Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 16 Rankings Update

Friday, December 19, 2008

Week 16 Running Backs

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Adrian Petersonvs. ATL -
2Brian Westbrookat WASProbable(knee)
3Steve Slatonat OAK -
4Matt Fortevs. GBQuestionable, fully expected to start
5Thomas Jonesat SEA -
6Pierre Thomasat DET -
7Steven Jacksonvs. SF -
8Maurice Jones-Drewvs. IND -
9Marshawn Lynchat DENFully expected to start (shoulder)
10DeAngelo Williamsat NYG -
11Michael Turnerat MIN -
12Brandon Jacobsvs. CARQuestionable, expected to start
13Kevin Smithvs. NO C'mon man
14Ronnie Brownat KC -
15Chris Johnsonvs. PIT -
16Ryan Grantat CHI -
17LaDainian Tomlinsonat TB -
18Sammy Morrisvs. ARZ -
19Tashard Choicevs. BALExpected to carry load
20LeRon McClainat DAL -
21Justin Fargasvs. HOU -
22DeShaun Fosterat STLSounds like he'll carry load
23Clinton Portisvs. PHIStatus Uncertain(back)
24Larry Johnsonvs. MIA -
25Cedric Bensonat CLE -
26Jonathan Stewartat NYG -
27Jamal Lewisvs. CIN -
28Tim Hightowerat NECould snow help?
29Frank Goreat STLQuestionable(ankle)
30Maurice Morrisvs. NYJ -
31Warrick Dunnvs. SD -
32Dominic Rhodesat JAC -
33Darren McFaddenvs. HOU -
34Willie Parkerat TEN -
35Ricky Williamsat KC -
36Derrick Wardvs. CARProbable(ankle)
37Marion Barbervs. BALGame-time Decision (toe)
38Leon Washingtonat SEA -
39Carnell Williamsvs. SD -
40Kevin Faulkvs. ARZ -
41Fred Jacksonat DEN -
42LenDale Whitevs. PIT -
43Chester Taylorvs. ATL -
44Willis McGaheeat DAL -
45Jerious Norwoodat MIN -
46Mewelde Mooreat TEN -
47Tatum Bellvs. BUF -
48J.J. Arringtonat NEQuestionable(knee)
49P.J. Popevs. BUF -
50Ray Riceat DALQuestionable(calf)
51Darren Sprolesat TB -
52Correll Buckhalterat WASProbable(knee)
53Ahmad Bradshawvs. CARProbable(neck)
54Selvin Youngvs. BUFProbable(groin)
55Julius Jonesvs. NYJ -

RB Notes: Denver used their three-headed backfield evenly throughout last week's game. Selvin Young had some red zone touches, but his workload may be diminished after a key fumble. There's no point trying to guess how Mike Shanahan will split the work between Young, P.J. Pope, and Tatum Bell. … This note will soon be out of date, but my sense is that Matt Forte is a safe bet to start against the Packers in a plus matchup. Watch his practice reports. … Some readers have wondered if Deuce McAllister is a sneaky play behind Pierre Thomas. McAllister's knee is not right, so I wouldn't bother with someone who may not get a full workload. … Brandon Jacobs looks like a safe bet to start against the Panthers. In non-PPR leagues, it's over-thinking it to bench The Train. Carolina is a good, not great, rush defense. They will be without their best run plugger Maake Kemoeatu. Play Jacobs as a RB2.

Chris Johnson has not fared well in his most difficult matchups and now he's got the toughest one possible. I'd still give him the edge over backs like LaDainian Tomlinson, Ryan Grant, and Clinton Portis who also have tough matchups, but aren't insanely talented like Johnson. … Michael Turner's difficult matchup is made much easier with Pat Williams' absence. … The Tampa rush defense has not been the same the last two weeks, but they play much better at home. If LaDainian Tomlinson can't run on the Chiefs, there's no reason to think he can against Tampa, no matter how many injuries they have. … Very tough call on Joseph Addai Thursday night. With the Colts likely to rest players next week, I think they will want to get Addai a lot of work in a solid matchup. He's still a RB2, assuming he starts.

It's been an up and down season for Marshawn Lynch, but drafting him should pay off at the right time against Denver. Anyone who watched Lynch break tackle after tackle last week knows they he hasn't given up on this season. … Chicago's rush defense isn't the same as it was early in the year, but the same can be said for Green Bay's offensive line. Ryan Grant is an iffy option. … The Patriots should have the ball in the red zone plenty against the Cardinals, so Sammy Morris should have some scoring opportunities. It's a committee in New England, but Morris is the leader once again. … Tashard Choice and Marion Barber are ranked as if Barber is playing. MBIII will probably be a game-time decision Saturday night, but owners can't trust his toe any longer. Choice would inch up if Barber is out.

LeRon McClain rushed 23 times for 87 yards against Pittsburgh. Look for a similar effort against a stout Dallas rush defense. McClain will definitely have the goal-line snaps, if Baltimore ever gets there. … With Kris Jenkins losing energy and effectiveness by the week, Maurice Morris is a reasonable flex option this week. … Jonathan Stewart has played so well in the red zone, he's likely to continue to get the carries. Yardage is unlikely to be high against the Giants, though, so he's a risky flex play at best. … I'd actually play Cedric Benson over Jamal Lewis, just because I trust the Cincinnati offense more – which is sad. … Move Dominic Rhodes up twenty spots if Joseph Addai is out.

