Fantasy information, fantasy Fantasy news, Fantasy articles, Fantasy rankings           Fantasy Football Info For Serious Players

Fantasy Football Information | Fantasy Football Articles | Fantasy Football News
Fantasy Football Links | Fantasy Football Updates | Fantasy Football Rankings
 Fantasy Football Forums | Fantasy Football Projections


Forums
News
Login / Signup  
  Home  
•   Articles  
Forecast
•   Humor  
•   Links  
•   Players  
•   Stats  
•   Tools  
•   Updates  
 

Week 15 Sleepers


This article is a weekly look at players generally ranked outside the realm of every week starters. The players covered here usually fall into two categories: those with a good matchup or those who have an opportunity to start because of an injury to a teammate. On the other hand, sometimes a player may be considered if he is normally a starter, but has a bad matchup. Each position is covered in descending order beginning with the players who are better gambles and finishing with those who are certifiable reaches. Your mileage may vary, but the idea is to discuss these players and provide you with some analysis that might help you make those difficult lineup decisions a bit easier. Good luck and always keep in mind that your feedback and comments are welcome.


Quarterback

Prime Cut (Great matchup, strong sleeper)

QB Jason Campbell - FA ( FA)

The last seven QBs to face the Bengals threw for 229 yards or more and all but one threw at least 1 TD; 4 of the 7 threw multiple TDs and 4 of them threw for 277 yards or more. In those seven games, opposing QBs have thrown or ran for 13 TDs and 4 INTs (McNabb had 3 of them alone). Five of the seven produced 20 or more fantasy points using standard FBG scoring. Campbell has been slumping of late along with the entire Redskins offense as they look to end their skid. Luckily, the Bengals are a good team to do that against.

QB Jason Campbell - FA ( FA)

As bad as Campbell looked earlier in the year, those owners who held onto him may very well reap the rewards when it matters most – in the fantasy playoffs. Campbell has scored 8 TDs in last three weeks after producing just 10 TDs in the first 10 games. The Giants defense was performing well through the first five weeks of the season, but once Drew Brees broke the seal, it’s been game on for opposing QBs. In their last eight games, the Giants have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs, largely due to yielding the 283 yards per game (3rd most) and 19 TDs (tied for most). If you have a weak QB1, don’t over think this your lineup during the playoffs. Give Campbell his due.

QB Trent Edwards - OAK (vs CLE)

Edwards is coming off his best start as a pro last week. He threw for just 165 yards, but he tossed 4 TDs against the Dolphins. In seven appearances this year, Edwards has thrown for 200 or more yards just twice (vs Washington and NY Jets). This week, he faces a Browns defense that is the best possible matchup for QBs allowing 271 yds, 2.1 TDs and 1.2 INTs per game. Kellen Clemens has been mostly awful since replacing Chad Pennington as the Jets starting QB, but even he threw for 286 yards last week. He failed to find the end zone and was picked off twice, but he did run for a score. With Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson in the backfield the Bills have a legitimate running threat to balance the offense and keep the Browns defense honest. Plus, the Browns have no problem putting points on the board, so expect Edwards to be busy and productive this week.

QB Jeff Garcia - HOU (vs ARI)

In the last four games, Jeff Garcia has settled in nicely as the Eagles interim starting QB throwing eight TDs and no interceptions while averaging a tad over 200 yds/gm. In that span, Garcia ranks 5th among fantasy QBs. By contrast, the Giants have allowed the 4th most passing yards (net) in the league and the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs (246 yds, 1.2 TDs and 1.2 INTs per game). In the last five games, the Giants opponents have thrown for 246/3/1, 249/0/0, 249/2/0, 257/0/2 and 423/1/3. Keep in mind; last week’s 423 yards were by none other than Chris Weinke.

QB David Garrard - NYJ (at MIA)

The 49ers have allowed the most passing yards (283.4 yds/gm) and TDs (26) in the NFL. Opponents are completing 65.8% of their passes and have produced more 20+ yd and 40+ yard completions against them than any other team. Garrard is coming off a game in which he exploded in the second half for significant fantasy stats and he very well could carry that momentum in this week’s home game against the 49ers.

QB Rex Grossman - WAS (vs DAL)

Grossman re-established himself somewhat on Monday night throwing for 200 yards and 2 TDs and, most importantly, no picks. Whether Monday’s game was enough of a confidence builder for you to roll with him in your playoff matchup is another question. The matchup is enticing. That’s for sure. The Bucs have allowed 23 TD passes (3rd most) and intercepted only seven passes (2nd least) while allowing an average of 219 yds/gm and a 62.5 completion percentage. In fantasy speak, that’s the 3rd most pts allowed to opposing QBs. Me thinks HC Lovie Smith would love nothing more than to get Grossman another solid game under his belt and build up his confidence heading into the playoffs. Look for Grossman to produce solid numbers again this week.

QB Eli Manning - NYG (vs KC)

Despite a mid-season setback with a sprained foot, Manning has regrouped nicely in the second half of the season and he is on pace for career highs in yards, yards per attempt, TDs and, of course, fantasy points. This week, Manning faces another familiar foe when he and the Giants travel to D.C. to face the Redskins. Washington has been solid against the pass for much of this year, but they’ve allowed over 225 yards passing in each of the last three games. Manning’s track record against the Redskins is also noteworthy. Earlier this season, he completed 20-of-29 for 256 yards with one TD and one interception. Last year, Manning produced 305 yards with a TD and interception in Week 13 and 216 yards with a rushing TD and an INT in Week 1. Manning probably won’t come close to the 384 yards and 3 TDs he had against Atlanta or the 391 yards and 3 TDs he had last week against Philly, but he’s a safe pick as a borderline QB1/QB2 should your other options be less savory.

QB Philip Rivers - SD (at IND)

If Rivers is on your roster, you’re hoping he can build on last week’s second half and carry that forward into this week’s game against the Detroit Lions. The Lions have a habit of making opposing QBs look really good. They have allowed the 2nd most fantasy production to QBs in the league. Last week, the Tony Romo and Jason Witten tandem cut through the heart of the Lions defense like a hot knife through butter all day long. Rivers and Gates have the same potential to rack up points this week, especially if SS Kenoy Kennedy is unable to go. Once Kennedy left the game last week, Romo and Witten really took off and in the 4th quarter the Lions had no answer and seemingly were unable to stop the inevitable. The Lions defensive line was toothless with Shaun Rogers running out of gas early and Kalimba Edwards a healthy scratch (coaching decision). With this game being in San Diego, expect the Lions free fall to continue and the Chargers offense to roll. Rivers has been hectic, erratic and even frenetic at times this year, but he should be fine this week and worthwhile for those of you riding him out.

QB Matt Ryan - ATL (at CHI)

Next to the Houston Texans, the Seahawks have yielded more passing yards than any other NFL team this season. They’ve allowed the fifth most fantasy points to QBs and twice as many TDs as INTs (23:10). They’ve allowed the most pass plays of 20 or more yards (53) and the third most plays of 40 or more yards (11). In the spirit of not overthinking things, let’s keep this simple. If you have Matty Ice and you’ve ridden him this far, then enjoy the matchup and don’t change what’s working. Ryan comes into this week’s game as QB9, so expect another rock-solid QB1 game from Ryan as the Falcons prepare for a run at the Super Bowl.

QB Matt Schaub - ATL (at CHI)

When Schaub and the Texans faced the Titans in Week 12, they won easily 20-0 as Rusty Smith struggled mightily to move the chains against one of the league’s worst defenses. With Kerry Collins behind center this time around, Schaub may actually produce more than the 187 yards and 2 TDs he did in that game. Of course, it will also be the rematch between Andre Johnson and Courtland Finnegan. Schaub hovered well below the Mendoza line for QB1s up until the last two games in which he rose to QB10 thanks to 730 yards, 5 TDs and 3 INTs against the Eagles and Ravens. The Titans will have a difficult time slowing the Texans offense again this time around, but with Collins expect them to mount a better fight, which should enable Schaub to throw more and produce better numbers himself.

QB Chris Simms - TEN (vs SEA)

Slowly but surely, Simms is becoming the game manager that Jon Gruden wants him to be. This week there’s a very good chance he might produce some big yardage totals and perhaps a couple of TDs. The Patriots allowed four straight 300 yard passers up until they faced the Jets and Bills, both of whom have struggled all year to throw the ball. Simms just might be the next QB to throw for 300 yards against them.

QB Tyler Thigpen - FA ( FA)

Most of you that own Thigpen probably trust him at this stage as a QB you can start in the playoffs, especially when the matchup is favorable. This week, Thigpen plays the same Chargers team he rolled for 266 yards and 3 TDs in week 10 – his best statistical game of the season – and that was in San Diego. This time around they are in Kansas City. Thigpen gives owners an added bonus with eight straight games of 20+ yards rushing. During that same span, Thigpen has 4 games of 235+ yds passing and 12 TDs against 4 INTs. No need to jump of the Thigpen ship this week. He has another strong matchup and he’s once again a strong option.

QB Kurt Warner - FA ( FA)

Warner has been a regular in this column during the 2nd half of the season for two main reasons. He’s inconsistent, but still productive and somehow he’s still only the 16th ranked fantasy QB year to date. Secondly, his schedule has been as softer than Charmin. In the past month or so he’s faced Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. Now, he draws the Saints with one less day to prepare coming off their 34-14 MNF win over Atlanta. New Orleans has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs (21-of-33 for 263 yards, 1.7 TDs and 0.8 INTs per game). Last week, the Falcons Chris Redman, who was selling insurance just a year ago, rung up the Saints for 298 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. The previous week Luke McCown tallied 313 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT and ran for 34 yards to boot. If Anquan Boldin AND Larry Fitzgerald can suit up this week, then the outlook for Warner is all the better.

Worth a Gamble (Good matchup, solid sleeper)

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - NYJ (at MIA)

The Eagles allowed 312 yards and 1 TD to Eli Manning last week. Matt Hasselbeck only produced 98 yards and a TD against them the previous week because they led by a huge margin and coasted through the game not needing to throw the ball. Most likely, Fitzpatrick will throw the ball plenty so look for solid yardage numbers here, but also expect a few turnovers, too. The Eagles have allowed 227 passing yds/gm with 20 TDs.

QB Josh Freeman - IND (vs SD)

Sometimes crazy things happen and there are no statistics that pay homage to the reality of the games themselves. That’s life in the NFL and the subject of our colleague Chase Stuart’s latest blog entry on the NY Times’ Fifth down blog. What took place at Ford Field on Sunday was as inexplicable as the Jaguars 8-5 record and impending playoff berth. The Lions beat the Packers 7-3 while concussing Aaron Rodgers in the process. In the previous four games, the same Lions allowed 9 TDs, didn’t intercept a pass and lost three of those four games on their home turf. This week, they travel to Tampa where we fully expect a return to normalcy. The Lions have four players who started at some point for their defense on IR. They’ve allowed the eighth most fantasy points to QBs. Josh Freeman has shown his mettle in his second NFL season as a captain of the comeback, but he shouldn’t need to exercise those skills this week. Freeman is a rock solid bet for his standard, consistent production between 15 and 20 fantasy points. The Lions allow an average of 22.5 and Freeman has been below 15 points once this year, while eclipsing 20 points four times.

QB Jeff Garcia - HOU (vs ARI)

Garcia looks like a safe bet to return this week against the coach-less Atlanta Falcons. Garcia missed the last two weeks with a bruised lower back, but all indications point to his return this week. The Falcons are a neutral matchup statistically, but they’ve been torched for the last three weeks by Drew Brees (328 yds, 3 TDs), Gus Frerotte (311 yds, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) and Peyton Manning (272 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT). The previous week, Garcia produced 159 yards and a pair of TDs before giving way to Bruce Gradkowski to finish the game. The Falcons don’t have much to play for at this point besides pride, while the Bucs lead the division and have playoff aspirations.

QB David Garrard - NYJ (at MIA)

In week 9, David Garrard made his second start of the year for the Jaguars, coming off a game in which he failed to throw for 100 yards or a TD. Hmmm. That sounds eerily similar to Garrard’s meager performance against the Colts last week. Garrard responded in week 10 by completing 12 of his 22 passes for 177 yards and 3 TDs against Tennessee – this week’s opponent. Will history repeat itself? The Titans are allowing 231 yds/gm with 20 TDs and 12 INTs making them the 7th best matchup from a fantasy standpoint. The Titans also have the second fewest sacks in the league and opponents are completing 64.3% of their passes while averaging only 3.4 yards per rushing attempt. Garrard is 14th among fantasy QBs since week 9, but don’t be surprised if he produces top 10 numbers this week.

QB David Garrard - NYJ (at MIA)

Garrard’s performance last week was underwhelming, but it was also perhaps the Dolphins best defensive performance of the season. This week, Garrard gets a shot at redemption at home against the Colts, who have been among the more favorable matchups in the league over the last two months allowing 260 yards passing, 1.4 TDs and 1.4 INTs per game to opposing QBs. The difference between the Dolphins and the Colts is simple. The Colts may be playing for a perfect record, but their sense of urgency isn’t close to the Dolphins and their determination to make the playoffs. Garrard’s record against the Colts has been spotty, too. Going back to 2005, Garrard seems to alternate between good and bad performances against their divisional rival. If that pattern were to hold true (get your tin foil hat ready), then this week could be Garrard’s “good” turn, since his Week 1 performance was like last week’s – underwhelming.

QB Shaun Hill - MIN (vs PIT)

For the second year in a row Hill is finishing the season as the team’s QB and playing himself firmly into the starting mix for next year. He is averaging about 225 yds and 1.8 TDs per game with only 4 INTs in 6 starts. The Dolphins have been solid against the run, but a little more forgiving against the pass allowing 235 yds, 1.2 TDs and 0.9 INTs per game. With Frank Gore looking questionable for this week’s game, the 49ers will need Hill to carry more of the offensive load than usual as they look to play a spoiler role for the second week in a row against an AFC East team.

QB Tarvaris Jackson - FA ( FA)

As much as Jackson was painful to watch in the first half of the season, he has played more under control of late and his stats over the last three games back that up. Jackson is 44-of-61 for 496 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT in the last three games with 71 yards rushing as an added bonus. It’s not a coincidence that these last three games have been his most productive from a fantasy perspective either. This week, he faces a Bears defense that is mostly a neutral matchup allowing 247 yds, 1.2 TDs and 0.7 INTs per game. In week 6, Jackson completed just 9-of-23 for 136 yards and a TD, but no INTs against the Bears in Chicago. He’s playing with more confidence right now and the Bears defense is having its own struggles. Last week, Todd Collins and Jason Campbell combined for 324 yds and 2 TDs against Chicago. Jackson won’t approach those passing numbers, but he could produce in the 150-200 yard range with a TD likely (2 may be stretching it) and another 20 or 30 yards rushing potentially. Not exactly what you’re looking for to put you over the top in the playoffs, but still a player to consider in 2-QB leagues or similar.

QB Eli Manning - NYG (vs KC)

Half way through the season, Eli was well on his way to setting career highs in yards and TDs, but as the weather cooled, so did Manning’s bottom line for fantasy owners starting in Week 11 when they faced the Eagles. Manning threw for only 147 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs. In his last five games, Manning had a 373-yard effort, but he also has a thrown 7 TDs to 9 INTs, producing 13 fantasy points or less in three of them. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Hakeem Nicks is back in the lineup and the Eagles have lost CBs Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs, LB Stewart Bradley and rookie DE Brandon Graham to injuries, although Samuel appears on track to return this week. They’ve allowed 2 or more TD passes in five straight games; and eight of their last nine. The Eagles have allowed the 10th most fantasy points to QBs this year. Manning doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence as a fantasy QB, but he’s solidly QB11 year-to-date, the Giants are healthier, the Eagles not so much and the matchup is favorable.

QB Chad Pennington - MIA (vs NYJ)

After Pennington had seven straight games of 200 yards and six straight games of 225+ yards, he has fallen back to Earth by failing to top 200 yards in three of his last four games. At least he has 5 TDs against just 1 INT during the downturn. Against a 49ers team allowing 240 yards, 1.4 TDs and 0.8 INTs each game, Pennington should be able to get back over 200 yards and produce 1 or 2 TDs even though the 49ers held Brett Favre in check last week (137 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT). That was in SF, this game is in Miami – big difference.

QB Ben Roethlisberger - PIT (at MIN)

Facing the Vikings secondary is a tricky proposition. On one hand, they allowed significant yards in several games, even 220+ yards to Joey Harrington. Yet they’ve also intercepted 23 passes (2nd most) so depending on your scoring system, Big Ben could be a strong play or a somewhat risky play given the potential for turnovers playing in their noisy dome.

QB Ben Roethlisberger - PIT (at MIN)

The Steelers may not make the playoffs this year, but they won’t be rolling over for anybody either. The Panthers cannot afford to lose this game at home, but don’t be at all surprised if the Steelers pull off the upset. The Panthers secondary is struggling with injuries and they’ve allowed 8 TDs while intercepting just one pass in the last three weeks, allowing 602 yards. In the last six games, Roethlisberger ranks 6th among fantasy QBs and he has failed to throw for 200 yards just twice this season. If the Panthers are without Chris Gamble again this week, Big Ben’s prospectus looks that much better.

QB Alex Smith - KC (at NYG)

On Monday Night Football, Smith’s finished with 144 yards with 2 TDs and interceptions each. It wasn’t a strong performance for Smith as he overthrew numerous balls and the team veered away from its pass happy tendencies of late to ride Frank Gore and their defense to a 24-9 win against the Cardinals. This week, he faces an Eagles defense that allowed 391 yards and 3 TDs to Eli Manning and the Giants last week. In the previous two games, Chris Redman (235 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and Jason Campbell (231 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, rush TD) were also productive against the Eagles. The Eagles have also struggled mightily against tight ends this year, so it bodes well for Smith that his number one target (Vernon Davis) has perhaps his best matchup of the year to date. It’s a high-risk play, but Smith has a chance to be productive, but it won’t be easy going on the road against an Eagles team vying for a playoff spot.

Solid Reach (backup / situational player with upside)

QB Jason Campbell - FA ( FA)

Campbell is another young QB who is playing fairly well and developing some confidence. The Saints could be just the type of opponent to bring out the best in him this week, too. They are the 4th best matchup for fantasy QBs having allowed 22 TDs to just 10 INTs, though only 203 passing yds/gm. They’ve allowed 14 pass plays for 40 yards or more (most in the league). There’s absolutely no reason to believe that Drew Brees won’t tear up the woeful Redskins pass defense putting Campbell in a prime position to throw and throw often. Like Cutler, he’s not the tried and true veteran you’d like in your lineup in the fantasy playoffs, but with so many injuries forcing owners to alternative options, he is someone to consider.

