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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Player Trends Report - Quarterbacks - Week 16
Scott Boyter
December 16, 2008
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Receivers
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RISING

Philip Rivers, Chargers – Rivers has put together back-to-back excellent games for the first time since Weeks 2 and 3, but the Tampa Bay pass defense has only allowed 200+ net passing yards twice in the last eight games. However, Rivers is a bonafide Top 5 Fantasy quarterback, and you have to put your trust in him unless your backup has a bonafide, no-brainer matchup.
               
Matt Schaub, Texans – Schaub wasn’t the force against Tennessee that he was against Green Bay, understandably, but he still put up a “quality start,” to borrow a baseball term. This week he goes up against an Oakland team that flat looks like they’ve mailed it in. Even though he’s on the road, so was New England’s Matt Cassell. All he did was throw for 218 yards and four touchdowns. Speaking of Cassell…

Matt Cassel, Patriots – This similarities between Brett Favre and Cassel are a little eerie, to say the least. They both received the shocking news of the passing of their father, then went to Oakland and lit it up. Cassell was fantastic, with the aforementioned 218 and four TDs. Other than an understandably disastrous game against Pittsburgh, Cassel has been solid to astounding in the last six weeks. There’s no reason his numbers shouldn’t continue on the upswing this week at home against Arizona. Cassel will help a lot of players win a Fantasy title this week; he’s a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback, and who would have thought that could happen after Tom Brady went down?

Aaron Rodgers, Packers – The Packers lost again but they showed some fight, and Rodgers put up some pretty solid numbers. Green Bay would like nothing better than to cripple Chicago’s playoff hopes this week. Even though the game is in Chicago, Rodgers looks like a safe start.

Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings – There have been a boatload of surprises from a Fantasy perspective this season, but Jackson’s four-touchdown explosion against Arizona stands head and shoulders above all of them. Is there any chance he comes close to approaching those numbers this week at home against Atlanta? Conventional wisdom says no, of course, but conventional wisdom has taken a back seat to shock and surprise several times this season.

FALLING

Brian Griese, Buccaneers – Griese was solid against Atlanta with 289 yards and a TD against Atlanta, but the Bucs lost. Jon Gruden probably hates to admit it, but he’s got to grudgingly realize Jeff Garcia gives his team its best chance to win. If there’s any chance at all Garcia can get back under center against San Diego he will, and Griese’s stock will plummet.
                       
Matt Ryan, Falcons – The rookie’s been solid to strong most of the season, but when Fantasy teams needed him the most he let them down with a 206-yard, two-interception, no-touchdown dud against Tampa Bay. If you somehow withstood that hit and still advanced in your playoffs, it would be understandable if you looked elsewhere with Ryan playing on the road against Minnesota.

Kerry Collins, Titans – Collins has reverted back to Fantasy oblivion after a brief two-week flirtation with relevance. It doesn’t look like it’ll get a lot better for him this week against Pittsburgh.

Kyle Orton, Bears – If he hadn’t have ran in a touchdown against New Orleans, Orton would have been a Fantasy disaster. You probably weren’t relying on him anyway, but if you did and you still won, congratulations. The only thing Orton has going for him this week is he’s at home against a Green Bay pass D that has been torched in consecutive weeks by Matt Schaub and, yes, David Garrard; the same Garrard who had only shown a pulse once in his previous six games.

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