Wide Write: Pairs of Panthers and Seahawks

Your humble Wide Write correspondent had a terrible weekend. We lost two fantasy playoff games – one thanks to the colossally stupid benching of Pierre Thomas and the awful performance by Tony Romo, and another at the hands of an old-fashioned butt-whipping. In a third league, we were leading a consolation game by a commanding 25 points, and all our opponent had left was Bucs WR Antonio Bryant (200 yards, two TDs against the Panthers). Finally, we went to our first Giants game since moving Wide Write HQ from New York to Charlotte a few years ago, and promptly jinxed our favorite squad with our attendance. Good riddance, Week 14.

Now that our season has come to a grinding halt, all we have left to do is help you win your league title. As always, below are some players you’ll want to get in your lineup if you own them, or pick up if you don’t. Let’s go kick some tight ends.


Jake Delhomme, Panthers – After the Panthers ran for 299 yards against the Bucs on Monday, the Broncos are going to have no choice but to put eight men in the box to stop Smash & Dash (aka Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams). When that happens, Delhomme is going to have to go to the air against the sketchy Denver secondary. He’s averaging 200 yards and a score per game this season, and we see a slight bump in those numbers coming.

Matt Schaub, Texans – Schaub exploded against the Packers in his Week 14 return to action, with 414 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans – who were a trendy preseason sleeper pick – appear to have found their offensive mojo, and we don’t care if they’re hosting the fearsome Titans this week. We like Schaub to toss another couple of scores with solid yardage.

Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs – Thigpen has struggled in his last two games after throwing eight touchdowns in his previous three, but the cure for what ails him is on its way to town – the 30th-ranked Chargers pass defense. Yes, Thigpen can help you win a fantasy playoff game.


Le’Ron McClain, Ravens – Head coach John Harbaugh keeps insisting he’s going to stick with the hot hand in his backfield, but over the last three games McClain has carried 63 times for 235 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens host the Steelers this week, so while we’re not crazy about the matchup, we think most of the game will be played on the ground. Sometimes you just have to go with the guy who’s getting the ball.

Maurice Morris, Seahawks – Morris is now the guy getting the ball in Seattle – he’s carried 34 times in the last three weeks, while Julius Jones has mostly carried a clipboard and his helmet on the sidelines. This week, the Seahawks visit the Rams to battle in the “We’re Not as Bad as the Lions 2-11 Bowl,” and the Rams are the proud owners of the NFL’s 29th-ranked run defense. Morris could have a nice day in this spot.

Pierre Thomas, Saints – We know starting Thomas is a no-brainer at this point – even against the Bears – but since he’s owned in just 45.4 percent of FOXSports.com leagues we thought you might need a reminder. Thomas is now the Saints’ lead back, ahead of Reggie Bush, and that makes us think fondly of all the people who thought the Texans were idiots for drafting DE Mario Williams ahead of Bush. We always thought that if Bush was so great, USC would have given him the ball on fourth-and-two in the fourth quarter of the 2006 Rose Bowl instead trying to clinch the national title by handing off to LenDale White. But maybe we’ve gone off on a tangent.

Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers – Caddy still isn’t back to full strength after his 2007 knee injury, but he’s pretty clearly the Bucs’ short-yardage back, and has scored in each of the last two games. If your alternatives are hurt or mediocre, he might help you with a vulture TD as an RB3 or a flex play.

Bonus items: Same deal for the Cowboys this week – Marion Barber is iffy, so keep an eye on Tashard Choice’s availability. He gained 88 yards on the ground last week … Brandon Jacobs is equally iffy for the Giants, so be ready to plug in Derrick Ward if you have him as a Jacobs handcuff … Peyton Hillis suffered a season-ending hamstring injury for the Broncos, so Tatum Bell is just about the last guy left in their backfield. He’s got a tough matchup this week against the Panthers, though … Joseph Addai always seems to be nicked up for the Colts, and Dominic Rhodes is getting carries as a result (38 in the last four games). Against the Lions, Rhodes could be nice fill-in.


John Carlson, Seahawks – Two Seahawks in this week’s edition? Yep. It’s hard to overlook Carlson, who has 14 receptions for 174 yards and a score in his last two games. He’s a solid fantasy tight end, and with the position being such a crapshoot this season, we like the idea of starting him against the Rams in this week’s “We’re Not as Bad as the Lions 2-11 Bowl.” Who should we get to sponsor this bowl? Lehman Brothers? AIG? The auto industry? We’re taking applications if you’re inept (or bankrupt) and interested.

Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers – See Delhomme, Jake. If the Panthers start to throw – and really, who wouldn’t against the Broncos? – we know Steve Smith is going to get his looks. We think Moooooooose is going to get some, too. Call it a hunch.

Amani Toomer, Giants – Let’s give Toomer and the Giants a mulligan for their offensive putridity last week, since it was really cold and windy at the Meadowlands (trust us). While we’re still firmly on the Domenik Hixon bandwagon, here’s what Toomer has done in games that Plaxico Burress has missed either all or part of:

Week 5: Four receptions, 64 yards

Week 8: Two receptions, 39 yards

Week 12: Four receptions, 30 yards, one TD

Week 13: Five receptions, 85 yards, one TD

TOTAL: 15 receptions, 218 yards, two TD

That’s not great, but it’s not bad, and we’ve got a feeling Eli Manning is going to find Toomer a handful of times Sunday night against the Cowboys.

Reminder: You’ve got Saints-Bears from Soldier Field on Thursday night. If it’s a Saint, it plays, no matter how cold it might be.

John Halpin covers fantasy sports for FOXSports.com, writing a morning fantasy blog on weekdays and baseball columns once or twice each week, depending on the season. His "Wide Write" appears every Thursday during the NFL season on FOXNews.com. Send him an e-mail at jhalpin37@gmail.com.

For more fantasy sports coverage, visit FOXSports.com/fantasy.