Four of the Top 10 scorers from last week are on a bye as the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons rest up after posting all that offense. Fear not though, as the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions will post big numbers in the air to help you forget about all your stud players watching from home this Sunday.
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.
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.
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Tennessee
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Houston
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at N.Y. Jets
Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Pittsburgh
Matt Schaub, Houston at Indianapolis
Tom Brady, New England vs. Minnesota
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at New Orleans
Kyle Orton, Denver at San Francisco: It’s a true testament to the kind of season Orton is having when last week’s 198-yard, two-touchdown and one-interception was considered a bad performance. Orton has thrown for more than 300 yards in four games this season and should return to that mark this week against San Francisco, which will have an easier time shutting down Knowshon Moreno, forcing Orton to air it out.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs. Washington: Stafford returns to the Lions’ quarterback helm this week and the timing couldn’t be better. The Redskins have allowed an average of 292.1 yards passing per game this season. Look for Stafford to flourish in his return to the starting lineup as the Lions passing game gets a big boost.
Matt Cassel, Kansas City vs. Buffalo: Cassel has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions in the past two weeks, but he’s only averaged 197 passing yards during that span. Considering his opponents in those two games (Houston, Jacksonville) have allowed the first and second most fantasy points to quarterbacks, Cassel will have a much tougher time facing a Bills’ defense that ranks in the Top 10 in fewest passing yards allowed and has only allowed one pass of 40 yards or more this season.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle at Oakland: Hasselbeck’s play this year has been solid, but his best fantasy week was back in Week 1 when he completed 78 percent of his passes and threw two touchdowns and one interception against the 49ers at home. Since Week 1, Hasselbeck has completed only 57 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdowns to five interceptions. Look for Hasselbeck to struggle facing a Raiders team which crushed the Broncos last week and held their high-powered passing game in check.
Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. Denver
Arian Foster, Houston at Indianapolis
Chris Johnson, Tennessee at San Diego
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota at New England
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. Carolina
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville at Dallas
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City vs. Buffalo: The Bills rank dead last in rushing yards allowed so despite the fact that Thomas Jones continues to see a fair amount of carries, my money is on Charles to post more yards this week. Last week was the first game this season that Charles didn’t post any receiving yards, but that’ll change against the Bills. Jones is a worthy start this week as well, but look for Charles to crack the 100-yard mark for the first time this season.
LaDainian Tomlinson, N.Y. Jets vs. Green Bay: A bye week is just what the doctor ordered after Tomlinson posted his lowest rushing total of the season against the Denver Broncos in Week 6. Look for Tomlinson to return to form against the Packers, which have allowed an average of 124.3 rushing yards per game this season.
Darren McFadden, Oakland vs. Seattle: Did you see McFadden’s performance last week?! So much for being questionable heading into the game. With the hamstring looking healthy, Seattle won’t be able to contain McFadden as they will allow their first 100-yard game to an opponent this season. Look for McFadden’s name on the studs list after next week’s game.
Fred Jackson, Buffalo at Kansas City: Even though the Bills shipped Marshawn Lynch out of town and C.J. Spiller hasn’t contributed more than a few special teams returns, Jackson hasn’t produced as a No. 1 running back. The Bills’ offense has shown some life under Ryan Fitzpatrick, but unfortunately for Jackson owners, Fitzpatrick is doing it without much help from Jackson. The Chiefs have been one of the best stories of the NFL to date, and they’ll continue an unexpected solid season by shutting down Jackson and the Bills’ offense this week.
Chris Ivory, New Orleans vs. Pittsburgh: Ivory couldn’t produce big stats two games in a row as the Cleveland Browns held Ivory to just 45 yards on 15 carries last week. Keep Ivory on your bench this week as he faces the Steelers, which have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league this season.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England vs. Minnesota: Touchdowns are nice, but they won’t win you many weeks. Green-Ellis has scored in each of the past four weeks, but he’s combined for just 44 rushing yards over the past two weeks. The Vikings will be able to contain the Patriots’ running game, but stopping Tom Brady and the passing game will be a different story. Green-Ellis takes a back seat to the passing attack this week, so keep him out of your lineup.
