Glenn Graham's fantasy football picks

The Kickoff

November 16, 2006|By GLENN GRAHAM

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Cincinnati -- The prized free-agent pickup has earned must-start status after averaging more than 300 yards and throwing 10 touchdowns in his past four games. Expect more big numbers from Brees on Sunday against Cincinnati's poor defense. Brees has thrown for 2,604 yards and 15 touchdowns with seven interceptions this season.

POSITION ANALYSIS

QUARTERBACK

STARTING NOD -- Tom Brady, New England at Green Bay. The Patriots have lost two straight and Brady has struggled with five interceptions and one touchdown during the stretch, but look for a positive response against a Green Bay defense that ranks last in the league against the pass. Brady has thrown for 2,054 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. Tennessee; Jon Kitna, Detroit at Arizona; Peyton Manning, Indianapolis at Dallas.

TAKE A SEAT -- J.P. Losman, Buffalo at Houston; Chad Pennington, New York Jets vs. Chicago; David Carr, Houston vs. Buffalo.

RUNNING BACK

STARTING NOD -- Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. Oakland. After a subpar 75-yard, one-touchdown effort in the Chiefs' loss at Miami on Sunday, look for Johnson to rebound against the struggling Raiders. Johnson has 891 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns this season.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Thomas Jones, Chicago at New York Jets; Willie Parker, Pittsburgh at Cleveland; Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia vs. Tennessee.

TAKE A SEAT -- Warrick Dunn, Atlanta at Ravens; Ahman Green, Green Bay vs. New England; Reuben Droughns, Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh.

WIDE RECEIVER

STARTING NOD -- Donte' Stallworth, Philadelphia vs. Tennessee. When he's been on the field, Stallworth has been McNabb's favorite target. In Sunday's win against Washington, he showed no lingering hamstring problem with a six-catch, 139-yard performance that included an 84-yard touchdown. He has 21 catches for 443 yards and three touchdowns this season.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Cincinnati; Chris Chambers, Miami vs. Minnesota; Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Buffalo.

TAKE A SEAT -- Braylon Edwards, Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh; Santana Moss, Washington at Tampa Bay; Derrick Mason, Ravens vs. Atlanta.

TIGHT END

STARTING NOD -- Kellen Winslow, Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh. The three-year pro has emerged as the top fantasy tight end with 56 receptions for 561 yards and three touchdowns this season. Of those 56 catches, 23 have come in the past three games.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Antonio Gates, San Diego at Denver; L.J. Smith, Philadelphia vs. Tennessee; Todd Heap, Ravens vs. Atlanta.

TAKE A SEAT -- Chris Cooley, Washington at Tampa Bay; Heath Miller, Pittsburgh at Cleveland; Dallas Clark, Indianapolis at Dallas.

KICKER

STARTING NOD -- Matt Stover, Ravens vs. Atlanta: The Ravens' newfound efficiency on offense has given Stover plenty of opportunities, and he's been perfect this season: 16-for-16 on field-goal tries and 20-for-20 on extra-point kicks. He's made six field goals in the Ravens' past two games.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

STARTING NOD -- Ravens vs. Atlanta. Michael Vick threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in a home loss to Cleveland last week. It will only get worse on Sunday against an opportunistic Ravens defense that has 26 take-aways, including four interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns.

Last week's tab

Play of the week -- Willie Parker, Pittsburgh: 213 rushing yards, two TDs; two catches, 12 yards.

Quarterback -- Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia: 12-for-26, 222 yards, one TD; 12 rushing yards.

Running back -- Kevin Jones, Detroit: 44 rushing yards; nine catches, 71 yards.

Wide receiver -- Roy Williams, Detroit: five catches, 81 yards.

Tight end -- Alge Crumpler, Atlanta: four catches, 37 yards.

Kicker -- Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis: one field goal, two extra points.

Defense -- Denver: two fumbles, three sacks.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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