We’re quickly approaching the halfway point of most fantasy seasons and by now you should have a good sense of what your team is all about. Consider the current slew of injuries as opportunities to jump on those replacements as fill-ins for bye weeks and starters that could carry you to the playoffs. You never know when the next stud will emerge so be persistent on the waiver wire as the next few weeks will be crucial to your success.
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. The first two weeks the studs list remains the same (except for injury). After week two, players are added/removed as needed.
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!!
J.P.Losman, Trent Edwards, Jay Cutler, Jon Kitna, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Trent Dilfer
Tony Romo, Dallas vs. New England
Tom Brady, New England vs. Dallas
Brett Favre, Green Bay vs. Washington
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Kansas City
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Jets
Philip Rivers, San Diego (vs. Oakland): Now that’s what we’re talking about! 270 yards passing, 2 TDs and no INTs is what we’ve been expecting from Rivers all season. Look for Rivers to post another big game at home against the Raiders who will try and contain Tomlinson which will open up the field for Rivers and he’ll make the Raiders pay.
Brodie Croyle/Damon Huard, Kansas City (vs. Cincinnati): Whichever QB gets the staring nod, the Chiefs have a nice matchup at home against the Bengals. Despite a banged up line and a struggling running game, the Chiefs should move the ball through the air successfully this week and will reward those owners willing to take a chance on the struggling Chiefs offense.
Vince Young, Tennessee (vs. Tampa Bay): Being labeled a Winner in the NFL usually translates into being a sub-par fantasy player. Young is starting to fit this mold as his last two performances have been mediocre fantasy wise, but the Titans won both games. Same story, different week against Tampa Bay this week as Young will struggle finding success in the passing game, but he’ll do just enough to win. Look elsewhere for your fantasy starter as this “winner” won’t take you to the top of your fantasy league anytime soon.
Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay (vs. Tennessee): Garcia was very efficient last week against the Colts as he completed 18 passes in 23 attempts for 143 yards including two TDs. Look for Garcia to struggle against the Titans as their pass defense has stepped it up lately and Earnest Graham haven’t proven he can help Garcia out by forcing the defense to respect the run.
Marshawn Lynch, Travis Henry, Selvin Young, Mike Bell, Kevin Jones, Tatum Bell, Joseph Addai, Kenton Keith, Willie Parker,
Najeh Davenport, Frank Gore
Ronnie Brown, Miami vs. Cleveland
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. Oakland
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Jets
LaMont Jordan, Oakland vs. San Diego
Willis McGahee, Baltimore vs. St. Louis
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota vs. Chicago
Shaun Alexander, Seattle vs. New Orleans
Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. Cincinnati
Chris Brown, Tennessee (vs. Tampa Bay): Week one: 19 carries for 175 yards. Since then: 33 carries for 99 yards. So, why is Brown on the start list? Well, the Bucs defense has had trouble defending the run and the Titans have rushed for the fourth most yards in the NFL. While the Titans may split time between Brown and LenDale White, Brown should get the bulk of the carries along with the limited passing action from Young. Brown makes a nice bye-week fill in this week.
Brandon Jacobs, N.Y. Giants (vs. Atlanta): He’s back! Despite the fact that another RBBC is in the works, Jacobs will have the most success out of the Ward/Jacobs combo against the Falcons as Ward injured his ankle last week. Look for Jacobs to approach back-to-back 100-yard games on Sunday.
Jamal Lewis/Jason Wright, Cleveland (vs. Miami): Check the injury reports on Sunday for Jamal Lewis. If his MRI comes back without any major damage, Lewis should have a field day against Miami on the ground who are ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. If Lewis can’t go, Jason Wright should fill in nicely.
Cedric Benson, Chicago (vs. Minnesota): The Bears have missed the downhill running style of Thomas Jones as Benson has been average at best this season. Average won’t cut it this week against the VIkings who completely shut down Larry Johnson last week and have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL. The other Adrian Peterson may even post better numbers this week due to his receiving skills.
Thomas Jones, N.Y. Jets (vs. Philadelphia): Speaking of Thomas Jones, what is going on with him? In the last two games, Jones has averaged 36 yards on 13 carries. He has been dealing with a calf injury, but the Jets offense is struggling and won’t turn things around against a rested Eagles defense this week.
Brian Leonard, St. Louis (vs. Baltimore): With Steven Jackson still on the shelf, Leonard gets the start in Baltimore this week. Don’t look for another 100-yard game on the road from Leonard as the Rams offense will struggle big time against the aggressive Ravens defense.
Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish, Josh Reed, Brandon Marshall, Javon Walker, Brandon Stokley, Glenn Martinez, Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, Shaun McDonald, Mike Furrey, Troy Walters, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Cedrick Wilson, Nate Washington, Darrell Jackson, Arnaz Battle, Taylor Jacobs
Studs ( * = new addition to the list)
Randy Moss, New England vs. Dallas
T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Cincinnati vs. Kansas City
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Kansas City
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Arizona
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Carolina
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. Baltimore
Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. New England
Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants* vs. Atlanta
Braylon Edwards, Cleveland* vs. Miami
Kevin Curtis, Philadelphia (vs. N.Y. Jets): This week Curtis will give his owners a taste of what they got back in week three when he torched the Lions secondary for 11 catches for 221 yards and three TDs. Expect Curtis to surpass the 100-yard mark with at least one score as the Eagles offense will roll through the Meadowlands.
Chris Chambers, Miami (vs. Cleveland): Chambers has had a poor couple of weeks after looking like a stud in the making after back-to-back 100-yards games. The switch to Cleo Lemon at QB for Miami should help Chambers as Lemon will rely on him to get comfortable with the passing attack. Facing the Browns, who have allowed more passing yards than any team except for Buffalo this season, helps as well.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City (vs. Cincinnati): Chiefs fans will get a nice taste of the future as Brodie Croyle will find Bowe open early and often this week at home against the swiss cheese-like Bengals defense. Start the rookie as he’s quickly approaching the stud level.
Bernard Berrian, Chicago (vs. Minnesota): Don’t let last week’s performance (one catch for ten yards) turn you away from starting Berrian this week. Berrian hasn’t had a TD catch yet, but that should change against the Vikings this week as Berrian should approach the 100-yards mark while finding the end zone.
Drew Bennett, St. Louis (vs. Baltimore): Even with Isaac Bruce out and Bennett starting, Bennett only managed two catches for 32 yards. He did score, but you would expect much more from a WR on the Rams so-called high-powered offense. St. Louis will not perform well in the passing game against the Ravens this week keeping Bennett’s stats to a minimum.
Amani Toomer, N.Y. Giants (vs. Atlanta): It’s been all Plaxico all the time for the Giants passing game which was readily apparent last week against the Jets as Toomer was held without a catch. The Giants will have success running the ball against Atlanta which will limit Manning’s chances in the passing game. Assuming Burress’ ankle doesn’t prevent him from playing, Toomer is not worthy of a start.
Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay (vs. Tennessee): Galloway hasn’t scored a TD since week two and has averaged only three catches for 33 yards over the past three weeks. You can definitely do better than Galloway this week as Garcia is likely to struggle against the Titans.
Ronald Curry, Oakland (vs. San Diego): Curry took a back seat to Jerry Porter prior to the bye week as the Raiders #1 WR. Which Oakland receiver will take the lead this week? Neither will perform very well, but Curry will play second fiddle for at least another week.
Michael Gaines, Robert Royal, Daniel Graham, Tony Scheffler, Sean McHugh, Casey Fitzsimmons, Dallas Clark, Ben Utecht, Bryan Fletcher, Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jerame Tuman, Vernon Davis
Studs ( * = new addition to the list)
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Oakland
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. New England
Kellen Winslow, Cleveland vs. Miami
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Cincinnati
Todd Heap, Baltimore vs. St. Louis
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
Ben Watson, New England* vs. Dallas
Desmond Clark, Chicago (vs. Minnesota): Clark has caught two TD passes along with ten catches and 108 yards over the past two weeks. Look for Clark to continue his success with Griese looking his way at home against the Vikings this week.
Donald Lee, Green Bay (vs. Washington): Lee should see some considerable action against the Redskins as Washington’s defensive backs will focus on shutting down Driver & Jennings opening up the middle for Lee.
Eric Johnson, New Orleans (vs. Seattle): Johnson’s stats have been on a downward slope since week one when he caught eight passes for 57 yards. While the Saints offense has shown some signs of life, don’t look for Johnson to post big numbers against Seattle this week.
Bo Scaife/Ben Troupe, Tennessee (vs. Tampa Bay): Neither Scaife or Troupe has done much this season as receiving targets for Vince Young. Just because the Bucs couldn’t slow down Dallas Clark last week doesn’t mean that they won’t bottle up the Scaife/Troupe duo in Tampa. Look elsewhere.