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Week 16 Upgrades/Downgrades


Upgrades

QB David Garrard - JAX

Garrard ends the season against the Texans and the Titans. Add in the fact that Jacksonville is still battling for playoff position, and Garrard should at least be a serviceable fantasy option.

QB Rex Grossman - CHI

Grossman has been named the team’s starting QB. He probably won’t be a stud, but he’s at least a starting QB again.

QB Josh McCown - ARI

Kurt Warner will miss the remainder of the season with a torn MCL, so McCown will step into the starting line-up. With WRs like Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald around, McCown could post solid numbers.

QB Steve McNair - TEN

McNair had a very good game against Seattle (310 yards and two TDs), but we’re giving him the upgraded based on the play of Drew Bennett and Ben Troupe. Both were great in week 15 and should again play well against the Dolphins.

QB Carson Palmer - CIN

The entire Bengals offense is absolutely on fire. They are striving for the #2 seed in the AFC, so you know that Palmer will continue to see action.

RB Frank Gore - SF

Gore finally was given a start, and he responded with 136 total yards. If Kevan Barlow sits again (or if HC Mike Nolan will let Gore start again), the 49ers should have good rushing stats over the final two weeks of the season as they face the Rams and Texans.

RB Willie Parker - PIT

Parker continues to be the most productive Pittsburgh runner, and he faces Cleveland and Detroit to close the regular season.

RB Dominic Rhodes - IND

With Edgerrin James and the rest of the premier Colts starters getting rest, it will often fall to Rhodes to lead the Indianapolis offense in these next two games. He is quite capable.

RB Cadillac Williams - TB

The Buccaneers close the regular season at home against the poor run defenses of the Falcons and Saints. Williams could be huge in sunny Florida.

RB Ricky Williams - MIA

If Ronnie Brown’s knee injury is serious, Williams could be excellent with a full workload.

WR Drew Bennett - TEN

We were about to kick Bennett to the curb, but he caught two TDs (and almost had the hat trick) against the Seahawks. He seemed to just find open spots all game long and finished with eight catches for 93 yards.

WR Darrell Jackson - SEA

So much for needing some time to get back into the flow of the game - Jackson finally made it back to the field and caught six passes for 75 yards and the game-winning TD. He should spend the next two weeks priming himself for the playoffs.

WR Chad Johnson - CIN

Johnson hauled in 11 balls for 99 yards and a TD against the Lions. He is the premier WR in the league and could absolutely torch the Bills this week (see Rod Smith).

WR Muhsin Muhammad - CHI

Muhammad is only here because Rex Grossman will be under center the rest of the way. Of course Grossman is not a premier passer, but Kyle Orton (bless his heart) was absolutely killing Muhammad’s value. With Grossman at QB, Muhammad at least has a chance to be productive.

WR Jimmy Smith - JAX

The Jaguars offense was disappointing against the 49ers, but Smith did catch six passes for 70 yards. He closes the regular season against weak defenses in Houston and Tennessee.

WR Rod Smith - DEN

Smith was absolutely on fire in the first half against Buffalo with 119 receiving yards before the break. He finished the game with 11 catches for 137 yards and a TD. Smith is obviously playing well right now. That should continue as the Broncos drive for the #2 seed in the AFC.

TE Chris Cooley - WAS

Wow. We’d say Cooley was involved around the goalline (six catches for 71 yards and three TDs against the Cowboys).

TE Todd Heap - BAL

We hate upgrading a player that hasn’t played this week, but Heap has an outstanding matchup in week 16 against the Vikings.

TE Ben Troupe - TEN

Troupe really turned it on about Seattle (six catches for 116 yards) and should excel again this week (assuming Erron Kinney is out again).

PK Joe Nedney - SF

If there are teams that San Francisco can score with, they’ll see them in weeks 16 and 17 in St. Louis and Houston. The end-of-season tilt against the Texans could be particularly interesting…if you’re Reggie Bush.

PK Josh Scobee - JAX

Scobee should continue to be given an abundance of scoring opportunities as the regular season winds down.

TD New England Patriots - NE

The Patriots have been feasting on poor teams lately, and more are on the way. New England closes the regular season with the Jets and Dolphins.


