It's all about matchups in fantasy football. This becomes increasingly easy to exploit for the knowledgeable fantasy owner the further we get into the season.
Tendencies along with strengths and weaknesses have come into full view at this point in the season. Studying those qualities only increases the chances of fielding the best lineup.
Below, I'll try to assist this process on some tough decisions. I tried to avoid the obvious choices and focus on ones people may be struggling over.
The lists in the tables will start with the strongest play in that category to the weakest. So, for the starters, the player on top is the one I project to have the best week. For the players that need to sit, the player at the top is the one I project to have the worst week.
|Robert Griffin III||at Eagles|
|Jason Campbell||at Bengals|
|Colin Kaepernick||at Saints|
|Philip Rivers||at Dolphins|
|Tom Brady||at Panthers|
Start: Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Opponent: Washington Redskins
Nick Foles has been outstanding in Chip Kelly's offense. He is saving the Eagles' season, and I suspect that of a few fantasy owners.
Over the last two weeks, the second-year quarterback has combined to hit 34 of 46 passes that were good for 634 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Both of those were road games. He gets a home game this week and a soft defense.
The Redskins defense is abysmal, and that is especially true in the passing game. The 'Skins allow an average of 274.8 yards per game to opposing passers.
Sit: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Opponent: at New Orleans Saints
The days of finding the quarterback who played the Saints that week as a starting point for sleepers are gone. New Orleans has a good pass defense, and it is really strong in the Superdome.
The Saints have allowed an average of 199.9 yards per home game to opposing passers.
There is a threat that Colin Kaepernick will bust off a few long runs, but the 49ers will look to Frank Gore first and foremost against a Saints defense that still struggles against the run.
|Chris Ivory||at Bills|
|Andre Ellington||at Jaguars|
|Ryan Mathews||at Dolphins|
|Steven Jackson||at Buccaneers|
Start: Andre Brown, New York Giants
Opponent: Green Bay Packers
After missing the first eight games of the season with a broken leg, Andre Brown returned with a vengeance against the Oakland Raiders last week. He took 30 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. He also added in a four-yard catch for good measure.
I expect more of the same this week from this fresh back.
The Packers have been getting torched on the ground the last three weeks.
The Packers are 19th in the NFL by allowing 4.2 yards per carry, and I expect the Giants to give Brown a steady diet of handoffs to try to keep his momentum rolling.
Sit: Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
Opponent: San Diego Chargers
Allowing 114.6 rushing yards per game gained at the NFL's 29th worst average of 4.8 yards per carry, the Chargers are typically a defense I try to exploit in running back matchups. Not this week. Not the way the Dolphins' bad offensive line is getting worse.
Last week, Lamar Miller gained two yards. Hang on, this gets worse. He gained those two yards on seven carries. Wait, I'm not done yet. He tied quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the team's leading rusher on the day.
So, just for the record, the Dolphins finished last week's game against the previously winless Buccaneers carrying the ball 14 times for a grand total of two yards.
|Torrey Smith||at Bears|
|Roddy White||at Buccaneers|
|Anquan Boldin||at Saints|
|Denarius Moore||at Texans|
|Jordy Nelson||at Giants|
Start: Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opponent: Atlanta Falcons
Vincent Jackson has been slumping. The last three weeks combined, he has 10 catches for 118 yards and no touchdowns.
He will break out of his slump this week. The Falcons are a disaster, and the pass defense isn't helping that fact. It is 25th in opposing passing yards.
In Week 7, V-Jax torched the Falcons for 10 catches, 138 yards and two touchdowns. He will torch them again this week.
Sit: Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
Opponent: vs. New England Patriots
Steve Smith hasn't had more than six catches or 69 receiving yards in a game this season.
The Panthers are a run-heavy team, and Smith is not getting the opportunities down the field that he once did.
This week, he faces a New England Patriots defense that is 12th in passing but 30th in rushing. I don't expect Smith to get many looks in this matchup.
|Jordan Cameron||at Bengals|
|Jordan Reed||at Eagles|
|Rob Housler||at Jaguars|
|Antonio Gates||at Dolphins|
|John Carlson||at Seahawks|
|Brandon Pettigrew||at Steelers|
Start: Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
Opponent: at Cincinnati Bengals
Playing with Jason Campbell as his quarterback the last time the Browns took the field, Jordan Cameron had just one catch for four yards, but he did have five targets. I expect him to continue to be targeted, and the efficiency will increase.
Campbell has always been quick to check down. He is a quarterback who knows where his backs and tight ends are. I expect Cameron to lead the Browns in targets this week.
In Week 4 against the Bengals, Cameron went off for 10 catches, 91 yards and a touchdown.
Sit: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Opponent: Detroit Lions
Over his last four games, Heath Miller has combined for 10 catches, 85 yards and a touchdown. Three of those games, he had 19 receiving yards or less.
The 31-year-old is also coming off his worst game of the season where he hauled in just one catch on five targets for six yards.
Meanwhile, the Lions have been strong against opposing tight ends this season.
The only reason I wouldn't keep Miller on the bench would be because I cut him.
Start: New York Jets
Opponent: at Buffalo Bills
Running the ball on nearly 46 percent of their plays, the Bills have the sixth-highest mark in that category. Meanwhile, the Jets own the league's best rush defense in terms of yards per game and per rush.
On top of this, when the Jets played the Bills in Week 3, New York totaled eight sacks.
Sit: San Francisco 49ers
Opponent: at New Orleans Saints
The 49ers defense is not as fierce as it once was, and the Saints offense is as potent as ever.
Honestly, even if the 49ers had the fiercest defense in the NFL, I wouldn't start them against New Orleans. On top of the Saints' seemingly always dominant passing attack, New Orleans rushed for 242 yards last week against the Cowboys en route to going for over 600 yards of total offense and 49 points.
|Nick Folk||at Bills|
|Nick Novak||at Dolphins|
|Blair Walsh||at Seahawks|
Start: Nick Folk, New York Jets
Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Nick Folk hasn't missed a kick this season, and he's made at least three field goals in three straight games.
Sit: Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings
Opponent: Seattle Seahawks
It's hard for opponents to score points in Seattle, and that includes kickers. Blair Walsh is having a decent year, but he's made just 13 field goals.
Season rankings and stats for team via TeamRankings.com.
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