The last couple weeks have been unkind to me. Fluke plays and late long distance TDs are what make fantasy football so great. Last week I won a matchup on the final Ronnie Brown TD. My opponent messaged me shortly after and admitted he had been confident Ronnie Brown would not be able to make up the deficit I’d placed myself in. But he did. That's fantasy football and that's why we love it. Prime matchups, poor starts and all. This week, I might recommend benching a few big names but that wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary.
Week One : 11-5 (68.75%), Week Two : 15-8 (65.2%), Week Three : 12-9 (57.1%), Week Four : 11-6 (64.7%), Week Five : 16-10 (61.5 %)
Adrian Peterson vs Baltimore Ravens—I don’t expect anyone to sit this guy (especially after Benson ran up 100 yards). But I’m putting this out there, Adrian Peterson is matchup proof. I haven’t listed him in this article before and I won’t do so again.
Rashard Mendenhall vs Cleveland Browns—Why do I keep listing him? Because I’m still not sold on him. I think he is going to crash and burn bad against Minnesota in the following week. But at least for this week he is still a great start. There will be not better time to trade him then after he shreds this pathetic Browns rushing defense.
Cadillac Williams vs Carolina Panthers—The once highly hyped rookie (oh so long ago) should find plenty of running lanes this weekend. The Panthers will have to contend with Josh Johnson who has proven to be decent enough to keep DBs honest to his passing as well as his running. The Buccs should score their first win this week but Williams should also be a great bye week spot start.
Jamal Lewis @ Pittsburgh Steelers & Julius Jones vs Arizona Caridnals—What do the Steelers and Cardinals have in common? Top two rushing defenses. Funny how things work. Both these RBs are well past their prime but some may be forced to start them with bye week making an impact this week. If in a PPR league, my suggestion is to find a reasonable third down RB and start him instead.
Willis McGahee @ Minnesota Vikings—I struggled with which Baltimore RB to put the emphasis on this week. The Vikings have not given up a rushing TD (only team left to claim that). Their pass rush is susceptible to screen passes however. Both Baltimore RBs are excellent at running with the ball in their hands and this is where my dilemmas lies. One RB will get his points via PPR and the other will not. Ray Rice leads the team is receptions so Willis McGahee gets the nod as the sit. Some owners my be starting one or both of them after the loopy first few weeks of production but Rice is certainly the RB to go with this week.
Ladanian Tomlinson & Darren Sproles vs Denver Broncos—I actually believe the Chargers will win this game (more from a post Pats letdown from the Broncos) but I believe Philip Rivers will be the man to pull them through. The Denver defense is Top Six against the pass and rush but the Chargers will need to make it work somehow. In the end, Rivers is currently playing better and more talented than the SD backfield. Look for them to struggle but also for Sproles to provide decent PPR potential if absolutely needed.
Michael Turner vs Chicago Bears—This is the one I’ll get ragged on this week. I expect 75 percent of my readers to ignore me and that's perfectly legit. You’re a thinking, breathing person and can make your own choices. The Bears run defense statistically looks good, but I think those numbers are a false statement of their (in the kind way) after looking at this YPC allowed. Turner is without a doubt the best RB they will have faced and I recognize his ability to bust a long run (turning a bad day into a “good” one). Still despite that, I’ve just got a feeling. And sometimes in fantasy football that’s all you get.
Marc Bulger @ Jacksonville Jaguars—Seriously, the Jags are this bad. I don’t recommend Bulger as anything more than a bye week/injury start but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see him in the Top 10 (his one time this year lol) in fantasy QBs this week.
Matt Hasselbeck vs Arizona Cardinals—If healthy, Hasselbeck could launch up 300 yards, three TDs this weekend against the league worst Cards defense. He shouldn’t be a FA in your league, but if he is pick him up and consider starting him over anyone except: Brady, Manning, Brees & Roethlisberger.
Brett Favre vs Baltimore Ravens—I hate the Ravens. Hate them with an unrighteous passion that sometimes wakes me up on Saturday night/Sunday morning before legendary PIT/BAL matchups. But even I let out a few curses as the Ravens lost to the Bengals last week. I’m amazed that a defense once prized for their elite playing level has fallen to a league joke in the passing department. Ed Reed is amazing but this defense will have its hands full dealing with Peterson. Except a deja vu performance from the old man (think MNF a few weeks back).
