The Lions have consistently been one of the worst teams in fantasy against RBs, so start both Pats backs with confidence. Welker finally made an impact post-Moss, even though Branch is taking a lot of the targets Welker used to get. The Patriots should put plenty of points on a suspect defensive team, making the kicker a nice sleeper.
Lions WR Calvin Johnson, TE Brandon Pettigrew, WR Nate Burleson, QB Shaun Hill
The Patriots are one of the few division leaders that is a bottom-10 team against QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs. They are a decent defense, but they give up points in fantasy. That makes Hill a sleeper starter right now. He has had some big games. Pettigrew's status is upgraded with the injury to his backup.
SIT Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez, TE Rob Gronkowski, D/ST, WR Brandon Tate, RB Sammy Morris, WR Julian Edelman
If the Lions do anything well, it is limit TEs. They are fourth-best in fantasy against the position and while Hernandez and Gronkowski are nice young targets, they split time and don't get a consistent number of opportunities. You're likely better off with a veteran who gets the majority of snaps. The defense just hasn't been a top-12 option for most of the season and you should expect the Lions to be throwing from behind and getting garbage-time numbers.
Lions RB Maurice Morris, K John Hanson, D/ST, WR Bryant Johnson
Morris could get the start at RB, but even this matchup isn't intriguing enough to trust him in fantasy lineups. The defense is a flat-out bad play, despite some decent scoring games.
INJURY WATCH Patriots RB Fred Taylor (toe) -- You haven't considered him in months. There is no good reason to start now.
Lions RB Jahvid Best (toe), TE Tony Scheffler (ribs) -- They could play but they figure to be too limited on the short week to be useful in lineups. Sit them.
Brees, Colston and Meachem woke up last week, making them all strong plays going forward and putting the Saints' other weapons on the backburner. Hartley and the D/ST should be solid plays in what should be a high-scoring game filled with Dallas turnovers.
Cowboys WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten, RB Marion Barber, WR Roy Williams, WR Dez Bryant, QB Jon Kitna
The Dallas offense has looked rejuvenated since the head coaching change, which makes many of the Cowboys intriguing fantasy options. The yards weren't there for the QBs and WRs last week, but the scores were. Expect another shootout and plenty of numbers again. The surprise here is Barber. He is a viable option this week again as the Cowboys try to establish the run and their more explosive RB is a bit banged up.
SIT Saints RB Chris Ivory WR Devery Henderson, WR Lance Moore, RB Julius Jones, TE Jimmy Graham
Ivory looked like the man last week, but the likely return of Reggie Bush should muddle his status enough to keep him out of most starting lineups. The Cowboys are decent against the run, particularly of late. Henderson, Moore and Graham have had their moments, but if last week was an indication of the breakthrough of the Saints offense, they will be circumstantial weapons and not trustworthy weekly starters.
Cowboys D/ST, K David Buehler, RB Tashard Choice
The D/ST has scored some points via turnovers and returns of late, but a top contender like the Saints aren't going to make those mistakes on offense and special teams. Choice could finally make an impact in a short week, but there are likely too many better options available to you to use him.
INJURY WATCH Saints RB Pierre Thomas (ankle), RB Reggie Bush (leg), TE Jeremy Shockey, RB Ladell Betts (head) -- Thomas and Betts likely won't play. Bush and Shockey likely will, but you are best off avoiding them if possible this week.
Cowboys RB Felix Jones (hip) -- He is questionable to play, much less star. If he plays, use him at your own risk. His time to light it up was last week and he didn't come through.
The Jets are so geared to stop the run, it has made them a bit of a bottom-half team against QBs and WRs. Palmer isn't playing well this season, but he has enough weapons to prove useful in fantasy. Owens has been a star and Ochocinco has been better after a slow start. Consider them solid plays even against a great Jets defense.
