Commentary

Engel: Pat Bounceback

Updated: November 30, 2007, 7:03 PM ET
By Scott Engel | ESPN.com

Every week, I will share my personal selections and picks in ESPN.com's mini-games, plus feature my lineups in prominent expert leagues that I am participating in this season. I'll explain the reasoning behind many of my choices in an effort to assist you in making your own decisions or to explain why certain picks may seem risky or unusual.

Gridiron Challenge

QB1: Tom Brady (Value: Locked at 8.0)
QB2: Derek Anderson (6.9)
RB1: Jamal Lewis (5.6)
RB2: Steven Jackson (6.2)
WR1: Randy Moss (Locked at 7.2)
WR2: Torry Holt (5.6)
TE: Donald Lee (Locked at 3.4)
K: Olindo Mare (3.1)
D/ST: St. Louis Rams (3.5)
Total Team Value: (49.9)
Engel's Angles: Three offensive pairings will drive my squad this week. I am expecting a big rebound outing from Brady and Moss. Anderson will dissect the Cardinals' secondary with precision in what will be the highest-scoring game of the week. In the same game, Lewis also will be a big factor. He has rushed for eight touchdowns so far, and the Cardinals have allowed 10 rushing scores this season. Jackson opposes the Falcons, who surrender 123.5 rushing yards per game, 26th in the NFL. Holt also should catch at least one touchdown pass from Gus Frerotte. Kickers can do well at any given time, and Mare is coming off a seven-point week. Have I mentioned he is the lowest-priced kicker and I always look to save a lot of value at that position? The Rams are a good, sneaky play this week. The Falcons are averaging 14.1 points per game, 31st in the NFL. The St. Louis defense has scored 21 fantasy points in the past two games and is starting to play more respectably. The Rams have eight sacks and three interceptions in their past two games.

Eliminator

Pick: St. Louis Rams (versus Atlanta Falcons)
Engel's Angles: Going against the Dolphins is always fun, but a home date with the Jets actually gives them a good chance to win. Washington is a superb pick against Buffalo, but I already have used the Redskins. So I will go with the Rams, who are looking much better than their 2-9 record indicates. This is a great opportunity for St. Louis to win its first home game of the season. The Rams had a two-game win streak snapped in Week 12 at the goal line as time ran out against Seattle. St. Louis played Seattle evenly, though, and the Rams are a better team recently with Steven Jackson back in action and the top receivers back on the field together in most games. The defense also has stepped up its play as of late, as I mentioned in the Gridiron Challenge section. Frerotte will step in for injured Marc Bulger. He can make untimely mistakes, but the Rams will lean on Jackson in this one, and even if Frerotte throws more than one interception, he'll have lots of time to throw and can use play-action passing to his advantage. I will bank on his throwing a minimum of two touchdown passes. Rookie defensive tackle Adam Carriker will lead a charge to stuff the Atlanta running game, and with the St. Louis secondary playing better recently, Joey Harrington will get blitzed often and doesn't have enough playmakers to help him survive the regular pressure. The Falcons won't generate enough offense to keep up with the Rams.

Pigskin Pick 'Em vs. The Spread

My selections in CAPS
Carolina -2 vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Indianapolis -7 vs. JACKSONVILLE
MINNESOTA -3 vs. Detroit
SAN DIEGO -4 at Kansas City
Miami -1 vs. N.Y. JETS
WASHINGTON -5 vs. Buffalo
Tennessee -3 vs. HOUSTON
ST. LOUIS 4 vs. Atlanta
Philadelphia 3 vs. SEATTLE
Arizona 1 vs. CLEVELAND
DENVER 3 at Oakland
NEW ORLEANS 3 vs. Tampa Bay
N.Y. Giants 1 at CHICAGO
PITTSBURGH 7 vs. Cincinnati
New England 20 at BALTIMORE
Engel's Angles: The 49ers will roll to victory behind Frank Gore, who is running harder recently and looking more like his 2006 self. The Jaguars won't win, but David Garrard and the running game will be effective enough to help Jacksonville stick close. I am not fully confident on the Jets pick, to be honest. The Redskins will dominate in an emotional win, especially with Buffalo having suffered key injuries at running back. The Titans will be surprised at home by the Texans, who will move the ball in the air when it counts. Expect a good day from Matt Schaub. The Seahawks will pass the ball more effectively than the Eagles, and that will be the difference. Cleveland will outshoot Arizona in one of the week's most exciting games. The Buccaneers won't be able to stand up to New Orleans without Jeff Garcia. The defense ultimately will spend too much time on the field. The Giants' offense will sputter again this week as the Bears attack and confuse Eli Manning. The Ravens will play respectably against New England as they try to feed off the MNF emotion, but they will be put away easily in the second half.

