Wondering whether or not to start Adrian Peterson and Andre Johnson, or to bench Christian Ponder and Kevin Ogletree? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on. It’s championship time! Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 16.
Watch ’em roll
• Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys vs. Saints. Don’t be scared off by the Saints’ shutout of the Bucs last week. That was an aberration. Romo has been putting up consistently solid, if not stellar, numbers during the Cowboys’ late-season roll. Dez Bryant’s finger is holding up just fine, and New Orleans’ pass defense remains one of the most vulnerable in the land.
• Vick Ballard, RB, Colts at Chiefs. Though he has accumulated only two touchdowns all season, Ballard has firmly established himself as the workhorse of the Indy backfield.
• LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles vs. Redskins. McCoy is expected to return to his starting role now that he is fully recovered from his concussion. Though Bryce Brown will get his carries, the rookie has a well-documented case of fumblitis that will limit his workload.
• Danny Amendola, WR, Rams at Buccaneers. Though still fighting through a nagging foot injury, Amendola is a must-start Sunday after his impressive rebound performance in Week 15. No secondary is more generous to opposing receivers than Tampa Bay’s.
• Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots at Jaguars. The veteran virtually disappeared for most of November, but his two best performances of the season have come this month against some pretty stingy defenses. Lloyd is a good bet to maintain his momentum when he faces off with one of the NFL’s most hospitable secondaries.
Roll ’em back
• Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks vs. 49ers. Few quarterbacks are hotter than Wilson right now, but his prime-time tilt with the formidable 49ers defense should give you pause. Wilson’s worst game of the season (122 passing yards, no TDs) came in Week 7 in San Francisco.
• BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals at Steelers. The Law Firm probably played a prominent role in getting you this far; but just as your stakes get higher, Green-Ellis’ road gets tougher. He only managed 69 yards in his first matchup with the Steelers, and you can bet they’ll make the Bengals’ workhorse fight for every yard again.
• DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers vs. Raiders. Just when he sucks you into believing you can trust him, Williams inevitably puts up a stinker to remind you why you’ve benched (or even released) him more often than not. Despite riding a solid two-game surge, Williams should be reserved against an Oakland defense that just held Jamaal Charles to 28 combined yards last Sunday.
• Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers at Jets. I wouldn’t put it past Alexander to have a solid rebound after his no-catch meltdown in Week 15. That said, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets’ Antonio Cromartie puts the clamps down on him again.
• Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks vs. 49ers. Unlike his quarterback, Rice has been decidedly mediocre over the past two weeks, against favorable competition. The 49ers pose a much stiffer challenge this weekend.
TAKING A FLIER
Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams at Buccaneers. Even with Amendola back in the lineup, Gibson has seen plenty of targets from Sam Bradford. In this ultra-favorable aerial matchup, there’s room for both wideouts to soar.
Don’t be the bonehead who … overlooks the Saturday night matchup. There was no Thursday night game this week, but the Falcons are squaring off with the Lions a day earlier than normal. Make sure you set your lineup in time!