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Bills' Jackson makes list of underrateds

Author Derek Lofland of fantasyfootballmaniaxs.com doesn't waste any time in taking a shot at the Bills, but he does show some love for running back Fred Jackson.

Lofland recently listed his 10 most underrated fantasy football players, with Jackson coming in seventh.

"Jackson is one of those guys that plays on a bad team in a small market, but quietly tallies solid fantasy numbers," he writes. "In 2009, he ranked 15th and many people thought that a crowded backfield would make him irrelevant in 2010. He still finished with 222 carries for 927 yards and five rushing touchdowns. He also added 31 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns."

Lofland continues: "One thing that hurt Jackson last year was the Bills giving carries to Marshawn Lynchwhile they were trying to boost his trade value. Jackson had only 20 carries for 87 yards and one rushing touchdown in the first four games. Once Lynch was sent to the Seattle Seahawks, Jackson averaged 70 yards rushing per game and had five games with more than 20 carries."

Lofland continues by pointing out the role of C.J. Spiller is the big unknown in the backfield for the Bills.

My take: Jackson owners shouldn't be worried about Spiller. The former is going to be the workhorse in the backfield, and barring injury, will get plenty of touches. He's a safe No. 2 running back in fantasy.

To see all of Lofland's list, click here.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Gut feelings on Week 16

Good morning from Ralph Wilson Stadium, hope everyone got just what they wanted for Christmas. I'd like for nothing more than a fantasy championship today, and I'm sure some of you agree.

With that, let's take a quick spin around the league, starting here in Buffalo.

I knew Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis was having a good season, but I didn't realize how good until this week. He's got 12 TDs. I like him as a No. 2 RB today, but he could put up No. 1 RB stats. Also, start Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, as there's a chance fellow TE Aaron Hernandez won't play.

In Chicago, I wouldn't start any Bear, or Jet for that matter. Expected awful weather and two good defenses make that a tough game to put up any fantasy numbers.

I love what Ravens QB Joe Flacco has done for my fantasy team this season. As such, I'm starting him in today's championship game, even though the Ravens don't have a ton to play for against the Bears. I'm hoping for 200+ yards and two or three TDs. Ravens RB Ray Rice has been awesome lately, while Browns RB Peyton Hillis has slowed down. I think both of those trends continue today.

Titans WR Kenny Britt showed he's healthy last week and is a solid play today against Tennessee.

The San Francisco-St. Louis game amazingly has playoff implications, which means I'd gamble on 49ers WR Michael Crabtree having a decent day.

I like the Dolphins' Davone Bess as a sleeper at WR. In the same game, I wouldn't start Lions RB Maurice Morris. I've seen enough out of the Dolphins' defense last week against the Bills to believe in them.

The biggest concern in the Philly-Minnesota game is the weather. Since I'm playing a team that has Michael Vick at QB, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch has been decent lately, and he's a good start again today against Tampa Bay.

Best of luck in today's championship games!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Gut feelings on Week 15

It's Week 15, and in terms of the playoff picture, very little has been decided so far in the NFL. That's good news for fantasy owners, since no stars will see any changes in their normal playing time.

With that in mind, let's take a spin around the league.

If you're looking for a sleeper option at WR, consider the Browns' Mohamed Massaquoi. He's facing a Bengals' secondary that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to WRs over the past 10 weeks.

The switch from Donovan McNabb to Rex Grossman at QB for the Redskins makes me bail on Washington WR Santana Moss. I've got no faith in Grossman. At all.

I've talked often this season about Titans QB Kerry Collins, and this is the matchup he's waited for all season. He's coming off a great game against the Colts and gets fantasy greenlight known as the Texans' pass defense. Houston has allowed at least two passing touchdowns in all but two games. I also think Collins will throw to WR Kenny Britt, so I'd consider starting him.

Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown for 300+ yards in his last four games against the Jaguars, which makes any of his receiving options viable plays today. That includes Austin Collie, should he be active. Keep an eye on whether he's playing and make a decision shortly before your lineup locks.

Kansas City faces a must-win game against St. Louis and I'm betting Matt Cassel plays. If he does, safely use WR Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs. Again, watch the inactives list on Cassel. If he's out, Bowe becomes a very risky play.

The Bills have scored 20 points in six of their last seven games, are without Lee Evans and face a tough Miami defense. What does all that mean? For starters, I'd bench QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. I'd also consider benching WR Stevie Johnson, who has been pretty quiet since his three-TD game against the Bengals. The only sure-fire starters in this one are RBs Fred Jackson of the Bills and Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams of the Dolphins.

Tampa Bay favors the run over the pass, but I like Bucs QB Josh Freeman a lot today against the Lions.

I had a person on Twitter this morning ask me if they were crazy for benching Vikings RB Adrian Peterson for Raiders RB Darren McFadden and Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart. I said no, which goes to show just how much I like Stewart today.

