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.
Quincy Carter, Dallas (vs. Philadelphia): Despite throwing one INT in each of Dallas’ first four games, Carter has proven he can get the ball downfield to Galloway, Glenn & Bryant when needed. Look for Carter to have success in the air against the Eagles who rank 31st in passing yards allowed this season.
Brad Johnson, Tampa Bay (vs. Washington): If you haven’t been watching what Johnson has done thus far, take a peek at his stats. He thrown for 8 TDs in four games while averaging 272 yards passing. With Alstott out indefinitely, Johnson will play an even bigger role in the Bucs offensive attack. Get him in your lineup ASAP.
Jake Delhomme, Carolina (vs. Indianapolis): If you were to tell me the starting QB for the Panthers is averaging under 130 yards passing and has 4 TDs and 4 INTs, I would guess the Panthers records was 1-3 at best. Instead, it’s the undefeated Panthers who head to Indy this week. The Panthers will continue to run early and often which means Delhomme should continue to ride your bench until further notice.
Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh (vs. Denver): Maddox posted a real stinker last week completing only 11 of 24 passes for 136 yards, no TDs and 2 INTs against the Browns. This week, the Steelers hit the road and head for Denver who ranks fifth in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Give Tommy Gun the week off if you can.
BYE WEEK: Jon Kitna, Joey Harrington, Dante Culpepper, Gus Frerotte, Drew Brees
Anthony Thomas, Chicago (vs. New Orleans): Thomas posted his second straight game with 100+ rushing yards last week. This week Da Bears head to New Orleans who allowed Stephen Davis to crack the 150-yard mark rushing last week. Look for the A-Train to stay on track for another week.
William Green, Cleveland (vs. Oakland): After only posting 234 yards in his first four games, Green busted out for 115 yards last week against the Steelers. The Browns take on the Raiders who let the A-Train run wild last week. Expect Green to make it back-to-back games where he surpasses the century mark in rushing yards.
Lamar Gordon, St. Louis (vs. Atlanta): Gordon comes off a bye week having rested his sprained left wrist. The Rams face an Atlanta defense ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed at 153 yards per game. Look for the Rams to establish the run early and Gordon will have success doing it.
Marcel Shipp, Arizona (vs. Baltimore): Shipp claims the starting RB role this week with Emmitt Smith out with a shoulder injury. While Shipp may be a decent option to own, he won’t have much success against a Ravens team coming off a bye week. You should still make room for Shipp on your roster, just not in your lineup.
Stacey Mack, Houston (vs. Tennessee): The Mack Daddy has been anything but that thus far for Houston. Mack has only one TD after four games and he’s only rushed for more than 39 yards in a game once this season. Things won’t get any easier this week against an angry Titans team playing at home.
Troy Hambrick, Dallas (vs. Philadelphia): The Dallas offense has been surprisingly potent this season with Hambrick carrying the load with 20+ carries each of the past three weeks. Don’t expect much success for Hambrick this week though against the Eagles who lead the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game at 55.5 YPG.
BYE WEEK: Corey Dillon, Rudi Johnson, Shawn Bryson, Olandis Gary, Moe Williams, Onterrio Smith, Doug Chapman, LaDanian Tomlinson
Derrick Mason, Tennessee (vs. Houston): Mason made up for a one-catch performance two weeks ago with eight catches for 99 yards last week. McNair should find Mason open often this week giving Mason his first 100+ receiving yards game of this season.
Amani Toomer, N.Y. Giants (vs. New England): Don’t fret over his measly three catches last week, Toomer owners. Amani will bounce back this week with solid numbers against the Pats who are playing on fumes on the defensive side of the ball.
Peerless Price, Atlanta (vs. St. Louis): Price had more yards receiving last week (168) than he had in the first four games of the season combined (133). Expect Doug Johnson to continue to feed his new favorite target as Johnson plays what could be his last game as starting QB for the Falcons as they continue to wait for Mike Vick.
Dante Hall, Kansas City (vs. Green Bay): Who needs receiving yards to make the start list! If your league awards individual players for kick/punt returns, why not take a flier on Hall? Yes, he’s only caught nine passes for 76 yards, but his presence on special teams is game-altering. You could do worse for a #3 WR than someone who has found his way into the end zone in four straight games.
Tim Brown, Oakland (vs. Cleveland): With Rich Gannon having difficulty in the passing attack, Brown has suffered the most having two good games and three bad ones this season. With Jerry Porter’s return right around the corner, Brown’s numbers look to get even worse. Use Brown only if absolutely necessary.
Eddie Kennison, Kansas City (vs. Green Bay): Kennison has fallen from the top receiver in Kansas City last year, to the third or fourth option in the passing game this year. His best game was week one when he posted 61 yards on four catches. Don’t expect those numbers to be surpassed anytime soon.
Curtis Conway, N.Y. Jets (vs. Buffalo): The plan was for Conway to replace Laveranues Coles in the passing attack and the Jets wouldn’t miss a beat. Well, it was announced last week that Conway has lost his starting job to speed demon Santana Moss. Conway should not be considered an option in your lineup anytime soon.
Asley Lelie, Denver (vs. Pittsburgh): Lelie has has some nice games this year, most notably his 108-yard, 1 TD performance on Monday night against the Raiders in week three. Unfortunately, for us fantasy owners, there are enough options in Denver to spread the wealth enough to keep us guessing which Bronco will be the one to play week in and week out. I’ll go out on a limb and say Lelie doesn’t post big numbers against the Steelers this week.
BYE WEEK: Chad Johnson, Peter Warrick, Charles Rogers, Bill Schroeder, Az-Zahir Hakim, Randy Moss, Kelly Campbell, Nate Burleson, David Boston, Eric Parker, Tim Dwight
Ernie Conwell, New Orleans (vs. Chicago): Conwell has had at least four catches in four of the five games this season and should continue to have success this week at home against the Bears.
Randy McMichael, Miami (vs. Jacksonville): McMichael hasn’t had a big game yet this season, but he’s had back-to-back games of 57 yards receiving. Expect McMichael to at least match those numbers this week vs. the Jags.
Byron Chamberlain, Washington (vs. Tampa Bay): The Skins signed Chamberlain this week but don’t expect him to make an immediate impact especially considering the Redskins opponent is an angry Bucs team.
Jason Whitten, Dallas (vs. Philadelphia): Whitten had surgery this week to repair a fractured jaw. Whitten won’t play this week so look elsewhere for your starting TE.
BYE WEEK: Tony Stewart, Mikhael Ricks, Jim Kleinsasser, Justin Peelle