You are probably like me when it comes to fantasy football. I use logic to set my lineups during the week and act totally rational. Then Sunday comes and I’m thrown in to a tailspin of delusional schizophrenia (no offense to our schizophrenic readers) and I pre-emptively hate all my starters because I think they’re all going to tank out on me.
Next are the phone calls to a trusted advisor. You agree with everything s/he says as they logically tell you who to start. You annoy them by playing Devil’s Advocate and undermining all their suggestions. Tired of your antics they hang up the phone and you are left to quadruple and quintuple guess yourself. Then right before game time you become completely delusional and make last second replacements before your lineup locks.
We all go through this same ritual. And as the playoffs begin and finality sets in the pressure only increases and makes the process of choosing starters more torturous. One suggestion I make is that you check out the website on Sunday because we update the latest injury info and team rumors. We are also on the site answering start/sit questions until game time (and throughout for the later games). Maybe we can make your Sunday just a little more sane, logical, and successful!
Thursday 8:20 PM
Indianapolis (14th) @ Jacksonville (4th)
So far so good on the recently clinched Colts. I really wish they’d unclinch so they’d just play all out with even their near-death players, but sadly we have to worry about who will play. Donald Brown didn’t practice on Tuesday and I doubt they’ll push him so Addai will be the main guy again. Mike Hart got 10 carries last week and could be in line for even more this week and even more the next. The Jags have a tough run defense, but Addai seems to be able to get into the endzone.
Colts: Addai 0, Hart -3
The Colts did shut down Moreno last week and looked very good while doing so. Of course that doesn’t mean you sit MJD. He has had a little trouble going off Chris Johnson style lately, but he’s still getting into the endzone which isn’t a bad thing.
Jaguars: Jones-Drew +1
Dallas (8th) @ New Orleans (22nd)
If you drafted Marion Barber in fantasy this season, odds are you’re not in the playoffs right now. I have a theory that there’s an NFC East conspiracy against fantasy football. Think about it for a second- Barber, Jacobs, Westbrook, Portis; all studs, all have been enormous busts this year. Anyway, back to this matchup. You are compelled to play Barber because if the Cowboys get near the goal line he’s getting the rock. They are one of the more pass happy teams near the end zone but Barber will get any available opportunities.
Cowboys: Barber 0, Jones 0, Choice 0
Speaking of highly touted running backs in the preseason that have been extremely inconsistent… Pierre Thomas is just like Barber- you can’t get away from having to start him. In PPR leagues Reggie Bush is a stud. He gets his every week in the passing game. I wouldn’t play Mike Bell if I owned him.
Saints: Thomas -2, Bush 0, Bell -2
Sunday 1 PM
Cleveland (18th) @ Kansas City (32nd)
Next stop on the running back carousel, Cleveland! So Jamal Lewis goes down and it looks like Jennings might be the guy but Harrison gets first dibs. He rips it up so Mangini decides to get Jennings involved more (someone needs to explain this logic to me) and we think he could be taking over. Then he makes a statement saying Josh Cribbs might become featured in a traditional running back role. Unless the situation in Cleveland becomes more transparent all three of these become must sits.
Browns: Harrison +1, Jennings +1, Cribbs +2
It’s great seeing Jamaal Charles in charge. We thought he’d be a great guy to own but he’s such a stud. Don’t outsmart yourself and justify sitting him in some irrational train of thought.
Chiefs: Charles +3
Houston (20th) @ St. Louis (31st)
Time for the Gary Kubiak running back shuffling experience. Foster has been named as the starter. If you were smart/lucky enough to grab him it’s going to be tough to pass on this matchup.
Texans: Foster +5, Moats +3, Brown -1
Ho hum. You can probably scratch Jackson in for 100 total yards and a touchdown. Well, maybe not a touchdown but you should be able to count on the yardage.
Rams: Jackson +1, Darby 0
Atlanta (17th) @ NY Jets (9th)
Turner should be able to play on Sunday but I wouldn’t get too excited about it. You have a player coming off injury going up against a stout defense. Yeah… I’ll pass. A lot of people will get seduced by the name and play him out of spite. He could be somewhat productive but I just don’t think it’s worth the risk. Snelling and Norwood are both fairly worthless if Turner plays.
