Indianapolis (14th) @ Baltimore (5th)
Joseph Addai hurt his hand during the Patriots game but they taped it up and he came back in and played (even scored a touchdown) so I wouldn’t be too concerned about him not going this week. Donald Brown did a nice job against New England; expect him to start swiping the goal line carries. The Colts should be able to put up points against this defense but downgrading both these players.
Colts: Addai -1, Brown -2
Willis McGahee touched the football more against Cleveland that he has been lately. I’m not sure if that means anything. Ray Rice continues to be a total stud. He is relatively matchup proof because if his team falls behind they’re going to throw the football but he’s a great receiver as well. I don’t like him any more than usual in this game but I also don’t like him any less.
Ravens: Rice 0, McGahee 0
Washington (24th) @ Dallas (10th)
The Redskins love playing mind games with their tortured fan base. I swear they won that Broncos game just so they could go lay an egg in Dallas and destroy all false hope of a turnaround. Ladell Betts was a bright spot for Fantasy owners who were patient and stashed him. It’s almost 100% that he’s going to be the starter and Portis will be out. I’m going to downgrade him for the matchup but you should still start him.
Redskins: Betts -1
Marion Barber is just so unreliable. Even now that he’s healthy I wouldn’t feel fantastic about having him in my lineup on a weekly basis. Listen you’re stuck with him now so you’ve got to start him and hope for the best. The Redskins defense is very soft so Dallas could rebound and put points on the board this Sunday. Felix Jones and Tashard Choice are nothing more than stashes right now unless you’re super desperate. At least they have a good matchup- maybe you’ll get lucky!
Cowboys: Barber +2, Jones +1, Choice +1
Cleveland (30th) @ Detroit (19th)
It’s getting boring making fun of the Browns. At some point you just run out of clever analogies and catch phrases. Until and unless Jamal Lewis gets waived (in which case Harrison would become the primary guy) there will be no useful or relevant Fantasy players in Cleveland. I hate to upgrade them for this matchup but keep in mind that it’s relative to value (which, right now, is next to nothing).
Browns: Lewis +1, Harrison +1
Our loyal and astute readers will have noticed that several of my “curses” have come to fruition. The injury bug is infecting multiple backs per week. Kevin Smith was banged up earlier in the season and Maurice Morris has done well with the chances he’s gotten. Don’t be surprised if he usurps Smith at some point on the depth chart. This week there should be plenty of yards and touchdowns available in the Detroit backfield. Smith has to be a must-start on your roster and I can see Morris working his way in to your Flex.
Lions: Smith +3, Morris +4
San Francisco (3rd) @ Green Bay (4th)
It doesn’t matter who Frank Gore is facing. Such a beast. Gotta downgrade him for facing the Packers but DO NOT sit him. I used to lust Glen Coffee as a stash; now he’s the one who can’t stay healthy. These are always the most awkward breakups: “Um, yeah, Glen? Look, I have no tolerance for Sleepers who can’t stay healthy. All you’re doing is warming the bench. I’m sorry but you can’t be my back-up back anymore, I have to move on. Don’t cry; I’m sure the future is bright for you in the UFL. Who knows, maybe even the CFL someday!”
First let me say that Troy Aikman is probably my favorite analyst even though I hated his guts because he played for the Cowboys. But this past Sunday he reminded us during the telecast that Ahman Green played for the Packers before and he was pretty good. Really, Troy? Is that a fact? Look we all remember this guy, don’t go on and on about it anymore or I’ll flip out. I’m downgrading Ryan Grant because of the sorta tough defense. No good stashes here- I wouldn’t want to own Ahman Green or Brandon Jackson even if Grant gets injured. I really didn’t believe he’s going to hang on to this job all season but he is.
Packers: Grant -3
Buffalo (32nd) @ Jacksonville (22nd)
It’s time for Marshawn to rack up some yards against a sub-standard defense. Gotta put up the numbers if you want that shiny new contract in the offseason! Fred Jackson actually played more on Sunday than he has recently. No idea what that’s supposed to mean but there it is. I’d enthusiastically start Lynch and cautiously Flex Jackson if you have to.
