Westbrook's poor matchups add to RB's woes

Good Matchups

Willie Parker, RB, Steelers: Parker got back on track last week with 115 yards and has two nice matchups that should make him a must-start the next two weeks. Parker faces the Bengals this week and has rushed for 480 yards and five touchdowns in his last four meetings with Bengals. The Bengals are ranked 23rd in the league against the run, so those past numbers should hold true. Parker then faces the Patriots defense which he torched for 124 yards last season. With the weather beginning to get bad in the Northeast, look for Parker to get plenty of touches and have good success.

Jeff Garcia, QB, Buccaneers: Garcia has to be one of the most underrated players in sports and once again he is under the radar. In his last three weeks, Garcia has thrown for 821 yards. While he has thrown for just one touchdown, that should change in the next two matchups. The Lions have surrendered the fifth-most touchdown passes while ranking 23rd in yards allowed. The Saints come into Tampa next week sporting the 26th-ranked defense against the pass and are tied with the Lions in allowing the fifth-most passing touchdowns. Look for Garcia to continue to be a productive fantasy quarterback in these matchups.

Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: Johnson got back on the field last week and had 67 yards on 18 carries, and while that's far form great, it is encouraging to see him get nearly 80 percent of the carries. Johnson should have a great opportunity to get in the end zone this week against a Bills run defense that has surrendered the seventh most rushing touchdowns. The Bills have also given up 315 yards rushing in their last two games. Johnson then faces the Raiders defense which is ranked 30th against the run and that has given up the fourth most rushing touchdowns. If Johnson can't perform in these next two matchups, chances are he won't for the rest of the season.

Kyle Orton, QB, Bears: Orton struggled mightily in his return last week against the Packers, throwing for just 133 yards as the Bears were manhandled. However, the matchups should be friendlier to Orton, as this week he faces the 24th-ranked Rams pass defense, which has has given up the eighth-most passing touchdowns. The Vikings are next for Orton, and he lit them up for 283 yards and two touchdowns in a wild, 48-41, win in Week 7. Look for Orton to return to his pre-injury form and be a nice play the next two games.

Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins: While Brown's yardage totals haven't been off the chart the last three weeks, he has been a solid fantasy play, scoring double-digit fantasy points three consecutive weeks. Brown's good run should continue as he faces the Patriots, the team he scored a career-high four touchdowns against in Week 3. Don't expect those numbers, but the Patriots did give up 140 yards rushing last week to the Jets. The better matchup is next week against a Rams run defense which is ranked 29th in yards allowed and has given up the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL. Brown could very easily have five straight double-digit fantasy weeks, which is solid no matter who you are.

Bad Matchups

Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles: Westbrook is normally a must-start but he has struggled mightily in his last three games. He has not surpassed 100 combined yards or scored a touchdown in any of those games. The Ravens and Cardinals defenses offer stiff challenges, especially against the run, ranking third and seventh, respectively. Westbrook may have to be in your lineup, but the struggles he has had the last three weeks may last at least another two.

Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals: Coach Ken Whisenhunt wanted to bring a power game to Arizona but attempts with Edgerrin James and now Hightower have appeared to fail. But don't expect Whisenhunt to complain as he has a potential MVP quarterback and the best receiver tandem in the NFL. What is concerning to Hightower owners is not only do the Giants and Eagles run defenses stare you in the face, but Hightower did not get the goal-line carries last week, splitting time with J. J. Arrington. With this question and two bad matchups, it is time to sit Hightower.

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Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks: Once known as the most underrated quarterback in fantasy, injuries have limited Hasselbeck to just five starts. In those starts he has yet to throw for more than 200 yards or multiple touchdowns in a game. Don't expect that to change against either the Redskins or Cowboys. The Redskins pass defense ranks 10th, while the Cowboys rank seventh, and both teams are coming off solid pass-defensive efforts. Hasselbeck may get back to being a viable fantasy quarterback but that looks like it will be next year at the earliest.

Jeremy Shockey, TE, Saints: Through 11 games, the Giants seem to have gotten the better end of the Shockey trade. Kevin Boss has scored four more touchdowns than Shockey and New York is atop the NFC at 9-1. Shockey has not been the force the Saints had hoped for as injuries and poor play have limited him to just 61 yards in his last three weeks. With Green Bay and Tampa Bay ranking third and fourth against the pass, respectively, don't look for Shockey to break out of his slump soon.

Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: Grant is getting hot again as he has six straight games with at least 75 yards rushing. Grant should get some yards against the Saints and Panthers, but both teams are tied for fifth in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed at just five. The Saints are also horrendous against the pass (26th), so Aaron Rodgers could have a big night. Grant should probably be in your lineup, but don't be surprised if he doesn't have the huge fantasy numbers that his recent play might suggest.

Kyle Fisher is a writer for RotoWire. For more information, check out rotowire.com.

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