Sunday 1 PM
New Orleans (24th) @ Atlanta (18th)
Judging from his past performances Pierre Thomas is either going to have a monster game or score about 3 points. Unfortunately you have to start him. Reggie Bush will be back in action and is a must start in PPR. Mike Bell continues to be the goal line back and “closer” so put him in your lineup in deeper leagues. All three of these players get an upgrade against the battered and ineffective Falcons defense.
Saints: Thomas +2, Bush +2, Bell +2
Neither of these backs are doing enough right now to be in your lineup. Jerious Norwood was a huge disappointment for Fantasy owners last Sunday. With Ryan likely out again the Falcons will have to lean on their running game and the Saints haven’t been that stout to begin with. I am giving both of these players an upgrade for the matchup but I would look for better options unless you’re really stuck.
Falcons: Norwood +1, Snelling +1
NY Jets (8th) @Tampa Bay (29th)
This matchup should be a feast for the Jets ground game, especially with Mark Sanchez out. Look for Thomas Jones to have a monster outing. Shonn Greene is a definite start unless you don’t have room for him in your lineup.
Jets: Jones +5, Greene +5
Cadillac Williams could be a starter for you in non PPR but I’d look for better options. Derrick Ward is simply overpaid and a disappointment of epic proportions to Fantasy owners.
Buccaneers: Williams -2, Ward -4
Miami (21st) @ Jacksonville (14th)
Ricky Williams was surprisingly unproductive last week. Lex Hilliard still hasn’t emerged in to the type of Fantasy player we expected thus far. Ricky is a must start but here’s some whacky numbers for you (courtesy of Doc): The Jaguars haven’t given up more than 77 rushing yards to ANY running back this season other than Chris Johnson; he has gone for 83 and 228 yards against them, respectively. Maybe Ricky can buck this trend but it’s definitely grounds for being nervous.
Dolphins: Williams -1, Hilliard -2
The Dolphins seem like a team that’s really good against the run but they aren’t. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter anyway because you’re playing MJD regardless.
Jaguars: Jones-Drew +2
Cincinnati (2nd) @Minnesota (1st)
So this Sunday we’ll have the leagues two best rush defenses AND the leagues two worst rush defenses over the past six weeks going head to head. Weird. Cedric Benson got his usual heavy workload last Sunday after coming back from injury and put up solid digits. I’m personally going to start him regardless of the matchup. EJ Henderson, the Vikings star linebacker was injured last week and their defense could suffer because of it. Larry Johnson is unstartable in this game.
Bengals: Benson -3, Johnson -5
Adrian Peterson has sat out and rested up this week in practice after being held to only 19 yards on 13 carries against the Cardinals. He’s such a competitor you’d think he’d be poised for a bounce back game but it’s going to be tough to do against the stingy Bengals. Chester Taylor is a PPR fill in, as usual.
Vikings: Peterson -3, Taylor -1
Seattle (16th) @ Houston (19th)
Julius Jones is horrible and he makes me angry. Jim Mora needs to wake up and realize what the entire football world already knows- Forsett’s a lot better than Julius Jones. If you own Jones bench him even if he starts. If you own Forsett pay attention to the rumor mill (and Razzball, on Sunday) to see if it looks like he’ll get more touches this week.
Seahawks: Jones -1, Forsett 0
Slaton going on IR is a real sledgehammer. I can definitely see Ryan Moats becoming the feature back and having a ton of value in PPR especially down the stretch. Chris Brown is basically a poor man’s Brandon Jacobs but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Brown is a must start but I would take a wait and see approach with Moats.
Texans: Brown +2, Moats +1
Buffalo (32nd) @ Kansas City (31st)
Coach Fewell reiterated that Fred Jackson will be the lead back going forward. Don’t expect a ton of opportunities for Marshawn Lynch in general but consider him a possible Sleeper next season depending on who he signs with. This game presents a bit of a quandary because the matchup is so good; start Lynch unless you have better running backs.
Bills: Jackson +3, Lynch +2
Jamaal Charles is a total stud at this point. If you were cagey (or just followed our advice this season) and grabbed him chances are you’re in the mix to win your league. This matchup is fantastic for him and the guys behind him can’t stay healthy so the carries should remain his. If you’re in a Keeper league you’re probably already looking forward to next season.
Chiefs: Charles +5
Green Bay (3rd) @ Chicago (28th)
You bore me, Ryan Grant. Just felt like throwing that out there. The Chicago defense has gone from “not as good as we thought/declining” to “horrible.” I hate to say it but Grant is a tremendous play for you on Sunday unless Lovey Smith finds a time machine in the next few days .
Packers: Grant +4
Matt Forte…. blah… I would honestly sit him this week in non PPR and consider doing so even in PPR formats. I’m sure you’ve been inundated by sportscasters about how good Green Bay’s defense is so I won’t go on and on about that. The Bears wilt in the face of any respectable defense so expect a complete meltdown from their offense in this contest.
Bears: Forte -5
Detroit (17th) @Baltimore (11th)
Kevin Smith was the only Detroit running back to touch the football against the Bengals and Jim Schwartz was showering him with compliments the way old, creepy men do to girls at Hooters. So even though the Ravens aren’t total pushovers I’d still expect a good game out of Smith. With Stafford and Johnson back this offense is starting to click.
