Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE
I have been introduced to a great new in depth fantasy football site called NumberFire.com and it has inspired me to evolve my fantasy column. I hope you enjoy the new look. Let me know your opinion in the comments section.
Undeniable Truth of the Week
Consider the match-ups when picking your starting roster.
There of course are certain players that you will start every week no matter who they are playing but if your not talking about elite players the match ups can be a huge part of who to play.
An example of this would be choosing between Broncos running back Willis McGahee or Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart this week. Neither player is a must start every week player so if you are deciding on who to start this is where you look at match-ups. Denver is playing New Orleans whose defense has not been good all year whereas Carolina is playing the ridiculously good defense of the Bears. Without a doubt McGahee should be chosen as your starter due to having the obviously better match-up.
Another example of this can be made using other players from those same teams. Do you play Carolina's Steve Smith or Denver's Eric Decker? Eric Decker is the better choice because of the match-up opportunity. Play the guy who is likely going to be in the high scoring match-up over the guy who is going to be playing in a tough defensive match-up. Steve Smith used to be an every-week, no-matter-what starter but I don't believe he is that anymore.
Make sure you do not over think yourself out of playing an elite player because of a team match-up, though. Elite players stay in your lineup even if they are playing tough defenses. For example do not sit Larry Fitzgerald just because he is playing San Francisco this week.
Best Match-ups of the Week
The absolute best match-up of the week is definitely the previously used example of Denver against New Orleans. This game has shootout written all over it, even though Denver's defense has actually been very stout all year. Drew Brees doesn't care about that though and manages to score points on everyone and their defense gives up points to everyone. This game promises to be a fantasy football dream between these two high powered offenses.
If you have any Packers players on your team make sure to start them this week. They are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars and are going to dominate their terrible defense. If you have James Jones, Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley or even Alex Green on your bench play them over anybody that you are not sure of. Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers obviously are must starts every week.
The Colts are playing the Titans and neither team has shown much on the defensive sides of the ball. I would expect this to be a high scoring affair and would have no problem playing Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, Chris Johnson, or Kenny Britt. I would even consider playing Matt Hasselback or Vick Ballard if your starters are on bye.
Worst Match-ups of the Week
The worst fantasy match-up of the week for offensive players is definitely San Francisco versus Arizona. These two defenses are both top 5 in the league and like to punish the opposing team. Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore are all elite players that should still start but do not start anybody else on either team besides their defenses. That means skip Alex Smith, Andre Roberts and the fantasy sleeper LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Seattle versus Detroit is another match-up that I would stay away from playing anybody who is not an elite must-start player. Seattle's defense is scary and really gets to the quarterback. Besides their pass rush they also play the run well and have possibly the best secondary in the league. The Lions on the other hand also have the ability to get in the QB's face. Russell Wilson will not have much time to throw the ball and the Seahawks are likely to rely on Marshawn Lynch through most of this game. Lynch and Megatron (Calvin Johnson) and Seattle's defense are the only must starts in this game.
Do not start any Carolina Panthers that you do not have to. One can make an argument that Cam Newton is a must-start and they would probably be right. Don't sit him without a viable option to replace him but realize that he is playing the Bears. This Bears team is wreaking havoc on every team not named Green Bay that they have played. The Panthers are imploding on themselves and Chicago is foaming at the mouth to get at them. If you have any legitimate replacement options for Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams or Steve Smith then play the other guy.