For anyone wrestling with the sloth creeping in as a result of Thursday’s gluttony, there is still some time to set a winning line-up. Thursday may have stolen the spotlight but there are quality plays still out there. With prime division match-ups this Sunday and Monday there is a lot at stake. And with fantasy playoffs just around the corner each week’s line-up becomes that much more critical.
If you read Thursday’s impact column, you are already one step closer to line-up nirvana. Read on to complete the process.
Matt Ryan vs. Vikings: Ryan has been hot in recent weeks, averaging 314 yards to go with six touchdowns in his last three games. He’s also been solid at home with nine scores in five starts. No team allows more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Vikings, so Ryan is a terrific option
Ben Roethlisberger at Chiefs: The Chiefs have struggled to stop opposing quarterbacks lately, allowing multiple touchdowns to the position in each of the last three games. Couple that with Roethlisberger’s immense career success against the Chiefs (636 yards, 5 TDs in two games), and he’s a nice option.
Shonn Greene vs. Bills: Barring a setback in his return from a rib ailment, Greene should be in the backfield this weekend for a great matchup against the Bills. Their defense has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so Greene is well worth a look as a No. 2 runner or flex starter.
LeGarrette Blount at Titans: Much like Mendenhall, Blount has been one of the more perplexing fantasy players. But when the matchup is favorable, it’s hard not to start him. This week, he faces his former team, the Titans, who have allowed an average of close to 19 fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Steve Smith at Colts: Any time your fantasy players are going up against the Colts, you have to get most of them active. That means Cam Newton, Williams, Stewart and Smith are all tremendous options. Indianapolis has allowed the third-most fantasy points to wideouts, so look for Smith to make an impact.
Victor Cruz at Saints (Mon.): How’s this for a surprising stat: Cruz has scored the ninth-most fantasy points among wide receivers, and he wasn’t even drafted in most leagues. He’s a solid option against the Saints in what could be a high-scoring game, so consider Cruz as a terrific No. 2 fantasy option in Week 12.
Owen Daniels at Jaguars: Daniels has been one of the better tight ends in fantasy land this season, and there’s little doubt he’ll continue to see targets from Matt Leinart on check downs and intermediate passes. He also has a great matchup against the Jaguars, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends.
Nick Novak vs. Broncos: Novak has been a terrific replacement for both the Chargers and fantasy owners alike, and this week’s matchup against the Broncos makes him a tremendous option. Denver has given up the fourth-most fantasy points overall to opposing kickers, including 19 points to Novak earlier this season.
Texans defense at Jaguars: Coordinator Wade Phillips has made a huge difference for the Texans, both on the field and in fantasy land. This unit has scored the seventh-most fantasy points, and this week’s game against rookie Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars is a favorable one.
Josh Freeman at Titans: Freeman is coming off a nice game against the Packers, but he’s been inconsistent overall and hard to trust when the matchup isn’t favorable. That’s the case here, as he faces a Titans defense that’s allowed an average of around 14 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks at home.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at Jets: Fitzpatrick had a fast start to the season, but he’s been more like Trent Edwards than Jim Kelly in recent weeks. In fact, he has scored fewer than 11 fantasy points in five of his last seven games. Keep him on the pine against the Jets, who have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points to QBs.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis at Eagles: The Law Firm hasn’t been the same reliable fantasy back he was a season ago, failing to score a touchdown in his last five games. And while the Eagles haven’t been great against the run overall, their defense has allowed just one rushing score since Week 5. Consider him a risky flex play at best.
Willis McGahee at Chargers: McGahee is coming off his worst fantasy performance of the season, scoring minus-0.20 fantasy points in a win over the Jets. What’s more, he’s scored single-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. That makes him a risk against the Chargers, who have allowed six touchdowns to runners.
Dwayne Bowe vs. Steelers: Bowe had seven catches with Tyler Palko under center last week, but that was against the league’s worst pass defense. This week he’ll face the Steelers, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts. That makes Bowe a serious risk.
Stevie Johnson at Jets: What has happened to the Bills? After a fast start to the season, the offense has become far less productive from a fantasy perspective. If that weren’t enough reason to put him on the bench, also consider that Johnson will spend this holiday weekend on Revis Island. He’s a major risk overall.
Dustin Keller vs. Bills: Despite another hot start, Keller is once again taking a nosedive. He’s failed to score seven or more fantasy points in every game since Week 3, and has been held without a touchdown reception since Week 2.
Alex Henery vs. Patriots: Henery has been on a major slide, scoring a combined 16 fantasy points in his last three games. His fortunes aren’t likely to change against the Patriots, who have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers. Look elsewhere if you need a starter.
Patriots defense at Eagles: New England’s defense is among the NFL’s worst in terms of allowing yards, making it a risky option in fantasy land — especially in a road game against the Eagles. Even if Michael Vick is out, don’t be surprised if the Patriots struggle to stop this offense on Sunday afternoon.