Blount and Williams have favorable matchups against a Redskins defense ranked eighth-worst against RBs and sixth-worst against WRs. The Bucs D/ST is a bit under-owned, and this a nice matchup -- a mistake-prone McNabb has made the Redskins a team to take advantage of with D/STs (sixth-worst).
Redskins WR Santana Moss, TE Chris Cooley
Cooley has been held out of the end zone lately, but he and Moss are too important to McNabb and the pass-happy Redskins to consider them real sits this week.
SIT Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow, QB Josh Freeman, RB Cadillac Williams, WR Michael Spurlock, WR Arrelious Benn, K Conner Barth, RB Earnest Graham, WR Sammie Stroughter
Winslow laid an egg last week and is too erratic to trust in crucial postseason weeks where fewer teams are vying for the waiver options. Freeman is a potential sleeper, but the Bucs might just grind this one out on the ground, leaving fewer chances for the secondary receivers.
Redskins RB Keiland Williams, QB Donovan McNabb, TE Fred Davis, D/ST, WR Anthony Armstrong, WR Joey Galloway, K Graham Gono, RB James Davis, RB Roydell Williams, RB Chad Simpson
The Redskins figure to have a logjam at RB, which makes all of their options at that position tricky this week. McNabb is a decent play, but the Bucs have been good enough against QBs (top 10 against them) to make you look at other options. Armstrong is coming off a productive week, but he is not a regular option for fantasy owners, much like all of these Redskins.
INJURY WATCH Buccaneers None.
Redskins RB Ryan Torain (hamstring) -- He might play but he will be difficult to trust before he proves healthy.
The Bills are third-worst in fantasy against RBs and Hillis is the epitome of the "Dance-with-the-one-who-brought-you" philosophy. Also, the Bills are second-worst in fantasy vs. TEs and last week Watson torched a Dolphins team that had been great against that position. Watson will be a featured part of the offense, no matter who the QB is.
You shouldn't touch the backs against the Browns, who are tops in fantasy with the fewest TDs allowed to RBs. The only silver-lining there is the forecast calls for freezing temps and precipitation, awful news for offense and ball-handling. It could be a busy day on the ground, albeit not a productive one. The weather should lead you to find someone else to replace Johnson and Evans if you had been counting on those WRs.
INJURY WATCH Browns QB Colt McCoy (ankle) -- He has plenty more to prove before you're considering him in the fantasy postseason, even if healthy.
There really aren't any great options among Giants this week, but these are at least viable ones. The Vikings still have an elite run defense, but the Giants will work Jacobs and Bradshaw hard this week after their great performances last Sunday. Manningham gets to be the man one more week before the WRs really come back full force in Week 15. The defense will either take aim at an old QB or a sketchy backup.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, WR Sidney Rice, K Ryan Longwell, D/ST
Rice awoke last Sunday and looks like he belongs on the must-start list with these others. The D/ST has a specifically favorable matchup with the Giants' WRs still banged up and the Giants being so turnover prone.
SIT Giants QB Eli Manning, TE Kevin Boss, WR Derek Hagan, WR Michael Clayton, TE Travis Beckum, RB Danny Ware, WR Devin Thomas, WR Duke Calhoun
Manning has struggled mightily without his top targets and they won't be 100 percent even if they do play. Boss gets a tougher matchup, too, so don't expect him to be as productive as he has been. At least the passing game won't have to deal with the elements in the dome. You still shouldn't use any of these waiver options, though.
Vikings RB Toby Gerhart, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, WR Greg Camarillo
The Giants defense isn't a great one to try to take advantage of, making these all bad alternatives for you this week. Gerhart faces a Giants defense in the top 10 of fantasy against RBs.
INJURY WATCH Giants WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), WR Steve Smith (pectoral) -- They might both play, but they will be limited. Hopefully you have locked up a bye.
Vikings QB Brett Favre (shoulder), WR Percy Harvin (migraines), WR Bernard Berrian (groin) , WR Greg Lewis (concussion) -- You have to be long sick of relying on these guys by now.
