So last week I was a little off base with my call out on Eli Manning, as he ended up throwing for four touchdowns and just over 250 yards against an Eagles defense that was expected to shut down most opponents. Let me tell you why that was a fluke: first of all Eli only completed 16 passes on 23 attempts, so it’s not like the Giants aired out the ball to its receivers. They will do their best to run the ball, and that’s probably their key to success. As for Michael Turner and his 20 yards on 11 carries, let’s just say that he and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment and won’t be unless he rushes for at least 100 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend. Enough with the preamble; let’s look at my picks for this weekend’s start’em/sit’em.
Chris Johnson, Titans
You’re obviously starting Chris Johnson if you drafted him, but for those of you trying to get cute with your lineups, one word of advice: don’t! I traded him on week 5 the year he went crazy and emerged onto the fantasy scene. Let’s just say I regretted every second. Just give CJ2K some time, because his schedule after the bye week is quite favorable. Plus, few players have the ability to break open a big run like Johnson does, and that alone is worth the wait.
Ryan Matthews, Chargers
The guy has finally arrived, and he just might be here to stay as long as Mike Tolbert doesn’t sneak in to vulture any goal line carries. This week against the Dolphins is going to be Matthews’ make-or-break game in my opinion. If he is able to come through with a solid outing, then he should get the bulk of the carries the rest of the season.
Read the rest of my fantasy picks after the jump …
Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
When your only good fantasy statline comes at home against the Seattle Seahawks you’re in trouble especially when your offensive line is playing as bad as can be. The worst part is that it seems like the Steelers are playing a different offensive tackle each series, which I’d imagine can be frustrating for an offense. Plus, I would say the key for this offense to succeed is to throw the ball deep to Mike Wallace, and Mendenhall isn’t exactly a threat out of the back field to catch many passes.
Frank Gore, 49ers
So what if the Eagles are allowing the most points to fantasy running backs? I still don’t believe Gore will snap out of his slump. I’m not even sold he’s going to play on Sunday with the ankle injury; also, Gore has yet to rush for over 60 yards in a game. I can see this game getting out of hand quickly, as the Eagles should be able to dominate the 49ers pretty thoroughly. Sure, Gore still has the potential to be a top 10 guy, but just not behind this offensive line, which is playing horribly right now.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles
He’s had a rough go the last couple of games, but against the 49ers the past three seasons, Jackson is averaging over 20 yards a catch, and there’s no reason he won’t do the same this week. There isn’t anyone on the defense that can cover Jackson, so whether the QB is Michael Vick or Mike Kafka or even Vince Young for that matter, Jackson should be able to break loose for a touchdown or even a big gain.
Steve Johnson, Bills
It’s a bit scary that Johnson has been missing practices with a groin injury, but he has yet to slow down at all this year. Johnson has a touchdown in three straight games and is going up against a Bengals defense that allowed big yards to Eric Decker and the Denver Broncos a few weeks ago. I’m a believer in this Bills offense: Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to find a way to get the ball to his playmakers, and Johnson is doing a great job of getting open. There is the concern that Leon Hall will step up and actually cover Johnson this weekend, but Hall will have his hands full and one guy won’t stop this offense.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys
If you watched the Monday Night Game this past week, then you’ll know that Tony Romo has no connection at all with receivers not named Dez Bryant or Miles Austin. Austin is out again for another week, so why wouldn’t the Lions focus the defense on Bryant and force the other receivers to step up? Last week was a mess for the Cowboy receivers: they were running the wrong routes and lining up in the wrong position. I don’t see much changing in a short week, so get ready to face the Lions defense, Dez!
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
It’s not that I don’t believe in Bowe, it’s that I just have no faith in his offensive line giving Matt Cassel enough time to throw a pass anywhere near Bowe. Not to mention that there isn’t anything to be afraid of from the running attack after the injury to Jamaal Charles, and there isn’t a solid secondary option for the Chiefs in the passing game to alleviate some pressure from Bowe.
Cam Newton, Panthers
In Chicago, there isn’t a lot to like about this matchup except for the fact that the Bears will run a defense that can easily be beaten by short routes to tight ends. The Panthers have Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey, athletic guys who play the tight end position very well and should be able to get open against the Bears defense. Newton is also playing lights-out for the most part, and let’s not forget that he can also run. In fact, I would bet he can run faster than just about everyone on the Bears defense.
Matt Schaub, Texans
Did you see Curtis Painter lead that drive against the Steelers to tie the game on Sunday? Did you see the blown coverage on Garcon? Pittsburgh still has a good defense, but I think that Andre Johnson has his way with another team this week, and Schaub will benefit from Johnson’s ability to make big plays. Also, if Arian Foster is back to full strength, then Schaub’s favorite check-down will be back in the mix of things.
Matt Ryan, Falcons
Matty Ice just isn’t playing well this year, whether it’s on the road or at home, at least from a fantasy standpoint. He’s doing a great job in real football. After a road loss in Tampa Bay, the best remedy isn’t going to Seattle and facing the Seahawks on their home turf. Roddy White and Turner will get their yards and possibly a touchdown, but I just don’t see how Ryan throws for a ton of yards or passes the ball in the endzone when he has a battering ram like Turner in the backfield.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
I’m a little down on the Steelers this week, especially after seeing all their offensive line troubles last week. Big Ben will throw a bomb to Mike Wallace, but other than that he is going to be running for his life. Mario Williams has to be excited to take on the makeshift offensive line the Steelers have put together.