Jets D/ST, RB LaDainian Tomlinson, RB Shonn Greene, QB Mark Sanchez, TE Dustin Keller, WR Santonio Holmes, WR Braylon Edwards, K Nick Folk
We see very little reason to sit any of your Jets this week. Unlike most teams, they have a time-share at RB that can handle the short week. Although Greene is taking the bulk of the carries now, Tomlinson is still the scoring threat. That Bengals defense was pitiful against a far inferior Bills team last Sunday. Keller has been pretty quiet, but this should be such a good week for the Jets, there should be plenty of red-zone chances for the TE to pick up a score.
SIT Bengals RB Cedric Benson, D/ST, TE Jermaine Gresham, K Aaron Pettrey, RB Bernard Scott
Benson finally had the week we were waiting for, but it will cost him on the short turnaround here. He had a large workload and the Jets are easily an elite run defense that will take him away for fantasy owners. The Bills put up 49 points on the Bengals last week, so cut this defense if you haven't already.
These are some pretty obvious options, but this week should present a much tougher task than the past few have for the Packers. They are facing a top contender on the road and shouldn't be able to run this score up easily. Driver and Jones are the wild cards. They are basically splitting time and sharing the receptions that don't go to Jennings, but the Falcons have played like a bottom-10 team against QBs and WRs in fantasy. The Falcons also won't let this game get out of hand -- or allow much on the ground -- so it should be a busy day for the passing game.
Falcons RB Michael Turner, WR Roddy White, TE Tony Gonzalez, Matt Ryan, K Matt Bryant
This isn't a great matchup for the Falcons, but most of these guys are better than your alternatives. Keep them active in what should be one of the most entertaining games of the week. An overtime might even have to decide this one if a late pass-happy touchdown drive does not.
SIT Packers RB Brandon Jackson, RB John Kuhn, TE Donald Lee, TE Andrew Quarless
The Packers are one of the best offenses in the NFL, so the Falcons D/ST is not a play of choice this week. It is difficult to really like any of the primary guys, much less these secondary options.
INJURY WATCH Packers None.
The Titans are 0-2 with Moss, but it could hardly be considered his fault. Bad QB play and criticized play-calling have him with just one catch. If the Titans cannot get Moss going against the awful Texans pass defense, forget it. Moss should have his best week of the season, regardless who his QB is. It doesn't take much precision to connect deep with him. Even Scaife should get in on the action this week, making him a potential sleeper if you need a fill-in.
Texans WR Andre Johnson, RB Arian Foster, QB Matt Schaub, K Neil Rackers
The Titans haven't played as well against two seemingly subpar offenses lately. This is a great Texans attack that can beat anyone. Keep these primaries active.
SIT Titans QB Rusty Smith, RB Javon Ringer, WR Justin Gage
While we love the matchup for the Titans' passing game, you just cannot know what to expect from the strong-armed Smith. Ringer isn't getting much time and we doubt this potential shootout gets him any garbage-time carries.
Texans TE Joel Dreessen, WR David Anderson, WR Kevin Walter, RB Derrick Ward, RB Steve Slaton, D/ST, WR Jacoby Jones
Dreessen is a darling sleeper of late and the Titans are sixth-worst in fantasy vs. TEs, but the status of the regular starter could affect his inclusion in the game plan. Anderson and Walter have also make some waves from time to time, but this Titans defense is good enough to limit these guys from making a significant impact this week, particularly in a pivotal division game.
INJURY WATCH Titans WR Kenny Britt (hamstring), Kerry Collins (calf) -- They figure to be out a few more weeks.
Texans TE Owen Daniels (hamstring) -- He is a nice sleeper if he plays, because the Titans are a bottom-10 team in fantasy vs. TEs. He just isn't 100 percent right now.
Rice and Harvin still are not 100 percent, but they are getting the second-worst team in fantasy against WRs in the Redskins. It is a good time to expect a productive game from each of them. The D/ST and kicker were abysmal last Sunday, but expect the coaching change will do the same thing to the Minnesota offense as it did for Dallas.
Redskins WR Santana Moss, TE Chris Cooley
You cannot be impressed with the Vikings defense, but they are much better than they have played over a tough, tough schedule. Moss and Cooley are the only real Redskins you should trust this week.
