Start or Sit - Week 12

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This season is flying by and before you know it the playoffs will be here, making it essential for you to pick up some wins in the next two to three weeks.

That's where we come in with our weekly start or sit column.

Like I tell you every week, you probably won't find your stud players on this list. Guys like Adrian Peterson, Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald should always be started, regardless of who they're playing so it's a waste of time to even mention them.

This week we'll ANSWER EVERY QUESTION we get and post them on Friday for our Fantasy Mailbag column.

Send your questions to:

and between Ricky and myself, we'll do the best we can to help you out.

Otherwise, good luck this weekend.


Must starts: Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning


Kyle Orton - Bears vs. Rams - After the 37-3 drubbing the Bears suffered at the hands of the Packers last week, Orton will need to deliver a decisive victory this Sunday in order to silence the critics here in Chicago.

Let's face it, the Rams are terrible and this is setting up to be the bounce-back game you can't wait for if you're a Orton owner. He'll get back to the kind of production he was giving you before he went down with an ankle injury. Over 200 yds, 2 TDs.

Eli Manning - Giants vs. Cardinals - The key to the Giants success is their running game, led by a mashing front line and a bruising back in Brandon Jacobs.

But this weekend Jacobs may be out and even if he was to play, chances are the Giants are going to need to let Eli loose to win this game. The Cardinals can score in bunches and while the Giants do have arguably the best defense in football, nobody can slow down Kurt Warner as long as he has Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal.

Go Eli.

Phillip Rivers - Chargers vs. Colts - How have the Chargers fallen from the NFL playoff picture so quickly?

They're not technically out of it, but they desperately need to win this game against the Colts to have any kind of realistic chance at snatching the division lead away from Denver.

Last week Rivers struggled like anyone would against a ferocious Steelers defense and weather conditions that he's still probably trying to thaw out from. Now he's back at home in sunny California and the Chargers will be ready to roll.

Sage Rosenfels - Texans vs. Browns - He's been absolutely brutal since taking over for an injured Matt Schaub. He tossed four picks against the Ravens in Week 10 and just can't find a way to help this underachieving Texans team get back on track.

Well, the Browns are the cure to what ails you and Sage will do some damage for those of you who have waited for the right opportunity to use him. This is the week, but after that, you may want to get rid of him. The Texans remaining schedule is terrible.


Brett Favre - Jets vs. Titans - Ah, the old gunslinger.

Getting away from fantasy for a moment, I'd just like to ask if you guys are finding it much easier and more acceptable to root for Favre now that he's in New York. As Bears fans, I believe we've always respected the man but wearing that green and gold made it impossible for us to acknowledge it publicly.

Anyway, I'd like to just recommend sitting any quarterback that plays the Titans from here on out. Opposing teams have yet to score more than 21 points in a game against them this season and that's not the kind of production you're looking for at this point in the season.

Shaun Hill - 49ers vs. Cowboys - The 'D' Train is starting to pick up some steam and the 49ers are about to get absolutely flattened by it on Sunday.

Hill is the model of consistency this 49ers team has desperately needed, but that's not going to win you a football game against a squad many predicted would end up in the Super Bowl.

It's going to be an up-Hill battle all day. (How terrible was that?)

Jason Campbell - Redskins vs. Seahawks - On paper this matchup appears to be extremely enticing because of how poor the 'Hawks have played this year.

But Campbell has been a disappointment himself this season and that trend will continue as head coach Jim Zorn rides RB Clinton Portis into the ground on the way to winning this game. Zorn's turned this 'Skins team into a dink and dunk offense that depends on the run to deliver the big gains.

That doesn't bode well for Campbell in terms of fantasy production and it's time you consider only using him in emergency situations.

Running Backs

Must starts: Adrian Peterson (Min), Brian Westbrook, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, LaDanian Tomlinson,


Willie Parker - Steelers vs. Bengals - I'm expecting a monster game this weekend from Parker against a Bengals team that will be more focused on trying to get some payback on Steelers WR Hines Ward than stopping the run.

Last week Parker was punishing the Chargers late in the game and afterward proclaimed to want the ball even more. With a gimpy Ben Roethlisberger and the helpless Bengals up this weekend, head coach Mike Tice will take 'Fast Willie' up on his offer and use him to control the game and come home with the victory.

Definitely expect over 120 yds and at least one TD, if not two.

Warrick Dunn - Bucs vs. Lions - Make it three weeks in a row not that I've suggested you start a running back that plays the Lions.

And I've been right on the money every time.

With Earnest Graham going down for the season with an ankle injury, it'll be up to Warrick Dunn to handle the running back duties and he's more than capable of doing so.

Nothing like the Lions - who incidentally just gave up 264 yds rushing to the Panthers - to help Dunn make a smooth transition into the starting back.

Matt Forte - Bears vs. Rams - This entire Bears offense needed this game against the Rams to get back in the rhythm that impressed us so in the early half of the season.

Forte is the focal point in this offense and should make fantasy owners happy with over 130 yds combined and at least one TD.