Pigskin Pick 'Em: No Spread

Home team in CAPS
San Francisco over CAROLINA
INDIANAPOLIS over Jacksonville
MINNESOTA over Detroit
San Diego over KANSAS CITY
N.Y. Jets over MIAMI
WASHINGTON over Buffalo
Houston over TENNESSEE
ST. LOUIS over Atlanta
Seattle over PHILADELPHIA
Cleveland over ARIZONA
Denver over OAKLAND
NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay
CHICAGO over N.Y. Giants
PITTSBURGH over Cincinnati
New England over BALTIMORE
Engel's Angles: Even without Marvin Harrison, the Colts will survive a close battle with the Jaguars. Joseph Addai and rookie Anthony Gonzalez will be key performers. The Vikings' defense will force Jon Kitna into critical turnovers. Kolby Smith won't roll up big numbers this week, and the Chargers will display good offensive balance against the Chiefs. The Broncos will use a solid passing game to take some pressure off their banged-up running backs. If weather continues to be an issue in Pittsburgh, which certainly will work to the Steelers' advantage, Willie Parker will run the ball effectively and Ben Roethlisberger will operate a controlled passing game that delivers the key plays. Rudi Johnson is in for a tough week, and Carson Palmer will commit more than one turnover.

The Pro League

The ESPN.com Experts League, where I face off against nine other fantasy staff members. Check out Tristan H. Cockcroft's coverage of the league on our fantasy football pages every week.
QB: Derek Anderson
RB: Frank Gore
RB: Ryan Grant
RB/WR: Adrian Peterson (MIN)
WR: Anthony Gonzalez
WR: Reggie Wayne
TE: Dallas Clark
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Washington Redskins
Reserves: Ben Roethlisberger, Kolby Smith, Travis Henry, Maurice Morris, Donald Driver, Donald Lee, Packers D/ST
Engel's Angles: Grant got me off to a good start Thursday night, and Crosby had another good outing. Benching Driver, Lee and the Green Bay defense/special teams turned out to be good calls. Driver scored only six points and Lee three, and the D/ST had its worst outing of the year statistically, with minus-5 points. Anderson would get the call over Roethlisberger even if weather were not still a concern in Pittsburgh. I think the Cardinals are going to have a lot of trouble with the Anderson-Kellen Winslow combination. Peterson is a shaky start in only his first game back, but Kolby Smith will give me only adequate numbers this week, so I will keep Peterson in for the upside. I also will lean heavily on a trio of Colts. Wayne always delivers, and Gonzalez has proved to be a fine statistical replacement for Marvin Harrison.

Fanex Football

A long-running, highly prestigious 12-team experts league that always has been tops among seasoned fantasy experts. Four points for passing touchdowns, 0.05 points for each passing yard, 0.1 each for rushing and receiving yards, one point for every reception. Only two add/drops allowed per week, with blind bidding.
QB: Derek Anderson
RB: LenDale White
RB: Willie Parker
RB: Earnest Graham
WR: Reggie Wayne
WR: Brandon Marshall
WR: Justin Gage
TE: Vernon Davis
K:Jeff Reed
D/ST: Washington Redskins
Reserves: Donovan McNabb, Matt Hasselbeck, Dwayne Wright, Thomas Jones, Ted Ginn Jr., David Patten, Nate Washington, Nate Burleson, Donald Lee and Vikings D/ST
Engel's Angles: Another league where it was a good idea to sit Lee, and Davis is starting to show signs that he will finish strong this year. Anderson gets the call here, as well, as I don't expect a banged-up Hasselbeck to be quite as effective as Anderson even if Seattle wins. Parker will be a featured performer against the Bengals no matter what the weather is, and Graham is now locked into my lineup. I am hoping for at least a score from White this week, and he's a better short-yardage option than the very disappointing Jones. Marshall is developing a great on-field relationship with Jay Cutler, and Gage was a nifty recent addition who will provide me with quality numbers this week. Burleson should step up again in the Seattle offense with Hackett out, but I don't expect much from him as he gets pushed around by the Philadelphia defensive backs.

Krause Publications Experts League II

From the publishers of "Fantasy Sports Magazine," an enduring fantasy industry staple. A 12-team league with similar scoring to Fanex, except running backs get .5 points for a reception.
QB: Matt Schaub
RB: Willie Parker
RB: Justin Fargas
RB/WR: Chester Taylor
WR: Anthony Gonzalez
WR: Wes Welker
WR: Plaxico Burress
TE:Chris Cooley
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Minnesota Vikings
Reserves: Ben Roethlisberger, Fred Taylor, Kolby Smith, Marvin Harrison, Bobby Engram and Buccaneers D/ST
Engel's Angles: Because of the aforementioned weather concerns in Pittsburgh, I am leaning toward Schaub for now. My excellent depth at running back makes the decisions tough, but I expect Parker to stand out again and for Fargas to have another very good game against the frequently vulnerable Denver run defense. Fred Taylor is a quality start, but I still expect Chester Taylor to have one more good week as he gets more touches than Peterson for Minnesota. Benching Engram was not easy, but I needed to get Gonzalez in my lineup, and he was the casualty. Again, without Garcia, I like Tampa Bay's defense a lot less than usual this week.

Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can contact Scott here.

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Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com.