Week 16 Wide Receivers

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Andre Johnsonat OAK -
2Calvin Johnsonvs. NO -
3Brandon Marshallvs. BUF
4Roddy Whiteat MIN -
5Larry Fitzgeraldat NE -
6Steve Smithat NYG -
7Antonio Bryantvs. SD -
8Randy Mossvs. ARZ -
9Marques Colstonat DET -
10Wes Welkervs. ARZ -
11Reggie Wayneat JAC -
12Greg Jenningsat CHI -
13Anquan Boldinat NEHighly questionable, ranked in case he starts
14Lee Evansat DEN -
15Dwayne Bowevs. MIA -
16Terrell Owensvs. BAL -
17Lance Mooreat DET -
18Jerricho Cotcheryat SEAProbable(shoulder)
19Eddie Royalvs. BUF -
20Kevin Walterat OAK -
21Bernard Berrianvs. ATL -
22Vincent Jacksonat TBProbable(concussion)
23T.J. Houshmandzadehat CLEProbable(hand)
24Laveranues Colesat SEAQuestionable(thigh)
25Steve Breastonat NEMove up 4 spots is Boldin is out
26Anthony Gonzalezat JAC -
27Hines Wardat TEN -
28Deion Branchvs. NYJ -
29Santana Mossvs. PHIProbable(concussion)
30Donald Driverat CHI -
31DeSean Jacksonat WASNo Curtis could help
32Davone Bessat KC -
33Isaac Bruceat STL -
34Torry Holtvs. SF -
35Santonio Holmesat TEN -
36Braylon Edwardsvs. CIN -
37Devin Hestervs. GB -
38Derrick Masonat DALProbable(shoulder)
39Chad Ocho Cincoat CLEProbable(hamstring)
40Domenik Hixonvs. CARQuestionable(foot)
41Bryant Johnsonat STL -
42Chris Chambersat TB -
43Muhsin Muhammadat NYG -
44Donnie Averyvs. SF -
45Ted Ginn KC -
46Justin Gagevs. PIT -
47Amani Toomervs. CAR -
48Bobby Engramvs. NYJ -
49Brandon Jonesvs. PIT -
50Steve Smithvs. CAR -
51Dennis Northcuttvs. IND -
52Roy Williamsvs. BALProbable(foot)
53Mark Claytonat DAL -
54Sidney Ricevs. ATL -
55Josh Reedat DEN -
56Michael Jenkinsat MIN -

WR Notes: Dan Orlovsky has easily been Calvin Johnson's best quarterback this season. Megatron has averaged 100 yards and a touchdown in his last five starts with Orlovsky. DanO has averaged 253 yards in his last four starts and is a sneaky QB play if you are truly desperate. … Roy E. Williams could be the most overpaid player in the league this side of Jerry Porter. Cris Collinsworth alluded to how truly worthless he looks on tape. … If Anquan Boldin doesn't play, move Steve Breaston into the top-20. Over the last three weeks, he has virtually identical target, reception, and yardage numbers to his famous teammates anyway. There should be plenty of points in this game no matter the weather. … Yes, it's a tough matchup for Steve Smith in the Meadowlands. But he'll beat your ass if you bench him and you'll deserve it. … Jeff Garcia's status shouldn't change Antonio Bryant's value much, as we saw last week. The Chargers remain one of the easiest teams to get big plays against. Their effort level is questionable. … Andre Johnson owners, like Randy Moss and Wes Welker owners last week, don't need to worry about the Nmandi factor because the Texans can just move A.J. around the field.

Lance Moore is still getting his 6-8 targets per week, even if the yards haven't been there lately. Reggie Bush's absence will help him. Don't outsmart yourself and bench him against the Lions. … With Marvin Harrison out, Anthony Gonzalez becomes a very good WR3 option against a poor Jacksonville secondary. … I don't need a huge excuse to get back on the Lee Evans bandwagon. Facing Denver with Trent Edwards back in the lineup is more than enough reason for me. Denver simply could not locate Steve Smith last week, and remain a terrible cover team without Champ Bailey. Their front seven is so light that they have to bring their safety down in the box to stop the running game. … The favorable matchup against the Seahawks gives Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles a chance to end a weak season on a high note. It's a similar matchup to the one against Buffalo last week: small cornerbacks who aren't great tacklers. The Jets WRs had solid games then and should once again. … Bernard Berrian is the definition of a risky WR2, but the Atlanta defense has given up a lot of big plays to speed threats in recent weeks including Antonio Bryant, Steve Smith, and Devery Henderson. They are not a great road defense.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh could take a hit in the rankings if the wind reports in Cleveland stay ugly, but the matchup is certainly right. Despite last week's game, Housh has mostly been consistent despite playing with Ryan Fitzpatrick all year. … On paper, the Titans look like a tough matchup for Hines Ward. In reality, their pass defense has fallen off the last month and their pass rush won't be the same without Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Don't expect a huge game, but it's an easier matchup than Baltimore. He topped 100 yards. … If the Redskins could only score one touchdown against the Bengals, I wouldn't bet on two against the Eagles. This offense is bankrupt. That makes Santana Moss a dicey play. … Deion Branch has 25 targets in the last three weeks. Bobby Engram has 17, Koren Robinson nine. New York's secondary looks worse by the week. The only concern for Branch is that he gets the Darrelle Revis treatment. Eric Mangini knows how dangerous Branch is, at least relative to the other Seattle wideouts. … Davone Bess didn't do anything last week because Miami couldn't pick up a first down in the second half. They didn't need to throw to win. He's still a solid WR3. … Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce are respectable WR3 options because of the matchup. … The Packers secondary is no longer that tough a matchup, so Devin Hester is an option. Just not a great one. … Bryant Johnson didn't appear to lose any snaps to Josh Morgan last week. … A mild Donnie Avery revival is not worth betting on for a second straight week.

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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.
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