Hopefully your fantasy team was able to survive last week with stars like Greg Jennings and DeMarco Murray getting injured. Late season injuries are always tough on your fantasy squad, but they also present opportunity for owners who squirreled away the likes of Felix Jones and Donald Driver to reap the benefits. There are some very strong plays this week to help you advance in your league as the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Washington Redskins pile up big yards in the air while the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals get it done on the ground.
I utilize statistical analysis combined with more than 15 years of fantasy football experience to give you an inside look of how players will perform on a week-to-week basis. The Studs list will be updated on a regular basis as players emerge and injuries occur, but be patient with those players listed early in the season. They were ranked and selected high in your draft for a reason.
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.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Kansas City
Drew Brees, New Orleans at Minnesota
Tom Brady, New England at Denver
Cam Newton, Carolina at Houston
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants vs. Washington
Matthew Stafford, Detroit at Oakland
Tony Romo, Dallas at Tampa Bay
Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs. Jacksonville
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Baltimore
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at San Francisco
Rex Grossman, Washington at N.Y. Giants: As expected, Grossman had a solid game last week against the New England Patriots, throwing for more than 250 yards and tossing two touchdowns for the third time in the past four games. This week, Grossman faces a Giants’ secondary that was torched by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Grossman also had success against the Giants back in Week 1 when he threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Expect similar success this week as Grossman has turned himself into a late-season sleeper.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay vs. Dallas: Freeman threw for just 181 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars in his return from a shoulder injury. Freeman should bounce back nicely against the Dallas defense that allowed 400 yards passing last week to the New York Giants. Look for Freeman to surpass 300 yards passing for third time this season as the Buccaneers offense tries to keep up with Dallas.
Alex Smith, San Francisco vs. Pittsburgh: Smith has struggled recently, averaging less than 200 yards passing over the last three games while throwing just two touchdowns to one interception during that span. It won’t get any easier for Smith and the 49ers this week as they face the Steelers on Monday night Football. The Steelers will have an extra two days rest after a Thursday night game in Week 14. With Frank Gore less than 100 percent, Pittsburgh will ensure Smith doesn’t beat them this week. Keep expectations low on Smith.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis vs. Cincinnati: Bradford did not look good on Monday night, completing just 41 percent of his passes in a loss to Seattle. His reward is to face the Bengals, which suffered a tough loss to the Houston Texans last week and are losing ground in the playoff race. Bradford may have some highlight plays, but throughout the course of the game those big plays won’t be enough to justify starting him during a critical time of the fantasy season.