Frank Gore, RB, SF – Teams have been beating up on the Rams all season with a punishing rushing game. Gore has yet to play against them yet this year but I have little doubt that he is able to end his slump this week. The Rams are allowing an average of 159 yards per game to opposing running backs and while Kendall Hunter is bound to see a fair few carries as well, Gore is just about a lock for 100 yards.
Josh Freeman, QB, TB – The Buccaneers are not as well-rounded as they were last year and Freeman has certainly been a part of the problem. Fortunately, the Panthers defense fixes a lot of issues. You should start all your typical Buccaneers in this game because Carolina can neither stop the run or the pass. If you need convincing, take a look at the stats the Colts had on offense last week.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG – All the attention is on Cruz lately and Nicks has been very underwhelming this season but I think Nicks is the one due for a huge game. Green Bay is going to win, I am pretty damned sure of it but the Packers have the 31st ranked pass defense in the league and I still trust Nicks more than Cruz. He is a superior red zone target and when it counts, Eli will look his way.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, NE – The Law Firm has been a very inconsistent player this season and he isn’t totally to blame. Three backs other than Green-Ellis saw at least 4 carries in the game last week for the Patriots and while Law Firm was by and far the leader with 14, it is incredibly frustrating to see as a Law Firm owner. Don’t sweat it this week against the Colts who can’t stop anyone on the ground.
Andre Johnson, WR, HOU – The Texans are going to have to dig deep to pull off a win against Atlanta this week. I am not crazy about Johnson this week but Atlanta has a lights-out run defense and eventually, TJ Yates or not, the Texans will have to go to the air. The only thing that will keep Johnson from producing is opportunity so if he can get a few targets, he will do something with them. I think AJ is a solid WR2 this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF – The Bills were actually competitive again and Fitz played really well against that Jets D. I’m not sold yet. The injury report for Buffalo is a mile long and I don’t see them as a high-powered offense without Fred Jackson in the lineup. Make Fitzpatrick do it one more time before you take a gamble and start him with your season on the line.
Johnny Knox, WR, CHI – Hanie played bad on Sunday and while I expect him to improve, I have no reason to expect Knox to put up near the same numbers. Watching the game last week showed that Knox was on fire and clearly the Bears’ best playmaker but after such a disappointing season I want to see him do it a couple of times before I start to buy in to it. Leave him on the bench.
Arian Foster, RB, HOU – The Texans offense essentially runs through Foster and Tate now but the Falcons have absolutely been shutting down opposing running backs. You have to start Foster regardless this week but I think he is going to be hard pressed to manage over a hundred yards. Lower expectations and hope for the best this week.
Percy Harvin, WR, MIN – The Vikings really made an effort to get the ball in the hands of Harvin with Peterson sidelined. Unfortunately the Broncos defense has been playing great in recent weeks and Harvin is not very likely to have a repeat performance. His speed and skill in the open field mean that you should be starting him in your flex spot anyways but I don’t expect a lot of open space in this game.