You check the box score Tuesday morning and see your opponent’s only remaining starter was held to 12 carries for 29 yards. Even though he added seven catches for 64 yards, you still should’ve pulled out the victory. Only you check your league’s web site to find two touchdowns from punt returns spoiling your fantasy week. Not one, but two touchdowns on punt returns. Thanks Reggie Bush, my Tuesday morning breakfast quickly turned from steak and eggs into oatmeal and a granola bar.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions. This list will change from week to week. The first week, the studs will consist of the preseason top “tier” at each position.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Enough of the chit-chat, onto the list!!
Teams on a Bye week: Buffalo, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Tennessee
Tony Romo, Dallas vs. Arizona
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. San Francisco
Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Oakland
Jay Cutler, Denver vs. Jacksonville
Kurt Warner, Arizona (vs. Dallas): Check your calendar. Does the year show 2008 or 2001? Kurt Warner continues to post numbers reminiscent of his days with the Rams having thrown for at least two TDs and averaging 319 yards passing in the past five games. Look for Warner’s streak to continue as he faces the Dallas pass defense that allowed two passing TDs in each of the past two games against lesser QBs than Warner.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. Chicago): Ryan continues to prove worthy of his first round selection by the Falcons this season. Ryan had arguably his best day as a pro last week throwing for 194 yards and two TDs on the road in Green Bay. This week, Ryan faces a Bears defense that may have shut down the Lions last week, but on the season they are ranked 23rd in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Matt Ryan to Roddy White will be something you hear early and often on Sunday.
J.T. O’Sullivan, San Francisco (vs. Philadelphia): Despite throwing three TDs last week, O’Sullivan struggled against the Patriots completing only 48% of his passes for 130 yards and three interceptions. The Eagles pass defense hasn’t allowed a QB to pass for over 200 yards since week two. Look for Philly to shut down O’Sullivan as win their first game on the road with defense.
Philip Rivers, San Diego (vs. New England): After starting the season white-hot, Rivers has struggled the last two weeks averaging 170 yards passing and 6.3 yards per completion. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Rivers as he faces the Patriots this week who are ranked 8th in the NFL against the pass and have only allowed one QB to exceed 200 yards passing in a game this season.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota vs. Detroit
Clinton Portis, Washington vs. St. Louis
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. New England
Reggie Bush, New Orleans vs. Oakland
Matt Forte, Chicago vs. Atlanta
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. Washington
Marion Barber, Dallas vs. Arizona
Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia
Joseph Addai, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville (vs. Denver): The TD and six receptions for Jones-Drew last week were the lone bright spots in an otherwise terrible day. What his last two games have been lacking in stats, this week will make up for in spades. The Broncos have struggled against the run allowing an average of 177 yards rushing the past two weeks. Look for Jones-Drew to get back on track this week in Denver.
Brandon Jacobs, N.Y. Giants (vs. Cleveland): It looks like the bye week certainly did Jacobs some good. After gaining only 35 yards on 14 carries in week three, Jacobs responded in a big way last week rushing for 136 yards and two TDs. With the Browns run defense on the horizon which is ranked 22nd in the league in rushing yards allowed, look for the Jacobs freight train to keep on chugging this week.
Correll Buckhalter, Philadelphia (vs. San Francisco): The ribs injury suffered by Brian Westbrook opens the door for Buckhalter this week and what a matchup it is for Buckhalter. San Fran ranks 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed which includes the 144 rushing yards allowed to New England last week. For those of you in PPR leagues, Buckhalter will see action in the passing game as well making his performance that much stronger.
Edgerrin James, Arizona (vs. Dallas): Despite carrying the ball 21 times last week against the Bills, James only ran for 57 yards. He has scored three TDs in the past two games, but the presence of Tim Hightower reduces the likelihood of that streak continuing. Only Clinton Portis has surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark against the Cowboys this season and with James averaging less than 60 yards rushing over the past three games, don’t expect big things this week.
Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay (vs. Carolina): Is there another RBBC forming in Tampa Bay? With Warrick Dunn receiving more carries last week, the stock of Earnest Graham has taken quite the nose-dive. The Panthers shut out the Chiefs last week and they haven’t allowed a 100-yars rusher all season. That streak is safe for another week.
