Every week, there are certain fantasy studs that you simply have to start no matter what, such as Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster and Calvin Johnson.
There are also a good number of players you know you should sit each week, such as a fringe wide receiver like Jabar Gaffney going up against an extremely tough New York Jets pass defense.
And then there are those players whom you have no idea whether to start 'em, or sit 'em.
Here are a few not-so-obvious guys at each major fantasy position that you might not know what to do with, but for whom the stats and other information dictate one way or the other.
Eli Manning (vs. GB)
Eli tossed up his second 400-yard game of the season (and his career) last weekend, but as it turned out, it wasn’t enough as the Giants took the loss against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
This weekend he’ll face an even hotter team going up against the Packers…and yet an even worse pass D.
Manning squared off with Rodgers in Week 16 of last season and tossed up 301 yards with two touchdowns, so it seems he certainly knows how to throw on them.
The Giants may not get the victory here, but with the way the Giants receiving corps and especially Victor Cruz are playing, I have no doubt Eli will give his fantasy owners a chance at their own victory this weekend.
Cam Newton (@ TB)
Only two QBs have thrown for less than 225 yards against the Buccaneers this year (Alex Smith and Matt Hasselbeck), yet both of them combined to toss up four TDs.
Basically, the Buccaneers have a pretty weak pass D.
Though Newton has certainly slowed down his passing game since the beginning of the season, he still runs the hell out of the ball and is one of the few QBs in the league who can put up major fantasy points regardless of how well he's chucking the pill.
Get him in there and watch the fireworks fly in this interdivisional matchup.
Other QBs You Should Consider Starting:
Tim Tebow (@ Min)
Matt Moore (vs. Oak)
LeGarrette Blount (vs. Car)
It’s not very often a running back like LeGarrette Blount gets ranked among the top handful of guys for the week, but whenever a back faces off against the Panthers, there’s no reason in the world not to.
Carolina owns by far the worst run defense this season, allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs—numbers which include giving up the most rushing and receiving TDs by a running back along with the third-most rushing yards in the league.
In addition, Blount seems to be on a bit of a roll right now, putting up two straight 100-yard games (both on the road) and a season-high 159 total yards last weekend.
Chris Johnson (@ Buf)
CJ2K hasn't quite earned back his nickname from two years ago, but it certainly looks like he's on his way.
Not all of the credit should be heaped upon his shoulders, though, as the Titans offensive line seems to have finally put it together, allowing Johnson to run as freely as he did back in 2009.
In two of the last three weeks, CJ28 has put up 130-plus yards on the ground with a season-best 190-yard output coming last weekend against the Buccaneers.
I still wouldn't quite trust him against a good rush D like when the Falcons held him to 13 yards on 12 carries two weeks ago, but the Bills have no such thing, as they've allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season.
Other RBs You Should Consider Starting:
Reggie Bush (vs. Oak)
Ryan Mathews (@ Jax)
Darren Sproles (vs. Det)
Roy Helu (vs. NYJ)
Brandon Lloyd (@ SF)
Brandon Lloyd has been the favorite target for whoever has been under center for the Rams this season, a fact that won't change this weekend with A.J. Feeley likely to make another start for the injured Sam Bradford.
Sure, it would be nice if Bradford were to play, but it doesn't really matter much, as Lloyd has seen double-digit targets in all but one of his games in a Rams uniform this season, back in Week 10 against the Browns when he had nine.
Basically, the St. Louis coaching staff has decided to force-feed their dynamic new receiver the ball regardless of the situation, though this week they'll be throwing it a lot more when they find out they can't run worth a lick against the 49ers top-ranked rush D.
Laurent Robinson (@ Ari)
Laurent will have the starting job for at least one more weekend as Miles Austin has been declared out for the fourth week in a row.
Arizona hasn't allowed a lot of touchdowns through the air this season, but strangely enough, they HAVE allowed both the second-most receptions and second-most yards to opposing WRs through 12 weeks.
Normally I might find the touchdown thing to be a bit of a problem, but seeing that Robinson has a five-game touchdown streak going with seven total in those five games, I'm not too worried.
Get him in your lineup without any reservations this week and ride the second-hottest wide receiver in the NFL to a fantasy victory.
Other WRs You Should Consider Starting:
Brandon Marshall (vs. Oak)
Percy Harvin (vs. Den)
Eric Decker (@ Min)
Antonio Brown (vs. Cin)
Jermichael Finley (@ NYG)
Finley has been a big-time hit-or-miss fantasy player this season, but that doesn’t take away from how talented he is.
I mention his high talent level because all season long, the Giants have allowed the most talented tight ends in the league to go ballistic as Fred Davis, Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham all put up double-digit fantasy points against them.
I know it’s super tough and a total headache trying to guess which week a hit-or-miss player is going to go off, but things look to be lining up for Finley to do exactly that today.
