By Sean Haugh
To help you bring home the hardware, here are a few suggestions that I trust will be quality IDP starts.
First rule, this is no time to get cute and bench a stud because you have a wild notion that some rookie will blow up this week. This is particularly true at Defensive Line.
Defensive Linemen to Start
My absolute far and away Start of the Week is mah Panther Julius Peppers. Never mind that he gave you the goose egg last week. This week, he faces a once-proud Giants offensive line that gave up an amazing eight sacks last week against the Eagles. You bet Peppers and his teammates have been studying that film all week.
This leads to the second rule of Championship Week, start the quality players in the games with the highest stakes. There are no higher stakes than in the two contests for home-field advantage in the playoffs, Carolina at New York and Pittsburgh at Tennessee.
When in doubt, look first to these teams.
Another game, which qualifies under both rules at DL, is Atlanta at Minnesota. You would be nuts to sit either John Abraham or Jared Allen this week.
Of course, you aren’t here to hear me say start these studs. The list of other Defensive Linemen I like this week begins with Chicago’s Alex Brown at home against a Packers team limping to the finish line.
The Chargers are another team playing as if they have nothing left to live for, even though they actually do. Although they have done a good job all year of protecting Philip Rivers, they made Tamba Hali look like a Pro Bowler last week, so I like Gaines Adams and Kevin Carter to tear them up at home.
If you need to look to the waiver wire for help, Hali wouldn’t be a bad choice given his recent solid performances, even in a relatively tough matchup against the Dolphins.
And finally, thanks to our glorious and fair judicial system, the Saints’ Will Smith enjoys toying with Division II’s entry in the NFL at Detroit. Bobby McCray is worth a start as well.
Linebackers to Start
Remembering rule No. 2, once you’ve gotten past any Steelers, Titans, Giants or Panthers, the contest that jumps out at me is Saturday night’s brawl when Baltimore travels to Dallas.