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Gut feelings on Week 12

Hope everyone had a joyous Thanksgiving. The holiday weekend concludes today with Week 12 of the fantasy season. Those of you who started the Patriots' Tom Brady at quarterback are feeling thankful, I'm sure, after his near-perfect performance Thursday against the Lions.

As for today's games, I wrote in Friday's column that starting any of the Bills this week is a risky bet. I have Fred Jackson in my starting lineup, but it's out of necessity. Stevie Johnson has also reached must-start status at WR, but that's it for useful Bills.

What should be the game of the day is in Atlanta, where the Falcons host the Packers. I know he hasn't been very productive this year, but I'd start Packers RB Brandon Jackson. I feel like he's got a touchdown in him this week.

I know Eli Manning throws a lot of interceptions, but if they don't hurt your score, he's definitely worth a start at home today against the woeful Jaguars' pass defense. In the same game, don't worry about Brandon Jacobs starting at RB over Ahmad Bradshaw. I still think the latter will get most of the carries and makes a good No. 2 or 3 RB.

The Panthers continue their march to the first pick in the draft today in Cleveland. That makes the Browns' defense fantasy relevant today. Start them as a sleeper. Also, stick with Mike Goodson at RB even though Jonathan Stewart is back for the Panthers.

I'm not entirely sure why, but I continue to believe that Titans WR Randy Moss is still a useful fantasy option. That includes today, even though he's got a rookie quarterback starting. The Texans' pass defense is just that bad.

Another player I stubbornly believed in most of the season is Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch. That changes today, though. Lynch hasn't done enough to earn the starting role and is losing too many carries to Justin Forsett.

Good luck in Week 12!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

(Full) gut feelings on Turkey Day

First, my fantasy stats from the Turkey Bowl. Probably eight or nine receptions, no clue how many yards. I kept the chains moving ala Wes Welker, although it was in a losing effort. Ok, now onto today's games ...

I'm starting Lions QB Shaun Hill today against New England, partlybecause I like having a fantasy player involved in the early game, and also because my other quarterback is Donovan McNabb. I'm not feeling too bad, though, because Hill has averaged 261.9 yards per game and has thrown for 12 touchdowns in seven starts this season. That type of production puts him in the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks. It's a good-to-great matchup for Hill against New England corners Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty.

If you're looking for a sleeper at receiver, try the Lions' Nate Burleson. He's got at least seven receptions in three of the last four games, and I expect the Patriots to double Calvin Johnson on the other side as much as possible.

In the middle game today, I'm finally benching Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. He's got just eight catches for 99 yards in November, and hasn't scored a touchdown. The Saints haven't allowed a touchdown to a tight end since Week Three.

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, who stands 6-foot-6, has a favorable matchup when he lines up across from Saints CB Jabari Greer (5-10), the former Bill. Bryant is a good No. 3 WR play this week.

In the night game, Bengals WR Terrell Owens once again takes the dreaded trip to Revis Island. When T.O. was a Bill last season, Darrelle Revis shut him down (less than 40 yards receiving in both games). I do think, however, that the Bengals will trail in the game and thus throw a lot, so I'd put Chad Ochocinco in if you've got him.

On the Jets' side, start almost anyone. The Bengals' banged-up secondary was lit up Sunday by Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, so Jets QB Mark Sanchez is a good play, as are WRs Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes.

The Jets' defense is also a great start against interception-happy Bengals QB Carson Palmer.

I'll have some more thoughts on the rest of the Week 12 games later this week. Have the happiest of Thanksgivings, and as always, best of luck!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Gut feelings on Week 11

We'll start in Cincinnati, where the Bills meet the Bengals. Bills RB Fred Jackson had the breakout game fantasy owners have been waiting for last week, and with rookie RB C.J. Spiller out of the lineup today, Jackson is a must start in the hopes he can do it again. The Bengals have a pair of solid cornerbacks in Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph, so Bills WRs Stevie Johnson and Lee Evans face tough matchups. Based on their stats this year, I'd sit Lee and start Stevie.

I can't believe it, but I'm advocating the use of Dallas QB Jon Kitna again. After watching the 'Boys toast the Giants last week, Kitna's home matchup with the woeful Lions is too good to pass up. I'd start him over, for example, Texans QB Matt Schaub or Vikings QB Brett Favre.

In the same game, Lions RB Jahvid Best won't have to worry about backup Kevin Smith taking reps, since Smith is out, so Best owners can use him and hope for better results than he's put up in recent weeks.

I can see the Pittsburgh-Oakland matchup being low scoring, but Steelers WR Mike Wallace is worth gambling on. Raiders All-Pro CB Nnamdi Asomugha is questionable with an ankle injury. If he can't go or isn't 100 percent, I like Wallace even more.

Malcom Floyd is back at WR for the San Diego Chargers, who don't play until Monday night. I always like having a player going on MNF, so that's part of the reason I'm starting Floyd (over Lee Evans). The bigger reason, though, is Floyd's numbers before he got hurt. He was averaging a whopping 21.4 yards per catch. San Diego leads the NFL in completions of 20-plus yards, so I like Floyd to get right back to being a productive fantasy option.

In the same game, I'd sit Chargers rookie RB Ryan Mathews. He's hobbled by a sprained ankle, again, and Mike Tolbert will be there to vulture carries.

I still won't sit him, but owners of Ravens WR Anquan Boldin should be warned. While the matchup with Carolina looks perfect on paper, the Panthers have given up more than 85 yards receiving to just one player this season (the Giants' Mario Manningham all the way back in Week One).

