Again, this week we have some high profile players on byes, such as Ray Rice, Arian Foster, CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson, A.J Green, Andre Johnson, Torrey Smith and others. Many of you will be scrambling to fill your lineups for this week and I hope I can point out some guys to roll with and some to bench.
BEN ROETHLISBERGER VS. WASHINGTON
Washington is 32nd against the pass allowing 328.4 yards per game, 16 TD’s by air which is tied for dead last in the league, 114 first downs which is dead last, and 7 passes of 40+ yards which is tied for last. Watch for a big aerial display by Big Ben this week and he may have to throw lots to keep up with the “Super Rookie”, Robert Griffin.
PEYTON MANNING VS. NEW ORLEANS
After the comeback against the Chargers two weeks ago, this game has the potential to be another point scoring bonanza. The Saints are 30th against the pass and have allowed 8.9 yards per completion which is tied for last, 96 first downs have been surrendered and 25 passes of 20+ which isn’t exactly sparkling D.
SAM BRADFORD VS. NEW ENGLAND
New England has the 29th ranked pass defense and have been burned for 290 yards per game through the air. They have allowed 16 passing TD’s which is tied with Washington for worst in the league and they have been torched for 39 passes of 20+ yards which is 10 worse than the Washington/New York Giants. New England will score so Bradford will have to rely on passing to stay close.
ALEX SMITH VS. ARIZONA
Arizona has the 4th best pass defense and are only allowing opposing QB’s to complete 53.3% of their passes. They have only surrendered 6 TD’s via the pass which is tied for the best mark in the league. They have a great Red Zone D and seem to tighten up better than most teams when approaching their own goal line. Smith hasn’t exactly been sparkling lately so expect lots of runs.
CAM NEWTON VS. CHICAGO
Teams have thrown an average of 40.8 times against the Chicago D due to Chicago getting the lead and controlling the game. The Bears pass defense has only given up 6 TD’s which is tied for the best mark in the NFL, they have only allowed opposing QB’s to average a paltry 6.1 yards per completion which is second best and they haven’t allowed a pass of 40+ yards this year.
RUSSELL WILSON VS. DETROIT
Detroit pass defense has been surprisingly stout considering the injuries. They have only given up 8 TD’s which is a top 10 number and they have only given up 12 passes of 20+ which is second best in the league. Wilson looked horrible in the second half against the Niners and he may find that Detroit won’t be a cupcake defense either. If you have other options, start one.
RUNNING BACK STARTS
WILLIS MCGAHEE VS. NEW ORLEANS
New Orleans is 2nd worst versus the run and have given up 161 yards per game on the ground. They have let opposing RB’s gain 4.9 yards per attempt with 8 TD’s, 7 runs of 20+ and 3 of 40+ which is tied for dead last. Manning will stretch the Saints D thin and allow McGahee some room to run against this less than stellar run defense.
REGGIE BUSH VS. NEW YORK JETS
Bush made some ill timed comments about Karma when all world CB Darrelle Revis went down for the year and the Jets want Bush’s head, but I think they’ll become singularly focused and it won’t work to the Jets advantage. The Jets run D is 30th allowing 8 TD’s and 7 runs of 20+ and 3 of 40+ which is tied for last in the NFL. This game could be close so Bush may be a big factor.
CHRIS JOHNSON VS. INDIANAPOLIS
CJ2K looked like his old self in his week 7 tilt against Buffalo and he could continue to be a dominant force this week against the Indy run defense who is 26th in the league. They have given up 4.8 yards per rushing attempt, 8 TD’s, 7 runs of 20+ and 3 of 40+ which is again tied for the basement of the league.
RUNNING BACK SITS
MONTARIO HARDESTY/TRENT RICHARDSON VS. SAN DIEGO
San Diego is the 2nd best run defense in the NFL allowing a paltry 3.5 yards per attempt, 71.2 yards per game, 2 TD’s, only 3 runs of 20+ and none of 40+. The Chargers will be ticked off…..really ticked off after being exposed by Peyton Manning a couple weeks ago and will most likely take out their frustration on the Browns. Expect Rivers to stake the Chargers to the lead and run the ball to control the game.
