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!!
BEWARE!! The BYE weeks have begun. Those players on a BYE will be listed at each of the skill positions.
Drew Bledsoe, Buffalo (vs. Miami): Bledsoe brings the undefeated Bills down south to take on Miami on Sunday night. The Dolphins defense has been dominant at home in the past, but this season they have allowed the most passing yards per game after two weeks. The Bills will try and run, but in the air is where they’ll see success.
Patrick Ramsey , Washington (vs. N.Y. Giants): Ramsey is now the man in Washington and after last week’s 356-yard, 2 TD performance, he should continue to be the focal point of the offense. If Quincy Carter can post over 300 yards against the Giants D, then Ramsey should reach three bills easy.
Drew Brees, San Diego (vs. Baltimore): The last thing the Chargers want is to start off 0-3. What that should mean for the Charger offense is an extra heavy dose of LaDanian Tomlinson this week meaning fewer opportunities for Brees. The return of David Boston would help, but even he’s not enough to recommend Brees this week.
Doug Johnson, Atlanta (vs. Tampa Bay): Another Tampa Bay opposing QB on the bench list. Can you blame me? The Bucs have allowed an average of 105.5 yards passing in their first two games and after the Panthers exposed a potential hole in the run defense of the Bucs, the Falcons should try and run as much as possible this week.
BYE WEEK: Jake Delhomme, Kordell Stewart, Quincy Carter, Donovan McNabb
Shaun Alexander, Seattle (vs. St. Louis): I know, I know, most of you drafted Alexander pretty high in your draft so chances are you were starting him no matter what the matchup. Let this serve as a reminder that the Seahawks will feed Alexander with 20+ carries to keep the Rams offense off the field. Keep him in the lineup.
Amos Zeroeue, Pittsburgh (vs. Cincinnati): The Steelers have had so much success early on with the passing game, the running game hasn’t been needed. Look for Pittsburgh to give Zereoue plenty of touches this week on the road in Cincy to take advantage of a Bengals defense that is ranked 28th in rushing yards allowed.
Moe Williams, Minnesota (vs. Detroit): Mike Tice received some criticism for starting Moe over Onterrio Smith, but Moe has stepped it up. Williams has averaged 94 yards on 21.5 carries in the first two games and should get plenty of work this week as well. I still like Smith better over the long haul, but ride this horse as long as you can.
Curtis Martin, N.Y. Jets (vs. New England): Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Martin hasn’t broken 80 yards rushing on the season, and with Testaverde at the helm of the Jets offense, things won’t get much easier on the road for the Patriots home-opener this week.
Olandis Gary, Detroit (vs. Minnesota): The change of venue hasn’t exactly been kind to Gary as of yet. Gary was thrilled at the chance to start, but his play hasn’t shown it (21 carries for 52 yards, 0 TDs) after the first two weeks. The Vikings have been tough against the run this year and until Gary proves himself, keep him on the pine.
William Green, Cleveland (vs. San Francisco): While most of the talk during the pre-season revolved around the QB battle, it was understood that Green would be the main man in the running game. Thus far Green has been ok, but not outstanding. The 49ers rank fourth in rushing yards allowed so you should explore other options this week.
BYE WEEK: Stephen Davis, Anthony Thomas, Troy Hambrick, Duce Staley
Rod Gardner, Washington (vs. N.Y. Giants): So what if the Skins have Laveranues Coles. There’s been enough offense to go around thus far and there’s no reason to believe that won’t be the case this week as well. Ramsey will continue to utilize his talented WRs until someone can stop them.
Rod Smith, Denver (vs. Oakland): With Jake Plummer questionable with a shoulder injury, Steve Beuerlein is waiting in the wings to take over. If that happens, look for the passing stats to improve dramatically and that means Rod Smith should once again become a major recipient in the Denver offensive numbers.
Charles Rogers, Detroit (vs. Minnesota): After Rogers 2 TD performance in week one, you can bet defensive coordinators around the league took notice. Look for Harrington to find Rogers open enough to make him worthy of a start this week at home against the Vikings.
Andre Johnson, Houston (vs. Kansas City): Johnson has posted back-to-back solid games (6 catches for 76 yards in week one and 5 catches for 71 yards last week), and this week the Texans take on the Chiefs who have been known to give up a yard or two in the air. Start the rookie if you feel lucky. You may hit pay dirt.
Quincy Morgan, Cleveland (vs. San Francisco): Morgan is probable this week with a hip injury, but he has yet to become involved in the Browns passing attack with only three catches in two games. With all the options in Cleveland, wait until Holcomb establishes a connection with one or two of them before starting any of them.
Darrell Jackson, Seattle (vs. St. Louis): Say what? Jackson is only ranked 5th in the NFL in receiving yards after two weeks? Whassup? Well, those 186 yards have come on only six catches. If you think he’ll continue to average 31 yards per catch, you’re the crazy one. The law of averages says Jackson will even off very soon.
Eric Parker, San Diego (vs. Baltimore): Parker may be one the of flavors of the week with Boston missing last week’s game due to an injury, but don’t take the bait. The Chargers will run early and often leaving Parker to feed off the table scraps this week.
Santana Moss, N.Y. Jets (vs. New England): Moss posted big numbers last week (5 catches for 142 yards, with 1 TD), but most of those yards came on big plays including a 61-yard TD catch. Don’t expect any big plays this week as Moss is the Jets lone deep threat and the Pats will be ready for him.
BYE WEEK: Muhsin Muhammad, Steve Smith, Marty Booker, Dez White, David Terrell, Terry Glenn, Joey Galloway, Antonio Bryant, James Thrash, Todd Pinkston
Kyle Brady, Jacksonville (vs. Indianapolis): Without Jimmy Smith and the injury to Jermaine Lewis further depleting the Jags WRs, Brunell has got to look somewhere to throw the ball. He found Brady five times for 42 yards last week and could match or surpass those numbers this week in Indy.
Shannon Sharpe, Denver (vs. Oakland): As mentioned above with Rod Smith, which QB starts could mean a start or bench for your Broncos. Either way, look for Sharpe to step it up on Monday night.
Zeron Flemister, Washington (vs. N.Y. Giants): With all the action going to the Redskin WRs, don’t expect Flemister to see many passes coming his way this week or anytime soon.
Jed Weaver, San Francisco (vs. Cleveland): Don’t get too excited with Weaver’s three catches last week against the Rams. His main responsibility will be blocking this week and for the majority of the season.
BYE WEEK: Kris Mangum, Desmond Clark, Jason Witten, Chad Lewis