Bills: Lynch +2, Jackson +3
Pocket Hercules should carry a lot of Fantasy owners to glory on Sunday. There’s not really much to say- perhaps the best running back in the NFL going against the absolute worst rush defense in the league. There’s just no insight, it is what it is.
Jaguars: Jones-Drew +10,000,000,000
Pittsburgh (1st) @ Kansas City (27th)
Rashard Mendenhall has become the uncontested #1 back in Pittsburgh. Who’s Willie Parker again? Did he retire already? Really? I love Mendenhall to have a 15+ point day with plenty of room for upside. Multiple touchdowns wouldn’t surprise me, nor would a point output in the mid 20’s.
Steelers: Mendenhall +4
Charles Haley you’re a tricky one! Gonna have to watch you in the future. He threw all these ridiculous innuendos out there about how Kolby Smith might start. I like the gamesmanship but unfortunately you’re still the Chiefs and no one cares. Well, some people care. For instance my buddy who Flexed Smith because he believed you. It matters to him and he hates you and everything you love now. Nice work. Depending on your depth it might be tough to sit Jamaal Charles this week. He’s just pretty studly in general, especially for PPR. Smith needs to be on the bench until he gets a real opportunity.
Chiefs: Charles -3, Smith -5
Seattle (11th) @ Minnesota (6th)
Don’t be intimidated by the matchup and talk yourself in to sitting Forsett. I really feel like he’s going to win this job for good. I have been man-crushing him for so long. Actually seeing this come to fruition is what ugly girls must feel like when they actually get asked to the Prom. Of course the ugly guy asking them probably feels the same way they do. Where am I going with this? Oh yeah, Play Forsett!
Seahawks: Forsett -2
They should change all the Chuck Norris phrases and replace his name with Adrian Peterson’s. One of the analysts on NFL Network (can’t remember which one), just yells out “HE’S A MAN!!!” every time an A.P. highlight comes on. He’s not “scurred” that the Seahawks defense is decent and you shouldn’t be either.
Vikings: Peterson 0, Taylor -2
Atlanta (26th) @ NY Giants (13th)
This is really a defining game for the Giants defense. The Falcons are a middle of the road offense so we should find out whether the G-men are going to turn things around or not. If you were cagey enough to stash/claim Snelling off waivers you have to start him unless you’re super deep. I don’t think you can play Jerious Norwood in any league but in deeper formats I’d try to find room for him because there’s a ton of upside.
Falcons: Snelling -1, Norwood -2
Remember that multiple touchdown game I’ve been calling for? OK maybe this will be the week. He is a must start and Bradshaw’s someone you can Flex if you need to. I don’t foresee any issues with them piling up yards and touchdowns.
Giants: Jacobs +3, Bradshaw +3
New Orleans (20th) @ Tampa Bay (31st)
I think we’ve found a game where I can enthusiastically recommend starting all three of these guys. There’s almost always an odd man out and it’s difficult to predict who (last week it was Thomas). The second half, in particular, should be a running back’s wet dream- huge lead, horrible run defense.
Saints: Thomas +3, Bush +2, Bell +4
I wish someone could come up with a formula to predict whether Cadillac Williams is going to fall apart or have a great game. There’s really no logic behind it whatsoever. This should be as good an opportunity as any for him to put up digits. Derrick Ward is dead to me.
Buccaneers: Williams +2, Ward +1
4 PM Games
Arizona (8th) @ St. Louis (28th)
Ken Whisenhut said that he has no plans to change the current splitting situation. It should be a great time to own both Wells and Hightower down the stretch run. Here’s an example of a great matchup that makes both these players must starts.
Cardinals: Hightower +4, Wells +4,
Who’s doing more with less out there? Nobody. Steven Jackson is just the man, flat out. I’m not sure there are any worthwhile stashes in St. Louis because none of them would be effective.
