Giants at Cowboys
If your a football fan, you have to watch this game. The Giants and Cowboys have to play each other twice still and Dallas has just a one game lead for first place in the NFC East. New York lost to the Packers last week and the Cowboys had a HUGE opportunity to go up by two games against the Arizona Cardinals but they blew it and lost in overtime. The Giants have had a lot of trouble stopping opposing running backs over the past month to month and a half as teams have really forced the running game in an effort to slow the elite pass rush of New York. Last week the Cowboys made a concerted effort to get Felix Jones more involved and this limited the number of carries that DeMarco Murray saw. This strategy led to a disappointing performance for both backs and by the end of the game, it was back to the DeMarco Murray show but it was just too late. On the flip-side the Giants have one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL and fantasy-owners can go ahead and expect the top 10 performances of both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to continue against a very average Cowboys secondary that is currently ranked 14th in the league. The bottom line for fantasy owners is that all the offensive players that you have been starting have to be started again. Some crazy things happen when two NFC East teams face off and when the playoff implications are THIS high, I think we can expect more of a shoot-out than a defensive struggle over field position. Miles Austin should be active in this game assuming he finds a way to practice without a setback but I think the Cowboys will continue to use Laurent Robinson in some of the 2 wide receiver sets. I like the Cowboys to squeak out a win here after such a disappointing game last week with a heavy dose of DeMarco Murray in the running game to keep Eli Manning and his slew of receivers on the sideline.
Texans at Bengals
I hope you like defense because your going to see it in this game. Despite adding Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia to the roster, Houston will continue to start T.J. Yates at QB and rely on him limiting mistakes and taking what the Bengals defense give him. This game will be about field position and field goals and as a result, you have to downgrade all your fantasy options out of this game. Arian Foster and A.J. Green remain must-starts due to their track record of performing admirably regardless of match up and to a lesser extent, Cedric Benson also retains enough value to be a decent starter this week. A.J. Green has been incredibly consistent and has been able to beat every secondary deep with one exception, The 49ers back in week 3. Houston’s defense has been great this season and is one of the best that Green will have to play this season but after remaining a top 10 receiver against the Steelers twice and the Browns, who are surprisingly the best pass defense in the NFL so far this season, I am not going to bench him now. Andy Dalton however is not likely to do much more than find Green on one big play so I would definitely look elsewhere as opposed to starting Dalton. Anyone not mentioned needs to be left on your bench unless they are a kicker and even the guys that are mentioned as starters anyways are easily capable of being a disappointment so tread carefully and hope your studs come out of this game with a decent number of points. I like the Bengals to win this CLOSE game because they are mildly able to pass the ball and eventually Benson will wear out this Texans defense.
Bears at Broncos
Speaking of defensive match-ups… The offense-less Bears are facing off against the story of the past month named Tim Tebow. Tebow has just been winning games in whatever way has been available to him. This game could easily be 6-3 going into the 4th quarter (or Tebow-time) and yet by the time it is all said and done, Tebow should be in the area of 20 fantasy points. Regardless of how well Tebow plays, his ability to run the ball for positive yardage every time he tries translates into a very consistent fantasy QB. Most leagues also only give 4 points for a passing TD so when Tebow runs one in, it means an extra 2 points. Tebow remains a top 10 guy for fantasy owners and Willis McGahee is also a very quality RB2 option despite the rough match up. I think the grind-it-out style of the Broncos will eventually break the Bears D after their offense gets almost nothing accomplished on the game. I wouldn’t start a single Bear on offense unless you lost Forte and are desperate for an RB, then you can play Barber but do NOT expect much at all from him. Eric Decker is still a poor flex-play option for standard leagues as he is the most likely of the Broncos receivers to catch a deep ball. Make Thomas have a big game in consecutive weeks before you risk starting him in the playoffs. The Broncos continue their unpredictable run for the divisional title and win this one.