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!!
Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh (vs. San Diego): The conditions last week in the Meadowlands were not exactly ideal for a passing game. While the winter months are certainly hitting the east coast hard, the Chargers will make things easier for Maddox to go up top. Expect nice numbers from Tommy Gun this week.
Jake Delhomme, Carolina (vs. Detroit): Neither Delhomme nor the Panthers looked impressive in last week’s battle with the Cardinals. This week the hapless Lions head into Carolina looking to avoid setting the NFL record for most consecutive road losses. Delhomme will assist them in achieving that dubious record.
Jesse Palmer, N.Y. Giants (vs. Dallas): Palmer’s outing against the Saints last week (15-26, 140 yards, 1 TD) was hardly impressive. Expect those numbers to drop off this week playing in Dallas against a very quick defense.
Jake Plummer, Denver (vs. Indianapolis): With Clinton Portis dinged up, the Colts should be able to focus on stopping Denver’s passing attack this week and they’ll have success doing so. Do you remember what the Colts defense did to Mike Vick last week?
Kevan Barlow, San Francisco (vs. Philadelphia): Barlow gets the starting nod again this week which means another golden opportunity for the fantasy world to jump all over him. In the past two weeks, Barlow has amassed 239 yards rushing on 36 carries with three rushing TDs and 89 receiving yards. Need I say more?
Eddie George, Tennessee (vs. Houston): With all the unknowns surrounding the Titans QB position, you can bet the farm on George getting close to 30 carries this week. The way the Texans have been giving up yardage on the ground, that should translate into a nice day for Eddie.
Thomas Jones, Tampa Bay (vs. Atlanta): I hate to sound like a broken record (does a broken record actually make a sound?), but Jones is HOT right now. Last week’s 134 yards rushing could be attainable again this week against the Falcons who are ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.
Domanick Davis, Houston (vs. Tennessee): Davis struggled last week against the Bucs rushing for only 56 yards on 16 carries. This week, he faces the Titans who own the league’s best run defense. Without Carr, this one’s a no-brainer. Even with Carr, don’t expect miracles from Davis this week.
Curtis Martin, N.Y. Jets (vs. New England): Kudos to Martin for a huge game last week (174 yards rushing) in the snow. Who knows what kind of weather this week will bring, but you can bet the Pats will be ready to stop Martin from making it two big rushing weeks in a row.
Stephen Davis, Carolina (vs. Detroit): With a bum ankle and the Panthers playoff seed practically set, look for the Panthers to divvy up the carries between Davis and DeShaun Foster lessening the fantasy worth of both players.
Steve Smith, Carolina (vs. Detroit): While WR counterpart Muhsin Muhammad has been up one week and down the next, Smith has posted at least 50 yards receiving in each of the past ten games. Expect more of the same this week against Detroit.
Jerry Porter, Oakland (vs. Green Bay): Despite only catching three balls total in the past two weeks, something tells me Porter is due for a big game. Maybe it’s the suspect Packers pass defense, maybe it’s the confidence the Raiders got from beating the Ravens last week, or maybe I’m just simply crazy. I just hope it’s not the latter.
Dante Hall, Kansas City (vs. Minnesota): Hall came back to earth last week (one catch for 38 yards) after posting a huge game two weeks ago (11 catches for 124 yards). Expect this week’s tilt to bring numbers somewhere in between as the Vikings can give up yards in bunches.
Darrell Jackson, Seattle (vs. Arizona): Forget about Koren Robinson. Jackson has been the main threat in the Seahawks passing attack and should post more solid numbers at home as Seattle looks to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Peerless Price, Atlanta (vs. Tampa Bay): So much for Price returning to glory with Mike Vick’s return. Vick struggled mightily last week against the Colts and things won’t get any easier this week in Tampa meaning little to no chances for Price. Double-P should be another Pine Player this week.
Marcus Robinson, Baltimore (vs. Cleveland): I hoped you enjoyed the ride. Robinson’s hot streak came to a screeching halt last week with no catches. The last time these teams met, Jamal Lewis ran wild. Don’t expect another 295-yard performance out of Lewis, but you can expect lots of ground work meaning low passing numbers.
Troy Brown, New England (vs. N.Y. Jets): Brown played for the first time in over a month this week and post average numbers (four catches for 43 yards and a score). With Brown doubling on punt returns and the emerging Daniel Graham taking away some action, don’t expect a big day for Brown this week.
Dennis Northcutt, Cleveland (vs. Baltimore): Even though Northcutt broke the 100-yard mark receiving last week, Couch only threw for 188 yards. The Ravens will make Couch’s job very difficult this week translating into fewer opportunities for Northcutt.
Erron Kinney, Tennessee (vs. Houston): Kinney has surpassed the veteran Frank Wycheck as the main TE target. Despite the QB situation, Kinney should fare well against a porous Texans pass defense.
Daniel Graham, New England (vs. N.Y. Jets): Despite several drops, Graham continues to make big plays for the Pats. Expect more of the same in the Meadowlands this week.
Desmond Clark, Chicago (vs. Washington): Clark reaggravated a turf toe injury against the Vikings last week. Don’t expect much from the big man this week.
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia (vs. San Francisco): The rookie injured his groin on Monday night leaving his status for next week’s game uncertain. Look elsewhere.