QB David Carr - FA ( FA)

If you look at the last three weeks, the Cardinals pass defense looks outstanding and ranks among the top defenses in the league after shutting down Mark Brunell, Alex Smith and David Garrard/Byron Leftwich. Yet the week before that, they knocked out Marc Bulger, but allowed the Rams a combined 385 passing yards with 3 TDs. The week before that, Joey Harrington lit them up for 231 yards and 3 TDs. So, what gives? The Cardinals have Antrel Rolle back which helps tremendously even though he’s just a rookie and those last three teams, like the Texans, have struggled to throw the ball recently with those QBs leading the way. On the season, Arizona’s opponents are completing 63% of their passes for 214 yds/gm with 14 TDs. If you’re making a push for your league title, it’s doubtful you’re relying upon David Carr this week, but if you’re trying to finish respectably and Carr is one of your few choices, then he might be worth a gamble.

QB Kerry Collins - IND (vs SD)

Collins has been highly erratic in the games he started for the Titans this year. Enough so, that I have a difficult time trusting him with so much at stake. Many owners are in the semi-finals of their league’s playoffs, but Collins faces the league’s worst pass defense armed with Kenny Britt (who returned to the lineup and looked good on Sunday). Maybe rolling with Collins isn’t so far-fetched after all. Let’s put this into perspective. The only team that didn’t produce 20+ fantasy points this season against the Texans was Tennessee when they last played in Week 12. Of course, Rusty Smith started that game and Kenny Britt was in street clothes, so that explains that. Collins has started three games this year. In the one that Britt didn’t play, he went 14-of-32 for 169 yards with no TDs and 2 picks. In the two other games where Britt was on the field, Collins completed 45-of-70 passes for 520 yards, 6 TDs and 2 INTs. So maybe rolling with Collins isn’t so far-fetched, just be sure to weigh your options first.

QB Todd Collins - CHI (vs ATL)

After Jason Campbell was knocked out of last week’s game against Chicago, Collins took the reins of the Redskins offense completing 15-of-20 for 224 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. Collins gets the starting nod this week and thru the rest of the regular season. The Giants are slightly above average as a matchup as QBs are averaging 229 yards, 1.5 TDs and 0.9 INTs per game against them. In week three, Jason Campbell passed for 190 yards and a TD against the Giants, but that was before he found his rhythm in the offense. Collins is not someone you can run with and have realistically high expectations for as your fantasy QB, but he might be worthwhile in larger leagues or those that start 2 QBs.

QB Jay Cutler - CHI (vs ATL)

Cutler has thrown 4 TDs and 2 INTs while averaging just over 165 yds in his two starts. Hardly what you’d like to see from your fantasy QB in a playoff scenario. That being said, the Cardinals are allowing 250 passing yds/gm (3rd most), 1.3 TDs and 0.9 INTs per game - making them the 8th best matchup for fantasy QBs. The last five QBs have thrown for 240+ yards and all but one of those QBs threw for 2+ TDs. The Cardinals have allowed the most 20+ yd completions in the league, too. Cutler isn’t the way most owners would prefer to roll in the playoffs, but if you’re in a pinch, he might be a pleasant surprise.

QB Jake Delhomme - HOU (vs ARI)

The Broncos are allowing opposing QBs to essentially have their way with them on the ground and via the passing game. They rank near the bottom of the league defensively in both categories. The Panthers ground game is humming along and the risk with Delhomme is the same one that comes with him almost every week – how much will he need to throw the ball (even if the matchup is great)? After starting the season with 5 games of 235+ passing yards and 4 games with 2 TDs in their first eight; Delhomme has topped 200 yards only once in the last five games and he hasn’t thrown more than 1 TD in any of those game. He’s a reach at this stage, because they can run the ball so well and if the Bucs couldn’t slow them down, how will the Broncos?

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - NYJ (at MIA)

The Patriots defense this year has struggled at times and they’ve allowed a lot of fantasy points to opposing QBs lately, too. Last week, Matt Moore wasn’t particularly good, but on a team with only one legitimate receiving threat, he still managed to throw for 197 yards and a TD against the Pats. In the previous game, Chad Henne out-dueled Tom Brady to get the win, but he also threw for 335 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT. To keep things into perspective, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 200 or more yards just twice in six starts. Both starts came against teams that have struggled at times against the pass, like the Patriots, while the other came against teams with either better than average pass defenses or such a bad run defense that he didn’t need to throw the ball much. In the Patriots last five games, they’ve allowed 13 passing TDs, intercepted 7 passes and allowed an average of 273 yards passing per game. Fitzpatrick probably won’t throw for that many yards, but he could top 200 and throw for a couple of scores (and INTs) while adding some bonus points with his rushing ability.

QB Jon Kitna - FA ( FA)

The Redskins have allowed the seventh most fantasy points to QBs this year. Kitna may not be the best option for fantasy owners searching for the league trophy and/or some holiday cash, but he has been productive enough to use when your normal starter has a rough matchup or if his status is unclear (like Aaron Rodgers). In eight starts, Kitna produced 15+ fantasy points in seven games. Teams are doing a good job of limiting Miles Austin’s production, but Kitna is taking what defenses are giving him. If there is a data point to worry about regarding Kitna, it would be this – the Redskins have allowed 1 TD pass in their last four games. Before that, the Redskins had allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs. It’s not enough to keep Kitna on the bench if you team is in need, but it’s enough to at least do your due diligence with other options that might be available (like Kerry Collins).

QB Mike McMahon - FA ( FA)

At this point in the season where, as De la Soul once said “stakes is high”, you’d have to be out of your mind to use Mike McMahon in a playoff game. That said, the Rams defense is among the most easily beatable in the league through the air allowing 242.2 yds/gm with 24 TDs (3rd most). Opponents are completing 63.4% of their passes against them. McMahon won’t come close to that level of accuracy, but he could produce enough big plays to be a decent gamble with some upside. Unfortunately McMahon comes with a treacherous downside as well.

QB Kyle Orton - FA ( FA)

Orton’s play was surprisingly good before he got hurt. Since he came back, it’s been consistently subpar. This week, he faces a Saints pass defense allowing 242 yards and 1.5 TDs per game. Matt Ryan scorched them for 315 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT last week on 24-of-33 passing. Five of the last six QBs to play New Orleans have thrown for 235 yards or more and 6 of the last 7 have 2 or more TDs. Orton seemed to thaw a bit last week with 219 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT against Jacksonville and this week is a better matchup, so expect similar if not slightly better results.

QB Chad Pennington - MIA (vs NYJ)

There’s only one way the Jets will beat the Vikings defense this week and it’s not running the football. Minnesota is by far the league’s best run defense. While they’re not terrible against the pass, their run defense forces teams to forego the run and throw the ball more often than usual which contributes to the Vikings allowing the 6th most passing yds (242 yds/gm). The Vikings have allowed 250+ yards in four of their last five games, but only one of those QBs threw for more than 1 TD and the last three were picked off 2 or more times. Pennington is a decent reach, especially in leagues that don’t subtract points for INTs.

QB Sage Rosenfels - FA ( FA)

We have to give Rosenfels some credit for his performance this year. As a backup QB, he’s been productive when called upon and he has seemed to make the most of his opportunities. He’s played in parts or all of 6 games this year producing 1123 yards on 105-of-159 passing with 11 TDs and 7 INTs. Translated to a per game basis, Rosenfels is producing around 200 yards, 2 TDs and an INT per game. This week he’ll get the start against the Broncos, who are allowing 210 yds, 1.6 TDs and 1 INT per game to opposing QBs (7th most fantasy pts allowed). Suffice to say, if you roll with Sage this week, you may expect something around 200 yds, 1-2 TDs and an INT – not great, but not half-bad either. Andre Johnson should be good for about half of those numbers by himself.

QB Mark Sanchez - DAL (at WAS)

It’s too early to tell yet if Sanchez will be able to go this week against the Falcons. He is expected to practice this week, but Head Coach Rex Ryan said that he is unsure if Sanchez will be the starter or not. While Sanchez is a high risk play given his knee injury and shaky status, if he’s named as the team’s starter by mid-week, then you may want to give him consideration. That is because the Falcons have a way of making their opponent’s quarterbacks look great. In their last nine games, they’ve allowed the most fantasy points in the league to opposing QBs. For the season, only the Lions have yielded more to opposing QBs. Fellow rookie, Josh Freeman, looked awfully good against them a few weeks ago when he completed 20-of-29 for 250 yards and 2 TDs. Jake Delhomme, who struggled badly most of this year, had two of his best games against the Falcons as he combined for 503 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT.

If you're desperate (worth a look in deeper leagues)

QB Derek Anderson - CAR (at NO)

Another inexperienced and raw QB to consider only as a last resort (or for those of you in 2 QB leagues) is Derek Anderson (Cle at BAL). Charlie Frye remains hurt and unlikely to play against the Ravens. Anderson has been surprisingly effective in his two games and the Ravens primary defensive weakness is in their secondary. The Ravens are allowing 12.7 yds/completion (2nd highest), but they’ve intercepted 22 passes and allowed just 12 TDs. We obviously don’t recommend Anderson, but in those 2 QB leagues where you really need to stretch for a 2nd QB, Anderson could be a surprise against the vaunted Ravens defense this week.

QB Kyle Boller - OAK (vs CLE)

Boller is coming off a rough outing against the Colts in which he managed only 132 passing yards and a TD while throwing 3 interceptions. His previous three games were a bit more palatable, though still nothing to get excited about from a fantasy perspective. This week, however, Boller faces a winless Dolphins team that has allowed the 4th most fantasy points for opposing QBs. Last week, the Bills rookie QB Trent Edwards took advantage of the Dolphins suspect secondary by throwing for 4 TDs and 165 yards.

QB Trent Edwards - OAK (vs CLE)

Let’s see if Edwards is able to play this week first. The last time the Bills played the Jets in week 9, Edwards completed 24-of-35 for 289 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs. Mike Martz showed how to attack the Jets last week, as if it wasn’t abundantly clear already. Teams have a difficult time running on them, but a much easier time when they spread the field, attack the secondary and run out of that formation as the Broncos did successfully a couple weeks ago. Edwards had success against them last time around, but the Bills offense is bogged down badly and coming off injury, he’s an extremely high risk given the stakes most owners are playing for at this time of the season.

QB Josh Freeman - IND (vs SD)

Last week, the Jets put Pro Bowl corner Darrelle Revis on the Bucs top receiver Antonio Bryant all game long. Revis shut down Bryant, and it seemed to have a domino effect as the wheels came off the Bucs passing game. Freeman finished with just 93 yards, no TDs and three picks. For those counting, it is now 8 INTs in the last two games for the king-sized rookie. It’s also not surprising that the Panthers and Jets are two of the three toughest matchups for QBs this year. The Seahawks are definitely not in that category nor do they have a Revis-like corner to shut down Bryant this week. Seattle has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs over the last two months yielding 292 yards, 2.4 TDs and 1.1 INTs per game. Alex Smith passed for 310 yards and 2 TDs against Seattle two weeks ago and Kyle Boller produced 282 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs and 26 yards rushing three weeks ago. Matt Schaub threw for 365 yards and 2 TDs last week against them, but Freeman is hardly in the same category of fantasy QBs. Freeman comes with a lot of risk given his recent tendency to throw picks and fellow rookie Matthew Stafford didn’t have a big game against the Seahawks either. He threw 5 picks, but did manage 203 yards and 2 TDs. Freeman is likely to finish somewhere between Stafford, Boller and Smith.

QB Jeff Garcia - HOU (vs ARI)

Ok, we all know Garcia’s arm is toast and he’s playing out a string of games on a Lions team that is simply pathetic on and off the field. Still, Garcia could still put up some viable fantasy numbers in this game. The Bengals will almost certainly roll up some numbers on the scoreboard forcing the Lions to throw more as well. Charlie Frye fared reasonably well last week throwing for 138 yards and a TD while also running for a TD. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 386 yards and 3 TDs in the previous week. Don’t expect that kind of production from Garcia, he’s still a reach.

QB J.P. Losman - MIA (vs NYJ)

If J.P. Losman doesn’t play this week, then maybe Holcomb could be productive in this game. Teams are having some success against Denver through the air mostly because Denver is among the league’s best run defenses. They also are intercepting a lot of passes (Champ Bailey has five straight games with a pick). The Broncos have allowed the 4th most passing yards (251.5) along with 19 TDs and 18 INTs. Holcomb would still be a ridiculous reach, but he is probably a slight upgrade over Losman at this point.

QB Donovan McNabb - FA ( FA)

I still have a hard time adjusting to McNabb wearing a Redskins uniform. Everything seems off. Way off. McNabb’s TDs are down, of course, but interestingly he is on his way to 500+ pass attempts for just the third time in his 12 year career. Despite his ailing hamstrings, McNabb is on pace for playing in all 16 games for only the 5th time in his career. This week, he faces a Cowboys team allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs – eight straight QBs have thrown for 260+ yards with a total of 22 TDs to 13 INTs in that span. Only three out of thirteen QBs that played Dallas failed to produce 20 fantasy points – and back in Week 1 McNabb was the first of them. There is also that nasty little rumor that Mike Shanahan is once again contemplating starting Rex Grossman this week. Assuming that is hogwash, McNabb has a prime matchup and he should fare better than he did the first time around when the Redskins won 13-7 despite McNabb throwing for only 171 yards with no TDs (but no picks either).

QB Kyle Orton - FA ( FA)

Who knows what we might expect from Orton this weekend as the Bears starting QB. He had some success as a rookie after replacing Rex Grossman, but he also had plenty of problems and games where he was simply unproductive. Brian Griese started for the Bears in week 6 when they last played the Vikings. In that game, Griese was 26-of-45 for 381 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. Now, Griese is more experienced than Orton and a better overall QB at this stage of their careers, but that’s not to say that Orton couldn’t be productive this week. The reality is the Bears may not have much success running the football against the stout Vikings run defense. So, Orton may be throwing frequently and he could very well produce decent yardage totals and a couple of TDs. The pitfall is that he may also turnover the football a few times and possibly get yanked if he flounders badly.

QB Brady Quinn - MIA (vs NYJ)

Quinn is hardly the type of quarterback that you want to pin your fantasy playoffs and hopes for a trophy on given his inconsistent nature and weak arm. That being said, he has actually been effective against softer matchups in the past month, while looking like an overmatched NFL quarterback against good defenses like the Steelers and Bengals. Against the Lions, Quinn threw for 304 yards and 4 TDs. Against a banged up Chargers defense missing several starters, he threw for 271 yards and 3 TDs. This week, he faces a Chiefs defense that is among the worst defensive units in the league, but one that is still capable of putting a hex on Quinn. The limiting factor for many QBs against the Chiefs has been the success of their running game. Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick only threw 20 passes as the Bills ran wild over the Chiefs behind Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. The Browns aren’t likely to do that, but they should have success on the ground with Chris Jennings and Josh Cribbs. That should be enough to give Quinn some breathing room and produce around 200 yards with a chance for a couple of TDs.

QB Seneca Wallace - FA ( FA)

If Matt Hasselbeck is indeed shut down for the rest of the season, Wallace becomes the team's starter for the remaining three games. Last week, Wallace completed 20-of-28 for 212 yards with 3 TD passes, no turnovers and 47 yards rushing against the Patriots. Wallace may benefit again this week with a soft matchup against the Rams. With the Seahawks starting QB unknown at this point, that means the Rams may not be able to prepare as well as they would if they knew Wallace would start for sure. His ability to run out of the pocket could create problems for the defense and it's a dimension that Hasselbeck doesn't bring to the table. With no receivers, Hasselbeck was reasonably productive against the Rams in week 3 with 172 yards passing, 1 TD and 17 yards rushing. If Wallace is the starter, he should easily top those numbers.


Running Back

Prime Cut (Great matchup, strong sleeper)

RB Tatum Bell - FA ( FA)

Those people who own Tatum Bell have probably been burned by him at least once this year and possibly rewarded in a game or two as well. It’s difficult to predict how the Broncos running game will be divvied up right now, but in last week’s game Bell had 16 carries to Anderson’s 8 carries last week and Ron Dayne lost a fumble. Dayne might have lost whatever momentum he had going with that fumble. As for the matchup, the Bills are the 4th best fantasy matchup over last 5 weeks allowing 116 rushing yds/gm, 60 receiving yds/gm and 6 TDs (combined) to opposing RBs. On the season, they rank 2nd allowing 124 rushing yds/gm with 14 TDs and 39 receiving yds/gm with 2 TDs.

RB Ladell Betts - NO (vs CAR)

The Saints are allowing 132 rushing yds/gm and 5.1 ypc (2nd worst). Yet they are only the 25th best fantasy matchup for RBs since they’ve only accounted for 101.5 of those yards and only 7 TDs in 13 games. Normally, we would talk about Betts being in a contract year, but he signed an extension last week, so that incentive is off the table. Then again, Betts didn’t play as if he is resting on his laurels last week (33-171-0, 2-14-0 vs Phi). Betts is playing well and the Redskins need to establish the running game to keep the Saints high-flying offense off the field if they have any chance of winning this week. Betts will play a major role once again, so don’t be surprised if he gets another 25 to 30 carries again and produces solid yardage.

RB Jamaal Charles - KC (at NYG)

Since taking over as the Chiefs featured back, Charles has blossomed into a strong RB2 for fantasy owners. This week, his string of solid performances should continue against a Browns defense allowing 174 yards and 1.2 TDs to opposing RBs combined. The Browns played inspired ball against their hated divisional rivals (Pittsburgh) at home last Thursday night knowing they could significantly disrupt their playoff hopes. This week, they don’t have anything like that to get fired up over. It’s a road game against the lowly Chiefs. Knowing that Charles performed reasonably well against the Steelers, Chargers, Broncos and Bills, he continues to be a prime sleeper and a good bet to do the same this week.

RB Corey Dillon - FA ( FA)

Laurence Maroney may or may not play this week. Regardless, Corey Dillon will start against a Houston Texans defense that is the fourth best fantasy matchup for opposing RBs. The Texans have allowed 15 rushing TDs (3rd most) on the season. Last week, Travis Henry ran for 88 yards and 2 scores before leaving the game early as Chris Brown racked up 44 yards on just four carries to polish off the Texans. Dillon may not get more than 15 carries whether Maroney plays or not, but he’s a very good bet to find the endzone at least once, if not 2 or 3 times.