SIT Vikings QB Brett Favre, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, WR Greg Camarillo, WR Greg Lewis, RB Toby Gerhart
You have to be sick of Favre and Shiancoe by now, even if this matchup looks very favorable. You have to let these bit players in the Minnesota offense sit idle, too.
Redskins RB Keiland Williams, QB Donovan McNabb, TE Fred Davis, D/ST, WR Anthony Armstrong, WR Joey Galloway, K Graham Gono, RB Chad Simpson
Yes, Williams is the unquestioned starter, but the Vikings still boast one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL. You will have to hope for some checkdown passes to Williams for him to be worthwhile, so in a PPR league he may be a good play. McNabb is a bit too inconsistent and these other bit players are not great options now that bye weeks are long past us.
INJURY WATCH Vikings WR Bernard Berrian (groin) -- He is a game-time decision, but it is an easy decision to ignore him in fantasy.
Redskins RB Clinton Portis (groin), RB Ryan Torain (hamstring) -- It doesn't look like they will play this week. Avoid them.
This is sleeperville. The Jaguars are among the most suspect defenses in fantasy against QBs (fourth-worst), RB (11th-worst), WR (third-worst), TE (ninth-worst) and D/STs (10th-worst). The Giants have also lost back-to-back games and are due for a rebound at home. This could be a blowout. Even Jacobs should be getting more of the pie. The running game will be the focal point of an offense that is missing its top WRs and Jacobs should be getting the grind-out late carries because of Bradshaw's hideous fumble-itis. Manning will be using Manningham, Boss and even Hagan quite exclusively when they do pass.
SIT Jaguars QB David Garrard, RB Rashad Jennings, WR Mike Thomas, K Josh Scobee
Consider Garrard's surprising reign of terror over. The Giants made like difficult for the unstoppable Vick last week, so slowing Garrard should be more like child's play. Thomas is an intriguing target, but save for a TD last week, he wasn't going to be productive. You shouldn't be surprised to see the Giants not allow a scoring pass this week.
Giants WR Duke Calhoun, WR Michael Clayton, TE Travis Beckum, RB Danny Ware
Clayton makes the headlines this week because he was picked up off the street, but Calhoun is the better option if you want to take a chance on a No. 3 WR here. He is a speedy, tall receiver who made some big plays in the preseason and he knows the Giants offense a lot better than Clayton right now. Beckum has been a factor with Boss' back acting up, but you should expect Boss to get the bulk of the duty in the passing game, with Beckum more of a changeup for the banged up receivers.
INJURY WATCH Jaguars WR Mike Sims-Walker (ankle) -- He has a "multi-week" injury that makes him a must-sit. He has been a huge disappointment anyway.
Giants WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), WR Steve Smith (pectoral) -- They have already been ruled out this week, and perhaps next.
This should be another very bountiful week for all of the Steelers. Start anyone you can get your hands on. It might be a slow week for Big Ben, because the Bills are so bad against RBs -- fourth-worst in fantasy -- but you shouldn't dare sit him in this one. Miller is the best sleeper off the waiver wire, since the Bills are second-worst in fantasy vs. TEs.
Bills WR Steve Johnson, WR Lee Evans
Johnson is one of the breakthrough players of the year and should remain active even against the Steelers. This one will be over with early and the Bills will have to throw their way out of a huge hole. The running game will be useless against the Steelers' front seven anyway. Johnson and Evans should get some garbage-time catches and yards, albeit likely held out of the end zone.
SIT Steelers WR Antwaan Randle El, RB Mewelde Moore, RB Isaac Redman, WR Emmanuel Sanders
The backup RBs could be getting a lot of garbage-time numbers, but they are not sure things. Randle El and Sanders are circumstantial options in the receiving game, but it should be a big week for the Steelers' primary guys, leaving just scraps for them.
Bills RB Fred Jackson, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, TE David Martin, K Rian Lindell, D/ST
Jackson had a huge week and Fitzpatrick is coming off another big performance, and it?s tough to sit somebody that hot. The Steelers defense notoriously has a way of making everything look awful all over again, so if you have another viable option then go ahead and sit Jackson.
INJURY WATCH Steelers None.
