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Broncos' Tebow becomes an intriguing QB option

Like him or not, Tim Tebow is a great source of conversation.

This week, the talk about Tebow centers on whether he's a good fantasy option this week.

Crazy to start a rookie quarterback who will be making just his second career NFL start, you say? Well, not so fast.

Tebow gets the Christmas present that is the Houston Texans' defense Sunday. The Texans have given up an average of 19.4 points per week to opposing quarterbacks (in ESPN leagues), the highest total in the league. And Tebow is coming off a quality fantasy game in his first start, throwing for 138 yards and a score and, more importantly, rushing for 78 yards and a touchdown. The second part of that stat line is what makes Tebow such an intriguing option.

Houston has given up 31 -- yes, 31! -- passing touchdowns already this season, so Tebow will likely add at least one to that total. If he can add another 50-plus yards and a touchdown rushing, he's a good gamble.

Chances are, if you've reached championship week, you've already got an elite quarterback, so the need for Tebow might not be there. But if you've survived week-to-week with the likes of Mark Sanchez, Jay Cutler or Carson Palmer, Tebow's got the chance to match or exceed their numbers.

Tebow's not the only quarterback outside the established upper crust who has an appealing matchup in Week 16. Here are a couple others I'd consider starting:

Jon Kitna, Dallas: He's thrown for at least 300 yards in four of his last eight games, making him the No. 7 fantasy quarterback in the past six weeks and faces a Cardinals team that went on Christmas break a month ago.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay: He's got 330 rushing yards (second among QBs behind Michael Vick) and faces a Seahawks team that's surrendering 20.7 points per game to quarterbacks this season. Four opposing QBs have passed for three or more touchdowns in the Seahawks' last five games.

Mendenhall down 1

With literally millions of participants, even seemingly trivial stat changes can have huge impacts for fantasy football players.

That's certain to be the case in some leagues after the NFL on Wednesday officially changed Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall's rushing total from 100 to 99 yards for Week 15.

If your team happened to lose by a point or tie a team that featured Mendenhall, you should check with your commissioner about the updated stats. Most online leagues have a feature that automatically updates the stats -- ESPN issued a statement late Wednesday announcing it would begin correcting the scoring in its standard leagues -- but if your league doesn't, you'll want to. A trip to the championship could be on the line.

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VJax a great play

Owners who waited for Chargers WR Vincent Jackson to start contributing were rewarded in last week's semifinals. Jackson caught five passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers, and has a chance this week to again put up big numbers.

San Diego is without star TE Antonio Gates and fellow WR Malcom Floyd is still bothered by a hamstring injury, leaving Jackson as the favored target of Philip Rivers. That's a great thing, since Rivers has made a fantasy star out of anyone catching passes in a Chargers uniform.

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Checking the Bills

If there's one thing Patriots coach Bill Belichick is good at, it's taking the Bills' No. 1 WR out of the game. That doesn't bode well for Stevie Johnson's fantasy prospects. No. 2 WR David Nelson has TDs in three straight, however, and is a good sleeper option.

I'd rate Fitzpatrick behind all the quarterbacks mentioned above, but not by much. I don't think he'll duplicate the 247-yard, two-touchdown game he had in Week Three against New England, but he'll come close. Bills RB Fred Jackson remains a safe No. 2 play at his position.

On New England's side, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a No. 1 back. In this week's game of tight ends roulette, I'd go with the local, Rob Gronkowski.

e-mail: jskurski@buffnews.com

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