RB Laurence Maroney - FA ( FA)

Two weeks ago, we got a glimpse of Maroney’s big play abilities against the Ravens on Monday Night Football. He caught a pair of passes for 89 yards and rushed for 44 yards. Unfortunately, Maroney’s production this year has been sporadic at best. He has a whopping total of *2* TDs and only 645 combined yards despite appearing in 10 games. This week, the Pats have their rematch against the Jets, who are allowing the 4th most fantasy points to opposing RBs – or 31-133-0.9 rushing and 4-33-0.2 receiving per game. In the first game, Maroney carried the ball 20 times (most of the year) for 72 yards, but didn’t score or catch a pass. This time around, look for Maroney to possibly be utilized better than he has been in recent weeks with the potential for another TD and with any luck 75 to 100 total yards. Keep in mind, the Patriots just might decide to throw the ball 60 times and run it 5. We can’t possibly underestimate Bill Belichick’s desire to run up the score in this game, so don’t expect a lot, but don’t be surprised if Maroney has one of his better games of the season this week.

RB Ryan Moats - FA ( FA)

The Rams are the #1 fantasy matchup for RBs over last 5 weeks allowing 138 rushing yds/gm and 22 receiving yds/gm with 9 TDs to RBs. On the season, they rank 4th allowing 126 rushing yds/gm with 17 TDs and 27 receiving yds/gm with 1 TD. Moats was the most productive of the Eagles backs last week and he’s the best bet to continue in that role. However, Lamar Gordon and Reno Mahe are getting carries, too. Moats probably won’t handle the ball 20 to 30 times this week, but he could still be a nice sleeper handling it 12 to 15 times given the matchup.

RB Knowshon Moreno - FA ( FA)

Correll Buckhalter left last week’s game with an ankle injury and his status is up in the air for this week’s game against a very beatable Raiders run defense that has allowed 135 yards rushing and 1 TD per game to opposing RBs in their last five. That should be all the justification needed to put Knowshon Moreno in your lineup this week. Moreno stands to get more carries, although Peyton Hillis could very well get more work in Buckhalter’s stead. Moreno has consistently produced around 80 to 100 yards per game in the last six games and he should easily do better than that this week. In Week 3, he ran for 90 yards and a TD while sharing the rock with Buckhalter, who ran for 108 yards in the same game.

RB Knowshon Moreno - FA ( FA)

Don’t let last week’s “mediocre” showing against the Cardinals get you down. Whether it was coaching, a lack there of, or something else, the Broncos clearly didn’t take advantage of a prime matchup against one of the easiest defensive matchups possible. Moreno still managed a respectable 113 yards and a TD, but we expected so much more. This week, Moreno gets a second crack at the Raiders. The last time around Moreno’s role was diminished as the Raiders blew out the Broncos 59-14 in Denver. Moreno still managed 90 combined yards and a pair of TD catches, but this time around we expect more of the same out of Moreno – a sixth consecutive game of 100+ total yards and a TD (he scored in four of his last five). The Raiders just might control the clock and dominate what appeared to be a listless Broncos team last week, but the saving grace for Moreno is his role in the passing game where he has caught 29 balls in his last seven games.

RB Maurice Morris - DET (vs CIN)

Morris has assumed the lead back role for the Seahawks. That isn’t saying much, but this week it just might be enough for him to useful in a flex/RB2 role against a Ram defense allowing the 2nd most fantasy point to opposing RBs – 177 yds and 1.9 TDs per game. In week three, Morris was hurt and didn’t play against the Rams, but Julius Jones started and rambled for 140 yards and a TD. T.J. Duckett contributed 79 yards on 19 carries and scored twice. Morris gets the start this time around, though Jones and Duckett should both see action as well.

RB Sammy Morris - FA ( FA)

Ronnie Brown won’t be in the lineup again this week, so Morris looks like a safe bet if you’re looking to use him as your RB2. The Bills are the 4th best matchup allowing 125.5 yds/gm and 1 TD/gm to opposing RBs. Teams are averaging 4.8 ypc against Buffalo and the Bills have allowed 101 first downs on run plays (3rd most). Keep in mind, the Bills did a solid job stuffing the Jets ground game last week and dashing the playoff hopes of those who started Cedric Houston along the way. By the same token, Morris stampeded the tough Patriots run defense for 123 yards and a TD on 25 carries last week while chipping in 39 yards on two catches. At worst, he’s a decent gamble against a much softer defensive matchup.

RB Kevin Smith - FA ( FA)

Smith hasn’t produced big numbers this year, but he has regularly broken a 20 yard run in almost every game this year. He faces a Colts defense this week that is allowing 160 yds and 1.3 TDs to opposing RBs, too. He produced 90 total yards against a tough Vikings defense last week and 86 yards against the Bucs two weeks prior. Likewise, he produced 123 yds and a TD against the Jags in week 10 and 135 yards against the Panthers in week 11. The Colts aren’t nearly as stout as any of those defenses, so Smith should be able to find some creases and break off a few decent runs and finish with over 100 and a possible TD.

RB Jonathan Stewart - CAR (at NO)

For the second year in a row, Stewart has a chance to be a fantasy playoff hero for owners that drafted him too high and carried him on the roster patiently waiting for his chance to shine. It took long enough and Mike Goodson’s presence limits his upside a bit, but there should be no doubt about it that Stewart is the bell cow for the Panthers otherwise painfully unproductive offense. The Cardinals just happen to be the league’s third worst run defense (143 yds/gm) and they’ve allowed the most fantasy points to RBs. In the last three games, Stewart has toted the rock 51 times for 323 yards with 1 TD. Goodson cashed in last week with a nifty TD run that was setup by a long run from Stewart. Stewart should get the bulk of the carries again this week, but look for Goodson to serve as a possibly strong RB3/flex option as these two guys should carry the Panthers offense on their backs once again.

RB Chester Taylor - ARI (at HOU)

In the last five games, the Packers have allowed 129 rushing yds/gm (3rd most) but only 3 TDs. Jamal Lewis appears to be banished to Brian Billick’s dog house giving Taylor a prime opportunity to show case his skills for free agency. This is probably the best opportunity yet this year for Taylor to score a decent amount of points, so if you have him and have been waiting for your chance to use him, this might be the time.

RB Chester Taylor - ARI (at HOU)

Last week, Chester Taylor ripped off an 80 yard TD and finished with over 100 yards on the day, while inexplicably Adrian Peterson was bottled up all day rushing for as many yards as he had carries. The team will continue to split carries between Peterson and Taylor, largely because of how productive Taylor has been since Peterson injured his knee. If either player were out, the other one could be counted on for strong production almost every week. However, as it stands, we really can’t count on more than 15 carries each week out of Taylor. The Bears are allowing a healthy 117 rushing yards and 1.1 TDs per game to opposing RBs and 5-44-0.2 per game receiving. That’s the third most fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. In week six, when these two teams last played, Peterson ran 20 times for 224 yards and 3 TDs while Taylor ran 22 times for 83 yards. Expect similar results from Taylor, but he may be pressed to duplicate 22 carries, so 83 yards might be a good target for total yards with the hope that he can find the end zone as a bonus.

RB Chris Wells - ARI (at HOU)

Monday night might have been the turning point for Wells. After Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling put the ball on the ground, Ken Whisenhunt turned to Wells to carry the load against the 49ers. Wells didn’t disappoint either. Wells seems to have it all – speed, power, vision, toughness and once he gets around the corner or into the second level, he’s a bear to bring down. He lost a fumble late in the game, but Whisenhunt seemed to dismiss it in his post-game presser. All that said, it might finally be time for Wells to carry the load for the Cardinals. The timing couldn’t be any better with the Lions and Rams up next on the schedule. Wells seems to play a bigger role in games where the Cardinals can get a lead and cruise. That should certainly be the case this week in Detroit. Wells doesn’t have his first 100-yard game under his belt yet, but it could come this week. Hightower has just 8 carries in the last two games compared to 28 for Wells. We were fooled into thinking Wells had arrived earlier this year only to see a resurgence of sorts from Hightower. That could happen again, but even so, Wells looks like a great sleeper against a Lions defense that is consistently being gashed by opposing RBs.

RB Selvin Young - FA ( FA)

Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan said this week that he may utilize all three of the Broncos running backs against the Texans on Thursday. Travis Henry clearly isn’t back into game shape and Shanahan has been riding on Young more until Henry is healthier and better conditioned. Young looks like the guy who should start this week and get a bulk of the carries, but we never really know with the Broncos what might happen. The Texans are allowing 24-106-1 on the ground and 6-42-0 receiving per game to opposing RBs. Even if Shanny pulls a fast one and Henry starts the game, count on seeing plenty of Young this week.

Worth a Gamble (Good matchup, solid sleeper)

RB Jerome Bettis - FA ( FA)

Bettis is safe to use once again in TD-heavy leagues, but he is mostly a reach in other scoring systems. The Vikings have allowed 11 TDs to opposing RBs and an average of 93 rushing yds/gm. It’s tricky using Bettis, but he has a good chance of scoring a TD in this game, so depending on your other backs available and the scoring system, Bettis might be a strong reach or a potentially poor one.

RB LeGarrette Blount - NE (vs TB)

Since Blount seized control of the Bucs backfield back in Week 7, he has averaged a healthy 17 carries for 80 yards with 4 TDs in eight games. He’s not a factor in the passing game what-so-ever, and there’s the rumor that he could lose goal line carries, but Blount has a strong matchup against a Lions defense that has allowed the seventh most fantasy points to RBs this week. That Blount produced only 68 yards on 15 carries against the Redskins doesn’t help instill the confidence needed in him at this juncture of the season, but we can also point to a pair of other games against poor run defenses where Blount was able to seize the opportunity. Against Arizona, Blount ran for 120 yards and 2 TDs, and against Carolina, he ran for 91 yards and scored. Blount should be fine this week, too, but there is that element of risk with him because Cadillac Williams plays on obvious passing downs and, as stated, Blount has struggled at times at the goal line opening the door for Earnest Graham or Williams to enter the picture.

RB Stephen Davis - STL (vs PHI)

The Panthers are not saying much about the apparent shoulder injury suffered by DeShaun Foster last week, other than downplaying it perhaps, so until there’s better information available Stephen Davis may (or may not) be a player worth using this week. He’s still getting some touches behind Foster, but if Foster is banged up and not 100%, then Davis could once again possibly carry the ball 10 to 15 times in this game. The Saints defense is a nice matchup allowing 121 rushing yds/gm and 28 receiving yds/gm with 12 TDs. If Foster is questionable on this week’s injury report, then consider Davis a slightly stronger play as far as sleepers go. He’s still effective at the goal line, so if anything, he could get some carries there.

RB Warrick Dunn - FA ( FA)

In week two when the Bucs met the Falcons in Tampa Bay, Dunn ran 12 times for 49 yards with a TD and he caught 3 balls for another 21 yards. Dunn was considerably productive since Earnest Graham ran 15 times for 116 yards with a TD and a 12-yard catch in the same game. Needless to say, Dunn looks good again this time around, especially since he’s handling a bigger share of the team’s running duties now. Cadillac Williams also has some deep sleeper value this week and he could vulture a TD away, but don’t expect a ton of carries or yards. Dunn is the safe play here and actually one of the better sleeper plays of the week going against his other former team.

RB Justin Fargas - FA ( FA)

The Rams have allowed the 2nd most rushing yardage in the league – only the Colts are worse. They are coming off a short week having played on Monday night and they’ll be traveling to the left coast to face the Raiders to boot. The Rams have allowed 16 rushing TDs (2nd most) and 5.0 ypc (3rd most). They’ve also permitted 15 runs of 20+ yards (2nd most). From a fantasy perspective the Rams are the 3rd best matchup. Granted, it’s tough to draw much hope in Justin Fargas, but as a flex option or a RB2 in deeper leagues, he might surprise.

RB Quinton Ganther - SEA (at TEN)

We weren’t sure what the Redskins were planning to do last week with their running game. Mid-week they announced that Ganther would be their starter and that Rock Cartwright was going back to special team duty. Even then, we expected a fair amount of RB by committee given their last couple of games, but Ganther emerged as the featured back while Cartwright touched the ball just twice. This week, the Redskins don’t have a great matchup, but on opportunity alone, Ganther is worth a look. He combined for 93 yards and 2 TDs against the Raiders last week, but he might be hard pressed to match that production against a Giants defense that is better against the run than they are against the pass. Look for the Redskins to go to the air, but Ganther should still get 15+ touches with a decent shot of 70+ yards and a TD.

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis - FA ( FA)

The matchup between Law Firm and the Packers defense is an interesting one because it comes down to touchdowns. Law Firm has scored an abundance of them this year (11) while the Packers have allowed a total of 4 TDs to RBs – all season. Green-Ellis has steadily evolved into a mid-to-low RB2 option for owners this year on the strength of his work at the goal line and a graduation from 10 to 15 carries to 15 to 20 carries each week. The Packers allow a healthy 4.5 YPC and they’ve allowed the 14th most rushing yards. If Green-Ellis can cross the goal line, he’ll be fine. He was kept out by the Bears last week despite having a few opportunities. In other games against top run defenses, he performed well. Two weeks ago, he produced 72 yards and a pair of TDs against the Jets. In Week 10, he totaled 123 yards against the Steelers top-ranked run defense. He has the trust factor working for him, like Smith & Barney, he eaaaaarned it.

RB Cedric Houston - NYJ (at MIA)

The Dolphins have allowed 103 rushing yds/gm and 28 receiving yds/gm with 12 TDs to opposing RBs. They have been solid, but not really tough against the run. Each of the last six RBs to face Miami has rushed for at least 75 yards. Three scored TDs and four combined for over 100 yards with the fifth going for 99 yards. Curtis Martin is out for the last three games so the table is set for Houston this week. Considering that most of the other backs in this column are not guaranteed to shoulder the burden for their team’s running game, Houston might be the safest sleeper, but he doesn’t have the same upside as someone like Tatum Bell or even Chester Taylor.

RB Chris Jennings - FA ( FA)

No team has allowed more production to opposing RBs in the last five weeks than the Chiefs have. Opposing backs are averaging a staggering 197 yards (combined) and 1.2 TDs per game. In their last two games, the Bills and Broncos produced a pair of backs with 84 or more yards rushing, while two of them went over 100 total yards. Chris Jennings is not a household name, or even much of a known commodity in the fantasy world, but he looked the part against the Steelers last Thursday night running for 73 yards and a TD on 20 carries. Last week, we were all fooled into thinking that Jerome Harrison would be the lucky back to start for the Browns when they line up against the Chiefs and Raiders in Weeks 15 and 16, but that was short lived. Harrison, it seems, only got the touches he got in Week 13 because of Harrison’s sore shoulder. So, while Jennings seems like the new toy on the shelf with a great matchup this week, be cautious. Eric Mangini is flirting with the idea of making Josh Cribbs a full-time back. Last week, Cribbs ran for 87 yards (14 more than Jennings) on only 8 carries. Jennings looks like a great sleeper this week, but like Harrison, he could end up being fool’s gold. Keep Jennings in mind if you have a solid lineup otherwise, and if you can afford to gamble. If you’re really grasping at straws, you might consider picking up Cribbs and starting him.

RB Rudi Johnson - FA ( FA)

Now a days, it’s hard to know what you might get from the Bengals offense, and more specifically, Rudi Johnson. Last week, with a wet and muddy field, Johnson got 23 carries and produced 92 yards and a TD. That was welcome news to anyone who held onto Johnson this year hoping to see him recover in time to give them a boost for the playoffs. The Bengals have been working Kenny Watson and DeDe Dorsey into the mix as well, so there’s at least a small chance the Bengals may not give Rudi a ton of carries in this game. The 49ers are allowing 113 rushing yards per game to opposing RBs along with 0.7 TDs/gm. Johnson is a decent option around the goal line, and this a good matchup, so it comes down to how much he’ll be utilized.

RB Felix Jones - FA ( FA)

As I began researching this week’s matchup last weekend, I was looking at Tashard Choice as a strong candidate for this article. That was before he flopped against the Eagles, allowing Felix Jones to re-assert whatever loose hold he had on the Cowboys backfield. Jones had 17 touches to Choice’s 8 and he outgained him 83 yards to 33, also scoring a touchdown. The Redskins have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to RBs and their 4.9 YPC is a welcome sign. Back in the season opener, the Cowboys ground game was effective, but all three backs touched the ball and none of them had more than Jones’ 64 yards on 10 touches. Expect for Jones to be busier this week. The Cowboys backfield has been a fantasy landmine this year, so be careful. Choice bombed last week, but he and Jones could flip-flop roles again as the hot/cold back if Jones stumbles early. There is a long line of teams featuring two productive backs against the Skins this year. Ahmad Bradshaw (97 yards, 2 TDs) and Brandon Jacobs (103 yards, 2 TDs) came up big against them in Week 13. Adrian Peterson (70 yds, 1 TD) left early in Week 12 and Toby Gerhart took over with 81 yards and a TD. The Eagles had a similar story in Week 10. After LeSean McCoy racked up 94 yards and a TD on 16 touches, Jerome Harrison slashed the Redskins for 124 yards and a TD on 12 touches. Even the Lions nonexistent ground game showed signs of life against Washington - Jahvid Best (79 yds) and Kevin Smith (67 yds). Jones is a better flex option than RB2. Choice doesn’t inspire as much confidence, but he is just one game removed from 100 yards and a TD. He’s worth a flyer in really deep leagues, but otherwise should probably remain on the bench in normal leagues.

RB Laurence Maroney - FA ( FA)

Maroney is sharing the rock with Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk already, and Fred Taylor looks like he’s close to returning to the field, too. Last week, Faulk vultured another TD while producing 75 yards, and Morris chipped in 35 yards. Despite that, Maroney ran for 94 yards on 22 carries and caught 2 balls for 17 yards against a soft Panthers run defense. This week, they face another struggling run defense when the Patriots go to Buffalo. The Bills have allowed three straight 100-yard runners, five in their last six games and 9 in their last 11. Needless to say, Maroney has a great shot at making it four straight, or six of seven, or 10 of 12. Because he is sharing the rock with the Patriots committee of backs, he remains something of a gamble, but as the lead horse in that stable, he should get another 20 carries and finish right around the century mark. The downside with Maroney is what happened in Week 1 when they faced the Bills.

