Week 11 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
It's not very often we put our neck out there to promote a Detroit Lion, but Kevin Smith should have a field day against the hapless Browns. See who else our Jamey Eisenberg likes and dislikes for Week 11 in his Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is our weekly look at the best and worst matchups from around the NFL and how they might affect lineup decisions for your Fantasy Football team. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson or any other top-tier players.
Kevin Smith has been dealing with a sophomore slump. After a promising start to 2009, Smith has struggled.
He had double digits in Fantasy points in three of his first four games and appeared on his way toward an outstanding season. But a shoulder injury and tough matchups against Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Minnesota has ruined his production the past five games. He has two fumbles over that span and topped out at nine Fantasy points against the Steelers.
Well, Smith is about to see his production get rejuvenated, and he's our Start of the Week. It always helps to face the Browns.
Cleveland is No. 30 in run defense with 166 yards per game allowed and 13 touchdowns. Nine running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against the Browns, including their past five opponents in Marshawn Lynch , Rashard Mendenhall , Ryan Grant , Matt Forte and Ray Rice .
Surprisingly, Cedric Benson is the only starting running back who failed to reach double digits in Fantasy points against the Browns, but don't expect Smith to follow suit. Cleveland is coming off a short week with the Monday night loss against Baltimore, and Smith appears healthy from the earlier shoulder problem.
Shaun Rogers , the Browns' erratic but sometimes effective defensive tackle, could make life tough for Smith as he faces his former team, but not enough to keep Smith from being a solid starting option. It's not often that we recommend a Detroit player with such conviction, but this matchup is too good to let this opportunity pass us by.
Sit of the Week
We'll stick with our sophomore slump theme and go with Joe Flacco as the Sit of the Week. He's in a prolonged slump heading into his matchup with the Colts.
Flacco got off to a hot start with at least 17 Fantasy points in five of his first six games. He was playing like a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, and he became an instant hit for owners in every league.
But Flacco has been disappointing after the bye in Week 7. In three games against Denver, Cincinnati and Cleveland, Flacco has combined for one touchdown and two interceptions. He hasn't reached 200 passing yards in that stretch and has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points against the Broncos in Week 8.
This week, Flacco faces a depleted Colts' secondary, which just allowed 375 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception against Tom Brady . But Brady was the first quarterback to pass for multiple touchdowns against Indianapolis this year, which includes games against Kurt Warner and Matt Schaub .
The key for Flacco will be Derrick Mason , who has 10 catches for 149 yards and one touchdown the past three games. If the Colts can take away Mason like the Broncos, Bengals and Browns did then Flacco will struggle again.
Look for the Ravens to lean heavily on Ray Rice , and keep Flacco on your bench if you have other options at quarterback. Hopefully his slump will end soon.
|Starts that made us look good|
|Player||Stats||Fantasy Points||Week 10 Start %|
|Donovan McNabb , QB, PHI||450 pass yards, 2 TDs, INT||28||74%|
|Sidney Rice , WR, MIN||201 receiving yards||20||76%|
|Jonathan Stewart , RB, CAR||82 rush yards, 2 TDs||20||38%|
|Sits that made us look good|
|Kevin Smith , RB, DET||55 rush yards, 10 rec. yards, fumble||4||42%|
|Marion Barber , RB, DAL||26 rush yards, 11 rec. yards||3||70%|
|Nate Burleson , WR, SEA||0 catches||0||56%|
|Starts that made us look bad|
|Ben Roethlisberger , QB, PIT||174 pass yards, INT, 16 rush yards||5||71%|
|Devin Hester , WR, CHI||48 rec. yards||4||80%|
|Rashard Mendenhall , RB, PIT||36 rush yards||3||79%|
|Sits that made us look bad|
|LaDainian Tomlinson , RB, SD||96 rush yards, 2 TDs||21||59%|
|Kyle Orton , QB, DEN||193 pass yards, 2 TDs||19||14%|
|David Garrard , QB, JAC||221 pass yards, TD, 11 rush yards, TD, fumble||19||10%|
|Our favorite Week 10 sleeper pick was ... Ladell Betts , who had 114 rushing yards and a touchdown, which was 17 Fantasy points.|
(vs. SEA): There are several things working in
Favre's favor this week. He's at home, where he has nine touchdowns, one
interception and is averaging 299 passing yards in four games. He's
facing the Seahawks, who have allowed at least two passing touchdowns in
each of their past four games to
. And Favre is just playing well, which makes
a tremendous starting option also. Favre has six games
with at least 18 Fantasy points this year, including three of his past
four outings, so keep him active while he's hot.