Bills RB C.J. Spiller (hamstring) -- Even if he was healthy and playing up to his preseason potential, you wouldn't dare use him against the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL.
The Browns have allowed the fewest TDs to RBs in fantasy, surprisingly, but they are giving up plenty of yards and Goodson has had back-to-back 100-yard games in place of Jonathan Stewart, who could return but won't be 100 percent. Smith and Gettis are plagued by bad QB play, but you should fully expect the Panthers to be playing from behind and allowing some garbage-time numbers against a Browns team that is in the bottom 10 in fantasy against QBs, WRs and TEs.
Browns RB Peyton Hillis, TE Ben Watson
Hillis is an all-around threat who has to remain active in all matchups and this is a very good one. Watson is the surprise guy to keep running out there despite going without a catch a week ago. The Browns' uncertainty at QB will make the short passing game a large part of the game plan, which should mean a rebound for Watson. It helps the Panthers are third-worst in fantasy against TEs.
The Panthers are such a bad offense, it actually helps their defense prove fairly effective against the pass. There are often short fields to work with and leads to sit on by grinding out the clock on the ground. Oh, and the Browns QB situation is one-big (actually three-big) pain in the ankle.
INJURY WATCH Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (concussion), QB Jimmy Claussen (concussion), WR Brandon LaFell (concussion) -- Headaches, all. And that was true when they were healthy. Avoid them, regardless of their status.
Browns QB Colt McCoy (ankle), QB Jake Delhomme (ankle), QB Seneca Wallace (ankle), WR Josh Cribbs (toes) -- There is just something about the ankles of the Browns QBs. Delhomme is ready to start if McCoy isn't. The uncertainty makes them all impossible to use. Cribbs is merely a special teamer, but the D/ST looks like a strong play regardless.
The Seahawks are a decidedly better team at home, but they are also a bottom-10 team in fantasy against QBs, RBs and WRs. Cassel is more of a sleeper than a must-start, though. Charles, Jones and Bowe should all find the end zone in what should be a sneaky entertaining game of division leaders that could go down to the wire.
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, RB Justin Forsett
The Chiefs have given up just five rushing TDs to RBs, but the Seahawks offense is reliant on the running game and the game plan should feature both of these backs heavily. They are best used as flex options in your fantasy lineup, though.
SIT Chiefs K Ryan Succop, D/ST, WR Chris Chambers
The Chiefs are in the bottom half in fantasy against QBs, RBs and WRs, but the Seahawks have some banged up targets and Hasselbeck has been a bit too inconsistent to trust as a regular fantasy starter. Butler is intriguing as a sleeper if Mike Williams (foot) doesn't play, but there is uncertainty there. Carlson has the least favorable matchup of the bunch, since the Chiefs are a top-five team in fantasy vs. TEs.
INJURY WATCH Chiefs TE Tony Moeaki (concussion), WR/RB Dexter McCluster (ankle) -- The rookies are too questionable to use, or perhaps even own at this point.
Seahawks WR Mike Williams (foot), WR Golden Tate (ankle), WR Brandon Stokley (calf) -- They are too big of question marks to trust right now.
Brown and Williams were mysteriously underutilized in Week 11 against the Bears, perhaps because of the short week and workload in Week 10. Well, it will be a heavy, heavy dose of them in Oakland with the extra rest and coming off some light work. The Raiders are seventh-worst in fantasy against RBs. Bess is interesting because of the bad hammy of Brandon Marshall.
Raiders RB Darren McFadden, K Sabastian Janikowski, TE Zach Miller
The Raiders are coming off a tough, tough matchup at Pittsburgh, but this one should be a much better matchup to use this trio, regardless who plays QB. McFadden should be featured heavily and a banged up Miller is still the No. 1 target in the passing game.
SIT Dolphins D/ST, K Dan Carpenter, QB Tyler Thigpen, TE Anthony Fasano, WR Brian Hartline
The Raiders aren't an especially great offense, but the Dolphins D/ST just hasn't been good enough to use most weeks -- although they have been much better on the road. Thigpen should be better with more time to prepare, but he isn't good enough to lift the bit players in this offense.
