super-bowl-2009

Time to weigh in on the Super Bowl matchups.

Quarterbacks
Love
:
Kurt Warner – The Cardinals are a great passing team, and even though they are facing a great Defense, I’d still take Warner over Big Ben.  He gets rid of the ball so quickly and Larry Fitzgerald has been amazing.  The extra week off should be great for Anquan Boldin.

Like:
Ben Roethlisberger – If Arizona’s Offense puts up points on Pittsburgh, it will be Big Ben’s job to do the same for the Steelers.  I expect a decent game for Ben, but statistically worse than Warner.

Running Backs
Like:
Willie Parker – I expect Parker to have a game somewhere in the middle of his previous two playoff games this year.  He opened with a monster game against San Diego and was held in check vs. Baltimore.  He won’t go off, but he will produce.  I expect him to be the top producing RB.
Edgerrin James – Edge won’t have a monster game, but he should put up decent yardage to keep Pittsburgh honest.
Tim Hightower – Like the NFC Championship game, I don’t expect a ton of yardage, but I could see a score.

Hate:
Mewelde Moore/Gary Russell/J.J. Arrington – There are usually unsung heroes in Super Bowls, but I wouldn’t count on anyone from this trio to make a fantasy splash.

Wide Receiver
Love:
Larry Fitzgerald – He is proving that he is the best receiver in the game.  It’s not even close right now.  Pittsburgh is probably the team most capable of stopping him, but that’s a tall order.

Like:
Anquan Boldin – The extra rest should do Boldin’s body good.  Fitz will command a lot of attention, making Boldin dangerous.
Santonio Holmes – Holmes is proving to be a big play guy in the playoffs for the Steelers.  I’m expecting at least one big play from him vs. Arizona.
Hines Ward – He’s so tough that I just can’t bet against him.  He should have a decent game, but my expectations are lowered by his injury.

Hate:
Steve Breaston – With Fitz, Boldin, and the running game taking the prominent roles, I’m afraid there won’t be much left for Breaston.
Nate Washington – If Ward re-injures his knee, then Washington’s value gets a bump.  With the running game, Holmes, Ward, and Heath Miller, I don’t think there is enough to go around for Nate.

Tight Ends
Love: 
Heath Miller – He is such a tough guy to cover.  He’s big, fast, and has great hands.  He’s also tough to tackle when he gets his hands on the ball.  He is easily a bigger focus of his team’s scheme and clearly the superior Tight End.

Hate:
Leonard Pope – He’ll be blocking this week.  That’s for sure.

We’re getting down to the wire.  Here are my Conference Championship feelings.

Quarterbacks
Love
:
Kurt Warner – When you have a guy like Larry Fitzgerald at your disposal, it’s hard to not love the guy.  Playing at home should serve Warner well.

Donovan McNabb – I’m a huge fan of both NFC signal callers this week.  McNabb has looked so poised during the playoffs.  He’s dealt with Jared Allen and Justin Tuck.  This week should seem like a breeze.

Like:
Ben Roethlisberger – It’s easier to pass on Baltimore than run so that is likely the route Pittsburgh will take.  He has the weapons in Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Heath Miller to move the sticks.

Hate:
Joe Flacco – Another week, another tough D for the Rookie. 

Running Backs
Love: 
Brian Westbrook – Westy is the key to the Eagles success.  He should be a dual threat once again.

Like:
Le’Ron McClain – Pittsburgh will be up for the task, but Baltimore is going to have to stick to the ground game.
Willie Parker – Parker was amazing last week.  It won’t be as easy against Baltimore, but he should be as good as any RB not named Westbrook this weekend.
Edgerrin James – His revival should continue this week agaisnt Philly.  Not expecting a big game from him, but he should be decent.
Tim Hightower – I don’t expect a ton of yardage, but I could see a score.

Hate:
Willis McGahee/Correll Buckhalter/Gary Russell – I don’t think this will be a great week for backup RBs.

Wide Receiver
Love:
Larry Fitzgerald – How can you not love him?  He’s just awesome.

Like:
Hines Ward – The next best WR remaining (assuming Boldin can’t go)
DeSean Jackson – I think the Rookie can make some big plays against the Cards.
Santonio Holmes – Could get open deep.
Derrick Mason – A solid, not spectacular, game is what I’ve come to expect from Mason.
Kevin Curtis – Great at picking his spots.  McNabb will hit him if he’s open.
Steve Breaston – Philly is going to gear up on stopping Fitz, which could allow Breaston to slip by coverage.

