Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Will they rest?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sometimes, a team is so good that it's bad for fantasy owners. Nothing like visions of Mark Brunell, Tarvaris Jackson and Jim Sorgi lining up under center during the fantasy playoffs to give owners nightmares.

Different teams have different philosophies on resting starters and home-field advantage. The Patriots obviously have tried to run up the score straight through Week 17 in the past. The Colts have not. The Saints and Vikings? Well, we're in uncharted waters.

The good news for owners of Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Adrian Peterson etc. is that it's unlikely home field will be locked up in the NFC anytime soon. The Vikings are just a game back and both teams will be favored in every game the rest of the way.

One potential pitfall in that prediction is this week. The Vikings have a tough game on Sunday night in Arizona. A loss there coupled with a win for the Saints in Washington, and New Orleans could clinch home field in Week 15. Will they then go for the undefeated record? We doubt it, but it's still unclear.

One thing that is clear is what the Colts are going to do. Peter King reported yesterday that coach Jim Caldwell will stick to Tony Dungy's strategy of resting his starters once home field is locked up. The Colts want to be as fresh as possible heading into the playoffs, even if it costs them a chance at a 16-0 record.

"It'll be somewhat similar to what we've done," Caldwell said. "Going undefeated was always a secondary goal. I don't think we'll put too much emphasis on that."

The Colts currently have a three-game lead for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. With two home games against the Titans and Broncos on tap, it's quite possible they'll have home field locked up by Week 15.

If you own Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark or Reggie Wayne, you're praying for a loss to the red hot Titans this week. Donald Brown, Austin Collie and Gijon Robinson are going to struggle to win fantasy championships.

Bottom line
If the Vikings lose this week, they could be locked into the No. 2 seed by Week 16. … It doesn't look like anyone can stop the Saints. Watch the quotes to see how important going undefeated is to them. Look for them to play guys like Brees and Colston for a half in Weeks 16 and 17. … Colts owners need to be prepared for other options during the fantasy playoffs.

Patriots vs. Saints quick hitters:
Mike Bell runs so hard he's bound to get nicked up. He limped off a couple times last night. … I love the way Bill Belichick has no regard for the critical postgame Suzy Kolber interview. He'll interrupt it for a hug with Drew Brees anytime. … It's a crapshoot as to who will blow up between Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem. Sometimes, both of them will. … The single camera on Randy Moss is great when he's not involved in the play. Pure comedy. … Drew Brees is the most accurate passer in the league. It's really quite scary.

Editor's Note: For early rankings, complete projections, and a host of other exclusive material for Week 13, head to Rotoworld's Season Pass. It's just $4.99 for the rest of the season and includes rankings for the fantasy playoffs.

DeSean Jackson is the latest big name to catch the concussion bug. Considering all the high profile problems we've seen with Clinton Portis, Kurt Warner, Ben Roethlisberger, Jackson is unlikely to play. But add in that the Eagles have been accused of rushing Brian Westbrook back from his concussion too quickly, Jackson is almost certain to sit out in Week 13.

Former second-round pick Reggie Brown has fallen out of favor with the Eagles over the last year or so, but he's expected to start. Kevin Curtis (knee) remains out. The man to watch is slot receiver and third-down specialist Jason Avant. He should see a bump in targets and Donovan McNabb trusts him more than Brown.

Justin Forsett is all the rage these days, and with good reason. Like Jamaal Charles, Forsett can make NFL defenders miss on a regular basis. That's a skill that just can't be taught. Forsett is only 5'8, but he is a physical specimen. He's benched 395 pounds and put up 225 pounds 26 times at the scouting combine. That's a man.

The question now is what will Forsett's role be when Julius Jones (ribs, lung) returns to the lineup? Coach Jim Mora said again Monday that Jones would start when healthy, but it's going to be hard to justify a full load for the veteran. Forsett is averaging 6.8 yards per carry while Julius is at 3.7.

Look for Jones to be a game-time decision again this week and Forsett to have a major role either way.

Editor's Note: For early rankings, complete projections, and a host of other exclusive material for Week 13, head to Rotoworld's Season Pass. It's $4.99 for the rest of the season and includes rankings for the fantasy playoffs.

Matt Ryan (toe) has already been ruled out for Week 13 and his season is in jeopardy. Chris Redman will start. … Clinton Portis (concussion) is out for Week 13 as well. … Michael Turner (ankle) has not been ruled out, but we really doubt he'll be able to go. The Falcons have to be kicking themselves for rushing him back. … Kurt Warner (concussion) is still having some vision problems and will meet with a specialist. He could very well miss another week. … Jason Campbell did not suffer a concussion and should be fine to start Sunday. … Steven Jackson (back) came out of the game sore but is expected to fight through it again. … Chris Cooley (ankle) was officially placed on injured reserve, ending his season. … Eli Manning has a stress reaction that the Giants are trying to prevent from turning into a stress fracture. He's fine - for now. … Justin Fargas (stinger) is questionable for Week 13. … DeAngelo Williams (ankle) missed a couple plays Sunday and could miss some practice time but should be good to go. … Brent Celek (thumb) isn't in danger of missing any games.

Cedric Benson (hip) is healthy and will start. We expect him to get the majority of the workload, with Bernard Scott and Larry Johnson mixing in for spot duty. … The 49ers are moving toward the shotgun-spread more and more. Expect at least 2/3 of the plays to come from that pass-happy formation going forward. … Jamaal Charles earned rave reviews from coach Todd Haley following Sunday's impressive performance. Charles is for real. … LenDale White was inactive Sunday because he missed a meeting. It's minor news, but Chris Johnson's owners can hope for more goal-line work. … Jake Delhomme was probably on his way out anyway, but a fractured finger should open the door fully for Matt Moore.

Here are three ideas for owners adding a new defense each week based on matchups:

CHARGERS at Browns - Even with Eric Weddle out and Shawn Merriman unlikely to play, San Diego shouldn't have any trouble here.

PANTHERS vs. Bucs - Josh Freeman has been impressive in two of his three starts, but he hasn't seen a secondary like Carolina's.

BEARS vs. Rams - This Bears team is embarrassed, frustrated and miserable. This is one of those "take out your frustration" spots.

Chris Wesseling will cover this topic from head-to-toe in his Waiver Wired column, but here are three guys that are worth a quick add:

WR Jason Avant - With DeSean Jackson out at least one week, there are more targets to go around. Avant is more of a possession guy, but Donovan McNabb trusts him more than Reggie Brown.

WR Kenny Britt - Vince Young is proving everyone -- including myself -- wrong regarding his ability to get the ball to wideouts. Britt is ahead of the injured Justin Gage.

QB Alex Smith - The Niners players went to the coaches and said they want to run the spread. Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye listened. Check out Pancake Blocks for a little more on this.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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