SHONN GREENE VS. MIAMI
After a couple of very solid weeks, Mr. Greene will come back to earth against the 4th ranked Miami run defense who have only surrendered 3.3 yards per attempt, 3 TD’s and 18 rushing first downs which is tops in the league. They have only allowed their opponents to get first downs on 12.7% of their runs which is by far the top mark in the league. They have also only allowed 3 runs of 20+ and 1 of 40+.
STEVEN JACKSON VS. NEW ENGLAND
The Pats have the 8th best run defense and have only allowed 3.3 yards per carry and 86 yards per game. They have only given up 3 rushing TD’s and have not allowed a runner to break off a run of either 20+ of 40+ which is tied for best in the league. The longest run the Pats have given up is 17 yards which is best in the league.
WIDE RECEIVER STARTS
ANTONIO BROWN VS. WASHINGTON
Washington has been putrid against top receivers in 2012. Teams have thrown the ball 42.6 times per game on average against the Washington secondary. They have given up 8.0 yards per catch, 16 TD’s have been allowed which is tied for dead last in the league with 29 passes of 20+ and 7 passes of 40+ surrendered. This bodes well for a talented vertical threat like Brown.
CHRIS GIVENS VS. NEW ENGLAND
New England is 29th against the pass allowing opposing receivers to average 8.1 yards per catch. They have also allowed 16 TD’s which is tied for last, 95 first downs which is bottom 5 and 39 passes of 20+ which is far and away the worst mark in the NFL. They have also been prone to the occasional deep ball as they have been burned for 5 passes of 40+ which is tied for 4th worst.
MILES AUSTIN VS. NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants have the 21st ranked pass defense and have been exploited for 8.7 yards per completion, 29 passes of 20+ which is tied for 2nd worst and 5 passes of 40+ which is tied for 4th worst. Dez Bryant is consistently inconsistent and is maddening. Austin seems to have the slight upper hand on QB Tony Romo’s trust list right now and should be able to burn the secondary a couple of times this weekend.
WIDE RECEIVER SITS
LARRY FITZGERALD VS. SAN FRANCISCO
The San Francisco pass defense is ranked number 1 in the league allowing only 5.9 yards per completion which is tops. They have clamped down on receivers allowing only 6 passing TD’s which is tied for the best mark, 13 passes of 20+ which is 3rd best and have only allowed 30.7% of passes to be first downs which is 2nd best. Skelton+Niners Pass D=Trouble for Fitz.
VICTOR CRUZ VS. DALLAS
Dallas has the 3rd best pass defense in the NFL allowing only 187.3 yards per game with 7 TD’s, a league best 57 first downs have been achieved against them which is best in the league. Watch for Brandon Carr to shut down Cruz which provides better opportunities for Nicks.
STEVE SMITH VS. CHICAGO
The Bears have only given up 6.1 yards per completion to opposing receivers which is second best in the league, surrendered 6 passing TD’s which is tied for tops, 31.8% first down completion rate which is 5th best and zero passes of 40+ which is tied for best. Peanut Tillman neutralized Megatron last week and this week he’ll draw the diminutive Smith who should be no big deal. Sit Smith if you can.
TIGHT END START
BRANDON MYERS VS. KANSAS CITY
Darren McFadden is struggling and Carson Palmer is throwing the ball a ton and loves his Tight End. Myers has been targeted often each game and this matchup against the lowly Chiefs will be no exception. Kansas City has struggled to hold down opposing Tight Ends and they’ll have their hands full with Myers.
TIGHT END SIT
BRANDON PETTIGREW VS. SEATTLE
Seattle has an ultra talented group of LB’s and DB’s who should be able to handle Pettigrew. Factor in that Pettigrew can’t catch balls on occasion and has only averaged 3.75 points per game over his last two games against mid tier defenders against TE’s and he won’t have a huge breakout game this week. If you have other options, use one.