Week 16: 10 things to watch

Updated: December 21, 2006, 1:25 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com
Each week, I provide my list of 10 things I'm watching on game day, so you'll be prepared for some of the week's biggest developments in advance of them happening.

Rookie watch, Tarvaris Jackson: We've seen a fair share of rookie quarterbacks crack their teams' starting lineups this season, from Bruce Gradkowski to Matt Leinart to Vince Young to Jay Cutler, and each of them, for brief times, has shown us glimpses of the promising fantasy performers they could be sometime down the road. Of course, the common thread with all of them is inexperience, so while Jackson's 177 passing yards and a score in relief in Week 15 are a nice sign, don't let them fool you into thinking he's a worthy stand-in for Thursday's game at the Packers. Sure, Green Bay's pass defense ranks 26th, but Lambeau Field is a hostile environment for a rookie to make his first NFL start, especially in the cold. Jackson was a Division I-AA quarterback in college, a rarity at the NFL level, and scouts have questioned his mechanics, as his throwing motion often leads to inaccurate throws. Nevertheless, we shouldn't immediately assume Jackson will be a disaster on Thursday, and if he's able to meet the challenge successfully, it'd perhaps make him an interesting No. 2 option for Week 17 in a home game against the Rams.

Flashback: Tim Rattay. Remember this name? Rattay, once considered the "next great quarterback" a few years back in San Francisco, failed to live up to expectations as Jeff Garcia's replacement. He was largely inconsistent and had trouble staying healthy, and some questioned whether his size limited his potential as a pocket passer. However, Rattay does have the arm to manage decent fantasy numbers when given a chance, and with the Buccaneers not going anywhere this year, the team might as well have given him a start to show what he can do. Asked to throw constantly while trailing on the scoreboard in Week 15, Rattay rallied Tampa Bay with 268 yards and three scores through the air, earning the start facing a favorable matchup at the Browns on Sunday. With RB Carnell Williams (foot) limited, Rattay's sure to come out throwing yet again, so fantasy owners in desperate need of a No. 2 QB should look his way. He could be quite the one-week surprise.

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