10 Must-Starts to Win Your Fantasy Matchup This Week

Jeffrey MannCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2008


Now clearly you all have the players that you'll start regardless of the match up- All Day, LT, Peyton Manning (especially against Houston!) and so on. This list will ignore those completely. This is the list of under-the-radar fantasy starts that just might win you your match up this week.

1. STEVE SLATON(Houston). He didn't amaze anyone with his rushing total last week. His receiving total on the other hand...eight catches for 83 yards! Then again, he was going against a stout Jacksonville defensive front. He should be able to run all over the Colts weak run defense this week.

2. FELIX JONES(Dallas). Dallas didn't run a whole lot last week, and Jones didn't touch the ball at all. Look for that to change this week as they face Cincinnati's miserable defense. Both he and Barber will get their touches, and Jones is a home run threat every time he touches the ball. He could go off this week.

3. ROBERT MEACHEM(New Orleans). With Colston out, Drew Brees has to throw to somebody. The story last week was the resurgence of Deuce McAllister, but the fact that Meachem came up with a couple big catches shouldn't be overlooked. Look for Brees to target him more against a Vikings defense that has no trouble shutting down the run, but is vulnerable in the passing game.

4. DARREN SPROLES(San Diego). Both he and LT should go off against Miami, but I'm expecting Sproles to come up big in the passing game against an inexperinced Miami defense. Like Felix Jones, Sproles is a home run hitter going up against a defensive equivalent of Adam Eaton.

5. Carolina Panthers, All of them. Come on, they're playing the Chiefs, and they are at home. Start the defense, either of the Deangelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart, Jake Delhomme, Steve Smith and Mohammed, just start everyone. You could have most of the Panthers on your team and be optimistic about winning this week. (This same idea goes for anyone playing the Rams for the rest of the season.)

6. Any Buffalo wide out. You did see the Jets-Cardinals last week, right?

7. BRIAN GRIESE(Tampa Bay). You read that right, I said Brian Griese. This is more of an illustration of how bad Denvers' defense is than anything else.

8. Detroit's Defense. This is the point where you think I'm crazy. But they are facing Kyle Orton this week. I'm not saying that they wont get run all over, but the interceptions and fumble recoveries they receive may be enough to offset this. This might be Detroit's best chance to win a game this season, and I'm sure they know that too.

9. Buffalo's Defense. See above, then add Kurt Warner. This could get ugly. Nevermind that Buffalos' D is actually pretty good, and they definately should be higher on this list. oops.

10. Matt Cassel. This is somewhat of a risk, but with Randy Moss on that team he has to throw the ball down field sometime, right? Add in a gambling 49ers defense, and Bill Belicheck armed with an off week: it just might be a formula for success.

Upset pick of the Week: Houston over Indianapolis. Indy's defense is that bad. They can't stop the run, and Steve Slaton is good. Matt Schaub is not as bad  as he has appeared in recent games either. It definitely says something about Indy's D that they're only favored by 3 against a win-less team.

Easiest Betting Line of the Week: SAN Diego (-5.5) Over Miami. Expect the Chargers to cover the spread, maybe double it. Miami took New England by surprise last week, they're not going to be able to run that option play on the Chargers' defense this week. The Chargers offense should explode this week, and I expect their defense to be all over Chad Pennington, something the Patriots were not able to do.