If you’ve done your research, you have set yourself up with some nice matchups for your fantasy team now that playoffs are upon us. Exploit those matchups and reap the benefits of your hard work.
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. Jacksonville
Tom Brady, New England vs. Buffalo
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Cleveland
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle (vs. San Francisco): Because last Monday night’s game was such a blowout, Hasselbeck’s numbers suffered. The Niners will be a bit feisty this week, but Hass will do enough to warrant a start.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, St. Louis (vs. Minnesota): Fitzpatrick went from Superman back to mild-mannered Clark Kent is a matter of two weeks as his numbers returned to earth last week against the Redskins. Fitzy should have an easier go of things this week against the Vikes defense and is worthy of a start.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (vs. Chicago): Big Ben was a best bet as his boys battled the Bengals in a barn-burner. But, the Bears will baffle Big Ben. Bewildered and befuddled, Big Ben belongs on your bench.
David Garrard, Jacksonville (vs. Indianapolis): Despite his two TD passes last week, Garrard has yet to perform well enough to warrant a start replacing the injured Byron Leftwich. With the undefeated Colts next up, don’t expect Garrard to suddenly turn things around. Look elsewhere.
Tiki Barber, N.Y. Giants vs. Philadelphia
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Shaun Alexander, Seattle vs. San Francisco
LaMont Jordan, Oakland vs. N.Y. Jets
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. Miami
Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. Dallas
Warrick Dunn, Atlanta (vs. New Orleans): Dunn has posted average numbers in two of the past three weeks mainly because of the defensive matchups (Tampa Bay, Carolina). Dunn will find less resistance against the Saints this week as he returns to form and should post his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season.
Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati (vs. Cleveland): The Bengals offense is firing on all cylinders and Johnson has served his role rushing for two TDs in each of the previous three games. The Browns rank 27th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, so Johnson should match his totals from week one when the Bengals last played the Browns (26-126, 1 TD).
Chris Brown, Tennessee (vs. Houston): Brown did very little against the Colts last week, but the Texans ain’t the Colts. Brown makes for a strong start despite Travis Henry potentially cutting into his carries.
Ryan Moats, Philadelphia (vs. N.Y. Giants): With Westbrook out for the season, things went from bad to atrocious for Philly. Moats is the likely recipient of the carries for Philly, but being named the starter won’t translate into success for Moats against the G-Men. The entire Eagles offense should be benched as they are simply in disarray.
Jamal Lewis, Baltimore (vs. Denver): Lewis gave owners a taste of what they were looking for when they drafted him so high against the Bengals two weeks ago, only to hit rock-bottom against the Texans last week mustering only 17 yards on eight carries. With The Progno’s boy, Chester Taylor, getting his fair share of reps, Lewis should not see the light of your lineup especially against the Broncos solid run defense.
Ronnie Brown, Miami (vs. San Diego): Another case of the RBBC causing headaches for fantasy owners. Neither Brown nor Ricky Williams are worthy of a start against the Chargers who rank atop the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed.
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Washington
Santana Moss, Washington vs. Arizona
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay vs. Carolina
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Cleveland
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. Minnesota
Anquan Boldin, Ari* vs. Washington
Removed from Studs list:
–Randy Moss, Oakland: inconsistent play & injuries
Drew Bennett, Tennessee (vs. Houston): Remember this guy? He was taken in the 3rd round of your draft with the comment, “Wow! I sure pulled a fast one on these chumps. Bennett is a stud!”. You know how this story has gone but against the Texans, Bennett could do something he hasn’t done all season: 100+ yards receiving.
Chris Chambers, Miami (vs. San Diego): 15 catches for 238 yards?!?!? Do you think Sage Rosenfels bought Chris Chambers some Isotoner gloves for Christmas in a tribute to Dan the Man? Christmas may have come early for Chambers last week, but they’ll be more celebrating to do against the Chargers this week as Miami will have success in the air and Chambers will be the primary beneficiary.
Deion Branch, New England (vs. Buffalo): Back in week eight, Branch caught three passes for 92 yards and a TD against these Bills at Gilette stadium. Heading out on the road, I expect New England to attack via the air even more giving ample opportunities to Branch who will cash in nicely.
Terry Glenn, Dallas (vs. Kansas City): After a white-hot start, Glenn hasn’t caught more than four passes or 65 receiving yards since week six. The best cure for a slumping passing attack is the Chiefs defense. Kansas City ranks 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed which is all Glenn should need to catch a deep pass and bring those stats back to where they belong.
Roy Williams, Detroit (vs. Green Bay): With Jeff Garcia at the helm, the passing game for Detroit should perform better, right? Well, last week, Garcia didn’t even break 130 yards passing and that was against the Vikings. This week, he faces a Packers defense that ranks 1st in the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed. Garcia, Williams, and any other member of the Lions pass offense deserves a place on your bench this week.
Rod Smith, Denver (vs. Baltimore): Smith has been a model of consistency catching at least five passes in each of the past five games with three of those being TDs. Something tells me that Plummer is due for one of “those games” where his INTs are three times the size of his TDs. Smith may approach five catches again this week, but none of them will be long enough for him to crack even 50 yards passing.
Laveranues Coles, N.Y. Jets (vs. Oakland): Weren’t people debating Coles vs. Santana Moss and wondering who got the better end of the deal? Granted, Coles isn’t exactly dealing with the best situation at QB, but if he can’t post better numbers than 4-35 against a depleted Patriots secondary last week, there’s no hope in Coles finding his way into your starting lineup anytime soon.
Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville (vs. Indianapolis): With Garrard at QB, Smith is a below-average option at WR. The Colts will shut down Jacksonville’s offense and Smith’s numbers will not be the exception.
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Dallas
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants vs. Philadelphia
Alge Crumpler, Atlanta vs. New Orleans
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Miami
Todd Heap, Baltimore* vs. Denver
Chris Cooley, Washington (vs. Arizona): Cooley rebounded from an off-week in week 12 to post solid numbers last week (5-58, 1 TD). Expect another strong performance from Cooley this week in Arizona.
Jermaine Wiggins, Minnesota (vs. St. Louis): Wiggins was shut out last week, but don’t expect that to happen again this week against the Rams. Chris Cooley had a big day against the suspect Rams pass defense last week, and Wiggins should post similar numbers in week 14.
Marcus Pollard, Detroit (vs. Green Bay): And to think I started this guy over Dallas Clark earlier this season?
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia (vs. N.Y. Giants): Without McNabb, Smith only caught two passes in each of the past two weeks. With rumors of Koy Detmer swirling, Smith becomes an even less attractive option.