Tampa Bay (30th) @ New Orleans (24th)
Derrick Ward was a late addition to the injury report after looking like he would become the main back. If Ward doesn’t go Cadillac Williams would see the bul of the work and could be a decent flex play in the right scenario.
Buccaneers: Williams +2, Ward +1
I have avoided this trifecta all season. If you own any of these players don’t get too enamored with this matchup. The production is completely impossible to predict. Of course if you own Pierre Thomas last week should’ve left enough of a bad taste in your mouth; he is the only player I’d consider putting in my lineup for the fantasy championship weekend. Reggie Bush was back at practice and 100% but this is not the type of game he excels in. Mike Bell is a total wildcard but unless he does something in junk time I doubt he’ll be worthwhile.
Saints: Thomas +2, Bush 0, Bell +2
Kansas City (32nd) @ Cincinnati (2nd)
Jamaal Charles is matchup proof. He is just as deadly in the passing game which will help boost his production against a stout run defense like the Bengals. I know a lot of people are going to over think this matchup and convince themselves to sit Charles. In my opinion that would be a huge mistake.
Chiefs: Charles -2
Benson has floundered down the stretch but if you made it to the finals this should be a slam dunk. Start him no matter what. I don’t think I’d get cute and play Larry Johnson, even though he might get a lot of garbage touches.
Bengals: Benson +5, Johnson +3
Jacksonville (13th) @ New England (14th)
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by trying to convince you to start MJD; You deserve to lose if you don’t.
Jaguars: Jones-Drew 0
I love football because things change so drastically in a short period of time. In the middle of the season Maroney was buried on the depth chart. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he got cut. Next thing you know Patriots running backs start dropping like flies and Maroney’s the de facto starter. Fast forward to the present; Maroney has kept his starting job despite Morris’s return. He should be a solid start for this Sunday’s game. I wouldn’t mess around with Morris or Faulk.
Patriots: Maroney +1, Morris 0, Faulk 0
Carolina (22nd) @ NY Giants (7th)
The latest injury news on DeAngelo Williams is still vague. He missed practiced again today and is listed as doubtful. The Panthers might just decide to shut him down for the rest of the season since they’re out of the hunt. If Williams does play I’d start him unless you’ve got really great options to put in front. If Williams doesn’t play I’d start Stewart but otherwise leave him on the bench.
Panthers: Williams (maybe), Stewart (depends on whether or not Williams plays)
I am really impressed with how Ahmad Bradshaw’s played in the last few weeks despite battling multiple injuries all season. Both he and Jacobs are possible flex starts for you this weekend depending on what your roster looks like.
Giants: Jacobs +1, Bradshaw +1
Houston (15th) @ Miami (20th)
Gary Kubiak has been babbling like an idiot about how awesome Arian Foster’s been practicing this week. Rumor has it he could get another opportunity to start on Sunday. Fantastic; that will render both he and Ryan Moats completely useless. No matter what news comes out of Houston avoid these running backs like the plague.
Texans: Foster 0, Moats 0
Ricky continues to run as strong as ever. The Dolphins have abandoned much of their wildcat scheme after the injury to Ronnie Brown but Ricky’s gotten even better. You have to put him in your lineup for the championship.
Dolphins: Williams +1
Seattle (16th) @ Green Bay (1st)
You can’t play Forsett or Jones. I lost one of my playoff games because I rolled the dice and went with Forsett. My logic was that Jim Mora’s not so stupid that he’ll go an entire season without realizing what the rest of the world already knows; Julius Jones sucks at football and Justin Forsett is good at it. I used to like you Jim Mora but now I hate your face. Way to make yourself look like a moron to the entire fantasy football community.
Seahawks: Forsett -4, Jones -5
The Packers barely ran the football against Pittsburgh but that was because they felt it’d be easier to attack their defense through the air (they were right). Ryan Grant should be a solid start for you this week against the Seahawks. I see him as a quality RB #2/Flex #1 starter.
Packers: Grant +1
Oakland (21st) @ Cleveland (23rd)
Justin Fargas missed practice as of Thursday. It’s looking more and more doubtful that he’ll play. If he’s inactive Michael Bush should be a decent start for you against Cleveland. Darren McFadden could sneak in to deeper leagues as a flex option in PPR but don’t get carried away. My rankings assume that Fargas DOES NOT play.
Raiders: Bush +3, McFadden +2
Eric Mangini is such a moron. Remember earlier in the season when he had this whole trickery thing going on where he wouldn’t announce whether Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson was going to be the starter? Yeah buddy, that really struck fear in to the heart of your opponents; they didn’t know which subpar quarterback on your atrocious offense they’d have to prepare for. Now, later in the season, he pulls the same stunts with his running backs. I don’t care about the Cleveland Browns but for Christmas I’d really like them to fire Mangini. Back to actual strategery yes, play Jerome Harrison.