Matt Schaub (vs. TEN): Schaub has struggled in his past two games at Buffalo and Indianapolis, which is bad sign since Owen Daniels (torn ACL) went down against the Bills. He has one touchdown and four interceptions over that span, but hopefully the bye week should help get him back on track. He should look to rely on Andre Johnson , who has averaged eight catches for 142 yards with four touchdowns in his past five games against the Titans, and get Kevin Walter more involved. Schaub has five touchdowns and no interceptions in his past two games against the Titans, who still lead the NFL with 23 passing touchdowns allowed.
Ben Roethlisberger (at KC): Big Ben had his worst game of the season last week against the Bengals, completing only 50 percent of his passes for 174 yards and one interception. He was good for only five Fantasy points, but don't expect him to have another letdown against the Chiefs. Kansas City shut down the Raiders passing game last week, which isn't a surprise, but the Chiefs have allowed at least 20 Fantasy points to six quarterbacks this season. Roethlisberger has 10 total touchdowns and four interceptions in four road games this year.
Matt Hasselbeck (at MIN): The concern for Hasselbeck is the Seahawks being able to hold off the Vikings pass rush. If he's not running for his life, Hasselbeck should post quality stats, and the Vikings have been vulnerable in pass defense. In its past four games, Minnesota has allowed seven touchdowns and no interceptions with two games over 275 passing yards. Hasselbeck is averaging 298 passing yards in his past three games with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He's attempted at least 50 passes twice over that span, and he will be passing a lot with Seattle unable to run the ball. Again, the key is the pass rush, but don't be afraid to consider Hasselbeck as a No. 1 Fantasy option this week.
Donovan McNabb (at CHI): You have to stick with McNabb after what he did last week at San Diego with 450 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He attempted 55 passes, which could happen again this week and every week with Brian Westbrook (concussion) out. While we like LeSean McCoy against the Bears and going forward, McNabb will have to carry the offense. And Chicago has allowed some big games to opposing quarterbacks in Carson Palmer and Kurt Warner in two of the past four games. It also helps that McNabb is a Chicago native, and we like when players return to their hometown.
Sleeper alert: Eli Manning (vs. ATL): The Falcons depleted secondary is exactly what Manning needs coming off the bye week. Atlanta is No. 28 in pass defense and has allowed at least two passing touchdowns in four of their past five games. The Falcons have also allowed at least 18 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over that span, and Manning is coming off a solid game before the bye week. In Week 9, Manning had 215 passing yards and two touchdowns against San Diego, and he should build off that performance against Atlanta. You should also plan on using Steve Smith , Mario Manningham , Hakeem Nicks and Kevin Boss in this matchup.
(vs. BUF): Garrard was impressive last week
at the Jets by throwing his first touchdown on the road, and he has at
least 18 Fantasy points in his past two games. He's also been tremendous
at home with at least 18 Fantasy points in three of four games in
Jacksonville this year. But he might not post great stats this week
against the Bills, who have been excellent in pass defense but have
struggled against the run (so expect plenty of
). They have allowed only one passing touchdown in
their past five games with 12 interceptions over that span. Only twice
has an opposing quarterback reached 20 Fantasy points against Buffalo,
and that was in the first two weeks of the season. Garrard won't be
horrible this week, but he likely won't finish as a Top 12 Fantasy
Alex Smith (at GB): The clock has apparently struck midnight for Smith, and he has turned into a pumpkin again. After his three touchdown passes against Houston in Week 7 when he replaced Shaun Hill , Smith has three touchdowns, five interceptions and a lost fumble in three games against Indianapolis, Tennessee and Chicago with only one game over 200 passing yards. He was miserable last week against the Bears with 118 passing yards and an interception. The Packers haven't been great in pass defense for most of this year, but they did an excellent job against Tony Romo last week and should be able to contain Smith.
