If your league is anything like most, there’s a clear top tier of teams, a clear middle, and a clear bottom. While teams from different tiers are going about getting there in different ways, every team is ultimately trying to do the same thing – win enough games to get to the playoffs and win the whole thing. So here are some lineup decisions to help you with this week.
QB – Andrew Luck (at NE) – I see this game going one of two ways: either Indy plays inspired and keeps it close; or New England blows their doors off. Either of those situations are conducive to Luck throwing for many yards and multiple touchdowns. Fire away.
RB – Alfred Morris, WAS (vs PHI) - Philadelphia’s rushing defense is slightly below average anyway, but this team is a mess. It looks like they’ve clearly given up on Andy Reid, and the veterans can’t be too pleased that management is clearly pushing for Nick Foles to play out the season so they can evaluate his future. This one could be a blowout in Washington’s favor, which benefits Morris.
RB – Felix Jones, DAL (vs CLE) – Jones scored on a flare pass last week and came out of the game healthy (which is saying something for him). DeMarco Murray still isn’t ready, and Cleveland has allowed 134 yards and 1.3 touchdowns rushing per game in the last four weeks. I expect Dallas to control this one from start to finish.
WR – Denarius Moore, OAK (vs NO) – Moore is one of my favorite fantasy players because he is consistently good and always provides the upside of being great. Even better, he does all of that in a pretty under-the-radar fashion. As we saw last week, even if the Raiders get blown out, there’s fantasy value in their passing game. With the two top backs still unhealthy, expect Oakland to throw it early and often – as usual.
WR – Danny Amendola, STL (vs NYJ) – The Jets can be a tough pass defense for #1 WRs because of Antonio Cromartie’s presence at corner. However, Cromartie is a “strider” – a player who is most effective on the perimeter making athletic plays and being long. Amendola is the exact opposite. If Cromartie does shadow the super slot man, Amendola will turn it into his game – not Cromartie’s. If Cromartie doesn’t shadow Amendola, the other Jets corners simply aren’t good enough to hang with him. In PPR, he’s an absolute no-brainer.
WR – Marques Colston, NO (at OAK) – There might be 800+ passing yards in this game. Neither of these teams can stop the pass (and in the Saints’ case, they can’t stop the run either). Lean towards getting the passing game players in this matchup into your lineups this week.
WR – Mike Wallace, PIT (vs BAL) – Just a reminder to not totally forget about him. Byron Leftwich plays slow, delivers slow, but throws long. Baltimore will no doubt be leaning forward for the run.
TE – Dwayne Allen, IND (at NE) - I was going to repeat last week’s call of Greg Olsen here (vs TB), and I also thought of repeating the “TE against Denver” line of thinking (Antonio Gates). But if you have those guys, you’re likely starting them without another choice. Allen is a little deeper of a dig, but New England is allowing the 3rd-most fantasy points to tight ends. And fellow-rookie TE Coby Fleener is still out with an injury.
QB – Philip Rivers, SD (at DEN) – Rivers had a nice fantasy day last week, although his mind-numbingly stupid decision on the game-clinching pick-six by Tampa Bay more than tainted his real game performance. Champ Bailey and company should hold Rivers in check. And I actually think San Diego keeps this one manageable, limiting garbage time production.
RB – Frank Gore, SF (vs CHI) – The Bears defense should be extra fired up for this game in an effort to pick up slack for the offense being without Jay Cutler. Gore is beginning to get some small injuries, and the team will need to keep him strong long past Week 17. Temper expectations.
RB – BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN (vs NYG) – I see the Giants doing everything the opposite of last week, and they were absolutely gashed by Isaac Redman and Pittsburgh. They should also control this game and limit the Law Firm’s chances.
WR – Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (at ATL) – it’s always tough to bench a stud, so perhaps sitting Fitzy out is a bit extreme. But Atlanta’s pass defense has been very stout all year long, and the whole “West Coast team being sluggish for a 1PM start” notion sticks with me.
TE – Vernon Davis, SF (vs CHI) – If Davis’ owners haven’t lost patience in him yet, they’re far better men or women than me. Cover-2 schemes are susceptible to being gashed by the tight end, but the Bears have done a nice job this season (8th-fewest fantasy points to TEs).
I Wanna FLEX You Up
Green Light (when in doubt…)
Marcel Reece – rushing or receiving, New Orleans doesn’t provide a ton of resistance
DeSean Jackson – if he’s your WR3/FLEX, I feel better about your team than if he’s your WR2
Torrey Smith – no Troy Polamalu, likely no Ryan Clark, and Smith has done well against the Steelers
Lance Moore – same logic as Colston above
Daniel Thomas – the now-preferred side of a committee facing the worst run D in the league
Yellow Light (only if there’s no one else)
Brandon LaFell – Tampa allowing 345 yds and 3.0 TDs per game over the last four weeks
Rashad Jennings – good chance he has more receiving yards than rushing while playing catch-up all game long
Josh Gordon – Dallas has a pair of very tough CBs, but his skill set tells you he only needs one play
Vick Ballard – New England rush defense not nearly as beatable as their pass defense; Donald Brown healthy too
Joique Bell – if you’re of the mind that Green Bay gets ahead early and stays there
Michael Crabtree – Peanut Tillman awaits, but Crabtree has performed very well of late (including his last MNF game)
Red Light (very deep league or very bad roster)
Jacquizz Rodgers – in case the Falcons finally realize that there’s no tread left on the Turner tires
Andre Roberts – if I’m debating sitting Fitzgerald above, Roberts shouldn’t be anywhere near a lineup
Justin Forsett – for all the Ben Tate drafters reading this
Mohamed Sanu – look for Cincy to expand his role against a meager KC team but still not a preferred option every down