Fantasy playoffs are in the air (or is that the leftover turkey?) and there are some solid plays this week to push you over the hump into the post-season.
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. I will try to answer as many inquires as possible.
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!!
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Tennessee
Tom Brady, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
Kerry Collins, Oakland (vs. San Diego): Look for Collins to bounce back nicely from his below-average performance last week against the Dolphins against the Chargers. San Diego has been very tough against the run, but they give up big yardage in the air. Lamont Jordan and the Raiders receivers will be plenty busy in this AFC West battle giving Collins solid numbers.
Mike McMahon, Philadelphia (vs. Seattle): I know, McMahon did next to nothing last week against the Packers completing only 12 of 28 passes for 91 yards. But this week, McMahon & Co. face the Seahawks who Eli Manning lit up like a Christmas tree in week 12. Expect solid numbers from McMahon on Monday night similar to his outing against the Giants (290+ passing yards and a TD).
Michael Vick, Atlanta (vs. Carolina): Vick has been on a roll lately, throwing six TDs in the past three games with only one interception while averaging over 220 yards passing. He’s actually looked like a quarterback!! Unfortunately, that hot streak is about to end this week when the Falcons take on the Panthers. Look for Vick to return to under 200 yards passing as Carolina looks to move one step closer to winning the NFC South.
Aaron Brooks, New Orleans (vs. Tampa Bay): Brooks has posted back-to-back solid performances throwing for over 300 yards against the Pats and tossing three TDs last week against the Jets. Don’t be fooled by his recent success. This is the same guy that has tossed more INTs than TDs in five games this season. It’ll be six games after this week.
Tiki Barber, N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis vs. Tennessee
Shaun Alexander, Seattle vs. Philadelphia
LaMont Jordan, Oakland vs. San Diego
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. Oakland
Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. Denver
Clinton Portis, Washington (vs. St. Louis): Did anyone see Portis in Sports Illustrated last week with his different costumes?? He looked like he should be standing outside the squared-circle next to Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart talking about his next grudge match with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake instead of discussing his next football game. Nevertheless, Portis and the Skins take on the Rams who Jimmy Hart himself could probably come close to rushing for 100 yards on the ground. Look for a big day from “Jerome from DC”, “Dollah Bill” or whatever your name is this week.
Thomas Jones, Chicago (vs. Green Bay): Jones hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since week seven and he hasn’t scored since week six. So what do you do? Start him, of course! The Pack will get a heavy dose of Jones as the Bears will run the ball well ending both streaks for Jones.
Greg Jones, Jacksonville (vs. Cleveland): This is contingent on Fred Taylor not playing. Check back later in the week on Taylor’s status. If Taylor can’t answer the bell, Jones will continue to fill in nicely against the Browns who rank 28th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.
Chris Brown, Tennessee (vs. Indianapolis): Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Look at more than Brown’s total points the last two weeks and you’ll see he’s averaged about three yards per carry. The last time Brown faced the Colts in week four, he rushed for 31 yards on ten carries with two receptions for 17 yards and no TDs. Expect similar numbers this week as the Colts go for 12 in a row.
Samkon Gado, Green Bay (vs. Chicago): Gado surprised many last week (including yours truly) with a big day against the Eagles. Lightning won’t strike twice however as Gado’s matchup goes from tough to extremely difficult and he’ll struggle in Chicago.
Kevin Jones, Detroit (vs. Minnesota): Jones left the Turkey Day game with a thigh injury after only carrying the ball four times. He’s a question mark this week and with all the chaos with the Mariucci firing still looming, Jones and the rest of the Lions belong on your bench.
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Randy Moss, Oakland vs. San Diego
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. San Francisco
Santana Moss, Washington vs. St. Louis
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Atlanta
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis vs. Tennessee
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Tennessee
Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
Torry Holt, St. Louis* vs. Washington
Anquan Boldin, Arizona (vs. San Francisco): The team ranked 2nd in the NFL in passing yards takes on the team ranked dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Any questions? Boldin looks completely healthy and after another 100-yard performance this week, he’ll be back to the Studs list.
Eddie Kennison, Kansas City (vs. Denver): More was expected from Kennison against the banged-up Patriots secondary, but he should perform well against the Broncos this week. Kennison caught eight passes for 112 yards in week three the last time these teams met. He should either crack 100 yards or post a score.
Keenan McCardell, San Diego (vs. Oakland): McCardell has caught at least five passes in five of the past six games and should see plenty of action this week against the Raiders who allowed Gus Frerotte to post big numbers last week against the Raiders secondary.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati (vs. Pittsburgh): Last week’s game was not your last chance to jump on the Housh bandwagon. T.J. should post similar numbers to his 7-catch, 75-yard game the last time these teams met.
Andre Johnson, Houston (vs. Baltimore): Call me a cynic, but posting 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD in week 12 does not make you a stud. Another reason may be that I drafted Johnson in the third round and he was terrible until I traded him five weeks ago. Now he decides to post big numbers while I wallow in self-pity with my team that won’t make the playoffs? Hurt him, Ravens. Hurt him good.
Antonio Bryant, Cleveland (vs. Jacksonville): With Charlie Frye potentially starting at QB with Dilfer’s knee injury, Bryant and the rest of the Browns receivers should be taken down a notch. For Bryant, that notch should place him firmly on your bench.
Muhsin Muhammad, Chicago (vs. Green Bay): Run the ball, control the clock, and play solid defense. That describes the Bears game plan this week and none of that translates into numbers worthy of a start from Muhammad.
Chris Chambers, Miami (vs. Buffalo): Chambers has been hit or miss this year, but the prospect of facing the Bills defense ranked fifth in the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed coupled with a dislocated finger he suffered in last week’s game, should give you enough reason to look elsewhere for your #3 WR this week.
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Denver
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas
Alge Crumpler, Atlanta vs. Carolina
Antonio Gates, San Diego* vs. Oakland
Todd Heap, Baltimore (vs. Houston): Heap has quietly been climbing the ranks of TEs and in my league he ranks ahead of guys like Tony Gonzalez, L.J. Smith and Jason Witten in total points. Heap has a very favorable matchup against the Texans this week as he could crack the 100-yard mark for the first time this season.
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia (vs. Seattle): Expect McMahon to look Smith’s way often especially around the goal line on some roll-out plays taking advantage of McMahon’s mobility and Smith’s ability to get open in tight situations. Look for at least one TD for Smith en route to a big day for the big man.
Randy McMichael, Miami (vs. Buffalo): McMichael’s only catch the last time Miami played the Bills was a 30-yard TD. McMichael and the rest of the Dolphins receivers will have a much harder time finding openings in the secondary this week than they did in Oakland a week ago.
Erron Kinney, Tennessee (vs. Indianapolis): While Kinney has been consistent all season, it’s doubtful that he’ll have much success against the Colts in Indy this week who held Heath Miller to only four catches for 26 yards on Monday night.