Sunday’s finally here! To start things off we have our “Matchup Savers,” players that you can start today if you’re in a pinch due to the bye week, injuries, etc. I do all of this within the context of 12 team leagues that are competitive. Often there will be more talented/valuable players than these available- take them unless you are really enamored with a certain matchup.
Week 5 Matchup Savers
Shaun Hill- The 49’ers are facing a relatively soft Houston defense. Hopefully Frank Gore will come back healthy and take some pressure off Hill. It will be interesting to see how Crabtree plays. Hill had a few really solid games early on in the season and I think he has some more left in him.
Chad Henne- The Dolphins are going to have their hands full with New Orleans this week. If they get behind they will be forced to throw the football and that bodes well for Henne’s fantasy numbers. He has looked surprisingly good out there.
This is it for guys that are probably on your waiver wire with favorable matchups for the week. Usually there are a few more but if one of these two isn’t available you’re not going to like what else is out there!
Justin Fargas- He shouldn’t be available in your league since he’s a starter but he might be. The matchup against the Jets isn’t too bad either. They just lost Jenkins for the season and that is going to wreak havoc on their ability to stop the run.
Kevin Faulk- (for PPR) Sammy Morris has been ruled out for this game so maybe Faulk will get a few more touches in there. He is basically a lock for 5 points with upside to get you 15.
Jamaal Charles- The Chiefs are playing the Chargers, a team that has a prolific offense but a suspect run defense. If the Chiefs are smart they’ll run the ball heavily which bodes well for Charles getting some carries. I would expect 10-15 total touches from him.
Brandon Jackson- As Doc alluded to in his column the Packers appear to be weighing their options at RB. Not good if you own Ryan Grant. Jackson might get an opportunity to showcase his skills.
Austin Collie- He’s probably not available in your league, but if he is, grab him and throw him in there against St. Louis; you have to love the entire Colts offense in this game.
Michael Jenkins- Should be available in most leagues. He has solid projections for this week.
Davone Bess- I really like him going forward. The Dolphins are going to have to throw the football in this game and he should benefit from that.
Greg Camarillo- See Davone Bess above.
David Clowney- With Cotchery out Clowney is the default #2. Edwards should get blanketed all game, freeing Clowney up for some opportunities.
Mark Bradley- It’s not that I love him or his matchup that much but he’s a #2 Wide Receiver and the Chargers will definitely be keying in on Dwayne Bowe.
Anthony Fasano- I like the Dolphins wide receivers because I think they’ll have to throw the football and I’m going with the same logic for Fasano this week.
Benjamin Watson- You have to love anyone on the offensive side of the football for New England this week with the cupcake matchup against the Buccaneers looming.
Kevin Boss- I am not totally crazy about KB necessarily but we’re talking about spot starting tight ends here.
Randy McMichael- Going along the same theme of “his team will be getting slaughtered and will have to throw the football.”
Indianapolis- I wish instead of picking a team defense you could pick against a certain teams offense for the season. I would have taken “any defense playing against St. Louis” in like the 3rd round.
Buffalo- The Bills are not a very good defense so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Panthers lit them up. That being said Carolina is a turnover factory and that’s the big thing I look for in matchups.
Dallas- I’m not excited about this matchup against Atlanta but in every fantasy league there are idiots who hoard defenses, leaving very undesirable ones on the wire.
Alright so now it’s time for our watch list of players to either trade and get or look to unload from our teams depending on what happens this weekend.
Adrian Peterson- Sometimes you have to state the obvious. Purple Jesus is a beast, flat out. If his owner is struggling with depth you might be able to get in him in a 2 for 1, 3 for 2, or some other multi-player deal. I am not a big advocate of trading for stud running backs in general because of the injury factor but there are exceptions to every rule.
Ronnie Brown- He has a very good chance of finishing in the top 5 in Fantasy this season. I would rather own him than any of the backs that were first round choices this year except AP. Doc predicted that he would be huge this season but I wasn’t as bullish; I didn’t draft him on any of my teams and now I wish I had listened.
Larry Fitzgerald- I called ESPN out a few weeks ago when they ran this column about how Larry Fitz isn’t the stud he was before because there are too many other guys in Arizona and blah, blah, blah. This is the guy, right here that is going to carry you in the playoffs this season. This is the Cardinals schedule: @Detroit in week 15 then home against St. Louis in week 16! Are you kidding me?
Philip Rivers- Such a stud. I know there’s not a lot of trading that takes place involving the elite quarterbacks unless you’re in a 2 QB league but if you need to shore yourself up there I would definitely take a look at Rivers.
Brandon Marshall- He is going to put up super-elite WR digits from here on out and his acquisition cost is substantially less than the other guys on this level like Fitz and Andre Johnson.
Reggie Wayne- I loves me some Reggie Wayne. Week in and week out he’s going to give you double digits or more. Defenses know they can’t just load up to try and shut down Wayne because Manning will gauge them elsewhere.
Thomas Jones- His production has been so big that everyone is starting to overlook the mileage on him. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get something really valuable in trade and I would take it just to eliminate risk.
Steve Smith (NYG) – I would only trade him if someone’s willing to give you good value. He is obviously way better than his preseason ranking but I just don’t believe that he’ll finish the season leading the league in receptions and yards. In a keeper league with retention costs you have to hold on to him though.
Aaron Rodgers- The offensive line issue is just too scary in Green Bay. It’s too bad because this is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The odds of him getting injured are huge unless they are able to protect him better. He also has a very, very tough fantasy playoff schedule.
Hines Ward- He has been a steady, productive fantasy receiver for years. He has been so huge this season, benefiting from the pass happy Steelers offense. The problem is Mike Tomlin may seek to balance things out more and they also have two other really good young receivers in Pittsburgh.
Anquan Boldin- It looks like he won’t play this week. Above, I discussed the ridiculously easy schedule for the Cardinals during the fantasy playoffs. Boldin always seems to be battling injuries but he is a warrior- he will fight through it and be productive.
Jerome Harrison- It is only a matter of time before Jamal Lewis gets hurt again or is completely useless. Harrison is the guy in Cleveland; maybe I’ll turn out to be wrong on this one but I’m taking a stand.
Calvin Johnson- He’s on a bye week, and that’s after missing last week’s game due to injury. Both he and Stafford should be back after this. There are no guarantees that he will deliver like he did last year but you have to take chances to win and if you’re going to take a chance this is the guy to do it on.
Jerricho Cotchery- He is going to miss this Sunday’s game. I still love him relative to value right now because of the “Braylon Edwards Effect” that I have talked about in previous columns. Mark Sanchez will improve over the course of the season and I see Cotchery posting several double-digit games.
Ryan Grant- I talked about this situation above when I touted Brandon Jackson. Grant’s days as the feature back in Green Bay might be numbered. He could turn it around and hold on to his job but I would trade him now while you can still get good value for him.
Larry Johnson- He’ll be on here all season just to remind all of his owners that you’re playing with fire by not dealing him. The production has been decent this season- don’t get greedy!
Clinton Portis- see Larry Johnson
Willis McGahee- For non-PPR this is a little bit different since touchdown vultures are a lot more valuable. But in PPR get rid of him and get whatever you can out of the deal.
Marion Barber- Injured running backs are terrifying to me. His value has plummeted significantly but if he stays relatively healthy there might be a good game in his future. Once that happens you’d better ship him out.
Terrell Owens- I may just have him in this category until the trade deadline!