RB Dominic Rhodes - IND (vs SD)

Joseph Addai is “the man” in Indianapolis now, but Rhodes is still productive enough to use as a 3rd RB or flex option in your lineup, particularly in PPR leagues. Since Addai is listed as questionable, there’s more reasons to believe that he could be productive this week against an improved Bengals defense of late. As a matchup, the Bengals are slightly better than average against the run. Rhodes should easily get 9-12 carries, 35-50 yards, a 2-4 catches, 15-30 yards and a slight chance for a TD, perhaps a bit more if Addai isn’t 100%. Keep in mind, the Bengals defense has tightened up considerably in the past month, so Rhodes is still a gamble. In the last four games, Cincinnati has allowed no rushing TDs and just 224 yds (56 yds/gm) to opposing RBs.

RB Aaron Stecker - FA ( FA)

The Cardinals are slightly tougher than average against the run and, in particular, in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs. They’re allowing 87 rushing yds and 0.7 TDs per game. However, they’ve proven to be susceptible to RBs who can catch the ball allowing 7-48-0.1 per game on the receiving end. Stecker is a good option out of the backfield as a runner or receiver, so he looks like a solid gamble this week knowing that he’s starting for the injured Reggie Bush and getting the bulk of the work. Last week, Stecker ran 20 times for 100 yards and caught 3 balls for 7 yards against the Falcons.

RB Jonathan Stewart - CAR (at NO)

The Panthers running game put on a show Monday night against one of the best run defenses in the entire league. They go from dominating the Bucs to facing a Broncos run defense that ranks near the bottom of the league allowing 180 yds and 1.5 TDs per game. Given the matchup, Stewart should be able to get 10-to-15 carries and he’s a good bet to find the end zone, too. He won’t catch many passes, but he’s averaging 5 YPC and the Broncos are allowing more than 5 YPC.

Solid Reach (backup / situational player with upside)

RB Cedric Benson - GB (at BAL)

Generally, it’s never a good idea to start a RB that doesn’t even start on his own team, but there are few exceptions to the rule. Particularly in deeper leagues, or those where you’re able to play 3 RBs (flex), Benson can serve a stated purpose – run the ball 10 or more times, get 40-50 yards and a possible score. The Bucs are a neutral matchup and this game could get out of hand early on giving Benson even more opportunities to pound the rock in the second half.

RB Ronnie Brown - FA ( FA)

The Jets have actually done a solid job defending the run over the last month or so, but on the season they rank as the 6th best matchup for RBs allowing 124 rushing yds/gm with 12 TDs and 31 receiving yds/gm with 2 TDs. With Williams and Brown almost splitting carries down the middle, it’s hard to give either player an advantage, though it’s worth noting that Brown has been putting the ball on the carpet with a much higher frequency than Williams has done. Either one, or both, could be productive this week.

RB Ronnie Brown - FA ( FA)

On paper, the Dolphins should be able to run up and down the field on the Bills defense. Buffalo has allowed 15 more rushing yards per game than the second worst run defense. Opponents are rushing for 166 yards and averaging 4.7 YPC against them with a current streak of four games in a row in which opposing RBs topped 100 yards rushing. From a fantasy perspective, they’ve allowed the fourth most points to RBs. On the flipside, the Dolphins tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have been a fantasy bust. They’ve successfully cancelled each other out while producing just enough to make you join the It Could Be Worse program. As RB31 (Brown) and RB37 (Williams) respectively, they’re in that range of being even a tease as a flex / RB3 option from week to week. Take heart, though, in their season opener in Buffalo, Brown combined for 85 yards and a TD while Williams ran for 62 yards on 18 carries. It was Brown’s second best game of the year and about fourth for Williams. There isn’t much upside with either one, but hey, it could be worse.

RB T.J. Duckett - FA ( FA)

When these two teams last faced each other, Duckett was able to run 19 times for 79 yards with 2 scores. Against a Ram defense allowing the 2nd most fantasy point to opposing RBs – 177 yds and 1.9 TDs per game, Duckett is once again worth considering as a deep sleeper based largely on his potential to get across the goal line once or twice again this week, but also because he could very well get enough carries to add some yardage to pad the stats.

RB Justin Forsett - DEN (at BUF)

If only some NFL coaches would trust what their eyes tell them when they watch tape. It’s hard to fathom why Justin Forsett isn’t getting the vast majority of touches for the Seahawks, but with Julius Jones back in the fold, he’s merely splitting touches almost evenly. Jones hasn’t been terrible, but Forsett has so much more bounce and he offers much more versatility than Jones does. The Bucs have allowed 149 rushing yards and 1.2 TDs per game to RBs over their last five, so Forsett is still a good reach, particularly in PPR leagues. If only Jim Mora would give him an extra 5 to 10 touches, he would be a solid RB2. It could still happen, but if they continue splitting work, then Forsett is more of a flex/RB3 option with plenty of upside.

RB Mike Goodson - FA ( FA)

For the second year in a row, Stewart has a chance to be a fantasy playoff hero for owners that drafted him too high and carried him on the roster patiently waiting for his chance to shine. It took long enough and Mike Goodson’s presence limits his upside a bit, but there should be no doubt about it that Stewart is the bell cow for the Panthers otherwise painfully unproductive offense. The Cardinals just happen to be the league’s third worst run defense (143 yds/gm) and they’ve allowed the most fantasy points to RBs. In the last three games, Stewart has toted the rock 51 times for 323 yards with 1 TD. Goodson cashed in last week with a nifty TD run that was setup by a long run from Stewart. Stewart should get the bulk of the carries again this week, but look for Goodson to serve as a possibly strong RB3/flex option as these two guys should carry the Panthers offense on their backs once again.

RB Tim Hightower - NO (vs CAR)

Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt came to Beanie Wells’ defense in Sunday’s post—game presser after Wells seemed to founder yet another opportunity away against the Broncos. As it turns out, Wells was sick before the game but manned up in the first half to finish with 16 yards on six carries. That opened the door for Tim Hightower, who ran for 148 yards and a pair of TDs against a bad Broncos defense. The Cardinals have another great matchup on tap this week. Owners have held onto Hightower or Wells all year hoping this situation would clear itself up by the time the playoffs came around for a fantasy jackpot. I don’t have a ton of confidence in Hightower, but Wells certainly hasn’t earned any trust this year either. He apparently has earned Whisenhunt’s support, which is enough to say that Hightower owners should be somewhat wary. Wells may be the bigger talent, but Hightower the better bet. Wells hasn’t had double digit touches since Week 8, while Hightower has in fix of the last six games. The Panthers have allowed the third most fantasy points to RBs. They’ve been particularly bad in their last three games as Michael Turner (124 yds), Marshawn Lynch (100 yds) and Peyton Hillis (194 yds) all scored 3 times against them. That makes Hightower particularly intriguing if not more risky than one prefers at this point in the season.

RB Fred Jackson - FA ( FA)

Jackson rushed for 100+ yards last week despite the return of Marshawn Lynch to the starting lineup. Jackson continues to take advantage of every opportunity that comes his way and he made several nice plays against the Dolphins in last week’s game. The previous week Jackson started and combined for 151 yards from scrimmage. The Bills HC Dick Jauron said this week that he would continue using both backs going forward, especially given the results they got last week with Jackson and Lynch both in the fold. The Browns are allowing 26-115-0.2 rushing and 4-34-0.1 receiving per game to opposing RBs making them a decent matchup and one where Jackson could continue his hot streak. Granted, he may only get 10 to 15 touches this week, but look for him to combine for around 50 to 60 yards with the potential for more.

RB Brandon Jacobs - NYG (vs KC)

The Eagles are the 10th best fantasy matchup for RBs allowing 122.2 rushing yds/gm. They’ve allowed 10 TDs on the ground and the 4th most rushing yards overall. Jacobs ran for 35 yards on only 5 carries when they met in week two. Let’s just say Jacobs is due for one of those 1-2 TD games and the Eagles less than physical defensive front seven is a prime target for this gigantic force near the goal line.

RB Greg Jones - FA ( FA)

Over the last five games, SF has allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing RBs – 135 rushing yds/gm with 4 TDs and 37 receiving yds/gm with 1 TD. Over the course of the season they remain the #1 fantasy matchup for opposing RBs allowing 115 rushing yds/gm with 15 TDs and 40 receiving yds/gm with 4 TDs. Even though Fred Taylor was listed as probable the last two weeks, he didn’t play two weeks ago and last week Jones continued to carry the bulk of the team’s rushing load. Keep an eye on the game-day status of Taylor and make the proper call depending on his expected usage and/or availability.

RB Willis McGahee - FA ( FA)

Don’t be fooled into thinking that McGahee’s role has grown abundantly in the past few weeks due to his 4 TDs, or his 12 carries last week. The Raven won’t be playing the Lions again this year, unfortunately, but they do have the Bears this week and the Raiders in Week 17. McGahee has resurfaced in the red zone as he now has 11 TDs for the year and a TD in three straight games. The Ravens should be able to keep their ground game going against a Bears defense that allows 111 yards and a TD per game to opposing backs. Don’t expect another double digit carries, but in TD heavy leagues, McGahee’s red zone role is enticing.

RB Artose Pinner - FA ( FA)

The wrath of Artose Pinner was felt by many last week, including yours truly, who started Ciatrick Fason in two different leagues last week. Pinner ran all over his former teammates in Detroit last week for 125 yards and 3 TDs, despite Ciatrick Fason being named as the game-time starter with Chester Taylor unable to go during pre-game warm-ups. Keep an eye on Taylor’s status this week against the Jets, who are the 8th best matchup for RBs (Lions are 9th) allowing 129.4 rushing yds/gm and 1 TD/gm. The Jets are allowing 4.6 ypc and the Vikings will look to pound the rock once again in order to minimize their reliance on Brad Johnson and their ineffective passing game. Taylor is expected to be ready this week, but if he isn’t able to go, consider rolling with Pinner, but don’t forget that Pinner himself had no idea he would be carrying the rock 25 times last week – until he did. That’s why they play the games.

RB Dominic Rhodes - IND (vs SD)

Perhaps the best way for a RB to build confidence is to play the Detroit Lions, not that Rhodes needs any such thing. Opposing RBs are toasting the Lions to the rate of 187 yds and 1.6 TDs per game. There are numerous examples of backup RBs from the opposing team producing fantasy-worthy numbers this year against the Lions. Last week, Chester Taylor was the latest such example combining for 53 yards and scoring a TD. There are probably some owners that held owned Rhodes for most of the season waiting for this week in particular, especially in the event that Joseph Addai got hurt. This is the matchup you wanted, use him accordingly, especially after Addai missed some time in the second half against the Bengals. Rhodes could see a few more carries against the lowly Lions.

RB Darius Walker - FA ( FA)

Ron Dayne was slowed by a sprained ankle last week allowing the undrafted rookie Darius Walker to get into the game and handle the bulk of the workload. Walker is expected to start this week and work with Joe Echemandu in Dayne’s absence. The former Golden Domer ran for 46 yards last week on 16 carries and caught 6 balls for another 35 yards. The Broncos have improved their run defense in the second half of the season, but they remain a decent matchup and Walker just might be able to do something. The Broncos are allowing 26-122-0.5 rushing and 4-29-0 receiving per game to RBs. He’s a total reach, but if you’re been struck by injury, Walker is probably on the waiver wire and he’s someone you may able to pick up and play.

RB Derrick Ward - HOU (vs ARI)

In week 9, Brandon Jacobs was healthy and ran for 117 yards and a TD on 17 carries against the Cowboys. In that game, Ward ran 12 times for 63 yards with a TD and he also caught 2 balls for another 26 yards. This time around, Jacobs is dinged up and Ward may see a larger workload. He’s a decent gamble considering this is the fantasy playoffs, but if Jacobs is limited and he’s able to get more carries than usual, then he’s a solid player to gamble on as a flex/RB2/RB3 option.

RB Ricky Williams - FA ( FA)

The Jets have actually done a solid job defending the run over the last month or so, but on the season they rank as the 6th best matchup for RBs allowing 124 rushing yds/gm with 12 TDs and 31 receiving yds/gm with 2 TDs. With Williams and Brown almost splitting carries down the middle, it’s hard to give either player an advantage, though it’s worth noting that Brown has been putting the ball on the carpet with a much higher frequency than Williams has done. Either one, or both, could be productive this week.

RB Ricky Williams - FA ( FA)

On paper, the Dolphins should be able to run up and down the field on the Bills defense. Buffalo has allowed 15 more rushing yards per game than the second worst run defense. Opponents are rushing for 166 yards and averaging 4.7 YPC against them with a current streak of four games in a row in which opposing RBs topped 100 yards rushing. From a fantasy perspective, they’ve allowed the fourth most points to RBs. On the flipside, the Dolphins tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have been a fantasy bust. They’ve successfully cancelled each other out while producing just enough to make you join the It Could Be Worse program. As RB31 (Brown) and RB37 (Williams) respectively, they’re in that range of being even a tease as a flex / RB3 option from week to week. Take heart, though, in their season opener in Buffalo, Brown combined for 85 yards and a TD while Williams ran for 62 yards on 18 carries. It was Brown’s second best game of the year and about fourth for Williams. There isn’t much upside with either one, but hey, it could be worse.

If you're desperate (worth a look in deeper leagues)

RB Tatum Bell - FA ( FA)

As a matchup the Panthers are slightly tougher than average allowing 24-99-0.7 per game on the ground to opposing RBs and 5-33-0 receiving. Bell appears to be the Broncos primary back this week after Peyton Hillis tore his hamstring and was placed on IR. Bell ran for 52 yards on 11 carries last week and caught 2 balls for 16 yards playing in Hillis’ absence in the second half. Bell should be a solid reach this week, but there’s always the possibility of shenanigans with Shanahan. So be cautious, but use Bell is you’re in a pinch. The Broncos offense has been rolling alone lately and it doesn’t seem to matter what player is at RB.

RB Michael Bennett - FA ( FA)

It’s pretty risky using a Vikings RB at this stage of the game, but Bennett has been reasonably productive the last two weeks and, likewise, the Steelers run defense has been more vulnerable over the last three games as Thomas Jones (95 combined yds, 1 TD), Rudi Johnson (103 comb. Yards, 2 TDs) and Edgerrin James (124 yds) all had solid games against them. Bennett is by no means in the same class as these three backs, but at home in the dome, Bennett could still be a decent reach as long as you’re willing to take the associated risk involved. Tice could play Moore, Bennett and/or Fason with no way of predicting who will get the most carries.

RB Lorenzo Booker - CHI (vs ATL)

Booker didn’t touch the ball at all in the first 11 games of the season, but in the last two games he has caught 12 balls out of the backfield for 97 yards while rushing just 5 times for 19 yards. The Dolphins will almost certainly be getting Booker the ball again this week in a similar capacity – as a third down back. He may have some usefulness in deeper leagues that use PPR scoring, otherwise, you should be able to find a better option somewhere.

RB Michael Bush - FA ( FA)

The Broncos have allowed the second most fantasy points to RBs, second most rushing yards (150 per game), the most TDs (19) and a healthy 4.5 YPC. When they hammered the Broncos in Week 7, Bush had a strong game as well with 65 yards and a TD on 16 carries in relief of Darren McFadden after he racked up 196 yards and 4 TDs. Needless to say, Bush could be productive again this time around, but he’s far from a sure thing. The Raiders ground game is a explosive as any in the league and the Broncos are equally as bad defensively, but Bush has had double digit touches in a game just once in the last five games. That makes him a quantifiable reach, and only to be used in deeper leagues or as a desperate option.

RB Tashard Choice - FA ( FA)

Marion Barber sat out of last week’s game with a combination of the toe injury suffered in the previous game and a calf injury suffered during practice. Choice’s performance against a tough Steelers defense probably earned him a bigger share of the carries this week as the Cowboys may ease Barber back into the saddle. The Giants are another tough matchup, for sure, but Choice may be worth a reach as a RB3/flex option if you’ve fallen victim to injuries or other problems in recent weeks. In week 9, Barber produced 19-54-0 rushing against the Giants while Choice ran 5 times for 27 yards. Expect better numbers this time, but not enough to use him in most leagues unless Barber is inactive.

RB Tashard Choice - FA ( FA)

As I began researching this week’s matchup last weekend, I was looking at Tashard Choice as a strong candidate for this article. That was before he flopped against the Eagles, allowing Felix Jones to re-assert whatever loose hold he had on the Cowboys backfield. Jones had 17 touches to Choice’s 8 and he outgained him 83 yards to 33, also scoring a touchdown. The Redskins have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to RBs and their 4.9 YPC is a welcome sign. Back in the season opener, the Cowboys ground game was effective, but all three backs touched the ball and none of them had more than Jones’ 64 yards on 10 touches. Expect for Jones to be busier this week. The Cowboys backfield has been a fantasy landmine this year, so be careful. Choice bombed last week, but he and Jones could flip-flop roles again as the hot/cold back if Jones stumbles early. There is a long line of teams featuring two productive backs against the Skins this year. Ahmad Bradshaw (97 yards, 2 TDs) and Brandon Jacobs (103 yards, 2 TDs) came up big against them in Week 13. Adrian Peterson (70 yds, 1 TD) left early in Week 12 and Toby Gerhart took over with 81 yards and a TD. The Eagles had a similar story in Week 10. After LeSean McCoy racked up 94 yards and a TD on 16 touches, Jerome Harrison slashed the Redskins for 124 yards and a TD on 12 touches. Even the Lions nonexistent ground game showed signs of life against Washington - Jahvid Best (79 yds) and Kevin Smith (67 yds). Jones is a better flex option than RB2. Choice doesn’t inspire as much confidence, but he is just one game removed from 100 yards and a TD. He’s worth a flyer in really deep leagues, but otherwise should probably remain on the bench in normal leagues.

RB Arian Foster - MIA (vs NYJ)

Fumbling issues continue to haunt the Texans. Last week, Ryan Moats fumbled away his shot at being the team’s workhorse down the stretch. Chris Brown most certainly isn’t the answer. Head Coach Gary Kubiak said early this week that he is prepared to give Arian Foster a heavier workload and that they want to see what he can do down the stretch to see if he is capable of being the team’s primary runner next year with Slaton going back to 3rd down and change of pace duties. The Texans have a great matchup against the Rams, who are allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to RBs over the last 5 weeks – 29-145-1.4 per game rushing and 3-30-0.4 per game receiving. The key point here is that they are giving up TDs – the most in the league over that span to RBs. Foster may very well be their guy, but without seeing it with our own two eyes first, he’s a risky play.

RB Rashad Jennings - NYG (vs KC)

Jennings has been used consistently in the red zone, enough to make him worthy of consideration as a flex option in TD-heavy or deeper leagues after scoring in three straight games and playing a Colts defense that allowed MJD two scores back in Week 4 and five TDs in their last four games.

