While my fantasy football teams are doing great this season, my advice on who to sit and start has been very average. I’ve looked at stats, crunched the numbers, played the odds and tried to make the most informed decisions I could in helping others start the right players. Well, screw that research and time, especially since half the time I was wrong anyway. This week, I’m going with my gut. Sure, I could be just as wrong if not worse this week, but I figure its worth a shot.
Matt Ryan – As far as NFL quarterbacks go, Ryan is one of those you wouldn’t mind trusting your franchise with, but in fantasy his numbers have never really been championship worthy. Under the Georgia Dome roof however, Matty Ice is a fantasy stud, and even against a decent Packers secondary, expect 15 or more points.
Josh Freeman - Yes, I know he is facing the Ravens, and yes I know the Bucs aren’t nearly as good away from TB, but there is only one way to beat the Baltimore defense, and that is to pass the football. Freeman has been steady if unspectacular this season, (he hasn’t scored over 19 points in standard scoring leagues), but he hasn’t let you down either (other than his 6 point effort against Pittsburgh). Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn are great targets, and expect the Bucs to be trailing late, meaning plenty of throws for Josh.
Brett Favre – No Brad Childress, no LaRon Landry, and nothing to lose. Sounds like as good a week as any to go with Favre if you don’t have clearly better options. Favre is a top-ten starter this week.
Knowshon Moreno - So what if Josh McDaniels hates running the football? Moreno gets plenty of looks at the goal line, he is seeing more and more throws come his direction in the passing game, and there is no one else to worry you in the Denver backfield.
Mike Tolbert - Perhaps the dumbest move I made in fantasy this season was dropping Mike Tolbert. I really needed a wide receiver during one of the bye weeks, Tolbert was stuck again behind Ryan Mathews, and I had other backs to fill the void. Of course, now Tolbert is a top ten, maybe top five guy this week against a pathetic Colts rush defense, and you have to get him into your starting lineup.
Keiland Williams - Look, everyone knows the Minnesota Vikings run defense is one of the best in football, but if you are in a PPR league, Keiland Williams could be your best friend this week. Expect a lot of screens to the LSU rookie, and with no Portis or Torain, he is the main redzone threat barring a James Davis sighting.
Mike Thomas – Yes, I am actually thinking that a Jaguar player not named Maurice Jones-Drew is worth starting this week. The Jags will likely be trailing in this game, they will need to throw the football, and Thomas has improved weekly. In PPR formats, Thomas is a lock starter.
James Jones - Sure, Greg Jennings steals all the headlines, and Donald Driver is the ageless wonder, but Jones has really grown into the Packer offense ever since injuries to Jermichael Finley and Driver. Jones is a big threat in the red zone, and the Falcons are still suspect in the secondary, so Jones is a great quality start this weekend.
Mike Wallace – I know this seems like a “no duh” selection, but I’m an idiot and actually sat him last week against the Raiders in four of my five leagues (I have Wallace on every team). Wallace is no longer a match-up guy or a flash in the pan, he is now the new Santonio Holmes, and Big Ben will be looking at him early and often against the Bills.
Joel Dreessen - No, I’m not a prisoner of the moment (Dreessen scored 16 points last week against the Jets), but I have been waiting for a Texan tight end to secure the starting role, and Dreessen is the guy. A touchdown and forty yards seems very likely, and the Titans aren’t very good defending tight ends (just ask Chris Cooley).
Oakland Raiders - It is easy to look at their performance last week and give up on this defense, but then you have to think about their opponent. Miami’s offense is awful, they will be without Brandon Marshall, and Tyler Thigpen is under center. I’m a Dolphins fan, and unless Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams bounce back from down years, this will be a defensive battle and it is hard to see Miami doing much on the scoreboard.
Joe Flacco - If there is one thing Tampa Bay does on defense is defend the pass. Their head coach is a former secondary coach and played defensive back in college. Aqib Talib is turning into one of the top lock-down corners in the NFL, and the Bucs have great speed at linebacker. Flacco threw for 300 yards for the first time this season last week, but don’t expect him to have nearly as much success against Raheem Morris’ crew.
Eli Manning - It has been feast or famine for Eli all season, and this week I am predicting famine despite a pretty juicy match-up. Three things scare me though about the younger Manning this week. First, it is going to be very cold and windy in New Jersey on Sunday. Second, Eli is without Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith, plus Ahmad Bradshaw is firmly in the doghouse due to his fumbilitis. Third, the Giants are going to pound Brandon Jacobs into the porous Jags front seven, meaning less opportunities for #10.
Steven Jackson - I don’t know why Scott Linehan hates Steven Jackson so much, but he really needs to stop. Instead of taking pressure of his rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, Linehan thinks because he is in St. Louis he has to recreate the greatest show on turf. The problem? His wide receivers suck. Jackson has only broken 100 yards three times this season, the same amount of times he has found the endzone. Despite constantly being rated as a top ten running back every week in fantasy, Jackson is not being utilized correctly, and despite a Jessica Biel sexy match-up against the Broncos, don’t expect a dominating score from SJ.
LeSean McCoy – McCoy has been a pleasant surprise this year despite a less than stellar offensive line and playing in an offensive system that hates running the football. Even with Michael Vick playing the best football of his career, Shady McCoy will find it tough going against the Chicago Bears defense. The front seven of Chicago is super athletic, and running room will be tough to find. McCoy still might catch 5-6 passes, but I can’t see too many total yards for the Eagles back.
Anquan Boldin - I HATE Boldin this week. His role in the offense seems to be decreasing as the season rolls on, plus he is facing one of the top young corners in the NFL. Boldin has scored zero points twice this year, including last week, and this week it is hard to see him even getting close to double digits.
Randy Moss - Only because he is facing Houston is he even remotely worth starting. Moss is only an option if your other WRs are worthless, or you are a masochist.
Vernon Davis - The 49ers tight end is a freak, and could have a nice week, but I just can’t trust him right now. Troy Smith is more comfortable throwing to other targets, teams are focusing their coverages on Davis, and the San Francisco offense is a mess right now. Plus, Adrian Wilson is going be very physical with a banged up Davis, all of which makes Vernon a dangerous start.
Green Bay Packers - I know a lot of people are excited about how well the Packers are playing, but going into the Georgia Dome is different than hosting the Falcons. I’m not saying Atlanta is going to score 30+ points, but I don’t see many turnovers and Clay Matthews’ effectiveness will be limited by having to concentrate on Michael Turner. The Packers won’t lose you points, but they won’t get you big points either.
About the Author
Written by Robert Bode
A sports die-hard through and through. I grew up playing almost every sport possible, and to this day I try to stay as active as possible. However, since I'm not a professional athlete, talking and writing about sports is the next best thing. A University of Florida graduate but living in my hometown of Washington D.C. (well Northern Virginia), my favorite teams are the Florida Gators, Miami Dolphins, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Real Madrid, good up-tempo NBA teams (so not the Knicks), and Washington Capitals.