We are creeping up on the fantasy playoffs and this week could make or break a lot of teams. Your destiny is becoming very clear. Either you are sunk, sinking or cruising into the playoffs. For many, desperation takes over and we begin second guessing our choices. Over analysis plagues our strategies as the end draws near. One habit I've noticed is that many managers start "playing the matchups" and benching their stars that have lost their shine in previous weeks (see: Vernon Davis, Ryan Matthews and Eli Manning). This is one of my favorite aspects of fantasy football. Do you favor the matchup or do you dance with the girl that brought you this far?
Monday's night game could be a prime example of the philosophy "Start your studs". When players you drafted in the early rounds face a tough defense we start to second guess our lineups. Perhaps you have a legit wide receiver expected to be shadowed by a shutdown corner. Maybe it's your best running back going against a team like the Niners, Chicago or Houston. Do you swap out your stud for a player with a better matchup? When the Bears and Niners meet several big names will face off against a great defense. Let's take a look at some of the fantasy stars playing Monday night.
The obvious question here is whether or not Jay Cutler plays. Jason Campbell is no slouch, but he lacks the chemistry Cutler has with Marshall. If you own BMarsh you probably don't have much better options. His size and ability make him a threat no matter the QB so I only suspect a slight down tick in his stats.
Final Line: 7 receptions for 90 yards, 1 TD
The Niner rush defense isn't the fantasy poison it used to be. They are far from terrible, but teams are having more success running the ball than in 2011. Forte is coming off a down week against a tough Texan defense. He could see more work this week especially in the passing attack. I would move him down to RB2 status this week given the matchup and the lack of Cutler.
Final Line: 75 yards rushing, 4 receptions for 30 yards
The tank keeps on rolling and after seeing Arian Foster have his way with Chicago's defense last week this matchup doesn't seem too fearsome. He may need to be spelled by Kendall Hunter more often as the game goes on, but he should be able to grind out a useful performance.
Final Line: 75 yards rushing, 3 receptions for 25 yards, 1 TD
I tried my best to get him to name his TD dance the crab cake walk, but I don't think I won that contest. Odds are we are going to have to wait a week until we see it again. Charles "Peanut"
Shultz Tillman will likely be shadowing the King Crab for most of the game. Interesting fact: A peanut is neither a pea, nor a nut. Sorry that wasn't interesting at all (but bonus points if you can name the animated show I pulled that from).
Final Line: 5 receptions, 50 yards
Wherefore art thou Vernon? Your absence last week can be excused with Smith exiting the game early, but it's been weeks my man. The bad news is slated to continue, because there is no team better at limiting tight ends than Chicago. Though, the best tight end they have faced to date (fantasy wise) was Jason Witten who netted 13 receptions, 112 yards and a touchdown. So there is hope for a resurgence.
Final Line: 6 receptions 70 yards, 1 TD
So what camp are you in. Do you always start your studs or are you willing to sit them if a better matchup presents itself?