QB: Josh Freeman at NO – Josh Freeman hasn’t been the best quarterback this season but he has an impressive streak going. In all but one of his last nine games, Freeman has thrown at least two touchdowns. This week he faces the Saints defense that is ranked 30th against the pass. These two teams previously met in Week 7 and Freeman enjoyed his best game of the season – passing for 420 yards and three touchdowns. Start him with confidence in this plus matchup.
RB: David Wilson at ATL – With his eruption last week, many saw David Wilson’s dynamic talent for the first time. He explodes through the hole and makes tacklers miss in the open field. There are no questions about talent or ability, just playing time. This week Ahmad Bradshaw looks very questionable with a knee sprain, if he sits, David Wilson is a low-end RB1.
C.J. Spiller vs. SEA – By now everyone knows the drill with Spiller. He’s a very explosive talent that is held back by his coach, who prefers Fred Jackson’s ability to run the ball between the tackles and his blitz-pickup on passing plays. With Fred Jackson now on the injured reserve, Spiller jumps back to RB1 status. Don’t be too concerned about his matchup; coach Chan Gailey knows how to open holes for his running backs and Spiller is averaging an absurd 6.6 yards per carry.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis at PHI – Usually I rag on Green-Ellis’ plodding tendencies in this space, but he’s run very well recently. He’s getting a consistent workload and has topped 100 rushing yards in three of his last four games. This week he faces an Eagles defense that has struggled with tackling and effort this season.
Darren McFadden vs. KC – Despite his struggles, Darren McFadden finally appears to be healthy and should be locked in for a solid workload. He faces the Chiefs, who are 27th against the run and are allowing 131.2 rushing yards to opposing teams. Although he hasn’t been the most effective, this is a matchup McFadden should be able to exploit.
WR: Josh Gordon vs. WAS – Josh Gordon has become a very intriguing fantasy player for owners to draft next season. He’s still a young rookie, but has shown big play ability coupled with heavy targets. Those two ingredients tend to lead to WR1 status. Back to this week, Gordon is someone to play based on favorable matchups. This week he faces the Redskins 31st ranked pass defense that is tied for the lead in passing touchdowns allowed with 27. Start Gordon confidently.
Lance Moore vs. TB – Lance Moore is another player that should be relied upon based on his matchup. This week he faces off against the Buccaneers’ league-worst pass defense. Last time they met, Moore finished with a healthy nine catches for 121 yards. It’s always a risk playing Moore because of the Saints’ other weapons but we do know that the Saints will be passing a lot against the 32nd ranked pass defense.
Mike Williams at NO – Despite struggling in his first matchup against the Saints, Mike Williams is an attractive play this week. Considering they’re facing the Saints, the Bucs will be putting up a lot of points. The Saints have allowed 8.2 yards per pass attempt and are ranked 30th against the pass. This is a quality matchup for the Bucs’ 2nd option through the air.
Michael Crabtree at NE – This week is a very good matchup for Michael Crabtree. The Patriots will score a lot of points, stop the 49ers running game, and keep the 49ers’ passing attack active throughout the game. With the Patriots currently 8th against the run and 29th against the pass, Crabtree is in for a productive week.
TE: Vernon Davis at NE – Also benefiting from the matchup with the Patriots, Vernon Davis is worth a start this week. Facing the defense that allows the most points to opposing tight ends, Davis should be heavily involved in the 49ers game plan. It doesn’t hurt that Tom Brady will force the 49ers to pass more than usual.
QB: Tony Romo vs. PIT – After passing for six touchdowns in his previous two games, Romo had a tough matchup with a hot Cincinnati defense last week and struggled. This week he faces the league’s best pass defense with his top offensive hindered with a fractured finger. Despite top corner Ike Taylor’s injury, I’d do my best to find other alternatives at quarterback.
RB: Mikel Leshoure at ARZ – After watching the Lions on Sunday Night Football, I came away thinking Joique Bell is a superior talent to Mikel Leshoure. He looks quicker, fights harder for yards, and is much more versatile, especially in the passing game. Considering last week Bell touched the ball 17 times, compared to Leshoure’s 14, there’s a solid chance the Lions agree. Be careful about playing Leshoure against the Cardinals.
Alex Green at CHI – After having his best rushing output of the season, Alex Green is someone owners are considering. Despite the Bears suddenly looking soft without Urlacher in the lineup, I’d advise owners to stay away. Green doesn’t have a big role for the Packers and will likely lose goal-line carries to John Kuhn. He’s a low-end flex option.
Michael Turner vs. NYG – Topping fifty total yards just once in his last five games, Michael Turner’s fantasy value hinges on his goal-line touchdowns. He’s still as likely as ever to score a goal-line touchdown but has very limited upside against the Giants stout defensive line. His upside isn’t much higher than 50 yards and a touchdown.
WR: Kenny Britt vs. NYJ – Coming off a beast game against the Colts in which Britt caught eight passes for 143 yards, Britt faces the Jets. Currently 3rd against the pass, the Jets stick Antonio Cromartie on the opposing team’s top wide receiver. Cromartie has been playing at a very high level and despite Britt’s recent surge; I like him to win this week’s battle.
Stevie Johnson vs. SEA – Despite a productive outing against the Rams last week, Johnson also draws a very difficult matchup. Sure to matchup with Seahawks’ top corner Richard Sherman, owners can’t be expecting a big game. Johnson doesn’t matchup well with Sherman’s tall, pressing style.
Brandon Lloyd vs. SF – Although he had his best game with the Patriots last week, Brandon Lloyd still cannot be trusted weekly. Despite scoring a long touchdown on blown coverage, Lloyd is still behind Hernandez and Welker in the pecking order. He faces the 49ers 2nd ranked pass defense this week and should be trusted as no more than a WR3.
TE: Antonio Gates vs. CAR – Appearing to be behind Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander for Phillip Rivers’ pass attempts, Gates can’t be trusted anymore. Topping 60 receiving yards just once this season, it appears Gates’ years of being a quality tight end are behind us.
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