There are some obviously easy starts against the vulnerable Lions defense, but Jackson and Starks are the surprises. Use them as the Packers run out the clock and protect a lead late. Jackson is a factor catching the ball out of the backfield, even if Starks is the garbage-time ball-carrier.
Lions WR Calvin Johnson, TE Brandon Pettigrew
You cannot like the Packers TEs much and the Lions actually have been most effective against that position, performing in the top 10. Jones and Nelson could be bit players if the Packers rest the veteran WRs, but it is not something to count on.
Lions RB Jahvid Best, RB Maurice Morris, RB Aaron Brown, WR Nate Burleson, QB Drew Stanton, K John Hanson, D/ST, WR Bryant Johnson, TE Tony Scheffler
The RB situation is muddled right now and the Packers just happen to be the fourth-best team against RBs. The matchup is tough and trusting Stanton in this matchup makes all of these guys worse.
INJURY WATCH Packers RB Korey Hall (knee), RB Dimtri Nance (concussion) -- Ignore them.
Lions QB Shaun Hill (finger), QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) -- They don't expect to play anytime soon, if at all before the end of the season.
The Raiders looked worthless against the Dolphins before they manhandled the Chargers, particularly in the running game. Now, they travel to Jacksonville, where they are bound to let you down. But they have earned the right to be used in fantasy crunch time. The Jags are more vulnerable through the air, but the Raiders will establish the run first with both RBs healthy now. The D/ST also gets a favorable matchup against the Jags, who are in the bottom 10 against D/STs.
Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew, TE Marcedes Lewis, K Josh Scobee
You likely don't own these guys and there is no reason to pick them up against a Jags defense that is at least improving, even if they are still one of the worst against QBs and WRs.
Jaguars WR Mike Thomas, RB Rashad Jennings, QB David Garrard, D/ST
The Raiders shut down Rivers last week, so you cannot like the prospects of these fringe options. The Jags D/ST isn't a go-to unit this, or really any, time of year.
INJURY WATCH Raiders None.
Jaguars WR Mike Sims-Walker (ankle) -- He could play, but there is little reason to expect anything out of him.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, definitely not delightful if you have Big Ben or a big piece of the Steelers passing game. But you should keep running Big Ben out there, along with Ward. The D/ST should expose an error-prone team and Mendenhall is going to be bigger this week than perhaps any this season. December is a great time to be a Mendenhall owner.
SIT Bengals RB Cedric Benson, QB Carson Palmer, D/ST, TE Jermaine Gresham, K Aaron Pettrey, RB Bernard Scott
Benson is coming off a two-TD performance amid a disappointing year, so now sit him in Week 1 of the fantasy playoffs. This is the Steelers defense and it is No. 1 in fantasy against RBs for a reason. Forget Palmer, the weak D/ST and any fringe Bengal you might have been considering.
Steelers K Shaun Suisham, WR Mike Wallace, WR Antwaan Randle-El, RB Mewelde Moore, RB Isaac Redman, WR Emmanuel Sanders
If this game is the blowout many expect, one of these players will make a big impact in fantasy. If you're a good fantasy team competing in your postseason, you likely haven't had to rely on any of them, though.
INJURY WATCH Bengals None.
Steelers TE Heath Miller (concussion), TE Matt Spaeth (concussion) -- Consider them out for fantasy purposes.
The Falcons defense is the start of the week as the Panthers are worst in fantasy vs. D/STs. Surprisingly, the Panthers are top five against QBs and WRs, but you shouldn't dare sit Matty Ice or White. Turner should be productive on the ground and Bryant should benefit with FGs against a team long out of contention.
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart
You can start him, but you shouldn't expect much. The Falcons have passed the Jets as the No. 2 team in fantasy vs. RBs. Stewart is all of the Panthers offense, though, and he is finally healthy and productive again.
