Commentary

Alone on an Island: Atlanta's Answer?

Updated: December 22, 2007, 11:57 PM ET
By ESPN Staff

Wondering what these guys were thinking when they broke from the pack in the Week 16 rankings? We like to call that being "alone on an island." Here is what our castaways had to say.

Matthew Berry on Chris Redman
Ranked: 15 Composite Rank: 21.8

I like Redman because I'm ignoring Week 15. Game got out of hand against the Tampa Bay defense, and Redman played well in his other start, against New Orleans, and in relief of Harrington before that. The Cardinals have been eliminated from playoff contention and are banged-up on defense. Plus, they have given up 23 touchdown passes, tied for fourth most in the NFL. I expect Kurt Warner & Co. to light it up on the other side of the ball, so this should be a bit of a shootout, and it's not as though Atlanta is going to grind it out on the ground, either. I'm not expecting miracles, but 200 yards, two scores with a pick is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Eric Karabell on Chester Taylor
Ranked: 22 Composite Rank: 29.0

I can't give up on Taylor as a decent flex option because of one rough game against a fired-up Bears defense. In his previous four games, Taylor scored six touchdowns. Sure, Adrian Peterson is back and getting most of the touches, but Taylor has done fine with the rookie active. I don't think a matchup against Washington is particularly strong for Taylor, but of all the backup running backs, he remains a factor every week. I could see 70 total yards and a score, even in relief, and I'll probably keep ranking him this way.

Scott Engel on Joseph Addai
Ranked: 23 Composite Rank: 9.4

The Colts could be shuffling starters in and out of their lineup against Houston, so I am expecting Addai to get rested more than any other of Indianapolis' key offensive players. The Colts had a scare or two with Addai earlier this year, and Kenton Keith has proved he can do the job when called on, especially near the goal line. Addai will play enough to stay warm, but you are going to see a lot of Keith, I believe, especially in short-yardage situations. It might be all guesswork as to just how much Addai will play, but I would rather use a running back I am certain will get a quality amount of carries.

Christopher Harris on Jay Cutler
Ranked: 17 Composite Rank: 14.2

My colleagues like Cutler for Week 16. I, myself, do not. I'm betting Cutler is on some fantasy teams that'll be in championships; I'm also betting that he isn't your only option and that you've been switching back and forth between him and someone else all year. So this qualifies as a burning question. Why don't I like Cutler? First, there's the opposition. Chargers defensive tackle Luis Castillo will play, returning from ankle surgery; Shawne Merriman has sworn he'll get in there, too; and the Chargers have found a pass defense in a big way lately: 12 interceptions, four fumbles recovered and 15 sacks in their most recent four games. I know Antonio Cromartie isn't Deion Sanders, but boy, he's having a great year, and you hate to bet against a winning streak. Then there's Cutler himself. I don't trust him. His first time out against the Chargers in 2007, he threw one pick and no scores (in a 41-3 loss), and he was sacked five times two Thursdays ago against Houston. Take away his big game against the Chiefs a couple of games back, and he sits at 14 touchdowns and 12 picks, with eight fumbles to boot (although he has lost only three of those). This game feels like an AFC West coronation to me, and I think San Diego will pound the Broncos at home, with Cutler making a whole bunch of mistakes. So I'll go out on a limb and tell you to bench the Vandy not-so-dandy.

Nate Ravitz on Anquan Boldin
Ranked: 13 Composite Rank: 17.6

I don't get the hesitation on Boldin. He returned from his toe injury this past week and caught six passes for 83 yards. Kurt Warner is on a tremendous hot streak, throwing 15 touchdown passes in his past six games, with at least two touchdowns in each of them, all while averaging more than 280 yards per game. It's not as though the Falcons have an imposing defense. Do you really want to start Kevin Curtis over Boldin? One of the Seattle guys? Donald Driver? Sorry, no thanks.