Hits and Misses – Week 14: A-Pete ready to hand out early Christmas gifts

After taking a break for the holidays (although I still put up a brief hit/miss post for Turkey Day), let’s get back into the action for what is most likely week one of the playoffs in many fantasy football leagues out there. This week we kick it off with a regular on the “Hit” list, Mr. Adrian Peterson, who has a great match-up against the Lions.  Last time Purple Jesus played Detroit he rushed for 111 yards and fumbled twice…but this time I think it’ll be a little better…

Hits

  • Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings (@ DET): If the Vikings can beat the Lions this weekend they are a near lock to make the playoffs. Because of this, and the fact that it’s the Lions, I have a feeling that Peterson is in for a big game. The Lions are allowing 177 rushing yards per contest, which is the worst in the NFL. They’re also allowing over five yards per carry on the ground and have given up about two touchdowns a game to opposing tailbacks. As I have Peterson in my most important league, I’m hoping that he can rush for those averages without the help of partner-in-crime, Chester Taylor, stealing his thunder.
  • Brett Favre, QB, Jets (@ SF): Favre hasn’t been putting up the numbers many of expected this season and this is mostly because he hasn’t needed to with the running game finally coming alive for the Jets. This week though he plays a San Francisco pass defense that is a bit less talented than your average defense, allowing 240 passing yards a game on average and allowing 18 passing touchdowns so far this season. Expect a solid game from Brett Favre as he should help your team make it to the next round of the playoffs.
  • Jay Cutler, QB, Broncos (vs KC): Last time that Cutler played the Chiefs, he didn’t quite put up the stats that you would hope for against such a poor defense. This weekend though he gets Kansas City at home and his team is looking to get one step closer to securing a playoff spot, so expect big things.
  • Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos (vs KC): Unfortunately Marshall has not lived up to expectations this season after defenses have begun keying on him to try to slow down the passing game (which hasn’t worked by the way!) I have a feeling Brandon is going to breakout this weekend and reward everyone who drafted him this season.
  • Peyton Hillis, RB, Broncos (vs KC): Hillis has returned the Broncos running game to glory after it struggled the early part of the season. This week he gets a Chiefs defense that has been nearly as bad as the Lions, giving up five yards per carry for 164 yards per game to running backs. With the Broncos offense rolling these days, expect Hillis to play a big roll in this one.
  • Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs (@ DEN): After returning from injury in week 11, LJ has been playing quite well and he should have a big game against the Broncos as long as they can keep it a close game. Denver is allowing 4.9 yards per carry and 144 yards per game, so if Johnson can come anywhere near that average, he’ll be worth the start.
  • Matt Cassel, QB, Patriots (@ SEA): Let’s forget about last weeks debacle against the Steelers. This is a new week and a new opponent (Seattle), who happens to be the worst in the NFL against the pass. Maybe he won’t throw for 400 yards, but he should find plenty of open receivers against a defense allowing 265 yards per game through the air and has given up 19 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.
  • Randy Moss / Wes Welker, WR, Patriots (@ SEA): Cassel will want to erase his last performance from the minds of his possible suitors for the off-season and this should pay big dividends for his two primary receivers, who are both in line for 100 yards and a touchdown or something of that nature.
  • Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals (vs STL): Hightower has been a huge disappointment since taking over as the starting tailback for Arizona, but he hasn’t lost the starting gig quite yet and this game could be his redemption. St. Louis is allowing 4.8 yards per carry and 162 yards per game to go along with 21 touchdowns allowed on the season.
  • Others: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons (@ NO); Roddy White, WR, Falcons (@ NO), Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers (vs NYJ), Tyler Thigpen, QB, Chiefs (@ DEN)

Misses

  • Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (@ BAL): Last week Portis showed a lot of heart as he played injured against the Giants, but he was not effective at all. If the Redskins want to make the playoffs (or at least be competitive when they get there), they’ll need a fully functional Clinton Ports, and an ass kicking by the Baltimore defense is not going to help this to happen. The Ravens have allowed just 78 yards per game and have given up just three rushing touchdowns this year, so even if Wwashingto throws Portis to the wolves, he’s not in for a good day.
  • DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers (vs TB): With nine touchdowns over the past five games, you may find it hard to bench DeAngelo against any opponent. However, I just want you to consider the fact that his opponent is a Tampa Bay defense that has only given up one (!!!) rushing touchdown all season. I’m not recommending you sit Williams this week (unless you have two better RB’s), but just taper your expectations a bit and remember back to week six when he rushed for a mere 27 yards on 11 carries (2.5 ypc) against this same Buccaneers defense.
  • Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers (vs TB): Just look at Delhomme’s past four games (against some pretty tame defenses!) and try telling me you feel confident starting him this weekend against a Tampa Bay defense that is only allowing 184 yards per game to quarterbacks. As a Delhomme owner myself, I can confidently say that he’s on my bench right now while Big Ben sits next to letters QB.
  • Kevin Smith, RB, Lions (vs MIN): So it looks like Wall o’ Williams that the Vikings employ will not be suspended (at least it doesn’t appear that way) for this game against the Lions, which means bad news for Detroit’s rookie running back.
  • Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys (@ PIT): While the Cowboys offense has come back alive with the return of Tony Romo, they could suffer a small setback when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on a top ranked Steelers defense. This game should be close though, so expect a heavy dose of Marion the Barbarian…just don’t expect the greatest numbers as Pittsburgh is allowing just 3.1 yards per carry and 71 yards per game.
  • Matt Schaub, QB, Texans (@ GB): Schaub is making his glorious return this weekend, but it’s not going to be pretty. The Texans play the Packers this weekend…a team whose defense has given up just 15 touchdowns versus 17 interceptions and is still in the hunt for a playoff spot…something the Texans have forgot about weeks ago.
  • Santana Moss, WR, Redskins (@ BAL): The Baltimore defense has not been kind to quarterbacks and receivers this season, allowing just 175 yards per game through the air and giving up only 12 touchdowns while intercepting 20 passes. Washington quarterback Jason Campbell is not the kind of quarterback to wow you with his numbers and especially not against such a solid defense. Expect Santana Moss’ stats to suffer because of that and consider replacing him in your lineup if you have alternatives this week.
  • T.J. Houshmanzadeh, WR, Bengals (@ IND): I would put quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on this list against a tough Colts pass defense, but that’s too easy (and no one in their right mind would start him in the playoffs!) The man I’m asking that you all look at possibly swapping out of your lineup this week is Mr. Houshmanzilly. T.J. has only caught four balls in each of his last two games for a total of just 84 yards, which is not what you want to see at this point in the season. Those stats, plus the fact that the Indianapolis defense has only allowed four receiving touchdowns all season does not make it look like it’s going to be a great match-up for any Bengals receivers. In one of my leagues, I currently have Eddie Royal and Lance Moore starting instead of Housh (my other receiver is Steve Smith), so just think hard about immediately plugging him into your lineup if you have other options.
  • Others: Frank Gore, RB, 49ers (vs NYJ), Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins (@ BAL)