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 14 of the NFL season and that makes this Week 1 on the NFL fantasy playoffs. If you were smart or lucky enough to make it in, welcome; if you missed out due to a bad draft or not listening to my advice like you should have ... well, better luck next year. Second place is just the first loser!
Steve Slaton was put on IR on Wednesday, ending his season and making Chris Brown the starting RB with Ryan Moats stealing carries here and there. If anyone is to be picked up, it would be Brown. However, because of the uncertain nature of what roles each player will play exactly, I would avoid using either if you possibly can.
DeSean Jackson returned to Eagles practice fully Wednesday and is going to start on Sunday. If you have him, make sure he is in your lineup.
Drew Brees: Now, let me preface this by saying I am not using Brees to pad my stats. There are a lot of people worried about Brees sitting now that the Saints have clinched their division. Head coach Sean Payton said he will go for a perfect season even if the Saints have clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. I would play Brees as a top 3 fantasy QB being that the Falcons are 29th against the pass and the Saints third.
Matt Schaub: Bad wing and all, I still start Schaub as a top 7-8 QB this weekend against the Seahawks 25th-ranked pass defense. Slaton is out, which means Brown is in and he hasn't had more than 56 yards rushing all season long and currently sports a 3.5 YPC average; nothing to get excited over. The Texans will pass the ball and I have faith in Schaub.
Jamaal Charles: I am going out on a BIG limb here, but Charles and the Chiefs face the Bills and their last ranked run defense this weekend. Add to that the fact that the Chiefs No. 1 WR is Chris Chambers and I foresee a TD and possibly a 100-yard game from Charles on Sunday.
Fred Jackson: You all know to start MJD, Chris Johnson and Rashard Mendenahll, but it is guys like Charles and Jackson that sit on benches when they should be playing this weekend. Kansas City is ranked 27th in the NFL against the run and they have allowed the fifth-most rushing TDs of any team. Jackson isn't going to hit 100 rushing yards probably, but he is a dual threat that will get some rushing yards, some receiving yards, and maybe score a touchdown or two. Consider him a borderline RB1/2.
Chad Ochocinco: When you look at this matchup you get nervous because the Vikings have a top-tier defense and they are 10-2 on the season. But, their pass defense is ranked 21st in the NFL, the Bengals throw to Ochocinco 28 percent of the time, and he catches it 60 percent of the time. With 104 targets this season, Ochocinco is tied for ninth in the NFL.
Brandon Marshall: Marshall is all over the place with his stats (3 catches for 26 yards in Week 11, then 13 receptions, 180 yards, and a TD the next two weeks), but this is likely to be a shootout with a powerful Colts passing attack. This could be a game where Marshall scores once or twice and gets 100+ yards.
Brent Celek: Celek hasn't had more than six receptions in three weeks, but the Eagles are in a must-win game and are tied with the Cowboys for the division lead. With Jackson back this week, I expect Celek to be targeted in the redzone this weekend.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans defense is a shell of what it once was, but this weekend the Rams come into town and when your defense plays the Rams offense, you have a defensive winner. St. Louis' offense is 25th in total yards and that means Tennessee should be a top 3-5 fantasy defense this week.
Brady Quinn: Did you know that if you had started Brady Quinn for the past three weeks, you would have outscored Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner and Tom Brady? This week the Browns face the Steelers tough defense and Pittsburgh needs to win to stay in the playoff race.
Bruce Gradkowski: I don't even know who owns Gradkowski, but apparently some people do because I am getting emails asking if they should start him since it looks like Darren McFadden is officially a bust and Gradkowski threw for 308 yards and 3 TDs last week. The answer is no, you don't play him against Washington's fifth-ranked pass defense. Even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while.
Matt Forte: Last week Forte finished with 91 yards rushing and a TD, but then coach Lovie Smith admitted that part of the plan in Week 13 was to get rookie Kahlil Bell involved in the running game. Smith said, "We would like to play more than one guy, one guy can't take that type of load constantly." Forte seemed open to giving up some carries, saying, "It's good to have two running backs. You can't run every play all the time." It's a real possibility Chicago will rest him more down the stretch with nothing left to play for.
Knowshon Moreno: Moreno has yet to hit the century mark in rushing yards in a game this season and Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said there are no set packages for Moreno or Correll Buckhalter. "I'm not going to say I don't know who's in the game, but I almost don't care who is in the game," McDaniels said. Not exactly a quote that gets me excited to play Moreno against the Colts this weekend in what could be a shootout. Consider him a low-end RB2, very low end.
Devin Thomas: The problem with having one good game in the NFL is that fantasy owners will run out and pick you up hoping for lightning in a bottle. Thomas had three straight solid efforts then a breakout game last week as he caught seven passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. I don't know if this was him turning the corner or a result of the severally-depleted New Orleans secondary, but I wouldn't expect another performance like last week again this week.
Robert Meachem: Meachem has managed to score in five straight games. That's right, five. The problem is that Meachem is targeted just 10 percent of the time and that means he either scores a touchdown or isn't worth playing. I don't expect any WR to score in six straight games so Meachem isn't someone I am going to play higher than WR3 this weekend.
Fred Davis: Davis has scored in back-to-back weeks and people are taking notice since TE is an all-or-nothing position. But, as I feel with Thomas above, Oakland is 18th against the pass and Washington is 18th in passing, not exactly numbers that make me a believer.
San Diego Chargers: I fully expect the Chargers to win this weekend, but the Cowboys are ranked third in total offensive yards (394.8 YPG) and they do have some weapons on offense. I wouldn't use the Chargers defense this weekend if you can help it. Instead try the Titans, Redskins, Raiders or Bills defenses.
Q: Would you consider starting Vince Young over Schaub this week? If the Titans weren't playing the Rams and if Schaub didn't have a bum shoulder I wouldn't even consider it, but I really don't want to lose in the first round because Schaub gets hit and has to leave again.
--George from London, Ontario
A: All indications are that Schaub will start and the shoulder isn't an issue. Being that Slaton is now out and Brown/Moats will split carries, I would expect to see the Texans lean heavily on the passing game and that is golden for fantasy stats. Even if he throws a pick or two, he is sure to throw 2-3 TDs and 300 yards against a Seahawks defense that allows 243.5 passing YPG this season.
Vince Young doesn't have the weapons in the passing game to make me a believer yet. Every QB can have a good game or two, but doing it at the end of the season and doing it consistently is something different. I think he is a solid QB2, but I wouldn't start him with Schaub on my team.