Good afternoon/evening everyone, I hope your days started off better than mine. I woke up this morning to take the puppy out to find that my wife’s front passenger window had been smashed in and her GPS stolen. Needless to say that led to her being late for work and a fun morning of getting things taken care of. It looks like we are set to go now, but it’s that time of the year. Just keep a closer eye on your car and what you leave inside it that might tempt some bozo to take it.
That being said, for some of you it is playoff time! Congratulations on a successful season to this point. As they say, all you have to do is get in and then it’s anyone’s trophy to win. It’s this time of year that you roll out your studs and rely on them to take you home. This column should help those of us who are dealing with injuries or have several bubble options for spots to provide thoughts on what might give some of those bubble players a nudge up or down. As always, I stress that your teams are yours, and if you have a gut feeling about a player it is best to roll with that over what any analyst might say. It’s your team, you hold the keys.
Matt Schaub: Schaub has been very good for a while now, and the performances should keep coming against the Patriots this week. New England has been better against the pass recently with Aquib Talib, but they also have face Mark Sanchez and a Rookie the past two weeks. Schaub and the Texans should pose a much more difficult matchup this week.
Brandon Weeden: Let me start off by saying that you should expect at least one interception from Weeden this week, and maybe 2. But, Weeden is coming off his highest passing yardage total of the season and should be good for at least a TD as well against the Chiefs.
DeMarco Murray: He came back last week a bit unexpectedly and played very well. More importantly he did not suffer a setback with his foot injury. I’d trust him back in my lineup, and you should too.
Knowshon Moreno: In his two weeks with the starting gig in Denver, Moreno hasn’t been anything too special. But he has been solid, and has been involved in the passing game. What more could you ask for if you’re desperate. He should find running room against the Raiders.
Vick Ballard: I haven’t had much luck in listing Ballard this season, but Donald Brown has already been ruled out for this week. Ballard gets the job all to himself, and faces a Tennessee defense that just made Justin Forsett look good. Ballard also had a lot of success against them earlier in the season.
Josh Gordon: Gordon finally broke 100 yards last week and he has developed into more of a complete receiver over the last couple weeks. He no longer is just a deep threat, but can catch the intermediate routes as well. While KC has been decent against WRs overall, they have given up a lot of TDs. I think Gordon should be good for one again this week.
Greg Jennings: Jennings was the most targeted Packer in his return from injury last week, and with Nelson out for a week at least I think Rodgers will lean on his familiar target to get the job done.
Eric Decker: Decker has been absolutely dreadful over his past 4 games (basically since I traded for him in one of my leagues), totaling just 10 receptions for 119 yards and a TD. There really isn’t much of an explanation for this, as no injury has been reported and it doesn’t seem like Decker has done anything wrong. Hence, you would have to think a good receiver with Peyton Manning throwing passes shouldn’t be held down forever. I think this is the game he breaks out in.
Martellus Bennett: I was right about Bennett’s resurgence last week, and I think he will make it two games in a row this week against the Saints.
Jermichael Finley: If all it took for Finley to start producing was to sit down with Aaron Rodgers and talk things out, it makes you wonder why Finley waited so long to do it. Since the sit down occurred, Finley has looked more like the TE most expected him to be at the start of the season. He looked good from what I saw last week, and has a nice matchup against the Lions this week who are in the bottom 10 against TEs this season.
Browns D/ST: The Chiefs were a good story last week, but the Browns have been very good lately defensively and the Chiefs are still one of the worst offenses in the league. Plus I think the Brady Quinn/Peyton Hillis quests for revenge will work against them.
Carson Palmer: Palmer has been shaky recently, probably just around the time owners might have started to trust him in their lineups. Denver is a tough assignment though, and coupling that with his poor play of late and I wouldn’t want him in my lineup this week.
Ben Roethlisberger: The matchup isn’t particularly bad, I’m just not sure I’m jumping right back on board in his first game back. There are probably safer options until he can show he can get through a game without his injury affecting his play.
Ryan Matthews: What a disappointment his career has been so far. You just can’t trust him, especially with a poor matchup.
Reggie Bush: The Dolphins don’t give him a full load anymore, and they’re facing the 49ers to top it off.
Darren McFadden: Same principle as Big Ben, but he doesn’t have a great matchup either against Denver.
Stevie Johnson: Again, the injury questions are enough to make me feel uneasy about starting him against a tough St. Louis secondary. It’s not like Fitzpatrick has been setting the world on fire recently either.
Steve Smith: Smith struggled in his last matchup against Atlanta, and the Falcons just don’t give up many TDs to WRs. He could get there on yardage alone, but that is a lot tougher to do.
Miles Austin: The Cowboys have a tough matchup in this one, but Dez and Romo have been playin so well recently you can’t sit them. Austin on the other hand might warrant a sit this week against the 5th toughest secondary against opposing WRs. His highest scoring game of his last 5 is just 10 points as well.
Brent Celek: Can someone please tell me why Celek is continually ranked so high in weekly rankings and projections?! Last week was his 2nd best performance of the season, and he only totaled 7 points.
Jermaine Gresham: Dallas has only given up 3 games of 8+ points to TEs this season, and 2 of them were in weeks 1 and 2.
Ravens D/ST: They can’t seem to get both Suggs and Lewis on the field at the same time. And they’re facing the ultra-efficient RGIII….
That does it for this week. Good luck everyone!
Last Week’s Results: Season Totals in Parentheses
Starts: 7-4, .636 (64-79, .447)
Colin Kaepernick: 14pts = L, Matt Schaub: 20pts = W, Jacquizz Rodgers: 4pts = L, Marshawn Lynch: 13pts = W, Bryce Brown: 27pts = W, Ryan Broyles: 0pts = L, Pierre Garcon: 16pts = W, Cecil Shorts: 13pts = W, Aaron Hernandez: 9pts = W, Martellus Bennett: 14pts = W, Panthers D/ST: 0pts = L
Sits: 4-7, .363 (83-60, .580)
Josh Freeman: 19pts = L, Joe Flacco: 9pts = W, Steven Jackson: 10pts = L, Matt Forte: 15pts = L, Rashad Jennings: 2pts = W, Vincent Jackson: 5pts = W, Dwayne Bowe: 6pts = W, Michael Crabtree: 10pts = L, Brandon Myers: 19pts = L, Heath Miller: 15pts = L, Falcons D/ST: 11pts = L
My season total sits at 147-139 (.513)