Those breezes you feel are trade winds

Consider adding – Jacksonville QB David Garrard, Oakland RB Tyrone Wheatley, Kansas City RB Derrick Blaylock, Miami RB Travis Minor, Houston WR Jabar Gaffney, Denver TE Jeb Putzier; Consider dropping – Dallas QB Testaverde, Minnesota RB Moore, St. Louis RB Steven Jackson, Cleveland RB William Green, New York Giants defense.

Starting nod

Quarterback: Trent Green, Kansas City – He's thrown three TDs in two straight heading into this week's game against the Saints. With Priest Holmes ailing, the Chiefs will go to the air against one of the league's worst pass defenses.

Running back: Clinton Portis, Washington – I know it's been a rough year, but the Redskins have lots of good reasons to get the ball to their featured back this week. For one, they're 3-0 when Portis tops 100 yards. Second, they have the league's worst starting QB. And finally, they're facing the NFL's most generous run defense. All the signs point to a big game; Kevan Barlow, San Francisco – Time is running out for him to have a breakout game this season, but the odds are good it will happen this week against the pathetic Panthers.

Wide receiver: Darrell Jackson, Seattle – A sentimental pick. I got scared last week when I read the injury report and sat Jackson, who promptly went out and caught two TD passes. I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come, because I don't want to consider the alternative. Also, he did score once in the Seahawks' first matchup with St. Louis this season; Javon Walker, Green Bay – He's failed to catch a TD pass just once in the past six games. With the Packers well-rested after a bye week and facing the Vikings, he's a near-lock to get in the end zone at least once this weekend.

Tight end: Dallas Clark, Indianapolis – Bounced back from a slow start with three TD catches in his last four games. Three of Manning's touchdown passes on Monday night went to his tight ends, Clark and Marcus Pollard.

Kicker: Steve Christie, New York Giants – Faces the Cardinals, who have given up an NFL-high 17 field goals. The Giants aren't very good at getting into the end zone.

Defense: Tennessee – The Titans are coming off a bye week and face the Bears, who plan to disrupt what little momentum they gained on offense by replacing Anthony Thomas with Thomas Jones at running back.

Ravens report

Jamal Lewis wants the ball more and that can only mean good things for his fantasy prospects. Brian Billick agreed that his 22 carries against the Browns were a little on the low side so expect the Ravens to make a concerted effort to get their man 25-30 carries this week against a Jets defense that ranks in the middle of the pack against the run. While they're at it, maybe the Ravens can get Chester Taylor involved more, too. After shouldering the load during Lewis's two-week absence, he had just two touches last week. A few more games like that should earn him a spot on the fantasy waiver wire.

Don't expect much from the Ravens passing game this week, because the Jets do a good job of pressuring the quarterback and creating turnovers. Even Travis Taylor, the only Ravens receiver worthy of a fantasy roster spot, isn't a good start this week. And a quick side note: Kyle Boller has thrown as many touchdowns in his past four games (one) as Portis, Vinatieri and Ahman Green.

Ed Reed's interception and touchdown late last week kept Baltimore's defense atop the fantasy rankings, and the Ravens should have another big week against the Jets. Turnover-prone QB Quincy Carter is making his first start with the Jets in place of Pennington, and Curtis Martin has slowed down after a fast start (his 67 rushing yards last week were a season low). Still, Martin gets a lukewarm recommendation this week, as does Jets WR Santana Moss, coming off a season-best 157-yard effort. Keep Justin McCareins on the bench – the Ravens have allowed one passing TD in their past four games.

Finally, a quick hats-off to Matt Stover, who has made 14 of 15 field goals this season for a team that needs every point it can get. He went 4-for-4 last week and ranks 11th in fantasy scoring among kickers despite having one of the lowest PAT totals (14) in the league.

"He's just so steady, consistent," Billick said earlier this week. "And I will say as the ultimate compliment – he drives me crazy less than any kicker I've been around."

Dave Alexander is a sports producer at Send questions or comments to




Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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