Lions: Smith +1
A few weeks ago it looked like Ray Rice could be the second best running back to own in Fantasy down the stretch. That was when he was getting all the carries, including the ones on the goal line, however. People try to downgrade the importance of that but it’s HUGE. It doesn’t mean he’s not a stud anymore, he still is. But it does pull him out of the Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson territory. He should be solid in this matchup. Willis McGahee, now receiving the goal line touches, is a potential start now depending on the matchup. In non PPR (or PPR, depending on the depth of your league) you can put him in your lineup and still look at yourself in the mirror.
Ravens: Rice +2, McGahee +3
Carolina (23rd) @ New England (13th)
DeAngelo Williams was a surprise inactive last Sunday. He is practicing this week and is allegedly fully healthy. Jonathon Stewart will return to his role as change of pace/goal line back; start him if he’s better than the rest but don’t let last week’s performance affect your decision. New England’s run defense is about as middle of the road as it gets.
Panthers: Williams 0, Stewart 0
By next week these two might be flipped around on the depth chart. In my .5 PPR league Maroney’s projected for an optimistic 12.92 against Carolina on Sunday. I happen to own him in that league and will probably end up sitting him. Both he and Morris could negate each other’s value going forward because it’s impossible to predict who is going to touch the ball when. Bill Belichick is annoying.
Patriots: Maroney 0, Morris 0
Denver (25th) @ Indianapolis (15th)
I know you’re going to be tempted to start Buckhalter this Sunday coming off his 113 yard performance but keep in mind he only got 12 carries and that number’s not likely increase. Knowshon Moreno will be a must start week in and week out regardless.
Broncos: Moreno 0, Buckhalter 0
Donald Brown’s injury troubles have boosted Addai’s value even further- now he is getting all sorts of additional rushing yardage/goal line carries we didn’t expect him to. He is truly one of the most underappreciated backs in Fantasy this season. Expect his usual studly output in this game.
Colts: Addai +2
Sunday 4 PM
Washington (20th) @ Oakland (27th)
In “Sleeper Math” two weeks ago I told everyone to pick up Ganther if you had room on your roster and I have continued to tout him. On Wednesday the Redskins announced that Ganther, not Rock Cartwright, will be the starter. He did a lot with the opportunities he was given before so I expect a big game out of him on Sunday. Start him wherever possible. Cartwright becomes a stash yet again even though the Raiders are a poor rush defense.
Redskins: Ganther +3, Cartwright +1
Albert Haynesworth is an almost guaranteed scratch for the Redskins this Sunday which bodes well for the Raiders running game. Fargas had 15 carries to McFadden’s 9 last week and has retained his grasp on the starting job. This matchup is attractive enough to tout Fargas as a #2 RB start and McFadden as a flex in deeper leagues.
Raiders: Fargas +3, McFadden +3
St. Louis (30th) @ Tennessee (12th)
Steven Jackson hardly practiced the last two weeks before games but he’s averaging almost 120 yards per game; thus I wouldn’t be concerned whatsoever that he’s being held out of practice yet again this week. He gets a slight downgrade for matchup but SJax is a quality RB #1 every week no matter what.
Rams: Jackson -1
I’m done with LenDale White until next season when he signs with a different team. Chris Johnson’s projections are almost 30 in PPR leagues- he could singlehandedly win for you this week.
Titans: Johnson +5
San Diego (7th) @ Dallas (5th)
The Chargers have moved the ball with ease against everyone this season so I doubt the Cowboys will be able to slow them down much. Tomlilnson gets a downgrade because the matchup is less juicy than average but he’s still a very solid play. Sproles shouldn’t be in your lineup unless it’s uber deep PPR.
Chargers: Tomlinson -3, Sproles -4
Marion Barber is annoying to own (I’m glad I don’t). You used to be able to count on him for yards and hope for touchdowns. Now he’s basically a rich man’s Willis McGahee and that’s a total kick in the junk considering he was draft in the 2nd or 3rd round in all leagues. You have to play him no matter what though. I would sit Felix Jones against the Chargers; if he doesn’t break off a huge TD run he kills your team.
Cowboys: Barber -2, Jones -3
Sunday Night Game
Philadelphia (9th) @ NY Giants (6th)
Earlier in the week there was optimism that Brian Westbrook would play against the Giants but not it’s an almost certainty that he won’t. LeSean McCoy continues to disappoint and make me look like a liar. The Giants defense is tougher than most to boot. Even so, you still have to start him.
Eagles: McCoy -3, Westbrook (probably won’t play)
Speaking of disappointing players…. Brandon Jacobs finally had the big game we’d been waiting for. There won’t be a ton of yardage for him in this contest but an end zone trip wouldn’t surprise me. Bradshaw’s still not getting off the bench on any team I own him in.
Giants: Jacobs -2, Bradshaw -3
Monday Night Game
Arizona (26th) @ San Francisco (10th)
Beanie continues to get the majority of the non goal line carries and will be useful in games down the stretch, just not this one. Yes, that means sit him. In PPR formats Tim Hightower’s still a flex play in my book this week.
Cardinals: Wells -3, Hightower -1
The 49’ers look to pound the ground game regardless of matchup but this week they should rely on it even more; expect 30+ touches from Gore and a very juicy stat line. If the Cardinals dominate time of possession it could diminish his digits but I still love the matchup.
49’ers: Gore +3