Sure, you got a few points out of him last week, but if you want to win your league championship game, you need to bench Jamaal Charles.
Oh good, you’re still reading.
Benching a player just because someone told you it’s the right thing to do is the fantasy football equivalent of jumping off a bridge because your friend told you to. If you even considered benching Charles after reading that first sentence, you need to get outside more. This is your team. As I’ve said all season, if you have a good feeling about someone, start them! Sure, Adrian Peterson is coming off an injury and has a tough matchup in Cincinnati, but are you going to bench the guy you likely drafted in the first round or traded some serious talent to acquire? Of course not! Sure, Zac Stacy has a tough game against Tampa Bay this week, but he’s done great things against tough defenses before and the Rams are handing him the rock often so there’s no way you can bench him now.
This week, Steven Jackson, Reggie Bush, and Marshawn Lynch all have harder than average matchups, but unless you’re riddled with options, they still each have plenty of potential for a huge week. Where you may want to start considering alternatives, however, are the running backs on the next tier down. Pierre Thomas, for instance, has had plenty of solid weeks this season, but he has calmed down recently and this week faces the statistically most difficult run defense in the league. He, along with Darren Sproles, still catches plenty of passes so there is some hope there, but Carolina’s defense covers everything well so plan accordingly.
Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington are in a similar situation in Seattle on Sunday. Both of them put up great numbers in Tennessee last week, but if Seattle runs up the score as they’ve been known to do, Arizona may need to abandon the run. Mendenhall scored a touchdown the last time these two teams faced each other, but he also only gained 22 yards. Banking on a score as your only means of getting more than 5 fantasy points isn’t going to win you too many championship games.
In keeping with the running back tandems, LeGarrett Blount and Stevan Ridley are also in a tough spot in Baltimore. You could say the same for Shane Vereen, but he’s more of a glorified wide receiver anyway so if you’re going to start any RB of the three, Vereen is your guy.
Speaking of wide receivers, some of them have tough matchups as well. Remember what I said about Carolina’s defense, well that applies to Marques Colston. He shred Carolina’s defense two weeks ago for 125 yards and two TDs, but if you think the Panthers are going to allow that to happen twice, you could be in for some disappointment on Sunday. In a PPR league, the story is a little different, but don’t count on anything more than a single lucky break for a score this week.
The same can be said for Roddy White and Larry Fitzgerald. Both have been PPR machines recently, but the 49ers and Seahawks will make it difficult for either of them to find the end zone. They’re both still top 25 options at their position, but guys like Brian Hartline and James Jones, who should be getting Aaron Rodgers back this week, are both safer options with similar upside.
The surprise of the week could be Santana Moss. After catching a season high of eight passes in Kirk Cousins’ first week under center, Moss could have a monster week against a porous Dallas defense. Look for him to earn double-digit fantasy points for the first time since week 2.
Are there free agents worth picking up in your league? Maybe, but unless you’re going after someone like Jordan Todman, who should receive the bulk of carries again assuming MJD sits another week, or Kirk Cousins, do you really want to rest your fantasy season in the hands of a guy no one was even talking about in November?
Start the guys who got you this far. Good luck to all of you!