Now that the regular season is in full swing, the Fantasy Doctor will be making regular house calls, answering readers' fantasy questions each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Send your questions to the Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My general rule of thumb is to never bench a star in a prime-time game, and this week, I'm actually questioning that. I've got Tom Brady playing in the Monday-night game, but I've also got Matt Cassel with Denver on the schedule. This is the last week before the playoffs for us, and a few points could make the difference. Do I take Brady on Monday night, or do I really believe in what Cassel has shown lately and play him in a favorable matchup? Thanks.
— Luke, Lake In The Hills, Ill.
This is an extremely tough call, Luke, and a few weeks ago my answer might have been different. But right now, I wouldn't put Brady on the bench no matter what the matchup.
Not only is he coming off a 341-yard, four-TD effort at Detroit, but he has been on fire in recent weeks. Brady has 11 TDs and no interceptions in his last four games and is looking much more like a fantasy superstar than he was during the middle portion of the campaign. I know he has a difficult matchup against the Jets, but he had a respectable 248 yards, two TDs and two INTs against them earlier this season and certainly will be at his best in a critical game on Monday night. I'd be afraid to sit him.
Cassel, meanwhile, has been one of the league's hottest passers during the past couple months and torched the Broncos the last time he faced them. However, odds are he won't be forced to throw anywhere near 53 passes this time around, as the Chiefs aren't going to fall behind big and abandon the run. I'd expect Cassel to have a solid game, but I'm not ready to recommend him over Brady.
For this week I'm not sure who to play at tight end. I have Vernon Davis, Kellen Winslow and Kevin Boss. Who do you think would be the best play? Thanks.
You have some decent options this week, Jim, but I'd have trouble telling you to sit Davis.
I know he has done little the past two weeks, but he's still the go-to target on the 49ers' offense. It's clear that QB Troy Smith wants to get him the ball in the red zone, and with RB Frank Gore out for the season, it's likely that Davis will see his targets increase even more. With San Francisco likely to be playing from behind, Smith should be forced to chuck it often, and Davis will be a frequent recipient.
I actually like Boss quite a bit this week as well, simply because the Giants are so depleted at wide receiver that QB Eli Manning will have no choice but to involve his tight end. Boss had eight targets last week and now gets to face a lousy Redskins secondary, but I still would prefer the upside of Davis, who is known to have monster games from time to time. Winslow hasn't done enough this season to deserve serious consideration.