Super Bears, Super Bowl!
Whoops, okay, not so much.
The most important weekend of the year. To those of you playing in the Super Bowl this weekend, we wish you luck and to help, here's this week start or sit list.
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.
Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
and between Ricky and myself, we'll do the best we can to help you out.
Or, leave a comment. We'll answer EVERY one of your questions.
Also, check out our Top Ten Most Despised Green Bay Packers list over at Top Ten Chicago Sports if you're looking for something else to occupy your time at work.
We won't tell your boss.
Otherwise, good luck this weekend.
Must starts: Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning
Matt Cassel - Patriots vs. Cardinals - Each week this kid has found a way to impress me. To be able to come back only a few shorts days after your father passed away and still perform at the highest level is truly remarkable.
With the Cardinals heading out West, you can't like their chances very much against a Patriots team that desperately needs a win to get into the playoffs. Not to mention this little tidbit from Newsday on December 14:
"Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and Oakland are a combined 1-12 in games played at least three time zones eastward this season. Throw in the Arizona Cardinals and it's 1-15."
Cassel, Moss and Welker should be in line for a very productive day in the most important week of the season.
Shaun Hill - 49ers vs. Rams - If you've been waiting for the perfect time to unleash Hill after he's sat on your bench for weeks, the time is here. I know it's asking a lot to start a quarterback for the first time during championship weekend.
But this is the fantasy matchup you dream of at this point of the year and I suggest you take advantage of it. Last time Hill faced the Rams he delivered a solid 217 yds and a pair of touchdowns.
What I like even more about this situation that interim head coach Mike Singletary has this team playing hard for the first time in a long time. They seem to be buying into the system and won't just go through the motions against the lowly Rams.
Brett Favre - Jets vs. Seahawks - Going up against the league's worst pass defense has got to have Favre feeling just a little bit better about himself after the stinkers he's put up lately. They're calling for snow on Sunday in Seattle and if there's one thing I've learned about Favre in all these years is that this is setting up for a classic Favre-ian performance.
So dust off the old gunslinger and get him into the starting lineup.
Other quarterbacks with favorable matchups: Aaron Rogers, Chad Pennington, Matt Schaub, Jeff Garcia (if healthy).
Eli Manning - Giants vs. Panthers - With Brandon Jacobs set to return this weekend against the Panthers, you can hear Manning's sigh of relief all the way out here in Chicago.
Losing Plaxico Burress hurt this offense more than anyone could have anticipated and Manning needs a dominant run game to help open up the passing game. Unfortunately for Jacobs and Manning, the Panthers have been playing like a team possessed, winners of six out their last seven games. Julius Peppers is back to terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and it'll be a long day for Manning in the Meadowlands.
Jason Campbell - Redskins vs. Redskins - I have officially given up on Jason Campbell.
I don't' care who or where he's playing because in my eyes, he's a must bench each and every week until he can deliver against a team as bad as the Bengals. That was embarrassing for him and me last weekend because I recommended starting him.
Matt Ryan - Falcons vs. Vikings - Everyone was sure that Kurt Warner would torch the Vikings average pass defense. What happened?
270 yds, TD, INT.
Not the stat line you're looking for in the Super Bowl and may be an indicator of what you can expect from Ryan. The only thing that may prevent Ryan from having his worst game of the season is the abilities of Michael Turner and the loss of Vikings run stuffer Pat Williams.
The Falcons need this game to keep playoff hopes alive, but the Vikings need it to clinch the NFC North crown. It's going to be ugly folks.
Other quarterbacks with unfavorable matchups: David Garrard, Joe Flacco, Jake Delhomme, Kerry Collins.
Must starts: Adrian Peterson (Min), Steven Jackson,
LaDanian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Slaton, Thomas Jones
Pierre Thomas - Saints vs. Lions - Is it really necessary for every fantasy football prognosticator to declare this the 'Super Bowl clinching starter' for this season?
Thomas is playing the Lions, did it really take you that long to dream up a scenario where he has a great game against them?
START THOMAS! START OF THE WEEK THOMAS!
I give you guys more credit than that.
Matt Forte - Bears vs. Packers - You've gotten this far with the rook out of Tulane, so don't change anything now.
The Packers secondary is respectable, but their run defense is indefensible, if that makes any sort of sense. All reports sound like that sore toe of Forte's shouldn't be a problem moving forward and he'll be ready to go on Monday night.
