lee – 2 rec, 8 Yds, 0 TDs
5. Bo Scaife – 3 Rec, 11 Yds, 0 TDs





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