• FANTASY IN FOCUS

    The New England Patriots defense continues to struggle. Credit that to their inability to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks. This is leaving their largely inexperienced secondary isolated and vulnerable. Opposing teams will continue to employ an aerial attack when facing them. This will only change provided their front seven can start generating pressure on a more consistent basis.

    The current scenario is bad for Patriot fans but bodes well for Tom Brady, Wes Welker, & Randy Moss owners. The Patriots are 7-5. They hold a fragile one game lead in the AFC east division. Their remaining games are playoff caliber games. They haven’t had a very effective running game this year. So expect this offense to continue to rely heavily on the arm of Tom Brady. The Patriots upcoming schedule: Carolina, @Buffalo, Jacksonville, & @Houston.

    Brady, Welker, & Moss are great options moving forward. Consider benching the Patriot defense if you have a better option.



    What is going to become of the Indianapolis Colts offensive unit? Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon, & Joseph Addai have consistently produced. The Colts stand at 12-0. Head coach Jim Caldwell has said he will be resting his starters once they have clinched a playoff bye. Manning, Wayne, & Clark in particular may see reduced playing time. Owners need to pay close attention to this situation.

    The looming question is how playing time will be distributed amongst the backs? Maybe Joseph Addai will get fewer carries? Making way for Donald Brown & Chad Simpson to see increased reps? Watch this situation moving forward.



    The 12-0 New Orleans Saints are on a roll. Their QB Drew Brees continues to engineer the leagues top ranked offensive unit.

    In week 13 Brees hit WR Robert Meachem on a 53 yard bomb in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Meachem has emerged as this year’s Lance Moore. In recent weeks he has played like a #1 fantasy receiver, out of the #3 spot for the Saints. He has produced 6 TDs in the last 5 games. He is another receiver breaking out in his third year.

    The Saints were able to manufacture 33 points against the Washington Redskins. The NFL’s #1 ranked pass defense.

    Marques Colston Robert Meachem, & Devery Henderson remain Brees’ most dangerous weapons. I don’t see any of their remaining opponents being able to stop them.

    Pay close attention to the running back situation. Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell, & Reggie Bush crowd their backfield. Thomas is the best starting option of the three. That could change if head coach Sean Payton decides to rest some of his guys. Even though he has said his players will be playing down the stretch, in hopes of going 16-0. Regardless of that statement stay tuned, to see what will transpire over the coming weeks.



    What happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers? They lost in week 12 at Arrowhead Stadium, to a terrible Kansas City Chiefs team. Pair that with a week 13 loss at Heinz Field, to an Oakland Raiders squad. A defeat that drops the defending champs to a meager 6-6 record.

    With the Cincinnati Bengals on the verge of wrapping up that division, the Steelers will be fighting for a wild card spot. This is good news for Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, & Rashard Mendenhall owners. Expect them to post solid numbers down the stretch.

    Heath Miller has been non-existent in this offense of late. Roethlisberger should find a way to get him re-involved in the offense.

    Like the Patriots it is the Steelers defense that has been their downfall. The impending scenario is how long will Troy Polamalu remain sidelined? He is the heart & soul of this defense. Polamalu’s absence has extinguished the defenses spirit. If he remains sidelined consider using another defense.



    The Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers & Donald Driver connection continues to roll. Rodgers remains the top fantasy scoring player in the majority of leagues. Donald Driver has served as a reliable safety valve for Rodgers all season. Driver & Jermichael Finley are Rodgers favorite targets, when his pocket prematurely collapses. But don’t make the mistake of leaving Greg Jennings out of the conversation. He has had a disappointing year to date. Poor blocking for Rodgers has hurt Jennings fantasy value. He is a lethal vertical threat when Rodgers is given the time. The Packers O-line has found some cohesion of late. They looked legit against a stout Baltimore Raven front seven. Owners have no excuses in not starting these guys.

    The Packers can still win the NFC north title. They need the Vikings to lose 3 out of their last 4, and they need to win outright. Every week is a big game.

    At times Dom Capers has been able to orchestrate this young defense into NFL elitism. Rookies Clay Mathews Jr. & BJ Raji have played extremely well. Mathews Jr. is a fun one to watch. He flies all over the field and has a knack for the ball. Raji has been able to plug gaps and get a solid push up front. Combine that with perennial ball hawk Charles Woodson and you have a formidable defense in the making. Don’t make the mistake of sitting this defense.

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