RB Jerious Norwood - STL (vs PHI)

Now that Bobby Petrino resigned from the Falcons HC job, we just might see more Jerious Norwood on the field, and not just lip service. We’ve all heard that the Falcons wanted to get Norwood more involved each week only to see him follow up a solid game with a game in which he touched the ball 8 or 10 times. As such, he’s a gamble and not someone you can count on for sure fire production in a playoff game. That said, the matchup is one where Norwood might be able to do some damage if he’s given the ball enough. The Bucs are allowing 26-95-0.6 rushing per game and 6-45-0.2 receiving. Warrick Dunn is clearly on the downside of his career, so it would behoove the interim coaches to get Norwood involved more in the offense to see if they can count on him more heavily in 2008.

RB Jerious Norwood - STL (vs PHI)

Snelling and the Falcons don’t have a great matchup against the Jets this week, but with Michael Turner sidelined (presumably for another week), Snelling remains the odds on favorite to get the most carries. Snelling is a safe bet for at least 10 touches, but he doesn’t have a high ceiling since Jerious Norwood is also a good bet to get around the same number of touches. Neither one is a particularly great play for owners gunning for a title, but either one could be worth a look as a flex/RB3 option. I would favor Snelling as he is more likely to punch in a TD at the goal line, and Norwood still isn’t completely healthy.

RB Adrian Peterson - FA ( FA)

Minnesota is the 2nd toughest matchup for RBs in terms of fantasy scoring potential, but if you’re pressed to the max and you need to roll with the other Adrian Peterson then perhaps he might be able to catch a few screens or dump passes to pad his stats and offer something as a PPR/flex option. Otherwise, he’s clearly a major reach against one of the top run defenses in the league this week unless you get points for receptions. In that case, he may have some limited/redeeming value.

RB Jason Snelling - FA ( FA)

Snelling and the Falcons don’t have a great matchup against the Jets this week, but with Michael Turner sidelined (presumably for another week), Snelling remains the odds on favorite to get the most carries. Snelling is a safe bet for at least 10 touches, but he doesn’t have a high ceiling since Jerious Norwood is also a good bet to get around the same number of touches. Neither one is a particularly great play for owners gunning for a title, but either one could be worth a look as a flex/RB3 option. I would favor Snelling as he is more likely to punch in a TD at the goal line, and Norwood still isn’t completely healthy.

RB Jason Snelling - FA ( FA)

Snelling missed the last two games, but he’s expected to return to practice on Wednesday, and possibly return to action this week. The Seahawks run defense has not been the same since Red Bryant went down. Last week, Brian Westbrook (110 yards, 1 TD) and Anthony Dixon (68 yards) rode the 49ers offensive resurgence along with Alex Smith at the Seahawks expense.


Wide Receiver

Prime Cut (Great matchup, strong sleeper)

WR Arnaz Battle - PIT (at MIN)

Battle has scored a TD in three consecutive games despite compiling a total of 7 catches for 121 yards in those games. The 49ers are reeling at QB right now and it’s hard to predict just how productive he might be with Trent Dilfer possibly being out this week after suffering a concussion last week and Shaun Hill being a huge question mark. That said, the Bengals are an excellent matchup for the 49ers passing game if they can take advantage of it. The Bengals have allowed the most TDs (19) to opposing WRs and 13-166-1.5 per game.

WR Davone Bess - FA ( FA)

Bess seems like a slam dunk in PPR leagues following in the footsteps of the injured Greg Camarillo as the team’s reliable possession receiver. In three starts, Bess has produced an amazingly consistent 5-87-0 (9 targets), 6-84-0 (10 targets) and 9-74-0 (11 targets). It’s an interesting trend to say the least. The 49ers can be a tricky matchup with Nate Clements, but opposing WRs are averaging a total of 13-169-1 against them. Last week, they clamped down on Coles and Cotchery, but the previous week Lee Evans produced 7-80-0 and Josh Reed 5-58-0 in Buffalo. This game is in Miami and the playoffs are on the line.

WR Steve Breaston - NO (vs CAR)

Is there any doubt that the Cardinals will be throwing the ball a ton in this week’s game at home against the Vikings. The Cardinals seem as if they don’t like to run the ball, or at least they’re not good at it, and the Vikings aren’t too bad at stuffing it either. Warner will have some pass rush to worry about but he should throw 45 passes this week, which typically bodes well for the best #3 receiver in the league this year. With a nice game, Breaston remains on pace for 1,000 yards potentially giving the Cardinals three 1,000 yard receivers.

WR Kenny Britt - STL (vs PHI)

We all know that Britt isn’t a sleeper, but he has been on the shelf for six weeks only to return last week with a modest 4-39-0 against the Colts. Britt looked good enough to pencil him into the lineup this week assuming no setbacks or other injuries. Factor in a matchup against the Texans, allowing the second most fantasy points to WRs, and Britt is well worth the risk. Last week, Derrick Mason went for 6-78-2 (and he could have added another if not for a dropped pass) against the Texans. Britt could get the Anquan Boldin treatment (pressure at the line and bracket/shell coverage over the top), but the biggest question about Britt was his health. He looked good enough to me last week that if I owned him, I’d definitely be rolling with him in this matchup.

WR Reggie Brown - TB (at NE)

Brown has been a spotty play since TO was suspended and Donnie Mack placed on IR. He’s produced big plays in some games, but disappeared in other games. The matchup is great this week, so it might be safe playing him this week as a WR3/WR4/flex knowing that the Rams have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to WRs over the last five games (154 yds/gm with 5 TDs) and 2nd on the season allowing 174 yds/gm with 18 TDs.

WR Isaac Bruce - FA ( FA)

Bruce is having an interesting season. He got off to a quick start through the first five games, despite posting a goose egg in the season opener. Over the next five games, he didn’t catch a TD and he didn’t produce more than 49 yards. In his last three games, he became the primary read for Shaun Hill (10, 7 and 10 targets) and he has 8-125-1, 5-67-1 and 6-70-0 in that stretch. Enter the Dolphins, who are allowing the 6th most fantasy points to WRs and you have a hot WR against a defense known for giving up plays consistently this year. The Dolphins have been better in the past couple of games, but they’ve played Buffalo (Losman) and St. Louis (Bulger), so don’t read too much into that.

WR Antonio Bryant - FA ( FA)

Last week, Raheem Morris commented that Antonio Bryant is finally over the knee injury that he sustained during the preseason and that had plagued him throughout the season with swelling and soreness. Bryant had some setbacks along the way, but he is back to playing at a high level and now he faces a Seahawks defense that has allowed more fantasy production to wide receivers than any team in the league except one (Tennessee). Last week, the Jets had Darrelle Revis shadow Bryant throughout the game and he did what he has done to almost every receiver this year – shut him down. This week, Bryant should fare much better. The Seahawks have allowed some monster games this year to the elite receivers that they’ve faced. Last week, it was Andre Johnson with 11-193-2. Bryant isn’t in the same class as Johnson obviously, but he is good enough to take advantage of this matchup and post solid WR2 numbers.

WR Nate Burleson - FA ( FA)

Burleson has caught a TD in three of the last four games and he has 6 on the season. The Seahawks have openly committed to throwing the ball more frequently, a decision made by HC Mike Holmgren to play to the team’s offensive strengths. D.J. Hackett will miss another game this coming week, so Burleson will continue to see more playing time. Burleson has produced 50 yards or scored in six of his last eight games. As long as Hackett is in street clothes and matt Hasselbeck continues to play at a high level, then Burleson will be in a great position to take advantage of that opportunity.

WR Reche Caldwell - FA ( FA)

Caldwell enters this week as the 46th ranked fantasy WRs year-to-date. Everyone on the Patriots, including Caldwell was a colossal bust last week beginning with Tom Brady. Despite the poor outing in Miami, expect the Patriots offense to rebound this week at home against a vulnerable Texans secondary allowing the 13th most points to WRs (10.2 catches, 147.8 yards and 1 TD per game). Brady will have more time to set up in the pocket (Texans have just 26 sacks and 10 INTs) so look for Caldwell to re-emerge with a solid game. In three of the Texans last four games, such passing stalwarts as the Bills, Jets and Titans produced big numbers from their WR corps – 13-286-3, 19-240-1 and 10-163-0 respectively.

WR Mark Clayton - STL (vs PHI)

Clayton and Mason enter this week ranked 27th and 44th respectively amongst fantasy WRs using FBG scoring. They face a Browns defense that ranks as the 6th best matchup for WRs this week allowing 12.2 receptions, 162.4 yards (5th most) and 1 TD per game. In their last meeting, Mason was targeted 9 times and he caught 7 balls for 132 yards. Clayton was targeted 11 times catching 8 balls for 74 yards. The Steelers Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes were both productive against them last week as they started for the injured Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson.

WR Jerricho Cotchery - CAR (at NO)

The Jets have slightly more than zero chance of mounting a running attack against the Vikings next week. Don’t fret. What the Jets can’t do on the ground, they should be able to make up for through the air. The game is indoors, so no worries about bad weather conditions and the Vikings secondary has a prime target with rookie Cedric Griffin starting opposite Antoine Winfield. That matchup should favor Cotchery more so than Laveranues Coles, so look for Cotchery to have another strong game this week. Overall, the Vikings are the 7th best matchup for WRs allowing 13.8 receptions (1st), 181.8 yards (1st) and 0.6 TDs per game. They’ve allowed 42 receptions of 20 yards or more on the season (5th most).

WR Michael Crabtree - OAK (vs CLE)

In the last three weeks, the Eagles defense has allowed the opposing team’s #1 receiver to score a TD, and in the last two weeks, Hakeem Nicks and Roddy White both managed to top 100 yards, too. Crabtree is still seeking his first 100-yard game of his brief NFL career, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets it. Vernon Davis has been the team’s #1 target in the passing game all year long, but Crabtree is pulling even with him and, last week, he was targeted 10 times to Davis’s seven targets (and several drops). Crabtree has been targeted 30 times in the last three games. Crabtree has shown why he was rated as the consensus #1 receiver in the draft last year (except inexplicably on the Raiders draft board). The best part about rolling with Crabtree at this point is that his floor has been a consistent 4-to-6 catches each week for about 60 or 70 yards, while his upside hasn’t come through in the box score yet. While the 49ers reverted back to a run-heavy offensive attack last week (and rightfully so), they may be forced to throw the ball more often this week playing on the road against an explosive Eagles offense.

WR Braylon Edwards - FA ( FA)

As a former owner of Braylon Edwards, I know the pain of watching him get open down field only to have the ball bounce off his hands, shoulders or, most recently, the grill on his helmet. For a player as talented as Edwards, it is downright embarrassing that he drops so many passes, yet on other plays, he can contort his body to make a ridiculous catch that appeared to be uncatchable. Those are the highs and lows that come with drafting the former Wolverine. It’s been his stigma since Ann Arbor, too. That being said, Edwards isn’t a lost cause, but he is super frustrating. It makes for a major headache for owners looking at his great matchup this week during the fantasy playoffs. Sit him and he goes off for 100+ yards and a couple of touchdowns. Start him and he’s sure to drop another potentially huge TD. It’s Murphy’s Law. In the end, talent usually wins out and Edwards remains an elite talent with a great matchup against a porous Falcons secondary. Keep in mind; he is playing for a long-term contract and an extended stay in the Big Apple. If it were up to me, I’d play it like this. If you have strong WRs and other capable options, don’t sweat it. If you’re gambling on another player, instead of Edwards, the why not gamble on the player with the most upside? Of course, you’ll want to keep track of the Jets practice news to see if Mark Sanchez is able to play. If he doesn’t go, it’s not good news for Edwards.

WR Devery Henderson - FA ( FA)

At this point, do you really need much of a case statistically to talk yourself into rolling the dice on a starting WR in the Saints offense? I didn’t think so. Joe Horn may be on the shelf for a while keeping the door wide open for the speedy Devery Henderson to remain a highly productive big-play fantasy WR. The Redskins are a worthy opponent, too. Washington is the 8th best matchup for WRs allowing 10.5 receptions, 141.1 yards and 1.3 TDs per game. They’ve allowed the most TD receptions to opposing WRs in the league (tied with Green Bay). Providing Henderson is in the starting lineup, and it looks like that will be the case, Henderson is most worthy of a spot in your lineup.

WR Darrell Jackson - FA ( FA)

Jackson is expected to return to the Seahawks starting lineup this week, but he’s being eased back in slowly, so let’s be cautious about playing him immediately. That said, the Titans are the 5th best matchup allowing 139 yds/gm with 18 TDs. Tennessee isn’t allowing much yardage, but that ranking comes on the merit of having allowed 18 TDs to opposing WRs (tied for most in the league). Jackson knows how to get open in the red zone so if he’s able to play he could end up scoring a TD in his first game back.

WR Bryant Johnson - FA ( FA)

Anquan Boldin looks like he’ll be a game-time decision this week, so Bryant Johnson could be in the starting lineup once again for the Cardinals. Boldin was in a walking boot as of Wednesday after missing last week. Johnson has caught a TD in each of the last two games and he’s been targeted 11 and 8 times producing 6-56-1 and 1-5-1. The Saints are allowing 12-182-1.2 per game to opposing WRs. In other words, their secondary has been beaten like a rented mule this year. If Boldin is inactive again this week, don’t hesitate to insert Johnson in your lineup. He’s playing for a contract as a free agent following the season, has plenty of talent and the opportunity looks ripe for another solid outing.

WR Derrick Mason - HOU (vs ARI)

Clayton and Mason enter this week ranked 27th and 44th respectively amongst fantasy WRs using FBG scoring. They face a Browns defense that ranks as the 6th best matchup for WRs this week allowing 12.2 receptions, 162.4 yards (5th most) and 1 TD per game. In their last meeting, Mason was targeted 9 times and he caught 7 balls for 132 yards. Clayton was targeted 11 times catching 8 balls for 74 yards. The Steelers Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes were both productive against them last week as they started for the injured Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson.

WR Santana Moss - FA ( FA)

In the second half of the season, Moss seems to be on a fantasy schedule of showing up every three weeks or so. Fresh off a 7-82-1 game against the Bucs, Moss matches up against a Cowboys defense this week that has allowed the most fantasy points to WRs. Moss fared well against them in Week 1 with 6-77-0, but the Cowboys are decidedly worse in the secondary now. The bigger question is whether Donovan McNabb and gang can take advantage of it. As mentioned, Moss hasn’t been as consistent in the second half of the year, but this matchup screams for a big game.

WR Amani Toomer - FA ( FA)

The Chiefs rank 6th in fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs with 161 yds/gm with 12 TDs. In four of the Giants last five games, Toomer caught 6 passes and produced more than 50 yards catching a TD in three straight games (but not in the last two). What exactly does this mean? Nothing, really. It just means that a) this is a good matchup and b) Toomer has been consistently productive over the last month or so. Given the circumstances, look for Toomer to be a solid play as a WR3/flex in your lineup.

Worth a Gamble (Good matchup, solid sleeper)

WR Bernard Berrian - FA ( FA)

While the Bucs are just the 16th best fantasy matchup for opposing WRs, perhaps the more telling matchup in this scenario is that they are the 3rd best for QBs. For Berrian, it all starts with Rex Grossman. If he gets time to setup and avoids turnovers, success for Berrian, Muhammad and Desmond Clark generally follows. The Bucs have just 7 INTs and 17 sacks – both are the 2nd fewest in the league in their respective categories. Teams that can throw the ball well have fared well against the Bucs. Carolina, Dallas, New Orleans and Cincinnati all produced huge numbers for their WR corps against Tamp Bay. The Bears aren’t quite as productive as those teams, but with Berrian they can be just as explosive if Grossman has time to exploit them deep.

WR Kenny Britt - STL (vs PHI)

Justin Gage returned to the lineup last week, but he was limited and he didn’t catch a pass. Kenny Britt remained the most productive of the Titans receivers with 75 yards on a pair of catches. In his last four games, Britt has produced 75 yards or a TD in every game. The Dolphins are a decent, but not great matchup this week. If Torry Holt had more deep speed left in his aging wheels, he would’ve gone the distance on a 61-yard catch against the Dolphins last week; instead, he was caught and tackled. The same thing won’t happen to Britt. Terrell Owens caught 5 balls for 96 yards and a TD against the Dolphins a few weeks ago. Wes Welker produced 10-167-0, Sam Aiken had a 81-yard TD catch and Randy Moss 2-66-1 against them two weeks ago.

WR Donald Driver - GB (at BAL)

The fantasy stock of Donald Driver and James Jones is directly hinged on the status of now twice-concussed QB Aaron Rodgers. Going on the assumption that Rodgers is active and available this week, Driver and Jones both make solid reaches against a Patriots defense that has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to WRs. Granted, they’ve not allowed a TD reception to a receiver in the last two games, but Rodgers and the Packers offense is more dangerous than Jay Cutler and the Bears or a suddenly shaky Mark Sanchez and the Jets. Driver and Jones are WR3s at best, but if you’re having a difficult time selecting that third WR or flex option, keep them in mind if Rodgers is a go.

WR Lee Evans - JAX (vs SF)

The Broncos are ranked 7th in terms of most fantasy points allowed to WRs over the last five games with 178 yds/gm with 5 TDs. They rank 4th on the season allowing 173 yds/gm with 12 TDs. Evans exploded two weeks ago, but went silent again last week. There’s also a fair chance that Kelly Holcomb could resurface this week if J.P. Losman’s shoulder makes him unavailable. Holcomb favors Eric Moulds, while Losman favors Evans. So, keep an eye on the QB situation, but know that the weakness in the Broncos defense is over the top, not up the middle running the football.

WR Pierre Garcon - WAS (vs DAL)

The downside of owning one of the key players in the Colts offense (Manning, Wayne, Addai and Clark) is that you run the risk of having them play significantly less during the fantasy playoffs. Head Coach Jim Caldwell has made no apologies about their approach to the playoffs nor their willingness to take the foot off the gas pedal to ensure that they’re stars are healthy and well-rested for a playoff run. With Pierre Garcon that is not the case. Caldwell said earlier this week that Garcon is not likely to rest with the other key players. If there is any risk associated with the Colts players beginning to get some rest this week, it doesn’t seem to apply to Garcon. Even better is that the Colts are playing a Jaguars team that has given up plenty of fantasy points to opposing WRs this year.