The Eagles-Giants matchup is full of question marks in fantasy. To save time, here's who I'd start: Eagles -- QB Michael Vick, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Brandon Jacobs. Giants -- WR Hakeem Nicks, RB Brandon Jacobs.

Shut down former Bills RB Marshawn Lynch for the Seahawks today. Atlanta has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs in the past 10 weeks.

It's easy in the Broncos-Raiders game. Start the RBs (Oakland's Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, Denver's Knowshon Moreno) and sit the rest. Oakland QB Jason Campbell is a sleeper candidate only, and with Broncos QB Tim Tebow making his first career start, the Denver receivers aren't worth risking, save only Brandon Lloyd.

Two good run defenses meet in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers host the Jets. I'd stay away from the New York runners (LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene) and start Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall with lowered expectations. My favorite play in this whole game is the Pittsburgh defense, even without Troy Polamalu.

Finally, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is out. Yuck. Sit Pack WR Donald Driver as a result.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Gut feelings on Week 14

Undoubtedly, the story of this week is the weather. With that in mind, let's start here in Orchard Park. It's a steady rain right now, but if it gets a few degrees colder, it could easily be a winter wonderland.

I'd bench Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick if you had him starting, and I feel better about starting Fred Jackson. Remember, he showed last year against Indianapolis he can run in the wet stuff.

The situation is similar in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers face the Bengals. I'd rank the fantasy usefulness of that game as 1. Rashard Mendenhall, 2. Cedric Benson, 3. Terrell Owens, 4. Mike Wallace, 5. Ben Roethlisberger. Anyone else is a gamble.

In Carolina, forecasters are calling for winds between 30 and 40 mph. That makes Falcons QB Matt Ryan a less-than-ideal play. My favorite plays in that game are Falcons RB Michael Turner (obviously) and the Atlanta defense.

Tampa Bay visits Washington in a game that's forecast to be rainy. I'd stay away from Bucs QB Josh Freeman, but would start RB LeGarrette Blount without hesitation. I'm also picking Redskins QB Donovan McNabb and WR Santana Moss as sleeper plays this week. McNabb has experience playing in this stuff, and the Bucs traditionally lose their heads in the cold.

Perhaps the worst weather of the day will come in Chicago, where temperatures are expected to be below zero with the wind chill. Can you really bench Pats QB Tom Brady though? I wouldn't. Same goes for Bears QB Jay Cutler. These conditions aren't new to him, so he's worth starting.

In Detroit, it will be very interesting to see how much work Niagara Falls' James Starks gets at running back for the Green Bay Packers. Starks has been a popular pickup this week, but I'm not sure he's going to run away with the feature role just yet. I'd start Starks as a flex option, but not No. 1 or 2 RB.

With the Minnesota-New York Giants being delayed, fantasy owners, especially those of Adrian Peterson, have a lot of questions. It should be noted, however, that no NFL game has ever been canceled. The game will be played, so you can start whomever you normally would.

Attention all Matt Cassel owners: He's out this week. Finding a suitable replacement won't be easy.

Best of luck in the fantasy playoffs!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Gut feelings on Week 13

Let's start in Minnesota, where I'll consider joining Sully in his run down Hertel Avenue if RB Adrian Peterson doesn't play. He's not going to pass up a chance to face the worst run defense in the league.

My sleeper pick for the Bills is RB C.J. Spiller finds the end zone.

The Redskins are a mess, which makes any of the Giants good starts. That especially goes for TE Kevin Boss. If there was one Giant I'd be hesitant, it would be WR Mario Manningham, who has to face Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall.

If you have no chance for the playoffs and just want to have some fun, start Broncos TE Dan Gronkowski. The local guy got some playing time last week and could very well have a decent day against the Chiefs in a game that's got shootout written all over it. That means Chiefs RBs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones can both be used.

I've doubted the Bears all seasn long, but at 8-3, it's time to believe. That includes today against the Lions, who will start Drew Stanton at QB. I've got the Bears' defense as one of the five best to start today.

With Ronnie Brown coming off season highs in carries and yards, I'd ride that momentum and start the Dolphins RB against the Browns.

I expect the Bengals to fall behind big to the Saints, which might give Cincinnati receivers Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Jordan Shipley a chance to put up garbage-time yards.

It's tough to gamble on WR Malcom Floyd for the Chargers since they don't kick off until 4 p.m., but it might be worth it. Philip Rivers will find anyone, so with Vincent Jackson out, Floyd should have a chance to put up No. 1 receiver targets.

It seems crazy to suggest starting a rookie QB in fantasy, but the Rams' Sam Bradford has an attractive matchup with the Cardinals, who are coming off a short week and looked terrible Monday night against the 49ers.

My second sleeper option at RB this week is Dallas' Tashard Choice. Colts-Cowboys also has shootout written all over it, and Dallas starter Felix Jones has been pretty disappointing this season.

Seahawks-Panthers won't draw in the viewers, but Carolina RBs Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson are both good starts. I like Goodson more, but Stewart will steal some carries.

Good luck in Week 13!

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

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 

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