Week 15: Start 'em
If you're here, that means you are still alive in the playoffs, so congrats!
Marshawn Lynch has been one of the bright spots for the Bills this season, especially early on. After missing 3 weeks due to injury, Lynch returned to the lineup last week to gain 107 yards on 23 carries, showing that he is back to early season form after sitting out with an ankle sprain. This week the Bills go into Cleveland to face a Browns team that they are in competition with for the last wild card spot. For the Bills to have any chance in this game, they will have to get Lynch going early and help take some pressure off rookie QB Trent Edwards. The Browns have given up 130 yards per game on the ground and have had plenty of problems stopping any offense this season, so Lynch should be in for a big day. If you were unsure how Lynch would play coming off his ankle injury, last week's 23 carries should show you that he is ready to shoulder the load. Make sure to keep Lynch active and watch him run all over the Browns.
At this point in the season it will come as no shock that Laurence Maroney was one of the biggest fantasy busts of 2007. Over the season Maroney has eclipsed the 100 yard mark only once and that was all the way back in week 3,and he has only scored 2 TDs all season. Now, Maroney did miss 3 games earlier in the season due to injury, but the main reason for his lack of production is the fact that the Patriots don't run the ball very often. Maroney has only had 20 carries once this season, not leaving him with many opportunities to score fantasy points. Now enough about why Maroney has been a bust and a little about why he should be active this week. This weekend the Pats face off vs. the Jets, the team that started the whole "spygate" issue in the first place. The Patriots will look to show the Jets just how good they are and that they don't need any video cameras to help them. The Jets have the 3rd worst rush defense in the NFL, giving up over 140 yards a game on the ground. In the first week of the season Maroney got 20 carries vs. the Jets, so look for much of the same. With the Jets expecting New England to pass the ball a lot, look for them to switch it up a bit and allow Maroney to walk all over the Jets' weak defense.
Put Bernard Berrian on an offense like the Colts, or Patriots, or Cowboys and Berrian would most probably be a top 10 WR. Unfortunately, he plays for the Bears, a team with a weak offense, who will be starting their 3rd QB of the season. While Kyle Orton will never be mistaken for Brett Favre, he has been in Chicago for the past 3 years, even starting 15 games as a rookie in 2005. On Monday night the Bears face off vs. the Minnesota Vikings, who posses the best rush defense and the worst pass defense. So it's pretty obvious that if the Bears want to win this week, they will have to do it through the air and not on the ground. Orton also knows that his chance at a big play also happens to be the Bear's best WR, Bernard Berrian. Berrian has been getting hot at just the right time, averaging 5 catches and 73 yards over the last 5 games, while scoring TDs in 3 of those games. So watch for Orton to go to Berrian early and often; make sure he is in your starting lineup.
If you thought Chambers might become a little more consistent after being dealt to the San Diego Chargers, you were clearly mistaken. Chambers has had trouble putting together 2 good games in row, scoring only 2 TDs and not breaking 100 yards since his arrival in San Diego. Not all of that is Chambers' fault, the Chargers offense is built around LT and when they need to pass the ball the first target is always Antonio Gates. With that said, Chambers has come up with timely catches that have helped the Chargers to a 5-2 record since his arrival, as well as first place in the
Lee Evans might be the player at the top of the "I can never figure out whether to start him or bench him" list. After being drafted in the top 5 rounds of most fantasy drafts, Evans failed to break 100 yards or score a TD until week 8 and other then a 3 week period in the middle of the season, Evans has been nowhere to be seen. With the return of rookie Trent Edwards as the Bills' starting QB, Evans was back to his old self last week scoring on both receptions he made, in helping lead the Bills to victory vs. the Miami Dolphins. There seems to be a direct correlation between Evans producing and the Bills winning. In the 7 games the Bills have won, Evans has averaged 5 catches for 95 yards and half a TD a game. In the 6 games the Bills have lost, Evans has averaged 2 catches for 16 yards and no TDs. With the Bills fighting for a playoff spot and trying to get the ground game established, look for Edwards to try and go deep to his favorite target Evans, in hopes of keeping the defense honest. The Bills face the Browns, who have the 3rd worst pass defense in the league (260 yards per game), so make sure to have Evans active this week.
When the Colts drafted Anthony Gonzalez in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft, they envisioned him as a Brandon Stokely type of WR who could play the slot and help open up things on the outside for stud wideouts Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. With all the weapons in the Colts' arsenal, as well as missing 2 games with an injury, Gonzalez finally showed fans in week 12 why Indianapolis drafted him in the first round. With Harrison sitting out with injuries, Wayne has stepped up to become the #1 option in the Colts' passing game, many times dealing with double teams, but after last week's 6 catches for 134 yards for 2 TDs, teams will start to think twice about double teaming Wayne. With it looking more and more like Harrison won't be back in the lineup until the playoffs, Gonzalez makes a great start as a flex and even a WR3. So it's time to activate him.To view our weekly rankings for all offensive positions, visit our who to start rankings.