Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB – I received a couple of questions about whether Rodgers would be up to the task of facing a Giants’ defense that had knocked a number of QBs out of the game this season. While this may have been an area for concern with a lesser player… this is the best fantasy QB in the league! Rodgers came out of this week’s regularly-scheduled games as the highest scoring individual player and you’ll have to start him next week.
Matt Forte, RB, CHI – Forte has been the primary reason for the success of the Bears’ offense. They struggled at times mid-season but when they settled down and recommitted themselves to the running game, (at least as much as Mike Martz will EVER commit to it) the offense found a stability that has allowed them to capture the division title and remain alive in the race for the top seed in the NFC. In recent weeks Forte has surprised me with his physical running style and despite his rough match up against the Packers next week, Forte remains a must start.
Jerome Simpson, WR, CIN – In the absence of their pro bowl talent at WR, the Bengals’ passing offense was as good as it has been all season. Throughout the year Palmer and his dynamic duo of T.O. and Ochocinco had been able to put up decent statistical performances, but only in losses. This week the Bengals ended the playoff hopes of one of the top defenses of this season and they did it primarily through the air. Simpson had 124 yards and two TD’s making him the highest scoring fantasy-receiver and yet no one started him.
Jamaal Charles, RB, KC – Charles has been by far the best fantasy RB who splits his carries this season. The Chiefs have the NFL’s top ranked rushing attack and are averaging over 160 yards per game. This week, Charles was only able to contribute 77 yards on the ground but with an additional 40 yards and 2 scores through the air, he remains a stud and a must start going into the last week of the season.
Kellen Winslow, TE, TB – It did not come as a shock to me that Winslow was so productive this week. He had by far his best statistical performance of the season with 97 yards and two TDs against a Seahawks team that is not that good! I will keep Winslow in the top 10 at TE, but I will not expect a repeat performance as games like this don’t typically come in pairs for tight ends (unless their name is Antonio Gates or Dallas Clark!)
Michael Crabtree, WR, SF – Now that the regime of Mike Singletary has come to an end, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Crabtree after all. The 49ers are said to be in the market for an elite coach to come in and take over this team and with names like Gruden, Harbaugh and Cowher being thrown around I am excited about the potential that the stars in San Francisco might have for next season. Do not make the mistake of trusting Crabtree next week under an interim head coach.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB – Blount tallied over 160 yards this week in a decisive win by his young Buccaneers offense. 142 of these yards came in the 2nd half and we can only wonder what he would have done as a feature part of this week’s game plan. His upright style of running creates some injury concerns for me, but until he does get hurt… it can’t affect his fantasy value. Make sure you start him in at least your flex spot next week against the Saints.
Michael Turner, RB, ATL – Turner has been a stud all season long. He has been among the few backs that fantasy owners have been able to rely on weekly and this late in the season it is disappointing to see a 2 point game. Last night was just the 2nd time that the Falcons have lost at home with Matt Ryan at QB and the Saints’ ability to shut down Turner and the running game is the primary reason why. I see this more as the Saints being back in championship form as opposed to a collapse of the Falcons. Besides, if you’re still alive in the playoffs, could you sit Turner against the Panthers!?
Wes Welker, WR, NE – The Patriot offense was in full-effect this week against the Bills, but yet the primary fantasy-players were not able to find the end zone. Welker was only able to manage one point outside of PPR formats and was a complete non-factor in the offense following two uncharacteristic drops early on in the game. Next week the Pats will be resting their starters to some extent and since Welker injured himself in a game late last season that had no playoff impications… expect him to be on the bench for at least the 2nd half.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF – The Patriots secondary is young and prone to mistakes. Recently, you would not know that by watching them play. Fitzpatrick had a terrible outing this week as the Bills turned the ball over SEVEN times. I don’t even trust Fitz as a QB2 next week against a much more formidable Jets defense.
Peyton Hillis, RB, CLE – The Ravens are still one hell of a run defense, but not quite as good as they have been in the past. Hillis had a great game earlier in the season against them and I certainly expected more than 3 points out of Hillis this week, who has surprisingly also been one of the best receiving backs in the league. He will fall just inside my top 20 RBs for next week.
Marques Colston, WR, NO – I for one expected a much more offensive battle for last night’s NFC South rivalry game. Colston was almost a non-factor on plays that actually happened (he caught a TD, but there was a false start penalty that should have stopped the play prior to the snap) and only finished with 2 points. Treat this as an anomaly as you likely can’t find a better receiver to fill his spot on your roster than Drew Brees’ favorite target.