I haven't been all that on target lately with my picks, but that's the nature of the beast. As I said in my first post on the subject, any idiot can tell you to start Peyton Manning and LT every week. There are just some guys who you never sit...period. My job is to try and identify some guys who may be under the radar who might produce better than usual. On the flip side, I might pinpoint some studs who have difficult matchups that you may be better off sitting.
On to this week's picks:
Start: Phillip Rivers- Prince Phillip finally had a breakout game last week and it came against a very stout Defense. He appears to be developing chemistry with Vincent Jackson, giving him three legitimate hot targets (Gates and some guy named LaDainian being the other two). Also, with all signs pointing to Tomlinson on the path to fantasy recovery, Rivers will get his chances to exploit an elderly Chiefs defense. Forecast: 225 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
Sit: Jay Cutler- Cutler had a nice game last week against a tough Jacksonville defense, but he faces another uphill task in the Colts now. Brandon Marshall has been a nice surprise for him this year, but leading receiver Javon Walker is hobbled and, even if Walker plays, his chances of having a big game are slim. Cutler will have to throw plenty to keep up with the great Indianapolis offense and, without his receiving corps at full strength, I don't see him succeeding. Forecast: 225 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks
Start: Thomas Jones- The poor Buffalo Bills have been decimated by injuries to their starting defensive lineup. That bodes well for Jones, who has seen his workload increase each week. The Jets will look to get on the board early and then control the clock, relying heavily on TJ to keep the Bills D on the field. Forecast: 105 yards, 1 touchdown
Sit: Adrian Peterson- Peterson is one of the frontrunners for Rookie of the year. However, he draws the Green Bay Defense this week and the rest of the Vikings offense is devoid of playmakers. Adding in the fact that Chester Taylor may return from injury this week, thereby cutting into AP's carries, so I suggest that you may be better off finding someone else to play RB on Sunday. Forecast- 50 yards
Start: Wes Welker- The Bengals will be so focused on stopping Randy Moss that Welker will have ample opportunity to get open. A strong receiver in his own right, his forte is his ability to exploit the seams in the Cover 2, which will come in handy as it happens to be a glaring weakness of Cincinnati's. Tom Brady knows he has weapons other than Moss and will look Welker's way often. Forecast: 6 catches, 70 yards, 1 touchdown
Sit: Anquan Boldin- Granted, his performance against the Ravens was impressive last week. However, Boldin is clearly hurting this week (injured hip) and may be limited if he even plays at all. He goes against a solid Pittsburgh defense and, no matter who the Cardinals choose to rotate in at QB, I don't see him having a successful outing. Forecast: 4 catches, 40 yards.
Start: Dallas Clark- With dynamic duo Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison blanketed by Denver's elite cornerbacks, Clark has the opportunity to have a special game here. Peyton Manning looks his way often and Clark is too shifty for the Denver linebackers. The Colts will probably be throwing less than usual due to the fact that they should run the ball effectively on Denver, but when they do, you can bet that Clark will be a prime recipient. Forecast: 5 catches, 60 yards, 1 touchdown
Sit: Heath Miller- This may seem like an odd choice because Ben Roethlisberger clearly enjoys throwing to his TE's in the Red Zone. However, that's the problem: The throws can go to any one of three tight ends (Matt Spaeth, Jerame Tuman or Miller). The Steelers will look to have a run-heavy day with Hines Ward out, so you must downgrade expectations for their entire receiving corps, Miller included. Forecast: 3 catches, 30 yards.
Start: Dallas- The Cowboys are not yet an elite, every week starter. But they are matchup-friendly and they have a good opportunity here against a severely hurt St. Louis squad. Marc Bulger will be limited both in his throws and his movement due to playing with broken ribs and Steven Jackson is out, giving Brian Leonard his first NFL start at RB. Forecast: 3 sacks, 2 interceptions.
Sit: Chicago- I'm sure you must be rubbing your eyes, saying to yourself "He's not SERIOUSLY recommending benching the best defense in the league?" Yes, I am and here's why: They have been devastated by injuries and will not be the usual defensive force they have been, especially defending against the pass. They draw pass-heavy Detroit this week, whose elite receivers will be able to take advantage of the Bear's misfortune. Forecast: 2 sacks, 1 interception.