SIT Falcons WR Michael Jenkins, WR Brian Finneran, WR Harry Douglas, TE Justin Peele, RB Ovie Mughelli
Jenkins and Mughelli scored circumstantial TDs last week, but they shouldn't be used -- even if you see this one as a blowout. The Panthers are actually fairly effective vs. WRs (third-best in fantasy), although that could be a function of so many teams running out the clock on them from the start of the game.
Panthers WR Steve Smith, WR David Gettis, QB Jimmy Claussen, D/ST, K John Kasay, TE Dante Rosario, WR David Clowney, WR Brandon LaFell
The offense has been a joke all season and there is no reason to see that stopping, even if Claussen is actually locked in as the starting QB now. There isn't anything worth considering here -- and you haven't if you are a contender this season.
INJURY WATCH Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez (ankle), RB Jason Snelling (hamstring) -- Use Gonzalez with confidence; ignore Snelling.
Panthers RB Mike Goodson (shoulder), RB Tyrell Sutton (ankle) -- Ignore them in all leagues with Stewart healthy and productive again.
If you follow this column weekly, you will know Lynch has been listed as a "start" almost every week since joined the Seahawks. He finally came through last week, so he will stay there even against a capable 49ers run defense.
49ers WR Michael Crabtree, TE Vernon Davis, RB Brian Westbrook
Westbrook had a quiet week in a tough matchup, but this should be a much better opportunity to use your waiver gem. The Seahawks are fifth-worst against RBs and Westbrook will be featured with another QB change. You had to like what Davis did a week ago and Crabtree should be buoyed by the other Smith under center.
Hasselbeck has options, but he really doesn't have any trustworthy ones. The 49ers are good enough against RBs to sit Forsett, who is more of a factor as a receiver than a runner now. Don't get caught buying into Butler, Stokley or Morrah, who had decent performances last Sunday.
49ers D/ST, QB Alex Smith, QB Troy Smith, RB Anthony Dixon, WR Josh Morgan, WR Ted Ginn, K Shane Andrus
The defense isn't quite one of the elite options to use during a crucial playoff week, even if that Seahawks matchup looks tantalizing. The QB change back to Alex could affect the whole team again. Coach Mike Singletary better know what he is doing. You cannot be sure enough that he does to use any of these guys.
INJURY WATCH Seahawks WR Mike Williams (foot), TE John Carlson (hip), WR Ben Obomanu (hand) -- These guys shouldn't be counted on in fantasy crunch time, even if they play.
49ers RB DeShawn Wynn (ankle), K Joe Nedney (knee), WR Kyle Williams (finger) -- They can be ignored.
The Saints aren't necessarily as bad now against the run as they were early this season, but Jackson remains too good to sit. Brown has been a FG machine and gets to kick on carpet this week, which is better than you can say for some of your bad-weather kickers this week.
Saints QB Drew Brees, WR Marques Colston, K Garrett Hartley, RB Chris Ivory
Meachem was the flavor of the week for the Saints, but it remains the same story in the passing game behind Colston: You never can tell who will come through. Trust anyone of these guys out of necessity but predicting which one will have the big week has been fantasy roulette. Bush is slowly working his way into the game plan, but he isn't yet productive enough to use.
INJURY WATCH Rams TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle) -- He is out.
Saints RB Pierre Thomas (ankle) -- He could play, but you are best off letting him prove healthy and productive first.
The Bears are one of the best defenses in the NFL, ranking in the top 10 against QBs (fourth), RBs (seventh), WRs (sixth) and TEs (eighth). It shouldn't stop you from using any of your Pats, though, if necessary. The real issue is the short week and the road game. Expect the passing game to do more damage than the running game.
Bears QB Jay Cutler, RB Matt Forte, K Robbie Gould TE Greg Olsen
This column suggested you should have used all your Jets against the Patriots last week, because they are in the bottom 10 of fantasy against QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs. The Bears are not the offense the Jets are, but they get points for not being a must-have division opponent, they are at home and there is a day-plus less for the Pats to prepare. Stick with the steady players here: Cutler, Forte, Gould and Olsen. Cutler has the best matchup since the Pats are second-worst in limiting QB points.
