And down the stretch they come! Hopefully, your team is one of the lucky ones running towards the winner’s circle instead of the glue factory. These next two weeks will determine the playoff teams in most leagues. Don’t over-think the matchups. Remember, your studs brought you this far. Let them take you the rest of the way.
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!!
Tom Brady, New England vs. Baltimore
Tony Romo, Dallas vs. Green Bay
Brett Favre, Green Bay vs. Dallas
Derek Anderson, Cleveland vs. Arizona
Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle vs. Philadelphia
Kurt Warner, Arizona (vs. Cleveland): I got 484 reasons why you should start Warner this week. In case you missed it, that’s how many yards Warner threw for last week and things look just as bright this week facing the Browns who are ranked 30th in the league in passing yards allowed. Giddy-up!
Jon Kitna, Detroit (vs. Minnesota): Kitna struggled last week (by his standards) throwing for only 224 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Look for much better stats against the Vikings this week as the Lions will practically abandon the run in favor of the pass much to Kitna’s liking.
Kyle Boller, Baltimore (vs. New England): Don’t expect Boller to pull a “Feeley” this week against the seemingly tainted Patriots pass defense. Did the Eagles expose a weakness? Yes. Has Belichick already found a way to fix it? I’d bet my money on it.
David Garrard, Jacksonville (vs. Indianapolis): Garrard has averaged 242 yards passing the last two weeks including three TDs to no INTs. However, that success has come at the expense of San Diego and Buffalo. This week, Garrard faces the Colts who are ranked second in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Temper your expectations on Garrard this week as the Jaguars will run the ball as much as possible.
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia vs. Seattle
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. Kansas City
Joseph Addai, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Reggie Bush, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
Willis McGahee, Baltimore vs. New England
Portis, Washington vs. Buffalo
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati
, Tennessee vs. Houston
Justin Fargas, Oakland (vs. Denver): Fargas is fitting in quite nicely as the top RB in Oakland as he rushed for his third 100-yard game on the season last week in Kansas City. Look for Fargas to keep on rolling at home this week against the Broncos who are ranked 29th in the league in rushing yards allowed.
Selvin Young/Andre Hall, Denver (vs. Oakland): Who is starting for Denver this week? Your guess is as good as mine. This much I know: Young, Hall or Travis Henry will have success against the Raiders run defense that has allowed the most rushing yards in the league. If you’re stuck in the Shanahan trap, start whichever one gets the nod on game day and you’ll be rewarded.
Reuben Droughns, N.Y. Giants (vs. Chicago): Droughns is another RB getting playing time due to injuries. With Jacobs out and Ward doubtful, Droughns should shine against the Bears defense that allowed Andre Hall to run wild last week to the tune of 98 yards mostly on a sprained ankle.
Adrian Peterson, Chicago (vs. N.Y. Giants): The OTHER Adrian Peterson is now the starter thanks to Cedric Benson’s injury. He’ll get the carries, but his success will be limited as the Giants defense continues to play well. Keep Peterson stashed away as he could be a useful tool in your playoff run, just not this week.
Kevin Jones, Detroit (vs. Minnesota): Jones didn’t play back in week two the first time the Lions played the Vikings and after this week’s game, he’ll wish he sat out this one as well. The Vikings are the best in the league at stopping the run, but they have struggled against the pass. With Kitna likely to air it out, Jones will have little to do with the offensive success of the Lions this week.
Ron Dayne, Houston (vs. Tennessee): With Ahman Green’s status in doubt, Dayne could be the workhorse for Houston this week against the Titans. However, when the head coach loses faith in your ability in the second half as what happened last week, what do you think will happen when he struggles against the Titans this week? A big thumbs down for Dayne against Tennessee.
Randy Moss, New England vs. Baltimore
Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. Green Bay
T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Cleveland
Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Wes Welker, New England vs. Baltimore
Braylon Edwards, Cleveland vs. Arizona
Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. Atlanta
, N.Y. Giants vs. Chicago
Roy Williams, Detroit vs. Minnesota
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. San Francisco
Donald Driver, Green Bay (vs. Dallas): Driver had a HUGE game on Thanksgiving (10 catches, 147 yards receiving) and he should continue his success against the Cowboys who have been prone to the shoot out this season. With the Cowboys strong run defense and the Packers inability to establish a consistent running game, the table is set for a Romo/Favre duel with all Dallas & Green Bay receivers benefiting, Driver included.
, Arizona (vs. Cleveland): Boldin hasn’t lived up to expectations this season, but he’s got a great matchup against the Browns. While Larry Fitzgerald continues to prove his stud status, they’ll be enough to go around this week for Boldin to make his mark as the Cardinals will light up the sky on Sunday.
, Washington (vs. Buffalo): Moss should bounce back nicely from a poor performance against Tampa Bay last week. The Bills are ranked 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed and Jason Campbell should take full advantage of that this week. With Randle El hurting, look for Moss and Cooley to each pick up the slack with big numbers this week at home.
Bobby Engram, Seattle (vs. Philadelphia): D.J. Hackett tweaked his ankle last week, but the Seahawks passing attack won’t slow down this week. The Eagles may be experiencing a bit of a letdown after their near upset in Foxborough as Hasselbeck and Engram will try to replicate the Brady/Welker connection.
Jerricho Cotchery, N.Y. Jets (vs. Miami): Cotchery caught five passes for 54 yards in the first meeting of these teams back in week three and he shouldn’t be expected for much more than that in Miami this week. This may be the best chance the Dolphins have the rest of the season to break the winless streak and the defense will lead the way. No J-E-T-S offensive players are recommended this week.
Ronald Curry, Oakland (vs. Denver): Curry had two catches for 12 yards in week two against the Broncos. That sounds about right. Does that sound like stats you want in your starting lineup?
Roddy White, Atlanta (vs. St. Louis): White posted his third 100-yard receiving game of the season last week against a tough Colts defense with the Falcons playing from behind for most of the game. In the previous two times White had over 100 yards receiving, he caught only three passes in the next game. Look for White to come down off his high performance last week with another 3-catch, 50-yard day which are not start-worthy stats this time of the year.
Isaac Bruce, St. Louis (vs. Atlanta): Don’t get all hot and bothered by Bruce’s stats last week (6-63, 1 TD). Bruce has caught six or more passes in only three games this year and has posted 63 or more receiving yards only three times as well. Bruce is usable if you’re desperate, but nothing beyond that is recommended.
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Kansas City
Kellen Winslow, Cleveland vs. Arizona
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Green Bay
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. San Diego
Chris Cooley, Washington vs. Buffalo
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants vs. Chicago
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati
Pope, Arizona (vs. Cleveland): First Warner, Boldin, and now Pope! I’ve gone crazy for the Cardinals! Look for lots of action in the passing game and all Arizona receivers should be on deck and ready for action including Pope who will be a red zone target for Warner.
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis (vs. Jacksonville): With Clark healthy and Harrison’s status still in doubt, look for Clark to at least match his stats from the last meeting with the Jaguars back in week seven when he caught four passes for 66 yards and a score. You could do worse from the TE position.
Alge Crumpler, Atlanta (vs. St. Louis): Gone are the days of seeing Crumpler’s name among the studs at TE. Now he’s just another TE struggling to catch three passes for 30 yards each week. Coincidentally, those are his average stats per game on the season. Yuck.
Randy McMichael, St. Louis (vs. Atlanta): McMichael has more than three catches in only one game this season and has surpassed 40 yards receiving only three times all season with his highest total being 45 yards. He was a sleeper in the pre-season and apparently he forgot to wake up this year.