Browns: Harrison +2
Baltimore (12th) @ Pittsburgh (5th)
Those of you who gave up the world to get Ray Rice mid-late season have been fairly disappointed. He’s still been productive but the monster outings have vanished down the stretch. Even so it says a lot about a player when you’re not happy with 15 point performances. He is going to be a sick keeper for next season. Willis McGahee’s unplayable therefore he’s not on here.
Ravens: Rice -2
Mike Tomlin keeps pouring on the compliments to Rashard Mendenhall. He hasn’t been remotely challenged by Willie Parker as the #1 in Pittsburgh. This matchup against the Ravens should be fine for Mendenhall. I don’t see them shutting him down.
Steelers: Mendenhall -1
Buffalo (31st) @ Atlanta (18th)
Speaking of awesomekeepers for next season….. Fred Jackson should definitely be in your lineup this week. Marshawn Lynch can’t really be trusted to produce but if you’re desperate he has more upside than a lot of other players.
Bills: Jackson +2, Lynch +1
Michael Turner’s almost a lock to be out this weekend and the rumor mill speculates that Snelling will get the bulk of the work. Snelling’s been extremely inconsistent since Norwood’s gotten healthy. The matchup here is extremely difficult, if not impossible to pass up. I think you have to roll the dice and get him in your lineup. Norwood’s too much of a question mark for me to play but if you’re going to do it let it be PPR and a DEEP (14 team or more) league.
Falcons: Snelling +5, Norwood +2
St. Louis (28th) @ Arizona (29th)
Once again Steven Jackson is missing practices this week due to the nagging injuries but he says he’ll play and there’s no reason to doubt he will. Arizona’s run defense has been poor, as expected lately after starting the season flukily stout. SJax could put up serious digits in this contest.
Rams: Jackson +2
Speaking of horrible run defenses…. Tim Hightower has been a favorite of mine since last season when he helped me bring home the hardware in one of my leagues. Then this season I grabbed him wherever possible in PPR and it paid off in spades. As of late, however, he’s losing the goal line touches (and more of the work, in general) to Beanie Wells. Despite the excellent matchup I think you have to sit Hightower unless you’re in a deep PPR league because we have no idea what to expect from him. Beanie Wells should make an excellent start for you in this all important contest (and a great keeper next season).
Cardinals: Wells +5, Hightower +1
Detroit (25th) @ San Francisco (9th)
Morris has great skills as an all-around back that catches passes in addition to rushing the football. The 49’ers run defense is fairly solid but I’m not scurred of it. Morris will not split many touches with Aaron Brown and Stafford’s been shut down for the season so you know he’ll get opportunities.
Lions: Morris 0
49’ers: Gore +3
Denver (27th) @ Philadelphia (11th)
This is going to be a really tough call for a lot of fantasy owners on Sunday. It looks like Correll Buckhalter’s going to play and snake some touches from Moreno. The Broncos offense is not as explosive as it was earlier in the season and the Eagles defense matches up well with them. I’m not saying you should sit Moreno but I would consider whether you have better options. For example I’d play Maurice Morris all day over him.
Broncos: Moreno -2
Here’s another situation I’d look to avoid if possible. Westbrook’s almost certain to play on Sunday. McCoy’s mostly been the man but there’s no way to be sure how things will be divided up in an offensive scheme that’s already pre-occupied with spreading the football around.
Eagles: McCoy -1, Weaver -2, Westbrook -4
NY Jets (6th) @ Indianapolis (17th)
All Thomas Jones does for you is put up double digit outings on a weekly basis. How boring. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be a solid #2 RB in your lineup for this game. Shonn Greene belongs on the bench until next season, when hopefully we’ll see him as the feature back.
Jets: Jones +1, Greene 0
The Colts want to go 16-0. Period. But what will they risk for that record? We just don’t know. I’m think they will play most the game, but I’m not in Caldwell’s head either. Addai could easily get into the endzone since he does that on a regular basis so I’m not going to downgrade him too much based on the risk that he leaves early.
Colts: Addai -2
Dallas (4th) @ Washington (19th)
I can’t make you any promises about Marion Barber. He was on my list of players to avoid this season and he’ll be on there again next year before the draft. It probably doesn’t help that I hate the Cowboys with every fiber of my being. He’s basically guaranteed to get any goal line opportunities in this game but I question the odds of him racking up a lot of yardage. He could be a flex play for you, depending. Felix Jones has a role in the offense but it’s not enough to play him.
Cowboys: Barber +1, Jones 0
I have such a man crush on Quinton Ganther that it’s hard for me to be completely neutral. He’s basically the exact same player as Maurice Morris; OK talent, getting ALL the opportunities, plays on a horrible team. I’m down with that and I have a spot for him on my roster this week to prove it.
Redskins: Ganther -1
Minnesota (3rd) @ Chicago (26th)
Same thing as every week- if you sit AP you’re a moron. Chester Taylor really shouldn’t be in your lineup unless you’re getting crushed by injuries (i.e. DeAngelo Williams). He could have a decent game but I’d rather roll the dice and go with a player that has more upside.
Vikings: Peterson +2, Taylor +2
Bears: Forte -4