- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
Here are 10 key fantasy observations from the weekend's games, with analysis of the important trends and an eye toward next week and beyond.
No more perfection speculation: In their first game with nothing to play for other than history, the Colts didn't bench any of their top offensive starters. But Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James delivered somewhat disappointing numbers anyhow , and now, without a perfect season to shoot for, the Colts' best fantasy players obviously become very risky starting options if your season continues in Weeks 16 and 17.
Manning threw for 336 yards and one TD but was intercepted twice. James scored on a 1-yard run, but he finished with just 25 rushing yards and totaled 45 yards from scrimmage. Marvin Harrison (eight catches, 135 yards) and Reggie Wayne (10 catches, 91 yards) posted the same type of numbers you might expect from them in any regular season contest. But with only two games left before the NFL playoffs, you won't see Manning, James, Harrison and Wayne play full games, and there's a very good chance they might only play for limited periods if they do start. Tony Dungy likely doesn't want his best guys going into the postseason on too much rest. But Indianapolis' big four now all become very shaky fantasy starters for Week 16, and there's an excellent possibility you might not see much of them at all in Week 17. We might be pointing out the obvious here, but it's definitely worth noting that you must begin to consider other starting options for the final weeks of your fantasy playoffs.
Seahawk insights: Darrell Jackson made a return from a nine-game layoff to post respectable numbers and didn't look very rusty doing it: six receptions for 72 yards, including a 2-yard TD. While Jackson was indeed a risky start after the long absence, he quickly showed that he has healed well from knee surgery, and he should be a quality starter if Seattle continues to give him a lot of work in anticipation of getting him into prime form for the NFL playoffs. Matt Hasselbeck burned yet another defense that was apparently focused on containing the Seattle running game, as he threw for three TDs and was not intercepted. Hasselbeck has thrown seven TD passes in his past two games. Tennessee couldn't contain Alexander (26 carries, 172 yards), of course, as much as it tried. He also scored for the 24th time this season. He is three rushing TDs short of Priest Holmes' single-season record with two games to go. Alexander looks like a good bet to see quality playing time in the last two weeks as he openly chases individual goals. Joe Jurevicius caught his ninth TD pass of the season and will continue to be a regular scoring target in the final game or two, even with Jackson back as a starter.
56mEthan Sherwood Strauss