AT SOME POINT in the next few weeks, we should find out whether Aaron Rowand will become Brad Lidge's teammate with the Phillies.

For this weekend, though, they are fierce rivals.

Rowand, the free-agent centerfielder who still could return to the Phillies, is one of 14 participants of the MLB Players FFL. Lidge, the closer the Phillies acquired from Houston Nov. 7, is another. This week, they are meeting in the first round of the league's playoffs.

Unfortunately, neither could be reached for comment.

But if they had been reached, Rowand might point out that Lidge's running backs (Marion Barber, Reggie Bush and Selvin Young) are leading the league in inconsistency and that his wide receivers (Ronald Curry, Nate Washington and Brandon Stokley) are garbage.

Lidge may counter by wondering what Rowand was smoking when he picked up Ricky Williams and whether he realizes that one of his starting running backs, Detroit's Tatum Bell, hasn't had a carry since Oct. 7, just 1 day after the Phillies' season ended.

Rowand beat Lidge, 58-43, in their only meeting of the season in Week 6 and would appear to be favored this week. Lidge, though, is the home team and, according to league rules, starts off with a three-point advantage.

Rowand had two guys going last night, Lidge has none.

Here are their lineups for the this week's playoffs of the Major League Baseball Players FFL hosted by



QB: Jay Cutler, Broncos

RB: Tatum Bell, Lions

RB: Steven Jackson, Rams

WR: Muhsin Muhammad, Bears

WR: Terrell Owens, Cowboys

TE: Chris Cooley, Redskins

K: David Akers, Eagles

D/ST: Patriots


QB: Rex Grossman, Bears

RB: Ricky Williams, Dolphins

WR: Marvin Harrison, Colts

WR: Jerry Porter, Raiders

K: Jeff Wilkins, Rams

D/ST: 49ers



QB: Derek Anderson, Browns

RB: Marion Barber, Cowboys

RB: Reggie Bush, Saints

WR: Ronald Curry, Raiders

WR: Nate Washington, Steelers

TE: Jeremy Shockey, Giants

K: Rob Bironas, Titans

D/ST: Titans


QB: Carson Palmer, Bengals

RB: Selvin Young, Broncos

WR: Brandon Stokley, Broncos

TE: Donald Lee, Packers

K: Neil Rackers, Cardinals

D/ST: Broncos


American Division: Ben Sheets (6-7) at B.J. Ryan (12-1); Matt Clement (9-4) at Michael Cuddyer (10-3).

National Division: Jarrod Washburn (8-5) at Craig Wilson (8-5); Aaron Rowand (7-6) at Brad Lidge (7-6).

Quick note

A good buddy of mine and charter member of our football league in 1994 passed away the other day.

Jeff Samuels, 56, was a former Daily News assistant sports editor and also a fantasy commissioner's dream. He always paid his league fee on time, came to the draft well prepared and, best of all, was annually the biggest contributor to the transactions pool.

Jeff never met a Bernie Parmalee he couldn't pick up.

He took this season off from our league for health reasons, but was a partner of mine in another league. Jeff battled cancer with everything he had, before eventually succumbing on Sunday. Oddly, we were eliminated from our playoff hunt that same day. Can't help but think Jeff wanted to hang on just to see whether we could sneak into the postseason. Alas, not even Bears running back Adrian Peterson was able to rescue our injury-riddled team.

Three up

-- Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals: With Anquan Boldin possibly out and Larry Fitzgerald banged up, James should be even more of a factor in the red zone. Only the Raiders have given up more rushing touchdowns than the Seahawks, Arizona's opponent this week.

-- Shaun McDonald, WR, Lions: Mike Furrey (46 catches, 522 yards) may replace Roy Williams in the starting lineup, but it's McDonald (59, 704) who has the better numbers.

-- Kellen Clemens, QB, Jets: Even if his next 300-yard game will be his first, Clemens is a fantasy sleeper this week against visiting Cleveland.

Three down

-- Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: Got a lot of waiver-wire attention after rushing for 94 yards last week. Won't be recommended here until he reaches double-digits in carries in a game, something that hasn't happened all year. Keeper-leaguers should monitor this, though.

-- Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: The problem with Maroney is that he's not willing to take the small gains, looking instead to always bust the big play. Start him at your own risk.

-- Brett Favre, QB, Packers: He's going to play. Now it's up to you whether to start him against the Raiders' fifth-ranked pass defense.

Chat happens

A transcript of yesterday's chat can be found at will host a fantasy-football chat each Thursday at 1 p.m. throughout December.

Catch the waive

This week's most popular free-agent add/drops, according to

Added: 1. Bryant Johnson, WR, Cardinals; 2. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills; 3. Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons.

Dropped: 1. Roy Williams, WR, Lions; 2. Derrick Ward, RB, Giants; 3. Matt Schaub, QB, Texans

Ed Barkowitz, who really could use a big game from Joseph Addai this week, has been writing about fantasy football in the Daily News since 2001. *