Wondering whether or not to start Michael Vick and Greg Jennings, or bench Jimmy Clausen and Ted Ginn? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for real help with your starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 14 of the 2010 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens at Texans. Aside from the obvious elites, no QB merits a start this week more than Flacco. After holding his own against Pittsburgh, he and his wideouts will be treated to the league’s sorriest pass defense on Sunday. 300 yards and three or four TDs are well within reach.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos at Cardinals. With their former running backs coach now calling the shots, look for Moreno to be featured against Arizona’s hapless rush defense. Coming off a 175-total-yard effort in Week 13, Moreno should find similar success, and TDs, as the pressure is eased off Kyle Orton.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers at Redskins. Washington just coughed up 197 yards and four TDs to the Giants, while Blount ran strong vs. Atlanta. With run-stopper Albert Haynesworth suspended for the season, Blount’s path to the end zone gets even smoother.
Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers vs. Chiefs. His hamstring injury appears to be behind him, but his fellow receivers remain out or hobbling. Philip Rivers is overdue for a huge game, and KC’s pass defense isn’t as solid as they appeared last week.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders at Jaguars. He has emerged as Oakland’s most lethal receiving weapon, and he’s an equally dynamic threat as a kick returner. Jacksonville’s shaky secondary doesn’t stand a chance against Ford’s speed.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, David Garrard; RBs Jamaal Charles, Jonathan Stewart, Matt Forte, Chris Ivory, Tashard Choice; WRs Jeremy Maclin, Anquan Boldin, Wes Welker, Derrick Mason, Donald Driver, Robert Meachem, Mike Wallace, Mike Williams (TB), Santonio Holmes.
Roll ‘em back
Eli Manning, QB, Giants at Vikings. Minnesota’s pass defense has been playing extremely well lately while Manning has been just so-so, due mostly to his depleted WR corps. He may get Steve Smith (pectoral) and/or Hakeem Nicks (leg) back this week, but neither is likely to be at full speed Sunday.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills vs. Browns. He was gobbled up by the Vikings last week, and lost two blockers in the process. With CJ Spiller back to steal carries, don’t expect Jackson to find much success, or the end zone, against a defense that’s allowed just four rushing scores all season.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals at Steelers. He managed to reach paydirt against the Steelers in Week 9, but Benson has been mostly underwhelming this season. He’s unlikely to excel, or score again, against the NFL’s toughest run defense.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs at Chargers. Shortly after being held to a measly 13-yard catch by San Diego in the season opener, Bowe emerged as an elite fantasy wideout. But Champ Bailey shut him out last week, and he’ll face the stingy Chargers secondary without Matt Cassel (appendectomy) Sunday. With Brodie Croyle under center, KC’s best bet is to pound their running backs, as Oakland did so successfully last week.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals vs. Broncos. Fitz barely ranks among this year’s Top 20 fantasy wideouts, thanks to the Cardinals’ shabby play at QB. Now he must break in another passer (probably rookie John Skelton) while visiting “Bailey Beach,” where Bowe was marooned in Week 13.
More thumbs down: QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Brett Favre; RBs Mike Goodson, James Starks, Danny Woodhead, Pierre Thomas, Maurice Morris, Felix Jones, Jahvid Best, Shonn Greene, Ryan Mathews, Thomas Jones, Reggie Bush, Redskins RBs, Dolphins RBs; WRs Steve Smith (both), Brandon Marshall, Roy Williams, Braylon Edwards, Percy Harvin, Danario Alexender, Steve Breaston, Earl Bennett.
TAKING A FLIER
Broncos defense/special teams at Cardinals. Two weeks ago, Rusty Smith made the pathetic Texans defense look like the 2000 Ravens. On Sunday, Skelton could do the same for the Broncos. Denver should blitz the rookie silly, when they’re not stacking the line against Arizona’s subpar rushing attack. The Broncos held the Chiefs to 10 points last week, so it’s not a stretch to project single digits from the Cards.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHOneglects to check the weather before finalizing your starting lineup. It’s that time of year again, when gusty winds, snow and sleet can wreak havoc on passing and kicking games. Sloppy weather could be in store in Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington this weekend.