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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fantasy football: Playoff pools, top QBs

Sixteen weeks -- or if you're in a league that inexplicably plays its championship game in Week 17, aka The Game The Colts Refuse To Play -- weren't enough, so you entered a fantasy postseason pool.

Whether it's a league in which you have an actual draft or one in which you pick a certain amount of players, but not more than one from each playoff team, there are three questions to keep in mind.

1. How many games will Player X give you? 2. What is his likely lineup of opponents? 3. Do Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards really have to get selected?

With that in mind, here are my rankings for the top quarterbacks, with running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, kickers and defenses to follow later in the week.


12. Mark Sanchez, Jets: He's thrown eight more interceptions (20) than touchdown passes (12), and he hasn't accounted for a score in five games.

11. Carson Palmer, Bengals: Sanchez or Palmer will play into Round 2 at least, but neither should be much of an option unless you're in a 12-team league or you're forced to select two QBs. Palmer has had only five games with two or more touchdown throws.

10. Joe Flacco, Ravens: He's thrown one or zero TD passes in 10 of 16 games, and there's a strong chance his team will be one-and-done.

9. Donovan McNabb, Eagles: The good: He tallied 24 TDs (22 passing, two rushing) in 14 games. The bad: He had one TD in two losses to the Cowboys, whom the Eagles will play Saturday night on the road.

8. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: With 4,434 yards passing, 30 TD throws and five scores on the ground, he's much better than this ranking. But the Pack would have to win at Arizona and likely at New Orleans just for you to get more than two games from Rodgers.

7. Kurt Warner, Cardinals: Rodgers is better, but Warner would seem to be more likely to play a pair of games, and would you really be surprised if the Cardinals beat the reeling Saints in the divisional round?

6. Tom Brady, Patriots: Wes Welker's knee injury bumps Gisele's husband down a couple spots, and then there are the broken ribs and fractured ring finger from which Brady reportedly is suffering. Sixteen of Brady's 28 TD passes occurred in four games.

5. Tony Romo, Cowboys: If Dallas defeats Philadelphia for a third straight time, Romo would face a Vikings defense that has allowed 26 TD tosses. In his last six games, Romo has 1,859 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

4. Brett Favre, Vikings: He finished the regular season by throwing for a combined 637 yards and six TDs, with no picks, in Weeks 16 and 17, and his NFC playoff opponents could be the Cardinals (No. 23 vs. the pass), followed by the Saints (No. 26).

3. Drew Brees, Saints: This might be one spot too low for an MVP candidate who plays for the NFC's No. 1 seed, but the next QB on the list is playing for a team that has won 11 straight. Brees had mediocre numbers in Weeks 15 and 16 (556 yards and two TDs), then rested in the regular-season finale -- all Saints losses.

2. Philip Rivers, Chargers: His likely Round 2 opponent, the Patriots, have given up 25 TD passes, and he seems to have as good of a chance of any QB to play three postseason games. Rivers accounted for a TD in 15 of 16 games.

1. Peyton Manning, Colts:
When the Colts actually cared, Indy was 14-0 and Manning had 4,213 yards passing (300.9 per game) and 33 TDs. Indy's first-round opponent (the Ravens, tied for No. 8; Jets, No. 1; or Bengals, No. 6) is guaranteed to rank in the top eight against the pass, but, barring a huge upset next week, Manning will play two games at home -- and the Colts actually will be trying.

TUESDAY: Running backs

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