Glenn Graham's fantasy football picks

December 28, 2006|By Glenn Graham

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Ravens defense vs. Buffalo -- At M&T Bank Stadium with much to gain Sunday, the Ravens' top-ranked defense likely will overwhelm the Bills' inexperienced offensive line and contain running back Willis McGahee and quarterback J.P. Losman. The Ravens are second in the league with 37 take-aways and bring pressure with 57 sacks. Trevor Pryce (12 sacks) and Adalius Thomas (11 sacks) lead the way.

POSITION ANALYSIS

QUARTERBACK

STARTING NOD -- Marc Bulger, St. Louis at Minnesota: Expect Bulger to throw with the Rams facing a Minnesota defense that has shut down the run. Coming off a 388-yard, four-touchdown performance against Washington, Bulger has thrown for 4,053 yards and 23 touchdowns this season.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Tom Brady, New England at Tennessee; Tony Romo, Dallas vs. Detroit; Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Arizona.

TAKE A SEAT -- Losman, Buffalo at Ravens; Kurt Warner, Arizona at San Diego; Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.

RUNNING BACK

STARTING NOD -- Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia vs. Atlanta: The multipurpose back is the focal point of the Eagles' offense. He earned his sixth 100-yard rushing effort against the Cowboys on Monday and has 1,884 total yards (1,214 rushing, 670 receiving) with 11 touchdowns.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville at Kansas City; Ladell Betts, Washington vs. New York Giants; Jamal Lewis, Ravens vs. Buffalo.

TAKE A SEAT -- McGahee, Buffalo at Ravens; Warrick Dunn, Atlanta at Philadelphia; Edgerrin James, Arizona at San Diego.

WIDE RECEIVER

STARTING NOD -- Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Cleveland: With two bad teams playing out the schedule, the host Texans will bring more energy. Look for Johnson to close out with a fine performance against the Browns' mediocre defense. He has a league-leading 101 catches for 1,135 yards and five touchdowns.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh; Javon Walker, Denver vs. Arizona; Torry Holt, St. Louis at Minnesota.

TAKE A SEAT -- Lee Evans, Buffalo at Ravens; Keyshawn Johnson, Carolina at New Orleans; Chris Chambers, Miami at Indianapolis.

TIGHT END

STARTING NOD -- Chris Cooley, Washington vs. New York Giants: With 52 receptions for 685 yards and six touchdowns, Cooley has had a productive season that should close out with another solid outing against a Giants defense that is 28th against the pass. Last week against St. Louis, he caught seven passes for 77 yards and a score.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Todd Heap, Ravens vs. Buffalo; Vernon Davis, San Francisco at Denver; Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Detroit.

TAKE A SEAT -- Randy McMichael, Miami at Indianapolis; Heath Miller, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati; Kellen Winslow, Cleveland at Houston.

KICKER

STARTING NOD -- Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis vs. Miami: A tough Miami defense could limit the Colts' potent offense. Vinatieri has made 23 of 26 field-goal attempts and 35 extra points for 104 points this season.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

STARTING NOD -- San Diego vs. Arizona: Looking to wrap up the top seed in the AFC, the Chargers will wrap up Cardinals backup quarterback Kurt Warner plenty Sunday. Shawne Merriman (15.5 sacks) and Shaun Phillips (11.5 sacks) lead an aggressive defense that has 60 sacks and 27 take-aways.

Last week's tab

Play of the week -- Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona: four catches, 93 yards, 1 TD.

Quarterback -- Peyton Manning, Indianapolis: 21-for-27, 205 yards, 3 TDs.

Running back -- Frank Gore, San Francisco: 51 rushing yards, two TDs; six catches, 35 yards.

Wide receiver -- Terrell Owens, Dallas: two catches, 23 yards, 1 TD.

Tight end -- Antonio Gates, San Diego: two catches, 63 yards.

Kicker -- Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis: one field goal, four extra points.

Defense -- Kansas City: four sacks, two INTs, three fumbles.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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