SIT Patriots WR Deion Branch, TE Aaron Hernandez, RB Danny Woodhead, K Shayne Graham, TE Rob Gronkowski, D/ST, WR Brandon Tate, RB Sammy Morris, WR Julian Edelman, RB Fred Taylor
The Pats are a defensive coordinator's nightmare because they have so many interchangeable parts. Branch and Hernandez are the most likely useful options here, but they could just as easily post a goose egg, too. You likely should find a steadier option in a week this important.
Bears D/ST, WR Johnny Knox, WR Earl Bennett, WR Devin Hester, WR Devin Aromashodu
The Bears defense is a unit to bench this week. The Patriots are No. 1 in D/ST points against. Offense that never turn the ball over or allow sacks usually are. The WRs for the Bears are like those of the Pats, too: You just never know which week they will show up. If you're using them, hope for a big lead so Cutler can try to throw his way back into the game.
INJURY WATCH Patriots None.
Bears RB Chester Taylor (knee) -- He has been used more, but not enough to consider in fantasy even if 100 percent.
It is a week to take advantage of the Broncos, or technically, the Cardinals. The Cardinals are the worst team against RBs, so Moreno is an absolute must-start. The risk you take is in the passing game, where the absence of Josh McDaniels figures to be felt the most. The Broncos are coming off a bad week throwing the ball, but this game figures to be a lot more wide open. Even the kicker can be a nice option, if you want a sleeper there.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, RB Beanie Wells, RB Tim Hightower
The QB situation has ruined Fitzgerald all season, but you likely don't have a good enough replacement for him. Keep him active. It is the RBs that will surprise this week. Hightower did the lion's share last Sunday, but both backs will get involved against the Broncos. Denver is the second-worst team vs. RBs and has been in that lowly area all season.
SIT Broncos D/ST, TE Daniel Graham, RB Correll Buckhalter, Laurence Maroney, WR Jabar Gaffney
QB changes tend to ruin an offense and a team. Expect that again this week if Bartel or Skelton start. There is very little to like about the Cardinals in fantasy even if the regular starter is available.
INJURY WATCH Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle) -- He is as useless as the former coach was.
Cardinals QB Derek Anderson (head), WR Steve Breaston (knee), K Jay Feeley (groin) -- You don't need a reason to avoid these guys.
Bess has taken over as the Dolphins' go-to man, which says more about the Dolphins than it does Bess. He is a possession receiver that can get you six catches for 60 yards and maybe a garbage-time TD. The Jets are bitter and going to lay the wood here, guaranteed.
Jets D/ST, RB Shonn Greene, WR Santonio Holmes, TE Dustin Keller
Miami is quietly a top 10 team QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs, and you could not have liked anything the Jets did in New England last Monday. Perhaps change is in order. It is time to hitch the wagons to Greene as the top fantasy RB option. Holmes are Greene were the only bright spots from that stinker Monday. The defense will rebound with a big week, too. As for the advice to start Keller: Look at what Watson did to the Dolphins last Sunday. Keller is a far better talent and he shredded the Dolphins in their Week 3 meeting.
SIT Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown, RB Ricky Williams, K Dan Carpenter, D/ST, QB Chad Henne, TE Anthony Fasano
You have to be frustrated with the late Week 13 disappointment, making it tough to trust these guys in crunch time. They could all rebound or they could just as easily stay dormant. They are risks not worth taking this week.
INJURY WATCH Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall (hamstring), WR Brian Hartline (finger) -- Marshall is going to play, so you likely will have to use him. Hope for some garbage-time, throwing-from-behind numbers. Hartline is worthless.
How did Bowe get goose-egged last week? How about because the Chiefs don't have anyone else who needs to be covered? That is worrisome but Bowe remains too important to sit. The Chargers were abused on the ground last week against the Raiders. Although it is unlikely to happen on back-to-back weeks, Jones and Charles are too promising to sit.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers, TE Antonio Gates, WR Malcom Floyd, RB Mike Tolbert, K Nate Kaeding
You should expect the Chargers to have a rebound week here, particularly Rivers and Tolbert. You wouldn't sit Rivers but start Tolbert with confidence in a game that figures to feature more run than last week.
