Week 14 fantasy picks

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A Dunta Robinson autographed mini-helmet goes to the first-place Texans fan this week.

A Dunta Robinson autographed mini-helmet goes to the victor this week in the free HoustonTexans.com Home Team Challenge. The deadline to set rosters is Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:00 p.m., one hour prior to the start of the Bears-Redskins game at FedEx Field.

Here are some carefully-pondered-over recommendations for your perusing:

SIGN ME UP RB Ryan Grant, GB, 28 (vs. OAK):Since Grant started receiving significant carries six games ago, he's racked up more than 550 rushing yards and four TDs. That includes 119 yards and a TD against Minnesota's top-rated run defense in Week 10, so just imagine what the rookie out of Notre Dame will do against the Raiders, who rank 30th against the run and have given up 148 yards per game and 20 rushing TDs, four more than the next closest team in the league. Just in case you're still not convinced, QB Brett Favreis banged up, so the Packers may rely heavily on Grant to protect their quarterback as they eye the postseason. Too bad fantasy decisions aren't always this easy.

WR Calvin Johnson, DET, 25 (vs. DAL): Leading WR Roy Williamsis out with a sprained knee at least until the season finale on Dec. 30, and the rest of the Lions' receivers stand to benefit with increased targets and production in the league's eighth-rated passing attack. It's a bit of a crapshoot to guess who out of Johnson, Shaun McDonaldand Mike Furreywill step to the forefront, but it's clear that Johnson has the most potential of the bunch. The second-overall pick in this year's draft scored a TD in both of the Lions' last two home games and in three of five games overall this season at Ford Field. And you wouldn't guess it by their 11-1 record, but the Cowboys rank 18th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, which could bode well for a 6-6 Lions team in critical need of a win this Sunday to bolster its playoff chances. If you're looking for a super bargain, Furrey (17) might also be a nice sleeper pick.

NO THANKS
WR Greg Jennings, GB, 39 (vs. OAK):With TDs in three straight games and eight of his past 10, Jennings now has 10 scores on the season. But while the Raiders' run defense ranks 30th in the NFL, they boast a stingy pass defense that has allowed only 186.1 yards/game (fifth in the NFL) and eight TDs (second). Jennings, meanwhile, has been most dangerous on the deep ball, but he may not see many long bombs come his way this week since Favre bruised his right elbow and separated his non-throwing shoulder last week against Dallas. Also, the Packers will secure a playoff berth with a win, and would likely rest Favre should they gain a big lead.
Alternatives: Torry Holt, STL, 39 (@ CIN); Andre Johnson, HOU, 24 (vs. TB)

RB Frank Gore, SF, 39 (vs. MIN):He appears to be back to at least a semblance of his 2006 form, following up his 121-yard rushing performance two weeks ago with 111 total yards in Week 13. But there are much better options than Gore, who has a sore ankle, against Minnesota this week. The Vikings' run defense is tops in the league, holding opponents to a meager 70.5 yards a game. They shut down the Lions to the tune of 23 rushing yards last week and have not allowed an opposing rusher to top 60 yards since Week 10.
Alternatives: Clinton Portis, WAS, 44 (vs. CHI); Steven Jackson, STL, 32 (@ CIN)Haven't signed up yet? It's not too late to *register for the Home Team Challenge. Make sure to set your lineup by Thurs., Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.*

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