Downgrades

QB Brett Favre - GB

You hate to think that Favre can’t perform, but it will be tough for him to excel in weeks 16 and 17 against the Bears and Seahawks.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - STL

We don’t know how much longer he can play terribly and continue as the team's starter. Even if he’s not benched, you can’t have any confidence in starting him.

QB Brad Johnson - MIN

Johnson played pretty well until week 15, but that was due in large part to facing weak opposition. To close the season, he plays the Ravens and Bears. That is very tough.

QB Eli Manning - NYG

Manning has struggled lately and faces a tough Redskins defense in week 16. Meanwhile, Tiki Barber has been excellent. The Giants will be content to ride Barber over the next two weeks.

QB Peyton Manning - IND

Well there goes the perfect season. Since 16-0 is of no concern, Manning will get plenty of rest in the next two weeks. Against the Seahawks, he’ll probably play the first half and might see one series after halftime.

QB Kyle Orton - CHI

Orton has been benched in favor of Rex Grossman.

QB Michael Vick - ATL

Vick has struggled lately and closes the season with Tampa Bay and Carolina. That’s not a good combination.

QB Kurt Warner - ARI

Warner will miss the remainder of the season with a torn MCL.

RB Michael Bennett - MIN

Bennett will probably continue as the team’s primary RB, but we don’t like any back facing the Ravens and the Bears.

RB Ronnie Brown - MIA

Brown tweaked his knee against the Jets. If it bothers him this week, the Dolphins will have no problems turning to Ricky Williams. Even if Brown plays, he would be a risky fantasy starter.

RB Domanick Davis - HOU

His knee keeps swelling on him and kept him out of the Arizona game. With Seattle up next, he has a poor matchup even if he does get on the field.

RB Warrick Dunn - ATL

Except for the Saints game, the Falcons have been weak on offense lately. They close with the Buccaneers and Panthers which are two very tough run defenses.

RB Edgerrin James - IND

James looks like he could use a bit of a rest to get recharged for the playoffs. It would be a surprise to see him get more than 30 total touches the rest of the regular season.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson - SD

The Chargers are in a quandary with Tomlinson. They need him in the drive to the playoffs, but if he’s still hobbled in the postseason, they won’t get far without him. He is expected to play in week 16, but you have to worry about how effective he’ll be.

WR Plaxico Burress - NYG

Burress has really slowed lately and has only eight catches for 118 yards and no TDs over his last three games. He’s talented enough to break out against anyone, but Washington is not exactly a cupcake on defense.

WR Marvin Harrison - IND

Harrison will get a couple of halves of work in over the next two weeks. If half a Harrison is better than your bench WR, then you’ll have to go with that, but don’t expect a normal game from Harrison.

WR Joe Horn - NO

Horn has been dreadful lately (an average of 3.3 catches for 42.3 yards over his last six games). He has one TD this season (back in week two).

WR Eddie Kennison - KC

Kennison left the locker room after Saturday’s game on crutches and wearing a brace on his left knee. His status for week 16 is very much unknown.

WR Koren Robinson - MIN

We could list every Vikings WR here, but we’ll make the point with Robinson. Minnesota faces the Ravens and the Bears to close the season. Neither defense is kind to opposing WRs.

WR Reggie Wayne - IND

Like the other Colts stars, Wayne will see less action in these next two games. He’ll still be better than some WRs, but he’ll definitely see less time.

TE L.J. Smith - PHI

Smith has tailed off since Donovan McNabb went on IR, and his matchups to end the season (Arizona and Washington) are tough against opposing TEs.

TE Jermaine Wiggins - MIN

Wiggins tweaked an ankle against the Steelers, but we won’t like him if he was healthy. The Ravens and Bears are tough against opposing TEs.

PK Paul Edinger - MIN

The Vikings managed a FG against the Steelers. That might be their ceiling against the Ravens and Bears as well.

TD Kansas City Chiefs - KC

The Chiefs are not a great unit to begin with, and they face two of the highest scoring teams in the league (San Diego and Cincinnati) to close the regular season.




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