Wondering whether or not to start Michael Vick and Arian Foster, or bench Jerome Harrison and Terrance Copper? 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 16 of the 2010 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs vs. Titans. He made it through last week’s game at the Rams without setback, and returns home for a tantalizing matchup against the Titans’ soft secondary. Cassel and Dwayne Bowe should have a field day, while Tennessee is forced to respect KC’s explosive backfield tandem.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks at Buccaneers. Lynch has been up-and-down in recent weeks, but he’s a great bet against the league’s 29th-ranked run defense. The Bucs have given up 369 rushing yards over the past two games.
Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys at Cardinals. Only Denver has coughed up more fantasy points to opposing rushers than Arizona. Even if Marion Barber returns, he’ll poach carries from Tashard Choice, not Jones. The featured back should roll on Christmas night.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts at Raiders. With Austin Collie out for the season, Garcon will again be Peyton Manning’s No. 2 receiver. Oakland has surrendered the third-most passing TDs in the NFL, and shut-down corner Nnamdi Asomugha will be focused on Reggie Wayne.
Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks at Buccaneers. Despite the poor quarterbacking in Seattle, a healthy Williams is still getting a remarkable number of targets. The Bucs’ pass defense is vulnerable, making Williams a great start, especially in PPR leagues. For that matter, the Bucs’ Mike Williams is a solid play against Seattle’s porous secondary, too.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Matt Schaub, Aaron Rodgers, Jon Kitna, David Garrard, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tim Tebow; RBs Mike Tolbert, LeGarrette Blount, Ryan Torain, Brian Westbrook, Ronnie Brown, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Darren McFadden, Fred Jackson, Matt Forte, Rashad Jennings (if Jones-Drew sits); WRs Vincent Jackson, Steve Johnson, Hakeem Nicks, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon Lloyd, Jacoby Ford, Jeremy Maclin, Santana Moss, Brandon Marshall.
Roll ‘em back
Eli Manning, QB, Giants at Packers. In the bone-chilling conditions of the frozen tundra, Manning will face off against the NFL’s third-ranked pass defense. He was terrific last week against the Eagles, but that followed two games in which he had just one total TD pass and three interceptions.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals vs. Chargers. Coming off his best game of the season, it’s tempting to let Benson ride this week. But San Diego sports the league’s second-toughest run defense, and Benson is unlikely to get much cover from Cincinnati’s depleted air attack.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns vs. Ravens. He has missed practice time with a knee injury and his body appears to be breaking down due to the heavy workload. Even worse, Ray Lewis has vowed that Hillis’ huge game against the Ravens in Week 3 “won’t happen again.” Cleveland’s workhorse hasn’t scored in the past three games, so it’s not crazy to consider sitting him.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets at Bears. He’s dealing with a turf toe injury, while Mark Sanchez has a cartilage tear in his throwing shoulder. They’re both facing the swarming Bears defense at frigid and windy Soldier Field. No thanks.
Chad Ochocinco, WR, Bengals vs. Chargers. Ocho himself says he may only take half the snaps in Sunday’s game due to painful bone spurs in his ankle. He’s a risky start against the league’s top pass defense even without the injury; and especially with Terrell Owens sidelined and unable to distract the opposing secondary.
More thumbs down: QBs Mark Sanchez, Shaun Hill, Matt Hasselbeck, Kerry Collins, Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer; RBs Maurice Jones-Drew, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tim Hightower, Pierre Thomas, Anthony Dixon, Broncos RBs, Lions RBs; WRs Malcom Floyd, Sidney Rice, Johnny Knox.
TAKING A FLIER
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts at Raiders. He’s back at practice and has been targeting a Week 16 return from his neck injury since November. If Addai plays, he should be in line for plenty of carries, including those in the red zone, as well as passes out of the backfield. Oakland’s rush defense is nothing to write home about.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…forgets to set your lineup for Saturday’s game. You’ve gotten used to the Thursday night matchups by now, but don’t let the Yuletide gaiety distract you from assigning the appropriate spots to your Cowboys and Cardinals for the Christmas night contest.