As Mark mentioned in his Aerial Preview yesterday we’re changing the way we rank defenses from here on out. We are going with the average yards allowed for the past six weeks in order to emphasize more how well defenses have been playing recently.
As an aside I’d like to inform everyone that “Game Day Companion,” which we roll out on Sundays will be changing from here on out. We are going to provide a dynamic injury update, continually changing the post to reflect the latest injury announcements. I think you will really enjoy this new feature and it should make your life a lot simpler on Sundays. Best of luck in crunch time!
Sunday 1 PM games
New England (12th) @ Miami (21st)
Maroney has fumbled in three straight games but he’s also scored eight touchdowns in the last six contests (with at least one in all of them). Belichick has said that Maroney will continue to work on ball security. Hopefully that means he won’t lose the goal line touches he’s been getting. Morris saw action but not enough to warrant a start in this game. Faulk continues to be a deep PPR fill-in option. Slight upgrade in this matchup for the Pats all the way around.
Patriots: Maroney +1, Morris +1, Faulk +1
Ricky Williams has basically become Ronnie Brown. So studly. As I’ve been saying previously I expect that Hilliard’s touches will continue to increase. I wouldn’t be anxious about starting him in this game because it’s not like you’re getting a juicy matchup.
Dolphins: Williams -1, Hilliard -2
St. Louis (31st) @ Chicago (30th)
Steven Jackson has a great chance to be the top overall scorer in Fantasy this week. There were rumors about him missing last Sundays game but he came out and played well. If he does get injured then Kenneth Darby would be next in line with Samkon Gado competing for touches.
Rams: Jackson +5
Matt Forte might actually do something in this game. I am giving him a very positive score for matchup but keep in mind that it’s relative to value and that right now he should be considered a middle of the road running back at best.
Bears: Forte +3
New Orleans (24th) @ Washington (23rd)
Reggie Bush said he could’ve played against the Patriots and reports are he’s good to go in this game. In PPR he’s a solid flex option. Pierre Thomas is a must start regardless of the inconsistent production (due mostly to Mike Bell’s TD vulturing). Speaking of Mike Bell he’s not a horrible start in this contest either; the Saints should be running the ball a lot in the second half and looking to rest Bush and Thomas.
Saints: Thomas +2, Bush +2, Bell +3
It’s looking more and more like Clinton Portis could be done for the season. Let’s rack it up here- calf injury, bone spurs, oh yeah and the concussion. The Redskins aren’t in playoff contention either. Look for a heapin’ helpin’ of Rock Cartwright going forward. He didn’t exactly explode against the Eagles but this might be a good opportunity for him to have a breakout game.
Redskins: Cartwright +2
Philadelphia (9th) @ Atlanta (19th)
McCoy’s going to continue to get a vast majority of the touches. Leonard Weaver and Eldra Buckley have been snaking some work, particularly on short yardage but neither of them are capable of challenging him. He should have a big game, especially with the injuries piling up on the Falcons (including Matt Ryan and Michael Turner). Their offense should struggle which means the Eagles should be on the field a lot.
Eagles: McCoy +3
It’s Jerious Norwood time!!!! The projections on him are running wild. Coming in to the season he looked like a “can’t miss” Sleeper if a Turner injury happened. In PPR you definitely have to start Norwood and in standard I’d put him in unless you’re super loaded. This isn’t a terrific matchup for Snelling; I’d leave him on the bench.
Falcons: Norwood -1, Snelling -2
Tennessee (13th) @ Indianapolis (15th)
Your basic Chris Johnson matchup. The only thing that could cost him would be if Peyton Manning chews clock. LenDale continues to be boring. I liked him a lot more when he was fat and lazy but scoring touchdowns every week.
Titans: Johnson 0, White -2
Joseph Addai’s always a good decision. Donald Brown’s status is still uncertain- he didn’t practice on Thursday and they are suggesting he won’t play Sunday.
Colts: Addai 0, Brown -3 (probably not playing)
Denver (26th) @ Kansas City (22nd)
Moreno’s looking like the main man but Buckhalter continues to get a lot of touches. In deeper leagues both are startable options but I’d rather have Moreno in the lineup if push came to shove. The Broncos should have no issues putting up points against this defense.
Broncos: Moreno +3, Buckhalter +3
I waited all season for the “Jamaal Charles” show. He has been a MONSTER since he’s gotten in the lineup and started. Look for more of the same in this matchup. Kolby Smith is nothing more than a possible stash at this point; he probably won’t even play on Sunday.
Chiefs: Charles +3
Houston (16th) @ Jacksonville (17th)
Steve Slaton’s not going to play in this game. Chris Brown has been announced as the starter with Ryan Moats backing him up.
Texans: Brown +3, Moats +3
It’s hilarious how MJD owners complain if he doesn’t score three touchdowns in a game. No reason to question his studliness in this contest. I still lust Rashad Jennings as a stash in deeper formats.
