Week 13 Fantasy Projections
YOUNG QUARTERBACKS MAKE GREAT STRIDES:
Apparently, last year’s Rose Bowl showdown was not enough to settle the score between Vince Young and Matt Leinart. The two NFL rookies are now battling it out for the spotlight in the pros, each posting the best games of their young careers on Sunday. The one difference between the two last week? Only Young went home with the win.
Vince Young, Tennessee Titans:
Against the reeling New York Giants on Sunday, the former University of Texas standout flashed some of the skill that made him one of college football’s most feared players last year – both through the air and on the ground. Young rallied his team to the biggest fourth quarter comeback by a rookie quarterback in NFL history as the Titans stunned New York with 24 unanswered fourth quarter points. Young finished the day with 249 passing yards and 69 yards and a touchdown on the ground. This week, the Titans will take on a Colts team, which they dominated for 55 minutes in Week Five, only to lose 14-13. Rolling off the huge victory against New York, Young and the Titans should come out hungry to tackle the team with the NFL’s best record. Young said of last week’s game, “It’s a sneak peek of what’s to happen not just to me, but this team in general.” Look for Young and the Titans, brimming with confidence, to make things interesting this week against the Colts.
Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals:
Leinart took full advantage of his team calling only five running plays during Sunday’s shootout in Minnesota to air the ball out a Brett Favre-like 51 times, completing 31 passes for 405 yards, a touchdown, and two picks. With Pro-Bowl receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald finally healthy and playing together for only the third time in seven weeks, Leinart picked apart the Minnesota secondary to help the Cardinals’ offense put up 26 points, their highest point total since Week One. With Edgerrin James basically ineffective all season, the Cardinals’ aerial assault should continue on Sunday, especially against an equally pass-happy St. Louis Rams team. Leinart probably will not throw 51 passes again on Sunday, but if last week was any indication, it looks like Dennis Green and the Cardinals are finally giving Leinart and the Cardinals’ dangerous receivers the green-light on offense.
Wali Lundy, Houston Texans:
If you’re still struggling to replace Clinton Portis or the hapless Edgerrin James, the options are thin, but Lundy has emerged as a decent pick the past few weeks for the Houston Texans. Despite Houston’s inability to get the run going against the Jets on Sunday (Lundy had only 11 yards on 8 carries), the rookie back did excel out of the backfield, catching 8 passes for 68 yards. Lundy had touchdowns in the two games before that and should have a chance to make things happen against an Oakland Raiders team that is giving up an average of over 130 yards per game.
Marcus Robinson, Minnesota Vikings:
It may not be the best week to become the new starting wide receiver for the Vikings, who are taking on a vicious Bears defense on Sunday, but Robinson looked impressive in last week’s shootout against the Arizona Cardinals, catching seven passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. It will not be that easy for Robinson this week against a defense that is ranked second in the league against the pass, but with no legitimate number one threat on the Vikings, Brad Johnson will have to find someone to hook up with through the air. This late in the season, Robinson may be your best bet for a receiver on the waiver-wire.
Marty Booker, Miami Dolphins:
Remember back in the 2001 and 2002 seasons when Marty Booker caught a total of 197 passes for the Bears? I didn’t either until I stumbled across his career stats after the Dolphins’ wide receiver grabbed seven passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions on Thanksgiving. While not the Pro-Bowl caliber player he was for the Bears a few years ago, Booker is quietly having a solid season and becoming Joey Harrington’s No. 1 target through the air. On the year, he has 38 catches for 537 yards and four touchdowns, and has seen his role increase while Harrington has been the starter. If you are looking to replace the disappointing Chris Chambers, who has not had more than 66 yards in a game all season, Booker, who is second on the team in receiving yards, should be your guy.
OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos:
First-ever NFL start against a mediocre Seattle pass defense could go either way.
Ladell Betts, Washington Redskins:
It’s unlikely that the new Washington starting running back (104 yards on the ground last week) is available in your league, but grab him right away if he is.
David Carr, Houston Texans:
Could be a shootout against Indianapolis this weekend, and Carr has been solid all year.