Hate:
Mark Clayton – I don’t see him doing much against Pittsburgh.

Tight Ends
Love:
Heath Miller – The best Tight End remaining.

Like:
Brent Celek – Celek is beginning to carve out a bigger role in the offense.

Hate:
Todd Heap – Plenty of blocking duty this week.
Leonard Pope – Not a factor.

You don’t really have many options in the fantasy playoffs so I’ll break down guys I like and guys I don’t like in this weekends games.

Quarterbacks
Love
:
Kurt Warner – I’m not sure any QB lights it up this weekend as we’re left with some very tough defenses.  That said, Warner is going to throw the ball plenty.  Edge was a nice story last week, but Carolina won’t be caught off guard.  The Old Guy is gonna have to bring it.

Like:
Eli Manning – I’m not enamored with Eli against the Eagles, but he should be productive.  If he can throw for 200 yards and a score or two, you should be happy.
Donovan McNabb – He’s certainly familiar with the G-Men.  I’m confident the Giants will bring the heat and put pressure on McNabb.  He and Westbrook should take advantage of that pressure on some screen plays.
Philip Rivers – I don’t love the matchup with Pittsburgh, but this guy can sling it.  Sproles isn’t getting that loose on the Steelers and they’ll need to throw often.
Jake Delhomme – They are going to supply a heavy dose of the ground game, but with Steve Smith at his disposal, he should put up solid numbers.
Ben Roethlisberger – If he can stay upright he should be able to produce against San Diego.  I’m sure he’s thankful that Shawne Merriman isn’t lining up against him. 

Hate:
Joe Flacco – I expect the same formula as last week for the Ravens.
Kerry Collins – I wonder if he got any sleep after seeing the way the Ravens dispatched of Chad Pennington and the Dolphins.

Running Backs
Love: 
DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart:  The playoffs are a different animal and Arizona isn’t as soft as I once thought, but this duo will have their way with the Cards this weekend.  I see both of them having 50+ yards and a TD.  DeAngelo will have the better game.
Brian Westbrook – Westy always has a big game up his sleeve when he takes on the Giants.  He’s the #1 reason I think the game will be close.
Brandon Jacobs – This dude is a beast.  He’s rested.  I’d be shocked if he didn’t punch one in against the Eagles. 

Like:
Le’Ron McClain – Tennessee will provide a much stiffer test than Miami, but McClain should still be a decent fantasy back this week.
Willie Parker – With Big Ben a hit away from the clipboard, the Steelers should introduce their brand of playoff football to San Diego.  Heavy on the ground attack.
LenDale White – I think his physical running will be utilized against the Ravens this week.  I can see a one-yard plunge.

Hate:
Chris Johnson – Unless he breaks a long one, I don’t see him racking up the yards against the Ravens.
Darren Sproles – He was the hero last week, but Pittsburgh will be ready for him.  I don’t know how well he’ll hold up to their physical play.
Edgerrin James/Tim Hightower – When the Cards leaned on Edge in Week 17 it wasn’t just because it was a meaningless game.  They were preparing their Playoff gameplan.  Carolina won’t be surprised and Edge and Hightower shouldn’t be big factors.

Wide Receiver
Love:
Larry Fitzgerald – He’s simply one of the game’s finest.
Steve Smith – He’ll be a tough cover for Arizona. 
Hines Ward – He’s such a physical WR.  He should be able to muscle his way to a nice game against San Diego.

Like:
Muhsin Muhammad – Muhsin should benefit from all the attention Williams, Stewart, and Smith will garner.
Santonio Holmes – Holmes has played better down the stretch.  He should be a solid playoff WR2 for fantasy teams.
Derrick Mason – A solid, not spectacular, game is what I’ve come to expect from Mason
Kevin Curtis – He should snare some passes to take the pressure off of Westbrook. 

Hate:
Domenik Hixon – Not feeling it this week for Hixon.  I think it will be a steady diet of Jacobs and Ward.  One Giant WR will have a decent game, but it’s risky to pick which one.
Vincent Jackson – If he couldn’t catch a pass against Indy, what’s he going to do against Pitt.
Justin Gage – I don’t like his chances against a tough Baltimore D.

Tight Ends
Love:
Antonio Gates – He’s so hard to cover.  Even when banged up.
Bo Scaife – Scaife is probably the second best TE left in the playoffs.
Heath Miller – Heath is solid and San Diego isn’t good at stopping TEs.  Bodes well for Miller owners.

