By Kyle Fisher
LenDale White vs. IND
This is a playoff game for the Titans, and they will get the ball in their best offensive player's hands. The Titans have been running well lately, especially White, who has 307 yards rushing in his last three games. White ran for 64 yards and a touchdown in the Titans' first meeting against the Colts on just 15 carries. White might get the ball twice that much in this game. The Colts will probably rest some starters on a defense that ranks 17th against the run, so look for White to have a big day as the Titans try to make the playoffs.
Clinton Portis vs. DAL
Portis is in a similar situation to White, as this is a playoff game for the Redskins, while the Cowboys have nothing to play for other than pride. The Cowboys have already locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so expect many of their starters to be limited on defense. Portis ran for just 36 yards in the teams' first meeting, but that was under much different circumstances. Portis has been running the ball well lately, rushing for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the last two weeks. Look for the Redskins to go to Portis early and often as they try to secure a playoff bid.
Kenny Watson vs. MIA
Watson exploded for 130 yards and a touchdown last week against a soft Browns run defense, and Watson has a similar matchup this week. Miami is last in the NFL against the run, allowing 158.6 yards per game. While the Bengals have nothing to play for, Watson is trying to prove that he can be a starter in the NFL, so expect him to play well in this contest.
T.J. Duckett vs. GB
Duckett had 102 yards and a touchdown last week against the Chiefs and with Kevin Jones out Duckett should get the bulk of the carries. With Green Bay locking up the No. 2 seed in the NFC, expect Duckett to be running against backups for much of the game. While the Lions are not a great rushing team, they did put up 134 yards against the Packers in a game that had meaning for Green Bay. Green Bay has also struggled recently against the run, giving up two 100-plus-yard rushers the last two weeks.
Kurt Warner vs. STL
Warner has been on fire lately, throwing for multiple touchdowns in his past seven games. What is more good news for fantasy owners is that Warner has attempted 43 passes a game in his last three games and averaged 310.3 yards in those games. Expect that to continue in the finale against the Rams, who gave up 290 yards passing to the Cardinals in their first contest. The Rams are 19th in the league against the pass and have given up five touchdown passes the last two weeks. We see Warner ending the year with a bang as the Cardinals try to get to .500 for the season.
San Diego Defense vs. OAK
Statistically, the Chargers have not been the force on defense that they were last season, ranking just 15th against the run and 14th against the pass. But the Chargers do lead the league in interceptions (29) and are matched up against rookie quarterback Jamarcus Russell, who will make his first NFL start. With the Chargers needing a win to lock up the No. 3 seed and avoid Jacksonville in round one, look for an all-out effort from the Chargers and a rough day for Russell.
Carolina Defense vs. TB
The Panthers have played much better on defense the past two weeks, surrendering just 15 points a game to two playoff teams. This week, they match up against a Buccaneers team that rested starters on offense last week and likely will not play many starters this week as it prepares for the playoffs. While normally the Panthers might not be a great defensive selection, Carolina should benefit from the Buccaneers preparing for the Giants.
Kenton Keith vs. TEN
With Joseph Addai banged up, Keith should get the majority of the carries this week against Tennessee. This week, Keith plays a strong Titans run defense that expects to have Albert Haynesworth in the lineup. Simply put, with Haynesworth in the lineup, the Titans are one of the top two or three teams against the run. For much of the NFL season they were ranked that high until Haynesworth missed several games with a hamstring injury. A semi-healthy Haynesworth helped the Titans hold the Jets to just 66 yards rushing last week. With everything to play for, expect the Titans defense to have a strong performance, especially since Indianapolis likely will use several backups at key positions.
Vince Young vs. IND
In every big game this season, the Titans top priority is to run the ball and have Young manage the game. This has brought the Titans to the verge of the playoffs, and we don't see that changing. The Colts have the NFL's No. 1 pass defense, and while they may rest many of their starters, the Titans will stick to the game plan of controlling the ball with LenDale White. This will limit Young's opportunities to make plays and probably will not give him the opportunity to help a fantasy roster this week.
Najeh Davenport vs. BAL
Davenport took over for the injured Willie Parker last week and shined, gaining 123 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' win over the Rams. This week, Davenport faces a much tougher assignment in a Ravens defense that is No. 2 in the league in yards allowed and has the best per-carry average defense (2.9) in the league. Despite the Steelers blowing out the Ravens earlier this season, the Ravens only allowed 90 yards rushing on 38 carries. Expect Davenport to have a tough time this week.
Selvin Young vs. MIN
It is difficult to figure out who is going to get the majority of carries in Mike Shanahan's offense, but it looks like that Young should get the nod as he got the majority of the carries last week. Young has a tough matchup against the league's No. 1 run defense, which struggled a bit last week and gave up 106 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Washington. In a game that could mean everything to the Vikings, we see a bounce back performance from the league's No. 1 unit and a tough day for Young in the process.
JaMarcus Russell vs. SD
Russell might be the future for the Raiders, but the future isn't now. Russell gets his first start against a team looking to secure the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. The San Diego pass defense is giving up more yards than last season but leads the league in interceptions (29) and is No. 1 in pass rating allowed (68.7). Russell had a tough time last week, throwing three interceptions and that number could certainly be attained this week.
Denver defense vs. MIN
The 30th-ranked run defense in the NFL against Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor could spell trouble for the Broncos this week. The Broncos have surrendered 140.7 yards per game, while the Vikings lead the NFL rushing for 164.1 yards per game. The Vikings need this game to have any hope at the playoffs while the Broncos have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Broncos have struggled a bit on defense the last two weeks, and those struggles should continue this week.
The Giants might be resting some regulars, while the Patriots try to run the table and Tom Brady attempts to break the NFL record for touchdown passes in season. Couple that with Randy Moss being one touchdown reception away from trying the NFL record, and balls could be flying all over Giants Stadium, at least for a while. While it is difficult to know how long the starters will play for the Patriots, it is fairly safe to say that they will play long enough to try to stay perfect and break records. That should be enough to tell fantasy owners to use another defense this week, especially if a good Giants unit is resting starters.