Hits & Misses – Week 14: Win or Go Home!

Here are our “Hits” and “Misses” for the upcoming games, listing players you want to make sure are in your lineup, as well as those you might consider shelving for the week (or at least lowering your expectations!) In most leagues out there this is the first week of the playoffs, so you absolutely need to win if you want to continue your journey towards that league championship. Hopefully a few of these hit and miss suggestions will help you make those tough roster decisions and if they don’t, please feel free to leave a comment with your specific situation. Good luck!

Quarterback
Hits
Misses
Matt Schaub, Texans vs SEA – It looks like he’ll be able to play after dislocating his non-throwing should last week, which is probably a big relief to a lot of fantasy team managers out there (including me!) The Seahawks have given up around 300 yards passing and a combined 10 touchdowns over the past four weeks, so expect big things from Schaub. Brett Favre, Vikings vs CIN – Even when he has an off day like last week’s game agains the Cardinals, Favre still puts up solid fantasy numbers. However, this week he plays one of the better teams the AFC has to offer, a Bengals team whose defense has held opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards passing for five straight weeks. You won’t bench him, but don’t expect him to carry a struggling fantasy team to victory all by himself.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers @ CLE – I need a huge game from Roethlisberger here to help our 31% chance of making the playoffs in the Blogger League! He does have a great match-up and seems to do well when he’s on prime-time television (even if it is the NFL Network!) Eli Manning, Giants vs PHI – The Eagles haven’t allowed an opposing quarterback to break 235 yards in four weeks and Eli has struggled a bit as of late. This just seems like a game where Brandon Jacobs and the Giants running game are going to have to step up if they expect to win.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers @ CHI – The Bears may have been able to slow down Kyle Boller last week, but Aaron Rodgers != Kyle Boller. Rodgers has three touchdowns in each of the past two games and I expect that streak to extend to three games after this weekend. Bruce Gradkowski, Raiders vs WAS – Gradkowski had the game of his career last week against a vulnerable Steelers defense, but don’t get too excited. The Redskins may have given up some decent fantasy points to Drew Brees and company, but they should return to form against the Raiders and Bruce should have a quiet day.
Running Back
Hits
Misses
Thomas Jones, Jets @ TB – After predicting T-Jones to have a big game last week, some people out there may have been a bit disappointed by his 109 yard (but no receiving yards or touchdown) performance. Hopefully this week he can reclaim a bigger slice of the Jets running game pie and the Tampa Bay defense could do the trick. Cedric Benson, Bengals @ MIN – While Benson will most likely break the 1,000 yard mark for the season, the odds of him breaking the century mark this week are slim against the league’s best run defense.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs vs BUF – The Bills are the worst in the league at stopping the run and are coming off a game where they gave up over 200 yards rushing to the Jets. Assuming Charles can play through his cuts and bruises, he should have a big day. Ricky Williams, Dolphins @ JAX – Expect similar numbers to those that Williams put up against the Patriots, considering the Jaguars are almost dead even with New England when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs each week.
Fred Jackson, Bills @ KC – While the Bills are bad against the run, Kansas City isn’t much better. Jackson should rebound from a very disapointing game against the Jets last week. Matt Forte, Bears vs GB – After a big game last week against the Rams, Forte should come back down to earth (you know, the earth where he is terrible?) this week against a solid Packers defense that held him to just 55 yards way back in week one.
Wide Receiver
Hits
Misses
Mike Sims-Walker Torry Holt, Jaguars vs MIA – With Sims-Walker likely to miss the game tomorrow, Holt should get some extra looks against Miami, who’s coming off a fluke-ish victory in which they gave up 314 yards and two scores to Patriot receivers. Chris Chambers, Chiefs vs BUF – While the Bills have allowed a receiver to cross the goal-line in each fo the past four games, they’ve been able to limit the yardage numbers for those receivers pretty successfully. Chambers was shut down by a tough Denver defense last week and the same could very well happen again this week.
Derrick Mason, Ravens vs DET – Similar to a few other players over the past few weeks, Mason may be on this list partly as “wishful thinking” (I have him in one of the league’s where I’m playing against Matt,) he also had a killer match-up against a Lions team that is letting up the second most fantasy points to wide receivers. Reggie Wayne, Colts vs DEN – The Broncos have been solid against opposing wide receivers all year long and will most likely keep an eye on Wayne all day long. If anyone in the Colts passing game has a decent game, it could be either Pierre Garcon or Austin Collie, who should at least face more single coverage.
Donnie Avery, Rams @ TEN – The Titans are vastly improved on defense from the beginning of the year, but that’s really not saying a whole lot. While they probably won’t give up the same kind of yardage that they did to Colts receivers, Avery could have a decent day as the primary target for Kyle Boller. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers vs NYJ – Darrelle Revis.
Tight End
Hits
Misses
Heath Miller, Steelers @ CLE – With a chance that Hines Ward sits this one out, I expect Roethlisberger to look Miller’s way often against a Browns defense that hasn’t been so great at stopping the tight end position as of late. Fred Davis, Redskins @ OAK – Minus a little blemish by Jason Witten in week 12, the Raiders defense has been great at limiting the production of opposing tight ends.