Thomas Jones, N.Y. Jets (vs. Cincinnati): Bench a RB against the Bengals defense? The Cincinnati Bengals? I know, as crazy as it sounds, Thomas Jones owners should think twice before blindly adding him to your starting lineup. Leon Washington started for the J-E-T-S in week four prior to last week’s bye. That means the dreaded RBBC rears it’s ugly head once again. The Jets won’t have as easy of a time on the ground this week as you may expect. Be on the lookout for an upset.
Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. Arizona
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
Calvin Johnson, Detroit vs. Minnesota
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Dallas
Randy Moss, New England vs. San Diego
Greg Jennings, Green Bay vs. Seattle
Santana Moss, Washington vs. St. Louis
Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants vs. Cleveland
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati vs. N.Y. Jets
Brandon Marshall, Denver vs. Jacksonville
Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Miami
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia (vs. San Francisco): Jackson had his lowest output of the season last week catching only one pass for eight yards. Luckily for those leagues that count punt return TDs, Jackson returned a first quarter punt 68 yards for the score salvaging his performance. The Eagles should have no problem moving the ball down field this week and Jackson will get his yards despite Reggie Brown looking healthy.
Roddy White, Atlanta (vs. Chicago): White has surpassed the 100-yard mark in two of the last three weeks with two TDs during that same span. With Matt Ryan getting quite comfortable throwing to White, it’s all systems go against a Bears pass defense ranked 23rd in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Braylon Edwards, Cleveland (vs. N.Y. Giants): Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. I’ll take another chance on Edwards finally breaking out of his season-long slump this week against the Giants. Edwards caught his first TD pass prior to the bye last week and with the Giants likely to bust out to an early lead, Derek Anderson and the Browns will be throwing the ball for most of the day. It may be mostly yards during garbage time for Edwards, but they all count the same in the stats.
Wes Welker, New England (vs. San Diego): The Chargers are ranked last in the NFL in passing yards allowed averaging 266 a game. The entire Patriots passing attack should be started including Welker who has yet to surpass the 100-yard mark.
Greg Camarillo, Miami (vs. Houston): Camarillo had his best game of the season last week catching six passes for 68 yards and a TD against the Chargers. However, the Texans has done fairly well defending the pass and will keep Chad Pennington and the Dolphins passing game in check this week.
Isaac Bruce, San Francisco (vs. Philadelphia): Bruce has caught at least one TD in each of the past three games. However, with J.T. O’Sullivan likely to struggle this week, Bruce’s chances will be limited against the Eagles pass defense.
Matt Jones, Jacksonville (vs. Denver): Jones was on a streak of catching at least five passes in every game this season until last week’s two-catch, 25-yard clunker. While the Broncos pass defense has been as bad as it’s run defense, it will be the running game of Jacksonville that takes center stage minimizing the chances for Jones and the rest of the Jaguars passing attack to post any substantial numbers.
Vincent Jackson, San Diego (vs. New England): Even with Chris Chambers injured, Jackson doesn’t make a strong play against the Patriots this week. The Patriots haven’t allowed more than 72 yards receiving to a WR this season. That won’t change after this week.
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis vs. Houston
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Cincinnati
Chris Cooley, Washington vs. Philadelphia
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Carolina
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Miami
Donald Lee, Green Bay (vs. Seattle): Lee caught his first TD pass of the season last week and should continue to see action in the red zone as the Packers struggle in the running game. The Seahawks are ranked 25th in the league in passing yards allowed which bodes well for Lee to post solid games back-to-back.
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia (vs. San Francisco): After a solid performance in week one, Smith has been relatively quiet this season catching only four passes for 36 yards and no TDs since then. With the Eagles offense ready to be running on all cylinders and Brian Westbrook not likely to play, Smith will have the red zone chances that make him a solid starter.
Zach Miller, Oakland (vs. New Orleans): Here’s a guy that probably didn’t want the bye week after posting five catches for 95 yards and a TD in week four. Nonetheless, the Raiders rested in week five and JaMarcus Russell has probably forgotten who Zach Miller is by now. Lightning won’t strike twice for Miller.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville (vs. Denver): Don’t get all hot and bothered by the 24-yard TD catch by Lewis last week. It was his only catch and he has yet to catch more than three passes in a game all season. Keep it moving. Nothing to see here.