Wondering whether to start Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson, or to bench Ryan Lindley and Michael Jenkins? 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 12.
Watch ’em roll
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals vs. Raiders. Dalton is on a roll, with seven touchdowns over the past two weeks, and the Raiders have given up 93 points over the same period. Cha-ching!
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills at Colts. There’s a decent chance Fred Jackson (concussion) will return to the lineup Sunday, most likely in a backup, limited-carry role. Spiller is Buffalo’s most dangerous weapon, and he will be deployed extensively against a Colts run defense that has surrendered the second-most TDs to rushers.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals vs. Raiders. Look for Green-Ellis to build off his first 100-yard game of the season in a matchup with Oakland’s league-worst run defense. With TDs in two of his past three outings, Green-Ellis is also a good bet for another end-zone encore.
Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens at Chargers. The game-breaking speedster’s worst game of the season fittingly came against the NFL’s stingiest pass defense. In San Diego, the coverage gets much softer, and Smith will undoubtedly be a huge part of the game plan. Don’t miss out on his rebound performance.
Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers vs. Ravens. We haven’t seen a QB-WR tandem develop such quick chemistry since Tony Romo and Laurent Robinson last season. Alexander has been targeted 18 times over the past two games, amassing 230 yards and three TDs along the way. Trust him against the mediocre Baltimore secondary.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan; RBs Frank Gore, Marcel Reece, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson; WRs Reggie Wayne, Stevie Johnson, Randall Cobb, Michael Crabtree, Nate Washington, Justin Blackmon, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Marques Colston, Hakeem Nicks.
Roll ’em back
Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders at Bengals. Cincinnati hasn’t allowed a passing score over its past two games, and Palmer has been tearing up a series of poor pass defenses. As much as he would love to make his former team regret letting him go, Palmer’s hot hand is likely to cool off this weekend.
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins vs. Seahawks. Miami has plummeted from contender to pretender in rapid fashion, and Bush has led the free-fall. It’s not that Daniel Thomas is playing better; it’s that the entire offense is stuck in a rut. Seattle’s stingy run defense won’t help.
Michael Turner, RB, Falcons at Buccaneers. The way to move the ball against the Bucs is through the air, not on the ground. Turner has had an up-and-down season, and this one has all the trappings of a disaster.
Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers at Browns. He will be attempting to shag passes from third-string QB Charlie Batch, and this after Wallace accumulated a whopping 26 yards with the second-stringer. And, if shutdown corner Joe Haden (oblique) plays, it’s game over.
DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, WRs, Eagles vs. Panthers. With Nick Foles under center, this duo combined for 5 receiving yards against the inept Redskins pass defense. Now facing a much more formidable opponent, you simply can’t risk any Eagles receiver in your lineup.
Taking a flier
Jalen Parmele, RB, Jaguars vs. Titans. I know, I know. I’m recommending a Jag? Only if you’re really hurting at RB. Parmele has stolen the starting job from Rashad Jennings, and the versatile tailback should get plenty of touches against the awful Titans defense. It helps that Jacksonville seems to have found its passing game.
Don’t be the bonehead who … carries multiple defenses or kickers on your roster any longer. The bye weeks are past us, so it’s time to stock your bench with your top RBs’ handcuffs and receivers with upside for your postseason push.