We're in Week 12 which means that fantasy leagues are getting ready for the playoffs. These next couple weeks will be the most important of the season, especially for the fantasy teams that are on the bubble of making the playoffs. Knowing who to start and who to sit can be the difference between winning and losing so here are some suggestions that should help you out.
|Carson Palmer QB Oakland Raiders -- Start|
Carson Palmer is getting in a groove and this week the Raiders are hosting the Chicago Bears and their 30th-ranked pass defense. The Bears are much better at stopping the run than they are the pass and if they can successfully shut down Michael Bush, it will be up to Palmer to move the ball. If that's the case, he should get you quite a few points. If your starting quarterback is injured or if he's going up against a top passing defense, start Palmer.
|Philip Rivers QB San Diego Chargers -- Sit|
The Chargers seem to be falling apart and they host the Broncos who seem to be making a run for the postseason with Tim Tebow at quarterback. In four of his last five games, Philip Rivers has looked bad, scoring 15 points or less. He has thrown his fair share of touchdowns but he's thrown more than his fair share of interceptions as well. I wouldn't trust Rivers to start against a team that is playing inspired football right now. Sit him this week.
|Cedric Benson RB Cincinnati Bengals -- Start|
Cedric Benson and the Bengals are holding one the AFC wildcard spots right now and this week they're playing the Browns in a must-win game if they want to stay in the playoff race. The Browns have the best pass defense in the league but they're bad against the run. Furthermore, in the five games that Benson has played against the Browns as a Bengals running back, he's gone over 100 yards three times including two games in which he ran for over 150 yards. I expect the Bengals to rely on him heavily to get the job done on Sunday.
|Chris Johnson Tennessee Titans -- Sit|
I don't remember who the Titans play this week and I'm not even going to waste my time to look it up. It won't matter because whether it's the Packers or the Colts, I'm going to tell you to sit Johnson this week. Last week he ran the ball 12 times for a pathetic 13 yards and based on that performance I'm telling you to find somebody else to score you some points this week because Johnson isn't going to get it done.
|DeSean Jackson WR Philadelphia Eagles -- Start|
DeSean Jackson is likely going to play on Sunday against the Patriots and their last-ranked pass defense. There's a good chance that Jeremy Maclin won't play which means Jackson will be the top targeted receiver. Even though it will be Vince Young behind center, the Patriots' secondary is so bad that Jackson should be able to take advantage. Start him in Week 12.
|A.J. Green WR Cincinnati Bengals -- Sit|
A.J. Green and the Bengals are facing the Browns and the best pass defense in the NFL. That means that Green is going to go head-to-head against Joe Haden, who in Week 1, held Green to just one catch. Granted, that one catch went for 41 yards and a touchdown, but it was on a trick play in which the Browns weren't even set. Haden was able to shut Green down in college too (Haden went to Florida and Green went to Georgia). I like A.J. Green's chances to have a decent game but I think the Bengals will rely heavily on the run to get things done and will likely look to some other receivers if they're open and Green is being covered tightly.
|Owen Daniels TE Houston Texans -- Start|
Matt Leinart might actually help Owen Daniels more than he hurts him. Matt Schaub was good at throwing the ball downfield but Leinart wasn't. What Leinart did more often than not was throw to his check-down receivers and, fortunately for Owens, check-down receivers include running backs and tight ends. Even though Andre Johnson will be back this week, Daniels may see more targets. Start him in Week 12 especially if your tight end is facing a tough defense.
|Jermaine Gresham TE Cincinnati Bengals -- Sit|
The Browns' No. 1 pass defense hasn't allowed a tight end to score a touchdown against them since Week 6. While Jermaine Gresham is a very talented tight end, he hasn't been used in the way that Bengals fans had hoped he would. The Bengals don't use him to stretch the field like he's capable and when the Bengals aren't in the red zone, he's just a check-down option. Against the Browns' passing defense you should sit Gresham in Week 12.
|Texans Defense -- Start|
Now that Matt Schaub is done for the season the Texans running game and their defense will need to lead them to the playoffs. This week the Texans play against the Jaguars on the road. That means they'll have to worry about Maurice Jones-Drew but if they can shut him down, they can take advantage of rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has struggled throughout much of the season so far. I expect the Texans to put quite a few points up on the board for a defense.
|Eagles Defense -- Sit|
The Eagles have had a few nice games in a row but they're playing the Patriots this week. The Patriots' defense might be in trouble but there isn't a thing wrong with their offense because the way they win is by outscoring their opponents. They're perfectly capable of outscoring the Eagles so I wouldn't start the Eagles defense against the likes of Tom Brady and Wes Welker.