So today is my five-year wedding anniversary, and Monday is my wife's birthday. I've got a big weekend of football to look forward to, as my alma mater Michigan State takes on U-M in that joke of a football stadium that the Ann Arbor slappys refer to as “The Big House.” I've got to figure out how I can still watch that entire game on Saturday, catch my DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket on Sunday, and watch the Jets-Vikings game (in which I'll be starting Percy Harvin, Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller in one of my main dynasty leagues) on Monday, while still making sure I’m a solid husband and father. It will be a tough task, but I assure you I’ll figure out a way to get it done.
But on top of all that, my first priority is you all — and helping you make the decisions that will get you wins in your fantasy leagues this weekend. So let’s get started...
This will finally be the week that Jags DE Aaron Kampman makes his IDP owners happy. Not only should his burst finally be returning after suffering an ACL tear last year, but he faces a horrible Bills defense. In fact, the Jags defense in general is an interesting sleeper play in windy Buffalo. Fred Jackson is a top level flex play this week after Marshawn Lynch was shipped to Seattle.
Look for the Chiefs to hang with the Colts in an Indy shootout. Jamaal Charles is a great sleeper play against a horrible Colts defense and could have a HUGE week. Consider Dwayne Bowe a solid bet to see the end zone for the first time this season. And I have no inside information on this, but I’d be shocked if Austin Collie didn’t play.
I like Mike Williams (TB) to have a good game against the Bengals, and for Josh Freeman to get back on track as well. On the other side, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens are must-starts, with Carson Palmer a solid bye-week fill-in after his strong digits last week.
Will the real Mike Turner please stand up? This week will dictate how fantasy owners should value the 28-year-old standout RB moving forward. If he fails to impress against the Browns defense, you can all but write him off the rest of the way, seriously. However, I believe he’ll have his best week since 2008, and get into the end zone multiple times. Also, look for Peyton Hillis to finally come back down to earth a little.
Call me crazy, but I do not like the Washington-Green Bay matchup for fantasy purposes. Not that you should bench Aaron Rodgers, but don’t expect much production from either offense. Both defenses, however, are must-starts, and IDPs like Charles Woodson, DeAngelo Hall, LaRon Landry, Clay Matthews and Brian Orakpo should be in lineups.
Look for Jahvid Best to have another huge game against the Rams’ defense, but I don’t like Shaun Hill to repeat his Week 4 performance. Mark Clayton owners should start him, and going along with that concept, Sam Bradford is a great bye-week fill in. IDP owners should consider Chris Long a solid big-play league sleeper.
The Bears-Panthers game should almost see no offensive fantasy starters. DeAngelo Williams, maybe, if there are no other options at RB. IDP options, however, should thrive in this game. Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, James Anderson, Dan Conner and Jon Beason should be in lineups.
Fantasy owners are a bit confused this week on what to do with Kyle Orton and his WRs. They are all on fire, but face the Ravens defense. If you own Orton, he should probably be in your starting lineup, but consider benching guys like Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal and Jabar Gaffney. Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, on the other hand, are very solid options.
Look for Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks to have a big day against the Texans, but Ahmad Bradshaw is concerning me a bit. Does he really have fumble-it is, and could Brandon Jacobs start to eat into his workload? Arian Foster is obviously a must-play, and Matt Schaub should have a solid week, but look to avoid Houston’s pass catchers with Andre Johnson hurt.
The Saints’ defense and IDPs like Sedrick Ellis, Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith are all must-starts against Max Hall in his first career NFL start. Larry Fitzgerald owners should be concerned, but Tim Hightower might see a lot of check-downs, making him a nice sleeper PPR flex play.
Look for the Chargers’ offense to have another big day, especially on the ground, and as an owner of both Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews, I'm rolling with Tolbert. Oakland’s offense will struggle with Darren McFadden hurt, making guys like Shaun Phillips, who had a huge Week 4, a nice start yet again.
Kenny Britt will have a fourth straight nice game with Justin Gage out, and is likely to get into the end zone for the third time in three games. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dez Bryant is the Cowboys’ leading receiver in this game, folks, but of course Miles Austin is still a must-start. Felix Jones should see more work, making Marion Barber irrelevant.
I just don’t trust Kevin Kolb at all right now. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin owners have a serious dilemma to consider. It’s hard to bench those guys, but Kolb is king check-down, and it looks like LeSean McCoy could play. Proceed with caution with Philly’s WRs.
Monday night’s game will be as exciting as advertised, with veteran stars like Brett Favre, Randy Moss, LaDainian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor showcasing their talents, and the youth movement of Shonn Greene, Mark Sanchez, Dustin Keller, Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson and Santonio Holmes also all very fantasy worthy. While all of the aforementioned offensive players are solid plays, IDPs like Chad Greenway and Antonio Cromartie could steal the show from a statistical perspective.