This list will include a handful of players at each skill position that has either a very favorable matchup or a matchup to avoid. Not every player at every skill position will be listed every week. Instead of a watered-down version of predicting each player’s performance, this list will focus on a select group of players whose chances to succeed or fail are increased based on their opponent of the week.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. You won’t find Marshall Faulk or Randy Moss on this list. This list is to help choose between the middle-of-the-road players.
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!!
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle (vs. Minnesota): Check out these numbers from the last two weeks combined: 661 yards passing, eight TDs and only one INT. This week Hasselbeck and the Hawks take on the Vikings who have given up 28 points or more in five of the last six weeks. This one could get ugly.
Jake Delhomme, Carolina (vs. Atlanta): Delhomme has struggled the last two weeks (both losses) throwing for an average of 195 yards, but facing the Falcons who have the worst pass defense in the NFL on Sunday night should be just what the doctor ordered for Jake and the Panthers to get back on track.
Brett Favre, Green Bay (vs. Chicago): Favre has thrown for more than 200 yards only once in the past five games. Look for the Pack to continue to ride Ahman Green against a Bears team that has played well against the pass.
Kerry Collins, N.Y.Giants (vs. Washington): The Giants have lost four straight games and in those games Collins has thrown two TDs to five INTs. With Shockey probably done for the year, look for an extra heavy dose of Tiki Barber keeping Collins chances to turn the ball over at a minimum.
Travis Henry, Buffalo (vs. N.Y. Jets): One of the few bright spots in Buffalo this season has been Henry who has broken the 100-yard rushing barrier in two of the last three weeks. Expect more success on the ground this week against the Jets who rank 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.
Kevan Barlow, San Francisco (vs. Arizona): With Garrison Hearst expected to miss this week’s game, Barlow gets his shot at the #1 spot. With Jeff Garcia struggling to get his groove back, expect the Niners to rely heavily on the run giving Barlow plenty of touches.
Thomas Jones, Tampa Bay (vs. New Orleans): Okay, I’ll admit it, this one is a risky pick. But, Jones has been getting more action each week and if he can just stay out of Jon Gruden’s doghouse (which is getting so big, he may need to build an addition), he should post some solid numbers this week.
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia (vs. Dallas): Will someone please emerge from the Philly backfield?? Granted, Eagles fans aren’t complaining as they have won six straight, but this three-headed monster is killing the fantasy world. Avoid all three if possible, including Westbrook who appears to be the flavor of the month.
T.J.Duckett, Atlanta (vs. Carolina): Duckett has been money in the red zone scoring six TDs in the past five games. Of course, that was before Mr. Vick returned to action. Duckett hasn’t been a yardage machine and now he’ll lose some short yardage carries with the scrambling Vick back. Look elsewhere for your RB.
Charlie Garner, Oakland (vs. Pittsburgh): Despite getting a handful of carries each of the past two weeks, Garner is clearly not even close to being 100% healthy. With Wheatley having success moving the ball, don’t expect much from Garner this week against the Steelers.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis (vs. Tennessee): Wayne has been quiet the last two weeks combining for only seven catches for 69 yards and a score. But with Dallas Clark done for the season, look for Manning to utilize his other WRs more often meaning more action for Wayne this week in a big game against the Titans.
Justin McCareins, Tennessee (vs. Indianapolis): Speaking of the Titans, McCareins has emerged as the #2 WR in Tennessee catching a TD pass in each of the last four games. After dropping a tough game Monday night, look for the Titans to come out throwing on Sunday and McCareins should see enough action to warrant a start.
Peerless Price, Atlanta (vs. Carolina): Finally! The day has come! Vick returns, so Price will be the stud we all thought he would be this year! Of course, if you drafted Price and stuck with him you’re probably already eliminated from the playoffs and this week’s games mean nothing to you. Oh well, enjoy the numbers if you can.
Marcus Robinson, Baltimore (vs. Cincinnati): Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. That was my thought after Robinson’s bust-out game two weeks ago. With another 71 yards receiving and a score last week, maybe it’s more than that. In a pinch, give Robinson a shot this week against Cincy.
Curtis Conway, N.Y. Jets (vs. Buffalo): Conway hasn’t broken the 100-yard mark receiving all season and the last time he faced the Bills, he was held to two catches for 41 yards. Don’t expect much more than that in frosty Buffalo this weekend.
James Thrash, Philadelphia (vs. Dallas): Thrash caught his first TD pass of the season last week, but he hasn’t even come close to cracking the 100-yard mark in receiving yards. Avoid him like the plague.
Johnnie Morton, Kansas City (vs. Denver): Morton has been as reliable this season as having Cliff Clavin deliver your mail. One week it’s six catches, 109 yard, and a score, the next it’s two catches for 19 yards and no TD. I’ll take the risk on someone else.
Jerome Pathon, New Orleans (vs. Tampa Bay): Pathon has certainly not thrived in the #2 WR spot which was handed to him with the Donte Stallowrth injuries. With the Saints likely to run McAllister until the cows come home (that means you, Warren Sapp), Pathon’s chances will be limited this week.
Randy McMichael, Miami (vs. New England): In a game where the weather could play a significant role, expect more of a short passing attack from both teams. McMichael had a huge game against the Pats in week seven (eight catches for 102 yards), and should be a big factor in the Dolphins passing game this week.
Alge Crumpler, Atlanta (vs. Carolina): Crumpler hasn’t found the end zone since week two. That will change this week as Mike Vick draws more attention to himself than Michael Jackson at a Chuck E. Cheese.
Bubba Franks, Green Bay (vs. Chicago): Franks had one of his biggest games of the year last week, four catches for 32 yards and a score. Woo-hoo! Not even a stud like Franks can keep up that pace.
Chad Lewis, Philadelphia (vs. Dallas): I know I’ve heard Donovan McNabb referred to as a magician, but I didn’t know he could make Chad Lewis disappear. Nice trick, Donovan.