Week 12 Players to watch

<p>As the weeks pass, it becomes ever more clear which players will make that jump to the elite level and which ones will fall short. Whether their football team is suffering a rash of injuries, or the players are having adjustment issues, there are reasons prime time players don't perform well.</p><p>Here is this weeks take on players who are likely to have great performances, and those who probably will not, including players on both the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.</p>

Week 12 Forces and Frauds
By Chris Goodhue, Site Contributor

The fantasy football regular season is in its stretch run. In most leagues, there is only 2 or 3 weeks left until playoff time, so the margin for error is paper-thin. It’s decisions like these that will have you bragging to your friends and office cohorts, or have you staring at the magazine you bought in August that suggested you draft Kevan Barlow over Curtis Martin while trying to find better ways to spend your free time and sending voodoo dolls with Ahman Green with a dagger through his helmet to said editor. Not that I’ve ever done such things. Let’s get on with the picks.

QB Forces: Chiefs QB, Trent Green (226/338 c/a, 2844 yds., 15 TD, 9 INT) will be facing a Chargers defense that has sacked the opposing QB only 18 times this season. He should have plenty of time behind OT, Willie Roaf to find TE, Tony Gonzalez for some big yardage, as the safeties will play up to take RB, Derrick Blalock out of the game. San Diego is committed to stopping the run (76 yds allowed per game) which should open some play-fake opportunities for Green.

Titans QB, Steve McNair (104/181, 1116, 5, 8) should be able to take advantage of a Houston pass defense that has allowed a mind-boggling 24 TD’s through the air in 10 games. Granted McNair just returned from a two-week absence and hasn’t been himself this season, he should still be able to find WR, Derrick Mason as he will be able to burn aging CB, Aaron Glenn repeatedly. If there is a game where McNair can get his groove back, this is it.

Broncos QB, Jake Plummer (196/331, 506, 21, 10) has gone two straight games without throwing an interception, and doesn’t figure to be picked off by an Oakland squad that has only 4 thefts on the year. WR, Ashley Lelie (3 TD’s in last 3 games) is emerging as a prime target for Plummer. The Snake won’t face a lot of pressure; he’s only been sacked 7 times thus far and the speedy O-line should be able to push around aging fat-bodies DE, Warren Sapp and NT, Ted Washington all day long.

QB Fraud: Don’t let Bills QB, Drew Bledsoe’s (148/264, 1736, 12, 11) big week 10 game vs. the Rams swiss cheese pass defense (15/24, 185, 3, 1) fool you. He’s facing a Seattle defense that has picked off an NFC-high 14 balls, including 3 by CB, Marcus Trufant who will be all over Drew’s favorite target ­ WR, Eric Moulds. The Hawks will bring the pain early on Buffalo’s o-line, forcing Bledsoe into mistakes.

RB Forces: Chargers RB, LaDainian Tomlinson (216 carries, 853 yds., 3.9 yds/carry, 9 TD’s) has an ideal match-up this week vs. Kansas City. The Chiefs have allowed an AFC-high 12 rushing TD’s as well as allowing 4.5 yds per carry. Young and improving G, Tonui Fonoti should help drive the pile for LT against a KC defense that really has nothing left to play for.

Jaguars RB, Fred Taylor (168, 757, 4.5, 1) has hit paydirt only once this season, however Jack Del Rio’s gameplan will be to pound Taylor vs. a Minnesota run defense allowing almost 5 yards a carry. With QB, Byron Leftwich returning from a two-week hiatus, Fred will get the lion’s share of the ball this Sunday. Veteran C, Brad Meester will clear the path lined up on young DT, Kevin Williams and underachieving DT, Chris Hovan (18 tackles in 8 games.)

Bengals RB, Rudi Johnson (222, 847, 3.8, 5) will face a Cleveland team in disarray. Browns coach Butch Davis is done at the end of this year, and its doubtful that this run defense, which has allowed 11 TD’s thus far, will rise up and give Davis a solid effort. Look for Rudi to benefit from the attention to WR, Chad Johnson on some draws and delays.

RB Fraud: Jamal Lewis owners will be tempted to start backup Ravens RB, Chester Taylor (84, 370, 4.4, 1), but should shy away from doing so. The Ravens face a Patriots defense that has allowed only 5 rush TD’s this season. With CB, Tyrone Poole returning from injury this week, SS, Rodney Harrison will play more on the line of scrimmage and won’t be afraid to leave Poole on the island with the Ravens weak wideouts.

WR Forces: Dolphins WR, Chris Chambers (44 catches, 543 yds., 4 TD’s) hooked up with QB, A.J. Feeley for 9 catches for 103 yards and a score last week against Seattle. Expect more of the same this Sunday vs. the 49ers who have only picked off 5 passes all year and given up 19 TD’s through the air. The San Francisco secondary is extremely banged up with CB, Ahmed Plummer out and Jimmy Williams questionable, Chambers could get multiple scores.

Patriots WR, Deion Branch (14, 198, 2) returned from an 8 game absence to burn the Chiefs for 6 catches, 105 yards and a TD. He will face a Baltimore secondary missing star CB, Chris McCallister (neck injury) and should sneak underneath for some big gains as well as catch a deep ball from QB, Tom Brady. Branch should also benefit from the attention that will be paid to RB, Corey Dillon.

Titans WR, Derrick Mason (62, 746, 4) has caught touchdowns in each of the last two games, and should greatly benefit from facing the Texans shoddy pass defense, as well as a healing Steve McNair. Mason’s breakaway speed will be too much for close-to-over-the-hill CB, Aaron Glenn and could see the end zone multiple times vs. a Houston team that gives up more than 2 passing TD’s per game.

Receiver Fraud: Steelers WR, Hines Ward (57, 678, 3) is having a tough year fantasy wise. He is third in the AFC in catches, but sports only 3 TD’s. This week will be especially tough for Ward facing a tough Washington pass defense (197 yds allowed a game) and CB, Fred Smoot (3 INT, 8 passes defensed). Ward will also suffer from fellow WR, Plaxico Burress missing Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. Also working against Hines is the return of RB, Duce Staley who is a fine pass receiver in his own right (25 catches in 7 games).

Chris Goodhue has been running fantasy football and baseball teams since 1999 with one title to his credit. He can usually be found at a local Boston area sports bar settling arguments of sports history, but in case you can't find him there, send your questions and feedback to cgoodhue in the Insider Forums

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