STARTERS & BENCHWARMERS
Wondering whether or not to start Drew Brees and Steven Jackson, or bench Jason Campbell and Jerome Harrison? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for real help with your starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 7 of the 2010 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos vs. Raiders. Coming off his worst statistical outing of the season, Orton is suddenly no longer the golden boy of Fantasyland. But he’ll get back in his owners’ good graces against a secondary that has allowed the second-most passing TDs in the league (12), with only two interceptions. Even if Eddie Royal (groin) is out, Orton has plenty of other options to light up the scoreboard.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks vs. Cardinals. Last week’s game gave us the information we were looking for: Lynch received more carries than Justin Forsett (17 vs. 10), as well as the goal-line work. Arizona’s rush defense is pretty awful, so feel free to start Lynch and savor the results. Forsett goes to the bench.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos vs. Raiders. This is the game you’ve been waiting for. Moreno’s hamstring held up well after his long-awaited return to the lineup last week. He’s a good bet to find the end zone, and possibly even his first 100-yard game of the season, against the NFL’s 30th-ranked rush defense.
Robert Meachem, WR, Saints vs. Browns. The third-year playmaker entered the season with high expectations, but he was virtually invisible for the first four weeks. After scoring in each of the past two games, though, he has reestablished himself as a key weapon in the Saints’ pass-happy arsenal. He’s a great start against a Browns secondary that has surrendered 11 passing TDs to date.
Johnny Knox, WR, Bears vs. Redskins. The speedy wideout was targeted 11 times last week, and he should continue to see the lion’s share of Jay Cutler’s attention against the second-weakest pass defense in the NFL.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck, Sam Bradford; RBs Chris Ivory, Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, DeAngelo Williams, Peyton Hillis, Ahmad Bradshaw; WRs Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Dwayne Bowe, Patrick Crayton, Mike Williams (both), Terrell Owens.
Roll ‘em back
Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins at Bears. Chicago has allowed a league-low three passing TDs in six games, while McNabb has thrown only five all season, matching his interception production. There are better options out there.
Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins vs. Steelers. Not only will he face the league’s stingiest run defense, but he’ll have to share carries with Ricky Williams. Even though the pair fared well in Green Bay, the Steelers are virtually impenetrable these days.
Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys vs. Giants. Jones seems firmly established as Dallas’ featured back, but Marion Barber is clearly the team’s short-yardage (read: goal-line) specialist. The Giants have stifled Arian Foster and Jahvid Best in consecutive weeks, and they should dominate the Cowboys’ struggling offensive line on Monday night.
Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings at Packers. It’s always risky to bet against Brett Favre, especially when he’s facing his old team. But aside from his kickoff return TD, Harvin was a bit player last week. The Packers’ secondary is getting healthy again, and they should minimize Harvin’s receiving contributions Sunday night.
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers at Panthers. He’s scored in consecutive weeks, but don’t expect him to make it three in a row. Alex Smith is still struggling, the Panthers’ pass defense is very stingy, and the 49ers will likely opt to run Frank Gore all over Carolina’s soft rush defense.
More thumbs down: QBs Brett Favre, Vince Young, Alex Smith, Chad Henne, Ryan Fitzpatrick; RBs Brandon Jackson, Ryan Mathews, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cadillac Williams, Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower; WRs Donald Driver, Santana Moss, Steve Johnson, Mike Sims-Walker, Roy Williams.
TAKING A FLIER
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos vs. Raiders. Only the Texans and Jaguars have coughed up more passing scores than the Raiders to date. Meanwhile, Eddie Royal is likely to miss this week’s game with a groin injury, giving Thomas a golden opportunity to shine. The rookie found the end zone on his only catch last week, and he is poised for his best outing since his eight-reception, 97-yard, one-TD debut in Week 2.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…waits until Tuesday to plan for the six-team byes coming up next. If you thought it was hard to field a strong starting lineup now, the job gets tougher when the Falcons, Ravens, Bears, Browns, Giants and Eagles all take a breather in Week 8. Making your roster moves now, before you face competition on the waiver wire, could pay off later.