With the regular season in many fantasy football leagues winding down over the next couple of weeks, it's time to take some ginseng and concentrate on specific matchups. Far too often, managers see that they have a top brand-name guy and just leave him in without much thought.
You may be stoked about drafting a solid squad and picking up DeMarco Murray before everyone else in your league.
And you should be. Nice work. You made it this far, right? The guy in your league who's sitting at 2-9 is reading about the NBA lockout, not fantasy football.
But now's not the time to look back at what you did—it's time to look ahead at what's to come. Focus, my young Padawan learner. I'm here to make you look like a Jedi.
Check out these seven typical starters that need to be pulled out of your lineup. Yes, they have the brand name—like Vincent Jackson—but they don't have the right game.
Their matchups stink. And so will you if you play them.
The San Diego Chargers host the Denver Broncos on Sunday at 4:15 p.m. ET.
What Vincent Jackson owners should envision when they read that statement is Champ Bailey is going to own Jackson.
Over the past seven matchups between these two, Bailey has made Jackson look pedestrian. Jackson's stat lines over the course of those battles: 3-34-0, 3-53-0, 4-56-0, 4-46-1, 2-47-0, 6-73-0 and 4-46-0.
Bailey shuts Jackson down. Period. I'm sure it's been the headline of a few sports pages.
Jackson will shut down one of your starting spots for you if you want. I don't think you do.
So get him out of your lineup.
You see Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray in that picture? Wanna know what he's doing?
He's looking for Tony Fiammetta.
Fiammetta is Murray's reason for success. Fiammetta plays fullback for the Cowboys.
Fiammetta also has an undisclosed illness that kept him out of Week 11 and, by all indications, will keep him out of Week 12.
In Week 11, Murray rushed for 73 yards. Doesn't sound that bad.
It took him 25 carries to get those yards. That's 2.9 yards per carry.
Murray runs against the seventh-best run defense when Dallas hosts the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving.
Murray's 2.9 YPC game was against the Washington Redskins. They rank 18th against the run.
Before you stuff yourself with stuffing, go stuff Murray on your bench, and then go watch the Dolphins stuff him. That was a lot of stuff to put in one sentence.
When you're walking across the street and someone in front of you puts their hand up, you stop.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis is pictured to the left doing just that. Just for you. That is, if you own Ray Rice.
He's letting you know what he's let every running back that's faced his defense know—they are the best in the league at stopping the run. The 49ers give up 73.9 yards per game on the ground.
Rice has done well against top defenses in the past (382 yards on 85 carries (4.4 YPC) for six total touchdowns against top-eight ranked defenses), but that was the past.
The 49ers will focus on gobbling up Rice for their Sunday meal.
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense will struggle against a dominant Houston Texans defense.
The Jags offense consists of running back Maurice Jones-Drew. But don't anyone tell Jack Del Rio that.
Jones-Drew faces a stout run defense in the Texans.
Since Week 7, Houston has given up one rushing touchdown, allowed a pathetic 3.3 yards per carry and has doled out the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs over that span.
Ick. You don't want any part of that.
Jones-Drew owners, once you're done screaming at the TV for the Jags avoiding MJD at the goal line on two consecutive plays last week, go put him on your bench.
When Vernon Davis reached the end of the fourth quarter on Thanksgiving, he's likely to have the same look on his face as he does in the picture to the left.
That's a face of frustration.
The Baltimore Ravens have frustrated tight ends all season.
Not one of them has scored a touchdown against the Ravens. Not one. Davis will be no different.
He may get some receiving yards—the Ravens allow an average of 37.6 yards to tight ends each week. But is that really what you want out of your tight end position?
I'm your friend on this one. And friends don't let friends play Vernon Davis.
For years, fantasy football owners have handcuffed Adrian Peterson's backup running back.
This year it's Toby Gerhart.
With Adrian Peterson out with a high ankle sprain, Gerhart gets his first chance to shine. Well—maybe his second.
After all, he did get seven rushes against the Oakland Raiders last week.
And while seven rushes aren't much, neither was his production. He averaged 2.6 yards per carry against a horrible Oakland run defense.
This week, Gerhart faces the Atlanta Falcons, and they rank second against the run—that's bad if you are considering playing Gerhart, which you shouldn't.
There. I said it.
Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller must feel light on his feet.
Everyone in fantasy football is picking him up—off the waiver wire. C'mon, people. These are the jokes.
What's not a joke is how bad Spiller is set to perform against the New York Jets on Sunday.
Over the past five games, the Jets have allowed 394 rushing yards to running backs on 114 carries. No need for a calculator—I've done the math. That's 3.4 yards per carry.
Now, add in the fact that Spiller has been a disappointment at running back already, and you'll see that you shouldn't be excited about starting him.
You shouldn't even be excited that you plucked him off the waiver wire.
Hold on. Wait a sec.
C.J. Spiller wears No. 28. Who's the guy in the picture? That's not Spiller!
Everyone, I'd like you to meet Johnny White. He's also on the Bills' roster behind Fred Jackson.
Pro Football Weekly's scouting report on White: "Runs angry...bounces off tackles...quick feet...and is a load to bring down." That sure doesn't sound like Spiller.
Anyway, you get the point.
The guy in the picture is White, and he's waiting to get the ball, just like he's waiting on your waiver wire.
Go grab him. Just a little bonus tidbit of info for you dedicated readers who made it to the end of my article, other than my editor who was forced to make it this far.