Wondering whether or not to start Peyton Manning and Andre Johnson, or bench Brodie Croyle and Brad Smith? 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 15 of the 2010 season.
Watch ‘em roll
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars at Colts. He combined for three TDs against the Colts in Week 4 and passed for three scores last week against the Raiders. Indy’s defense has been torched over the past four weeks, most recently by Kerry Collins; so look for Garrard to pad his resume in this divisional showdown.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers vs. Cardinals. Though Mike Goodson remains a key part of the backfield mix, Stewart has reclaimed the leading role over the past three weeks. Finally looking like the powerhouse back of recent years, Stewart will have no trouble exploiting Arizona’s 30th-ranked run defense Sunday.
Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins at Cowboys. It’s easier to pass than run on Dallas, but Torain gives the Redskins their best chance to control the game, especially with Rex Grossman taking the snaps. Torain burst back on the fantasy radar last week, and he’ll stay there Sunday.
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans vs. Texans. Now that he has returned from his hamstring injury and supplanted the incredible, shrinking Randy Moss as the starter, get Britt back in your lineup against the hapless Houston secondary.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars at Colts. Just as I expect good things from Garrard, I foresee glad tidings from his most dangerous receiver, now that he has put his ankle injury behind him.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Jon Kitna, Jason Campbell; RBs Tim Hightower, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Brown, Jamaal Charles, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, LeGarrette Blount; WRs Hakeem Nicks, Deion Branch, Miles Austin, Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin.
Roll ‘em back
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens vs. Saints. New Orleans has surrendered an NFL-low eight passing TDs all season. The likelihood of Flacco connecting on multiple passing scores Sunday is awfully slim.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills at Dolphins. Miami has given up just six rushing TDs all year, and they’ve stifled several top backs in recent weeks, including Peyton Hillis and the Jets’ tandem. Jackson won’t find much room to roam against this formidable run defense.
Packers RBs at Patriots. Not only are they facing a solid defensive front in New England, but they’re splitting the load among four players. James Starks took a huge step backwards last week after bursting on the scene in Week 13, and Brandon Jackson has proven he can’t handle a heavy workload. If Aaron Rodgers sits out, as expected, a bad situation gets even worse.
Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings vs. Bears. With Joe Webb expected to start at QB, all bets are off on the Vikings’ passing attack against a Chicago defense looking to atone for its humiliating loss to the Patriots. It won’t help that the game will be played outdoors on a frozen and unfamiliar surface.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens vs. Saints. Am I bitter about his paltry stats against the lousy Texans secondary on Monday night? You bet. Would I start him against the Saints’ stingy pass defense? Not a chance.
More thumbs down: QBs Kyle Orton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Hasselbeck, Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer; RBs Donald Brown, Cedric Benson, Thomas Jones, Jets RBs, Chris Ivory; WRs Brandon Lloyd, Mario Manningham, Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe (if Matt Cassel is out), Mike Williams (TB), Stevie Johnson, Austin Collie, Steve Smith (CAR), Davone Bess, Bears WRs, Packers WRs.
TAKING A FLIER
Kerry Collins, QB, Titans vs. Texans. Houston blanked the Titans in Week 12, but that was with Rusty Smith at the controls. Collins is far from a lock, but he’s coming off an excellent outing against Indy, and the Texans’ secondary is downright sieve-like. With Britt back healthy, Collins could come up big for risk-taking owners, or those needing a proxy for Rodgers.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…risks a goose egg with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday night. We may not know if he’s playing until after the afternoon games have ended. If you take your chances, you’ll need to hedge your bets with Flynn (yuck) or one of the Monday night passers (double yuck).