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Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Week 17 review

Here is our weekly review from Start 'Em and Sit 'Em from Week 17.

How we did in Week 17 ...

Starts that made us look good

Player - Fantasy Points Projected - Fantasy Points Actual - Start Percentage

Ryan Mathews – 15 – 31 – 25*

Tim Tebow – 17 – 31 – 13

Ben Roethlisberger – 18 – 25 – 44

Sits that made us look good

Player - Fantasy Points Projected - Fantasy Points Actual - Start Percentage

Michael Crabtree – 6 – 4 – 46

Jay Cutler – 15 – 2 – 36

Peyton Hillis – 7 – 1 – 79

Starts that made us look bad

Player - Fantasy Points Projected - Fantasy Points Actual - Start Percentage

Joseph Addai – 12 – 4 – 16

Joe Flacco – 17 – 3 – 68

Jonathan Stewart – 14 – 3 – 45

Sits that made us look bad

Player - Fantasy Points Projected - Fantasy Points Actual - Start Percentage

Josh Freeman – 16 – 21 – 32

Rex Grossman – 13 – 19 – 3

Matt Forte – 5 – 15 – 74

Our favorite sleeper in Week 17 was ... Rashad Jennings, who had 19 Fantasy points when he was projected for nine. He was started in 35 percent of leagues and finished with more Fantasy points than Chris Johnson (14), Michael Turner (10) and Steven Jackson (seven).

* - Start of the Week

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:33 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 12:46 am
 

Week 17 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

QUARTERBACK

Kevin Kolb (vs. DAL): Michael Vick (quad) is expected to miss this game, which means Kolb will return as the starter for the Eagles. He should be at his best since he could be auditioning for a job next season. If he plays well, another team in need of a quarterback could entice the Eagles in a trade since it’s clear Vick is the starter in Philadelphia in 2011. He has a favorable matchup against the Cowboys, who are tied with the Texans for the most touchdowns allowed to opposing quarterbacks with 34.

Trent Edwards (at HOU): The Texans just allowed rookie quarterback Tim Tebow, in his second NFL start, to pass for more than 300 yards with multiple touchdowns. Part of it is Tebow played well. But part of it is the Texans are that bad in pass defense. Edwards now takes his turn with David Garrard (finger) out, and he has the chance to produce at a high level. We’re not saying to start Edwards in most formats, but if you’re in need of a passer in deeper leagues then give Edwards a chance.

RUNNING BACK

Jerome Harrison (vs. DAL): The Eagles will likely decide to rest most of their starters, which means Harrison can get the majority of touches with LeSean McCoy on the bench. Harrison came into the season with a lot of promise before the Browns traded him to Philadelphia. The Cowboys have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs in the past five games, and Harrison can be a useful flex option in deeper formats this week based on his potential to see increased carries.

Michael Bush (at KC): If Darren McFadden (toe) is out for this game then Bush could see the majority of carries against the Chiefs. And there’s a chance the Chiefs could be resting their starters early in the game. Bush has six games this season with double digits in Fantasy points, and he’s done well with increased touches. He’s had five games this year with double digits in carries, and he finished with at least one touchdown in four of those outings.

Jason Snelling (vs. CAR): If the Falcons build a lead this game, which isn’t a stretch given how bad Carolina has played this season, Snelling could see increased carries late in the game once Michael Turner is resting on the bench. The Panthers have allowed 20 touchdowns to opposing running backs this year, including 10 in the past five games. Snelling should be considered a flex option in deeper formats.

Brian Westbrook (vs. ARI): If Anthony Dixon (ankle) was 100 percent healthy then the 49ers would have reason to give him at least 15 carries to find out what he’s capable of heading into 2011. Dixon, not Westbrook, is the future No. 2 running back in San Francisco behind Frank Gore. But with Dixon limited in practice this week, Westbrook will likely remain the featured option for this matchup against the Cardinals, which is favorable. Arizona has allowed 19 touchdowns to opposing running backs, and Westbrook has three touchdowns in his past five games.

WIDE RECEIVER

Davone Bess (at NE): Bess has a good history against the Patriots. He has 18 catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns in his past two meetings with New England with at least eight Fantasy points in his past three outings. The Patriots have allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season, and they could be resting defensive starters in the second half with the playoffs approaching. The Dolphins also will likely be passing a lot while they are chasing points, and Bess has at least seven Fantasy points in his past five games.

