By Mike Cannici
Shaun Hill vs. NE- Hill has been solid in every game he has started thus far and the Patriots are 30th against the pass. Hill has also played very well at home and in a game where the Lions are likely to play from behind, Hill is a solid start. I have him ranked as my 9th QB this week over guys like Big Ben and Eli.
Matt Ryan vs. GB- Ryan has a 19-1 career record at home and draws the leagues 11th ranked pass defense there this Sunday. He has thrown 11 of his 18 touchdowns at home and is a solid start against the Packers. I have him as my 8th QB just ahead of Shaun Hill this week and really like the matchup.
BenJarvus Green Ellis @ DET-The Lions are 24th against the run and Green Ellis is coming off a very productive game against the Colts who are ranked 28th vs. the run. The Law firm, BJGE, has been a little inconsistent since taking on the starting role but has now posted double digit points in three of his last four, and Thursday against the Lions shouldn’t stray from that stat. He’s a very solid flex play with some RB2 upside this week.
Mike Tolbert @ IND- Tolbert ran for 111 and a touchdown this past Monday night against the Broncos and draws the 28th ranked Colts who BenJarvus Green-Ellis just tallied 96 yards and touchdown against last week. Tolbert is likely to get the bulk of the carries again with Ryan Mathews still nursing that ankle injury so Tolbert is a great flex start this week.
Keiland Williams vs. MIN- Williams is now the every down back it would appear with Portis being placed on IR Wednesday and Ryan Torain still nursing injuries. In his last two outings he has totaled 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go along with ten catches for 77 yards and a receiving score. For PPR owners, this is even more attractive with those ten catches. There isn’t any one skill about him that makes you think this guy is going to be great, but he is a great pass blocker and plays smart out there and that’s a big key into staying on the field and he’s done everything he’s been asked thus far. He’s a must start flex play with RB2 potential in PPR leagues.
Mario Manningham vs. JAC-Mario has been a little hit or miss thus far in 2010 but is now going to be asked to be the “guy” for at least the next two weeks with Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith on the shelf with injuries. He has a tremendous matchup this week at home against the 27th ranked pass defense in the Jaguars. I really like this guy for the foreseeable future and I have him as my number eight ranked receiver this week. You’re probably starting him as a WR3 or flex play but you’ll likely get WR1 numbers out of him this week. Start him with confidence.
Vincent Jackson @ IND- Jackson will make his long awaited return Sunday night against the Colts and should pick up right where he left off. There are not a lot of players in this league you could really think that about after missing 11 weeks, but this guy is one of them. Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates are not likely to play and Patrick Crayton has a dislocated wrist so Phillip Rivers will be down to Jackson and Arijotutu as his main threats. He’s a quality WR2 start this week with WR1 upside as I have him as my 13th ranked receiver which makes him the best of the WR2’s in 12 team leagues.
Blair White vs. SD- White has been very good in Austin Collie’s absence this season and will be asked to do big things once again this week with Collie out once again. White hauled in five passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday’s comeback attempt against the Patriots. The Chargers do have the league’s best pass defense but those type of stats you can usually throw out the window when talking about Peyton Manning playing at home especially. He’s a solid flex play and a WR3 in PPR leagues.
Carson Palmer @ NYJ- The Bengals have been struggling and being down big in a lot of games which has made his fantasy numbers look pretty good, but against the Jets and a healthy Darrelle Revis, I can’t see Palmer getting too much going at all Thursday night. Last year in week 17 Palmer was just 1 for 11 for 0 yards ( I know the Bengals didn’t play starters for long but still 11 attempts should have yielded something) and in the first round of playoffs vs. the Jets Palmer was just 18 for 36 for 146 yards and 1 touchdown and 1 interception. I don’t see those stats improving much this week as I have Palmer as my 24th ranked QB this week so even in 2 QB league’s he barely makes the cut.
Jay Cutler vs. PHI- I don’t love Jay Cutler this week either, even though he’s at home, the Eagles pass defense has improved lately and Cutler just hasn’t quite been getting it down through the air. If possible, keep him on benches this week, look at a guy like Matt Cassel or dare I say Jon Kitna before starting Cutler.
Fred Jackson vs. PIT- Jackson has been great the last two weeks since CJ Spiller went down, but this week draws the league’s best rush defense(63ypg) and is barely a flex play this week unless you’re in a PPR league.
Cedric Benson @NYJ- Benson has been struggling as of late besides last week against the Bills, but everyone runs on them and is averaging just 3.7 ypc this season. The Jets will come out and try to build a big lead early and Benson will be left in the dust since he’s not much of a pass catcher. He’s a below average flex play at best this week, so if your roster allows, sit Benson.
Marshawn Lynch vs. KC- Lynch is a guy I was high on when he got traded, but has yet to really get it done and is being outplayed by Justin Forsett right now. Lynch’s lackluster play can somewhat be blamed on the Seahawks O-line, but Forsett has been able to get some solid runs so that can’t be all there is to blame. The Chiefs rank 12th vs. the run so far this year and I think they’re going to really step up against the banged up Seahawks line. Keep Lynch on your benches until further notice.
Steve Smith @ CLE-The Browns defense is played much better than the numbers might tell you (23rd vs. pass, 21st vs. run) especially at home. The Panthers QB play is just a mess right now and Smith doesn’t look like any more than a flex play the rest of the way. It’s a sad situation for Smith owners who were expecting a big year but he must be on benches and dare I say it, could be the time to cut ties with him.
Terrell Owens @ NYJ- Owens and Revis have been talking trash back and forth all week and when that happens, Revis is usually the one who backs it up. Revis allowed just 32 yards to Andre Johnson last week who is arguably the NFL’s best receiver so I can’t imagine the 36 year old T.O. to out produce that. If you have other options use them this week as I can’t see Owens getting more than 30-35 yards against a healthy Revis.
Donald Driver @ ATL- Driver appears to be back from his injury but also seems to be losing targets and snaps to James Jones who has been very good as of late. Jones has hauled in 11 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks and Driver seems to be more of a third option for Rodgers. I’m not quite ready to tell you to cut ties with him as Jones needs to stay consistent, but keep him on your bench until further notice.