The 2013 NFL regular season has been one of the most unpredictable years in the history of fantasy football. Some of the biggest and brightest names in the league have failed to contribute in a steady manner, and numerous owners have been left searching for answers.
Rather than writing off the superstar athletes who haven't lived up to expectations, the best approach is to monitor each potential matchup. A breakout performance could come at any turn, and thus, you need to make sure you don't miss out on that golden opportunity to cash in.
Here are the stars who will present you with the dominance that you've been searching for.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Position: Wide Receiver
Opponent: Houston Texans
Week 9: Bye
2013 Season Statistics: 8 GP; 36 REC, 65 TGTS, 470 YDS, 5 TD
The trouble with trusting wide receivers in fantasy football leagues is that their production depends heavily upon the quality of their quarterback. Over the past two seasons, we've seen Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald suffer because of the inconsistency under center.
Look for Fitzgerald to bounce back against the Houston Texans in Week 10.
Houston entered Week 9 with the No. 1 pass defense in the league, but that's not the only thing you need to know. The Texans only have three interceptions in 2013, which opens the door for Carson Palmer to take chances down field.
The pass rush is heavy, but if the Cardinals are able to establish the run against the No. 28 run defense, finding Fitzgerald won't be an issue.
There's risk in starting Fitzgerald, but he's received 65 targets through eight games. Palmer looking for him hasn't been the issue, as he's had more trouble completing the passes to the seven-time Pro Bowl selection than delivering them.
Coming off a bye week, expect that chemistry to be at an all-time high.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Position: Running Back
Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 9: 23 ATT, 150 YDS, 2 TD; 3 REC, 20 YDS at St. Louis Rams
2013 Season Statistics: 138 ATT, 516 YDS, 2 TD; 18 REC, 187 YDS, 2 TD
Chris Johnson has been the definition of boom-or-bust for the better part of the past three seasons. Gone are the days of CJ2K, and upon us are the times in which inconsistent offensive line play is no longer a consistently reasonable excuse.
After picking up his first 100-yard game of the season in Week 9, look for Johnson to prove that he's officially back as an elite player against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10.
Johnson has a history of struggling against the Jaguars, but Jacksonville is ranked No. 32 in run defense in 2013. Teams are currently averaging 161.8 rushing yards per contest, and that is too attractive a number to ignore.
If Johnson can't dominate this game, it's time to remove him from your "start no matter what" list.
The key for Johnson will be his ability to break out as a receiver, and with Jake Locker healthy and under center, he should be able to do so. The Jaguars can be stingy, but as long as Locker can successfully air it out, there's no excuse for Johnson to do anything but post another 100-yard performance.
Fresh off a 150-yard, two-touchdown performance against the St. Louis Rams, it's critical that you start Johnson next week.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Week 9: 28-of-48, 400 YDS, 4 TD, 2 INT at New England Patriots
2013 Season Statistics: 64.9 CMP% 2,330 YDS, 12 TD, 9 INT
Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers is a two-time Super Bowl champion and a two-time Pro Bowler. Injuries have played a major role in the latter number, as Roethlisberger is an elite player when healthy, but that just hasn't happened on a consistent basis.
Roethlisberger is healthy now, so don't hesitate to get him into your lineup.
The Buffalo Bills have a strong defense that knows how to get after the quarterbacks and force opportunistic turnovers. Roethlisberger, meanwhile, just torched the New England Patriots for 400 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Don't expect him to slow down any time soon.
Roethlisberger is completing 64.9 percent of his passes for the season and 66.8 percent since Heath Miller returned to action. He hadn't found the end zone very often, but he's thrown for at least 250 yards in six of his past seven outings and just erupted with a four-score day.
There's risk in this selection, but Roethlisberger has an explosive receiving corps and a running back who is finally providing balance. Reap the benefits by starting him.
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