WR Pierre Garcon - WAS (vs DAL)

The Colts throw the ball as much as any team in the league, so if you’re Pierre Garcon, you’re healthy and Peyton Manning is slinging the rock, then you’re definitely worth a shot. The Jaguars are also one of the best matchups in the league for WRs. They’ve allowed the sixth most fantasy points to WRs. In Week 4, when these teams last tussled, Garcon didn’t play, but Reggie Wayne cleaned up (15-196-0) and Austin Collie scored amongst five catches for 39 yards. This time around, Collie is a question mark having missed the last three games, although he could return to action and put a cap on Garcon’s upside. In the three games that Collie missed, Garcon’s production looked like this – 5-72-0 vs SD, 8-56-1 vs DAL and 6-93-2 at Ten. With another favorable matchup, Garcon is a strong WR3, if not possibly a WR2 this week. However, if Collie is active, then move Garcon down into the WR3/flex range to be safe.

WR Marvin Harrison - FA ( FA)

Harrison and the Colts offense are finding their stride late in the season and this might be just the type of game they need to try a few things and continue getting Marvin back to his uber productive self, if that’s possible. The Lions are a vulnerable defense that just can’t seem to slow anyone down, much less a talented Colts offense. Harrison was only targeted 4 times last week, but he made the most of them with 3 catches for 78 yards and a TD. Expect a similar story this week against the Lions.

WR Devin Hester - FA ( FA)

In the last three games, Hester produced with 5-57-0, 3-67-1 and 5-80 on 7, 8 and 10 targets respectively. This week, Hester faces the 2nd best fantasy matchup (New Orleans) allowing 12-169-1.1 per game to opposing WRs. Michael Jenkins came up with 5-69-0, Harry Douglas 2-45-0 and Brian Finneran caught a TD amid Roddy White’s monstrous 10-164-0 game. Hester should continue to get targeted regularly and this week’s matchup should help him keep producing consistently good numbers for the fourth straight week.

WR Santonio Holmes - FA ( FA)

While matchups are the more typical angle covered in this column, sometimes the actual results of the matchups play a stronger role. In this case, the Ravens are one of the toughest matchups in the league, but for Santonio Holmes it must seem like one of those matchups he anticipates. Earlier this year, Holmes caught his first TD of the season and finished with 3-61-1 on 7 targets against the Ravens in week four. Last year, Holmes blew up with 4-110-2 (5 targets) and 4-98-1 (10 targets). As a rookie, he was targeted 12 times with 5 catches for 90 yards in week 16. Holmes had 3 catches for 82 yards last week against the Cowboys and he had a potential TD but was overthrown in the end zone on one play.

WR Vincent Jackson - TB (at NE)

The Lions have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing WRs this year (14-163-1.2 per game). Jackson has really taken a backseat to Antonio Gates all year and more recently to Chris Chambers since he came over via trade from Miami mid-season. Even then, it seems like Jackson is always either catching a long TD pass or having one slip through his hands after getting behind the defender on the play. He’s inconsistent and his hands are even more so, but with his size, speed and so many other quality targets around him, the Lions won’t be shadowing him with a safety over the top often, if ever. In his last three games, Jackson has produced 3-47-0, 1-38-1 and 5-65-0. He’s a reach, but it’s a great matchup and if you’re looking for a sleeper he might be worth a shot.

WR James Jones - SD (at IND)

The fantasy stock of Donald Driver and James Jones is directly hinged on the status of now twice-concussed QB Aaron Rodgers. Going on the assumption that Rodgers is active and available this week, Driver and Jones both make solid reaches against a Patriots defense that has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to WRs. Granted, they’ve not allowed a TD reception to a receiver in the last two games, but Rodgers and the Packers offense is more dangerous than Jay Cutler and the Bears or a suddenly shaky Mark Sanchez and the Jets. Driver and Jones are WR3s at best, but if you’re having a difficult time selecting that third WR or flex option, keep them in mind if Rodgers is a go.

WR Johnny Knox - CHI (vs ATL)

The last time these teams met, Knox caught five balls for 90 yards, Devin Hester 4-38-1 and Earl Bennett 3-21-0. Since then, Bennett’s role has grown in the offense while Knox remains a fixture on the outside as Mike Martz’s designated #1 receiver. The last time they met, Knox drew Chris Cook in coverage more often than not, but Cook is hurt now and Asher Allen is now holding down the spot opposite Antoine Winfield. If Knox matches up with Allen, he could be worth a gamble. He hasn’t been reliable enough to use on a regular basis even though he is WR32 going into this week. He has too many games with two or three catches and he has failed to produce six fantasy points or more in seven of his 13 games this year. He had some success against the Vikings last time and the Bears desperately need a win to prevent a late season collapse.

WR Brandon Lloyd - FA ( FA)

When the 49ers get good play from the QB position, Brandon Lloyd tends to be a worthwhile player to use as a WR3/flex. Unfortunately, that has not been the case lately since Alex Smith regained the starting job. As far as the matchup is concerned the Jags rank 4th over the last five games in (most) fantasy points allowed to WRs (175 yds/gm with 6 TDs). Lloyd is obviously a risky play, but if the 49ers can get something going against the Jags pass defense (Smith is starting to show flashes of his talent) then Lloyd could be a surprise.

WR Muhsin Muhammad - FA ( FA)

The Vikings have allowed more yards to opposing WRs than any team in the league (188 per game). This week, the Bears will have a new QB (Kyle Orton) so anything could happen with regards to which players may bubble to the top in terms of targets and production. Bernard Berrian is the safest play followed by the Bears TEs. After that, take your pick. It could be Hester and his game-breaking abilities or the veteran Muhsin Muhammad who could take advantage. When these two teams last played in week 6, Muhammad caught a TD and finished with 2-44-1. He had mixed results against the Vikings last year producing 9-118-0 and 1-5-0.

WR Samie Parker - FA ( FA)

Parker is playing well lately and the Giants are the10th best matchup for WRs on the season allowing 170 yds/gm with 9 TDs. Parker has caught at least four balls and produced 76, 39 and 79 yards in the last three games. He caught a TD in the previous game, so he’s becoming more consistently productive. In a good matchup like this, Parker might be worth using as a WR3/WR4.

WR David Patten - FA ( FA)

Outside of Marques Colston, it’s been incredibly difficult trying to gauge which of the Saints WRs will be productive from week to week. Patten has produced three 100-yard games this year and he’s coming off his best game of the season on Monday night. He finished with 9 catches for 122 yards and a TD against the Falcons on 10 targets. Patten remains a big-play threat, but he has only produced solid back-to-back games once this year. That being said, this week’s matchup against Arizona looks like a ripe opportunity for him to do it again. Arizona has allowed the 5th most fantasy points to WRs, or 13-168-1.3 per game.

WR Koren Robinson - SEA (at TEN)

Robinson scored a TD in each of the last two games and he’s almost to the point where he might be considered a solid play as a WR3/WR4 in most leagues. The Steelers have allowed the 4th most fantasy points over the last three games (181 yds/gm with 3 TDs) to WRs, so maybe Robinson can keep the head of steam going into this game. Obviously, the Vikings RBs and WRs are risky plays simply because they’re so unpredictable from game to game, but Robinson seems to be rising above that and asserting himself just as the right time.

WR Rod Smith - DEN (at BUF)

Age has finally caught up to Rod Smith this year as he enters this game ranked 70th amongst fantasy WRs. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances such as Jake Plummer sucking the life out of the Broncos offense, the switch to rookie Jay Cutler and the weakest Broncos running game in recent memory. Smith has not broken 50 yards since week seven and he’s scored just 2 TDs this year. That said, this week the Broncos march into the dessert to face a Cardinals team that is the third best matchup for fantasy WRs allowing 11.6 receptions, 166.8 yards and 1 TD per game. The Cardinals have allowed the most completions for 20 or more yards in the league, too. Javon Walker looks great, but Smith may also be worth a reach, too.

WR Devin Thomas - DET (vs CIN)

The Giants secondary has been a train wreck over the second half of the season. In the last two games, they’ve been torched by DeSean Jackson for six catches, 178 yards and a TD; Roy Williams caught two TDs among six catches for 60 yards and Miles Austin had 10 for 104 yards and a TD. On the other side of this matchup, Devin Thomas has developed nicely throughout the season after regressing earlier in the year after looking great at the team’s OTAs in the offseason. Thomas re-emerged around Week 10, and since then, he has 16 catches for 217 yards and two TDs in four games. Thomas has won the starting job opposite Santana Moss after finally distancing himself from Malcolm Kelly. Thomas may not have earned your confidence yet, but he has demonstrated plenty of ability to make plays after the catch and this week’s matchup makes him a desirable option if you need to turn away from your normal starters due to injuries or other concerns.

WR Roy Williams - CHI (vs ATL)

The Saints secondary has been beaten by opposing receivers regularly over the past month or so with some of their starters sidelined due to injury. They are slowly getting healthy again, but in the mean time, they remain vulnerable over the top. In their last five games, they’ve allowed the sixth most fantasy points to WRs. Last week, Michael Jenkins even beat them over the top for a 50-yard touchdown for the Falcons. Devin Thomas scorched them for 100 yards and 2 TDs in the previous game. Williams has been inconsistent and mostly unreliable as an every week starter for most fantasy league owners, but he has played better of late with 3 TDs in the last three games, and four in his last five. Miles Austin is the better option obviously, but Williams has been targeted regularly in the red zone, so he’s worth a gamble in this matchup since the Cowboys will probably be throwing regularly to keep pace with the high-flying Saints offense on the scoreboard.

Solid Reach (backup / situational player with upside)

WR Anthony Armstrong - FA ( FA)

Since moving into the starting lineup, Armstrong has consistently been targeted between 5 and 10 times each game. He is not consistent enough to be in a winning team’s lineup, but he has been over 8 fantasy points in three of the last six games. He goes against a Cowboys defense that is allowing the most fantasy points to WRs this week. For a player that typically relies on big plays to sustain any value, he has a better than average change to do something this week. Just temper expectations. He is really the third read for McNabb behind Santana Moss and Chris Cooley, but this week’s matchup is as good as it gets.

WR Arrelious Benn - JAX (vs SF)

Raheem Morris commented earlier this week that they’d look to get Benn more involved in the offense after his breakout game last week against the Redskins when he caught four balls for 122 yards. Benn’s stigma this year has been the “near touchdown”. In week 9, he caught a 53-yard pass that was eventually ruled down at the 1-yard line. In Week 13, also against Atlanta, he caught a 28-yard pass to the 2-yard line. Last week, he caught a 64-yard pass to the 9-yard line, and then later in the same game he caught a 43-yard pass to the 1-yard line. The Lions secondary is vulnerable to big plays, and like fellow rookie Mike Williams, Benn has proven capable of producing big plays. He has been targeted 6, 5 and 4 times over the last three games, so more so than at any previous point in the season, he’s someone to consider in deeper leagues as a WR4/flex boom or bust option.

WR Davone Bess - FA ( FA)

After catching 10 passes for 117 yards and a TD two weeks ago, Bess was among our top sleepers last week with a great matchup against a soft Jaguars defense. He didn’t exactly come through as he finished with just 3 catches and 22 yards. Greg Camarillo’s role seemed to be fading as Bess’s role was growing, but that proved not to be the case as Camarillo wound up with the big game catching 7 passes for 110 yards. The good news is that Bess (and Camarillo) have another plus matchup this week to make amends. The Dolphins face a Titans defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing WRs, although they have improved in the second half of the season once Pro Bowl corner Courtland Finnegan returned to the lineup. It’s difficult to predict which one of these two Dolphins receivers will be worth a look this week, but it’s clear that one of them could be very productive. Both players are gambles, but they have plenty of upside against the Titans, especially considering how well Chad Henne has thrown the ball in the past two games.

WR Deion Branch - IND (vs SD)

Not only did Branch catch 2 TDs last week against his former team, but the last time the Seahawks and Rams played the Seahawks got 2-29-1 out of Michael Bumpus and 4-76 out of Billy McMullen. Seneca Wallace looks like the starter for the Seahawks again this week, so look for these two to hook up quite a few times this week. Seven different WRs have produced 50 or more yards against the Rams in their last four games.

WR Steve Breaston - NO (vs CAR)

The Lions have struggled badly in the secondary all year long. Their deficiencies were on display last week against the Ravens, too. Derrick Mason caught a pass as two Lions defenders converged on him simultaneously to make a big hit, only they did not wrap him up, and Mason bounced off both Lions to go the distance for a long TD. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin both have outstanding matchups against the Lions, but don’t overlook Breaston either. He hasn’t been overly productive of late (69 yards total in his last four games), but Warner narrowly missed him last week on a deep ball that was deflected at the last second by Dre’ Bly. He’s definitely a reach given his lack of production over the last month but he might be worth the gamble against a defense as bad as the Lions.

WR Greg Camarillo - FA ( FA)

After catching 10 passes for 117 yards and a TD two weeks ago, Bess was among our top sleepers last week with a great matchup against a soft Jaguars defense. He didn’t exactly come through as he finished with just 3 catches and 22 yards. Greg Camarillo’s role seemed to be fading as Bess’s role was growing, but that proved not to be the case as Camarillo wound up with the big game catching 7 passes for 110 yards. The good news is that Bess (and Camarillo) have another plus matchup this week to make amends. The Dolphins face a Titans defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing WRs, although they have improved in the second half of the season once Pro Bowl corner Courtland Finnegan returned to the lineup. It’s difficult to predict which one of these two Dolphins receivers will be worth a look this week, but it’s clear that one of them could be very productive. Both players are gambles, but they have plenty of upside against the Titans, especially considering how well Chad Henne has thrown the ball in the past two games.

WR Robert Ferguson - ATL (at CHI)

The Ravens start corner Chris McAllister has been sidelined recently and the Ravens normally stout pass defense has allowed 178 yds/gm with 4 TDs in their last five games to opposing WRs. Ferguson is a shaky play, at best, given his penchant for injuries and normally this would be a matchup to avoid at all costs. However, Fergie might be worth using in deeper leagues or as a WR4/flex if your other options are looking even worse.

WR Ted Ginn - CAR (at NO)

Last week, Ginn had his busiest game of the season being targeted 10 times and catching 4 balls for 67 yards. Cleo Lemon will be starting at QB for the Dolphins this week and that’s probably a good thing for Ginn. When Lemon entered the game last week following John Beck’s futility, Lemon hooked up with Ginn for a 54-yard completion on his first pass. Watching the Dolphins games, Ginn’s explosiveness is evident and it’s just a matter of time before he starts breaking off big plays with more consistency. This week’s game is against Baltimore, who has allowed the 2nd most TDs to opposing WRs. Ginn remains a big-time reach until the Dolphins can develop an identity in the passing game, but Ginn is a guy you might gamble with knowing that he’s _this close_ to breaking a long TD. Plus, the Ravens are without top corner Chris McAlister after he was placed on season-ending IR on Wednesday.

WR Anthony Gonzalez - FA ( FA)

The Colts are one of the few teams where you can actually expect them to deliver against the Lions in the passing game. Peyton Manning could throw for 200 yards and 3 TDs in the first half of this game. Gonzalez has been hit or miss this year, but he has scored in three of the last six games after not scoring in the first seven games. Plenty of WRs have fallen short against the Lions, mostly because they don’t need to throw or don’t try to throw it much. The Colts shouldn’t have that problem.

WR D.J Hackett - FA ( FA)

Darrell Jackson will not play against the 49ers on Thursday. That means Nate Burleson should get the starting nod, but the player who has been far more productive is D.J. Hackett. Burleson is certainly a player to consider if you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but Hackett may be the better play despite not starting. As the team’s 3rd/4th WR (depending on Bobby Engram’s availability), Hackett has 30 catches for 423 yards and 3 TDs. He’s far from consistent, but he’s mostly good for 3-to-5 catches and 40-to-60 yards. The 49ers are a neutral matchup, but last week the Packers WRs torched them for 17 catches, 255 yards and 2 TDs. By contrast, they shut down the Saints to just 4-36-0 the prior week. The game’s in Seattle, so the 49ers defense will lost some of their bite. Expect the Seahawks WRs to have success beginning with Branch then Hackett or Burleson as 2a/2b.

WR Chris Henry - FA ( FA)

Even though the Colts have a high powered offense and it seems like they would allow a ton of passing yards with teams trying to keep pace, that’s not really the case. The Colts run defense is so poor that teams can generally tee off against their front seven negating the need to throw. The Bengals are probably the exception to that rule. They could easily have just as much success passing the football as they do running. Play-action will do that for a well balance offense. Henry is a handful for any team’s nickel, much less a starting corner. He has 7 TDs despite only catching 29 passes (38th among fantasy WRs). The Colts will have a hard enough time keeping up with Houshmandzadeh and #85, much less Henry, who is one of the best gambles in the league if you’re rolling the dice looking for a TD from a wide receiver that doesn’t technically start for his own team.

WR Ike Hilliard - TB (at NE)

Hilliard has been more active lately and the Patriots are the 3rd best matchup for WRs on the season allowing 177 yds/gm with 17 TDs. Hilliard has 7 catches for 55 yds in the last two games. Michael Clayton isn’t 100% as we all know and Hilliard could be a surprisingly good play this week if the Patriots continue to struggle with their play in the secondary.

WR Santonio Holmes - FA ( FA)

Overall, the Panthers have been more stingy than a good matchup for WRs. However, in the last two weeks things have changed. Two weeks ago, the Eagles WRs combined for 11 catches, 226 yards and 2 TDs. Last week, the Giants exploited the Panthers as their WRs combined for 8 catches, 103 yards and 2 TDs (Manning threw another TD to Shockey, too). They were without both starting corners (Lucas, Gamble) so their top corner was rookie Richard Marshall. Keep an eye on the status of Gamble, in particular, this week. If he’s out again, then the Steelers WRs figure to be quite productive. Hines Ward believes he’ll be ready to go, but Cedrick Wilson doesn’t appear to be ready to return. Washington filled in for Ward while Santonio Holmes is the backup for Wilson. Holmes caught four balls for 81 yards on 6 targets against the Browns last week. If he starts, expect similar numbers with a distinct chance of catching a TD as well.

WR Matt Jones - FA ( FA)

The 49ers rank 3rd in most fantasy points allowed to WRs over last five games (178 yds/gm with 6 TDs) and they are 1st on the season allowing 206 yds/gm with 16 TDs. Like Ernest Wilford, Jones is also an excellent red zone target, but he remains a raw prospect as an NFL WR and he remains a bit risky to use regularly. This matchup might be the right spot to gamble on him though.