Jerome Simpson (at BAL): Simpson went from an afterthought to the No. 1 receiver for the Bengals last week against San Diego with Terrell Owens (knee) on injured reserve and Chad Ochocinco (ankle) out. He finished with six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s looking for a repeat performance this week against the Ravens. Ochocinco is likely out again, but this is a tougher matchup. Still, based on his play last week and the way coach Marvin Lewis is talking him up, we would give Simpson a chance as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this week in deeper formats.

James Jones (vs. CHI): It’s becoming more evident each week that Jones is the No. 2 wide receiver for the Packers behind Greg Jennings. In his past two games he has nine catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns. But the best part is he has 15 targets over that span, which shows Aaron Rodgers continues to look in his direction. The Packers, as usual, will be throwing a lot in this matchup with the Bears, and we consider Jones as a potential No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver in deeper leagues.

Danario Alexander (at SEA): Alexander is the big-play threat for the Rams, and Seattle has proven an inability to defend wide receivers down the field. The Seahawks have allowed 21 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season, including nine in the past five games and six in the past three. Alexander had six catches for 99 yards last week against San Francisco, and he has at least nine Fantasy points in three games this season while dealing with a knee injury. We love his upside, and this is a good week to consider him a sleeper based on the matchup.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 23, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Week 16 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

QUARTERBACK

Rex Grossman (at JAC): Grossman had one of the best Fantasy performances of the season last week at Dallas with 322 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions for 34 Fantasy points. He has the chance for another quality outing this week against the Jaguars, who have allowed 26 passing touchdowns on the season, including seven in the past five weeks. There have been nine quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns against Jacksonville, and Grossman should make it 10. He has a firm grasp of this offense with his time with Kyle Shanahan last year in Houston, and he’s worth using as a starter in deeper leagues for this week.

Joe Webb (at PHI): Webb isn’t worth starting as a quarterback. He’s worth using in leagues where you can put him in as a flex option as a wide receiver, which is something that’s not possible on CBSSports.com. His combination of passing and rushing should make him a viable Fantasy starter in deeper leagues. From a passing perspective, the Eagles have allowed 30 passing touchdowns with 11 quarterbacks throwing multiple touchdowns, including six in a row. Webb got 10 Fantasy points in a standard league last week against the Bears with a rushing touchdown, and he can easily reach 15 points. He’s worth the risk, but it depends who you are comparing him against. Don’t just force him in your lineup based on potential.

RUNNING BACK

Tim Hightower (vs. DAL): Hightower let a lot of Fantasy owners down last week with his performance at Carolina. He had six carries for 16 yards and three catches for 12 yards in what should have been a great matchup. But this week he should rebound against the Cowboys, who have struggled in run defense recently. Dallas has allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs in the past five games with four reaching double digits in Fantasy points. And Hightower has been great at home with at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games. Don’t worry about Beanie Wells, who has been a non-factor all season. Hightower is still worth using as a flex option in this matchup.

Donald Brown (at OAK): The return of Joseph Addai (neck) could hurt Brown’s production, but he played well enough last week to still warrant use based on the matchup. The Raiders have allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing running backs, including six in the past five games. And Brown is coming off a career performance against the Jaguars with 14 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown. Addai, if he’s able to play, won’t get a full workload, so Brown has the chance to be involved in all facets of the game and is worth using as a flex option.

Brian Westbrook (at STL): The Rams were just gashed by the Chiefs with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones combining for 33 carries, 188 yards and two touchdowns. St. Louis has allowed four rushing touchdowns in its past five games, and Westbrook has scored in consecutive games against Seattle and San Diego. Anthony Dixon (ankle) is also banged up, and if he’s out that will mean more carries for Westbrook. Like Hightower and Brown, he remains a good flex option for this matchup, which could decide the NFC West title.

Pierre Thomas (at ATL): The Falcons run defense, which had been stout most of the season, has fallen apart recently. In their past three games they have allowed LeGarrette Blount, Jonathan Stewart and Marshawn Lynch to score and reach double digits in Fantasy points. Thomas played well in the first meeting with the Falcons in Week 3 with 91 total yards. And he has four total touchdowns in his past four meetings with Atlanta, and this could be a game where New Orleans leans on him with Chris Ivory (hamstring) still hurt.  Thomas has disappointed Fantasy owners for most of the season, but he could be used as a flex option in this matchup.

WIDE RECEIVER

David Nelson (vs. NE): He’s worth the risk as a No. 3 wide receiver in deeper leagues based on his recent production. Nelson has three touchdowns in his past three games, and he’s coming off his best performance of the season at Miami with three catches for 61 yards and a score. The Patriots have allowed  15 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, including six in the past five games. Steve Johnson remains the best receiving option for the Bills, but Nelson has done a solid job in replacing Lee Evans (ankle).

