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Tired of twins, in need of wins

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I'm going to come clean – I've had enough of these twins.

I love football on TV as much as the next guy. And hanging with my friends is great.

But because of serious overexposure to a certain football anthem – a tune that ESPN seems to think has the shelf-life of a can of Spam – I've had it up to here with the twins stuff. So they look alike. So what?

Maybe I'd feel differently if I owned Tiki Barber. Maybe then I wouldn't be in a two-game fantasy free-fall, either.

Let's just say, you know it's not your week when one of your starting running backs gets thrown out of the game before it starts.

To be fair, I had a hunch it wasn't my week when I plugged in William Green as a starting running back. And when I saw that I was up against Peyton Manning. Ouch.

But this week has been promising so far. For one, I said goodbye to Koren Robinson, who I happily dropped like Nicolette Sheridan's towel. It felt good, too. I highly recommend it.

So with K-Ro in my rearview, I'm confident there are better days ahead. Better days and fewer dropped passes.

Oh, and no more bye weeks. I love Week 11.

Quick hitters

  • I'm sick of Peyton Manning. One, because I didn't draft him. Two, because I had to face him in two different leagues last week. Manning threw for five TDs last week, his third five-TD game of the season. Daunte Culpepper also has three five-TD games. Only five other quarterbacks have thrown for more than 15 touchdowns this season.Manning remains on pace to shatter Dan Marino's single-season record for TD passes (48). But of his nine touchdown passes over the past two weeks, not one has gone to Marvin Harrison.Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre and Terrell Owens rounded out last week's top five.
  • In other Manning family news, fantasy owners wasted little time before pouncing on Eli Manning, who lit up the waiver wire earlier this week after Giants coach Tom Coughlin named the No.1 pick his new starting QB. Most rookie QBs will hurt your fantasy team more than they'll help, but there are always exceptions (see: Roethlisberger, Ben). You could do worse at your backup QB spot than Manning. If you're hanging onto Jeff Garcia, Drew Bledsoe, Carson Palmer, Tim Rattay or Josh McCown, you've got to ask yourself – how much worse could Manning be? If nothing else, the kid's got good genes.I'm more interested to see how much of an impact Manning will have on the Giants passing game. WR Amani Toomer doesn't have a touchdown catch this season, and Ike Hilliard has become a fantasy non-factor, so they can only get better. But it's Jeremy Shockey who will get the biggest boost. As Manning adjusts to the speed of the NFL game and scrambles for his life behind a suspect offensive line, the dependable Shockey will quickly develop into his favorite target.
  • Another 2004 draft pick to keep an eye on is Dallas RB Julius Jones, who's reportedly close to returning from a broken shoulder blade. Jones was back at practice this week and could be starting by Thanksgiving vs. the Bears. With the Cowboys' running game ranked near the bottom of the league (25th), Jones will get a chance to prove himself as soon as he's healthy. You should grab him as soon as you can.
  • How is it that Indianapolis leads the league in scoring (33.1 ppg), but Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt 22nd in scoring among fantasy kickers? Vanderjagt leads the league in PATs with 35 but has booted six field goals. Twenty-nine kickers have more three-pointers than Vanderjagt.
  • Forty-one WRs have more fantasy points than Peerless Price. Peerless means "without peer," right? Just checking.
  • If you're looking for a defense to stick with down the stretch, consider Atlanta. Sure, the Falcons gave up 56 to the Chiefs a few weeks back, but they racked up seven sacks last week and have a soft remaining schedule. Atlanta faces the Giants (Manning's NFL debut), New Orleans (twice), Tampa Bay, Oakland, Carolina and Seattle. Also check out Arizona, which ranks near the top of the league in takeaways (20) and sacks (24), and has a favorable remaining schedule (Carolina, N.Y. Jets, Detroit, San Francisco, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay).
  • Consider adding – Jacksonville QB David Garrard, Tennessee RB Antowain Smith, Atlanta RB T.J. Duckett, Jacksonville RB Greg Jones, Tennessee WR Drew Bennett, Tampa Bay TE Ken Dilger; Consider dropping – Cleveland QB Jeff Garcia, Denver RB Garrison Hearst, Carolina RB Brad Hoover, Seattle WR Koren Robinson, New York Giants defenseStarting nodQuarterback: Jake Plummer, Denver – Every member of the Broncos' offense should have a field day this week against the Saints, who rank last in the league in running defense, passing defense and points allowed. The well-rested Plummer had four TDs in two straight games leading up to last week's bye.Running back: Willis McGahee, Buffalo – The Bills fell behind early last week, and McGahee got only 15 touches. That should change this week. The Bills need to do everything they can to get the ball out of Drew Bledsoe's hands, and they're going up against the Rams' 29th-ranked run defense; Corey Dillon, New England – The AFC's second-leading rusher faces one of the NFL's worst defenses (Kansas City) on Monday night. This could be the game Dillon owners have been hoping for.Wide receiver: Michael Clayton, Tampa Bay – The rookie from LSU has 90 or more yards in four of his last six games and has scored three TDs in that span. He goes up against the Niners' decimated defensive backfield; Nate Burleson, Minnesota – Randy Moss is still out and Marcus Robinson is hobbled, meaning the Vikings will call Burleson's number often against the Lions. He's caught a TD in three straight games.Tight end: Antonio Gates, San Diego – Welcome back from the bye week, Antonio. Gates had three TDs his last time out and scored twice against the Raiders earlier this season. Oakland has given up eight TDs to tight ends in its last five games.Kicker: Josh Brown, Seattle – He's made good on 17 of 18 field-goal attempts and is coming off a four-FG effort last week. The Seahawks should put up plenty of points vs. the Dolphins this week.Defense: Cincinnati – The Bengals' D is available in a lot of leagues despite ranking among the top-five fantasy defenses in four out of the last five weeks. The Bengals are tied for the league lead in interceptions with 13 heading into this week's game against Pittsburgh.Ravens reportAnyone who tuned into Monday Night Football saw (among other things) what the Ravens are up against this week: a discombobulated Dallas defense. That bodes well for Jamal Lewis, who's due for a big game after running for 152 yards and one TD on 52 carries in his last two games. The return of Jonathan Ogden, which seems likely this week, will help Lewis top 100 yards for the third time this season.There's also reason for optimism in the passing game after Kyle Boller's promising performance in Week 10. Boller isn't worth owning, but if he can keep improving, Travis Taylor and Clarence Moore will be. Moore's two-TD game against the Jets made him the fifth best fantasy WR last week and has turned him into a trendy pickup. He's unlikely to score two TDs in a game again this season, but he's an intriguing WR3 or flex position option from here on out. Boller has confidence in the rookie, and his size (6-foot-6) makes him an attractive jump-ball option any time the Ravens are in the red zone.In other news, the guy who used to be the Ravens best red-zone option – Todd Heap – still isn't ready to return. His ankle injury has lingered longer than anyone expected, but you can't cut him now. Once Heap gets back on the field, you'll be glad you stuck with him.Baltimore's top-ranked fantasy defense gets another favorable matchup this week. The Cowboys have committed eight turnovers in their past two games, and Keyshawn Johnson and Jason Witten are the only players on their offense deserving of a spot in fantasy lineups. I wouldn't be surprised to see Drew Henson get into this week's game in relief of Vinny Testaverde.Dave Alexander is a sports producer at baltimoresun.com. Send questions or comments to dalexander@baltimoresun.com
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