If you're still reading a fantasy sports blog this late in the NFL season, then at least one of the following things is true:
A) Your team is still alive in Championship Week;
B) Your team is no longer alive, but you're in denial about the fact that Ahmad [expletive] Bradshaw flattened you in the semis;
C) You've been searching for any comments section where you can ask start/sit questions, hoping to get a thoughtful response from a community of angry strangers; or…
D) You have a fetishist dating site to promote and no marketing budget with which to do it.
If A is true, congratulations. But there's still work to be done. It's time to get a ring. If B is true, then you have our sympathy. At least Bradshaw is legit. He continues to climb in the weekly ranks, despite playing on a half-broken foot and no healthy ankles. If C is true, then you've finally found the appropriate blog post. By all means, please discuss your start/sit dilemma in comments.
And if D is true…well, c'mon. Have you not taken enough from this community already? You know we can't resist the sweet, sweet temptation of wealthy cougars.
Below you'll find a rough draft of my position ranks for Week 16. Adjustments will be made prior to the release of the official, unalterable Yahoo! staff ranks on Thursday. Like Brad and Brett, let's talk this thing out…
• There are two significant factors to consider when ranking Colts for Week 16. The first issue, of course, is the Jets defense. They're awfully good. New York has limited opponents to 159.8 passing yards per game, the lowest total in the NFL. Darrelle Revis(notes) has been a plague, eliminating elite receivers all season.
The second problem is that Indianapolis has clinched home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, so there's no obvious need for the team to play its starters for the full 60 minutes. History suggests that Peyton Manning(notes) will eventually get some rest, but it won't necessarily happen this week. Head coach Jim Caldwell has said, "We’re still going to base [playing time] on the health of each and every one of our players, as to what their situation is." Caldwell hasn't yet spelled out the plan for healthy players. He's really no help. In the end, the difficulty of the matchup is enough reason to downgrade Colts. Fear of lost snaps is justified, too.
• Brad Childress reportedly "unleashed an expletive-laden outburst" toward Brett Favre(notes) on Sunday, which sounds fantastic. I've had that dream. Clearly there's some discord in Minnesota. Favre is ranked here as if the Vikings will actually have something at stake in the Monday night game at Chicago, but Sunday's results in New Orleans and Philadelphia could alter Minnesota's approach. If the Saints win (which seems overwhelmingly likely) and the Eagles lose (which is certainly possible), then the Vikings will have clinched a bye, yet they'll have no shot at home field advantage.
• Alex Smith is coming off a messy game (177 yards, TD, 3 INTs) against a serious Philly defense. But he's at home and facing Detroit in Week 16. The Lions have allowed a league-worst 31.2 points and 268.6 passing yards per game, and they rank 29th in sacks and 28th in interceptions. The week sets up nicely for Niners.
• Brady Quinn(notes) has been placed on injured reserve due to a right foot injury. Also, Brian Brohm(notes) is expected to start for Buffalo. Those things seem worth reporting, even though they shouldn't have fantasy impact outside of 14-team, two-quarterback leagues. Here's the money quote from the Brohm link: "[Perry] Fewell said recently that Brohm didn't know the offense well enough to run if effectively."
• For now, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton sounds like a man who intends to play his starters through the end of the regular season. Here's a quote from his Monday press conference, via the Times-Picayune:
"We're not resting them. We're playing right now. There are only two weeks left in the regular season, and we're full speed ahead with this game that we're playing. I'm not really dealing with the hypotheticals, I'm just staying focused on this game right now."
The Saints will secure home dome advantage when they annihilate the Bucs on Sunday. No matter what Payton says now, he's still free to reconsider his position on Drew Brees(notes)' playing time in Week 17.
• DeAngelo Williams(notes) injured (or re-injured) his left ankle in the Week 15 win over Minnesota, and he wasn't able to return to the game. Jonathan Stewart(notes) was sensational in relief, rushing for 109 yards on 25 carries and finding the end zone twice. Tyrell Sutton(notes) made an impressive cameo appearance, too, gaining 21 yards on three touches. (Arian Foster(notes)-esque numbers!) Stewart is obviously ranked here as if he'll get a full workload against the Giants. The Panthers haven't yet said anything meaningful about the severity of Williams' injury.
• Beanie Wells(notes) reportedly "appeared to be a bit woozy" following a shot to the helmet in Arizona's Week 15 win over Detroit, but coach Ken Whisenhunt declared, "it wasn't anything." Wells has carried 32 times for 189 yards and two scores over his last two games. He's an obvious start in the matchup against St. Louis, the NFL's 27th ranked run defense.
• Michael Turner(notes) re-re-aggravated his ankle sprain on his first carry against the Jets, and his postgame comments weren't exactly loaded with hope: "I've got to start out all over again. How many weeks has this been now? I just have to keep trying." In Week 16, Jason Snelling(notes) and Jerious Norwood(notes) will face Buffalo, the league's worst run defense; it can be easily argued that I'm too low on that pair.
• Perhaps a 286-yard rushing performance is a signature significance event. Only two players in NFL history have ever topped Jerome Harrison(notes)'s Week 15 effort. But that game told us at least as much about Kansas City's defense as it told us about Harrison; my primary takeaway was that Cedric Benson(notes) is a fantastic start against the Chiefs in Championship Week. There are still trust issues with the Browns, despite the friendly matchup (OAK).
• You can't reasonably expect a significant workload from Brian Westbrook(notes), assuming he returns against Denver. Here's coach Andy Reid: "Obviously he's not going to play the whole game. [We will] make sure we keep track of how many plays he plays, if it comes down to that."
• Despite clinching their division, Arizona has no plans to rest anyone, not after the sluggish performance against Detroit. Larry Fitzgerald(notes) overcame the knee issues and delivered a useful fantasy line in Week 15. But if any Cardinal is going to rest at any point, it should be him.
• Reggie Wayne(notes) presumably has to deal with Revis this week (see above), which explains his drop to No. 21. Pierre Garcon(notes) checked out early against Jacksonville with a hand injury, so he's a risk for inactivity in Week 16.
• Percy Harvin(notes) is an old man. He's dealing with migraines and bulging disks, and he reportedly went to the Mayo Clinic for maintenance on Tuesday. He wishes his grandkids would visit him at the senior center more often, but he understands they're busy. Don't ask Percy about his troubles, because he's got nothing to say:
Harvin declined to talk about his neck after the game and would not even confirm that the report was accurate.
"I'm not allowed to talk about it," he said. "I'm fine. I came out of the game good."
• Hakeem Nicks(notes) suffered a hamstring injury on Monday night, but it doesn't sound too severe. That was really the only thing that went wrong for the Giants. New York has no margin for error, so it would be a mild surprise if Nicks can't go in Week 16.
• Deion Branch(notes) was targeted 10 times in Week 15, starting in place of the injured Nate Burleson(notes) (ankle). Those targets only led to four receptions for 28 yards, however. There's really no upside this week against the Packers; Matt Hasselbeck(notes) has only thrown four TD passes on the road this year.
Green Bay is going to maul Seattle, by the way. Just throwin' that out there. It's a great week to own a share of the Pack's passing game.
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