Derrick Mason (at CLE): Mason has reached double digits in Fantasy points in every other game since Week 10, and he’s coming off a disappointing performance last week against New Orleans with one catch for 42 yards. If that trend continues then Mason should play well in this matchup. It helps that he has a good history against the Browns. In his past five trips to Cleveland he has 32 catches for 497 yards and one touchdown. The Browns have allowed 14 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and Mason has three touchdowns in his past three road games. He’s worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver for this week.

Percy Harvin (at PHI): Harvin was one of the few Vikings players who did well last week against Chicago with five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown, and he should be Webb’s favorite target in this matchup with the Eagles. Philadelphia has allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season with eight in the past five games. As long as Harvin is healthy – he missed the two previous games prior to Week 15 with migraines – he remains a quality No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver in the majority of leagues.

Lance Moore (at ATL): We all remember Moore’s performance against the Falcons in Week 3 with six catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He has also scored in each of his past two games against St. Louis and Baltimore and has three touchdowns in his past four outings. Aside from Marques Colston, he has been the most consistent receiving option for the Saints. Moore also has a good history against the Falcons with three touchdowns in his past four meetings, and we like him as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver in this matchup.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 16, 2010 3:00 pm
 

Week 15 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

QUARTERBACK

Jason Campbell (vs. DEN): Campbell played great in a favorable matchup in Week 14 at Jacksonville with 324 passing yards and two touchdowns and has at least 19 Fantasy points in his past two games against San Diego and the Jaguars. Campbell also had 21 Fantasy points at Denver in Week 7. The Broncos have shut down Cassel and John Skelton the past two games, but Denver has allowed seven quarterbacks to score multiple touchdowns this season. Campbell is doing a great job getting the ball to his playmakers, and Zach Miller (foot) finally looked healthy against the Jaguars, which is a great sign.

Matt Hasselbeck (vs. ATL): The Falcons have allowed seven quarterbacks to score multiple touchdowns against them this season, with three coming on the road. Hasselbeck struggled in Week 14 at San Francisco with 285 passing yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions and a lost fumble, but he was without Mike Williams (ankle) and Ben Obomanu (hand). He could get one or both back this week, and he does have three games with at least 17 Fantasy points in his past five outings.

RUNNING BACK

Ronnie Brown (vs. BUF): Brown has struggled this season, but this is a good matchup for him. He had 13 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Bills and has three touchdowns in his past two games with Buffalo. The Bills are last in the NFL in run defense , and they have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs, including five in the past five games. Brown will lose carries and production to Ricky Williams, which is why Brown isn’t an outright start in the majority of leagues. But both running backs can be considered sleepers this week based on the matchup with the Bills.

Jahvid Best (at TB): The Bucs defense is falling apart, and running backs are taking advantage of it. Tampa Bay has allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in all but two games this season, and last week Ryan Torain ran all over the Bucs for 172 yards. Best has been a disappointment this season with his lingering toe injury, but he has run hard the past two games against Chicago and Green Bay. He continues to share playing time with Maurice Morris, who is also a good sleeper here, but this could be a good week to trust Best in deeper leagues.

Ryan Mathews (vs. SF): Mathews had a great game in Week 14 against Kansas City with 16 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown. It was just his third game with double digits in Fantasy points this year, but he could finish the season strong as long as he’s healthy after not playing in three games with an injured ankle. The 49ers have done well in run defense this year, but they are dealing with hand injuries to linebackers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes. That could allow Mathews to run well again while he continues to share carries with Mike Tolbert.

WIDE RECEIVER

Robert Meachem (at BAL): I’m a little stubborn with Meachem this week after he failed to catch a pass in Week 14 in a matchup with the Rams. But the Saints will need all their receivers to step up this week against the Ravens, who struggled last week to stop the Texans. Baltimore has allowed six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the past five games, and Drew Brees can’t throw every pass to Marques Colston no matter how hard he tries. If you can trust Meachem then put him in your lineup as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver.

Earl Bennett (at MIN): Someone has to catch passes for the Bears this week, and Bennett has been the most consistent option recently. He has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games with at least 53 receiving yards in each game over that span. The location of this game could determine the value for Bennett and all the Bears, but if it’s played outdoors in Minnesota you might consider another option. However, if they find an indoor venue for this game, then Bennett could be a star since the Vikings secondary remains the weak link of this defense.

