The injustices just keep coming, all the way to the bitter end of the fantasy football season.
As fantasy owners celebrate championships earned with assorted spare parts and surprise players, the poor saps who thought they had sure success with Tom Brady and LaDainian Tomlinson continue wondering what happened.
Really, is it fair that LT and Steven Jackson were barely respectable this year, or that Frank Gore, Marion Barber and Joseph Addai weren't even in uniform for key playoff games? Or that one league champ I know got the trophy largely because of Pierre Thomas, Vincent Jackson and the Cardinals defense? Or that the Kevin Smith-Dominic Rhodes backfield propelled a friend of mine into the title game against a Tyler Thigpen-led squad?
If your league's still running the playoffs this week, expect more of the same. While Thomas is feasting on the Lions and Matt Cassel gets to slice up the Cardinals, Brady will be on the couch watching LT slog his way to another 42 yards.
t dart board to decide next year's draft picks, here are some players to start in Week 16 and some to bench:
QUARTERBACKS:
TAKE A SHOT
-If Tarvaris Jackson can go for 4 touchdowns against Arizona, so can Matt Cassel (weather permitting, of course). In a confusing yet impressive stat, the Pats QB has 3 or more scores in three of his past five games. Less confusingly, Arizona has allowed an NFL-worst 31 TD passes.
-Speaking of the Cards and cold, Kurt Warner's cooled off with just one TD in four of his past five games. But he always performs well while losing on the East Coast. He averages 320 yards and two scores back East this year, with an 0-4 mark.
-If you can win your league with the Chiefs' Tyler Thigpen at quarterback, you'll be the coolest fantasy player ever. (If you need more logic than that, consider he's been good for seven scores in his past three home games.)
-OK, so you're probably not in the playoffs if you're truly considering Buffalo's Trent Edwards for a start. But he faces Denver's terrible pass defense and probably won't commit turnovers as aggressively as J.P. Losman did.
BACK AWAY SLOWLY AND NOBODY GETS HURT
Please, in the name of J.P. Losman, don't start these guys:
Monday night.)
-The Vikings used to stop everybody from running but nobody from passing. But don't start Atlanta's Matt Ryan this week against the defense that now ranks fourth in TD passes allowed and third in sacks.
-The Jets' Brett Favre is about out of gas. He has one TD the past three weeks and his passer rating hasn't hit 62 in that span. Sure, he's only facing the Seahawks' NFL-worst pass defense, but his terrible three games have come against Denver, San Francisco and Buffalo.
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RUNNING BACKS:
ALL DAY LONG
-New Orleans' Pierre Thomas is developing into the greatest free agent pickup since Mike Anderson. He's scored seven times in the past four games, Reggie Bush is out and he faces the laughable Lions.
-Overthinker Alert: Atlanta's Michael Turner is someone who can never be benched, even at Minnesota's No. 1 run defense. He's gone over 100 yards and/or scored in seven straight games.
-Tomlinson has been a fantasy disaster, but he faces a once-sturdy Bucs run defense that has crumbled the past two weeks. Of course, LT will probably be terrible again, but it's illegal to bench him in the fantasy playoffs.
-If you're desperate for a starter or if you're a postseason long shot in need of a long shot, try the Bengals' Cedric Benson. He had 161 total yards last week, and the Browns have given up much more vigorously than the Bengals.
RED FLAGS
-Speaking of the much-anticipated battle for Ohio, don't get too excited about Jamal Lewis' chances. He did score last time against the Bengals, but nowadays he just sets up a field goal or two. (He hasn't reached the end zone in five games.)
-The Titans' Chris Johnson should be in for another tough day against Pittsburgh's No. 2 run defense. Throw out games vs. the pathetic Lions and Browns, and he's averaging 44 yards and no scores in his past four games.
-Before plugging in New England's Sammy Morris based on his 100-yard game last week, remember he's not playing the Raiders again this week.
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WIDE RECEIVERS:
THROW HIM THE DARN BALL!
-It doesn't really matter who's starting at QB for the Bucs, start unlikely 1,000-yard WR Antonio Bryant. He has 17 catches for 308 yards and three scores in his past two games and faces San Diego's 31st-ranked pass defense.
-The Pittsburgh-Tennessee game looks like another no-offense affair, but don't bench Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes. Ward went over 100 and Holmes scored (sort of) against the Ravens. And the Titans are missing the scariest pieces of their D line.
-It's homecoming week for San Francisco's Mike Martz and Isaac Bruce, who face St. Louis' 24th-ranked pass defense - which would probably be ranked lower if the Rams also weren't so easy to run on.
artner in St. Louis, Torry Holt? He actually scored last week, and the 49ers have allowed more 40-yard pass plays than all but one team.
SHOW HIM THE DARN BENCH
-The Giants are now busy trying to convince themselves that a guy shooting his own leg isn't THAT bad. The unwounded Giants receivers can't seem to get open or catch or do anything before Eli Manning gets sacked.
-Don't trust Cleveland's Braylon Edwards even though he's actually making catches now. The guys throwing to him don't really know how to do that so well, and he only hits 100 yards on Monday night.
-That 132-yard game by Green Bay's James Jones was as fluky as can be.
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FREE AGENT SHOPPING LIST:
Pick up these guys if they're available in your league: Eagles RB Correll Buckhalter (healthy again, in case Brian Westbrook gets unhealthy again), Jaguars WR Dennis Northcutt (127 yards, TD), Packers WR James Jones (132 yards)
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WHAT DO I KNOW?
Here's the best and worst of last week's projections:
Big Hits: I expected Andre Johnson (207 yards, TD) to avenge his near-shutout last time against the Titans. I also expected good things from Maurice Jones-Drew (70 yards, 2 TDs), Philip Rivers (346 yards, 2 TDs), Dominic Rhodes (2 TDs), Tyler Thigpen (2 TDs) and Marshawn Lynch (127 yards). I didn't expect much from Tatum Bell (43 yards)
Tarvaris Jackson? I also didn't expect two straight good games from Antonio Bryant (108 yards, TD) or two straight terrible games from the Bucs' run defense, which gave up 152 yards and a score to Michael Turner. I thought Amani Toomer (32 yards) would do something.

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