12/7/09 -- Dear Diary,
You are now entering a Tiger Woods-free zone. Here are this week's starts.
Donovan McNabb -- I'm still not sure how the Giants won last week despite giving up nearly 400 passing yards. They've allowed 17 passing TDs over the last seven games, including three to McNabb in their first meeting.
Ben Roethlisberger -- Big Ben showed no ill effects from his concussion against the Raiders, and in a must-win situation, there are few teams better to play than the Browns. Reminder: Roethlisberger hung 417 yards on Cleveland in the first matchup.
Matt Schaub -- For a guy whose toughness had been questioned, Schaub's grit last week was admirable. Now if only they let him throw in the red zone instead of Chris Brown, whose throw made his running look effective by comparison. Schaub will have his way with a Seahawks defense that's allowed at least two passing TDs in eight of their last 10.
Vince Young -- V.Y. played better than I expected against the Colts, and he should start another winning streak with St. Louis on tap. Chris Johnson will have plenty of room to run, but expect Young to post solid numbers even though he won't be playing from behind. He has 628 passing yards in the last two games and at least one TD in each start.
Joseph Addai -- Every time I start to write him off he bounces back. After two more TDs, Addai has 12 total scores on the year. The Broncos started strong against the run but have allowed five TDs to opposing RBs in the past four games.
Jamaal Charles -- He's now scored a TD in four straight games, and a matchup with a Bills defense allowing the most points to fantasy RBs bodes well for a fifth. He's also set up nicely with the Browns coming up in Week 15.
Fred Jackson -- Perry Fewell seems like an honest guy and clearly has a cool name, so I'm taking his word that F-Jax remains the featured back after last Thursday's stinker. If he gets a full workload, Jackson should find plenty of holes against the Chiefs.
Laurence Maroney -- His TD streak ended at six games against the Dolphins, but he still led the Pats with 13 carries. Bill Belichick's RB rotation is always unpredictable, but I'll give him a shot against a Carolina D that has struggled against the run.
Rashard Mendenhall -- There are few statistical measures where the Browns top the league. One of them, though, is total TDs allowed to opposing RBs.
Thomas Jones -- The Bucs have given up at least one rushing TD in seven of their last eight. Jones has 100 rushing yards or a TD in nine straight. Draw your own conclusion.
Davone Bess -- Will he repeat last week's 10-catch, 117-yard performance? Unlikely. However, he's averaging 5.8 receptions and 68.4 yards over his last five. Expect solid PPR numbers against Jacksonville's porous pass defense that has allowed at least one TD to an opposing WR in 11 of 12 games.
Jerricho Cotchery -- The Bucs pass defense has been suspect, but I can't recommend Braylon Edwards after trying to catch a pass with his facemask. That leaves Cotchery, who has at least 68 yards in four of five.
Derrick Mason -- Detroit allows the second-most points to fantasy wideouts, and you've seen the other Baltimore wideouts, right?
Robert Meachem -- With at least one TD in five straight games, you've got to ride the hot hand. If that doesn't convince you, how about a Falcons pass defense that has allowed six different WRs to rack up at least 64 yards the last three games?
Chad Ochocinco -- The Vikings have given up receiving yards against teams with above-average passing offenses/WRs. Ocho had his best game since Week Seven and enters this one with momentum. I think he gets loose for at least one big play.
Terrell Owens -- As expected, Darrelle Revis had his way with T.O., but he should be able to bounce back against Kansas City's weak secondary.
Mike Wallace -- Santonio Holmes is an obvious choice, but if Hines Ward sits, expect two things: 1) Ben Roethlisberger to question Ward's toughness and 2) Wallace to have a solid game.
Brent Celek -- Jason Witten and the Cowboys provided a blueprint on how to exploit the Giants using the TE. Celek had four catches, 61 yards, and a score in the first matchup.
Vernon Davis -- I thought Mike Martz was gone as the 49ers offensive coordinator? San Fran has attempted 86 passes in the last two games, and Davis' career year continues with 18 catches, 288 yards, and three scores in the last three contests.
Until tomorrow, diary ...
12/8/09 -- Dear Diary,
I'm taking a break from the Jermichael Finley shrine I started building in my front yard. Here are this week's sits.
