Commentary

Engel: Brady good for another big game

Updated: December 21, 2007, 10:40 PM ET
By Scott Engel | ESPN.com

In each of the final weeks of the NFL regular season, I share my personal selections and picks in ESPN.com's minigames, plus feature my lineup in a prominent expert league that I am still participating in late in the 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: 7.8)
QB2: Kurt Warner (Locked at 6.7)
RB1: Jamal Lewis (6.2)
RB2: Fred Taylor (5.3)
WR1: Braylon Edwards (6.2)
WR2: Randy Moss (7.2)
TE: Donald Lee (Locked at 3.2)
K: Neil Rackers (3.5)
D/ST: Arizona Cardinals (3.8)
Total Team Value: (49.9)
Engel's Angles: I am still holding on to my lead in my group with 1,784 points and a 96.1 percentage. Brady torched Miami for six touchdown passes in Week 7, and weather is not expected to be a major concern Sunday in Foxborough. I expect Brady to throw more than two touchdown passes, at least one to Moss. Warner stays locked in my lineup, because Atlanta has allowed 21 touchdown passes in 2007. The Bengals are allowing 119.4 rushing yards per game, so I am expecting another big game from Lewis. Taylor against the Raiders, who are surrendering 143.8 yards per game and an NFL-high 21 rushing touchdowns, may be the best matchup of the week for fantasy purposes. The Bengals have allowed 25 passing scores, 25th in the NFL, so Edwards is a fine starting option. Lee continues to stay locked in as one of the best bargains in the game. You can still get him on your roster for a value of 3.5, which is an outstanding value selection. Rackers is a very safe play, and the Cardinals should at least perform adequately against the reeling Falcons, who are scoring an NFL-low 13.4 points per game.

Eliminator

Pick: Arizona Cardinals (versus Atlanta Falcons)
Engel's Angles: It's been a good season for me in Eliminator, with 14 picks on target in 15 weeks so far. Many of those choices have been against Atlanta, including my selection of Tampa Bay in Week 15 in a one-sided Buccaneers blowout. Neither team has much to play for here, but Arizona is simply the better ballclub, and has won four of six home games in 2007. The Falcons have won only one road game in seven tries. The Cardinals will focus on stopping the run with their defensive tackles, and should be successful. That will put the game in the hands of journeyman Chris Redman, and while he may hit Roddy White for some big gainers, he'll be forced into many adverse passing situations and doesn't have enough weaponry to fully take advantage of the holes in the Arizona secondary. The Falcons allow more than 130 rushing yards per game, so the Cardinals can use Edgerrin James to help them dominate time of possession, and set up play-action passing for Kurt Warner. The Arizona wide receivers are banged up, and the Atlanta secondary is physical and tough. Warner, however, will spread the ball around effectively and use his secondary targets well when he has to. The Cardinals will exhibit enough balance on offense and the Atlanta defense will spend too much time on the field to effectively contain the Arizona offense for the entire game.

Pigskin Pick 'Em vs. The Spread

My selections in CAPS
Dallas -11½ at CAROLINA
DETROIT -4½ vs. Kansas City
Indianapolis -7½ vs. HOUSTON
JACKSONVILLE -12½ vs. Oakland
Green Bay -7½ at. CHICAGO
NEW YORK GIANTS -3½ at Buffalo
NEW ORLEANS -3½ vs. Philadelphia
CLEVELAND -3½ at Cincinnati
ARIZONA -10½ vs. Atlanta
Tampa Bay -7½ at SAN FRANCISCO
New England -21½ vs. MIAMI
SEATTLE -10½ vs. Baltimore
TENNESSEE -8½ vs. New York Jets
Minnesota -7½ vs. WASHINGTON
San Diego -9½ vs. DENVER
Engel's Angles: Tony Romo has a bruised thumb, and the Carolina defense played well at home this past week, and will show up again even if the Panthers lose. Someone has to win in Lions-Chiefs, so I will take Jon Kitna to actually deliver when it counts. If Tony Dungy shuffles his starters in and out, the Texans can stick close. The Jaguars will dominate in the mismatch of the week. Weather conditions could limit the overall scoring output at Chicago. The Saints will deliver another strong performance as they try to keep their postseason hopes alive. Cleveland will roll into the postseason. Jon Gruden may play it conservatively now that his team's playoff outlook has pretty much been sealed. Seattle will rebound strong against Troy Smith as the defense dictates the game after a disappointing loss at Carolina. Washington will battle hard in a game with significant playoff implications.

Pigskin Pick 'Em: No Spread

Home team in CAPS
Dallas over CAROLINA
DETROIT over Kansas City
INDIANAPOLIS over Houston
JACKSONVILLE over Oakland
Green Bay over CHICAGO
New York Giants over BUFFALO
NEW ORLEANS over Philadelphia
Cleveland over CINCINNATI
ARIZONA over Atlanta
Tampa Bay over SAN FRANCISCO
NEW ENGLAND over Miami
SEATTLE over Baltimore
TENNESSEE over New York Jets
MINNESOTA over Washington
SAN DIEGO over Denver
Engel's Angles: A better running game will ultimately help Dallas prevail over Carolina. The Colts will do just enough to win against Houston. Ryan Grant will have a good game against Chicago and deliver the key score. The Giants' defense will be the difference as they prevail in a must-win game. The Bengals have no hope of derailing the Browns on their way to the postseason. Tennessee still has playoff hopes, and will run the ball with much success against the Jets. It may take a Ryan Longwell field goal to push the Vikings past the Redskins. The Chargers don't have too much left to play for, but will certainly do enough to dispatch the Broncos.

Krause Publications Experts League II

From the publishers of Fantasy Sports Magazine, a long-enduring fantasy industry staple. A points-per-reception league where touchdown passes are worth four points. One point for every rushing and receiving yard, and 0.05 points for passing yards.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB: Willie Parker
RB: Fred Taylor
RB/WR: Kolby Smith
WR: Bobby Engram
WR: Wes Welker
WR: Plaxico Burress
TE:Chris Cooley
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Minnesota Vikings
Reserves: David Garrard, Aaron Stecker, Chester Taylor, Samkon Gado, Anthony Gonzalez and Jabar Gaffney
Engel's Angles: I have advanced to the Super Bowl against Krause editor/kingpin Greg Ambrosius, who has vowed revenge against me for beating him on the last day of the season in the 2006 Krause Baseball League. Despite the unfortunate Parker injury, Roethlisberger did get me off to a good start with three touchdown passes on Thursday. Taylor is a lock, and I'm taking Smith because he faces the Lions, even though Stecker is more versatile and better for the PPR format. Engram and Welker are also mainstays, and Burress gets the call here in a very important game for the Giants. Crosby and the Vikings have carried me this far, and I will get one more good week out of each of them.

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

Scott Engel | email

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Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com.