Drew Brees vs New York Giants—The Giants are the number one pass defense in the NFL….lol I got you didn’t I? Of course you don’t sit Drew Brees. But I am sure there are people out there that will hear all the statistics about the NYG pass defense. Well fact check, they’ve basically played the dredge of the league (yes I’m looking at you too Dallas). Start Brees with confidence, I just had to make sure you weren’t falling asleep on me.
Philip Rivers vs Denver Broncos—No offense to the great level of play from Rivers so far, but the 3-4 defense of the Steelers (without Troy) imposed their will on SD for three quarters. The Denver Broncos are legit on defense and have the veteran leadership to keep them playing at a high level (it's the young offense I’m most worried about). Rivers will do enough to win and that might have him throwing two TDs at most. I think you have to start Rivers unless you have a legit backup options but in any case with a viable spot start, I’d bench Rivers. (Extra Note: I’m sure I’m going to regret this but its what I think will happen. Rivers seems to spite me though in matters of benching)
Eli Manning @ New Orleans Saints—The younger Manning is playing great football. But even Mannings are prone to the occasional bad day. We’ll see the old Eli for a limited performance this Sunday. This NO pass defense is relentless and is making a case for their team photo to go in the dictionary besides “opportunistic.”
Hines Ward vs Cleveland Browns—The golden oldie is having a stellar start to his season. While the Steelers are becoming more and more balanced against below par opponents (except that to change against average defenses), they are still moving the ball at ease both on the ground and through the air. Ben Roethlisberger seems even more content to call his own number at the line of scrimmage as his confidence with these WRs grows. Santonio Holmes is still proving to be an up and down type player but Ward should be written down for 80 yards and one TD this weekend.
Donnie Avery @ Jacksonville Jaguars—Contrary to my boss’s greatest fear, I am not going to recommend that Avery start for you in place of Andre Johnson. But he should be the WR3 for every owner that has him. He could easily produce high WR2-low WR1 type numbers this week against a poor Jacksonville defense. Bulger is at his worst under pressure, the Jags can’t bring pressure which should give Avery plenty of time to use his speed to make big plays.
Vincent Jackson vs Denver Broncos—I actually feel that Philip Rivers can 1) make me look like an idiot, two) throw three TDs and/or three) go over 300 yards without having a huge game from Vincent Jackson. The Denver defense is excellent at rolling safety coverage over Champ Bailey (as if he needs it) to shut down deep threats. So while I believe that Rivers should only be benched for good QB2 options, I think Vincent Jackson can be benched or started as a WR3 at best.
Mohamed Massaquoi @ Pittsburgh Steelers—The team leader in receptions in Cleveland and new WR1 was a huge fantasy waiver wire pick up last week. Sadly everyone forgot the Browns sucks massively and he will now draw WR1 type coverage without any of the refinement needed to beat that coverage. Ike Taylor alone will dominate the poor rookie but expect a revived Steelers pass defense (welcome back Troy) to keep Massaquoi below three receptions for 30 yards.
Jeremy Shockey vs New York Giants—A tough week for elite TE owners. Both Jason Witten, Dallas Clark and Vernon Davis have the bye week this week leaving the door open to many potential top 10-12 TEs for Sunday. Shockey is one of those. The personal vendetta going into this week should provide even more fuel to the wild man’s normal passion for the game. With Sean Payton having an extra bye week, I expect the Saints to attack the Giants secondary precisely and often. The safety play is most in question and over the top support against Shockey may be inadequate.
Dustin Keller vs Buffalo Bills—The sophomore TE has been a poor start as of late. But the Bills are just the right fix for this bye week start. The Bills have provided good games to nearly ever TE that has played them and few of those TEs were as “WR” as Keller. Sanchez has a new toy in Braylon Edwards that should stretch the Bills defense and leave plenty of space for Keller in the middle.
Chris Cooley vs Kansas City Chiefs—Its very hard to suggest anyone to bench during this harsh bye week. But if there is anyone that owners should be cautious with, its Cooley. The guy is a top 12 TE who got pulled for blocking duty all last week. The Chiefs defense provides yards through the air but are also very aggressive. The game plan against KC would have included retaining Cooley as an extra blocker anyways but now I fear he might be put into unfair situations no matter the play calling. While Zorn may seek to “force” Cooley into the game plan, I don’t see how that will help Campbell, Cooley or the Redskins react and respond to the flow of the game.