SIT Chiefs K Ryan Succop, D/ST, QB Brodie Croyle, WR Chris Chambers, TE Tony Moeaki, WR/RB Dexter McCluster
The Chargers rank only behind the Saints in limiting points from QBs and WRs. Sit all the extras in the Chiefs offense and the defense. They frankly aren't worth owning anyway, especially with Croyle potentially starting.
Chargers RB Ryan Mathews, D/ST, WR Seyi Ajirotutu
Mathews is healthy and didn't play a snap last week and Ajirotutu is no sure thing now that Gates and Floyd are healthy. The Chargers defense is a solid one, but the Chiefs are one of the toughest opponents for D/STs. They are third-best to date and consistently among the best against D/STs because the offense can run and control the ball.
INJURY WATCH Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (appendectomy) -- He has a bad matchup anyway and likely won't play.
Chargers WR Vincent Jackson (calf), WR Patrick Crayton (wrist), RB Darren Sproles (concussion), Legedu Naanee (hamstring) -- You shouldn't be counting on any of these guys at this point.
You should see little reason to avoid any of your Eagles this week. The Cowboys give up points like candy canes at the Santa booth at the mall. They are especially weak against QBs and D/STs, making those decisions easy for you. It will be a huge week for Vick and the Eagles offense, defense, special teams, coaching staff, fan base, lot attendants. Start everybody.
Cowboys WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten, RB Felix Jones
You won't sit Austin, you shouldn't sit Witten (Eagles are most vulnerable to TEs) and expect Jones to be a significant part of the offense. Jones will be a factor out of the backfield if the Cowboys get into the shootout you should expect.
SIT Eagles WR Jason Avant, RB Jerome Harrison
Choice is this week's "congrats on that waiver pick-up, now sit him." Choice does get the TDs and got a lot of action against the Colts, but the Eagles are less vulnerable to the run and less likely to allow the Cowboys to control the clock in Philly. Expect a disappointing week for Choice, even if he is a nice option here on out. These other Cowboys could be productive if the game becomes a shootout, but you likely have steadier options available to you.
INJURY WATCH Eagles None.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo (shoulder), RB Marion Barber (calf) -- They are so far from fantasy viability, you likely shouldn't own them any longer. Dez Bryant (leg) saw his season end as he was sent to the IR, too.
Flacco is getting the matchup of his season in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. The Texans are the worst team in the league against QBs and TEs. They are third-worst vs. WRs. Bascially, that Houston secondary is Texas toast. Mason and Housh even look tantalizing here, particularly if you like stacking up late points in the Monday nighter.
Texans WR Andre Johnson, RB Arian Foster, QB Matt Schaub
It is not a great week to be owners of these players, but they likely have earned must-start status for you. Schaub is the more risky and someone you should replace if you have a strong backup. The Ravens are third-best to just the Saints and Chargers against QBs.
SIT Ravens RB Willis McGahee, WR Donte' Stallworth, TE Ed Dickson
McGahee and Stallworth just aren't getting enough touches to be useful, but Dickson might if starter Todd Heap can't play. Consider Dickson a viable sleeper if you're desperate at the position.
Texans TE Joel Dreessen, K Neil Rackers, WR Kevin Walter, WR David Anderson, RB Derrick Ward, RB Steve Slaton, D/ST, WR Jacoby Jones
The Ravens coming off a loss and having an extra day to prepare? Yuck-o. Dreessen has been a great sleeper of lately, but that doesn't apply this week. The Ravens are an elite defense and one especially tough against TEs (second to only San Francisco in fantasy). Sit as many of your Texans as you can afford to.
INJURY WATCH Ravens TE Todd Heap (hamstring), RB LeRon McClain (ankle) -- You won't miss McClain, but Heap had a great matchup. His health status makes him someone to avoid.
Texans TE Owen Daniels (hamstring) -- It has been a bust year. Cut him.
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