Peyton Manning's 4 TDs on MNF were more than enough to boost the Colts to victory and give his team a chance to hold home field advantage throughout the NFL playoffs...Manning's performance also moved him to the top in total QB TDs (29) and passer rating (99.0) for the season to date. Michael Vick kept his ground game to a minimum and utilized his wide receivers to light up the Dallas Cowboy defense with 4 passing TDs (great for his fantasy owners, but unusual for Mike). After an abysmal start by Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Bruce Gradkowski against the tenacious Chicago Bears defense, Tim Rattay stepped in and threw for 268 yards and 3 TDs (Rattay took the Bucs to OT in a near upset on the road and won the week 16 starting job against Cleveland). J.P. Losman's 13 completions for 200 yards don't seem like much, but 3 of the passes were for TDs in Buffalo's shutout win over the Miami Dolphins. Rex Grossman had another week without interceptions and played well enough for the Bears to get the OT win over Tampa Bay...Grossman threw for 44 times for 339 yards and 2 TDs against the Bucs. Alex Smith completed only 14 passes for the San Francisco 49ers, but Smith's stat sheet totaled 3 scores (one of them a rushing TD) in the upset road win over the Seattle Seahawks. NFL Network's debut of Saturday Night Football accomplished their goal in the feature of Atlanta's Michael Vick, but Tony Romo and the Cowboys got the win...Romo was a near perfect 22 of 29 for 278 yards and 2 TDs. Rookie QB Jay Cutler showed the most promise yet as he went 21 of 31 for 261 yards and 2 TDs in the win over the Arizona Cardinals. Chad Pennington's solid 339 yard effort over the Minnesota Vikings were enough to give the New York Jets the win and keep his team in the wild card hunt.
*Vick added 56 rushing yards on 8 carries
LaDainian Tomlinson is "The Man" - and he has the San Diego Chargers looking like the best team in the NFL...LT's 199 rushing yards and 2 TDs raised the bar for his current NFL record setting performance...the SNF effort over the Chiefs also boosted Tomlinson fantasy owners further in their fantasy playoffs. Brian Westbrook and Steven Jackson continue their dominance in versatility among running backs. Although Jackson didn't have any receptions in week 15, his 82 on the season lead Brian Westbrook (74) and the rest of the RBs. Both Westy and SJax had great weeks with around 130 yards with 2 TDs to move each into double digits in the scoring category. Frank Gore's 178 total yards on Sunday were enough to give the Niners the win and boost Gore to 3rd on the season in total yardage with 1909 (behind LT - 2110 and SJax - 1916). Marion Barber's 2 TDs against the Falcons put him in a tie for 2nd with 15 on the season (13 rush - 2 rec)...wow, was Barber ever a nice FFL pick-up this season! Rookie Maurice Jones-Drew increased his yardage total to 1100+ with the 145 he put up on Sunday, but the Jags will need more than Jones-Drew to make the playoffs this season after their loss to the Titans in week 15. Fast Willie Parker stayed among the RB leaders in yardage (5th) and total TDs (4th) with a nice 132 yard - 1 TD effort. Kevin Faulk, Mike Bell, and Vernand Morency aren't the top backs on their respective teams, but each had a couple of TDs for fantasy owners brave enough (or desperate enough) to start them...most likely their fantasy points remained on the bench or waiver wire. Jamal Lewis and Tiki Barber got things going with 100+ yards and a TD apiece. Justin Griffith's 2 TDs helped his NFL team, but wasn't likely to be on many FFL rosters for week 15. Ladell Betts continues to prove that the Redskins are going to be just fine without Clinton Portis...Bets put up 162 total yards on the day. Ron Dayne seems to be finally emerging as Houston's #1 RB. Rudi Johnson's expectations against the Indy D likely exceeded his 79 yard rushing output (3.6 ypc). Thomas Jones split carries with Cedric Benson and still put up some nice numbers in the Bears OT win. Ahman Green put up 123 total yards for the Green Bay Packers, but Green was kept from the endzone against the Detroit Lions.
