It's Week 13, and that means the last week of the fantasy regular season for most leagues. Even if your league's playoffs don't get started until after Week 14, this week will go a long way toward determining playoff seeding.
This week will also provide bottom-feeding teams with their final chance to dash the playoff hopes of contenders who are on the bubble.
For the rest of the season, a Thursday game will be present on the NFL schedule, so don't forget to pay attention to your lineups earlier in the week. That being said, here are some tips to get your ready for tonight's game, as well as the rest of the NFL slate this weekend.
MATCHUPS AND LINEUPS
Here are a couple favorable matchups that you'll want to take advantage of this week if you own these players.
All Redskins offensive starters (vs. Buffalo): Jason Campbell has quietly put together a solid season at quarterback for Washington, while Clinton Portis has remained healthy and effective. Chris Cooley has remained Campbell's favorite target, and continues to be a serious red-zone threat. Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El have been inconsistent all year, but this week's matchup makes them both attractive plays. With the Redskins facing a Buffalo team that is 31st in the NFL in total defense (378.5 yards per game), each of these players could be looking at some serious fantasy production this week.
All Cardinals offensive starters (vs. Cleveland): Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin continue to put up fantasy numbers that rival any other receiver duo in the league, and while Edgerrin James hasn't wowed fantasy owners with his production this season, he's still put up decent-enough numbers. Kurt Warner will likely start again this week for Arizona, but if injuries keep him off the field, Tim Rattay is a more-than-capable alternative. The Cards face the Browns, who rank last in the NFL in total defense (397.9 yards per game). Two weeks ago, I made this call when Arizona faced a dismal Bengals defense, and Fitzgerald, Boldin and James each found the end zone.
Donovan McNabb missed practice on Wednesday, and his status for this week's game is still unclear. A.J. Feeley, coming off an impressive performance against New England, will start if McNabb can't go. Jon Kitna practiced fully on Wednesday, showing that his knee injury will not keep him from starting this week. Jeff Garcia suffered a back contusion and is unlikely to start this week, and while the Bucs aren't naming a starter just yet, it will likely be Luke McCown. Kurt Warner practiced on Wednesday and looks to be good to start this week, despite injuries to his ribs and elbow. Vince Young, who was been dealing with an ankle injury, also practiced fully on Wednesday and should start this week. Marc Bulger, who suffered a concussion last week, is unlikely to start this week.
Brian Westbrook didn't participate in practice Wednesday, while Minnesota's Adrian Peterson was limited, but both are likely to play this week. Clinton Portis missed Wednesday's practice due to general soreness, but will likely be in the starting lineup. Marshawn Lynch spent Wednesday's practice working with trainers on the sidleline, still looking like a long shot to see action this week. Reggie Bush's shin injury kept him limited in practice on Wednesday, but he should be good to go this weekend, while Larry Johnson was again a non-participant in Wednesday's practice, and will not play this week due to a foot injury. Brandon Jacobs was limited in practice Wednesday, while Derrick Ward returned to full action, meaning Ward will likely play this week, while Jacobs' status is still questionable. Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris are both struggling with injuries, and it's unclear who will start this week's game.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Braylon Edwards missed their respective teams' practices Wednesday, but both are expected to start this week. Larry Fitzgerald was limited in practice Wednesday with a groin injury, but he's still likely to start. In what has become common practice, Plaxico Burress didn't participate in practice Wednesday, but said he will start this week. Santonio Holmes didn't practice Wednesday, and will likely be inactive for this week's game, while Torry Holt was limited due to the same knee injury that has hampered him all season, but he is likely to play this week. Steve Smith missed practice on Wednesday and is unlikely to be in the starting lineup this week, while Laveranues Coles was limited in practice and it's still unclear whether or not he'll be able to see any action.
Alge Crumpler was limited in Wednesday's practice due to a foot injury, but he'll likely be in the starting lineup this week. Todd Heap will likely be inactive this week again, due to a hamstring injury that has plagued him all season.
WAIVER WIRE WONDERS
Bears RB Adrian Peterson: With Cedric Benson now lost for the season, Peterson becomes a must-own in all leagues. Peterson's output has eclipsed Benson's all year, and now he'll get the chance to carry a full load. Peterson faces a rather mediocre schedule the rest of the way (Giants, at Redskins, at Vikings, Packers), but the mere fact that he'll get nearly every carry in those games gives him instant value as a starting fantasy running back. If for some reason he's still available in your league, snatch him up whether you need him or not. He'll provide good depth if you're set at RB, and he'll be perfect trade bait for someone desperate for a runner (if your league's trade deadline hasn't passed).
Dolphins RB Samkon Gado: This is for those of you in deeper leagues (12 or more teams) who are extremely desperate for a starting running back. With Jesse Chatman's status for this week's game still in limbo due to neck and ankle injuries, and Ricky Williams already lost for the rest of the season to a torn chest muscle, Miami's depth in the backfield is dwindling. Gado will be counted on to handle a good bit of the load this week, even if Chatman is able to play. If Chatman can't go, Gado will start and be spelled periodically by Patrick Cobbs. If you're in a deep league and are in dire need of a running back, Gado could be a smart fill-in starter this week.