Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Week 12 Starters & Benchwarmers
You don’t need me advising you to start Peyton Manning and Chris Johnson, or to bench Brady Quinn and Jabar Gaffney. So I’ll leave the obvious recommendations to the network bozos and focus instead on players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 12.
Watch ‘em roll
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals vs. Browns. He has just one TD pass over the last three games and he hasn’t surpassed 300 yards in a game this season. But Palmer will reward his owners this week as the Bengals take out their frustrations on their hapless cross-state rivals.
Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons vs. Buccaneers. Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood are likely to remain sidelined, leaving the backfield all to Snelling again. That’s great news against a Tampa Bay defense that’s allowing a league-high 169 rushing yards per game.
Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys vs. Raiders. He hasn’t seen the end zone since Week 8 or posted a 100-yard game since Week 2. Both trends will reverse Thursday against a defense that has given up tons of yards and a league-high 16 rushing scores to date. With Tony Romo’s back hurting, Dallas’ running game should take center stage.
Nate Burleson, WR, Seahawks at Rams. Having bounced back nicely from his Week 10 goose egg, Burleson is a great play against a Rams secondary that he torched in the opener (7 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD).
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers vs. Jaguars. With his first pro TD safely under his belt, the rookie is now looking for his first career 100-yard game. Fortunately, the Jags’ porous secondary is traveling cross country, so the stars are aligning nicely.
More thumbs up: QBs Matt Ryan, Brett Favre, Matt Hasselbeck; RBs Ricky Williams, Knowshon Moreno, Rock Cartwright, LT, Ryan Grant; WRs Chad Ochocinco, Donald Driver, Donnie Avery.
Roll ‘em back
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers at Ravens. Though he is determined to play after experiencing a “mild” concussion last week, Big Ben should watch this one from your bench. Though Baltimore’s secondary has been vulnerable this season, they’ve stiffened up lately. And they still know how to get after opposing QBs.
Matt Forte, RB, Bears at Vikings. It’s getting harder and harder to start Forte even in favorable matchups. At Minnesota, his only value will be as a receiver out of the backfield, and even that poses a challenge these days. If you have safer options, don’t hesitate to use them.
Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints vs. Patriots. Reggie Bush will be back. Mike Bell is poaching goal-line carries. And New England has surrendered only three rushing TDs all year. Granted, the Saints can score on anybody; but when your toughest competition comes from your own backfield mates, you’re a risky bet.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles vs. Redskins. Washington’s top-ranked pass defense is making a habit out of shutting down secondary wideouts. Maclin’s up-and-down production does not merit a start this week.
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Saints vs. Patriots. He’s caught just eight passes for 85 yards without a score over the last three games, and even the unknown David Thomas has out-performed him. Meanwhile, the Pats allow just 38 yards per game to opposing tight ends.
More thumbs down: QBs Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Donovan McNabb; RBs Kevin Smith, Jamal Lewis, all Raider backs, Ahmad Bradshaw; WRs Calvin Johnson, Kevin Walter, Braylon Edwards.
TAKING A FLIER
Chris Chambers, WR, Chiefs. In just three games as a Chief, he’s racked up 249 yards and 2 TDs, roughly double the production of his first seven games with the Chargers. With Dwayne Bowe out, Chambers will be the primary target against the team that released him. Think he’ll be motivated to get into the end zone? Yeah, so do I.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…fails to start Kurt Warner against the Titans. Though he sat out the second half last week following a blow to the head, he is expected to play Sunday. Besides, the Cardinals can’t rely on Matt Leinart. Best of all, Tennessee has surrendered a league-worst 25 passing TDs this season.