Editors note: I’d like to thank Jen for joining the Razzball team. We might have to take the pinball machine out of the women’s bathroom at Razzball headquarters! Follow her insightful twitter comments here.
QB: START: Joe Flacco (v. DET): I know, he’s been an overall fantasy disappointment the last few weeks, especially given his great start to the season. His three interceptions in primetime Monday night were atrocious, along with penalties galore, made for an ugly performance. But the Ravens, especially Flacco, have the chance to redeem themselves this week with a matchup against a weak Detroit defense. With Flacco most likely eager to right all his wrongs from Monday night, and with the Ravens trying to stay in playoff contention, expect him to have a much better showing this week against the Lions.
SIT: Jay Cutler (v. GB): This is probably obvious, but I would like to essentially nip in the bud anyone’s idea of possibly thinking about starting him after not throwing picks last week. Chances are, you have a better option available for picking up. Keep in mind that last week, Cutler played the lowly Rams, and the overall game plan was very cautious, mostly looking to Forte and the run in the red zone (because we know Jay Cutler is the King of the Red Zone Interception). Against a Green Bay defense who played quite well against Baltimore and held the running game in check and pulled down three picks, an unreliable Cutler is not a smart start.
SIT: Whoever is the QB on Sunday for the Falcons (most likely Matt Ryan): Plainly and simply, Sunday will not be a great situation for whichever quarterback is under center. If it is Matt Ryan, there are reports out saying that his turf toe is not completely healed, and that he will probably not be playing at his best if and when going against the Saints. With the Saints narrowly avoiding devastating embarrassment last week against the Redskins, I’m sure they will not want to sweat another one out like that again this week. Already a borderline start just simply based on injury, with Roddy White also not at 100%, and a once-strong running game down the tubes, the Saints look that much closer to the perfect season. And, if Chris Redman starts, there’s not much I need to write here that should deter you from starting him. Quite frankly, the thought should have never crossed your mind. Overall, the QB position (whoever has it) this week for the Falcons should be on your bench.
RB: START: Kevin Smith (@BAL): While Kevin Smith is generally productive every week, this looks like it could be a particularly productive week for him. Although Baltimore does have a stout defense, they have been known to give up a few rushing yards here and there. Plus, with Matthew Stafford sitting this one out, the more cautious approach with Culpepper at QB would be to hand off to Smith as much as possible.
START: Fred Jackson (@KC): Since FJax has officially moved ahead of Marshawn Lynch on the Buffalo depth chart, he is primed to have a great game for two reasons: 1)Kansas City’s defense, which is ranked 31st in the league and 2) a poor performance against the Jets last week, which should motivate him to bring his A game to keep his new starting spot. This game in general should be very heavy on the run, with both teams notorious for having porous rushing defenses and relatively unproven quarterbacks. So, in that case, also start Jamaal Charles (who is not on the KC injury report).
START: LaDainian Tomlinson (@DAL): Last week, the Cowboys faced a Giants’ running game that was depleted with injuries and had been struggling for weeks. Brandon Jacobs, who has been a disappointment to fantasy owners this season, caught and ran for the longest reception of his career, scored 2 TDs, and had many productive runs. Ahmad Bradshaw, who has two sprained ankles and cracked bones in his feet, even managed to grab some first downs against a Cowboys defense that typically falls short in the twelfth month of the year. That all being said, I think LT is primed for a good week this week.
SIT: Brandon Jacobs (v.PHI): I know I just praised his Week 13 performance, but it was just that; in Week 13. Do not expect that explosive of a performance again against Philadelphia. While chances are he will get a decent amount of carries, what he will do with them will probably not be much. Last time the Giants played the Eagles was a total disaster, and Kevin Gilbride, Giants’ offensive coordinator, rarely calls appropriate plays for what Jacobs is good at and has been calling too many passing plays. Overall, it will probably be a mediocre performance for Jacobs at best on Sunday night.
WR: START: DeSean Jackson (@NYG): Though this is obvious, some may be concerned with Jackson’s possible post-concussion symptoms. He has assured that he is fine and playing on Sunday (although keep an eye for any change just to be safe). While generally, the Giants do cover him with the very capable Corey Webster, the rest of the Giants secondary probably will not do as good a job covering him, especially with safety C.C. Brown occasionally having to take on that task. Last time the Giants played the Eagles, C.C. Brown was basically responsible for the blown coverage on every receiving touchdown, and later publicly blamed himself for it. Plus, if the Giants defend against the run as well as they did against the Cowboys last week, chances are McNabb will have to pass. So, have no worries about starting DJax.
START: Santonio Holmes (@CLE): With Hines Ward likely out, and no defenders on the secondary for Cleveland to speak of, Santonio stands to get targeted quite a bit Thursday night. He should, by default (if he’s not already) become the Steelers’ #1 WR. This also increases the value of Mike Wallace, particularly as a WR3 in deep leagues or as a flex.
START: Pierre Garcon (v.DEN): Chances are, Champ Bailey will have his work cut out for him with Reggie Wayne. With Garcon being targeted so frequently last week against the Titans, look for that again. Austin Collie also becomes a viable starter as well.
SIT: The Seahawks WRs (Burleson and Houshmanzadeh): With Matt Hasselbeck’s value on the decline, and the emergence of Justin Forsett in the running game, the Seattle receivers have not been having great weeks as of late. The Texans have also emerged as a somewhat strong defense, and are in in the Top 15 as far as guarding fantasy WRs as well as pass rush. Therefore, don’t expect big days from Nate Burleson or T.J. Houshmanzadeh.
TE: START: Todd Heap: With majority of Joe Flacco’s targets going toward Heap, combined with the amount of drops and offensive pass interference calls from some of his other WRs, the Ravens will probably send the ball Heap’s way again against the Lions.
SIT: Greg Olsen (v.GB): I think that you probably realize that by now, I’m very down on the Bears. With Cutler and Forte both struggling, don’t expect much to go on, especially against Green Bay with the Packers wanting a wild card spot and playing a division rival. Olson has been rendered ineffective in many a game this season despite being Cutler’s favorite target. Expect this week to be no different.
START: TEN (@StL): Again, probably does not require much of an explanation. Kyle Boller is awful, and with the re-emergence of the Titans in general and the return of their cornerbacks, expect low scoring from the Rams and the opportunity for interceptions.
SIT: SD (@DAL): Tony Romo had a strong game against the Giants last week, put up a lot of points, but still the Cowboys lost. Expect a strong showing from Romo again and expect that this game will probably be a shootout.