WR Ruvell Martin - BUF (vs DEN)

Pete Carroll was optimistic that he would have Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu in the lineup last week, but it didn’t work out and both players wound up being inactive. We’ve already heard the same optimistic view from Carroll this week, so keep your eyes on the situation if you need a WR with some upside. The Seahawks face the Falcons, who have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to WRs. If Williams or Obomanu are unable to go, look at Ruvell Martin (who caught four balls for 73 yards and a TD last week against the 49ers). Certainly, Mike Williams is the one you want to have active, but after that it comes down to Obomanu, Martin and possibly even rookie Golden Tate since Brandon Stokley left last week’s game with a hamstring injury.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi - BUF (vs DEN)

The Chiefs have been stung by poor tackling in the secondary this year and that has resulted in several big plays by opposing WRs. Think of Miles Austin and his huge breakout game earlier this year that came against the Chiefs as a prime example. Massaquoi has flashed his potential at times during this rookie season, but with a bad QB situation and a bad offense overall, he has been inconsistent and unreliable as a fantasy option. This week, he might be worth a flyer if you’re in a gambling mood and you’re not playing for money in your league. The Chiefs remain a good matchup for receivers and Brady Quinn might actually have some time to setup in the pocket this week and find Massaquoi.

WR Ben Obomanu - FA ( FA)

Pete Carroll was optimistic that he would have Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu in the lineup last week, but it didn’t work out and both players wound up being inactive. We’ve already heard the same optimistic view from Carroll this week, so keep your eyes on the situation if you need a WR with some upside. The Seahawks face the Falcons, who have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to WRs. If Williams or Obomanu are unable to go, look at Ruvell Martin (who caught four balls for 73 yards and a TD last week against the 49ers). Certainly, Mike Williams is the one you want to have active, but after that it comes down to Obomanu, Martin and possibly even rookie Golden Tate since Brandon Stokley left last week’s game with a hamstring injury.

WR Antwaan Randle El - FA ( FA)

Randle El has been targeted 8 and 9 times respectively over the last two games producing 5-47-1 on Sunday night against the Ravens and 4-37-0 against the Giants. The Bengals are a considerably better matchup than either of those two teams and Randle El is having his best season as a pro. He should finish with career highs in targets and catches and probably in yards and TDs as well. The Bengals are allowing 12-157-1 per game to WRs and last week Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez both caught TDs against them. In week 13, Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton had the honor. The Bengals secondary is suffering from attrition, so Campbell, Moss and Randle El all could be productive and Devin Thomas is coming on, too.

WR Josh Reed - FA ( FA)

The Bills passing game has perhaps the best matchup of the week against the Browns. Cleveland has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QBs and WRs alike. The problem with the Bills is finding a consistent, reliable performer in the passing game that you’re willing to reach for any given week. Lee Evans is #1 guy there, but even he has been sporadic and absolutely useless for several games this year. Reed has been consistent, but not very productive from a fantasy perspective. He’s good for 3-to-4 catches each week and about 40 yards. If he could get into the end zone that would help, but he’s yet to catch a TD this year and he’s never caught more than 2 TDs in a single season. If you’re in a PPR league, Reed might be worth a reach, but if you can find a more explosive option with a better chance to score, you’re better off going in that direction.

If you're desperate (worth a look in deeper leagues)

WR Donnie Avery - FA ( FA)

After bombing miserable the past several times Avery has appeared in this column, it’s not easy going back to the well with him even if the matchup is perhaps the most desirable one available. The Seahawks have allowed the most fantasy production to opposing WRs, but that may not matter. The last time these teams met, Torry Holt caught 4 balls for 37 yards and Avery 3-24-0. Dane Looker caught one ball for a 21 yard TD. That’s not exactly stellar, but if you can stomach having Marc Bulger throwing to your WR, then perhaps he’s worth a reach. We consider it a solid matchup play, but a reach of desperate proportions given that Avery seems to have hit the proverbial rookie wall.

WR Mark Bradley - FA ( FA)

Back in week 10, Mark Bradley had his best game of the season against the Chargers. He caught 9 balls for 81 yards with a TD. He had a solid string of games going when he fell victim to injuries. This time his calf, and then his other calf. He didn’t play last week, which is never a good sign and he played sparingly the previous week. If he’s able to go, Bradley is worth a reach. The Chargers have been giving up plenty of big plays and Bradley can make them. The Chargers will be preoccupied with Tony Gonzalez with their affinity for TEs, not to mention Dwayne Bowe. As long as Bradley is able to start and put in a decent practice first, then he’s worth using.

WR Deion Branch - IND (vs SD)

Nate Burleson is in a walking boot with a high ankle sprain and he may very well be done for the rest of the season. Deion Branch is expected to line up in his spot, but he will likely lose snaps to rookie Deon Butler. Either way, Branch and Butler should play expanded roles down the stretch. Branch doesn’t have much left in his legs following multiple knee injuries (and surgeries), but he might be worth a desperate reach as a WR3/flex option. Branch may still have illusions of getting another contract as a free agent this coming off-season, but don’t count on anything more than a minimum veteran contract from a team. He still has a chance to do something this week against a Bucs defense that has been vulnerable all year long through the air.

WR Antonio Bryant - FA ( FA)

Antonio Bryant only caught two passes for 21 yards when the 49ers and Cardinals played in week 11. Last week, he caught just one pass for 39 yards on one target. It’s hard to get excited about his fantasy potential going into this week’s game. He was targeted 13 times two weeks ago finishing with 4-79-1, so all hope is not lost or forgotten. He’s just not consistent. Alex Smith hasn’t played particularly well and the 49ers have been running the ball extremely well and their improved defense has reduced their need to throw the ball. The Seahawks have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to WRs – 11 receptions, 154.4 yards (8th) and 1.2 TDs (3rd) per game. Unfortunately, the matchup doesn’t mean a whole lot when the team is relying on their ground game. This game may be difference though, because the Seahawks can score points, so they may need to throw more. Bryant is a gamble at best. Realistically, he’s a bit of a reach.

WR Drew Carter - OAK (vs CLE)

Carter was huge last week, but he’s still the team’s No. 3 WR. The Steelers are a strong matchup for WRs allowing the 7th most fantasy points. It’s hard to expect big things from Carter two weeks in a row, but the Panthers passing game should thrive in this game, so Carter might be someone to use as a last minute option with big-play potential. Obviously, Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson are more preferable as fantasy WRs based on their more consistent production.

WR Josh Cribbs - FA ( FA)

No team has allowed more production to opposing RBs in the last five weeks than the Chiefs have. Opposing backs are averaging a staggering 197 yards (combined) and 1.2 TDs per game. In their last two games, the Bills and Broncos produced a pair of backs with 84 or more yards rushing, while two of them went over 100 total yards. Chris Jennings is not a household name, or even much of a known commodity in the fantasy world, but he looked the part against the Steelers last Thursday night running for 73 yards and a TD on 20 carries. Last week, we were all fooled into thinking that Jerome Harrison would be the lucky back to start for the Browns when they line up against the Chiefs and Raiders in Weeks 15 and 16, but that was short lived. Harrison, it seems, only got the touches he got in Week 13 because of Harrison’s sore shoulder. So, while Jennings seems like the new toy on the shelf with a great matchup this week, be cautious. Eric Mangini is flirting with the idea of making Josh Cribbs a full-time back. Last week, Cribbs ran for 87 yards (14 more than Jennings) on only 8 carries. Jennings looks like a great sleeper this week, but like Harrison, he could end up being fool’s gold. Keep Jennings in mind if you have a solid lineup otherwise, and if you can afford to gamble. If you’re really grasping at straws, you might consider picking up Cribbs and starting him.

WR Lee Evans - JAX (vs SF)

The Patriots are among the top 3 matchups for receivers over the last month allowing 10 catches, 191 yards and 1.8 TDs per game. Opposing WRs have combined for 6 TDs against them in their last three games while three of those WRs have gone for 100+ yards. Evans has been a disappointment this year for those who thought the addition of Terrell Owens would free him up to do more damage down the field. It simply hasn’t happened. Evans has not caught a TD in the last four games or produced more than 40 yards, but it’s a nice matchup for the Bills if they could simply take advantage of it. Adding to the desperate angle with Evans is the fact that in 11 career games against the Patriots he has yet to catch his first TD against them.

WR Jabar Gaffney - MIA (vs NYJ)

Over last five games, Arizona is the 6th best matchup for WRs allowing 161 yds/gm with 6 TDs On the season, Arizona is 9th allowing 155 yds/gm with 13 TDs to opposing WRs. Obviously, relying on anyone in the Texans offense outside of Domanick Davis is risky business, so be careful about using him. It’s a solid matchup, but that’s only part of the picture. David Carr still has to get him the ball and if the Texans can run the ball well, they won’t be looking for Gaffney much at all.

WR Brandon Gibson - NE (vs TB)

The number of receivers that the Rams have gone through this year is amazing. It says a lot about the year Sam Bradford is having as a rookie. It also has me shying away from the whole lot of them, as it’s difficult to predict which one of them will be worthwhile in any given week. At this point in the season, the hot receiver could be Gibson, Laurent Robinson, Danario Alexander or Danny Amendola. Take your pick. Gibson has been the most consistent of the group, but rarely do any of them top 70 yards. The Chiefs have emerged as a decent matchup in the second half allowing 12-178-1 per game to opposing WRs in their last four games. If you’re inclined to gamble on any of the Rams WRs, Gibson is your guy.

WR Devin Hester - FA ( FA)

The Vikings have allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing WRs. The last time they played, Hester caught his 2nd pass of his career and took it 81 yards to the house. Since then, he’s been marginally involved in the Bears offense, but last week he broke out with 5 catches for 67 yards on 8 targets. This week, the Bears will have a new QB (Kyle Orton) so anything could happen with regards to which players may bubble to the top in terms of targets and production. Bernard Berrian is the safest play followed by the Bears TEs. After that, take your pick. It could be Hester and his game-breaking abilities or the veteran Muhsin Muhammad who could take advantage.

WR Sam Hurd - FA ( FA)

If you’re going to gamble on a backup WR, then why not try your luck with one that has Tony Romo throwing the ball? Seriously, Patrick Crayton was last seen wearing a walking boot on Wednesday after injuring his foot in the 4th quarter of last week’s game in Detroit. Hurd replaced Crayton down the stretch as the Cowboys were making their comeback bid. He caught two balls in the last two drives and both were key 1st down conversions. If he replaces Crayton in the lineup this week, then you may want to take a chance on him as well. The Eagles are allowing 13-171-0.9 per game to opposing WRs, which makes them the 8th best matchup in terms of fantasy points allowed. On the down side, in their previous meeting this year it was all about Terrell Owens, who caught 10 balls for 174 yards and a TD. No other Cowboys WR recorded a single catch.

WR Michael Jenkins - NE (vs TB)

Sometimes you have a great matchup staring you in the face, but you just can’t pull the trigger because you don’t trust the player. Michael Jenkins fits that description to a tee for many of us, I’m sure. He has size and decent amount of talent, but after Michael Turner gets his 20 to 30 carries, Roddy White gets his 7 to 10 catches and Tony Gonzalez gets his short and intermediate work, there just aren’t that many targets left over for Jenkins. If the Seahawks put up a fight, Jenkins may have a shot in what is a great matchup, but if they don’t it could be the typical Turner, White and maybe Gonzalez-laden game with Jenkins barely getting what’s left. If you’re in a deeper league, Jenkins might be worth a flyer. Ryan is playing excellent football and the Seahawks, like everyone else, will do their best to limit White’s damage.

WR Justin McCareins - FA ( FA)

Miami is the 8th best matchup for WRs over the last three weeks allowing 147 yds/gm with 4 TDs. McCareins produced 87 yards in their last meeting, so we know he’s got it in him, but it’s just a matter of getting Brooks Bollinger to throw the ball consistently well from game to game, or series to series. McCareins is an extremely risky play, but he has been productive on and off all year.

WR Maurice Stovall - FA ( FA)

While Antonio Bryant looks like a prime-time sleeper this week, don’t sleep on Maurice Stovall. The pending free agent is one of the team’s best special teams players and due to injuries and an ineffective Michael Clayton, he has moved into the starting lineup as the coaching staff wants to see what he can do before they re-up with him with a potential long-term deal to keep him in the bay. Stovall has great size and hands, but he has never really developed as a receiver at the NFL level after being a prolific red zone target at Notre Dame. He has shown glimpses in the past six weeks, but still nothing on par with what you expect from a fantasy starter, even in deeper leagues. If you’re really reaching though, he might be a waiver wire option that you could plug in under duress.


Tight End

Prime Cut (Great matchup, strong sleeper)

TE John Carlson - FA ( FA)

Carlson has been a hot target over the last month. He caught 2 balls for 38 yards in week 3 when the Seahawks and Rams last met. Since then, Carlson has established himself as perhaps the primary target in the Seahawks passing game while they shuffled player after player into the lineup at WR. Now, that they have Deion Branch and Bobby Engram both back, Carlson continues to be productive and even more so. In the last two games, he has 14 catches for 174 yards and a TD. Now isn’t the time to get off this bus.

TE Desmond Clark - FA ( FA)

Olsen seemed to be coming on strong after missing most of the preseason due to injury. He caught 19 balls and produced 2 TDs in a four week stretch beginning week 5, but then he had just one useful game from weeks 10 thru 14. Olsen and teammate Desmond Clark have a great matchup this week against a Vikings defense that has allowed the 2nd most fantasy production to the TE position – 6 catches, 60 yards and 0.2 TDs per game. Of late, Clark has been the hotter hand, but Olsen’s talent is undeniable and he produced 5-63-0 in week 6 when these two teams last faced each other. Clark produced 3-48-0 in that game, so don’t be shy about using either of the Bears TEs this week. Chances are, one or both could be quite useful.

TE Fred Davis - NE (vs TB)

You’ll be hard pressed to find a better sleeper candidate amongst tight ends this week than the Redskins Fred Davis. Not only is Davis riding a hot streak with 12 catches, 146 yards and 4 TDs in the last three games, but he also has a matchup against a Giants defense this week that has allowed a ridiculous amount of production to opposing TEs in their last four games. How about 10 catches, 110 yards and 0.5 TDs per game? Six straight tight ends have gone for 50+ yards against the G-men. Nine straight have produced 50+ yards or scored a TD against them. (Ladies and) Gentlemen, if you have Fred Davis, then get him into your lineup this week.

TE Marcedes Lewis - JAX (vs SF)

Breaking out of the confines of this being a “sleeper” article, let’s talk about Marcedes Lewis. He is definitely not a sleeper at this stage of the season, particularly with so many of the other elite TEs out of the picture due to injuries. Lewis is on the verse of breaking into double digits in TDs with 9 on the season. When the Jags played the Colts earlier in the season, Lewis didn’t have a busy game, but he did find the end zone amongst 2 catches for 22 yards. Fast forward a bit, the Colts have allowed the most fantasy points to TEs over the last five weeks surrendering an average of 7 catches, 60 yards and 1.2 TDs per game. Now isn’t the time to be cut, or over think your lineup decisions. If you’ve been rolling with Lewis, then keep doing what got you here.

TE Heath Miller - FA ( FA)

The Panthers are the #1 fantasy matchup for TEs. The Steelers figure to be without Cedrick Wilson and Hines Ward, even if he does play, isn’t 100% either. Miller’s fantasy production hasn’t been as good we most of us hoped it would be in his second year, but he remains a very talented player who should be able to take advantage of this solid matchup.

TE Heath Miller - FA ( FA)

In the Packers last four games, they’ve allowed an average of 6 catches, 64 yards and 0.2 TDs per game to opposing TEs. On the surface, it makes them a decent matchup and one that Heath Miller should be able to exploit. Beyond the surface, there’s even more reason to believe that Miller could be quite active this week. Charles Woodson is having perhaps his best season as a pro and he might be locked into Santonio Holmes all game knowing that Hines Ward is less than 100% (and probably should not have played last Thursday). Given that, Miller could be the safety valve for Big Ben to offset the Packers pass rush considering the Steelers offensive line has struggled to protect him lately. Miller should be targeted regularly, so look for possibly 5 or more catches and 50+ yards from him this week.

TE Zach Miller - FA ( FA)

Miller has been rendered unusable for the better part of the last month because of a foot injury. The good news is two-fold for him this week. First, he looked much better in last week’s game when he was targeted 5 times catching 4 for 68 yards. It was his first time cracking 10 yards since Week 7 when he caught 3 balls for 65 yards and a TD against Denver. Second, Miller faces the Broncos this weekend. As just stated, Miller was productive the last time they met and the Broncos have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to TEs this season. At a time when quality tight ends are running low in supply, Miller’s return and matchup are a welcome sign to owners that have carried him on their roster for the last month.

TE Greg Olsen - CAR (at NO)

Olsen seemed to be coming on strong after missing most of the preseason due to injury. He caught 19 balls and produced 2 TDs in a four week stretch beginning week 5, but then he had just one useful game from weeks 10 thru 14. Olsen and teammate Desmond Clark have a great matchup this week against a Vikings defense that has allowed the 2nd most fantasy production to the TE position – 6 catches, 60 yards and 0.2 TDs per game. Of late, Clark has been the hotter hand, but Olsen’s talent is undeniable and he produced 5-63-0 in week 6 when these two teams last faced each other. Clark produced 3-48-0 in that game, so don’t be shy about using either of the Bears TEs this week. Chances are, one or both could be quite useful.

TE Marcus Pollard - ATL (at CHI)

The Bengals have allowed 2nd most fantasy points to tight ends over the last three games (69 yds/gm with 3 TDs). Over the last five games they are 1st (87 yds/gm with 5 TDs) and over the course of the season they are 2nd allowing 56 yds/gm with 8 TDs. Pollard is a repeat offender on this list, mostly because he’s not ranked among the top 12 and he’s targeted consistently enough that he’s generally worth using if the matchup is right. He’s came up empty a few times and he’s hit quite a few times.

TE Jeremy Shockey - FA ( FA)

Shockey has been consistent over the last four games and he finally seems to be getting on the same page as Drew Brees. He’s making bigger plays each week and it’s only a matter of time before he finds the end zone (one must think he is overly due here). The Bears have been a nice matchup for TEs this year, so look for Shockey to continue warming up.

TE Jerramy Stevens - FA ( FA)

The 49ers are the 5th best matchup for opposing TEs this year, but they’ve been solid over the last month limiting their opponents to a combined 6 catches, 62 yards and no TDs in that span (which includes their first game against Seattle this year). The Seahawks will be without Darrell Jackson and his 10 TDs, so look for Stevens to possibly pick up some of that slack this week. Stevens may not catch more than 1, 2 or 3 balls, but there’s a good possibility that any one of them could be for a TD.

