It's Friday and you're still biting your nails over who to drop into your WR3 or Flex spot on your fantasy football roster. Or maybe you have two QB2's and you need to buckle down and pick one of them to be your savior at your QB1 spot.
Let's not make mountains out of mole hills. NFL Soup is back into the regular season with our weekly Fantasy Football Versus Decision-Maker column and we're here to tackle some of the toughest matchups to figure out.
We've selected four matchups at the top four fantasy positions, so read on to get some help in making your tough decisions for this Sunday.
Donovan McNabb (Washington Redskins) vs. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
You have McNabb on a new team, with a bum ankle, facing a very active Dallas defense, or you have Matt Ryan, hoping for a breakout in his third season, going up against a usually stout Pittsburgh defense.
McNabb's upside isn't that great this week. Obviously he has DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys' corners to be concerned about, but he's also possibly gimpy and going against top competition with a new system and weapons. Add the fact that it's a divisional battle and starting McNabb becomes a tough sell.
Ryan does have a tough Pittsburgh defense on the road, but he's fully healthy, has a healthy running game, and better weapons than McNabb. If you're on the fence between the two, go with the upside, and start Ryan.
Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins) vs. Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts)
In this matchup we find two good values out of this year's draft, but both players hold valid questions. Brown is a potent back in a run-first offense, but he's coming off of a serious injury and should still share the ball with Ricky Williams.
On the other hand, Addai looked good in preseason action, but concerns are growing that he could lose more touches to second-year back, Donald Brown.
Ronnie Brown would be the easy pick here, especially with him going up against a cakewalk run defense in the Buffalo Bills. The Bills' pass defense is inconsistent, but can be tough enough to force Miami to run as much as they probably would actually like to. This bodes well for owners of Brown. However, that timeshare with Ricky Williams is real.
Addai continues to be that solid fantasy performer that everyone forgets about, bashes, or passes on. Yet, all the guy does is score touchdowns and pile up total yardage like it's not even difficult. Donald Brown is not a major concern, despite people trying to make this out to be a bigger timeshare than it is.
We love Ronnie Brown this week, but Addai is consistent and he's always reliable. Go with Addai.
Michael Crabtree (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Jabar Gaffney (Denver Broncos)
Crabtree played fairly well in his rookie season, especially considering he only played half the year after a lengthy contract holdout caused him to miss most of the offseason and all of preseason.
Gaffney showed late last season that he could put up Brandon Marshall-type numbers in Denver's offense, if only for two games. The question is, can Crabtree take the next step, or can we truly believe that Gaffney is as valuable as he looked at the end of 2009?
Crabtree is talented, but he's got to be considered the second option behind Vernon Davis and the odds are the 49ers still run the ball more than they pass. That may not be the case for Denver, as Knowshon Moreno is still a little banged up. Gaffney could be a nice surprise early in the season and if he starts out of the gates on fire against the inept Jacksonville pass defense, he could stave off rookie Demaryius Thomas as a starter.
It's obviously a close call, but we're loving Gaffney's value in a great matchup for him on paper. Start Gaffney.
Heath Miller (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. John Carlson (Seattle Seahawks)
Miller is as reliable as tight ends come, although his consistency hasn't always translated into gaudy fantasy numbers. You have to factor that in, as well as the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is out. We can't be certain how much Dennis Dixon will rely on his safety valve.
Carlson matched his 2008 rookie numbers almost exactly, but still hasn't met expectations. Is Miller a better option even without Big Ben, or is Carlson's potential enough to win this matchup?
Carlson is going up against a much more physical defense, which could lead to Matt Hasselbeck getting rocked behind his still sketchy offensive line. That could lead to more targets in the second half of the game, but that's not the kind of fantasy game you want to play with. Miller should be a quality safety net for Dixon, and is always a solid red-zone threat. Start the more reliable Miller.
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