Week 12: Start 'em
Knowing which Eli Manning will come to play each Sunday is a mystery all to its self. As it has been through his first 3 years, some games Eli looks like the #1 pick he was in 2004 and then some games he looks like he should have been drafted in the 7th round. The best way to deal with Manning if he is on your fantasy team is to try and play the match ups, playing when he faces a weak pass defense and sitting him when he is playing a good pass defense. This week he faces the worst pass defense in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings, giving up 288 yards per game through the air. With Minnesota giving up the least amount of rushing yards per game and the Giants' top 2 RB's banged up, look for a big game from Manning this week, make sure to have him starting for you this weekend.
After the first 2 weeks of the season, Houston was sure it had its starting QB of the future after Matt Schaub led the Texans to a 2-0 start, passing for over 450 yards and 3 TDs while only throwing 1 interception. Problem is the season is a lot longer then 2 weeks. First Schaub lost his number one receiver and playmaker Andre Johnson to injury, then Schaub himself was injured. Due to those two things, Schaub and the Texans have come back down to earth a little, leaving Houston with a respectable 4-5 record. After resting during the bye and getting his starting WR back in the fold, Schaub once again was a stud, passing for 293 yards and 2 TDs with no interceptions. This week the Texans face the Cleveland Browns - who week in and week out seem to end up in a shootout, allowing opposing QBs to put up big fantasy numbers. This week should be no different and you shouldn't hesitate to start Schaub if you have him.
Before the season started, when you mentioned the word running back and Kansas City Chiefs in the same breath, you either thought of Larry Johnson or the holy one, Priest Holmes. First it was LJ that went down with an injury and his return is still up for debate, then while making a comeback for the ages, rumors have it that Priest Holmes suffered another injury to his neck, putting his career in jeopardy. In steps Rookie Kolby Smith, with a chance now to make a name for himself much in the way Priest Holmes did way back in Baltimore. Smith hasn't played much this year, but if both Priest and LJ don't play this week (and everything points to them sitting out), Smith will get his first career start and it couldn't have come against a better opponent. The Chiefs face the Oakland Raiders, whose defense has been giving up an average of 152.6 yards rushing per game. Playing against such a poor run defense should allow Smith every chance to show what he is capable of doing. If you need a flex or you're short on RB's this week, plug him in there and sit back and enjoy.
Lee Evans has always been known as a big play receiver who scores big touchdowns, problem is he isn't making many big plays or catching many TDs. The Bills' offense has been very inconsistent this season, due in large part to the fact that they have had to flip flop QBs a few times due to injuries. Other then a 2 week span where he racked up 14 catches for 303 yards and his only 2 TDs of the season, Evans has been held in check for most of the season. Evans has put up his best numbers in November and December and with a good game this weekend, he can be on his way to another late season explosion. This Sunday he faces a Jacksonville team that is very tough against run but not so tough against the pass, allowing an average 250 yards per game through the air so far this season. Make sure to keep Evans started this week.
FANTASY PROFILE / STATS & MORE
Steve Smith was most likely a top 20 pick in most fantasy leagues and after the first 2 weeks of the season he looked even better then people expected. Not anymore, other then one huge week vs. the Arizona Cardinals, Smith hasn't gained more then 61 yards or had more then 5 catches in any game and has only scored TDs in 3 different games, being shutout in all his others. Smith has had to play with 3 different QBs as well as dealing with some of his own injuries. The Panthers will be hosting the Saints this week, a team that gives up close to 255 yards per game through the air, just what the doctor ordered for Mr. Smith. Follow his injury status closely, as long as he is playing make sure to keep him active
When the Broncos signed Brandon Stokley this off season they envisioned him playing the slot and coming up with big plays like he did when he was playing for the Colts. After starting out the first half of the season slowly, trying to figure out a new offense and dealing with some injuries, Stokley has come on strong the past few weeks, stepping up to fill the void left by starting WR Javon Walker. Before coming to the Broncos, Stokley was known making big plays and coming up with timely TDs; that's exactly what he has finally begun to do. While Brandon Marshall has elevated his game and become QB, Jay Cutler good to go, Stokley has gained the QB's confidence and when Cutler needs a big play or wants to open up the field, he looks for Stokley. Even with Javon Walker looking ready to return this week or next, don't worry about Stokley's numbers dropping, he will be Cutler's deep threat, so make sure to get him in your lineup this week.To view our weekly rankings for all offensive positions, visit our who to start rankings.