Studs and Duds: Week 16

Wow…I must say that last weekend did not exactly go according to plan. I promised everyone that my picks would be near perfect, but I guess I pulled an Anthony Smith in that regard, posting my worst record of the season. However, I can’t be completely to blame, as bad weather conditions in certain venues ruined the fantasy production of several players, such as Derek Anderson, while other players just seemed to take a vacation (Antonio Gates). I will take credit for a few picks though, such as suggesting Adrian Peterson would rebound with a big game and that Kurt Warner would also have a big day against the Saints. Kellen Clemens and Chris Redman also helped the cause with pretty poor performances (although I doubt anyone considered starting them in the first place). Anyways, with that anomaly of a week out of my (and hopefully the NFL’s) system, let’s get to the studs and duds of week 16…most likely the championship week in your league (hopefully you’re still in contention!)

Studs

Ryan Grant (GB): Grant has been a machine this season since getting the start in week 6. He’s got four 100+ yard games under his belt and 6 touchdowns since then. Do you really think the Bears ’07 defense is going to slow him down all that much?

Fred Taylor / Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): Last weekend I hated on the Jaguars running game and they made me pay for it, especially Taylor who went for 147 yards and a score. This week I’m changing my tune a bit though as they play against what the Raiders claim is a run defense, but in all reality is just a bunch of guys standing there hoping a running back will run into them. Oakland has allowed 21 rushing touchdowns this season so far, which is the worst in the NFL…in case you were interested.

LenDale White (TEN): Last week the Jets gave up over a 100 yards and a TD to Laurence Maroney…imagine the possibilities for White, who is actually one of the feature players on the offense?

LaDainian Tomlinson (SD): While the Broncos slowed LT down the last time they met in week 5, they have been getting lit up the last few weeks. It seems that the San Diego running game is on all cylinders now and the only risk with LT here is that the team gets too far ahead too early and he finds himself on the bench…so let’s hope Denver puts up a fight.

Laurence Maroney (NE): With poor conditions at Gilette last weekend, the team looked to Maroney to carry a bulk of the offensive load, and he seemed to handle the task pretty well. This weekend, the Patriots play at home again, so who knows if the weather will be favorable or not. All I know is that the Dolphins have been horrendous against the run this year, letting up over 155 yards a game on the ground, so we could see another big day for Maroney.

Dwayne Bowe / Tony Gonzalez (KC): The risk here is that the Chiefs will go to their running game after watching how the Chargers abused the Lions on the ground last week. Kolby Smith is no LT, so expect some passing in this one, and the weak Lions secondary should allow some decent fantasy stats for Bowe and Gonzo.

Brian Westbrook (PHI): Although the Saints have been fairly strong against the run this season, Westbrook is sooo much more than just a running back. The Saints can’t stop the pass and Westbrook should take part in exploiting that weakness.

Carson Palmer / T.J. Houshmandzadeh / Ocho Cinco (CIN): If this is a repeat of the last time these two teams met (Bengals / Browns), be prepared for a wild one. I don’t see the same thing happening though (Palmer for 6 TD’s), but I still expect a big performance out of all three of these guys…unless it’s snowing, then all bets are off.

Roddy White (ATL): After three big games in a row, White follows up with a stinker in Tampa Bay…only one catch for 4 yards?! I have to expect that this will change this week against the Cardinals, even if the quarterback play is very suspect at this point.

Duds

Clinton Portis (WAS): He’s playing the Vikings. Did you see the names of the two defensive tackles that made the Pro Bowl for the NFC? Both Vikings players, both really big and both good at stopping the run.

Shaun Alexander (SEA): Alexander as a "dud" this season? Never. I mean…almost every week so far. I can’t imagine his luck will change all that much against a Ravens defense that has allowed 77 rushing yards a game and only 8 rushing touchdowns to date.

Domanic Rhodes / LaMont Jordan (OAK): The Jaguars will be looking to prove that they should have at least had ONE player make the Pro Bowl roseter, and their punching bags this week…running backs Rhodes and Jordan on the Raiders. The Jags have allowed under 100 rushing yards and about a rushing touchdown every 2 games. Are those stats you’d enjoy splitting between two running backs? Didn’t think so.

DeShaun Foster / DeAngelo Williams (CAR): The Panthers find themselves in a similar situation to the Raiders this week, playing against a defense that is allowing under a 100 yards on the ground and less than a touchdown a game on the ground. Even if the team gets to those stats against the Cowboys, there are two running backs to split them between, making two very undesirable fantasy starts.

Shaun Hill (SF): Did you see what the Buc’s did to Chris Redman last week? (4 completions for 34 yards and 2 INT) Another third+ stringer goes to Tampa Bay this week and I can’t imagine he’s feeling very good about it.

Marc Bulger (STL): The Steelers have allowed the least amount of passing touchdowns this season (9) and are third in terms of yardage against. Bulger will have his hands full in this one, especially if the team decides to rest Torry Holt a bit.

Cleo Lemon (MIA): While I was actually hoping for a battle between an 0-14 and a 14-0 team here, I guess I’ll have to settle for the Patiots playing a one-win Miami squad. The Patriots have been pretty good against the pass this year and unless Lemon goes A.J. Feeley on them, I see a pretty rough outing in his near future. If John Beck plays for some reason, I expect an even worse game from him.

Slightly-biased scoring (Hits-Misses-Pushes)

Week 15: 9-6-7
Season: 116-54-53