Fantasy football crunch time is upon us. These last few weeks are the times when simple sit or start decisions can derail your run or ensure a spot in the playoffs. In the end, you should decide what is best for your team. This week we look at a new top QB, an injured rookie and three big-name players who look to make a significant impact upon returning to the playing field.

Pickups and plays of the week:

Tyler Thigpen (QB) – The young Kansas City quarterback has handled the ball well over the last three games, tallying a total of six touchdown passes without an interception. Last week his newfound confidence came full circle as he threw for 266 yards with three TDs. The biggest beneficiary of Thigpen’s emergence has been wide out Mark Bradley, who has a combined 188 yards and two TD receptions over the last three games. Thigpen is a solid starter this week with Bradley being a borderline third receiver option.

Injuries and solutions:

Ryan Torain (RB) – His reign as starting running back in Denver was short-lived after tearing his ACL halfway through the second quarter of Thursday’s game. Torain was placed on IR and will be out for the year. Selvin Young came into the game and later suffered a groin injury, leaving the door open for fullback Peyton Hillis to man the running game. Hillis is the appropriate add this week and has a good chance to make an immediate impact for any running back-depleted fantasy squad.

They’re back:

Tony Romo (QB) – It looks like he should be ready for action this week against the Redskins. Romo, who has been out with a broken pinky since Week 6, has looked good in practice this week. Unless you already own another top-caliber QB, don’t hesitate to start Romo. Also, don’t be surprised if Marion Barber benefits from Romo’s return, as Washington has to pay more attention to stopping the passing game.

Reggie Bush (RB) – As of now, Bush looks like a game-time decision. Coach Sean Payton said he was hopeful that Bush would start this week in a crucial game for the Saints. New Orleans plays Kansas City this week, the worst rushing defense in the league. This would be the ideal week for Bush to come back and make a huge fantasy impact. If you are in a must-win position, I would start Bush, but if you are in a comfortable position, I’d go with a safer play to ensure points.

Larry Johnson (RB) – That’s right, he’s back. The last time Johnson suited up for a game was five weeks ago, due to his ongoing legal troubles. Personally, I’m tired of writing about Johnson, but there is a significant fantasy relevance for him this week. With the emergence of Thigpen, the Chiefs are no longer a one-dimensional team, meaning there should be plenty of room for L.J. to run in his long-awaited return. I’d go ahead and start him in all leagues.

Have any roster problems that were not addressed? Since I can’t look at specific roster needs, I’d be happy to give any advice on your potential pick-ups, trades and sit-start decisions through e-mail. Good luck to everyone fighting to stay alive this week.

Mat Adams is a mathematics junior and a Mustang Daily sports columnist. He can be reached at

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