Chris Johnson @ CAR: I know you’re tired of him, but the Panthers have allowed 36 or more to RBs in three of the last four weeks (and 40+ twice in that span). And as much as you hate him, Johnson has been consistent this year, scoring in double digits in PPR in all but two games, and never dipping into Cedric Benson range with zero games under 8 fps. He’ll get his.
Shonn Greene vs. NWE: Greene has certainly underwhelmed this year, and is dealing with some wooziness following an early exit last week @ BUF. But it’s been a tale of two quarters so far for him. Through four games he was crap, but over the last four he’s averaged 20 carries a game and 5.4 ypc. For comparison’s sake, up until that point, he’d averaged 13 carries per game and 3 ypc. It has something to do with the competition, but his current streak of usefulness started with a game @ NWE, where he scored his last rushing TD and put up 92 total yards on 23 touches. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t come close to duplicating those numbers vs. the Pats, who are allowing the 5th-most fppg to opposing rushers.
Ben Tate @ TAM: Did you know Ben Tate is on pace for over 1200 yfs and is currently averaging almost six ypc? This makes him useful, even as an obvious backup who does most of his damage in garbage time or on change-of-pace downs. Regardless, he’s been relatively hard to predict, PPR-wise. His numbers over the last four in PPR are 4, 10, 2 and 17, and that includes zero catches. In fact, Tate hasn’t caught a pass in a game since the last time he started (week 3) and I’d wager I could count the number of passing downs he’s played in that time on one hand. All that said, the Buccaneers have allowed 33 fppg to RBs over the last three, and I just don’t see Arian Foster piling up all of that total. I’d bet Houston can run up a lead and Tate can give you a solid 10. Don’t get too excited, but he’s probably a safer start than the likes of Marshawn Lynch, or any of the Packers or Panthers backs.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ NYJ: The last time BGE played the Jets he put up almost 28 PPR fps. Don’t expect the same. It’s not that I don’t like the matchup; the Jets are just okay against opposing RBs, allowing over 24 fppg against them. It’s just that BGE has been banged up since the last meeting, and has put just about 16 total fps in that span. I wouldn’t trust him.
Marshawn Lynch vs. BAL: I mentioned in the Tuesday Morning Hangover that Lynch had gone 36 regular season games without a 100 yard effort before last week. He’s nice to have on your bench, but given that fact, and the fact that there are no byes this week, do you really want to see if he can make it two in a row vs. the league’s 2nd-toughest matchup for opposing RBs? I don’t. You should be thrilled with 80 total yards and zero TDs, and I doubt he even gets that much.
Daniel Thomas vs. WAS: Thomas was a sexy rookie sleeper on draft day, but the true story on him is that he’s had one good game, and, thanks to injuries, has been utterly useless over the last five, and completely outplayed by Reggie Bush on the year. Again, with no byes this week, don’t roll the dice. Almost everyone is a better option (and the ‘Skins aren’t bad against RBs either).
Jason Hill @ IND: Yeah, so the Colts are horrid against WRs, averaging about 45 fppg allowed over the last four. It seems more and more obvious each week that you should just start whoever is playing them. So I suggest Hill, the Jaguars (or if you’re in Indiana, the “Jag-wires”) best, most healthy deep threat. Hill has put up double digits in three of the last four, and all of those were against AFC North teams who, as a division, are notoriously difficult to pass on this season. Go for it against the hapless, sucking-for-Luck ponies.
Victor Curz @ SFO: If Cruz isn’t an automatic start by now in PPR, your team is either really good, or you’re smokin’ that good stuff. The ‘Niners are susceptible to big-time, sizable receivers. Cruz is that. The current #1 option for the Giants has gone for 15 or more in 5 of the last 6 games, and his target competition, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, are both game-time calls. Lean on him this week, as you have the last few.
Santonio Holmes vs. NWE: Since 2009, Holmes has been a Pats killer, catching 18 balls for four TDs in four games. This week should be no different. Holmes has scored in three of his last four and the Pats are the worst against opposing WRs.
