With playoff berths and byes up for grabs in fantasy leagues all over the globe this week -- and injuries hammering the NFL this season --deciding who to stick in your starting lineup at the last minute becomes even more important.
Not a great time to go with your gut, but some tough matchups and bumps and bruises may force you to do that this week.
Here are a few ideas that may help you with some tough decisions when left with a few holes to fill behind your studs.
Give these guys the ball
Jeremy Maclin (WR, Philadelphia Eagles): Without DeSean Jackson in the lineup, the rookie becomes the top target for Eagles QB Donovan McNabb against the Atlanta Falcons. And the Falcons have been fumbling on defence lately, allowing at least two passing touchdowns against in six of their last seven games. Maclin has been all over the map in fantasy points, but has consistently been around 50 yards and a handful of receptions the last half-dozen weeks, and is a good bet to score. Fellow wideout Jason Avant is a decent flex option, too.
Pierre Garcon (WR, Indianapolis Colts): Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne were dominant for years, and now Garcon finds himself in Wayne's shoes when the talented second-stringer was racking up big plays thanks to the special attention Harrison received. Garcon has been in double-digits the last three weeks in the fantasy world and has two touchdowns and a hundred-yard outing -- the century mark broken against the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago. He avoids attention because of the presence of Wayne and TE Dallas Clark and has the potential for a long bomb score against the Titans.
Miles Austin (WR, Dallas Cowboys): Quiet for a couple of weeks before the Thanksgiving outburst -- 145 yards and a touchdown -- Austin should keep rolling against a New York Giants defence that has allowed an average of more than 30 points against in its last six games. The G-Men look nothing like the group that eked out the first win in the Cowboys' new stadium earlier in the year.
Michael Crabtree (WR, San Francisco 49ers): The rookie wasn't around the first time the Seahawks and Niners met, but he'll be able to take advantage of a questionable Hawks secondary. Head coach Mike Singletary has taken the reins off his offence and doesn't just lean on the running game anymore, so Crabtree will get plenty of looks downfield.
Matt Forte (RB, Chicago Bears): He's been terrible most of the year, but gets a reprieve from the St. Louis Rams this week to reward those owners who selected Forte with a high first-round pick over the summer. The Rams made a star out of Seattle Seahawks running back Justin Forsett, and Lovie Smith is smart enough (we hope) to lean on his runner to take some pressure off a disappointing QB Jay Cutler.
Maurice Jones-Drew (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars): A sore knee shouldn't keep the little guy from tearing up the Houston Texans defence. MJD has 13 touchdowns on the year and is his team's most passionate player -- and most deadly weapon. He should see as many as 30 carries.
LeSean McCoy (RB, Philadelphia Eagles): The injuries to the receiving corps mean McCoy should get even more looks on the ground. He's been gaining momentum since starter Brian Westbrook went down with a concussion, and the rookie has paid off as a handcuff with double digit fantasy points in every game in which he's received 15 or more carries.
Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay Packers): The Ravens defence is intimidating, but not as scary against the pass as it is on the ground. Rodgers should be fine unless you've got a studly backup with a great matchup. But we wouldn't bet against the Pack pivot.
Sleep on it
Jamaal Charles (RB, Kansas City Chiefs): Aside from Larry Johnson's terrible attitude, Charles is the biggest reason L.J. was cut. He is a threat in both the ground and passing games and faces an inconsistent Broncos defence.
Donovan McNabb (QB, Philadelphia Eagles): Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and LeSean McCoy are good enough to keep McNabb relevant this week. Falcons have been weak through the air.