With both my fantasy matchup and my reputation on the line, I nervously watched the closing minutes of the Giants-Redskins game.
I picked wideout Victor Cruz to be the NFL’s number one fantasy WR last week, and inside the two-minute warning, Cruz had only six grabs for 54 yards. Thankfully, Eli Manning found that extra gear he has for those situations, and he found Victor for a 77-yard touchdown strike that had me standing up doing the salsa in a crowded restaurant.
Whether it’s on the first play or the last, fantasy points are fantasy points, and I’ll take every last one. I’m sure countless matchups were won on Matthew Stafford’s all-but-garbage-time touchdown to Ryan Broyles on Monday night.
Even more were lost when Calvin Johnson mustered only 34 yards receiving in the same game.
It’s now past midseason for those of us who play a 13-week regular season. Anything can still happen, and a late playoff run isn’t out of the question- don’t give up yet.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is the best fantasy quarterback in the league, and maybe the best quarterback in the league period. Facing a below-average Jacksonville pass defense, Rodgers has himself a day.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees has officially found his game folks. He threw for 313 yards and four TDs in the first half last week, and while I don’t expect him to quite duplicate that this week against a pretty good Denver defense, he’s a top choice every single week.
3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Playing a Washington defense that is fourth-worst against opposing fantasy quarterbacks, I like Big Ben to post big numbers.
4. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Peyton is great, the New Orleans secondary isn’t. It’s simple math really.
5. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
RGIII is just a beast. Even facing a solid Steeler defense, I expect Griffin to perform on an elite level as he has done all season.
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
St. Louis has a good secondary, but that didn’t stop Aaron Rodgers from hanging 342 yards and three TDs on them last week. Brady may not be that good, but he’ll be good.
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been playing better football lately, in large part because of their rookie QB. Against a terrible Tennessee defense, start Luck with confidence.
8. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
I know Rivers has given the ball away with great effectiveness this year, but Cleveland is really bad.
9. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
In his last game, against Detroit, Vick seemed to break out of the funk that had been plaguing him this season, throwing for more than 300 yards and two TDs. He’s not the elite status he once was, but I believe he is startable week-to-week.
10. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Bradford has been inconsistent this year, but he has performed well against the bad defenses he has faced. He faces another one of those in New England this week.
1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
2. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Forte hasn’t scored since week one, and although he has put together good yardage totals, his lack of TDs has hampered his success. Against the lowly Panthers, I expect a coming out party.
3. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Facing a weak Kansas City run defense, if head coach Dennis Allen had a brain, he’d feed DMC the rock all day long. But McFadden still has to do something with it, which he hasn’t done yet this year. This is a make-or-break game for DMC; I think he makes it.
4. Lesean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Like Michael Vick, McCoy has struggled at times this season. In crucial games like the one the Eagles play against Atlanta this week, stars show up to play. McCoy is that star.
5. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Charles has rushed for 233 yards in a game this season, and 3 yards in a game this season. It has undoubtedly been a roller coaster so far for Charles, but he gets plenty of touches in both the running and passing game, so against Oakland, he’s a good bet.
6. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants
Bradshaw now has touchdowns in each of his last three weeks. Ride the streak.
7. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Gore tore up a stout Seattle run defense last week, and has a better matchup this week against Arizona.
8. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Johnson went berserk last week, racking up over 200 total yards and two scores. While he likely won’t do it again this week, he has produced in three of his last four now and Indy isn’t exactly the Steel Curtain.
9. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Mathews owners have been waiting for him to break out in 2012 to no avail. Against a Cleveland team that the Chargers should throttle, expect lots of touches and lots of yards for Mathews.
10. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Ridley let me down last week when I ranked him in the top five, so naturally, he owes me. Against a middling St. Louis defense, he’ll rebound.
11. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
12. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints
13. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos
14. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins
15. Alex Green, Green Bay Packers
16. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
17. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
18. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
19. Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys
20. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Again, keep in mind all these rankings are based upon half-PPR leagues.
1. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This was a tough decision. With so many guys playing on an elite level, I chose V Jax as the big dog this week because he’s been scorching hot and his quarterback has consistently fed him the ball. Don’t expect another 216 yard game, but he should find the end zone for a fourth straight week.
2. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Another guy who is simply on a tear, Marshall has averaged a TD and more than 100 yards in his last three. I don’t see anything changing against Carolina.
3. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Eli Manning and Victor Cruz are feeling it right now; expect more salsa this Sunday in Dallas. My only concern here is that Dallas contained Cruz in their first meeting.
4. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
I mentioned his quarterback already, and Wayne should reap the benefits of a good matchup just like his QB will.
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones has been stellar on the road this year, and with Roddy White opposite him, Philly can’t afford to give Jones the Asomugha treatment.
6. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
At this point, no matchup scares me with Colston. Even facing Champ Bailey, he’s a must-start.
7. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Megatron has been disappointing so far in 2012. With his talent, I can’t see it happening for much longer.
8. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings
Against a rough Tampa secondary, I’d have Harvin much higher if it weren’t for his struggling QB.
9. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Thomas and his QB Peyton Manning have had a good rapport thus far in 2012. Coming off their bye week, expect them to be even more in-sync.
10. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
See Roethlisberger, Ben.
11. Wes Welker, New England Patriots
12. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
13. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
14. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
15. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
16. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
17. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
18. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
19. James Jones, Green Bay Packers
20. Brandon Gibson, St Louis Rams
21. Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
22. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
23. Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers
24. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
25. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
1. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
He’s been the premier TE in the league this year. I don’t expect anything to change after the veteran got a week of rest on the bye.
2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
He scored twice last week, proving he’s one of the best red zone threats in the NFL.
3. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller has been Roethlisberger’s favorite red zone target this year, and has scored four TDs. Did I mention the Steelers play the Redskins???
4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Even though Witten only tallied 44 yards last week, he still notched six catches. Romo keeps throwing his way, and Witten tends to show up for big divisional games like this one against the Giants.
5. Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos
Like Demaryius Thomas, Tamme will benefit from his QB’s elite play as well as this matchup against New Orleans.
6. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Is he back? Gates caught two TDs last week, but had done nothing up until that point. I have to believe he will start producing.
7. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
It will take another goose-egg from Vernon for me to start doubting him. With his athleticism, he’s still almost a must-start in my mind.
8. Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots
He’s done fine since returning from his injury, and although Gronk got the TDs last week, it’s only a matter of time before Hernandez gets a score of his own.
9. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph’s zero-catch performance last week worries me, but with how many touchdowns he has caught this season, he still belongs in the top 10, and in your lineup.
10. Dustin Keller, New York Jets
Keller appears to be healthy, and his 7/93/1 line last week shows his potential. If his quarterback can get him the ball, he’ll produce, but that’s a big ‘if’.
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