Jermaine Gresham (@ Pit)
Gresham hasn't been a world-beater this season, but he does have five touchdowns in just nine games played and ranks eighth overall in tight end fantasy points per game.
Rookie QB Andy Dalton also seems to like him quite a bit, as Gresham actually has more targets on the season (61) than both Jermichael Finley (56) and Vernon Davis (57) in two fewer games.
Even though he's going up against a very tough Pittsburgh defense, Gresham might be a bit too hot to sit at this point as he's grabbed four TDs in his last six games, with one of those coming against this same Steelers team just a few weeks ago.
Other TEs You Should Consider Starting:
Dustin Keller (@ Was)
Jared Cook (@ Buf)
Carson Palmer (@ Mia)
Over the last four games, the Miami Dolphins have allowed just two TD passes (both to a streaking Tony Romo last weekend) and haven't let a quarterback throw for more than 253 yards against them.
They've also allowed an average of just 10 points against them in that time, so it seems the whole defense is clicking and not just the pass D.
Without the services or either Jacoby Ford or Denarius Moore (both have been ruled out), you simply cannot take the chance on an erratic Carson Palmer with your fantasy playoff hopes possibly in the balance.
Rex Grossman (vs. NYJ)
Rex has had himself a couple of "Good Rex" days over the last two weekends, but that won't be the case against a top-tier New York Jets pass D.
He may have Santana Moss back in the mix and it certainly looks like rookie RB Roy Helu is the real deal out of the backfield, but the Jets pass D simply will not be made fools of by any other quarterback in the league not named Tom Brady.
Other QBs You Should Sit On Your Bench:
Josh Freeman (vs. Car)
Joe Flacco (@ Cle)
Willis McGahee (@ Min)
Minnesota has one of the stronger rush defenses in the league and will be 100 percent focused on stopping the run this week with Tim Tebow coming to town.
Is it possible that this read-option college scheme the Broncos came up with confuses the Vikings enough to get McGahee some good yardage? Yes, it's possible, but I wouldn't count on it.
Being up in the super-loud Metrodome, the Vikings own one of the toughest places for opposing quarterbacks/teams to play in, so watch for more mistakes than normal out of Tebow in this one, thus hampering McGahee's ability to get into a flow.
Steven Jackson (@ SF)
I love the way Steven Jackson has played this year as he continues to work harder than most any other back in the league. However, he's fallen off a bit lately due to an over-sized workload and teams concentrating their efforts on the Rams running game.
Either way, San Francisco is easily the top-ranked rush D in the league this season as they haven't allowed a single rushing touchdown or any opposing RB to rush for over 64 yards against them.
That's just plain disgusting.
Other RBs You Should Sit On Your Bench:
Cedric Benson (@ Pit)
Shonn Greene (@ Was)
Brandon Jacobs (vs. GB)
Dwayne Bowe (@ Chi)
As the weatherman predicted, it will be cold, wet and windy in Chicago today—not the ideal conditions to play in if you're a either a wide receiver (Bowe) or a quarterback with a wet noodle for an arm (Tyler Palko).
If Kyle Orton were starting, I'd maybe say it was safe to play Bowe in a PPR league with Orton having played in these Chicago conditions for a few years, but it's not. It's Palko.
Sit Bowe for a day.
Santana Moss (vs. NYJ)
It seems there is only one man in the entire world who knows how to get off Revis Island—his name is NOT Santana Moss.
That award goes to Mr. Unclutch Butterfingers—otherwise known as Buffalo Bills wide receiver, Stevie Johnson.
Rex Grossman is certainly happy to have his best receiver back in the lineup, but that won't matter much for your fantasy lineup today with Darrelle Revis sure to be all over him like flies on a steamy choco-biscuit.
Other WRs You Should Sit On Your Bench:
Anquan Boldin (@ Cle)
Santonio Holmes (@ Was)
Greg Little (vs. Bal)
Vincent Brown (@ Jax)
Vernon Davis (vs. StL)
Vernon has certainly been on the up and up as of late, but don't count on the trend continuing against a St. Louis defense that has allowed the least fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season.
In fact, the Rams have held some of the best TEs in the league—Jimmy Graham, Fred Davis and Jermichael Finley—each without a touchdown and to less than 40 yards apiece.
Don't count on Vernon doing any better for your fantasy team.
Heath Miller (vs. Cin)
Heath Miller has had a decent bounce-back season after the dud he put up in 2010, but don't get any bright ideas starting him this weekend.
Miller hasn't had a game over 31 yards against the Bengals since 2008, and that's with them being inside his division.
Seriously, just stay away.
Other TEs You Should Sit On Your Bench:
Owen Daniels (vs. Atl)
Ben Watson (vs. Bal)
Visanthe Shiancoe (vs. Den)
Click here to see the Rankings For All Positions
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