Matt Cassel (vs. PIT): You should consider dropping Cassel with Dwayne Bowe now suspended for four games. Without Bowe, Cassel is throwing the ball to Chris Chambers , Mark Bradley , Bobby Wade and Lance Long . And he's doing it against the Steelers this week, who should get after Cassel even without safety Troy Polamalu (knee). In leagues where you start two quarterbacks, you should consider other options like Vince Young (at HOU), Matthew Stafford (vs. CLE), Josh Freeman (vs. NO) and Jake Delhomme (vs. MIA). That's where Cassel ranks against the Steelers with Bowe not with the team.
Carson Palmer (at OAK): You never know which Palmer will show up, and this is an interesting matchup, especially if Cedric Benson (hip) doesn't play. The Bengals should still be able to run all over the Raiders like everyone else with Bernard Scott leading the way, and the Raiders have done well against opposing quarterbacks this season. Only Eli Manning -- in a half -- has passed for multiple touchdowns against the Raiders, and they limited Philip Rivers , Kyle Orton , Matt Schaub and Donovan McNabb to one touchdown or less in five games. But if the Bengals decide to throw, Palmer could have a solid stat line, and he has three games this season with multiple touchdowns. Still, the Raiders have yet to allow a quarterback to reach 20 Fantasy points, so go with the trends and keep Palmer reserved unless he's the best quarterback on your roster.
Matt Ryan (at NYG): Ryan might be asked to carry the offense with Michael Turner (ankle) out, but that could be a bad situation for the Falcons and Fantasy owners. Ryan has an interception in his past six games with 11 total picks over that span. His turnovers have ruined his production, and he hasn't had more than 15 Fantasy points in his past five games. The Giants are also getting healthy on defense with the expected return of cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring). And coming off the bye week, the Giants should be rested and ready to harass Ryan. He also has only two games with more than 200 passing yards in his past five outings, so you just can't count on him to start for your Fantasy team with the way that he's played.
Bust alert: Jay Cutler (vs. PHI): No chance I would use Cutler this week. And as I said after his five interceptions against San Francisco last week, there are only two times to use Cutler as a starting Fantasy option the rest of this season, and that's Week 13 against St. Louis and Week 17 at Detroit. And even those are questionable based on his inconsistent play. He might throw five touchdowns against the Eagles, but he'll do it on my bench because I'm not getting burned by this guy again. He only has four games with more touchdowns than interceptions this year, and only one of those came in his past five games. He has six touchdowns and 12 interceptions over that span, and you just can't trust him right now. Cutler is just too risky to start in any Fantasy league, so be safe and keep him reserved. The only reason to trust Cutler is if you have no other quality options on your roster.
(at DEN): It was good to see Tomlinson
run like he did last week against Philadelphia with 24 carries for 96
yards and two touchdowns. Now, hopefully, he can follow it up with
another good performance. Tomlinson had 100 total yards against the
Broncos in Week 6, and he has at least 10 Fantasy points in four of his
past five meetings with Denver. The Broncos have allowed a running back
to reach double digits in Fantasy points in their past six games, with
posting outstanding stats in the past three weeks. The
front seven for Denver appears to be the weakness in the defense, and
Tomlinson should build off what we saw last week.
