Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 16 Rankings Update

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rankings were updated Friday evening. Weather is taken into account, although forecasts could change. Brandon Jacobs is fully expected to start. Marion Barber is a game-time decision, but don't expect him to contribute much. A highly respected source says Frank Gore is unlikely to play much Sunday. DeShaun Foster is likely to carry the load. If they are both active, it may be a situation to avoid. We've come this far: See you Sunday morning on The Fantasy Fix (Presented by Absolut Vodka!). Good luck this weekend!

Kevin Smith does not go down easily. Early in Detroit's loss to the Colts, he was handed the ball on a second-and-five. The play was designed to go to the right. Like so many Lions sequences this season, it looked doomed from the start as the Colts blew up the Detroit offensive line. Smith, perhaps used to the mayhem, stopped on a dime, and avoided the penetration by hopping to the weak side. A Colts linebacker was waiting for him there, so Smith quickly cut again inside, then broke for daylight and a 25 improved yards.

Playing for Detroit forces you to improvise. It tests how much you care. In a season of unintentional comedy and despair in Detroit, the Lions have found a leader in their rookie running back.

I expected Smith's 450 carries at Central Florida to catch up to him by mid-season, but the opposite has happened. He's improved despite a difficult schedule, ranking in the top-15 fantasy backs since Week 9. Here's a look at his yards from scrimmage since midseason:

Week 9 @ CHI: 53 yards, TD
Week 10 vs. JAX: 123 yards, TD
Week 11 @ CAR: 135 yards
Week 12 vs. TB: 86 yards
Week 13 vs. TEN: 31 yards
Week 14 vs. MIN: 91 yards
Week 15 @ IND: 119 yards, TD

Smith is "desperate" for a win and "jealous" of those players who have them. He tells reporters to "tighten up" when they attempt to get him to criticize the playcalling. He wants a win badly and the Lions have nearly pulled it off against likely playoff teams in successive weeks, Minnesota and Indy. A small prediction: Smith leads the way in a win against New Orleans Sunday and helps decide some fantasy championships along the way. From everyone here at Rotoworld: C'Mon Man!

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Week 16 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Drew Breesat DET -
2Peyton Manningat JAC -
3Matt Schaubat OAK -
4Jay Cutlervs. BUF -
5Kurt Warnerat NE keep eye on weather
6Aaron Rodgersat CHI -
7Shaun Hillat STL -
8Matt Casselvs. ARZSee Kurt Warner
9Tony Romovs. BALProbable(back)
10Donovan McNabbat WASSee Matt Cassel
11Philip Riversat TB -
12Brett Favreat SEA See Donovan McNabb
13Matt Ryanat MIN -
14Tyler Thigpenvs. MIA -
15Chad Penningtonat KC -
16Trent Edwardsat DENExpected to start
17Jeff Garciavs. SDExpected to play
18Dan Orlovskyvs. NO -
19David Garrardvs. IND -
20Ben Roethlisbergerat TEN -
21Kyle Ortonvs. GB -
22Eli Manningvs. CARUgly in NY
23Seneca Wallacevs. NYJ -
24Marc Bulgervs. SF -
25Jake Delhommeat NYG -
26Tarvaris Jacksonvs. ATL -
27Jason Campbellvs. PHI -
28Kerry Collinsvs. PIT -
29Joe Flaccoat DAL -
30Ryan Fitzpatrickat CLE -
31JaMarcus Russellvs. HOU -
32Ken Dorseyvs. CIN -

QB Notes: Let's start with the weather. It will be a bigger factor than last week. As we saw in Kansas City, though, you don't want to overrate it. The Chargers and Chiefs still wound up throwing the ball fairly well in the wind, even if it took a while. The conditions could also change so many games that they may cancel each other out. Kansas City and Cincy look like they will be below freezing and could be very windy, especially the Bengals game. The Patriots, Redskins, Giants and Seahawks home games will all be cold and possibly getting their wintry mix on. Chicago and Denver look to be just plain old bone-chilling cold, which isn't so bad.

Kurt Warner Nation is surprisingly worried about this matchup against the Patriots. Even if Anquan Boldin misses the game and it snows, Warner should have no problems throwing. New England's defense, especially their secondary, can't slow down any decent passing game. No amount of scheme can overcome their lack of talent. Warner will also have to throw plenty to keep up with the Patriots. The reason he's struggled relatively in recent weeks is that defenses are finally getting consistent pressure on him. But New England isn't a great pass rushing team and snowy conditions hurts the pass rush. … While the Lions could win against the Saints, that doesn't mean you buck the odds and bet against any facet of the Saints passing game against the league's worst defense. … Shaun Hill has a perfect matchup and doesn't have to worry about the weather. Even during last week's disappointing effort, the 49ers dominated time of possession and Hill moved the ball. He's a safe bet.

Dallas knows the best way to beat Baltimore will be to throw often. That's no guarantee of a huge day, but if Tony Romo can top 200 yards against the Giants, he can do it against Baltimore. Dallas still has an elite passing game; the matchups have just been brutal. … Donovan McNabb is playing well enough to start in most leagues, but don't expect a huge game against Washington. The Redskins secondary isn't what it was early in the season, but it's still a tough matchup. … Opposing forces collide when Brett Favre takes on the Seahawks. Favre is playing terrible football, but the Seahawks give up more fantasy points to quarterbacks than any team. Add it up, and you probably get a 200 yards and 1-2 scores. … Miami's secondary is tougher to beat than it was early in the year, hurting Tyler Thigpen's matchup.

Oakland's respectable defense has fallen apart in recent weeks. That makes Matt Schaub a must-start. … Jay Cutler's game against the Panthers was discouraging, but you still shouldn't bench him. Denver's lack of a running game is allowing defenses to drop a lot of defenders into coverage, forcing Cutler to fit the ball into tight spots. But Denver's offensive line is pass protecting amazingly well, and the Bills just don't have difference makers. The Broncos will create yards. … Tarvaris Jackson's day against the Cardinals was remarkable because the passes he completed were not easy. They were well-covered deep balls that he precisely put on his receivers. Betting on that happening again takes more guts than I have. … Jake Delhomme is averaging 7.6 YPA, which is good for eighth in the league and the most he's had since Carolina's Super Bowl year. He enjoys all that single coverage, but betting on him in the Meadowlands is way too risky. The same goes for Eli Manning, whose receivers couldn't get open against Dallas. No reason to think they will against Carolina. … Tampa's defense is missing some parts, but they still made Matt Ryan look like a rookie again last week. I respect them enough to knock down Philip Rivers a few spots based on the matchup.

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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
Email :Gregg Rosenthal

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