Beware of your Colts, Bengals, Patriots, and Seahawks this week. Each of those teams has clinched their respective divisions. Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean you should bench Peyton Manning in favor of Chris Simms. But keep in mind, you’re looking at three quarters (at the most) of their normal output. The Studs lists will remain the same, but be sure to examine your matchups closely as rule #1 is merely a “guideline” from this point on. Happy holidays everyone!
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. Seattle
Tom Brady, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Buffalo
Drew Brees, San Diego (vs. Kansas City): Drew Brees, you just lead your team to a victory over the undefeated Colts. What are you going to do now? “I’m going to K.C. to battle for a wild card spot!”. The Chargers need Brees more than ever and he’ll deliver in spades this week.
Josh McCown, Arizona (vs. Philadelphia): With Warner on IR, it’s back to McCown. The last time McCown stepped in for an injured Warner he posted back-to-back games of 385+ yards passing with two TDs. Welcome back Josh!
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (vs. Cleveland): Roethlisberger is still bothered by his injured right thumb. Combine that with the fact that the Steelers are likely to run all over the Browns this week, and Big Ben won’t be expected to post big numbers. Look elsewhere for your starter.
Brad Johnson, Minnesota (vs. Baltimore): Johnson hasn’t thrown for more than 150 yards in three weeks and this week he lines up against the Ravens who tormented Brett Favre on Monday night. I hope Brad didn’t ask Santa for a victory for Christmas this year.
Tiki Barber, N.Y. Giants vs. Washington
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis vs. Seattle
Shaun Alexander, Seattle vs. Indianapolis
LaMont Jordan, Oakland vs. Denver
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. Kansas City
Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. San Diego
Thomas Jones, Chicago (vs. Green Bay): Jones has scored in each of the past two games and has rushed for at least 90 yards in two of the past three games including three weeks ago against these same Packers. The Packers are reeling and the Bears have dreams of a division title dancing in their heads. Jones will help bring them one step closer to their goal with a big day against the Pack.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh (vs. Cleveland): Despite Jerome Bettis stealing away his goal-line carries, Parker is still an attractive option this week against the Browns. Look for Parker to make up for the lack of red zone touches with 100+ yards rushing and some receptions mixed in for good measure.
Greg Jones, Jacksonville (vs. Houston): Even though Jones suffered a slight neck injury last week, he’s likely to play against the Texans and should perform well against the team ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.
Tony Fisher, Green Bay (vs. Chicago): With Gado done for the year, Fisher claims the top spot in the Green Bay backfield. His opponent: Da Bears. Gulp. Fisher will get the majority of the work, but that will not translate into success as the Bears will shut down Fisher and the Packers offense with ease.
Reuben Droughns, Cleveland (vs. Pittsburgh): Droughns’ numbers have been steadily declining each of the past three weeks and now he faces his toughest run defense matchup all season. Last week’s 18 carries for 53 yards would be considered a success this week.
Julius Jones, Dallas (vs. Carolina): Dallas is the latest team to adopt the RBBC approach with Jones and Barber splitting carries. Why, Coach Parcells?!?!? Why must you torture us fantasy owners this way? 12-14 carries does not a starter make against the Panthers defense.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Philadelphia
Santana Moss, Washington vs. N.Y. Giants
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Dallas
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis vs. Seattle
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Seattle
Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Buffalo
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. San Francisco
Anquan Boldin, Arizona vs. Philadelphia
Isaac Bruce, St. Louis (vs. San Francisco): Remember this guy? Old reliable will once again prove his worthiness against the Niners who are ranked last in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Randy Moss, Oakland (vs. Denver): Yes, that Randy Moss. I don’t know if it’s the matchup with Denver that has piqued my interest, but something tells me Moss is going to have one of those “Moss-like” days. You know, a circus catch for a TD, a long bomb, a jump ball in the end zone, or all three.
Drew Bennett, Tennessee (vs. Miami): Bennett had his biggest game of the season last week catching two TDs and eight passes for 93 yards. Bennett may not repeat those types of numbers, but 7 catches for 80 yards and a score makes him a recommended starter in my book.
Samie Parker, Kansas City (vs. San Diego): With Eddie Kennison suffering from a slight MCL sprain, Parker should see the bulk of the action at WR for the Chiefs this week. With the Chargers focused on stopping Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez, look for Parker to find a seam and make the Chargers pay dearly. If you’re looking for a one-week flier, Parker is your man.
Charles Rogers, Detroit (vs. New Orleans): Ignore the TD catch and 73 yards receiving from Rogers last week. Detroit is still unlikely to start Rogers and the Lions are unlikely to experience much success in the passing game against a tough Saints pass defense.
Eric Moulds, Buffalo (vs. Cincinnati): With Kelly Holcomb at QB, Moulds is finally making his mark. However, the Bengals defense is the one thing in question for Cincy as they head into the playoffs. Look for the Bengals to make a statement this week shutting down Holcomb, Moulds, and the rest of the Bills passing attack.
Donald Driver, Green Bay (vs. Chicago): Anyone who watched Monday night’s game shutters at the thought of starting anyone in the Green Bay passing attack. Driver is no exception as his 8-64 performance against the Bears three weeks ago will seem like a career-high performance after this week.
Michael Clayton, Tampa Bay (vs. Atlanta): Let’s recap the last four games for Mr. Clayton shall we: two catches for 26 yards, one catch for twelve yards, no catches, and no catches. Yikes. Don’t expect a sudden change this week at home against the Falcons.
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. San Diego
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants vs. Washington
Alge Crumpler, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Kansas City
Todd Heap, Baltimore vs. Minnesota
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Carolina
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis (vs. Seattle): Clark is probably one of the few Indy starters (along side Brandon Stokely) that could post huge numbers this week. With Harrison and Wayne likely to see limited action, Clark will quietly post a very solid game.
Randy McMichael, Miami (vs. Tennessee): McMichael has caught at least four passes in three of his previous four games. Look for that trend to continue against the Titans who watched Jerramy Stevens catch a TD and post solid numbers last week in Tennessee.
Doug Jolley, N.Y. Jets (vs. Miami): Something seems wrong about placing a man named Jolley on the bench list the week before Christmas, doesn’t it?
Jeb Putzier, Denver (vs. Oakland): Putzier’s recent success won’t carry over this week as the Broncos will keep the ball on the ground (unlike their pass-frenzy last week) which keeps Putzier blocking minimizing his totals.