Matchup Madness

Updated: September 21, 2006, 1:49 PM ET
By Scott Engel | ESPN Fantasy Games
After two weeks of the regular season, it's already apparent that a lot has changed this season. Making starting lineup decisions isn't easy, and players that were drafted high are already being considered for benchings. Carnell Williams is no lock to start in any fantasy league this week, and Roy Williams certainly doesn't appear to be on his way to the big breakthrough year many of us expected for him in 2006.

When one of the better players isn't performing as hoped, it's only natural to consider using another guy with a friendlier matchup in his place. But sometimes, some fantasy owners tend to go overboard with matchup analysis, and think of benching prime starters for much lesser players with a better matchup. Yes, Cadillac Williams has struggled so far, and facing the Panthers this week doesn't make him look promising again. But it's certainly not a reason to consider using Isaac Bruce over him at a flex position, just because Bruce faces the 49ers. Williams is very likely to get more touches and can easily bounce back to post decent numbers this week.

Matchups should be used to help you make a decision between two players of similar value, not to use a lesser player over a much more productive one. You shouldn't use Ahman Green over Rudi Johnson because Green faces the Lions and Johnson lines up against the Steelers. Johnson is simply the much better fantasy player, and should be a must-start player regardless of the matchup. The best players become the best by performing well against all levels of opposition. In last season's game at Pittsburgh, Johnson rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Green looks like he will post mediocre numbers all year long, no matter who the opponent is. Green should never be started over Johnson because he's not close in current value to him as a fantasy player.