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News » A little hostility goes a long way in rivalry games


A little hostility goes a long way in rivalry games


A little hostility goes a long way in rivalry games
If fantasy Football were just about statistics, you could run your team on autopilot all season. (Trust me, the results aren't pretty.)


By Week 15 you know who gets you the most fantasy points on a consistent basis, and who's been hot during the past month.

But sometimes you've got to make hard choices between players with similar stats. How to decide?

I recommend playing the "He Hate Me" card. No, you don't want to bring back Rod Smart from his XFL days. I'm talking about picking players for your lineup who are competing against a hated rival.

Find matchups involving teams that have a healthy disdain for each other. And grab as many of the players from those games as you can find. You want guys who are angry, whose juices are flowing, whose adrenaline is hitting 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Here are some grudge matches to consider:

*Cowboys QB Tony Romo versus New York Giants. Sure, Romo was a fantasy flop last week in a loss to Pittsburgh, committing four turnovers to lower his regular-season record in December to 4-6. However, Romo can also be a Giant killer.

In eight career appearances (four starts) against Big Blue, Romo has completed 87 of 147 passes for 1,277 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Eight of those TDs came in last year's two regular-season games.

New York clinched the NFC East division last week, while the Cowboys are fighting for their playoff lives. And don't forget about Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who is Romo's most reliable target.

*New York Jets running back Thomas Jones versus the Buffalo Bills . The Jets and Bills aren't the most bitter of rivals, but none of the four AFC East teams sends bouquets to their division foes' hotel rooms on game days, either. Jones ran for 69 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 26-17 win over Buffalo on Nov. 2, and the Jets are tied for the division lead at 8-5 with Miami and New England, so they have more at stake than the Bills this week.

The Baltimore Ravens versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. There are few rivalries as heated as this one. The Steelers' physical receiver, Hines Ward, calls himself "the most hated man in Baltimore." Steelers lineman Willie Colon expects "a bloodbath" on Sunday. The problem for fantasy owners is, where are the points coming from? The Ravens are No. 2 against the pass, No. 3 against the run. The Steelers' offense hasn't exactly been rolling, and neither has the Ravens'. If you're desperate, you can try Ravens RB LeRon McClain, but otherwise the cupboard is a little bare.

***

Terrific tandem

There are certain phrases that strike fear into the hearts of fantasy owners. "Let's go antiquing on Sunday, honey," comes to mind.

Not far behind is "running back by committee." When NFL teams have more than one prominent back carrying the ball it's the cause of heartburn for fantasy owners. Sometimes injuries cloud the picture; other times coaches can't make up their minds who is their featured back.

There's a lot of coin-flipping involved when you've got to choose between: Brandon Jacobs/Derrick Ward; Willis McGahee/Ray Rice/LeRon McClain; Joseph Addai/Dominic Rhodes; Chris Johnson/LenDale White; Pierre Thomas/Reggie Bush. You get the idea.

There is one team, however, that has two running backs who seem to complement -- rather than cannibalize -- each other.

Carolina's DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart (aka Smash and Dash) on Monday night became the first teammates in history to each rush for 100 yards, score two rushing touchdowns and average 7 yards per carry, according to NFL.com.

The Panthers rank No. 4 in rushing in the league and are the only team with two rushers in the league's top 20. Williams (1,141 yards) ranks fifth and Stewart (699) is 18th. They've combined for 23 touchdowns.

Play 'em if you got 'em.

e-mail: gconnors@buffnews.com



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 13, 2008

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Prescott Burgess Name: Prescott Burgess
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