Darren McFadden, RB, OAK - I have used this stat a lot, but it stays relevant so here it is again: McFadden has gotten 100 yards from scrimmage in all but two starts this season and one of them was against the Steelers. The players that perform consistently all season are the ones you should be using in the playoffs. DMC also has a great match up against the Broncos who are the 31st ranked rush defense in the NFL, who allow an average of 150 yards per game.
Ray Rice, RB, BAL – With the Saints as opponents next week, we should expect to see the Ravens attack New Orleans on the ground. The Greg Williams blitzing scheme has been disrupting the timing of opposing QBs all season and when you have such a talented backfield with Rice, McClain and McGahee… there is little reason to not attempt to control the clock and run the ball as much as possible. If the Saints are able to build an early lead, then this will all go out the window and the Ravens will go to the air. IF you didn’t know Rice is pretty good at catching the ball out of the back field.
Mike Williams, WR, TB - I expect a good bounce-back game for Williams who was shut down last week. Arrelious Benn is developing into another vertical threat for the Buccs offense and he will force the Lions’ depleted secondary to single cover Williams who should be able to get deep and find the end zone at least once. Another nice thing to note here, is that the Lions seem to be competitive in every game they play. This will keep Williams and the passing game relevant deep into the fourth quarter.
Felix Jones, RB, DAL - The Jason Garrett-led Dallas Cowboys have found an element of their offense that did not exist when Wade Phillips was running the show… the run game. Tashard Choice has proven to be a versatile weapon with his ability to run between the tackles, as well as his speed through the hole. Jones is the guy they look to get the ball to in open space and because of this, he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. With the run-game being effective lately, his touches have increased and that is all that Jones will need to be a quality flex-starter for fantasy owners, opportunity!
Pierre Garcon, WR, IND - The Jaguars corner backs have been terrible this season, they allow big plays and are unable to cover physical receivers in a one on one scenario. Wayne should have a good game as well, despite drawing double teams and safety help over the top, but Garcon should be left isolated on the other side of the field. Coming off a big game, look for Pierre to catch at least 8 passes, totaling 80 yards and a score.
Kenny Britt, WR, TEN – The Texans pass defense has been terrible this season, they are on pace to be the worst in NFL history and even with Kerry Collins at QB, Britt should do just fine. Keep in mind that, before his injury, Collins was the QB for Britt’s HUGE game back in week 7.
Roddy White, WR, ATL – After watching Alex Smith tear the Seahawks’ secondary to shreds last week, I have a lot of confidence in White this week. Matt Ryan never plays that well on the road and outdoors, but he doesn’t need to play well to get White a great fantasy performance this week. There is no one that can cover him one-on-one if they don’t at least provide safety help over the top, they will be burned by a big play.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG – With the outstanding performances of both Jacobs and Bradshaw in recent weeks, fantasy owners can NOT leave either guy on the bench any longer. Jacobs will be the first to see a drop off in production, when opposing defenses figure out how to shut them down… but I don’t expect that to happen this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia’s defense has two VERY important players on it, Stewart Bradley and Asante Samuel. Bradley will be out for the remainder of the regular season (at least) and Samuel has missed the past three games. If Samuel does not come back, expect the Giants to win… but without Bradley, the Eagles are not likely to stop the run with any consistency.
Michael Crabtree, WR, SF - Last week Crabtree was a non-factor in the 49er offense and they got a great game from Alex Smith. This week they face the Chargers, who lose games only because of abysmal special teams play. Their defense has been fantastic all season and have only allowed an average of 13 points per week to opposing receivers.
Brandon Marshall, WR, MIA – The Bills have the 4th ranked pass defense in the league and despite finding the end zone last week, he has performed FAR under everyone’s expectations. He is no longer a viable fantasy-starter and should be reserved for your flex spot at best. Don’t take a chance on him this week when common sense dictates the Dolphins will be running whenever possible.
Ladainian Tomlinson, RB, NYJ - It is tough to start any Jets offensive players, except possibly Santonio Holmes. Against Pittsburgh, there just won’t be any big plays and field goals are likely to decide this one. I know he is a large part of the reason you made the playoffs, but he is simply too risky to play this week.
Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN - I would hate to do it, but I would still have to start Peterson this week. You have to lower expectations as the Vikings offense has had little success lately, but Peterson remains the most complete and talented running back in the league.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, NE – The Packers run defense has been great and Clay Matthews is my favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year, but this is another situation where you will likely need to start him anyways. The Patriots have been fantastic the past two weeks, decimating playoff teams and smart money is, they will be able to produce on offense no matter who their opponent is.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, DEN – Last week is enough to plummet the values of every Denver Bronco for fantasy purposes, with one exception… Knowshon Moreno. Studesville was not able to lead an offense that could produce at all against the Arizona Cardinals. Oakland has a quality secondary and should have few problems shutting down Orton and Lloyd.