Like:
Kevin Boss – Could take advantage of some play action.
Brent Celek – If L.J. Smith is out again, Celek could have his number called quite a bit.

Hate:
Todd Heap – One catch for 31 yards against Miami.  He stinks.
Leonard Pope – Seriously, do they have a TE in the desert?  Stephen Spach caught three passes, but that was a fluke.
Jeff King – Five catches in his last four games.  Yuck.

You don’t really have many options in the fantasy playoffs so I’ll break down guys I like and guys I don’t like in this weekends games.

Quarterbacks
Love
:
Peyton Manning – The Chargers have one of the worst Pass Defenses in the league.  Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning.  He should have an outstanding game.
Donovan McNabb – The Vikings have improved their Pass D dramatically this year.  Still, McNabb’s experience and explosiveness should come into play this weekend.
Kurt Warner – I don’t think the Cardinals will win, but Kurt & Company won’t go down without a fight.  That means a lot of passing for the Cards.

Like:
Philip Rivers – Though the Colts have an excellent pass D, Rivers is still one of the elite QBs today.  He’ll get his vs. Indianapolis.
Matt Ryan – The Cardinals D is pretty soft.  Michael Turner should soften it up to let Ryan take advantage. 

Hate:
Chad Pennington – He’s facing the Ravens tough D.  Enough said.
Joe Flacco – The Rookie won’t be asked to do much as they rely on their D and ground game.
Tarvaris Jackson – Jim Johnson should give him fits.

Running Backs
Love: 
Michael Turner – The Cards are going to have their hands full with the Burner.
LT – He’s hitting his stride just in time.  Indy’s Run D is still suspect.
Le’Ron McClain – The Ravens are going to pound away at Miami.
Adrian Peterson – I’m not expecting a huge game from AP, but I can’t count him out.
Brian Westbrook – Westy is a dual threat, which is why I still love him vs. the #1 Run D three years running.

Like:
Joseph Addai – Addai will get his touches vs. San Diego.  Rhodes and the passing game will be factors though.
Willis McGahee – McGahee has yielded his starting gig to McClain, but he’ll still play a pivotal role against the Fish.
Correll Buckhalter – I can see him vulture a Westbrook TD.

Hate:
Ronnie Brown – He’s in a 57/43 split with Ricky Williams facing the league’s third best run D.
Ricky Williams – Another thing, Baltimore has allowed just four rushing TDs.
Tim Hightower – The Cardinals have zero running game.
Chester Taylor – I’m not sure he’ll get enough meaningful touches to factor in.

Wide Receiver
Love:
Reggie Wayne – Manning will get Wayne involved early and often.
Larry Fitzgerald – He’s too good to shut down. 
Anquan Boldin – See above.
Roddy White – He’ll be the beneficiary of Turner softening Arizona’s D.

Like:
Vincent Jackson – He’s a big target that could present problems to the Colts.
Marvin Harrison – Manning will also involve his long time favorite target.
Derrick Mason – Should be able to pick his spots against Miami.
Michael Jenkins – Could also get loose against Arizona.
DeSean Jackson – McNabb will target the Rookie WR.

Hate:
Anthony Gonzalez – With Wayne, Harrison, Addia, and Dallas Clark, there won’t be enough left over for Gonzalez.
Ted Ginn, Jr. – Baltimore will present a difficult challenge for the speedster.
Steve Breaston – He’ll be the odd man out for Arizona.
Bernard Berrian – Berrian is the main threat in the passing game for Minnesota.  The Eagles will look to take that away.

Tight Ends
Love:
Dallas Clark – Clark has been a beast down the stretch.  San Diego has been awful at stopping Tight Ends.  Clark should have no problem getting open>
Antonio Gates – He’s too good to stop.

Like:
Visanthe Shiancoe – He has become one of the better Tight Ends in the league in recent weeks.  The only thing that keeps him out of the Love category is the blitzes T-Jack could see.  He could be forced to pass protect more than usual.
Anthony Fasano – He scored four TDs in December.  He may be the best option going against Baltimore.

Hate:
Todd Heap – He’s more name value now than actual production.  He surpassed 40 yards just three times.
Leonard Pope – Do they have a TE in the desert?
Justin Pelle – Atlanta isn’t much better at TE.
L.J. Smith – After being terrible early, the Vikings have gotten better at stopping TEs.


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