Ricky Williams (at CAR): Williams will be a must-start option for the rest of the season now that Ronnie Brown (foot) is out for the year. At 32, we'll find out if Williams can handle the heavy lifting for another seven games, but he should run well against the Panthers. Carolina has allowed 12 running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including Michael Turner and Jason Snelling last week. Williams is coming off a solid game last week against Tampa Bay with 20 carries for 102 yards, and he has proven all year he can be a solid Fantasy option. He has six games with double digits in Fantasy points so have faith that he can be a regular in your starting lineup.
Beanie Wells (at STL): Wells picked a great time to have a big game heading into this matchup against the Rams. He had 16 carries for 85 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle, and he now has at least 67 rushing yards in three of his past four games with three touchdowns over that span. Tim Hightower is also worth starting in leagues where receptions count, but we like Wells in this game. The Rams have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs this year (11 rushing, two receiving), and eight running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against St. Louis.
LeSean McCoy (at CHI): We know Brian Westbrook (concussion) is out for this game and might be done for the year, which makes McCoy a solid Fantasy running back. He's started three games this year in place of Westbrook and finished with double digits in Fantasy points in two of those against Kansas City in Week 3 and the Giants in Week 8. He also reached double digits in Fantasy points against Dallas in Week 8, and the Bears have allowed six running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including Frank Gore last week. McCoy will be a factor running the ball and in the passing game, so start him in all formats.
Bernard Scott (at OAK): This will change if Cedric Benson (hip) plays, but Scott has the chance for an outstanding game if Benson is out as expected. The Raiders can't stop anyone on the ground, and they have allowed 12 running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including Jamaal Charles last week. Benson has been the catalyst for the Bengals impressive ground attack this year, but Cincinnati's offensive line deserves plenty of credit. They should push the Raiders around, so look for Scott to play well. Larry Johnson will get some carries here, as will Brian Leonard , but we're confident in Scott, who the Bengals trust as the No. 2 option behind Benson.
Sleeper alert: Jamal Lewis (at DET): You might do a double take with this one, but remember what a sleeper is -- someone who could come out of nowhere and play a good game. Lewis has the chance for that this week as a flex option. He's playing the Lions after all. Detroit has allowed opposing running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points eight times, including six games in a row against Matt Forte , Rashard Mendenhall , Ryan Grant , Steven Jackson , Julius Jones and Adrian Peterson . Lewis should get at least 15 carries -- he's had that in three of his past five games -- and that should lead to double digits in Fantasy points. Look, we're not expecting Lewis to turn back the clock, but with all the injuries at running back this week, Lewis has a good enough matchup to actually make him a viable replacement. Some other sleepers to consider this week include Steve Slaton (vs. TEN), Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. ATL), Jason Snelling (at NYG), Cadillac Williams (vs. NO) and Knowshon Moreno (vs. SD).
(vs. NYJ): It wouldn't surprise me if
Maroney is back in Bill Belichick's doghouse after his key fumble last
week at Indianapolis, which is a shame since Maroney has played well
recently with a touchdown in each of his past four games. But this
should be one of those games where
sees the majority of action with the Jets planning to blitz, blitz and
blitz some more against
(12 carries for 79 yards) also outplayed Maroney (13 carries for 31
yards) against the Colts, and Faulk didn't lose any fumbles. Maroney
might still be a useful flex option in deeper leagues as long as
(knee) is out, but I would stay away this week in
standard formats. Keep in mind the Jets have only allowed four running
backs to score against them and one 100-yard rusher, which was
Jonathan Stewart (vs. MIA): There's an interesting pattern emerging with Stewart, which may have something to do with his injured Achilles' tendon. He has played well in every other game since Week 6 at Tampa Bay with double digits in Fantasy points against the Bucs, at Arizona in Week 8 and last week against Atlanta. In Week 7 against Buffalo and Week 9 at New Orleans he combined for five Fantasy points. It could be that he's sore after getting additional carries the previous week, and playing on Thursday this week could screw up his routine. He missed practice as expected Wednesday and might not see an abundance of touches in tandem with DeAngelo Williams . The Dolphins have also done well in run defense, especially with Jason Ferguson and Channing Crowder healthy. Start Williams, but avoid Stewart if you can.
