I have just one hope: that none of you had Doug Martin on the bench last week.
I had Martin ranked 9th, which, come to find out, was just a bit low. His 251 rushing yards and four touchdowns vaulted him to the number one spot in the running back rankings.
Fear the Muscle Hamster.
Obviously, Martin can’t duplicate his monster performance this week against San Diego, but the moral of the story here is to ride hot streaks whenever possible. Martin had been hot coming into last week, which led me to put him in my top 10.
With the playoff picture starting to ramp up, it’s time to start factoring in what exactly these guys are playing for, and guys like Martin who are fighting for a playoff spot become an even better play going forward.
1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Coming off their bye week, the Patriots should thrash the struggling Bills. This could mean that the Pats will turn to the ground game after building a lead, but something tells me that coach Belichick will let his future Hall of Famer air it out against a bad Bills secondary.
2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Matty Ice faces the league’s worst pass defense in New Orleans this week in what should be a shootout. All systems go.
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
The shootout in the Big Easy will benefit Brees just as it does Ryan. It’s Drew Brees. Start him.
4. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
The Lions are coming on, now winners of two straight. In a divisional game against Minnesota that has big implications, I expect Stafford to show up in a big way.
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
I’d have Ben much higher if the Steelers couldn’t run the ball. Against the lowly Chiefs, they will run first and pass second, but Roethlisberger will get his.
6. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Peyton is riding a five-game streak of three TD passes, and has passed for an average of more than 300 yards during that span. He’ll continue his great play, but Carolina has limited opposing QBs to three TD passes in their last four games.
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck threw for a rookie-record 443 yards last week, and led the game-winning drive in the process. The kid’s for real; put him in your lineup.
8. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Against New England the Bills will throw, throw, and throw some more. Fitz tossed for 350 yards and four TDs in their last meeting. (4 picks too: slight disclaimer)
9. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman has caught fire, throwing for more than 300 yards and nearly two scores per game in his last four. Ride the wave.
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli’s back-to-back dismal efforts have me concerned, but his brother tore up Cincy last week; maybe the younger Manning will rebound.
1. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Doug Martin just torched this Oakland defense to the tune of 251 yards and four TDs. We may not see Rice match those numbers, but expect greatness.
2. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Gore has stayed healthy this year, and fantasy owners are loving it. With an extra week to heal his ribs, consider his minor injury a thing of the past.
3. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa is hot and Martin is scorching. Fear the hamster.
4. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
I know he’s facing the Bears, but Foster is the best. Chicago hasn’t seen anyone close to Foster’s talent level yet this year. He’ll gash them more than a few times.
5. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson faces a Detroit defense that has fared well against opposing fantasy RBs, but like Foster, is too good to be contained. AP ran for 100 yards in his first meeting with Detroit, and he’ll do it again this week.
6. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Fighting for a playoff berth, the Seahawks have a crucial game against the Jets this week. Lynch may be banged up so keep an eye on his status as the week rolls on, but if he goes he’ll shred this defense that has been very generous against the run.
7. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
He faces a tough matchup against Houston, but if the Bears can’t run it with Forte they’ll throw it to him, giving him plenty of touches to do something with.
8. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
They play the Bills at home, which means the Pats should build an early lead. Enter the Ridler. Ok, I won’t use that again.
9. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins
This is really a testament to Tennessee’s defense rather than Bush’s skill.
10. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Turner showed some life last week, ripping off a 43 yard run that set up his four-yard TD. He plays the Saints this week, which could mean even better things are to come.
11. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
12. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
13. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos
14. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
15. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
16. Isaac Redmond, Pittsburgh Steelers
17. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants
18. Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
19. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals
1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones has been a star on the road this season. Considering he’s traveling to New Orleans to face the league’s worst-ranked pass defense, fantasy owners have reason to drool.
2. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
He faces a weak pass defense in the Giants, and his quarterback threw the ball much better last week.
3. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Marshall has been dominant of late, and I expect that to continue this week against Houston. You simply can’t body this guy up.
4. Calvin Johnson
Speaking of guys you can’t body up, Megatron had 7-for-129 last week playing through an injury. In a big time game against division rival Minnesota, he’ll show up.
5. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
Points will be scored in this Saints-Falcons matchup, that’s for sure. I like Colston to grab at least one of those TDs.
6. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Start all your Saints and Falcons. Get the Picture?
7. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Cruz has put together back-to-back games without surpassing 70 yards. He hasn’t scored in either one, but it’s been because of his quarterback for the most part. He (and Eli) will return to form against the Bengals.
8. Wes Welker, New England Patriots
Remember when Welker was the topic of discussion because he seemed to be getting “phased out” of New England’s offense? Yeah, me neither.
9. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
I don’t like the Thursday game for offensive players. Only reason he isn’t in the top three this week.
10. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
He’s been a beast over the last three games, racking up 25 catches and nearly 300 yards. If only he could find the end zone…
11. Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills
12. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
13. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
14. Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
15. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
16. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
17. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
18. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
19. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
20. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
21. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
22. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
23. Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers
24. Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots
25. Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
He’s back! From his bye that is. Don’t hesitate for a millisecond when putting him back into your lineup.
2. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Graham has been effective since returning from his injury, catching a TD in each of his last two games.
3. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
I’m going to get a lot of hate mail if this game ends up being 10-6. Too late to back down now; I’m sticking to my shootout prediction and Gonzo will get in on the action.
4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Witten has caught 50 balls in his last five games. Yeah, start him.
5. Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals
Gresham is coming off his best game of the year, a 6-catch, 108-yard day. Can he do it again this week? He’s been inconsistent in terms of yardage, but the targets and catches have been there all year.
6. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Facing corners Cortland Finnegan and Jenoris Jenkins on the outside, I think Alex Smith will throw over the middle early and often in this one.
7. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Daniels is having a really nice year, but keep an eye on his hip this week.
8. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kansas City has been relatively stingy to opposing tight ends, but Miller will find room for a few catches as he always does.
9. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions
Despite Matthew Stafford throwing for 295 yards last week, Pettigrew was able to catch only one ball. He’ll rebound against Minnesota; he had 7-for-67 against them last time.
10. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
I question only his quarterback’s ability to get him the ball. Gates and Rivers have only hooked up 11 times in their last three games, but three of those have been TDs.
Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny