Matt Hasselbeck QB - In the Panthers two games before the bye week they gave up 515 yards in the air to John Beck and Christian Ponder. That was Ponders second career start but Beck who eased his way to 279 yards at Carolina has since thrown for 462 yards to go along with three interceptions.
Knowing what Beck and Ponder accomplished against Carolina, gives me the feeling that Hasselbeck will shred this Carolina secondary apart. Hasselbeck has struggled recently but the Texans and Bengals defenses were a huge upgrade from what the Panthers will be presenting. A 200-225 yard passing game with 2 touchdowns should be expected as the veteran holds back Jake Locker from seeing any action.
Chris Johnson RB – When I started this column I never thought Johnson would be here, my thought process being it was a given you are starting the best running back in the NFL. But with a horrendous start, Johnson has been delegated to a flex play in most leagues. This week, just like his QB, I see Johnson making a fantasy impact. Carolina is giving up 133.3 YPG so Johnson should find some lanes to break through in what should be a high scoring affair. The Titans need this game if they hope to contend for the playoffs, so expect Johnson to touch the ball 25-30 between the running and passing game. I’m calling Johnson’s breakout game of the year on Sunday, as his team is close to getting desperate.
More of Evan's Start'Em Sit'Em after the jump:
Jason Hill WR- Fantasy stud not even close, but Hill has been nice WR3 option this season as Blaine Gabberts favorite target. In three of his last four games Hill has touched paint dirt and has over taken Mike Thomas as the Jaguars receiver to own. Some might consider the touchdowns lucky, but Gabbert is heavily relying on Hill in the red zone the same way David Garrard would rely on Mercedes Lewis from a year ago. Hill will never be a stud, but in a match up with the Colts, isn’t everyone on Jacksonville fantasy relevant? In deeper leagues Hill is a nice fill in player for Miles Austin or Santana Moss sidelined.
Heath Miller TE – The value of Miller has jumped in recent weeks as the Steelers have come full circle and become a pass first team. The veteran tight end has more fantasy points in the previous two weeks then he did in the first four weeks on the season. With Ben Roethlisberger airing it out, Miller has become less of a run blocker and more useful in the passing game. On Sunday in Cincinnati look for Miller to post top 10 fantasy numbers as he’s becoming a reliable fantasy option.
San Diego Chargers D/ST – Yes, this is the same defense that just got torched up and down the field for 45 points by the Packers that I recommending on a short week. The primary difference between Green Bay and their opponent the Raiders this week is the QB. Aaron Rodgers is the best at his position, while Carson Palmer in his first start in 2011 threw three interceptions against a horrendous Broncos defense. San Diego posted double digit fantasy points before getting mauled by the Packers so expect a bounce back.
Tom Brady QB – If you own Brady you are going to start him, but this is a fair warning that we shouldn’t expect his best game of the season on Sunday night. In week five against the Jets Brady had his worst fantasy performance of the season and that was before the Jets were hitting on all cylinders. For anyone who has watched Brady recently, he has been noticeably short on throws the past two weeks. This isn’t the end of last season’s MVP, but it’s obvious he’s been struggling of late.
Mike Tolbert RB – If Ryan Matthews doesn’t suits up then Tolbert is an obvious must start, but when Matthews is healthy Tolbet has been reduced to a minimal role. In weeks 2-5 Tolbert got 24 carries and wasn’t able to produce much. Norv Turner believes Matthews can be a workhorse and it’s evident by the carries he’s received when healthy. Look for Tolbert to get the ball in the red zone, but relying on a touchdown without any production from yards isn’t the best way to win your fantasy match up.
Larry Fitzgerald WR – I swear Larry it’s not you; but you’re offense is flat out awful. Yes, Fitzgerald scored a touchdown in week 9, but it was an amazing catch in the back of the end zone that will be hard to replicate going against a pissed off Eagles defense after a gut wrenching loss on Monday. Expect Philadelphia to take away Fitzgerald as he’s the only target in the passing game they have to worry about with John Skelton slinging the rock. I’m sorry Larry it’s not you, but your team is going too struggled mightily on the road.
Vernon Davis TE – Another stud who hasn’t lived up to expectations, Davis has been a non factor in the 49ers passing attack. With three red zone targets in 2011 and four fantasy points in his last three games, Davis is a borderline start at a position where he figured to be top five all season. San Francisco is a first run offense and even when Alex Smith passes the ball he’s been targeting Michael Crabtree two times as much as Davis. Until I see him produce, I have a hard time playing Davis over Brent Celek or Greg Olsen.
Tennessee Titans D/ST - I’m a big fan of their offense this week, but I expect this to be a high scoring affair. If anything the Panthers can score, and I don’t see how they stop Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart and Steve Smith this week. Against good offenses they have struggled of late, so the Titans who were a fantasy sleeper coming into the season have fallen back to their old ways. With no pass rush to speak of, expect Newton to run and pass all over Tennessee.