Colts Receivers vs. JAC: As if you were starting them anyway…The Jags have allowed an average of 21 fppg over the last two weeks, good for 3rd-fewest points allowed in that span. They’re allowing the 5th-fewest fppg to WRs on the year. This is not your typical, easy-to-pass-on Jags defense. This is also not your typical scores-when-it-wants-to Colts offense. Avoid Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne.
Mike Williams vs. HOU: If you’re still considering starting East Coast Mike it’s because you’re either in a deep league or you’re desperate. Either way, I say try to find some way to avoid it. Williams still gets the targets, and I don’t doubt he can give you five or more receptions, I just worry about the matchup. Houston has allowed just 23 total fps to opposing WRs over the last two games, the lowest points allowed over that span, and is good on the year. This is not the matchup to break Williams’s sophomore slump.
Deion Branch @ NYJ: Because he’s scored in three of his last five games, people forget how low-volume Branch has been lately. He had a relatively-big game week 5 vs. NYJ, but since then has caught 9 total passes over three games. Don’t look for him as the answer to your woes this week, as the Pats visit the Jets, who are now the 2nd-best defense to opposing WRs.
Tim Tebow @ KAN: I know Tebow’s easily to make fun of and ignore in reality circles, but fantasy owners should know better. For all his “inaccuracy” concerns, he’s only turned the ball over twice in 120 offensive snaps as a starter over the last three games. That’s pretty impressive. Even more impressive are the impeccable rushing lines, which are absolutely (and somehow quietly) saving this guys’s season. The Chiefs are slightly above average vs. QBs, but their numbers are somewhat skewed given the competition they’ve seen (I’d consider that they’ve only played three games against teams with good QBs, and two of them were vs. the slumping Philip Rivers).
Mark Sanchez vs. NWE: Noticing a trend here? The Patriots defense is atrocious. Mark Sanchez isn’t as bad as you think he is. In fact, let’s say he could have mustered just 10 fps against BAL in week 4. That would have put him close to a tie with Tony Romo for 10th place in fantasy scoring in standard leagues. Oh well, besides that game, last week’s modest line was the closest thing Sanchez has had to a bad game this year. In the last matchup vs. NWE he had 230 yards, two TDs and no picks, which is exactly what you want from him every week. Expect much of the same this week against the same incredibly bad NWE secondary allowing the 3rd-most fppg to opposing QBs.
Matt Schaub @ TAM: In six wins this season Schaub is averaging under 17 completions per game. In three losses he’s averaging over 22. The Texans have won three in a row and are facing a Bucs team that has struggled mightily vs. the run over the last few weeks. What do you think Matt Schaub’s role will be? I’d say start him in deep leagues, if you have to, but don’t be surprised if he spends a lot of time handing it to Foster/Tate.
Jay Cutler vs. DET: Don’t get cute. Cutler was above average in the face of a tough matchup last week @ PHI, and he led his team to an impressive and improbable win. But that doesn’t automatically pencil him in for success against a team that is even better at limiting opposing QBs for fantasy than the Eagles are. The Lions rank 6th-hardest in the league, and have allowed no more than 16 fps over the last four. I doubt Cutler does much.
Brandon Pettigrew @ CHI: Pettigrew has been disappointing in his last two games but the Bears are a recipe for succes for any opposing tight end. They’ve allowed the second-most fps to opposing tight ends and are the only team this year who has allowed double digit PPR points to the position in every game of the season. Pettigrew had a TD the last time he played Chicago, and could very easily score again this week.
Kellen Winslow vs. HOU: Winslow is somewhat hot, having scored in two straight. But he’s also been low volume, as he reached his season high, 66 receiving yards, in week 1 and has caught for fewer than that in every game since. Making matters worse, his opponent this week, the Texans, has allowed the 4th-fewest fppg to opposing TEs and has allowed under double digits in three of the last four.