Let's just hope this team has something to play for. If the Vikes' win the Bears are goners.
Ronnie Brown - Dolphins vs. Chiefs - The Pro Bowler down in Miami should have a field day against the reeling Chiefs. Last weekend the Chiefs absolutely self destructed against the Chargers, putting an exclamation point on one of the most disappointing seasons in team history.
Brown will only add to that misery with a pair of scores as the Dolphins' playoff hopes stay alive for one more week.
Clinton Portis - Redskins vs. Eagles - Earlier this week, a reader named James wrote in with the following question:
"Is Portis becoming too risky?"
The answer is a resounding yes.
Last week was the ideal opportunity for not only Portis to have a great game, but for the entire team. Instead the Redskins failed miserably and lost to the Bengals.
Let that one sink in for a minute. The Bengals.
It's hard to talk yourself into sitting a guy like Portis, I understand. But you can't overlook what's been a miserable downward spiral for him and the Redskins.
Chris Johnson - Titans vs. Steelers - This kid has been amazing as a rookie and will be one of the top backs taken in the 2009 fantasy draft. But look elsewhere this weekend as Johnson goes against the dominating Steelers defense.
If you look closer at Johnson's numbers, one thing becomes abundantly clear: he's piled up the stats against bad teams and struggled to do much of anything against the good ones.
Combined record of teams Johnson rushed for over 100 yds against: 8-47-1 (Bengals, Chiefs, Lions, Browns).
Average production vs. teams with a .500 record or above: 53.6 yds per game, with only three total touchdowns in those seven affairs.
So what does that all mean to you my fantasy friend?
The Steelers defense will have its way with CJ and you should stay far away.
Larry Johnson - Chiefs vs. Chargers - Putting my personal disdain for all things LJ to the side for a moment, let's just take a look at the numbers.
Hasn't run for 100 yds since Week 4
One TD in last six games played, going back to Week 5
3.43 yards per carry over the last three games
Miami run defense ranks 11th vs. the run
Give him a rest; there are better options out there.
Must starts: Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson, T.O., Greg Jennings, Steve Smith, Antonio Bryant
Vincent Jackson - Chargers vs. Bucs - It's obvious that L.T. can't run the ball anymore, so it's up to Rivers and Jackson to keep this team's slim playoff hopes alive against the Bucs. This is a do or die game for both franchises and Jackson will be the primary target of the Chargers offense and has the ability to deliver.
While I don't think the Chargers win this game, it won't be because of Jackson.
Isaac Bruce - 49ers vs. Rams - I subscribe to the theory of placing high expectations on a guy facing his former team and this week Isaac Bruce falls under that category.
He's developed a nice connection with Shaun Hill and will be determined to find the end zone inside the dome where Bruce made a name for himself as a member of the Greatest Show on Turf.
Lance Moore - Saints vs. Lions - Last week, I told you that:
"He's quickly becoming the forgotten man in this Saints offense. Moore's been amazing this year, especially in the second half of the season. But right now there's not enough of the ball to go around, making Moore the odd man out."
Well now you can forget all about that. With Reggie Bush on the shelf for the rest of the year with a bum knee, Moore will assume his duties on the short routes and will pick up right where he left off.
Terrell Owens - Cowboys vs. Ravens - You're not going to sit him, and frankly, I probably wouldn't either. But this is the worst possible timing for T.O. to go up against one of the most feared defenses in football. Ed Reed patrolling the secondary with
DeMarcus Ware Ray Lewis terrorizing Tony Romo in the backfield does not bode well for the temperamental talent that is T.O.
This may end badly for the Cowboys, who are playing to the keep their playoff hopes in tact. But, my friends, so too are the Ravens and you know what they say: defense wins championships and not streaky offenses.
Santana Moss - Redskins vs. Eagles - See Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis. What a waste that team was in 2008.
Lee Evans - Bills vs. Broncos - Ditto for Evans. Although I don't think it's his fault.
Torry Holt - Rams vs. 49ers - Whatever happened to Torry 'Big Game' Holt? Such a shame considering this will be the first time since 1999 that Holt will finish with less than 1,000 yds receiving.
Must starts: Owen Daniels, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Jason Witten
John Carlson - Seahawks vs. Jets - This kid is getting better each week and has evolved into the offense's most trusted and frequented target.
Visanthe Shiancoe - Vikings vs. Falcons - Do you really trust Tarvaris Jackson in the fantasy football Super Bowl?