James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for well over a decade. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers fantasy sections, as well as the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz fantasy basketball sections in the NBA. Last season James finished with an 82 percent accuracy rating for fantasy predictions and will be here to answer any questions you may have about your specific team. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer.
Here we are, Week 13 of the NFL season and the week before the fantasy playoffs in standard league formats. There are a few key injuries you need to know before heading into this week so let's just get right down to it.
DeSean Jackson: Jackson suffered a concussion last week and he is almost certain to not play this weekend. Jason Avant is going to start in his place and he is a must add for this weekend. Avant is a rental pickup, so don't go long on him if you know what I mean.
Jamal Lewis: The Browns placed Jamal Lewis on injured reserve with "post-concussion symptoms." This development is ending his season and likely his career. Chris Jennings is likely to start the final five games of the season. I will say that he is worth grabbing in all leagues with a favorable late-year schedule (vs. SD in Week 13, @ KC in Week 15, and vs. OAK in Week 16), but the truth is that he's a desperation pick.
Michael Turner: The Burner is having trouble getting going these days as he is dealing with a bad wheel (ankle). While I thought Jason Snelling would step in last week and have a good game, it was Jerious Norwood that stepped up and played a good fantasy game. Norwood is a MUST ADD to finish the season.
Philip Rivers: Rivers heads into this game having thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions over the past three weeks. This matchup is against the 1-10 Browns, and that is as close to a scrimmage as you get in Week 13.
Carson Palmer: I am going out on a bit of a limb here considering that Palmer has thrown for more than 250 yards just twice this season and he has just two TDs over the previous four games. But, this weekend he faces the Detroit Lions and if there were ever a week to get back on track, it would be this week.
Cedric Benson: Benson is going to be the starting back this week and even with Palmer on the start list, I will Bengal up and put Benson on it too. Benson has been a beast this season and I wouldn't mind riding him to the fantasy finals.
LeSean McCoy: McCoy is going to start again this week and he has the ability to make tacklers miss and that translates into solid RB2 fantasy stats. The rookie is still looking for his first 100-yard rushing game, and this could be the weekend with Jackson out.
Sidney Rice: Rice is Brett Favre's new man-crush this season, so that is bonus No. 1. Add to that the fact that Arizona's pass defense is ranked 29th in the NFL, and you have bonus No. 2. The final nail in the coffin would be well, Brett Favre. He has been good enough (24-3 TD-INT, 261 YPG passing) to get two points instead of one.
Jeremy Maclin: With Jackson out, I am picking up Avant and playing him as a WR3, but I've got Maclin as a solid WR2 this weekend. Donovan McNabb will find someone with the pass, and Maclin has seen more action than Avant so far this season.
Greg Olsen: I know I talk smack about Jay Cutler a little later in the article, but the one good thing about a struggling QB is that he will check down to his TE more often. Olsen is averaging just over seven targets per week and has caught 58 percent of the passes thrown his way for six touchdowns this season. He is a great option at an all-or-nothing position, especially in points-per-reception leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals Defense: I picked the Bengals a few weeks back and they let me down, so this is their chance to redeem themselves. The Lions are terrible, they have a rookie QB, and a star WR that doesn't cut like he used to. A sub 10-point game is what I expect from the Bengals defense this weekend.
Eli Manning: The Giants meet up with the Cowboys in a historic rivalry game. When these two teams hooked up in Week 2 Manning threw for 330 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs, but I wouldn't expect the same stats this time as the Cowboys need to win to stay ahead of the Eagles and I think their defense will come to play.
Chris Redman: With Matt Ryan out this week, I have been seeing a lot of people running to the waiver wire to add Redman and there is no real reason to do it. Philadelphia has the ninth-ranked passing defense and Redman played last week, but his previous game was in 2007. Don't do it.
Marion Barber: Barber is little more than a flex option against the 11th-ranked Giants rushing defense. The running game has taken a big back seat in Dallas this year and I don't want Barber starting on my fantasy team this weekend.
Kevin Smith: Smith has been about all the Lions have had this season and he has failed to do anything with it. In Week 3 he had 101 yards rushing, but hasn't amassed more than 67 yards since then and his three touchdowns this season aren't worth starting against the third-ranked Bengals run defense.
Devin Hester: Hester is still owned in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues and I am not exactly sure why. He hasn't hit the 50-yard mark in the past three weeks and his QB is sporting a 16-20 TD-INT ratio this season. Chicago is the place where QBs go to die and the Devin Hester at WR experiment seems to have failed.
Kenny Britt: Find the guy who owns Britt and try to sell him some magic beans because he just might buy them. Britt had probably his career day last weekend as he caught seven passes for 128 yards and a TD, but he won't catch lighting in a bottle again this week since neither Vince Young nor Britt are that good. Just like I said with Redman, don't do it.
Fred Davis: When Chris Cooley went down and Davis had himself a solid game, people went crazy and picked him up like they just hit the lottery. However, Davis has 12 catches and a high of 50 yards over the past four games and the Saints defense isn't a forgiving one. I wouldn't own anyone being thrown to by Jason Campbell.
Green Bay Packers Defense: I really thought the Packers defense would struggle this season as they switched schemes, but they haven't and I will admit I was wrong. However, this week they face a Ravens offense that is ranked 13th in total yards and might just extend that winning streak to two games after beating the Steelers last week.
Q: Who do you recommend for the open slots out of the following: Barber, Norwood, Smith (NYG), Roddy White, Kenny Britt.
RB1 – Frank Gore
WR1 – Chad Ochocinco
TE – Jason Witten or Brent Celek?
A: RB2 would be Norwood. Flex would be Barber. WR2 would go Smith. TE I would go with Celek.
Roddy White has Chris Redman throwing to him this weekend and outside of last weekend, Redman hasn't played since 2007. Kenny Britt saw his career game come last weekend and we all know Vince Young won't ever do that again. This is more of a lack of other options than anything. If you could, I'd drop Britt and add Jason Avant as insurance at WR. Jason Witten went No. 1 among TEs and has performed more in the bottom end of the top 10 range. With DeSean Jackson out this weekend, Celek will be looked at in the redzone.