Qualls' Fantasy Football Corner: Late Pickups

Across the fantasy football subculture, playoffs are just getting underway. The final three weeks can be a difficult time for fantasy owners as coaches adjust their rosters in order to save their stars for the playoffs. To ease that burden, Qualls' Fantasy Football Corner is getting into the Christmas spirit and giving out the top-10 late season pickups.

1. Tyler Thigpen QB: With a relatively easy schedule of SD, Miami, and @ CIN, Thigpen should thrive in the final weeks. Consider the last games his official try-out for the starting quarterback in 2009.

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick QB: The looming potential return of Carson Palmer could derail a solid finish. With the Bengals season already in the tank, that seems to be an unlikely scenario. Fitzpatrick faces a difficult week against WAS, but after that it is easy sailing.

3. Tashard Choice RB: As Marion Barber continues to be hampered by his toe injury, Choice is becoming a better option. Last week against a solid Pittsburg defense he gather 88 yards on 23 carries. While the Cowboys finish against some tough defenses, Choice has proven that he can carry the rock in difficult situations.

4. Steve Breaston WR: As the Cardinals clinched their first playoff game in 10 years, the contributions of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin inevitably began their decent. With nothing to play for, Ken Whisenhunt will certainly scale back the playing time of his receiving tandem. Breaston should benefit the most. With games against run stuffing Minnesota, New England, and Seattle, Breaston should have plenty of passes thrown his way.

5. Dominic Rhodes RB: This week with Joseph Addai not expect to play, Rhodes should have a huge fantasy game. The Colts face the punch-less Lions in middle of a funeral procession to 0-16. Look for Indy to get up big and then hand the ball to Rhodes. 100 plus yards and two touchdowns should be expected.

6. Derrick Ward RB: Again the injury bug is providing a potential fantasy gold mine for the final weeks. Starter Brandon Jacobs has been ruled out and Ward should be able to provide a nice fantasy boost for week 15 at the least. Depending on the health of Jacobs, Ward could either be a solid one week start or a player to lean on for the final three weeks.

7. Derek Stanley WR: Dante Hall's injury has sent Stanley into the spotlight as the primary kick and punt returner. With Torry Holt aging not so gracefully and Donnie Avery struggling, Stanley could see an increase in production over the final weeks. Don't expect incredible numbers, but he could provide a big enough boost to get into the next round.

8. San Francisco 49ers Defense: Picking the defense of a 5-8 team can be dicey. With the arrival of Mike Singletary and a resurgence of inspired play, the Niners are poised for a solid finish to the season. They face Miami and St. Louis on the road before heading back home for a season finale against Washington. The final two games could easily be meaningless for both teams. The difference is Singletary's desire to set a new tone for the franchise. Look for Singletary to push his team until the final whistle while the other teams may have already packed it in.

9. Stephen Gostkowski K: Fortunately for fantasy owners, nobody rests kickers. The Patriots are in the midst of a heated playoff battle and their final three games are the scoring friendly trio of Oakland, Arizona, and Buffalo.

10. Dustin Keller TE: Making his second appearance on Qualls' Fantasy Football Corner, Keller has a chance to become a solid TE during the final stages of 2008. Buffalo, at Seattle, and Miami will provide enough red zone opportunities to make Keller a TD threat for the remainder of the season.


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