Michael Vick @ Cowboys
Before recommending Michael Vick as a worthy starter, I wanted to see how he would look after coming back from his rib injury. Vick finally showed up against the Jets, and this week he has a favorable matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
Matt Ryan @ Saints
The Falcons and Saints are set to matchup on what will be the final Monday night game of the year, and what an offensive battle this is sure to be.
Ryan has struggled in the vertical game all year, but it appears that Roddy White and Julio Jones are doing a better job of racking up the yards after the catch, as they’ve done a good job of finding the end zone in recent weeks.
With the need to match the Saints touchdown-for-touchdown, I see Ryan throwing for over 350 yards and three touchdown passes. Get him in the lineup if you’re torn between Ryan and maybe another option like Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning.
Michael Bush @ Chiefs
No matter the score, the Raiders seem to find a way to keep Michael Bush involved. This week should be a tough matchup, but if the Raiders want to come away with a victory, they need to keep the football on the ground, and that means a possible 25 carries for the veteran feature back.
Lance Ball @ Bills
If Willis McGahee is inactive or limited this week, it could be a big week for Lance Ball, as he would be next in line for touches in the Broncos backfield.
Buffalo hasn’t done a good job against the run this year, and fresh off giving up a 200-yard performance to Reggie Bush, it could be Ball that helps you win this week.
Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney vs. Vikings
The Redskins top receivers have been hot in recent weeks with tight end Fred Davis gone for the year because of a suspension.
Look to both as solid plays this week, as Washington will face a weak Vikings secondary that can be exploited by even the worst passing offenses.
Both receivers should be good for a touchdown and over 60 yards receiving.
Dwayne Bowe vs. Raiders
The Raiders secondary has been weak of late, and with Kyle Orton throwing for 299 yards in his first start, Dwayne Bowe has some life again.
Bowe only totaled 49 yards last week but part of the reason for that was because of an early game benching because he didn’t follow protocol on a family emergency during the week.
This week should be a different story, so look to Bowe as a respectable WR-3 play in what could be a high-scoring game for Kansas City.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Rams
If you happened to watch the Monday night game (I was there; it was crazy when the lights were out) it was easy to see that Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look like the same player, as the ankle injury sapped his mobility and caused him to make errant passes.
Look for the Steelers to take pressure off Roethlisberger against the Rams at home, and that means Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman will be active on the ground.
Roethlisberger will still take his shots down the field, so Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are worthy plays, but Roethlisberger may not top 200 yards in this game.
Eli Manning @ Jets
For all the great games Eli Manning has put up down the stretch, he failed to get it done against the Redskins, but dropped passes killed a few touchdown opportunities.
This week the Giants will face a Jets defense that was gashed a week ago, but it was mainly on the ground.
Look for the Giants to test the Jets run defense, as it appears Ahmad Bradshaw is finally ready to take on a regular workload after foot problems have derailed the second half of his season.
Willis McGahee @ Bills
The Broncos' veteran running back has had one heck of a season, but he left last weeks game with a hamstring injury.
As recommended above, it would be a good idea to go with Lance Ball this week, as Denver is sure to run the ball on the beleaguered Bills defense.
LeGarrette Blount @ Panthers
A couple of weeks ago it seemed like LeGarrette Blount was a no-brainier top-10 start in standard leagues, as he was coming of two solid performances and was playing against the Panthers. Well, with Josh Freeman out, the Panthers shut Blount down and built a big lead.
The Buccaneers have now lost seven games in a row, and because Blount fails to stay in the game on passing situations, fantasy owners likely have trust issues with starting him.
Heck, a few weeks back I recommended Blount as a RB-2 against the Jaguars because I felt there was no way Jacksonville would run away with the game, and they beat Tampa 42-14.
At this point, only use Blount if your are desperate for help.
Brandon Lloyd @ Rams
With Sam Bradford possibly done for the season, and A.J. Feeley’s status up in the air, you’re better off leaving Brandon Lloyd on your bench this week.
As mentioned above, Ben Roethlisberger clearly isn’t playing at his normal level with the ankle injury, and the Steelers are likely to keep the football on the ground.
With James Harrison expected back, it should be a long day for the Rams in Pittsburgh as they look to atone for their loss to the 49ers on the road.
Mike Williams (TB) @ Panthers
It seemed like Mike Williams might put together a respectable finish to the season after solid performances against the Packers, Titans and Panthers, but in recent weeks the second-year receiver has struggled.
Williams hit rock bottom against the Cowboys, as he was held without a catch and targeted just one time.
Quarterback Josh Freeman not only looks like he’s playing with a shoulder injury, but he’s clearly regressed in his third season.
It’s best to stay away from Williams to finish the year.