Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here are a few football things I’m thankful for: 1) the resurgence of Brett Favre. 2) Joseph Addai. 3) The Romo to Owens connection. Hopefully, some of your favorites are on display this Thursday as well. Kick back, have seconds (or thirds), and enjoy the NFL like it’s meant to be enjoyed.
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. The first two weeks the studs list remains the same (except for injury). After week two, players are added/removed as needed.
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!!
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Tom Brady, New England vs. Philadelphia
Tony Romo, Dallas vs. N.Y. Jets
Brett Favre, Green Bay vs. Detroit
Derek Anderson, Cleveland vs. Houston
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Miami
Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Atlanta
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle* vs. St. Louis
Removed from Studs List
-Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia: Ankle, Thumb: Questionable
Matt Schaub, Houston (vs. Cleveland): Schaub’s return from a concussion last week went off without a hitch. Look for the good times to continue to roll against a Browns pass defense ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants (vs. Minnesota): I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I risk ruining a perfectly good Thanksgiving weekend by starting the ‘other’ Manning and being disappointed?”. I hear your concerns, but the Vikings are ranked dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed and with Brandon Jacobs catching passes out of the backfield, I don’t see how Manning throws for less than 300 yards this week.
David Campbell, Washington (vs. Tampa Bay): I watched last week’s game against Dallas, and yes, I was impressed by Campbell. But, that was the Cowboys pass defense, not the Bucs. Look for Campbell to struggle in the air this week as the Redskins find more success with Portis on the ground and Campbell’s stats return to below average at the QB spot.
Philip Rivers, San Diego (vs. Baltimore): Rivers bounced back from his worst game of the season in week 10 to play his best game of the season in week 11. Facing the Ravens pass defense, Rivers will look more like the QB of week 10 this week than he did in week 11.
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia vs. New England
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. Baltimore
Joseph Addai, Indianapolis vs. Atlanta
Reggie Bush, New Orleans vs. Carolina
Willis McGahee, Baltimore vs. San Diego
Portis, Washington vs. Tampa Bay
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh vs. Miami
, Tennessee vs. Cincinnati
Marion Barber, Dallas (vs. N.Y. Jets): Barber should bounce back from two mediocre performances in a row against a Jets defense ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. Julius Jones may get some carries, but it’ll be Barber who shines on Thanksgiving.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville (vs. Buffalo): Despite the presence of Fred Taylor, Jones-Drew is the guy you want in your lineup this week at home against the Bills. Even though Jones-Drew rushed for only 33 yards last week, he found his way into the end zone. Whether it’s short yardage or splitting time, look for Jones-Drew to find a way to post solid stats.
Justin Fargas, Oakland (vs. Kansas City): Fargas struggled against the tough Vikings run defense as expected, but the good sign is that he carried the ball 22 times. The last three weeks Fargas has carried the ball 23, 23, and 22 times respectively. Look for more of the same from the Raiders this week which should translate into solid stats from Fargas as the Raiders try and keep the Chiefs 12th man out of the game.
Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati (vs. Tennessee): The only offense the Bengals have been getting out of their backfield lately has been Kenny Watson’s receiving. Johnson hasn’t been involved in the passing game and he’s only carried the ball more than nine times once in the past seven weeks. Look elsewhere against the stout Titans run defense. Mmm, stout.
Kevin Jones, Detroit (vs. Green Bay): Jones has rushed for 21 yards on 15 carries in the last two games combined for a 1.4 yards per carry average. Those aren’t the kind of numbers I want to rely on as I try and find room for that second piece of pumpkin pie.
Frank Gore, San Francisco (vs. Arizona): First Rudi Johnson, now Frank Gore on the bench list. What a strange fantasy year it’s been for RBs. The last time Gore faced the Cardinals he did score a TD, but he only rushed for 55 yards on 18 carries way back in week one. The Cardinals have improved since then and the 49ers, well, they haven’t. Look for Gore to continue to struggle behind an offensive line desperate for change.