Jay Cutler -- Last week's game plan tells you all you need to know about what the Bears think of Cutler this year. Against a horrible pass defense, they attempted 17 throws and stuck with an unimpressive running game. Follow their lead.
Matt Hasselbeck -- He's averaging 177 yards over the past three games with two TDs and two turnovers. If there's a reason to start him, I'm unaware of it.
Eli Manning -- The two TDs against Dallas end up looking decent, but he completed 44.0 percent of his passes and needed a 74-yard TD from Brandon Jacobs to break 200 yards. The Eagles have allowed just two QBs to surpass 240 yards in their last 10 games and have 14 picks in their last nine.
Carson Palmer -- Throw out his five-TD game against the Bears and Palmer owns a 59.2 completion percentage to go with 11 scores and 10 interceptions. I know the Vikings looked vulnerable last week, but I don't see Palmer being able to take advantage.
Alex Smith -- At some point the complete abandonment of the running game is going to hurt the 49ers. Outside of a late garbage TD, the Cardinals did an excellent job against Minnesota's potent passing game. Smith's story is a good one, but I'm not trusting him with my fantasy future.
Cedric Benson -- I understand you probably don't have better options. However, the Vikings haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher all year and have surrendered three rushing scores. Benson is also coming off of a hip injury and subsequent 36-carry performance against Detroit which saw him average just 3.1 yards per carry.
Matt Forte -- Long-suffering Forte owners enjoyed a decent game last week, but don't expect a repeat performance. The Packers have allowed just one opposing RB to gain over 61 rushing yards in their last nine games. That was Adrian Peterson, who has been just a tad more successful this season.
Frank Gore -- Again, you likely don't have anyone better, but since the 49ers turned into Texas Tech, Gore has 32 carries in the past three games and hasn't broken 70 total yards. 15 receptions and two receiving scores have salvaged his value, and you have to start him in PPR leagues. In standard leagues though, the lack of touches is frightening entering the playoff run.
Jerome Harrison -- A pair of receiving TDs and 62 receiving yards propelled Harrison to the top of the waiver wire, but you need to be able to count on your running backs to...you know, run the ball. Harrison is averaging a pedestrian 3.6 YPC, which is likely to decrease against Pittsburgh's top-ranked run defense.
Brandon Jacobs -- Jacobs owners were finally rewarded with two TDs, but he still averaged 3.0 YPC. And a 74-yard TD reception? You'll never see that from the big fella again, and the Eagles have been adept at shutting down opposing RBs most of the year.
Kevin Smith -- A late garbage-time TD topped off a decent day from Smith. He still hasn't rushed for more than 75 yards since Week Three, though, and faces a Ravens D limiting opponents to 3.5 YPC, the best figure in the league.
Antonio Bryant -- He's facing Darrelle Revis. That is all.
Chris Chambers -- I think the one-catch guy we saw last week is the real Chambers. Buffalo's performance against opposing WRs has fallen off the past couple weeks, but not enough for me to expect a big game from Chambers.
Braylon Edwards -- The human blooper reel has more than three receptions once in the past seven games, so even with a decent matchup, I don't trust him.
Devin Hester -- Charles Woodson is playing as well as anyone in the league right now, and Hester intends to play after injuring his calf last week. I don't even like him on two good legs.
Brandon Marshall -- I'm not sure how the Colts are doing it with a pair of rookie corners, but they've allowed just three TDs to non-Patriots wideouts. Call me crazy, but I don't think Kyle Orton will be able to exploit their youth.
Mike Sims-Walker -- Maybe it's my own anger talking, but the five catches and 58 yards in two games are worth noting. David Garrard has struggled to get the ball down the field, and Torry Holt isn't scaring anyone, which leaves MSW doubled more often than not.
Devin Thomas -- His increased involvement in the offense culminated with a 100-yard, two-TD effort against the Saints. Maybe Thomas flipped the switch, but he'll see at least some of Nnamdi Asomugha, and had 16 catches and 167 yards heading into last week.
Fred Davis -- He's scored in two straight games, but the Raiders have yet to allow an opposing tight end to score.
Kellen Winslow -- The Jets have not allowed a TE to gain over 62 yards this season, and they have allowed fewer than 45 yards in 10 of their 12 contests.