Ok, guys and gals: This is it...Fantasy Playoff Time.
Conventional wisdom states the following: You dance with the one that brought you. In other words, this is not the time to get cute trying to outfox the experts by starting some lower regarded player in the hopes that he busts off a big game and makes you look like a genius. If you have Peyton, you play Peyton. It's just that simple.
But what if you don't have Peyton (or LT or Randy Moss or Antonio Gates)? Well, then it's my job to help steer you to a player on your roster who might help you win. I make no guarantees, but I have sacrificed a virgin goat to the Fantasy Gods in the hopes of covering my bases this week. Try finding a virgin goat sometime....not as easy as it looks. One farmer told me the average goat gets more action than you've had hot dinners.
Start- Matt Hasselbeck- The Seahawks have been living up to their namesake by taking to the air often in recent games. That bodes well for Hasselbeck, who draws the toothless Panthers, the team that allowed David Garrard to hang 249 yards and two scores on them. Matt is getting hot at the right time of the year for his owners. Ride him to the finish line. Forecast- 280 yards, 2 touchdowns
Sit- Ben Roethlisberger- It's really not all Big Ben's fault. He has had to deal with numerous roadblocks to Success recently, ranging from poor field conditions to having to face the Patriots. However, the numbers show that he hasn't thrown for more than 200 yards a game for the past four weeks and that's not likely to change against a ravenous Jacksonville defense. You may not have a better option, but use him at your own peril. Forecast- 175 yards, 1 touchdown
Start- Rudi Johnson- Johnson has had an awful, injury-marred season However, he has risen from the dead and is back to producing again. He has scored in each of his last three games and, with Cincy's once-feared passing attack mired in a deep slump, seems primed to run all over the 49er's. Start him with confidence. Forecast- 90 yards, 1 touchdown
Sit- Kolby Smith- He came from nowhere to win Fantasy players' hearts and then broke those very same hearts last week in a crucial matchup, delivering only 12 measly yards on the ground. He's also banged up right now and is questionable for the tilt against Tennessee. Want some more evidence against him? The Titans desperately need this game to stay in the playoff hunt, Albert Haynesworth is back and they only give up an average of 101 yards per game on the ground anyway. Forecast- 50 yards
Start- Brandon Marshall- Marshall is the lucky beneficiary of the injuries to Javon Walker and Brandon Stokely. He's become the Main Man in Denver and is coming off a huge effort against KC (115 yards, 2 touchdowns.) Houston, despite spending draft pick after draft pick on defensive players, is still not very good. Look for another fine week from Marshall. Forecast- 8 receptions, 100 yards, 1 touchdown
Sit- Roddy White- White played okay last week against New Orleans (3 catches for 75 yards), but most of that yardage came on one big pass play. That was before Atlanta was completely thrown into a maelstrom of confusion caused by their head coach resigning on Tuesday. Tampa Bay shut down White the last time they played him. I wouldn't recommend any Falcon this week and, if I did, White certainly wouldn't be the one. Forecast- 4 receptions, 30 yards.
Start- Ben Watson- Though he hasn't been very impressive lately, it is "elementary" to start my dear Watson this week (sorry, couldn't resist.) The Jets will probably concentrate all their efforts on blanketing Moss and Welker (yeah, good luck with that.) The Pats' waterboy may even score in this one. Watson should see a nice uptick in his numbers. Forecast- 5 receptions, 40 yards, 1 touchdown
Sit- Desmond Clark- Clark has been strong this season, holding off the challenge of young buck Greg Olsen. However, he now faces Minnesota with Kyle Orton as his quarterback. Granted, teams have thrown on the Vikings this year, but I think the whole Chicago air attack gets a downgrade with K.O at the helm. You can likely do better. Forecast- 3 receptions, 30 yards
Start- Seattle- Five sacks and five interceptions last week against Arizona ought to be enough to convince anyone of Seattle's viability against Detroit. For those who still doubt, keep in mind that Seattle allows less than one touchdown per week through the air. Yes, I know Detroit ran well last week, but do you really want to be the guy betting that they can do it two weeks in a row? Didn't think so. Forecast- 4 sacks, 2 interceptions
Sit- Kansas City- This team just looks whipped. They've now lost 6 six games in a row and got pasted by the Broncos 41-7 last week. They can be beaten both in the air and on the ground and seem to have given up the ship. Vince Young and Company should definitely be able to exploit this bunch of Surrender Monkeys. Forecast- 1 interception