Marvin Harrison was impressive on MNF! Harrison's 3 TDs put him into a tie for 4th in total scores (with teammate Reggie Wayne and NYG's Plaxico Burress) for the season...Harrison's 1180 receiving yards are 3rd behind Chad Johnson (1285) and Wayne (1213). was able to score. Laveranues Coles 12 receptions for 144 yards in week 15 boosted him over the 1000 yard mark and place him 2nd in total receptions (87). Terrell Owens 2 TDs against the Falcons were overshadowed by antics on the field...what most don't realize is that Owens has gone over the 1000 yard mark on the season and he leads all NFL receivers with 11 TDs. It took Tim Rattay to get Joey Galloway 100+ yards and a TD against the Bears. Demetrius Williams probably wasn't in too many fantasy lineups, but he did manage 100 yards and a TD for his NFL team. Other than the 3 to 1 TD ratio favoring Harrison over Reggie Wayne, other stats were even in the MNF game over the Bengals...surprisingly to some, the two Colts receiving studs have almost exact numbers on the season with Wayne getting a slight edge in yardage and Harrison getting the slight edge in receptions. Javon Walker continues the learning curve with rookie QB Jay Cutler...Walker had 84 yards with a TD in the win over the Cards. Travis Taylor made our list for the first time this season with 81 yards and a TD. Placico Burress and Roddy White caught balls for over 100 yards, but were held scoreless. Arnaz Battle added an 18 yard pass to his 97 receiving yards.
*Battle also completed one pass for 18 yards
Bears TE Desmond Clark was the elite tight end of the week with a 125 yard - 2 TD performance...Clark ties Todd Heap for 4th with 6 TDs on the year. Jerramy Stevens hopes his pass dropping woes are behind him...Stevens caught 5 balls for 64 yards and a TD in the loss to the Niners. Buffalo Bills TE Robert Royal caught a third of his season yardage and a third of his TDs on the season in week 15 against the Miami Dolphins. Alex Smith Caught 5 balls and a TD on Sunday. Chris Cooley's 80 receiving yards bumped him to over 600 for the season. Rookie TE Vernon Davis caught a TD against the Seahawks. Jeremy Shockey had 70 yards in the game, but wasn't able to add a TD to his total...Shockey has 7 TDs on the season (tied for 2nd behind Antonio Gates). Kellen Winslow Jr. added 61 yards for the Browns to stay at 3rd in TE receiving yardage (755)...Winslow leads all tight ends with 76 receptions (10 more than 2nd place Tony Gonzalez). Alge Crumpler caught 5 balls for 59 yards, but wasn't able to add to his TD total of 7 (tied for 2nd behind Gates with Shockey). Tony Scheffler, Jason Witten, L.J. Smith, Michael Gaines, Tony Gonzalez, and Courtney Anderson all had 50+ yard receiving games in week 15, but each was held out of the endzone.
News and Notes - The Colts and head coach Tony Dungy appeared to right the ship on defense and are still in the running for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but the San Diego Chargers have a 1 game lead in the AFC and are the likely candidates as the AFC host if in the championship game...Even with losses in week 15, the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons remain in a tie for the 2nd wild card spot in the NFC...The AFC divisional winners are pretty much set (New England is almost a lock in the East) leaving 4 teams with 8-6 records vying for 2 wild card spots (New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Denver Broncos)...Heading into week 16, very few teams have their fate determined - meaning that most all teams will be playing their fantasy skill players for the win...Tim Rattay was named starting QB for Tampa Bay in week 16...The Minnesota Vikings (who have lost 6 of their last 8) will start rookie Tarvaris Jackson at QB for the final 2 games...Rookie Indianapolis phenom RB Joseph Addai suffered an ankle sprain and will likely be spared for the remainder of the regular season (making Dominic Rhodes more of a player in Indy's offense)...Notable NFL Pro Bowl selections include QBs Drew Brees/Peyton Manning, RBs Frank Gore/LaDainian Tomlinson, WRs Torry Holt/Steve Smith/Andre Johnson/Chad Johnson, TEs Alge Crumpler/Antonio Gates...The TNF game this week features Minnesota @ Green Bay with Saturday's matchup being Kansas City @ Oakland
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