TE Ben Troupe - FA ( FA)

Seattle has allowed 58 yds/gm with 1 TD over the last three games to opposing TEs and on the season they have allowed 43 yds/gm with 2 TDs. Troupe benefits from Erron Kinney’s injury (knee scope) and Kinney isn’t expected to be 100% this week either. Troupe should be safe to use with potential top 10 numbers well within his grasp this week.

TE Ben Watson - BAL (vs GB)

On the season Tampa is one of the tougher matchups allowing 33 yds/gm with 2 TDs, but the recent trend over the last five games indicates teams are having much more success against them averaging 47 yds/gm with 2 TDs. Watson, like Ben Troupe, benefits from his teammate Daniel Graham missing significant playing time. Graham was inactive last week. If Graham is inactive or limited again this week, Watson should be safe to us despite the Bucs defense being among the best in the league overall.

TE Ernest Wilford - FA ( FA)

The 49ers rank 3rd in most fantasy points allowed to WRs over last five games (178 yds/gm with 6 TDs) and they are 1st on the season allowing 206 yds/gm with 16 TDs. Wilford remains an excellent red zone target, but his limitations has more to do with Leftwich being hurt and David Garrard throwing the rock than anything else. It might be a great spot to use Wilford this week knowing the 49ers have struggled in their secondary all year.

Worth a Gamble (Good matchup, solid sleeper)

TE Kevin Boss - FA ( FA)

Boss caught three balls for 30 yards and a TD the last time the Cowboys and Giants played. The bad news with Boss is that every third or fourth game he comes up completely empty. The good news is that bad game came last week. Boss is consistently targeted 3 to 5 times each game, so look for him to produce in the 3-4 catch range for around 40-45 yards with a TD quite possible.

TE Kevin Boss - FA ( FA)

Since the Redskins bye weeks, opposing tight ends have been active and productive against them. Last week, Zach Miller may have suffered a concussion against them, but only after, he caught 7 passes for 46 yards. Prior to that, Jeremy Shockey had 4-47-0 in Week 13, Brent Celek 4-33 in Week 12, Jason Witten 5-43-0 and Martellus Bennett 3-43-0 in Week 11, Tony Scheffler 4-29-0 in Week 10 and Tony Gonzalez 5-41-1 in Week 9. Meanwhile, Boss has been super in some games but unproductive in others. He has five TD catches in his last six games. In three of those games, Boss produced 70 or more yards, while in the other 3 games he averaged under two catches and 17 yards per game.

TE Kevin Boss - FA ( FA)

The Eagles took over the top spot since last week in terms of fantasy points allowed to TEs. This comes on the heels of allowing 7-69-2 to Jason Witten and 4-30-0 to Martellus Bennett. Joel Dreessen produced 5-63-0 against them the previous week. Boss’s numbers have been solid of late due to the run of injuries to the Giants receiving corps. Steve Smith and Ramses Barden are done for the year. Mario Manningham says he’ll play this week, although he reportedly has a hip flexor injury. Hakeem Nicks just returned to the lineup after missing two games. Boss wasn’t terribly productive against the Eagles four weeks ago (2-22-0) but they’ve also had a run of injuries in their defense, so look for Boss to play a bigger role in a favorable matchup. It’s enough to take a flyer in Boss, especially since he has scored in four of his last six games. One more tidbit, last year, Boss had the following games against the Eagles – 3-70-1 and 7-70-1.

TE John Carlson - FA ( FA)

During the preseason, the Seahawks coaching staff effused praise on John Carlson and they talked about how his role would grow in his second season. After a huge game to start the season, the opposite has been true. Carlson has been called on to block more and he simply hasn’t been active or productive as a fantasy option despite being drafted to be a TE1 by his disappointed owners. Last week, he showed a sign that there is still some fantasy value in his game as he caught a TD amongst three catches for 24 yards against the Texans. This week, he has a chance to string together something worthwhile against a Bucs defense that has given up some production to TEs in recent games. Tony Gonzalez had one of his typical big games against them in Week 12 with 9-83-0. David Thomas (4-66-1) and Jeremy Shockey (2-17-0) were productive against them in Week 11, while the Dolphins backups Kory Sperry (3-31-1) and Joey Haynos (3-17) were fairly productive and Ben Watson caught a 35-yard TD against them.

TE Owen Daniels - FA ( FA)

Daniels reemerged on Monday night in a big way. The Texans took their time with Daniels after admitting that he probably returned to the lineup too quickly earlier in the year only to have some setbacks. Now healthy, Matt Schaub repeatedly targeted Daniels as he shook off the rust with a few drops, but still came away with an impressive 5 catches for 91 yards on 11 targets. The Titans have allowed the eighth most fantasy points to TEs, so if you have Daniels and don’t feel comfortable with your starter or other options, then by all means get this guy into your lineup and hope that he continues to make a push down the stretch for a new contract since he’ll be a free agent at season’s end.

TE Bryan Fletcher - IND (vs SD)

Dallas Clark remains out with a knee injury and the Colts face the 2nd best fantasy matchup this week for TEs (Cincinnati). Granted, the Bengals have improved significantly of late, but they also faced a weak Raiders offense and the Ravens, who were on just three days rest and Todd Heap hasn’t been close to 100% for some time. The problem with the Colts TE combo is picking the right one. Either player could be a solid play, but if you pick the wrong one it could hurt you. As such, roll the dice if you must but know it’s a gamble at best to pick the right one.

TE Steve Heiden - FA ( FA)

Heiden started the season with a bang, and then he slipped back into obscurity while Aaron Shea had a brief run of productive games. Over the last month, however, Heiden started putting up decent numbers again. This week Heiden has a solid matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed 43 yds/gm with 2 TDs in the last three games to TEs. The Raiders are the 5th best matchup for TEs over last five games allowing 50 yds/gm with 2 TDs and they are 7th on the season allowing 52 yds/gm with 3 TDs.

TE Randy McMichael - SD (at IND)

McMichael has been a disappointment, just like the Rams, this season after coming over a free agent. He’s been consistent catching 2-to-3 balls each week but his best game was 4-41-1 against the Saints in week 10. Otherwise, he’s been consistently mediocre and not good enough to use as a starter unless you’re in a very deep league. That said, this week he’s facing a Packers defense that has allowed the most fantasy production to opposing TEs – 5 receptions for 58 yards and 0.5 TDs per game. If you’re going to run with McMichael, this would be the week to give him a shot.

TE Heath Miller - FA ( FA)

Facing the Vikings was once the mortal lock for opposing TEs, but that is no longer the case with a healthy Darren Sharper patrolling the center of the field and the Vikings defense playing better overall during their 6 game win streak. On the season the Vikings remain the 3rd best matchup according to fantasy points allowed, but that’s trending downward quickly. They’ve allowed 44 yds/gm with 9 TDs to opposing TEs on the season, but just 36 yds/gm with 1 TD over the last six games. That said, Miller is always a threat in the red zone, but he’s been sporadically productive (at best) lately making him a definite gamble if you do use him.

TE Bo Scaife - CIN (at DET)

The last time the Texans and Titans played; the Titans tight ends were quite productive. Bo Scaife had 3 catches for 26 yards and a TD while Alge Crumpler caught 2 balls for 26 yards. Scaife hasn’t been terribly busy of late with just 6 catches for 67 yards in his last three games combined. Scaife remains the team’s leader in receptions and receiving yards, so odds are that he’ll bounce back quickly and he has been consistently productive against the Texans, too. Last year, Scaife recorded games of 6-49-0 and 4-57-0 against them.

TE Ben Utecht - FA ( FA)

Dallas Clark remains out with a knee injury and the Colts face the 2nd best fantasy matchup this week for TEs (Cincinnati). Granted, the Bengals have improved significantly of late, but they also faced a weak Raiders offense and the Ravens, who were on just three days rest and Todd Heap hasn’t been close to 100% for some time. The problem with the Colts TE combo is picking the right one. Either player could be a solid play, but if you pick the wrong one it could hurt you. As such, roll the dice if you must but know it’s a gamble at best to pick the right one.

Solid Reach (backup / situational player with upside)

TE Anthony Fasano - TEN (vs SEA)

It’s hard to put much stock in Fasano as a fantasy tight end because he simply isn’t that productive on a consistent basis. It’s understandable considering the run-heavy preference of the Dolphins coaching staff and the struggles they’ve had at quarterback this year. On the other hand, Brian Hartline is done for the year and the Bills have been exploited by tight ends. They have allowed the third most fantasy points to TEs on the season, although to be fair, they’ve done a better job against them of late. These two teams met in the season opener and Fasano finished with 3-46-0. Not great, but not bad either – which is about what we can hope for out of Fasano this week.

TE Rob Gronkowski - NE (vs TB)

We know that it’s almost futile trying to predict which one of the Patriots might be worthwhile from a fantasy perspective each week. Hernandez was certainly hotter earlier in the year, but he has faded badly in the box scores over the second half of the season, while Gronkowski has continued to produce with more consistency. As a matchup, the Packers have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to TEs, and they’ve been stung by them more so of late. They’ve allowed a TD in three straight games to a TE. Vernon Davis blew up for 4-126-1 two weeks ago and Tony Gonzalez had 6-51-1 in Week 12. The Patriots utilize their tight ends regularly each week, so it comes down to whether you own one of them or not and if your other options are palatable. Personally, I prefer Gronk at this stage of the season, but I still believe Hernandez to have the higher ceiling as a fantasy prospect.

TE Aaron Hernandez - FA ( FA)

We know that it’s almost futile trying to predict which one of the Patriots might be worthwhile from a fantasy perspective each week. Hernandez was certainly hotter earlier in the year, but he has faded badly in the box scores over the second half of the season, while Gronkowski has continued to produce with more consistency. As a matchup, the Packers have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to TEs, and they’ve been stung by them more so of late. They’ve allowed a TD in three straight games to a TE. Vernon Davis blew up for 4-126-1 two weeks ago and Tony Gonzalez had 6-51-1 in Week 12. The Patriots utilize their tight ends regularly each week, so it comes down to whether you own one of them or not and if your other options are palatable. Personally, I prefer Gronk at this stage of the season, but I still believe Hernandez to have the higher ceiling as a fantasy prospect.

TE Dustin Keller - FA ( FA)

In their last four games, the Falcons have allowed an average stat line of 5-58-0.8 to opposing TEs. Starting with last week and going backward, Jeremy Shockey caught 4 balls for 46 yards. Brent Celek had a relatively quiet game per his baseline this year with 2-16-1. Kellen Winslow had an active 7-81-0 game and Kevin Boss caught a pair of TDs and finished with 5 catches for 76 yards. Just when you think Keller has turned the corner regarding his consistency, he drops a pair of 1-catch games on you. That was the case in his last two games, which were undoubtedly influenced by injuries to Mark Sanchez. If Sanchez is able to go this week, give Keller a bump and consider him as a solid TE2 with some upside. If he doesn’t go, Keller might be better left on your bench, but bear in mind that this is a solid matchup and he should be able to get something going.

TE Donald Lee - FA ( FA)

Lee has been a disappointment for the most part this year, but he has caught a TD in three of the last four games, too. The Jaguars have been a good matchup for TEs this year. Some recent examples begin with Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark last week. Each caught TDs. Visanthe Shiancoe caught three balls for 60 yards in week 12 and Steve Heiden produced 3-73-0 with no Kellen Winslow back in week 8.

TE Evan Moore - FA ( FA)

Moore literally came out of nowhere a couple of weeks ago to catch 6 balls for 80 yards against the Chargers. Last week, not surprisingly, he came back to reality as an undrafted player getting an extended look by the Browns over the rest of the season. Against the Steelers, he was targeted six times but came away with only 2 catches for 34 yards. He doesn’t run particularly well, but he could be productive again this week against a below average Chiefs secondary that has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing TEs over the last month (6-76-1 per game).

TE Jeb Putzier - DEN (at BUF)

In last five games Buffalo is allowing 56 yds/gm with 3 TDs (3rd most fantasy points) to opposing TEs. On the season they’ve allowed 34 yds/gm with 6 TDs ranking them 11th. Putzier isn’t worth using in TD-heavy leagues since he rarely, if ever, scores, but he could be used in PPR leagues if your other options are thin.

TE Tony Scheffler - FA ( FA)

The Cardinals have been solid against the TE this year, but this has more to do with Scheffler’s emergence in the offense in the last month than a matchup angle. Scheffler didn’t play three weeks ago, but in his last three games he has caught 8 balls for 132 yards and 2 TDs. Some of that is due to Jay Cutler taking over at QB. Many times, the TE production increases when a new and inexperienced QB takes over for a team. Scheffler is certainly a reach, but after watching him go for 3-66-2 you might feel like rolling the dice on him this week, too.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe - FA ( FA)

Shiancoe is having the best year of his career, yet for some reason he just doesn’t have the same allure as other tight ends ranked among the top 10 year to date. His 5 TDs are more than he produced in his five NFL seasons in his career combined. The Cardinals are allowing 4-42-0.3 per game to TEs. Vernon Davis had two productive fantasy games against them, so Shiancoe should be able to do something again this week.

TE Alex Smith - WAS (vs DAL)

Smith has been inconsistent throughout his young professional career. He’s been known to catch a TD or two and then disappear completely for multiple games in a row. The last time he played the Falcons, Smith caught 3 balls for 51 yards and a TD. He has also been reasonably productive in the last two games – 4-45-0 against Cleveland last week and 5-24-1 against Chicago two weeks ago. Jerramy Stevens is suspended for a week by the league, so Smith should get a little more playing time, and with that, perhaps another decent game for fantasy purposes.

TE George Wrighster - NYG (vs KC)

The 49ers rank 4th on the season in terms of fantasy points allowed to TEs (49 yds/gm with 6 TDs). Wrighster has been more productive of late, since David Garrard took over for the injured Byron Leftwich. In the last two games he’s caught 6 balls for 30 yards and a TD. There’s a reasonable chance that he could remain productive this week, too, but clearly his track record is not one of consistency, but he is capable if Garrard continues to target him.

If you're desperate (worth a look in deeper leagues)

TE Martellus Bennett - NE (vs TB)

Bennett caught three balls for 36 yards the last time the ‘Boys met the Giants. Witten wasn’t a factor in that game, but he’s back in the lineup now. Bennett’s worth a reach in desperation this week knowing that he’s caught quite a few TDs of late. He has limited upside, but in TD-heavy leagues, he’s definitely someone you can gamble on.

TE Doug Jolley - TB (at NE)

Jolley didn’t come thru last week against his former teammates (Oakland), but we’re still not giving up him completely. Granted, he’s not worth using except in the most desperate of situations, but the Dolphins rank 6th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends over last three games (63 yds/gm with 1 TD). They are 2nd in last five games allowing 56 yds/gm with 3 TDs, and on the season, Miami is 12th allowing 46 yds/gm with 3 TDs. Jolley has 8 catches for 103 yards and no TDs in the last three games with at least 2 catches in each game. So, he’s not a good start by any means, but if you simply want someone who should at least put a catch or two in the books and your options are thin, then he might be worth a reach.

TE Randy McMichael - SD (at IND)

The Texans have allowed a TD reception to an opposing tight end in three straight games. Randy McMichael has lost a step and he’s no longer the athletic freak that was a solid TE1 during his years as the Dolphins starting tight end. He is more of a 2 or 3 catch per game guy now who will catch an occasional touchdown. He caught one last week, and he just might be able to do it again this week, although the law of probability suggests that his luck has just run out. Either way, if you’re searching for a desperate option, you might roll the dice with McMichael. Forget the fact that they are either going to roll with Keith Null or Kyle Boller at QB. That’s just one reason why he’s no longer relevant to most fantasy owners.

TE Heath Miller - FA ( FA)

If you think the Jets defense is slipping of late, it’s because they have and opposing TEs, in particular, have been reasonably productive against them. In their last six games, the Jets have allowed an average of 4-65-0.5 to opposing TEs, or seventh most in that span. Heath Miller sat out last week after being concussed from a nasty blow to the head two weeks ago. He’s back this week, though, and showing no signs of concussion or otherwise. Miller has been a disappointment this year after finishing as a solid to low TE1 last year. He’s not a great option by any means, but Ben Roethlisberger may find Miller especially helpful this week due because of his own foot/ankle injury that could limit his running ability in the pocket and force him to look underneath to Miller more frequently.

TE Greg Olsen - CAR (at NO)

Olsen is pretty much a TD or bust player in Mike Martz’s offense. That being said, the last time these two teams met, Olsen caught a TD and finished with 3-31-1. He has a string of production in his last three games against the Vikings – 3-31-1, 7-45-0 and 3-47-1. I realize that last year’s numbers don’t mean squat when these two teams are vastly different from where they were a year ago, but the Vikings defense is largely the same and Olsen is still a viable red zone target regardless of the offensive coordinator. In the last Bears/Vikings game, Kellen Davis also caught a 19-yard TD and the Vikings have allowed 2 TDs to tight ends in their last four games. If you’re going to reach this far for a TE, at least grab one with a reasonable chance of making their few catches count for the most points.

TE Leonard Pope - PIT (at MIN)

Pope was cut by the Cardinals and then scooped by the Chiefs earlier this year. About a month ago, he took over the starting TE job in what was largely a vacuum created by the trade of Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons. Last week, he caught four balls for 45 yards. He was never very productive with the Cardinals and he hasn’t been much better with the Chiefs either, but he might be able to do something this week against the Browns. In their last four games, Cleveland is allowing an average of 6 catches, 80 yards and 0.8 TDs to opposing TEs. Pope won’t approach those numbers, but he might get a lucky TD catch or string together 3 or 4 receptions.

TE Robert Royal - CLE (at OAK)

The Browns are allowing an average of 4-49-0.8 per game to opposing TEs (4th most in the league). Royal was the benefactor of 2 TD throws from Trent Edwards last week, so maybe he can build on that success and carry it forward to this week. Last week, little used Chris Baker of the Jets produced 3-48-0 against Cleveland. In the previous week, little used Leonard Pope of the Cardinals caught a TD and the three previous weeks Owen Daniels (7-82-1), Quinn Sypniewski (6-53-0) and Heath Miller (5-71-1) were all very productive.

TE Robert Royal - CLE (at OAK)

Keep an eye on the Bills injury situation this week amongst their tight ends. Royal missed a game with a hamstring then returned last week and didn’t do anything. The Jets are one of the best possible fantasy matchups for TEs and rookie Derek Fine caught 4 balls for 43 and a TD the last time they played. If Royal goes, he’s worth a flyer given the matchup is so tempting, but the thing that makes Royal more risky is that Derek Schouman is also playing quite a bit and all of the Bills TEs could cancel each other out.




Forums |  News |  Football stats |  Login / Signup |  Contact Us