Only the most terrible people actually cheer for somebody to get hurt in sports.
Even in fantasy football, in which people get absurdly passionate about their pretend teams, most wouldn't dare root for injury.
But with the all-important fantasy playoffs in full gear - and several top starters facing injury questions - some fantasy owners are surely entertaining thoughts about just how much an injury could boost their title chances.
So is it really so wrong to consider the benefits of somebody's snapped hammy if it could mean a championship? Of course it is, but it does seem morally acceptable to root for those already hurt to stay on the bench. (Just think of it as holiday wishes of good cheer, hoping for peaceful rest for the likes of Joseph Addai or Marion Barber as you haul in fantasy points from free agents Dominic Rhodes and Tashard Choice.)
eek 15:
-Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb should be back to genius against the long-surrendered Browns, whose defense should be exhausted after the first five Cleveland 3-and-outs. (An added treat for Monday night viewers: an evening with Ken Dorsey!)
-Is there any more of a sure thing than Arizona's Kurt Warner? The Cardinals don't bother running, the Vikings don't let anybody run, and Warner's already a 4,000-yard passer who's thrown a touchdown pass in 21 straight games.
-Start everybody in the Chiefs-Chargers game. Neither team plays pass defense, and when they met a month ago Philip Rivers went for 316 yards and two touchdowns while Tyler Thigpen had 266 yards and three scores. (Plus, it's always cool to say you started Tyler Thigpen.)
-Carolina's Jake Delhomme's main job is to hand off and he does occasionally forget how to play quarterback, but he could be a good gamble. The Broncos' terrible pass defenders are certain to be all crowded on the line after Carolina's running clinic last week.
Please, in the name of all those Detroit backup QBs named Drew, don't start these guys:
-Keep away from Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and just about anybody else as the brutal Steelers (No. 1 pass defense) and Ravens (No. 2 pass defense) appear headed for a 4-2 game featuring plenty of injury timeouts.
-If Tarvaris Jackson starts for the Vikings, don't get too excited about his brilliant late-game appearance last week and the fact that Arizona's allowed an NFL-high 27 touchdowns. Try to also remember his previous bounce-passes and confused moments.
-Yes, the Seahawks have the worst pass defense in the league, and yes the Rams are at home, but don't get cute and think you'll get stats out of Marc Bulger. The fantasy playoffs are no time to expect terrible players to get rolling.
-Washington's Clinton Portis is hurting all over, angry at his coaches, has an injured line and is playing for an offense that's gotten out of the touchdown business. None of that really matters against the Bengals, though.
-In other news from rapidly fading offenses, Maurice Jones-Drew is a great start when the Jaguars and Packers face off in the Give Up Bowl. The Jags can't block, but the Pack can't tackle and all other Jacksonville skill players are hurt.
-If you've managed to stick around the playoffs despite drafting Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch in the first round, play the odds this week. The Bills surely can't go three weeks in a row without a score, and he surely can't be dreadful two weeks in a row.
him away on the fantasy playoff roster. (He should score even if Joseph Addai does start.)
-While Brandon Jacobs' regular scores have been a boon, it's been disappointing how the Giants baby him so much by sitting him down at the first sign of discomfort. Of course they're being smart by ensuring he lasts through the real playoffs, but that makes Jacobs a huge risk in the fake playoffs.
-The embarrassment factor should lead the Bucs to at least slow Atlanta's Michael Turner. Tampa had allowed just one 100-yard game and one TD rushing before watching all Carolina backs fly through gaping holes last week. (Turner had 42 yards against the Bucs in their first meeting.)
-It's Tatum Bell's turn to join all the other Broncos on the injured reserve. Even if he somehow bucks the trend and survive the week, Selvin Young's practicing again so there could be a tiny committee made up of the few remaining Denver backs.
-Overthinker Alert: Don't consider benching Houston's Andre Johnson against the dreaded Titans, even though they held him to two catches in their first meeting. It's hard to imagine Tennessee being too motivated, while the Texans get really excited about the chance of hitting .500.
ched closely in Green Bay. Rodgers, who leads Favre in TD passes 22-20, should regularly find wide-open Greg Jennings and Donald Driver against the collapsed Jags.
-The Giants may need to throw a lot in Dallas, and with Plaxico Burress suspended and Domenik Hixon questionable (foot, ankle, butterfingers) they just may dust off 34-year-old Amani Toomer. He's scored in two of the past three games.
-There's been a Deion Branch sighting in Seattle. If he hasn't already injured himself again after last week's two-touchdown game, he should score at least once against the Rams.
-Tampa Bay's Antonio Bryant has been a free-agent steal, but he's yet to string together two solid games. It's tough to bench a guy coming off a 200-yard outing, but the Falcons are tough at home and they shut him out earlier this year.
-You'd think Jason Witten's injury would present opportunities for Roy Williams, but there's still no evidence he'll have anything to offer as a fantasy player in Dallas this year. In six games, he's yet to catch more than three passes or hit 60 yards.
-Somehow the 49ers-Dolphins game has turned into a matchup of decent defenses, so there's a good chance Isaac Bruce (19 catches, 2 TDs in past three games) starts acting his age again.
latest starter?), Broncos RB Selvin Young (next starter after Bell gets hurt?), 49ers RB DeShaun Foster (starter if Frank Gore's out), Seahawks WR Deion Branch (2 TDs), Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson (TD, competence, possible start), Seahawks QB Seneca Wallace (3 TDs)
Here's the best and worst of last week's projections:
Big Hits: I suggested not worrying about the Bucs' tough defense and starting DeAngelo Williams (186 yards, 2 TDs). I also expected success for Pierre Thomas (109 yards, 2 TDs), Marvin Harrison (TD) and Tim Hightower (TD). I expected bad things for Willie Parker (25 yards) and Clinton Portis (32).
Big Misses: I thought the brittleness of Matt Schaub (414 yards, 2 TDs) would overcome the terribleness of the Packers. I didn't think Domenik Hixon (30 yards) would drop a perfectly thrown bomb. I expected good things from Tony Romo (TD, 3 INTs) and Reggie Wayne (48 yards). I expected more terribleness from Deion Branch (2 TDs) and other Seattle WRs.

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