Bad teams make good on Monday night

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia – Terrell Owens danced on the star back in the day, but it's McNabb who really owns the Cowboys. He's thrown three TDs in each of his last three home games against Dallas and dropped four scores on the Cowboys in a Monday nighter back in Week 10. Remember that silly scramble and heave completion he made that night? Yeah. Dallas doesn't have a chance.

Running back: Kevin Jones, Detroit – Jones has more rushing yards in his last three games (451) than any other player in the league. He's reached the 100-yard mark in three of four games for a team that had three 100-yard rushing efforts in 41 games before that. Curtis Martin, New York Jets – C-Mart has showed signs of slowing down of late, but that shouldn't matter against Seattle's sorry defense. The Seahawks have given up an average of 404 yards and 34.6 points in their last three games.

Wide receiver: Torry Holt, St. Louis – He's put up better than 100 yards per game in five career meetings with the Cardinals, which makes you wonder: If San Fran's Cedrick Wilson can go for 83 yards and two TDs against Arizona, what's Holt going to do? T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati – T.J. had 12 catches last week, two fewer than the number of letters in his last name. In a three-week span, he's got 26 grabs for 397 yards and three TDs. Ride him while he's hot.

Tight end: Chris Cooley, Washington – The Redskins don't do much right on offense, but when they do, this guy usually has something to do with it. Plug him in, if only to have a reason to watch the 'Skins-Niners matchup on Saturday.

Kicker: Ryan Lindell, Buffalo – He's nothing special with only one field goal from beyond 40 yards all season. But the way the Bills are scoring – 37-plus points in four straight – he's got a lot of value.

Defense: Chicago – A slumping Houston offense heads north to face a gritty Bears defense in mid-December. Hope for snow.

Ravens report

The Ravens slipped Jamal Lewis into their starting backfield last week, and the team came away feeling good about Lewis' health. On the flip side, panicky fantasy players who plugged Lewis into the lineup at the last second were hung out to dry with 32 rushing yards and no second-half carries.

But don't expect a repeat performance this week. Lewis will return to a near full-time role, and he should be able to put up some nice numbers with 20 or so carries against the Colts. Chester Taylor has earned an increased role, too, with 243 rushing yards in the past two games. But as a change-of-pace guy, he's only good for 8-12 attempts at best, making him a poor fantasy play.

Two guys I really like this week are Todd Heap and – don't laugh – Boller. Heap appeared fit and ready to roll in his second game back from an ankle injury, and his two TDs were a nice payoff for patient owners. And Boller, he of the four- TD game and budding confidence, looks like a decent, if chancy, play against the Colts' 28th-ranked pass defense. A healthy Heap helps open up the passing game, so Boller shgould toss at least a couple of scores. One guy I'd be wary of is Clarence Moore – not saying I don't like him, not saying don't play him. But rookie receivers tend to be inconsistent, and after last week's highlight-reel game, this game has three catches-25 yards-no TDs written all over it.

Enough with the Ravens – this is Peyton Manning's night. He's going to break the record in prime time on ESPN, and there's not much Baltimore can do about it. The good news? The return of Deion Sanders pretty much guarantees the secondary won't get embarrassed the way it did a few weeks back against the Bengals. If the Ravens can put some heat on Manning – he's only been sacked nine times all season – they might even be able to coax a few turnovers out of the Colts.

But with Manning making a pass at the record books, everybody gets in on the act – Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley (careful – he's listed as questionable), even Dallas Clark. And don't forget about Edgerrin James, who quietly leads the league in rushing yards. Don't even think about benching any of the Colts' big guns, even though Baltimore's defense is the best they've faced all season. There will be plenty of points put up in this one – the perfect nightcap to a pivotal week of fantasy playoffs.

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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