Brian Westbrook - Eagles vs. Ravens - What a weird year it's been for running backs. But then again, this is usually about the time that Westbrook gets injured and either misses significant time or plays poorly because of it.

Word out of Philly is that Westbrook looked "alarmingly hobbled" and that's not the kind of condition you like your starting back to be labeled as against the Ravens defense.

Hold onto your hats folks and get ready for the Donovan McNabb air show.

Larry Johnson - Chiefs vs. Bills - You beat this Bills team through the air and only use the ground game to keep drives alive. Chiefs QB Tyler Thigpen has been the fantasy darling of 2008 and will have another great game against a Bills team that is in the midst of a four game losing streak.

LJ will help you out in the playoffs, just not now.

Tim Hightower - Cardinals vs. Giants - After finally wrestling away the starting duties from incumbent veteran Edgerrin James, Hightower runs smack dab into a gauntlet of tough opposing defenses.

Last week it was the Seahawks and this week it's the run stuffing Giants coming to town. This one's going to be all about Warner and his band of receivers and not the impressive rookie.

Wide Receivers

Must starts: Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson,


Bernard Berrian - Vikings vs. Jaguars - There was about a three week stretch there where Berrian and Vikes QB Gus Frerotte were really clicking.

Unfortunately they've cooled in back to back weeks and Berrian has been held to only 46 yds in that time span.

But the Jaguars have allowed the second most passing touchdowns (18) in the NFL and Berrian will beat their secondary deep on at least one occasion. Having the best running back in football on your team is the greatest gift for any receiver because defenses sell out against the run.

This leaves a burner like Berrian in single coverage situations and you can be sure that Frerrote will exploit it every chance he gets.

Donnie Avery - St. Louis Rams vs. Bears - Marc Bulger's only consistent option is the kind of receiver that gives this Bears defense fits. He's extremely fast and works well over the middle on slant routes, the underbelly of the Tampa-2 defense.

Bulger won't have trouble finding time to throw and Avery should have ample room to run after the catch.

Terrell Owens - Cowboys vs. 49ers - I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Owens will have his best game of the season against the team that drafted him 13 years ago.


Lance Moore - Saints vs. Packers - Moore has somehow supplanted Marques Colston as the leading receiver on this team and is targeted by Drew Brees early and often on Sundays.

But this Monday Moore is going to have to deal with the watchful eyes of Charles Woodson and Al Harris of the Packers lethal secondary. Those two make one of the best cornerback combinations in the NFL and Moore is going to struggle against their physical style of play.

This is Colston's Monday night showcase and Moore will be the sideshow.

Laveranues Coles - Jets vs. Titans - Going to be a tough night for this Jets offense as a whole. They've got as good of a chance as anyone to beat the Titans, but that's not what fantasy football is about.

It's about production and there's going to none of it coming from LC.

Justin Gage - Titans vs. Jets - He's been a hot pickup this week after exploding for 147 yds and 2 TDs against the Jaguars.

But don't get too excited just yet because I can't wait for Gage to come face to face with reality.

He's always shown flashes of potential, but Gage has never been able to consistently produce every week and will fall back to earth against a good Jets defense.

Tight Ends

Must starts: Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow Jr., Owen Daniels, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark


Chris Cooley - Redskins vs. Seahawks - Cooley's on pace to set a personal record for receiving yards in a year, but just can't ever find the end zone. This fact isn't lost on the fantasy realm and is starting to take a toll on his overall value.

But this week he snaps the skid and finds pay-dirt.


Benjamin Watson - Patriots vs. Dolphins - He had his best week of the season last week and it's only going downhill from there. Look elsewhere.

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Michael Turner - Falcons vs. Broncos - Anytime the 'Burner' is playing at home he becomes an automatic start. And when the opposing defense has allowed the eight most rushing TDs in the league, he's a no brainer.

While the focus of many will be on the matchup of Drew Brees vs. Matt Ryan, those wise enough to snag Turner on draft day can sit back and relax as he slices through the Broncos defense line like a hot knife through butter.

Huh........Atanta is playing Carolina.......This makes on sence

Olsen responds: You're absolutely right. That's because it's from last week.

QB: Romo (vs. SF) or Thigpen (vs. BUF)
RBs (pick 2): Chris Johnson (vs. NYJ), Thomas Jones (@TEN), Ryan Grant (@NO), Warrick Dunn (@DET)
WRs (pick 3): Steve Breaston (vs. NYG), Jerricho Cotchery (probable, @TEN), Lance Moore (vs. GB), Kevin Walter (@CLE)

Olsen responds:

Grant and Dunn
Moore, Walter and Breaston

Should I start Jones-Drew or should I pick up Hillis for this week in his place? I also have Larry Johnson and Jonathan Stewart. If we loose this week we wont make playoffs. Thanks for the help.

Ricky responds: I would definitely not drop MJD. It's tough because he splits carries with Taylor, but MJD usually gets the goal line touches and gives you more potential for points than Hillis.

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About the bloggers

Matt Wood is a web editor for and editor of He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on November 20, 2008 11:48 AM.

Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 12 was the previous entry in this blog.

Why not? Taking a crack at player rankings is the next entry in this blog.

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