Jaguars: Jones-Drew +1
Detroit (14th) @ Cincinnati (1st)
Kevin Smith’s been running weak as of late. Maurice Morris should get a chance to be the main man in Detroit but he probably won’t. I would never own Kevin Smith in the first place but if I did he’d be riding the pine for shizzle against the Bengals.
Lions: Smith -10,000,000
Thankfully Bernard Scott is dinged up- less competition for my man Cedric Benson. He is ready to make his triumphant return with a great matchup. There’s buzz out there that Larry Johnson’s going to somehow end up with a lot of Benson’s touches but I don’t believe it.
Bengals: Benson +1, Johnson 0
Tampa Bay (27th) @ Carolina (12th)
Derrick Ward has a SEASON HIGH of 13 carries last Sunday. Oh boy, isn’t that exciting? Don’t talk yourself in to starting him. Williams will continue to get most of whatever there is on the ground. When he scores touchdowns he’ll be solid- when he doesn’t you’ll hate his face. This matchup is about as neutral as it gets.
Buccaneers: Williams 0, Ward -1
DeAngelo Willams has been missing some practices lately but this is not uncommon for a player with his workload. Stewart will always get you yards but is never a serviceable start unless he manages to get in the end zone. He should be a definite flex start for you with this matchup, however.
Panthers: Williams +3, Stewart +3
Oakland (32nd) @ Pittsburgh (3rd)
The Oakland backfield is a hodge-podge of mediocrity right now. With the carries being split between Fargas, Bush, and McFadden they have all become unstartable in Fantasy. The matchup against the Steelers makes the situation even worse…
Raiders: McFadden -4, Fargas -4, Bush -4
Willie Parker got a few touches but it’s abundantly clear that Mendenhall won’t be challenged in Pittsburgh. This matchup should provide you with plenty of points if you own him. I am hesitant to step out on a ledge and say this but Willie Parker might be a viable flex option in deeper formats this week.
Mendenhall +5, Parker +4
4 PM games
San Diego (6th) @ Cleveland (29th)
One of the big surprises to me has been LaDanian Tomlinson coming back and being so productive. He might end up tendering a decent contract in the offseason from someone after all. This matchup is golden for him. Sproles might get some work in also, particularly late in the game.
Chargers: Tomlinson +4, Sproles +3
Jamal Lewis was placed on Injured Reserve this week, paving the way for possible relevance out of the Cleveland backfield. Loyal readers know I’ve been big on Chris Jennings for several weeks now and I think he’ll see the majority of the work; Jerome Harrison’s ineffectiveness in pass protection will cost him playing time. For this game I wouldn’t start either one of them unless you’re really stuck. In that case you can go with Jennings if you have to. But after this week we’ll have a really good idea of what to expect going forward.
Browns: Jennings -2, Harrison -4
San Francisco (8th) @ Seattle (20th)
Frank Gore should be his usual productive self in this game. Barring injury he’s one of the best players to own down the stretch.
Julius Jones has been practicing this week and it looks like he’ll be ready to play on Sunday. This ruins Justin Forsett’s value even though Jim Mora has suggested he’ll continue to give him significant time. If Jones does end up playing I would keep both him and Forsett out of your lineup.
Seahawks: Jones -3, Forsett -3
Dallas (7th) @ New York Giants (10th)
Marion Barber is a must start but unfortunately he kills you if he fails to get in the end zone. Felix Jones is a true home run hitter but if he doesn’t break off a long run for a touchdown your score will suffer also. Tashard Choice shouldn’t be in anyone’s lineup at this point.
Cowboys: Barber -1, Jones -2, Choice -2
Brandon Jacobs is what he is at this point- a glorified goal line back. But you have to start him considering he’ll get a majority of the touches. Bradshaw’s been practicing this week and it looks like he’ll play but I wouldn’t advise putting him in your lineup.
Giants: Jacobs -2, Bradshaw -4
Sunday 8 PM game
Minnesota (2nd) @ Arizona (28th)
Vikings: Peterson +4, Taylor +1
If you drafted Tim Hightower in PPR leagues you know who your MVP (relative to value) will probably be at the end of the season. I’d still start him in this game regardless of the stout Vikings run D because of his viability in the passing game. I would sit Beanie Wells unless you have no better options.
Cardinals: Wells -5, Hightower -2
Monday 8 PM game
Baltimore (11th) @ Green Bay (5th)
Ray Rice is immune to matchups so don’t be nervous about the matchup. McGahee isn’t much of an option in this contest unless he gets lucky and puts it in the end zone.
Ravens: Rice -2, McGahee -4
Ryan Grant should be in your lineup as he continues to be “the guy” in Green Bay. I can see Baltimore shutting him down but the goal line carries would be enough for me to start him. Rodgers will probably air the ball out quite a bit and utilize the screen game to try and keep Baltimore off balance.
Packers: Grant -1