Randy Moss, New England vs. Philadelphia
Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. N.Y. Jets
T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee (Keep a look out for him on the injury reports)
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Atlanta
Braylon Edwards, Cleveland vs. Houston
Wes Welker, New England vs. Philadelphia
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. San Francisco
Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee
Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Carolina
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. Seattle
Roy Williams, Detroit vs. Green Bay
Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants vs. Minnesota (Keep a look out for him on the injury reports)
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. New Orleans (Keep a look out for him on the injury reports)
Greg Jennings, Green Bay (vs. Detroit): The Lions are ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed and Jennings has been a consistent contributor to the passing offense all season. You know Favre loves the spotlight and he’ll take full advantage of it on Thanksgiving spreading the ball to all his receivers, but Jennings should get the lion’s share of chances (get it, lion’s share, against Detroit! I crack myself up.)
Andre Johnson, Houston (vs. Cleveland): Welcome back, Mr. Johnson! The Schaub-Johnson connection will be very much alive and well this week against the Browns porous secondary. Look for another 100-yard day out of Johnson with a score sprinkled in for good measure.
Brandon Marshall, Denver (vs. Chicago): While Marshall had his lowest receiving yards total in six weeks last week (56 yards), he caught his third TD of the season. Look for Marshall’s success to continue in the windy city as the Bears just want this season to end.
D.J. Hackett, Seattle (vs. St. Louis): You got to love Holmgren telling everyone in the league, “I’m throwing the ball. Let’s see if you can stop me.” Hasselbeck has certainly proven himself and Hackett’s back-to-back 100-yard games shows that this new offensive style is to his liking as well. Look for Hackett’s success to continue this week as he will make up for missing the first game against the Rams with big numbers.
, Washington (vs. Tampa Bay): He’s going to play…he’s not going to play…playing…not playing…BAM…nine catches, 121 yards and a score. I can’t blame anyone for benching Moss last week (he rode the pine on one of my teams) and you shouldn’t start him this week just because of his big stats from a week ago. The Redskins will struggle in the air this week and Moss will return to form.
Ted Ginn Jr, Miami (vs. Pittsburgh): Even if you count punt returns in your league, the rookie won’t do very much in Pittsburgh. It’s not very fun being a Dolphins fan these days.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City (vs. Oakland): Bowe has posted two solid games in a row and seems to have developed a rapport with Brodie Croyle. However, the Raiders are ranked sixth in the NFL in passing yards allowed and they’ll be pressuring Croyle all day long. Bowe may get a few balls thrown his way, but it won’t be enough to warrant a start.
Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh (vs. Miami): Holmes is questionable this week after suffering a high-ankle sprain last week. The only thing the Dolphins have done well with this season is defending the pass. With Holmes’ status in question, don’t take the chance. Give him the week off.
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Baltimore
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Oakland
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. N.Y. Jets
Kellen Winslow, Cleveland vs. Houston
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants vs. Minnesota
Chris Cooley, Washington vs. Tampa Bay
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh vs. Miami
Donald Lee, Green Bay (vs. Detroit): Who would have thunk it? Lee is turning into a stud TE right before our eyes. Here’s his point totals in one of my leagues for the past three weeks: 11, 12, 21. Lee has scored at least 10 points in six of the ten games played and he should continue to perform well as a red zone target for Favre this week.
Ben Watson, New England (vs. Philadelphia): Trying to guess which Patriot receiver will perform well each week is not an easy task. Take the simple approach: if you own a Patriot, start them. Watson included.
Desmond Clark, Chicago (vs. Denver): The Bears will have some success on the ground this week limiting Clark’s chances in the passing game. At this point in the season, Greg Olsen is the TE from the Bears you want on your roster.
Davis, San Francisco (vs. Arizona): Davis had four catches for 50 yards last week, but he cannot be relied on week in and week out to produce solid fantasy numbers. When he faced the Cardinals in week one, Davis managed only two catches for four yards. Things won’t be much better this week for Davis and the struggling San Fran offense.