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Fantasy Doc: Is it time to bench CJ2K?

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By The Fantasy Doctor

Now that the fantasy playoffs are here, 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 fantasydoctor@pfwmedia.com.

Hey Doc,
 
I have a serious case of Chris Johnson "lackofproductionitis" and am looking for a prescription for this week. I have always been a firm believer in starting your studs (unless your RB is playing the Steelers, then maybe not), but C.J. hasn't exactly been a stud lately, and with playoffs starting this week, it's not a time for mistakes. Our format allows two RBs, three WR/TE, and one flex. I have C.J., Ahmad Bradshaw, LeSean McCoy and Jonathan Stewart as RB options, and Roddy White, DeSean Jackson, Terrell Owens and Santonio Holmes as WR options. I could easily start all four WRs along with Bradshaw and McCoy, but should be starting C.J. all the time, but his lack of production cost me a division title down the stretch. So whom would you prescribe me to start this week? Thanks Doc.

— Loren, Winnipeg, Canada


You're certainly not the only one who has been burned by Johnson, Loren, but giving up on him now would not be the right move.

CJ2K is about to take on a Colts defense Thursday night that is one of the league's worst against the run, giving up 142.8 yards per game. No matter how bad he has been, Indy won't have an answer for Johnson, who should be able to run all over its defensive front. Plus, if you bench him this week and he goes off, you'll never stop kicking yourself. Keep him active for at least the next two weeks.

Other than him, McCoy has to be in your lineup this week, as do White and Jackson, who are also must-starts. I also like T.O. against a Steelers secondary that he torched for 10-141-2 earlier this season. For your flex, I'd probably lean toward Bradshaw, who had a big outing last week and should remain a major part of the Giants' offense even while not starting. Good luck.

It's the first week of our playoffs and I face the powerhouse of our league. She (yes, I typed that correctly) has Dwayne Bowe, who has killed me during regular-season matchups. Last week I added Matt Cassel to go along with my normal starter in Eli Manning. Here's the dilemma: Do I start Cassel just to offset a big day from Bowe, or do I go with Eli who faces the Vikings this week?

— George


You could deploy Cassel this week to offset Bowe, but this can be a dangerous strategy, George. In this case, I don't think I'd recommend it.

Lots of people probably started Cassel last week thinking he'd go off against the Broncos, only to watch him throw for just 196 yards and one TD. This week, he has a much more difficult matchup going to San Diego, which is ranked No. 1 against the pass, allowing 186.3 yards per game. Cassel threw for a paltry 68 yards in Week One against the Chargers, and I don't see him exploding this time around.

Manning, meanwhile, isn't an extremely enticing option, either, but he definitely has a better matchup against a Vikings "D" that has given up 19 TD tosses. There's also a chance that he could get both Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith back this Sunday, which would give him a solid group of weapons. To me, he's the safer start and the guy likely to finish Week 14 with more fantasy points.

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