Geek's Picks of the Week

Some key names to remember during that playoff drive...

Playoff!!??  Yes, it's that time of year where fantasy footballers either start their first week of playoffs or make a final push to get into the postseason.  Nobody wants to be that fantasy franchise that is sitting on the outside, looking in come playoff time.  In these next few weeks, the lineup decisions you will make on your team will be critical to your success and could be the big difference in you taking home the hardware or planning for next year.

Let's take a look at a couple players that could be in store for a good three week stretch during the fantasy football playoffs.

While Rex Grossman's recent struggles have been well documented, he could have a real chance at turning things around during the last three weeks of the season.  The Bears and Grossman will face the Rams, Buccaneers, Lions and Packers in the last four weeks of the NFL season.  Out of those four teams, only the Rams possess a fantasy pass defense that will be a challenge for Grossman, as they currently rank as the 9th best fantasy pass defense in the NFL.  All other opponents rank no higher than 27th in our rankings and have given up a combined total of 65 passing TDs on the season!

The Vikings have been plodding along all season in mediocrity, but fantasy owners have to be pleased with the production of Chester Taylor as the teams feature running back.  Taylor is currently the 5th leading rusher in the NFL and backing up our preseason predictions of him being a top ten fantasy running back. He could have a significant chance of greatly improving his stats in the last 4 weeks of the season, if he can fight through a nagging rib injury.  Taylor will face the Lions, Jets, Packer and Rams in the last four weeks of the NFL season.  None of those teams rank in the top half of the league when it comes to stopping the run from a fantasy perspective, so Taylor has a real chance at making a big impact down the stretch.

Here are a few players that you might want to take a look at plugging into your starting lineup this week to either turn around your luck or keep your success going! They may not be the top names in fantasy football, but most are the ‘in between' guys that you might have to make a tough decision on.  The good fantasy owner is able to pick these players out from a crowd and stick them in their lineup for fantasy success!

QB – Vince Young – The rookie QB from Texas has been on a roll lately, scoring 5 touchdowns, rushing and receiving over the past 2 weeks while rushing for 147 yards.  We think that roll will continue this week as he will be heading into Houston to play in front of his hometown crowd that lobbied hard for the Texans brass to draft him earlier this year.  Young should have some extra motivation in this game because of this, but the fact that Texans give up nearly 228 yards passing a game and 17 passing TDs on the season shouldn't hurt things!

RB – Rudi Johnson – Rudi has been on a little bit of a slide lately, rushing for 100 yards only once in the last 6 games.   We think you will see his production spike this week since he will going up against the Raiders defense, at home.  The Raiders are near the bottom of the league in rushing defense, giving up nearly 133 yards per game on the ground to go along with 9 rushing TDs.  The Raiders do excel at pass defense, so look for the Bengals to attack the Raiders weakness, which is their porous rushing defense.

RB – Brian Westbrook – Westbrook has been a very steady fantasy running back this season, despite starting the season with a bothersome foot injury.  His combination of rushing and receiving skill has made him the 3rd best running back in fantasy football , as of week 13.  He should be able to continue that success this week as the Eagles will face the Redskins, who rank 25th in overall fantasy defense, giving up over 351 yards per game and a total of 28 TDs.  Look for Westbrook to attack the Skins defense on the ground and through the air.

WR – Darrell JacksonJackson is currently leading all NFL wide receivers with nine TD receptions on the season.  Despite the addition of Deion Branch and Nate Burleson in the offseason, Jackson has continued to be Matt Hasselbecks favorite target in the redzone.   Jackson and the Seahawks will be going up against a Cardinals defense this week that has it's issues when it comes to defending the pass, ranking 25th in fantasy pass defense.  The Cardinals give up over 234 yards passing per game, to go along with 14 TDs on the season.  We see this game as an opportunity for the Seahawks offense to get back on track and we expect Jackson to be a big part of it.

WR – Donte Stallworth – Stallworth has been and up and down fantasy performer.  When he is healthy, he is up.  When he isn't, he's a non-factor.  Stallworth had a superb game last week vs. the Panthers, catching 4 balls for 111 yards and a TD.  His hamstrings seem to be OK for week 14 and he's going up against a Redskins defense that is the 30th ranked passing defense in the league, giving up a league-high 23 TDs on the season.  Expect new starting QB, Jeff Garcia, to look Stallworth's way often after their success together last Monday night.

TE – Alge Crumpler – Cumpler is always one of the top tight ends in fantasy football, since he is Michael Vick's favorite and most reliable target.  The Falcons and Crumpler will be facing the Buccaneers defense this week, which are the owner of the 31st ranked fantasy pass defense in the league.  The Bucs are tied for the league lead in passing touchdowns allowed with 23 and have only intercepted 6 passes on the season.  We see Vick having a bigger passing game this week, with Crumpler being the main focus of his efforts through the air.

DEF – Tennessee – The Titans haven't been the model of a fantasy defense for most of the season in 2006, but have been inspired the last couple weeks by the play of the offense.  They will be going against a Texans offense this week that is the 28th ranked fantasy offense in the league, scoring only 22 TDs on the season.  They will also be facing a struggling QB in David Carr who has thrown only 1 touchdown to go along with 3 interceptions in the last SIX weeks!  Look for the Titans to bottle up Carr and force him into a few sacks and interceptions.


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