INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: Donald Brown #31 of the Indianapolis Colts runs through the arm tackle of Dave Ball #98 of the Tennessee Titans during their game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Titans 27-13. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Tim Tebow QB – Maybe this is obvious, but Tebow has a matchup that a only takes place during the holiday season. Buffalo has the 29th ranked rushing defense in the league, so we can expect Tebow to lead the Broncos to victory on the ground. I understand that he is a QB, but there is no way John Fox doesn’t design at the minimum five run plays for Tebow against this defense. Not only are the Bills awful against the run, but Tebow should torch them through the air as the Bills are last in the league with 21 sacks so you can expect him to pick apart this Buffalo secondary. Like any QB in the league, when you have to set your feet you can do damage and with the emergence of Demariyus Thomas, Tebow has a legitimate number one weapon. We are looking at 20 plus fantasy points from a QB that wasn’t drafted to start the year.
Donald Brown RB – Many believe that if you don’t arrive by the third year, you are likely to be a bust. Brown is changing that late in the season as he’s posted double digit fantasy points in three of the last four weeks. Brown has become the goal line back scoring touchdowns and for the first time since 2009 Indianapolis has established a run game. There are many skeptics of Brown but his 5.1 YPC is impressive and while the Texans defense is great against the run, Brown has become the most integral part of the Colts offense. In 2009 Brown was suppose to be the lead back for the Peyton Manning led Colts but instead he can be the running back that gets you over the top in your fantasy championship.
More of Evan's Start and Sit Decisions after the jump:
Lance Moore WR – For the last three seasons if it wasn’t Marques Colston I would not even think about adding a Saints receiver. The times have changed and Moore has become a reliable number two for Drew Brees. Moore has scored seven TD’s in the last seven weeks and has become the main red zone target in recent weeks. He’s not the biggest receiver but he’s the fastest wide out on the New Orleans roster, so I expect him to exploit the Falcons secondary. New Orleans shouldn’t have a problem going against the 17th ranked pass defense that improved immensely going against that pedestrian Jaguars passing game. Moore has taken his name to the big stage and can be considered a solid flex play on Monday Night.
Brandon Pettigrew TE – He was a breakout player for me before the season and while he hasn’t reached the level of Rob Gronkowski, Pettigrew has progressed in his third season. With 11 catches over the past two weeks including tons of looks near the end zone, Pettigrew is the number two target for Matthew Stafford and the high powered Lions offense. In week 16 you need to play reliable options and Pettigrew while he may not be elite, he’s been a top 10 TE throughout the year and you need reliable this time of season.
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST – After holding the Packers to 14 points, the Chiefs are a bandwagon that everyone is hoping on. The last time they faced Oakland the combination of Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combined for six interceptions in a Kansas City victory. Palmer has played a lot better since that game back in October, but he’s still a turnover machine going against a defense that has played well against Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. Expect a ball control, ugly, high turnover game as these teams should take it back to the early 90s with a division title on the line.
Kyle Orton QB – Sorry guys, but I am not buying his performance on Sunday as something that warrants him a start on Championship Saturday. Even in his 299 yard performance he failed to get Kansas City in the end zone as the Chiefs settled for field goal after field goal. Praise should go his way after leading the Chiefs to victory over the Packers, but there was a reason why Orton was benched in Denver and it had to do with inconsistent play. Orton never will be a reliable starting QB, so taking a chance on him with a team that lacks playmakers is asking for a 2nd place finish.
Kevin Smith RB – With the exception of his breakout game earlier this season, there hasn’t been an afternoon where Smith hasn’t left dinged up. Like most running backs at this time in the year Smith isn’t 100 percent but unlike Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy, Smith is nowhere near the talent those guys are while playing behind offensive lines that understand how to run the ball. His 16 touches for 46 yards was far from impressive against Oakland an don’t see that improving against the Chargers run defense that’s finding its groove.
Darrius-Heyward Bay WR – So tempting. Starting Heyward Bay is extremely enticing because you know he could go off for 120 and two TDs no matter who the opponent is because of his speed/ability to separate himself from the corner back. On the other hand, he could put up a fat 0 and you will be killing yourself for taking a flier on a receiver who has proven in his short stint in the NFL to be inconsistent. Oakland is the definition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and that is for every player on the entire roster. In desperate need of a third WR, Jabar Gaffney and James Jones are receivers who have come on of late and should be play a big part in their team’s games this weekend.
Jeremy Shockey TE – The last two weeks Shockey ha scored touchdowns as the Panthers passing game has been very smooth through the air. While getting a touchdown is all you can really ask for from your TE, Shockey hasn’t been a reliable option throughout the year and even as of late, as he only has five receptions in the last three weeks. It’s like flipping a coin to see who will be the beneficiary of Cam Newton when choosing between Shockey and Greg Olsen. Olsen has been the better TE so if I had to pick one of them I would lean towards Olsen and choose other TE’s such as Kevin Boss or Anthony Fasano over Shockey.
Carolina Panthers D/ST – Yes, the Panthers get to host an offense that would have trouble scoring against LSU, but at the same time Oklahoma State wouldn’t have a problem scoring against Carolina. I know the Texans offense faltered against this same defense a week ago, but that was with a rookie QB for a team that was due for a letdown. Now is not the time to get cute and play what you believe is good matchup and the same goes for the Tennessee Titans defense. Start a defense with the ability to get sacks and force turnovers and not one just against a mediocre offense.