Bye Weeks: Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Brian Finneran, Michael Jenkins, Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Devin Aromashodu, Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Josh Cribbs, Chansi Stuckey, Mohamed Massaquoi
Brandon Lloyd, Denver at San Francisco
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Houston
Santana Moss, Washington at Detroit
Brandon Marshall, Miami at Cincinnati
Miles Austin, Dallas vs. Jacksonville
Calvin Johnson, Detroit vs. Washington
Andre Johnson, Houston at Indianapolis
Wes Welker, New England vs. Minnesota
Randy Moss, Minnesota at New England
Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Pittsburgh: Now that’s what I’m talking about Marques! Ten catches, 112 yards and a touchdown were the final stats for Colston against the Cleveland Browns last week. Look for Colston to post another big week against the Steelers, which have had difficulty stopping the pass.
Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis vs. Houston: With injuries to Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark, the door is wide open for Garcon to continue to post big numbers as he did last week against the Redskins (4 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD). The Texans have given up the most passing yards in the league this season, so start Garcon with confidence.
Terrell Owens, Cincinnati vs. Miami: Even though Chad Ochocinco had the better game last week, Owens still posted nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown which was actually his worst totals in the past three weeks. The Carson Palmer-Owens connection is clearly on track, and the Dolphins, which are still steaming over the blown call against the Steelers last week, won’t be able to keep Owens from doing damage this week.
Greg Jennings, Green Bay at N.Y. Jets: After a slow start, Jennings has caught 12 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games. This week, he faces a Jets’ defense, which, despite the presence of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, has allowed an average of 229 passing yards per game this season. For the record, that’s the 11th highest total in the league. Look for Jennings to stay hot with the pass-heavy Packers moving the ball in the air with success in the Meadowlands.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Tampa Bay: Fitzgerald has suffered mightily with the lackluster quarterback play in Arizona. Max Hall should return this week after suffering a concussion against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7. That should help, but no running game combined with the solid play of the Tampa Bay pass defense minimizes Fitzgerald’s chance of success this week. Sorry Fitzgerald, no start for you!
Steve Johnson, Buffalo at Kansas City: Johnson has a touchdown catch in each of the past four weeks along with an eight-catch, 158-yard performance last week against the Baltimore Ravens. While he may be tempting as a bye week replacement, Johnson and the Bills’ offense won’t do much against the Chiefs in Kansas City this week, which has held opposing teams to less than 250 passing yards in four of their six games this season.
Danny Amendola, St. Louis vs. Carolina: Since his 12-catch, 95-yard performance in Week 5, Amendola has totaled only six catches for 48 yards in the next two games combined. The Panthers are fourth in the NFL in passing yards allowed, averaging only 182.5 yards per game this season. Look for the Rams to use Steven Jackson (or Kenneth Darby if Jackson can’t play) heavily this week as Amendola and the Rams’ passing attack is very, very quiet.
Steve Smith, Carolina at St. Louis: The good news is Smith was healthy enough to return punts last week after returning from an ankle injury. The bad news is Smith managed only 38 return yards on five punts and caught just four passes for 50 yards. With Matt Moore looking more comfortable each week and DeAngelo Williams injured, Smith could see more action, but the Rams are one of only six teams to record 20 sacks on the season so far and that type of pressure will force the Panthers to run the ball to limit Moore’s mistakes. Look for Smith to make some noise in upcoming games, but not this week.
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Tennessee
Zach Miller, Oakland vs. Seattle
Vernon Davis, San Francisco vs. Denver
Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets vs. Green Bay
Chris Cooley, Washington at Detroit: Cooley has caught seven passes in two of the past three games and although he hasn’t scored since Week 4, his catches and yardage have him in the Top 6 for tight ends in most leagues. Look for Cooley to continue to be a focal point of the offense as Donovan McNabb will continue to use Santana Moss to stretch the defense, leaving all kinds of room underneath for Cooley.
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Jacksonville: Witten posted his best stats of the season last week after Jon Kitna replaced the injured Tony Romo. Witten finished the game with nine catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Look for Kitna to continue to check down to Witten as the Dallas offense attacks defenses with the short passing game which is great news for Witten owners, but not so great for Miles Austin owners.
Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay at Arizona: Winslow has caught at least five passes in each of the past three weeks, but he hasn’t scored and his yardage totals have exceeded 45 yards only once. The Buccaneers will continue to use Mike Williams as their primary target and there won’t be enough passes to go around this week against the Cardinals to make Winslow a worthy start.
Tony Moeaki, Kansas City vs. Buffalo: Since Moeaki’s hot start, he’s averaged only three catches for 38 yards and no touchdowns over the past three weeks and that’s with the Chiefs’ passing attack having success. With the Chiefs likely to struggle moving the ball in the air against the Bills this week, don’t expect Moeaki to turn things around.