Falcons: Turner -1, Snelling -3, Norwood -3
Thomas Jones should be his usual self. Shonn Greene was supposed to be the clear cut second fiddle but Danny Woodhead is cutting in to his touches. This situation is completely random and Shonn Greene nwo belongs on the “don’t start no matter how good the matchup is” list.
Jets: Jones +2, Greene, Woodhead 0
Miami (21st) @ Tennessee (5th)
Apparently the Dolphins would rather put the ball in Chad Henne’s hands rather than give Lex Hilliard significant touches. He is now officially dead to me. Man crushes dissolve into total anonymity in the NFL. Ricky Williams is a clear must start.
Dolphins: Williams -1
Titans: Johnson +1
San Francisco (12th) @ Philadelphia (10th)
As an Eagles fan I would love to pretend that their defense isn’t suspect but it is, particularly against the run. Their MO is to shut teams down or give up yards and points in bunches. Frank Gore continues to be productive and he has the potential to carry your Fantasy team in this all important playoff game.
49’ers: Gore 0
LeSean McCoy has managed to do less with more opportunity than anyone in recent memory. He is this year’s Chris Perry (those who owned this Bengals bust in 2008 know what I’m talking about). OK maybe he hasn’t been that bad but when Leonard Weaver steps in and delivers on a regular basis it’s not a compliment to your ability. Westbrook is supposed to return for this game but even if he does playing him is way too risky. Leonard Weaver isn’t really startable unless Westbrook’s out and you’re in a real deep league but he deserves to be mentioned.
Eagles: McCoy -1, Westbrook -2, Weaver 0
New England (15th) @ Buffalo (30th)
It’s astounding the number of trickster coaches there are in the NFL but Belichick deserves credit for making it vogue to be vague and mysterious. Two weeks ago he started taking touches from Maroney and giving them to Sammy Morris coming off the injury. So this past Sunday many of us avoided Maroney in case the trend continued. That didn’t happen and instead Maroney became the feature back. What’s nice this week is you’ve got a cupcake of a matchup so even if he gets less touches than you anticipate it’s a great start. I own him in multiple leagues where I have a playoff game and I’m starting him; so if you play him you won’t be the only one drinking the Kool-Aid. I can see playing Morris in deeper leagues but without getting the goal line work I’d look toward an option with higher upside.
Patriots: Maroney +4, Morris +2
Jackson received 23 carries against the Chiefs while Lynch had 14 and the majority of the short distance/goal line work. Jackson is a solid RB #2 or Flex #1 play this week. I would be more cautious with Lynch but can envision him playing in 12 team with two flex spots.
Bills: Jackson 0, Lynch -1
Arizona (23rd) @ Detroit (25th)
The Cardinals really made a mess in the 49’ers game on Monday Night Football. Hightower fumbled early (his bugaboo is ball security) and Whisenhunt started giving Wells even more touches than usual. But, as seemingly the entire Cardinals team did, Wells fumbled later on in the game. I don’t anticipate their roles changing for this week or in the future. Both of them are great starts against the Detroit this weekend. As an aside I traded Tim Hightower for T.J. Houshmandzadeh earlier in the year and thought I was so clever. Now I realize what an idiot I was.
Cardinals: Wells +4, Hightower +1
By now everyone knows that Kevin Smith’s having season ending knee surgery. If you have Maurice Morris in PPR I would start him if there’s room. I like him for double digits plus upside on Sunday.
Lions: Morris +2
Chicago (27th) @ Baltimore (16th)
I have been ripping on Lovie for some time about refusing to split up Forte’s touches and give Bell a chance to prove his mettle. What are the chances he smartens up? Not very good. Unfortunately you sort of have to start Forte but I wouldn’t feel great about relying on him to help you bring home the trophy.