Jamaal Charles (vs. PIT): It was good to see Charles run well last week at Oakland with 18 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown, but don't expect a similar result against the Steelers even without safety Troy Polamalu (knee). The Steelers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in their past 27 games, and Charles isn't going to snap that streak. Only two running backs have touchdowns against Pittsburgh this year ( Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson ), and we can all agree Charles isn't at that level. The next time you'll want to consider using Charles is Week 14 against Buffalo and Week 15 against Cleveland.
Ladell Betts (at DAL): Betts stepped up for the injured Clinton Portis (concussion) and played like a star against Denver last week with 26 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown. He now has two dominant games in a row, but don't expect a third. The Cowboys have been stellar in run defense. Dallas has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher, and only one running back ( Michael Turner in Week 7) has scored against the Cowboys since Week 1. Last week, Dallas held Ryan Grant to 19 carries for 79 yards, and Betts also will likely post less than 10 Fantasy points this week.
Justin Forsett (at MIN): Should you add Forsett? Absolutely, especially since Julius Jones (lung) has been ruled out for this game. But don't plan on starting Forsett at the Vikings. Minnesota has only allowed one running back to score a touchdown this year, and it was Ray Rice in Week 6. Only three running backs ( Ryan Grant , Steven Jackson and Rice) have reached double digits in Fantasy points, and the Vikings should contain Forsett, who was impressive last week against Arizona with 17 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown. But the time to use Forsett will be Week 12 at St. Louis, which is a much better matchup than he has this week.
Bust alert: Thomas Jones (at NE): It's almost impossible to bench Jones, who has double digits in Fantasy points in all but two games this year, including six in a row with six touchdowns over that span. But one of the games where Jones struggled was Week 2 against New England when the Patriots held him to 14 carries for 54 yards. Now, Jones did have 30 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown last year at New England, but that was his only game with double digits in Fantasy points against the Patriots in his past five meetings. Only three running backs have scored rushing touchdowns against New England this year, and the Patriots could go ahead early in this game, which would nullify the running game and limit what Jones can do.
(at STL): Breaston is starting to get hot,
and that's a good thing when you're talking about a No. 3 wide receiver.
He has two touchdowns in his past two games, but more importantly he has
15 catches for 202 yards in his past three outings. He had six targets
in Week 10 against Seattle, which was third behind
(nine), but Breaston will continue to remain a significant part of the
offense. He had seven catches for 90 yards in his last game against the
Rams last year and should come close to those stats again.
Santonio Holmes (at KC): You should like all the Steelers receivers this week since the Chiefs struggle to defend opposing wide receivers, so start Hines Ward and Mike Wallace . Seven wide receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Kansas City, and Holmes is on the verge of a big game. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1, but he has 13 catches for 181 yards in his past two games. If he scores in either of those outings against Denver or Cincinnati he would be considered a No. 1 Fantasy option, and this is the week he should find the end zone again.
Jerricho Cotchery (at NE): It's hard to argue with Cotchery's production. In every game where he's been healthy (he left Week 5 at Miami with an injured hamstring) he has at least 68 receiving yards and two total touchdowns, including Week 2 against the Patriots when he had four catches for 87 yards. He also had five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown at New England last year, and the Patriots are vulnerable in pass defense. Braylon Edwards is also worth using this week, and both Jets wide receivers should be considered solid No. 3 Fantasy options.
Steve Smith (vs. ATL): The Giants should have success throwing the ball this week, which makes Smith, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks solid Fantasy options, with Smith worth using as a No. 2 wide receiver. He had 16 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown against Philadelphia and San Diego in two games before the bye last week, so he should get back to playing at a high level again like he showed earlier this season. The Falcons have allowed a wide receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points in three of their past four games.
