THE TITANS-TEXANSgame in Week 14 won't feature many fantasy studs. But when the Bengals visitIndianapolis the following week, every fantasy owner still in contention willhave a rooting interest. The point: In the world of fantasy football, somegames are much more compelling than others. With just five weeks remaining inthe fantasy season, these games loom as the most significant.
Welcome to theQuarterbacks Who Cannot Be Trusted Bowl. The Bears' Rex Grossman was thebiggest fantasy surprise of the first half, but he has cooled quicker thanChicago's weather. New England's Tom Brady, meanwhile, has vexed owners withhis boom-or-bust performances: He had his second four-TD game in four weeks onSunday, but in the other two games he threw one TD pass and five interceptions.Given the strength of both pass defenses, the running backs have the bestchance of being productive.
Each team moves the ball well on Gillette's new FieldTurf, but Pats rookierunning back Laurence Maroney comes away as the highest fantasy scorer.
Bears TE Desmond Clark
The first meetingbetween these NFC East rivals, on Monday night in Week 7, was the game in whichDallas coach Bill Parcells replaced Drew Bledsoe with Tony Romo at quarterback.New York won 36--22, but since then the Cowboys have been a much moreproductive passing team, averaging 264.5 yards, up from 218.5.
Romo goes wild against a banged-up Giants defense as Dallas exacts revenge.
Cowboys TE Anthony Fasano
With the additionsof free-agent quarterback Drew Brees and rookie receiver Marques Colston out ofHofstra, the New Orleans offense has become the fantasy surprise of the season.But Brees and Colston will face a difficult matchup here--at week's end Dallashad allowed 200.1 yards per game through the air and just nine passingtouchdowns--while Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens meets a pass defense thathas allowed 20 scores.
Dallas shuts down Brees and Colston while Owens and running back Julius Joneshave a field day.
Cowboys WR Sam Hurd
BEARS AT RAMS
St. Louisquarterback Marc Bulger and receiver Torry Holt have formed one of the league'smost lethal tandems this season, but they will meet their toughest test in aChicago D that ranks No. 1 against the pass and has allowed just seven scoresthrough the air. Bulger and Holt remain must-starts, but if any Ram is likelyto have a dream fantasy day, it will be running back Steven Jackson; Chicagoranks just 10th against the run.
In a low-scoring game the running backs--Jackson and the Bears' ThomasJones--outperform Bulger, Holt and Chicago QB Rex Grossman.
Many fantasy teamsstill alive in Week 15 will have either Larry Johnson or LaDainianTomlinson--or be facing one of them--making this AFC West clash must-see TV. Inthe previous game between these two, Johnson and Tomlinson each scored twotouchdowns, but the Chiefs limited Tomlinson to 66 rushing yards, hissecond-lowest total of the season.
LT, fantasy's undisputed MVP, tops LJ and hits the statistical jackpot.
Chargers WR Malcom Floyd
This kind ofmatchup--offenses that can move the ball against defenses that can't stopoffenses from moving the ball--makes for fantasy-league fantasies. The lasttime these two clubs squared off, Green Bay's Brett Favre threw for 340 yardsand three touchdowns, the Lions' Roy Williams had 138 receiving yards and ascore, and the teams combined for 824 yards and 55 points. Only a Wisconsinblizzard can prevent a repeat of those kinds of numbers.
Green Bay's Donald Driver, not Williams, is the best receiver on thefield.
Packers TE David Martin
In their lastmeeting Eli Manning rallied New York from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit,and every receiver from the Giants' Amani Toomer to the Eagles' Donte'Stallworth looked like a fantasy all-star. Running backs Brian Westbrook andTiki Barber weren't huge factors that day (40 combined carries), but this timethe wintry winds at the Meadowlands (and the absence of the injured DonovonMcNabb) will make the running game key.
The Eagles' air attack is grounded, and Barber emerges as the game's MVP.
Giants WR Sinorice Moss
Few games willpack the firepower of this matchup, which falls on the first playoff weekendfor many leagues. As many as nine skill-position players could have significantfantasy impact, and the owners involved wouldn't mind seeing a replay of lastyear's scoreathon, in which the teams combined for 82 points and 943yards.
Manning and his counterpart, Carson Palmer, put up huge numbers in a shootoutthat makes everyone a fantasy star.
Bengals RB Chris Perry
Fantasy Super Bowlweek for most leagues features a game that won't be quite as much of an aerialwar as was the Week 5 meeting between these two, in which the teams combinedfor 505 passing yards. The Cowboys' passing game has improved under Romo, whilethe Eagles' Jeff Garcia won't have to worry about linebacker Greg Ellis, who'sout for the rest of the year with a torn Achilles.
Westbrook is a one-man show, but Romo and Julius Jones shine brighter.
Eagles TE Matt Schobel
Much could be atstake here--fantasy league titles, an NFC playoff spot--but the spotlight willfall on the 31-year-old Barber, who could be playing his last home game. Therewill thus be pressure on Giants coaches to let him go out in style. Run defensehas been a weakness for New Orleans, which ranked 24th in that category atweek's end.
Barber runs for more than 100 yards and a score, and New York contains Breesand Colston.
Saints TE Mark Campbell
TOM DIPACE (PALMER)
2,593 passing yards, 18 TDs
MICHAEL HICKEY/WIREIMAGE.COM (MANNING)
¬†...ANDIN THIS CORNER
2,781 passing yards, 20 TDs
ALEX BRANDON/AP (COLSTON)
POUYA DIANAT/US PRESSWIRE (OWENS)
DON LANSU/WIREIMAGE.COM (JONES)
KEVIN TERRELL/WIREIMAGE.COM (JACKSON)
G. NEWMAN LOWRANCE/WIREIMAGE.COM (JOHNSON)
GREGORY R. BANNER/WIREIMAGE.COM (TOMLINSON)
JONATHAN DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES (WILLIAMS)
RICHARD C. LEWIS/WIREIMAGE.COM (DRIVER)
BOB ROSATO (BREES)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (BARBER)