Raiders RB Michael Bush, WR Louis Murphy, D/ST, QB Jason Campbell, QB Bruce Gradkowski
Campbell should be the QB despite being benched in the second half last Sunday. He won't be promising enough against a bend-but-don't break Dolphins defense that has played very well on the road this season.
INJURY WATCH Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall (hamstring), QB Chad Henne (knee) -- Marshall's hammy looks like a serious issue, despite the few extra days of rest after that Thursday game in Week 11. We wouldn't trust him with Henne expected out again.
Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee) -- They are not expected to play. They shouldn't be owned anyway.
The Eagles are a bottom-half team in fantasy against QBs and RBs and one of the worst against TEs. That makes these pieces useful, especially because the Bears figure to have to keep up with a potent offense in what could become a bit of a shootout.
SIT Eagles TE Brent Celek, RB Jerome Harrison
Celek remains absent in the Vick-led attack. Consider him hardly worth owning. Harrison will only be a factor in weeks where there is garbage-time to be had. We don't see it this week.
Bears D/ST, WR Johnny Knox, WR Devin Hester, WR Earl Bennett, WR Devin Aromashodu, RB Chester Taylor
The Eagles are not only a potent offense, but they just don't turn the ball over. That makes it tough to use what has been a good Bears defense. The Eagles are also a top-five team in fantasy against WRs. It is not like you know which Bears WR will be the primary target anyway.
INJURY WATCH Eagles None.
The Bucs are suspect in fantasy vs. RBs (seventh-worst) and the Ravens figure to dominate on defense and give a heavy dose of ball-control. That makes McGahee a nice sleeper in deeper leagues. The Bucs have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, but Flacco should be able to find Boldin and Heap in a rhythm passing game.
SIT Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Kellen Winslow, WR Mike Williams, RB Cadillac Williams, QB Josh Freeman, D/ST, WR Michael Spurlock, WR Arrelious Benn, K Conner Barth
Blount has been a pleasant surprise, along with Mike Williams and Freeman, but the Ravens are a rugged defense that will be tough to beat with safety Ed Reed healthy now. Blount looks headed for 20 carries for 50 yards and no scores. Freeman has avoided mistakes, but this defense knows how to make life a nightmare for QBs.
Ravens WR Derrick Mason, WR T.J. Houshmanzadeh, RB LeRon McClain, WR Donte' Stallworth
Mason and Housh have had some good moments, but let's go with the numbers here that suggest the Bucs are tough to work passing lanes against. McClain could be more of a factor this week than most, but Rice and McGahee will get the bulk of the duty between the 20s and short-yardage situations.
INJURY WATCH Bucs RB Earnest Graham (hamstring), WR Sammie Stroughter (foot) -- You wouldn't consider them against the Ravens even when healthy.
While it is tough to be a big fan of the Rams offense, Bradford has been pretty solid and the Broncos have been suspect against QBs and RBs. Denver has been the worst team in fantasy vs. RBs, in fact. It should be a huge week for Jackson and perhaps even an opportunity to consider his backup, Darby, if you need a fill-in. Amendola is looking pretty solid as the No. 1 target in the passing game now, too.
Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd, Knowshon Moreno, QB Kyle Orton
Lloyd and Moreno are healthy again and Orton remains a threat for 5,000 passing yards. Keep them active in a game that could liven up a struggling team. Denver is famously a much better team at home and the Rams are more solid than spectacular.
SIT Rams D/ST, K Josh Brown, TE Daniel Fells, WR Brandon Gibson, WR Laurent Robinson, WR Marty Gilyard
The Rams have a decent defense, but the pass-happy Broncos should be able to move the ball, especially at home. Gibson and Robinson could be factors if this becomes a shootout, but the Rams' reliance on the run makes it more likely they use the pass as a change of pace instead of a focal point.
Broncos D/ST, TE Daniel Graham, RB Correll Buckhalter, Laurence Maroney, WR Jabar Gaffney, K Matt Prater
The Broncos were abused Monday night and will be on a short week that will make it difficult to consider their fringe options. You shouldn't own any of these bit players anyway at this point.