Rams: Jackson 0
San Diego (23rd) @ Denver (12th)
LaDanian Tomlinson has really turned it on the past few weeks. Darren Sproles is becoming less and less attractive as a flex option. San Diego’s offense continues to put up points regardless of the defense they’re facing. The Broncos haven’t been nearly as stout as of late but they’re at home in this contest and really need a win. I’m going to downgrade Tomlinson slightly and I wouldn’t recommend starting Sproles (not so much because of the matchup but because his role has diminished)
Chargers: Tomlinson -1, Sproles -2
It’s tough to tell how the Broncos are going to divvy up the touches. Correll Buckhalter looked like he was going to be the main guy after coming back from injury. Then he was essentially benched on Sunday after an early fumble and did nothing for Fantasy owners (including myself). Moreno had a great game, getting all the opportunities. I would enthusiastically start him and cautiously put Buckhalter in there as a flex in 12 team if you need him.
Broncos: Moreno +2, Buckhalter +1
New York Jets (18th) @ New England (17th)
This is a huge game for both football teams; especially the Jets. Thomas Jones is a no-brainer; he’s been one of the most consistent and productive fantasy players this season. Shonn Greene’s nothing special in this matchup- it’s not horrible for him but don’t expect a double digit outing.
Jets: Jones +1, Greene +1
It looks like Sammy Morris could be back soon but it’s doubtful he’ll return this week. Look for Maroney to get the bulk of the carries. Without Kris Jenkins the Jets have been unable to stop the run consistently (or put pressure on the quarterback, for that matter). Maroney’s a solid start and as always Kevin Faulk can be a respectable fill-in for PPR. As an aside he has the most rushing yards in NFL history without a 100 yard game (he had 79 last week and he might’ve gotten there if they kept feeding him the rock).
Patriots: Mauroney +1, Faulk +1
Cincinnati (2nd) @ Oakland (29th)
I’m not putting Benson in because he’s almost certainly not going to play. Bernard Scott is an excellent start in this game if you’re lucky enough to have stashed him. I really don’t know how much Larry Johnson will see the field (my guess is 10 straightforward carries) and I wouldn’t feel fantastic about playing him unless you’re really stuck.
Bengals: Scott +5, Johnson 0
I hope you don’t need a productive week out of any of these players. They should all be riding the bench on your team. This has become akin to the three-headed sloth Tampa Bay trotted out there at the beginning of the season. They have all been rendered useless in my mind.
Raiders: Fargas -3, Bush -3, MacFadden -3
Sunday Night Game
Philadelphia (9th) @ Chicago (21st)
Even though Westbrook didn’t play McCoy had an unproductive Sunday. He’ll almost certainly turn it around. The doctors are optimistic about Westbrook’s chances of coming back soon but I doubt we’ll see him out there this week. Unless you hear that he’s going to play and see significant action I’d sit him. McCoy should be an enthusiastic start regardless.
Eagles: McCoy +4
Forte’s the only guy getting touches in the Chicago backfield. I thought at some point that Garrett Wolfe might end up getting a heavy dose of touches but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Forte’s clearly a must-start in this game. Hopefully Cutler doesn’t get pick happy again and relegate the offense to mediocrity.
Bears: Forte -2
Monday Night Game
Tennessee (16th) @ Houston (14th)
Chris Johnson could have a field day in this contest. Houston’s defense has gotten better as the season’s progressed but I don’t see them shutting CJ down in this one. Look for LenDale White to continue to be a colossal disappointment. He could be Sleeper next season depending on who he signs with in free agency.
Titans: Johnson +2, White +1
This game should tell us a lot about what’s going to happen going forward in the Houston backfield. Slaton owners are praying that he’s regained Kubiak’s trust enough to be the feature guy and Moats owners are hoping that it becomes a split situation. Slaton should be a respectable flex guy for you; be much more careful with Moats. I wouldn’t play him unless the word on the street is that he’ll see the football a lot on Sunday.
Texans: Slaton 0, Moats -1