Wondering whether to start Peyton Manning and Vincent Jackson, or to bench Tim Tebow and Steve Breaston? Anyone can give you that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 9.
Watch ’em roll
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles at Saints. Sure, Vick is on an extremely short leash, but the Saints offer a wealth of opportunities to opposing passers. Keep in mind, Atlanta didn’t force a single turnover from Vick last week, and New Orleans doesn’t force them from anybody. Redemption awaits in the Big Easy, for at least one week.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers at Redskins. DeAngelo Williams isn’t just being phased out; he might be heading out of town completely, if the trade rumors are true. It’s all good news for Stewart, who faces a strong, though hardly airtight, run defense in Washington.
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers at Giants. Though dealing with a sore quad, Dwyer is still the healthiest back in the Steelers’ stable. He has exceeded expectations over the past two games, and the team clearly trusts him with a heavy load. Barring a setback in practice, look for more positive returns against the so-so New York defense, even if Isaac Redman returns in a change-of-pace role.
Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers at Raiders. With 332 yards and 2 TDs over the past four games, Williams has reemerged as a potent weapon in Tampa Bay’s newly explosive offense. Oakland’s mediocre secondary will have its hands full with Vincent Jackson, leaving Williams open for plenty of targets.
Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals at Packers. Since John Skelton returned as the starting quarterback two games ago, Roberts has more receptions for more yards than Larry Fitzgerald, along with the lone TD. Facing a soft Packers secondary missing starting CB Sam Shields, Roberts should continue to prosper.
Roll ’em back
Eli Manning, QB, Giants vs. Steelers. With just 3 TDs (and 3 INTs) over the past three weeks, Manning is in a slump. It will be tough to break out against the league’s top-ranked pass defense.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills at Texans. If it was just Fred Jackson, or just Spiller, I’d like their chances, even against the stout Houston run defense. But when they cut into each other’s production, and face a unit that has yet to allow a rushing score, you have to think twice.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans vs. Bears. Now that Johnson is finally on a tear, it’s hard to put him back on your bench. But if you have safer options, consider it. Chicago sports the league’s stingiest run defense, and Johnson’s resurgence has come against Buffalo and Indy.
Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens at Browns. Baltimore’s most dangerous receiver will likely draw coverage from Joe Haden, who is leading Cleveland’s secondary back to respectability. The Browns haven’t given up a passing TD over the past two weeks, and Joe Flacco has just three scoring connections in four weeks.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys at Falcons. Bryant is dealing with a bum hip, and he’ll be facing a stingy secondary.
TAKING A FLIER
Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers at Redskins. Washington has given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. With Brandon Lafell (concussion) likely to sit out, Olsen should be a busy man.
Don’t be the bonehead who … fails to check the weather reports. It’s that time again, when wicked winds and rain can wreak havoc on passing and kicking games. Inclement weather doesn’t necessarily mean you should sit your studs; but it can be the tipping point between two otherwise equal options.