Pierre Garcon (at BAL): We know Peyton Manning will make sure Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark get their share of passes, but Garcon has emerged as the No. 3 option ahead of Austin Collie . In the past three weeks, Garcon has seen 27 targets, including 11 last week against New England. You know the Colts will be throwing plenty in this matchup, which makes Garcon a great No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver or even a No. 2 option in deeper leagues. And if he and Manning start to connect on more passes -- Garcon only had three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots -- then Garcon's stats would be amazing. The Ravens have improved in pass defense the past three weeks against Denver, Cincinnati and Cleveland, but losing key pass rusher Terrell Suggs (knee) against Peyton Manning should allow the Colts to do well through the air.
Sleeper alert: Lee Evans (at JAC): We liked Evans as a sleeper last week, and he responded with four catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns at Tennessee. He has a touchdown in three of his past four games, with four touchdowns over that span -- all on the road. The Jaguars are dealing with injuries in the secondary, and eight wide receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Jacksonville this year. You have to be wary of Evans pulling a disappearing act like he did in Week 8 against Houston, but this is a great matchup for him and even Terrell Owens . And don't be concerned that Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting at quarterback because he can still get Evans the ball. Some other sleepers to consider this week include Kevin Walter (vs. TEN), Robert Meachem (at TB), Donnie Avery (vs. ARI), Jeremy Maclin (at CHI), Nate Burleson (at MIN) and Laveranues Coles (at OAK).
(at GB): Crabtree played well in his first
two games this year in Week 7 at Houston and Week 8 at Indianapolis with
11 catches for 137 yards and a fumble, but he's regressed the past two
weeks against Tennessee and Chicago with seven catches for 78 yards.
He's seeing tougher coverage, and you also have to remember he's just a
rookie. The Packers have veteran cornerbacks in
should give Crabtree problems. And he has yet to score a touchdown, so
there are probably better Fantasy options for you to rely on than
Crabtree this week.
Santana Moss (at DAL): Moss hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 4, and he's had some bad games recently, including two catches for 8 yards last week against Denver. Moss has had some big performances against the Cowboys in his career with three 100-yard games and two touchdowns in his past five meetings, but Dallas has stepped up in pass defense recently. The Cowboys haven't allowed a wide receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points in the past three games against Seattle, Philadelphia and Green Bay, and Moss and Jason Campbell don't seem to be on the same page.
Devin Hester (vs. PHI): Hester is still looking for his first touchdown at home. He has three touchdowns this year, and they were all on the road. In four home games, Hester has 18 catches for 198 yards with no 100-yard games. The Eagles have done well against opposing wide receivers this year. No wide receiver has gained 100 yards against Philadelphia and only six have scored touchdowns. Last week, the Eagles held Vincent Jackson to one catch for 10 yards, so Hester might not have a big game in this matchup.
Devery Henderson (at TB): Henderson has done a nice job the past two weeks against Carolina and St. Louis with seven catches for 165 yards. But he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1, which has limited his Fantasy production. Drew Brees has been spreading the ball around to Marques Colston , Jeremy Shockey , Reggie Bush and now Robert Meachem . Couple that with the fact that Henderson struggles outdoors. He has no touchdowns in his past five games outdoors, including last year at Tampa Bay when he had two catches for 33 yards. Now, in 2006 at Tampa Bay, Henderson had three catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns against the Bucs, but he also had no catches at Tampa Bay in 2007.
Mike Sims-Walker (vs. BUF): Consider this a bust alert because as we found out last week, even when Sims-Walker has a tough matchup he still makes plays. He had three catches for 49 yards and a touchdown at the Jets, but the Bills pass defense presents a tough challenge again. Only two wide receivers have scored touchdowns against the Bills this season with Nate Washington last week and Brian Hartline in Week 4 -- that's it. Part of that is because teams run all over the Bills, but they also have 16 interceptions, including eight from rookie safety Jairus Byrd . Only one wide receiver has reached double digits in Fantasy points against the Bills this year, which was Randy Moss in Week 1. Start Sims-Walker because he's proving to be a great player, but don't be surprised if he has less than 10 Fantasy points this week.
