Eli Manning @ Patriots
The Giants started off slow, but part of the reason for their lack of success can be blamed on weather issues on the East Coast as it cost the team valuable training camp time, coming off the lockout. Since Victor Cruz has picked up his play Week 3, Eli Manning has at least 292 yards passing in four of his last five games.
Playing the Patriots weak pass defense this weekend, Manning has to be a must-start unless you have one of the elite starters in fantasy leagues. With Brandon Jacobs continue to struggle and Ahmad Bradshaw battling a foot injury, the Giants will be forced to put the football up in the air to win. Manning also received some good news on Monday when star receiver Hakeem Nicks was only listed day to day after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday.
Michael Bush vs. Broncos
Even if Darren McFadden finds the field this week, Michael Bush is a solid flex play against a Broncos defense that has struggled to contain the Raiders running game in recent years. Coming off a blowout against the Lions, the Raiders shouldn’t have a problem doing what they hoped to do against the Chiefs, and that’s keep the football on the ground to help the their quarterback.
While the passing game will expand over the season as Carson Palmer continues to understand the playbook and develop chemistry with his receivers, it would be wise for the Raiders to run the ball over 35 times this week. Bush makes for a respectable flex play if McFadden starts, but if he’s out, look to Bush as a quality RB-2 play this week.
Javon Ringer vs. Bengals
Coach Mike Munchak maintains that Chris Johnson is still the starter, anyone who has actually watched the Titans of late should be able to tell you that is in name only. Johnson looks horrible on the field and tentative from beginning to the end of each play.
Ringer isn’t the big-play maker that Johnson can be, but he’s playing hard-nosed football and helping this team between the tackles, fighting for extra yards. Until Johnson starts to look more like his old self (probably not until next year), expect Ringer to lead the team in touches.
Victor Cruz @ Patriots
Giants’ star receiver Hakeem Nicks may play after all as his hamstring injury is of the day-to-day variety but don’t let that stop you from starting Victor Cruz this week. The Giants will have to throw to win, and it would be in their best interest to spread the Patriots out and allow Manning to worth the field.
Look for Manning to check down to Cruz underneath often, as the Patriots tend to do a good job of not giving up gashing plays for touchdowns, but can be worked the distance of the field underneath. This should be another strong game for the Giants young receiver.
Brandon Lloyd @ Cardinals
Sam Bradford or A.J. Feeley, expect Brandon Lloyd to continue to play well in Coach Josh McDaniels offense. Lloyd found the end zone last week and should have success against a Cardinal secondary that has be generous to No.1 receivers this year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Jets
The Bills are doing a good job of playing opportunistic defense and running the football with Fred Jackson this year. While Ryan Fitzpatrick got off to a hot start this year, he’s just not a weekly fantasy play going forward as his weak arm limits opportunities down the field.
The Jets defense should do a good job of forcing the Bills into field-goal opportunities when they get inside the red zone.
Chris Johnson vs. Bengals
This is turning into one of the biggest bust seasons of all time for an elite star running back who has no known injuries. Before heading into his matchup against the Colts, Johnson was ranked around the 30th highest scoring running back in just about every fantasy scoring format.
Until Johnson starts looking like the running back we’ve known in the past, he’s hardly even worth starting as a flex play, even against easy run defenses.
Ryan Torain, Roy Helu vs. 49ers
Coach Mike Shanahan is getting fussy with this running game once again as he picked up Tashard Choice off the waivers after the Cowboys released him over the weekend. Both Torain and Helu haven’t done much in recent weeks, and it’s time to keep them on your bench.
Knowshon Moreno @ Raiders
The Broncos fell behind early to the Lions, but that was only part of the problem for Knowshon Moreno’s ineffective play with Willis McGahee out of the lineup. Beyond his lackluster play, Moreno will split time with Lance Ball if McGahee should fail to play against the Raiders.
Stevie Johnson vs. Jets
As talked about with Ryan Fitzpatrick above, the Bills' passing game has been slow in recent weeks, and Stevie Johnson’s production is hurting from Fitzpatrick’s inability to throw the football down the field. This week Johnson faces off against Darrelle Revis so if you have other options, this is the week to use them.
Early Doucet vs. Rams
With Kevin Kolb likely a game-time decision with a turf toe injury, the Cardinals will likely turn to John Skelton at quarterback. With the Rams playing better, Doucet figures to have marginal success in this contest.