INJURY WATCH Rams WR Denario Alexander (knee) -- The rookie should return, but you have to doubt he will much of the game plan.
Broncos WR Eddie Royal (hamstring), WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle) -- Thomas is out, while Royal is a bad play with a bad hammy and a short week after a Monday night game.
Tolbert is a bowling ball rolling in the right direction right now and will be integral in the offense that has its top receivers ailing. Figure Rivers will turn water into wine like he always does, which could mean another surprise week for Ajirotutu. He is a great start if Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd are ruled out. The problem is that news might not come down until too late. For owners who have been camping on Vincent Jackson all season, plug him in.
Colts QB Peyton Manning, WR Reggie Wayne, K Adam Vinatieri, TE Jacob Tamme, WR Blair White
Like Rivers, Manning is so good, he makes no-name receivers fantasy stars week to week, depending on injuries. The Colts are banged up still, so expect Tamme and White to remain threats while teams try to clamp down on Wayne. The Chargers have a very good defense, but no defense is a match for Manning, especially coming off a big loss.
SIT Chargers D/ST, RB Darren Sproles
The Chargers defense is one of the best in the NFL, but the problem this week is the Colts are the absolute best in fantasy vs. D/STs. Manning might throw some picks -- he once threw six against the Chargers -- but you are better off avoiding having him put up points against you this week.
Colts WR Pierre Garcon, RB Donald Brown, D/ST, RB Javarris James
The Chargers are too potent to consider using the Colts defense, even if the Chargers have allowed the third-most points to D/STs in fantasy. Most of that comes on returns, which have slowed in recent weeks and the Colts don't have great return men. Garcon and Brown could be impact players in other weeks, but a solid defense makes them less intriguing. James is merely a goal-line runner but the Chargers don't figure to be real forgiving against the run this week.
INJURY WATCH Chargers Antonio Gates (foot), Malcom Floyd (hamstring), WR Patrick Crayton (wrist), Ryan Mathews (ankle), Legedu Naanee (hamstring) -- The guess here is Gates and Floyd will play, while Crayton and Mathews will not. Don't concern yourself with Naanee. The status of Gates and Floyd might not be apparently before lineups lock Sunday, so consider the tricky night game a good reason to find replacements sooner than later.
Colts RB Joseph Addai (neck), WR Austin Collie (concussion), RB Mike Hart (ankle) -- They all appear unlikely to play at this point. Find alternatives now, because the Sunday night game will be too late to replace them.
The offense should be much better with the switch back to Troy Smith and against a Cardinals defense that has been vulnerable. Arizona is a bottom-half team in fantasy vs. QBs (10th-worst), RBs (second-worst), WRs (eighth-worst) and TEs (12th-worst). Expect Crabtree and Davis to play better with this QB, too. Gore will be the player of the week -- helping your fantasy team to rally on Monday night.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Steve Breaston, RB Beanie Wells
Derek Anderson has been much better of late, perhaps because Fitzgerald and Breaston are healthier after injury-plagued starts to the season. Wells is healthier, too. Use all these three -- and only these three -- this week.
SIT 49ers QB Troy Smith, RB Anthony Dixon, WR Josh Morgan, WR Ted Ginn, RB Brian Westbrook, QB Alex Smith
Smith should make the offense a bit more potent, but he is not close to the class of player to make these fringe guys worth considering in any formats this week.
Cardinals RB Tim Hightower, QB Derek Anderson, D/ST, WR Stephen Williams, K Jay Feeley, TE Ben Patrick
Anderson isn't quite in the class of QB you can trust, even if he has shown signs of improvement. Wells' health figures to make the Cardinals more of a ball-control team -- particularly in this last-gasp divisional matchup. Hightower has lost his starting job, so don't consider him viable unless Wells is beat up again.
INJURY WATCH 49ers K Joe Nedney (knee) -- He can be ignored.
Cardinals WR Early Doucet (concussion), RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring), RB Jason Wright (concussion) -- They are not owned and can be ignored.
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