Your intelligence would be under intense scrutiny if you decided to sit Ben Roethlisberger, Adrian Peterson or the Philadelphia Eagles defense. And of course, pay attention to the teams with bye weeks: Bears, Packers, Saints and Chargers. Now let’s look at players you should consider starting, sitting, and picking up if you find them on the waiver wire.
Who is poised for a big game?
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
The Pats are on the road against a stout Broncos defense. So why do I like Brady’s chances? Because the Patriots have to win this one if they want to keep up with the Jets, who are favorites against the Dolphins.
Brett Favre, QB, Vikings
He’ll have ample time to find targets down field as the Vikings look to spank the Rams. Here’s a useless Favre stat: The ageless wonder has thrown a touchdown every time he’s faced the Rams.
Donovan McNabb, DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek
Now that McNabb is back, all are safe picks. The Eagles are playing at home against a terrible Bucs team whose offense continuously fails to stay on the field for long.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
The Giants will secure a comfortable lead by halftime, allowing Bradshaw to get carries as they run it down the throats of the Raiders.
Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins
He’s healthy and he proved it on the stats sheet last week. Now he’s facing a laughable Carolina defense. Head coach Jim Zorn would much rather feed Portis than place his trust in Jason Campbell to get the job done.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars
The stud is going against a Seahawks defense that invites the pass. Expect him to be targeted heavily throughout the game.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Steelers
Starting him is a safe bet against the Lions. Although Holmes has only seen the endzone once this season, I have a feeling he’ll find it again this weekend.
Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
49ers fans are enjoying a sense of relief that the former first-round pick has come to play. Now he’s going against a Falcons defense that allows an average of 245 yards per game.
Baltimore Ravens Defense/ST
They lost a tough one to the Patriots last week, and this game will decide who is atop the AFC North. Look for the Ravens to put together a big performance.
Who needs to ride the pine?
Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos
He hasn’t been that impressive if you take away the two game winning touchdown passes. Even though the Patriots pass defense isn’t what it used to be, I still don’t expect Orton to put up a big game, which he’ll have to if the Broncos are to win this game.
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals
He’s been careless with the ball and he’s facing a Ravens D that will make him even more turnover prone.
Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles
Even if he is cleared to play, he will split carries with Lesean McCoy as the Eagles try to play it safe and preserve their star running back.
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
The Vikings game plan for this weekend: stop Jackson. Expect the Vikings to crowd the box often and stuff Jackson. And when the Rams are down by 20 in the fourth quarter, they’ll have no choice but to throw the ball.
Steve Smith, WR, Giants
If Eli was healthy I would say start him as he’s been on fire. But with Manning’s foot injury, I’m sure the G-Men will play it safe and lean more towards the run.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets
Just because he is playing on a hot offense doesn’t mean he’ll have an immediate impact. Keep an eye on his progress though and see how many times he is targeted in the next few games.
Zach Miller, TE, Raiders
After a stellar week one performance, many thought that he’d be Russell’s main target. Since then he’s fallen off the planet in Oakland. Add with the fact that the Raiders are playing the Giants, and you can almost bet that Miller gets no more than 3 receptions.
Sleepers to Look at This Week
Trent Edwards, QB, Bills
He’s going against a Browns team that can’t force quarterbacks into making mistakes. I don’t think Edwards will switch into beast mode, but he’ll put up two touchdowns.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
If he’s ever going to look good, it’ll be this week against the Chiefs.
Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals
He may be on your waiver wire, so scoop him up. He’s getting the ball either on the ground or through the air, and he’s going against the Texans.
John Carlson, TE, Seahawks
With Matt Hasslebeck returning, Carlson should expect to have a good outing against a Jags defense which always has trouble covering tight ends.
Indianapolis Colts D/ST
The Colts would love to drive the dagger into the Titans’ season, so look for plenty of sacks and maybe an interception or two.