Bears: Forte 0, Bell -1
Ray Rice should be an absolute monster this week against the lowly Bears. In fact I’m optimistic on both him and McGahee (I would start him in deeper leagues, non PPR especially). I have nothing too insightful on this situation, it is what it is.
Ravens: Rice +3, McGahee +2
Sunday 4 PM
Oakland (26th) @ Denver (24th)
JaMarcus Russell is taking over so the Raiders should once again be relegated to the basement of the NFL in production. Darren McFadden would be a really nice player to snag as a potential keeper for next season but I wouldn’t put him in your lineup this week under any circumstance. Justin Fargas isn’t that useful either.
Raiders: Fargas +1, McFadden 0
Correll Buckhalter is injured once again and it’s not clear whether or not he’ll play this week. Knowshon Moreno would be an even better start in that case but I love him in this contest regardless. 20 points from him wouldn’t surprise me.
Broncos: Moreno +4, Buckhalter -2 (pay attention to injury reports)
Cincinnati (6th) @ San Diego (11th)
I told all ya’ll to start Benson last week and I walked the walk myself, keeping him in my lineup last week. I’m glad I did. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year is to play your studs. The Bengals are perhaps the best run blocking team in the NFL. Put Benson in your lineup this week. Leave Larry Johnson out.
Bengals: Benson 0, Johnson -1
Don’t even think about playing Sproles this week. LaDanian Tomlinson presents a much tougher dilemma. The matchup is horrible but he’s too productive (as is his offense) to consider sitting him. You have to be pleased with what you’ve gotten out of LT considering what the outlook was earlier in the season.
Chargers: Tomlinson -2, Sproles -5
Tampa Bay (29th) @ Seattle (13th)
There was a grand total of 43 rushing yards for Williams and Ward to split between them on Sunday against the Jets. Now I realize that the Seahawks defense is nowhere near as good as New York’s but I wouldn’t even think about playing either of these players. If you’re absolutely stuck play Cadillac Williams but if your team’s that weak odds are you aren’t in the playoffs to begin with.
Buccaneers: Williams -2, Ward -3
Julius Jones was inept again this weekend. Mora split touches almost equally between him and Forsett. This is a great matchup but I’d be hesitant to start either player. If there’s an announcement at some point that Forsett will become the feature back I’d enthusiastically play him. In deep PPR leagues he could sneak in as a flex play without a change in the team depth chart.
Seahawks: Jones 0, Forsett +2
Green Bay (1st) @ Pittsburgh (7th)
Packers: Grant -2
The Steelers are basically out of the playoffs but they will finish strong and give it a shot. Rashard Mendenhall hasn’t been part of the problem. In fact the Steeler’s struggles originate from an over reliance on throwing the football and getting away from their traditional “smash mouth” mentality. If they decide to step up the rushing attack Mendenhall could be big the next two weeks.
Steelers: Mendenhall -3
Sunday 8:20 PM
Minnesota (2nd) @ Carolina (28th)
This game has huge potential for Adrian Peterson. Chester Taylor might always gets in the mix but hopefully you’re not pinning your flex start hopes on him at this point.
Vikings: Peterson +4, Taylor +3
DeAngelo Williams is going to have a tough time finding room to run against the Vikings. In addition Delhomme will be out again (although some would argue that helps the passing game) and the Vikings will probably stack up against the run. Stewart has been battling injuries and might be out for this game. Sit him regardless. You have to play Williams, he’s just too much of a stud.
Panthers: Williams -3, Stewart -5
Monday 8:30 PM
NY Giants (3rd) @ Washington (19th)
Ahmad Bradshaw had 18 targets to Jacobs 17. Jacobs is still getting more carries and Bradshaw got more passing looks because of the shootout-y nature of the Eagles game. Jacobs is still the guy you need to start, but as usual you aren’t going to feel great about it. Bradshaw is a flex play at best.
Giants: Jacobs 0, Bradshaw -2
Quinton Ganther awarded those who picked him up last week and the Redskins have looked better than earlier in the season. Maybe it was a good idea to deZornify the offense! Ganther gets a much harder matchup this week, but he will still get goal line carries.
Redskins: Ganther 0