Bust alert: Brandon Marshall (vs. SD): The key for Marshall is the health of quarterback Kyle Orton (ankle). If Orton starts then consider Marshall a safe Fantasy option. But if Chris Simms starts then you might consider putting Marshall on the bench. Marshall struggled once Simms came on for Orton last week at Washington, which was Marshall's best game of the season with five catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. His scoring passes were 40 and 75 yards, but don't expect Simms to take many chances downfield. And the Chargers have done well against Marshall in most of their matchups. He had 18 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers in one game last year. But he hasn't scored in four of the other previous five meetings and was held to five catches for 49 yards in Week 6 at San Diego. Again, the key for Marshall is Orton's health, so monitor his status heading into Sunday's game.
(vs. PHI): This is the one member of the Bears
passing game you have to like. His play the past two weeks is what you
expected over the course of the season with the addition of
. Olsen has 12 catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns
against Arizona and San Francisco. Hopefully that type of production
will continue this week. The Eagles are among the worst teams at
defending tight ends. Four tight ends have reached double digits in
Fantasy points against Philadelphia, and five have gained more than 70
Kevin Boss (vs. ATL): You have to hope what Boss did in the two games prior to last week's bye week will carry over to the rest of the season. He had five catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns against Philadelphia and San Diego, which were his two most productive Fantasy outings of the season. He appears to be healthy, and he has a great matchup this week. The Falcons have allowed four tight ends to score touchdowns this season, and five tight ends have gained more than 50 yards receiving. This is another chance for Boss to get about seven Fantasy points, which is solid production from a low-end No. 1 tight end.
John Carlson (at MIN): Like Matt Hasselbeck , the main concern for Carlson is the Minnesota pass rush. If the Vikings are getting to Hasselbeck often then Carlson might be asked to block more than run routes. He had one catch for 31 yards and a touchdown last week at Arizona, which was his first touchdown since Week 1, but the Seahawks offensive line is starting to get healthy. This week, the Minnesota native returns home to face the Vikings, who are the worst team against opposing tight ends. Five tight ends have scored against Minnesota, with four getting at least nine Fantasy points.
Sleeper alert: Tony Scheffler (vs. SD): There's just something about Scheffler against the Chargers that you have to like. He had six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown against San Diego in Week 6, and he has four touchdowns in his past three games with the Chargers, including 17 catches for 240 yards over that span. Since Scheffler faced San Diego, he has six catches for 41 yards in three games, so he obviously gets up for this matchup. It could be that the Chargers struggle with tight ends. Four tight ends have scored at least nine Fantasy points against San Diego, and the Chargers have allowed six touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Some other sleepers to consider this week include Heath Miller (at KC), Visanthe Shiancoe (vs. SEA), Joey Haynos (at CAR) and Brandon Pettigrew (vs. CLE).
(vs. IND): Heap hasn't scored since Week 2, and
he hasn't reached double digits in Fantasy points since Week 1. In his
past three games against Denver, Cincinnati and Cleveland, Heap has 10
catches for 87 yards. The Colts are among the best teams against
opposing tight ends with only 286 yards and one touchdown allowed this
season. Granted, they haven't faced many elite tight ends, with
the best one, and he's the one who scored on three
catches for 20 yards in Week 8. But Heap isn't an elite tight end any
Benjamin Watson (vs. NYJ): The Jets are among the top teams against tight ends this season. They haven't allowed a tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and only two tight ends have scored against them. In Week 2, the Jets held Watson to three catches for 23 yards. He does have two touchdowns in his past three games against the Jets, but Watson hasn't reached double digits in Fantasy points since Week 1.