Clinton Portis is expected back for the Redskins at RB, which really cuts into Keiland Williams' chances. I'd sit both of them against the Titans.

Bucs receiver Mike Williams (Riverside) isn't a great play this week coming off his DUI arrest. I'm just not convinced he'll be in the right place mentally. On the 49ers' side, Michael Crabtree has scored in four of his past five games.

Lastly, if you've got Cowboys TE Jason Witten, sit him. If you're looking for an alternative, consider Giants TE Kevin Boss, who has scored in two straight games.

Best of luck in Week 11!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

 

 

Gut feelings on Week 10

As always, let's start with the Bills. They're back in Orchard Park for the first time in more than a month.

It's pretty breezy here, so I expect that to have a bit of an impact in the passing game. I'd start any of the following players: Lions WR Calvin Johnson, TE Brandon Pettigrew, RB Jahvid Best and QB Shaun Hill; Bills WRs Stevie Johnson and Lee Evans, RB Fred Jackson and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

I'd be most nervous about the potential for INTs from Fitz and Hill. Bold prediction: the Bills' secondary will get its first pick of the season.

If I learned anything from watching the Bears in Toronto last week, it's that RB Matt Forte is going to give up more and more carries to RB Chester Taylor. I'm still starting Forte this week, but it's out of necessity. He's become more of a No. 3 RB. One player I like for the Bears is WR Johnny Knox (whom Jerry Sullivan kept call Johnny Knoxville). He's a decent play this week against the Vikings.

My favorite play of the week is Titans WR Randy Moss. I think he'll be a great fit in the Tennessee offense and can easily see him putting up a 100-yard, touchdown-type game.

Amazingly enough, the Browns' defense has been great against the run. Cleveland has allowed just one 100-yard rusher through eight games. That means bench Jets RB Shonn Greene if you've been using him as a flex player.

If you're looking for a deep sleeper, try Colts WR Brandon James against the Bengals. If you have Peyton Manning throwing to you, you're never out of the fantasy picture.

Another sleeper play is Carolina RB Mike Goodson, who should start today against the Bucs. Goodson's got good speed and could be used a lot as a check-down option out of the backfield for rookie QB Jimmy Clausen. That's worth noting for PPR leagues.

Start almost any offensive player involved in the Texans-Jaguars matchup. That one should be a shootout. I particularly expect Houston QB Matt Schaub to have a big game, which would be a welcome sight for Schaub owners.

I've gotten better-than-expected production out of Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, but I'd consider sitting him if I was 50-50 with another receiver based on Bowe facing Broncos CB Champ Bailey. I really like Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles as a high No. 2 RB this week. The hope for him is that RB Thomas Jones doesn't vulture too many carries and/or touchdowns.

Consider starting Cardinals RB Tim Hightower. The Seahawks are a different team away from home, and I'm not sure Cardinals RB Beanie Wells is healthy.

Best of luck in Week 10!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Gut feelings on Week Nine

TORONTO -- Welcome to Week Nine of the NFL season. Let's get right into some thoughts on today's games.

Let's start right here in the Rogers Centre. I talked about today's game in my column that appears in Football Friday, but I'll reiterate the point here. Just because opposing tight ends have killed the Bills this season doesn't mean Bears TE Greg Olsen is an automatic start. Olsen has been terrible the past month, with just five catches for 82 yards and no TDs. I've already dropped him in one league and would bench him today.

Breakout star from Week Eight, Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount, faces a much tougher go of it today. Don't expect Blount to to come close to his 120 yards or two touchdowns from last week today against Atlanta. The Falcons haven't given up more than 70 yards or a touchdown to an opposing running back in five games. Blount is still worth starting, but it's in the role of a No. 3 RB, not a No. 1.

Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has scored in five straight games. He meets a Browns defense that has given up just one rushing TD this season. I think Cleveland wins that battle. Don't expect No. 1 RB stats from Green-Ellis, but rather a stat line similar to Blount's.

Another tight end I'm not high on today is Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew. I'm starting him out of necessity in one league because Vernon Davis is on bye, but Pettigrew faces a tough matchup against the Jets. New York has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, and in the two games Pettigrew has played with Matthew Stafford at QB, he's got just three catches.

If there's a worse team than the Bills in the NFL, it's the Carolina Panthers. They are likely to be without RB DeAngelo Williams again today, which in theory would make Jonathan Stewart a no-brainer start. Not so fast. Stewart has been miserable with just 2.9 yards per carry. Use him if you have to against the Saints, but don't expect great things.

You'd be starting him anyway, but after watching what the Bills did to the Ravens through the air, I love Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall this week.

Also as I mentioned in the column this week, give San Diego WR Patrick Crayton a start against the Texans today. Houston has allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing WRs and this one has the potential to turn into a shootout.

I'd start Arizona RB Beanie Wells today, even though there are some pretty big caution flags. Wells is working through a back injury and meets a Vikings defense that hasn't given up a TD to a running back at home this season. Despite all that, I'd start him. Call it a hunch.

I'd normally sit any receiver going against Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha, but he's questionable this week, so Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe is a decent option as a No. 3 WR or flex player. Expect a lot of runs in this game, though. The Chiefs and Raiders rank 1-2 in both rushing yards and attempts this season.

I'd sit Eagles WR DeSean Jackson this season. He's questionable coming back from a concussion and plays in a late game. Don't gamble he'll be ready.

Good luck in Week Nine!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski