While children everywhere are writing to Santa Claus this time of year, there are a number of fantasy owners who I'm sure would like to get into the letter writing business:
Dear Aaron Rodgers,
Thanks for not knowing how to slide. Your concussion cost me a shot at the championship.
Fantasy owners everywhere.
Dear Matt Cassel,
Hope you recover soon from your appendectomy. Meanwhile I'll begin planning for next year's fantasy draft.
Fantasy owners who were riding your hot streak the last several weeks.
P.S. Please forward this letter to Dwayne Bowe since Brodie Croyle is clearly terrible.
Dear Mike Shanahan,
Really? Really? You're going to pull this stuff now? Ryan Torain for 172 yards on 24 carries. Can you please settle on a running back and go with it?
Tortured Redskins running back owners.
Dear Brett Favre,
Go away. Your games played streak was impressive. Your performance this year has been as inspiring as your photography. Please go away now. Retire for good. We don't care to see you anymore. Any part of you.
All of America
Dear Chris Johnson,
Thanks for showing up again when we needed it most last week with 111 yards and a touchdown.
Owners who were rewarded for not stupidly benching him after recent weeks' performances.
Dear Kyle Orton,
Thanks for playing out of your mind all season to get my team into the playoffs only to go into the toilet the last two weeks.
Owners who made the playoffs and now are mapping out mock fantasy drafts for next season.
Dear Mother Nature,
Please snow this weekend in Foxboro and in Buffalo next weekend and again in Foxboro on New Year's weekend.
Owners of Tom Brady, who has destroyed teams the last three times he has played in snow, including last weekend with 369 yards passing against the Bears.
Pick me, pick me
The aforementioned Torain is available in 52 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He is healthy but he still plays for Shanahan. But the 172 yard performance is pretty hard to ignore.
Another out of nowhere performance came from Arizona's Tim Hightower, available in 52 percent of leagues. With the Cardinals going to rookie John Skelton, one has to expect the Cardinals to rely a bit more on the running game and Beanie Wells has proven to be painfully useless.
Finally, finally, finally. After weeks of waiting for Pierre Thomas to come back from his ankle sprain, the Illinois product finally made his return and 12 carries and four catches. He admits that he's not up to game speed yet but with Tiffin's own Chris Ivory suffering a hamstring injury, it opens the door for Thomas to be the relevant player he was projected to be before the season started.
Speaking of injured guys coming back, Owen Daniels entered the starting lineup again Monday night and showed the flashes of tight end brilliance had in previous seasons with five catches for 91 yards. The tight end is something Matt Schaub is fond of, as evidenced by Joel Dreessen's production while Daniels was out. Daniels is available in 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
As I said last week, the fantasy playoffs are not the time to get cute. Start your studs.
However, if you escaped week one despite lousy performances from your top receivers or you had a guy like Rodgers, Cassel or Orton, that rule may not hold a lot of water with you.
Matt Ryan has the potential to be a solid start going against the Seahawks but be warned that a blowout could mean a healthy dose of Michael Turner and not a lot of passing for Ryan. Seattle gives up the third most points to fantasy quarterbacks but given the time of year and with the Falcons in the driver's seat as far as the NFL playoffs, they're not going to risk the health of their QB if the game is in hand. Those kind of risks are always a factor come this time of year.
I like Jason Campbell this week against Denver. The Broncos give up the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and the Raiders are still battling for a playoff spot. Because they are playing the Broncos, the worst fantasy defense against running backs, I like both Darren McFadden, who was the best player in fantasy last week, and his backup, Michael Bush.
Need a flyer? How about a start from Santana Moss or even Anthony Armstrong at wide receiver. The Redskins battle with the Cowboys, who far and away is the top team to play a fantasy wide receiver against.
Remember how awesome the ageless one, Derrick Mason, was Monday night with 78 yards and two touchdowns? He's scored TDs in four of the last six weeks but I don't see that continuing this week against New Orleans, who have the second-stingiest fantasy defense against wide receivers.
I'm not a huge Joe Flacco believer this week either for those same reasons as the Saints hold that same rank against fantasy QBs as well.
LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene of the Jets present a couple of problems this week. Tomlinson has been slowly declining in production as the season has gone on. Greene hasn't exactly stepped up in his stead and given he was hurt last week, he's even less exciting this week against the Steelers, who are the toughest fantasy defense for running backs.
Aaron Korte is The A-T's fantasy sports columnist.