Bucs running back Doug Martin had a fantasy performance for the ages against the Raiders, but is he destined for a follow-up or let down the week after. (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)
When choosing fantasy starters, the matchups often make decisions easier. So which players will help or hurt fantasy owners this week?
RB Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: Ridley butchered the Buffalo Bills for 106 yards and two scores in Week 4 and has topped 100 yards four times this season. Buffalo hasn't gotten any better against running backs either, with 148.3 offensive yards, 5.1 run average, 1.67 scores per contest allowed over the last month.
WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants: A quiet stretch and physical cornerback play has haunted Cruz and his quarterback, but it's hard to go away from someone who hasn't seen fewer than eight targets in any game this year. The Cincinnati Bengals have allowed 14.33 catches, 194.3 yards and one touchdown per game to wideouts in the last month.
RB Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons: This vertical offense turns to Turner less often, but hints of post-bye ground swells have come to fruition. He's seen 44 totes in the two games since Atlanta's off-week, and the vet should be able to duplicate his 102-yard, one-score Week 9. Running backs have marched all over the New Orleans Saints in the last month (21.0 standard points per game).
WR Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers: Wallace has expressed displeasure over his erratic deployment and the lack of deep passes called in Todd Haley's offense. With Antonio Brown (ankle) in doubt for Sunday, Wallace will receive a heavy target day. The Kansas City Chiefs will budge even without his chief decoy: They've allowed the highest yards-per-catch figure to wideouts over the last month (20.8) along with 8.33 catches and 2.0 touchdowns per outing.
RB Shonn Greene, New York Jets: The Seattle Seahawks have a daunting reputation for stopping the run, but the Jets can power their way forward as well. Seattle's recent allowance was heavily influenced by Adrian Peterson and the San Francisco 49ers' rushing attack. Still, Greene can turn on his bruising game in the right circumstance. Don't be surprised if he turns his elite workload into unexpectedly positive stats.
RB Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The laws of probability say he won't have another game like he did in Week 9 (251 rushing yards, 4 TDs) ever again. Plus, the San Diego Chargers have been effective against the run, especially in the last month (117.7 offensive yards, 0.67 scores per game). Outright benching Martin won't work in many instances, but prepare yourself for a less-than-stellar effort.
WR Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers: An impending matchup with the Denver Broncos' Champ Bailey puts him here. Among Denver's last three opponents, A.J. Green was the only wideout to make noise; the Broncos have let other positions beat them. Smith can still break a few here and there, but he is long past his prime and susceptible to physical, smart defensive backs.
WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs: Sure, he'll see ample looks, but he won't repeat last week's eight-catch, 79-yard performance, which ranks as elite for a Chiefs skills player these days. The Pittsburgh Steelers will keep Matt Cassel on the run in what should be another woeful overall day.
WR Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas' man-press coverage didn't really work against the Atlanta Falcons, but it has suppressed many other talented wideouts this year. With Michael Vick's problems staying upright and letting plays develop, Maclin should continue posting underwhelming returns.
RB Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys: If he's on your point-per-reception team, he'll come closer to meeting expectations. Philly's Wide 9 philosophy has been vulnerable lately, but Jones isn't enough of a true power back to take advantage of this situation, even if DeMarco Murray (foot) sits out again. Expect a busy Dallas day through the air, especially considering Tony Romo and Jason Garrett's implied disagreements about play calling.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills: New England will hit the ground running, but Buffalo should launch air raids. Fitzpatrick hasn't thrown for fewer than 307 yards and two scores in his last three New England showdowns. In Week 4, he connected on four six-pointers. Even if Stevie Johnson (thigh) is hobbled or inactive, the Bills have enough weapons to pad Fitzpatrick's stat line, especially if coach Chan Gailey succumbs to cries for more C.J. Spiller.
RB Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders: The Mike Tolbert clone lucked into a good week to start replacing Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, both inflicted with high ankle sprains. Vintage Baltimore Ravens defense, this is not: They're missing Ray Lewis (triceps) and Lardarius Webb (knee) and have allowed 193.0 offensive yards, 3.33 catches and an offensive paydirt trip per game to running backs over last month.
WR Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans: Britt's stats haven't justified playing him, but he's seen no fewer than five looks in each of his last six contests. Tennessee doesn't mind throwing, and Britt's increasing health should keep him in the fray against a Miami Dolphins secondary that has yielded 17.0 catches, 233.7 receiving yards and one score per game to this position since Week 5.
RB Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins: He's seen more snaps of late than Reggie Bush. Both running backs have been injured, and Miami has worked to conserve them. Thomas leans on touchdowns, but the Titans present an opportunity for more. Enemies at this position have torched Tennessee for 119.3 yards, 6.5 receptions, 75.8 receiving yards and 1.25 offensive scores per game in the last four weeks. Thomas' increased reps in passing formations might allow him to contribute there, too.
RB Ronnie Brown, San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews probably won't lose many touches unless his Week 9 ankle ding or fumble problems crop up. Still, Brown has seen double-digit utilizations in each of the last two weeks, with 12 receptions on 13 targets. Brown's efficient receiving out of the backfield should help counteract a shaky wideout corps. Plus, it'll play well against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that stuffs up-the-middle attempts but has allowed 9.75 catches per game to running backs over their last four games.