By: Kevin Lewis * rankings will be released late tonight.
Pittsburgh @ New York Giants
–Ahmad Bradshaw is questionable for the game as his foot is acting up again. If you have Andre Brown, be prepared to start him.
–Hakeem Nicks has been largely a disappointment this year. I expect him to have a good game against a spotty Steeler secondary though. On a side note, it has the feel of a bit of a “lost” year for him. On one end, his schedule gets a bit softer, but on the other end he’s been banged up all year. I’d wait for another breakout game then try and move him.
– Victor Cruz will rebound with a good game as he doesn’t have to see the Cowboys secondary. Nobody in that secondary can hang with him. The Steelers have the #1 rated pass defense but that is misleading because they haven’t really played anyone. And when they did, Peyton Manning shredded them. Don’t shy away from either Giant WR this week. They will get theirs.
-The Steeler backfield is in shambles with injuries and such but Issac Redman is the best of the options. Start Redman this week if you have no alternatives.
Arizona @ Green Bay
-While Larod Stephens Howling had a rough game against a great 49er defense this past week, the going should get a little smoother this week. He also provides in the passing game, and given the state of the Cardinals offensive line, that should provide value. I wouldn’t be completely confident in starting him because the Cardinals entire offense is sketchy but I wouldn’t drop him either. Keep an eye on him.
–Larry Fitzgerald has been up and down all year (product of shoddy QB play. No surprises here). I’d start him pretty confidently this week though. Not that John Skelton will ever inspire confidence in anyone, but Green Bay’s secondary isn’t good, and the Cardinals may be trailing for a good portion of the game. As bad as Skelton is, he should be able to find Fitzgerald enough to make it worth your while.
–Alex Green is getting a lot of touches in the Green Bay offense, but hasn’t stepped up. As a result the Packers are talking about getting James Starks more involved this week. If you can help it, hold on to him and monitor what happens, but make sure to leave him on the bench.
Philadelphia @ New Orleans
–Jeremy Maclin hasn’t done much this season. Albeit, not entirely his own fault, he hasn’t done anything of note. To me, this is his last hurrah. If he can’t do anything against THAT secondary you should cut your losses and be done with it. That or leave him on your bench.
–Darren Sproles is out indefinitely. If you can, try and swing Pierre Thomas. His value takes a bit of a boost with Sproles out. Thomas can do a little of everything, and Mark Ingram has done next to nothing as a pro.
–DeSean Jackson should be a good play this week. It’ll be a challenge for NO to stop McCoy which may limit the Eagles pass attempts but when they do, Desean should be able to spring free.
– I view Michael Vick the same way I view Jeremy Maclin. If he can’t put up big numbers against New Orleans, his fantasy hope is doomed. Unlike Maclin, I have full confidence in him starting this week though. Start him and don’t look back. Potential turnovers be damned.
Baltimore @ Cleveland
-If you are in need of a QB alternative this week, go with Brandon Weeden. He has played well and Baltimore’s defense has been shoddy. He’s probably still on the wire, so if you need someone go with Weeden.
–Josh Gordon has been relatively successful but one wonders how much of that is actually sustainable. That being said, he’ll have plenty of opportunities against a struggling Ravens defense. Start him at your own risk.
-Cleveland’s defense has been “meh”, for lack of a better way to describe it. But they have improved since the return of CB Joe Haden so I’d ease off Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith until they regain the chemistry they had earlier in the season.
-Drop Dennis Pitta if you haven’t already. He stinks like your Uncle Seth’s armpits.
Detroit @ Jacksonville
–Matthew Stafford finally played like an elite QB. You Stafford owners can step off the ledge. Considering how bad Jacksonville’s run defense is, Stafford may have a light day at the office. Expect good numbers from him once again.
–MIkel Leshoure and Rashad Jennings are must starts. Leshoure is a must start because of the caliber of defense he’s playing and Jennings because he’s the every down back in Jacksonville now. Both guys will have productive days.
-I still don’t quite buy Cecil Shorts as an impact receiver especially with Blaine Gabbert as his QB. That defensive line will get after Gabbert so I wouldn’t be tempted by Shorts.
-With Nate Burleson out and defenses consistently playing 2 deep, Titus Young has to step up. He had 9 catches for 90 yards and a TD last week. Young might just hack it as a flex play this week, especially with word now that Calvin Johnson could be limited to third downs.