Glenn Graham's Fantasy Football Picks

December 29, 2005|By GLENN GRAHAM

PLAY OF THE WEEK

TIKI BARBER, NEW YORK GIANTS AT OAKLAND // Barber had a soso performance by his standards last week with 129 total yards in the Giants' loss to Washington, but expect him to rebound and find the end zone at Oakland with the NFC East at stake. Considered a marginal firstround pick in fantasy drafts going into the season, Barber has established himself as a top-tier back with his ability to run, catch and, most importantly, score touchdowns. For the season, he has seven 100-yard rushing games (going over 200 twice), and he's caught 48 passes for 470 yards with 10 total touchdowns.

POSITION ANALYSIS

QUARTERBACK

STARTING NOD // Jake Delhomme, Carolina at Atlanta.With a number of top quarterbacks sitting or limitedwith playing time in the regular-season finale, Delhomme appears to be the best option against an Atlanta teamthat was just eliminated from the playoffs. Delhomme is coming off a 260-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 24-20 loss against Dallas inwhich he didn't have standout receiver Steve Smith for a good chunk of the game. For the season, he has thrown for 3,258 yards and 22 touchdowns.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS // Trent Green, Kansas City vs. Cincinnati; Drew Bledsoe,Dallas vs. St. Louis; Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs.Detroit. TAKE A SEAT // Drew Brees, San Diego vs. Denver; Brad Johnson, Minnesota vs. Chicago; Joey Harrington, Detroit at Pittsburgh.

RUNNING BACK

STARTING NOD // CarnellWilliams, Tampa Bay vs. NewOrleans: The rookie started the season strong and should finish that way against the Saints, who long ago wanted to put this season behind them. Williams surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau last week with a 150-yard, one touchdown effort in a 27-24 overtime win against Atlanta. With the Buccaneers looking to lock up the NFC South, Williams (1,097 yards, six touchdowns) should get plenty of carries against a Saints' defense that ranks 27th in the league against the run.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS // Clinton Portis, Washington at Philadelphia; Willie Parker, Pittsburgh vs. Detroit; Jamal Lewis, Ravens at Cleveland.

TAKE A SEAT // Steven Jackson, St. Louis at Dallas; Chris Brown, Tennessee at Jacksonville; RickyWilliams, Miami at NewEngland.

WIDE RECEIVER

STARTING NOD // Hines Ward, Pittsburgh vs. Detroit: The veteran wide receiver is one touchdown away from tying his career best of 12, and he needs 65 yards receiving to surpass 1,000 for a fifth straight season. Expect a big effort from Ward as the Steelers look to lock up a playoff spot against the Lions on Sunday. For the season, the eight-year pro has 68 catches for 935 and 11 touchdowns.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS // Torry Holt, St. Louis at Dallas; Chris Chambers, Miami at NewEngland; Amani Toomer, NewYork Giants at Oakland.

TAKE A SEAT // Muhsin Muhammad, Chicago at Minnesota; Darrell Jackson, Seattle at Green Bay; Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville vs. Tennessee.

TIGHT END

STARTING NOD // Chris Cooley, Washington at Philadelphia: The twoyear pro has emerged into one of the most reliable tight ends in the league this season and has been a key component to the Redskins' playoff run down the stretch. For the season, he has 69 catches for 766 yards with five of his seven touchdowns coming in the past four games.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS // Jason Witten, Dallas vs. St. Louis; Todd Heap, Ravens at Cleveland; Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Denver.

TAKE A SEAT // L.J. Smith, Philadelphia vs. Washington; Heath Miller, Pittsburgh vs. Detroit; Ben Troupe, Tennessee at Jacksonville.

KICKER

STARTING NOD // Jay Feely, New York Giants at Oakland: The Giants' offense should be in high gear with a chance to clinch the NFC East at Oakland on Saturday night. That will provide plenty of opportunities for Feely, whose 136 points is tops among kickers. Steady all season, Feely has kicked at least two field goals in six of the Giants past seven games.

DEFENSE

STARTING NOD // Pittsburgh vs. Detroit: The Steelers are at home playing for their playoff lives, which spells doom for the Lions' offense. Last week, Pittsburgh pitched a shutout at division rival Cleveland, 41-0, with its defense accounting for eight sacks and a fumble. Expect much the same this Sunday. The Steelers' defense has accounted for 28 turnovers and 46 sacks this season.

LAST WEEK'S TAB

PLAY OF THE WEEK // Carson Palmer, Cincinnati: 25-for-36 266 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs.

QB // TomBrady, NewEngland: 18-for-29 185 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.

RB // Thomas Jones, Chicago: 106 total yards, 1 TD.

WR// Darrell Jackson, Seattle: 34 total yards.

TE // Randy McMichael, Miami: 42 total yards.

K // JeffWilkins, St. Louis: 2 FGs, 2 PATs for 8 points.

DEFENSE // Cincinnati: 1 interception, 1 fumble, 3 sacks.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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