Zach Miller (vs. CIN): The Bengals have only allowed one tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year, and it was Owen Daniels in Week 6. Steve Heiden also scored a touchdown against Cincinnati in Week 4, but the Bengals have limited Greg Olsen , Todd Heap and Heath Miller to 18 catches for 111 yards in five games, with two matchups each against Heap and Miller. They should be able to contain Zach Miller , who has one touchdown on the season but hasn't scored in the past three games. He also only has one game this season with double digits in Fantasy points, and the change from JaMarcus Russell at quarterback to Bruce Gradkowski shouldn't make much of a difference.
Bust alert: Jason Witten (vs. WAS): Witten's disappearing act this year has been one of the more troublesome situations for Fantasy owners, but it's almost like you have to start him every week with the hope he has a breakout game. It could happen this week, but he doesn't have a great history against the Redskins. He only has one touchdown in his past five games against Washington with two games of less than 40 yards receiving over that span. The Redskins have also done well against opposing tight ends. Washington allowed Tony Gonzalez to catch five passes for 41 yards and a touchdown in Week 9, but he's the only tight end to get double digits in Fantasy points against the Redskins. They have held Kellen Winslow and Brent Celek to minimal production, and Witten hasn't reached double digits in Fantasy points this year with only one touchdown in Week 2.
Bengals (at OAK): The Bengals DST hasn't skipped a beat despite
losing top pass rusher
(Achilles' tendon) and safety Roy L. Williams (forearm) for the season.
They have posted double digits in Fantasy points in seven games this
year, including three in a row. Over that span, they have six
interceptions, nine sacks and one touchdown against Chicago, Baltimore
and Pittsburgh. This week, the Bengals get the inept Raiders. In
Oakland's past three games against Kansas City, San Diego and the Jets,
the Raiders have allowed five interceptions, 10 sacks and an average of
17 Fantasy points. The Bengals are only started in 48 percent of
leagues, but consider them a No. 1 option in this matchup.
Other DSTs with good matchups: Cowboys (vs. WAS), New Orleans (at TB) and Cardinals (at STL)
Jets (at NE): The Jets defense is the only team to hold Tom Brady without a touchdown this year in Week 2. They also held the Patriots to just nine points and only 299 total yards. That's not going to happen again. New England, coming off the loss at Indianapolis, is going to attack the Jets, who looked lost against the Jaguars at home last week. Look for Brady to come out and put on a show, and the Jets DST is not going to have the same impact as it did in Week 2. This is usually the type of game where the Patriots make a statement, and it will likely come at the expense of the Jets defense. The Jets DST has also failed to score a touchdown all season.
(at BAL): It's only fitting to make Stover the
start kicker this week. The Ravens decided not to bring him back this
year after he spent 18 seasons with the franchise from Cleveland and the
move to Baltimore. Then, heading into the matchup with Baltimore, the
Ravens cut his replacement,
and are now using
think Baltimore would like Stover back? He's only been perfect on six
field goals and 13 extra points for the Colts in the four games since he
replaced the injured
(knee). Stover might be 41, but he has been a No. 1 Fantasy option and
yet is only started in 49 percent of leagues. Look for Stover to have a
solid game as he goes back to Baltimore with the high-powered
Other kickers with good matchups: Jason Hanson (vs. CLE), John Kasay (vs. MIA) and Lawrence Tynes (vs. ATL)
Jason Elam (at NYG): Elam is having a miserable year. He missed a crucial field goal in Week 10 at Carolina, and he's only 9 of 14 on field goals this year, including 4 of 7 in his past two road games. He has no games with double digits in Fantasy points, and the Giants have only allowed six field goals this season in nine games. The Falcons offense could be in trouble with Michael Turner (ankle) injured, so don't rely on Elam this week if you can find another option. In fact, Elam is the No. 20 kicker in standard Fantasy leagues this year, so you might want another kicker for the rest of the season.
You can email your Fantasy Football questions to DMFantasyFootball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Start 'Em and Sit 'Em in the subject field. Include your full name, hometown and state, and we'll get to as many as we can. Also, follow me on Twitter @jameyeisenberg.
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