Jacoby Jones (at TEN): Jones, a sleeper coming into the season, has been a bust for most of the year. But he does have two touchdowns in his past two games against Philadelphia and Baltimore and played great against the Ravens in the second half last week once he got past a few drops. With Andre Johnson taking away plenty of coverage, Jones has started to excel, and hopefully he can finish the season strong. The Titans have allowed four touchdowns in the past five games to opposing wide receivers, and Matt Schaub should continue to look for Jones this week with the Johnson-Cortland Finnegan battle looming on the other side of the field.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Week 14 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

QUARTERBACK

David Garrard (vs. OAK): I’m going to trust Dave Richard on this one and mention Garrard as a sleeper. I think what you’ll get out of him is similar production to last week when he had 126 passing yards with a rushing touchdown against Tennessee. The difference is he could also throw a touchdown pass here with Oakland making the trip to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. ET start and being sluggish. A lot will depend on the health of Mike Sims-Walker (ankle), but the Jaguars are going to rely on Maurice Jones-Drew to carry the offense, which is why you should be realistic with your expectations for Garrard this week.

Alex Smith (vs. SEA): Smith returns to the starting job in place of Troy Smith, and he has a favorable matchup against the Seahawks. Seattle is No. 30 in pass defense and has allowed 20 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, including 12 in the past five games. Smith isn’t someone to start in the majority of leagues, but if you need a starter in two-quarterback leagues based on all the bad weather, Smith can be an emergency replacement. He should be able to connect well with Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis right away, and the 49ers might be throwing more now with Frank Gore (hip) out.

RUNNING BACK

Javarris James (vs. TEN): James has five touchdowns in his past five games, and he could see increased carries against the Titans with Joseph Addai (neck) and Mike Hart (ankle) out. Donald Brown remains the starter, but he’s also dealing with an ankle injury and has struggled of late. The Titans have struggled in run defense recently, allowing 603 rushing yards and two touchdowns the past five games against San Diego, Miami, Washington, Houston and Jacksonville. If the Colts are able to build a lead in this game it will be James closing out the clock, and he’s worth starting in deeper formats as a flex option.

Tim Hightower (vs. DEN): Hightower has the chance to actually help Fantasy owners this week since the Broncos are terrible in run defense. They lead the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns allowed and 13 running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against them. Hightower ran well last week against St. Louis with 15 carries for 81 yards and has at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games. Beanie Wells should be considered an afterthought for Fantasy owners, but Hightower has potential this week in the majority of leagues based on the matchup.

Willis McGahee (vs. HOU): You’re not going to rely on McGahee in the majority of leagues this week based on his recent play since he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 9. But Houston’s defense is not good, and McGahee could get some garbage time production in this matchup. The Texans have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing running backs with 10 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Ray Rice will be solid this week in all leagues, but McGahee might be worth using as a flex option in deeper formats.

Michael Bush (at JAC): Bush ran well last week at the Chargers with 23 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown, and he could find the end zone against the Jaguars this week. Jacksonville has allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing running backs with eight reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Darren McFadden remains the better starting option for the Raiders, but Bush is also worth using in deeper formats if you’re stuck in Week 14.

WIDE RECEIVER

Derrick Mason (at HOU): Mason could end up being a useful No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this week based on the matchup and the loss of Todd Heap (hamstring). That could mean more targets against the Texans, who are last in the NFL in pass defense. Houston has given up 16 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, including six in the past five weeks. The Texans have also allowed 10 wide receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and Mason and Anquan Boldin could be next.

Ben Obomanu (at SF): You’re going to have to keep an eye on Obomanu’s hand injury to make sure he plays, but with Mike Williams (ankle) out, Obomanu could see plenty of targets. Prior to getting hurt last week against Carolina, Obomanu had three touchdowns in his previous four games. San Francisco has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, including five in the past five weeks. As long as Obomanu is healthy he could be a solid No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver.

Jacoby Ford (at JAC): It appears as if the Raiders have found their No. 1 wide receiver since Ford has a touchdown or 100 yards receiving in three of his past four games. I’m not a big fan of the Raiders this week with the long trip to the East Coast, but the Jaguars pass defense has struggled all season. Jacksonville has allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and the Jaguars are No. 27 in pass defense. All it takes is Ford to get one step on the defense and he’s gone for a long touchdown. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver in deeper leagues.

Anthony Armstrong (vs. TB): Is Santana Moss still the No. 1 wide receiver for the Redskins? That could be debatable based on the targets and production the past four games. Armstrong has 29 targets over that span while Moss has 28. Armstrong also has 14 catches for 274 yards and one touchdown in his past four games while Moss has 16 catches for 198 yards and one touchdown. Armstrong is a nice sleeper this week based on Tampa Bay’s defense and their injuries in the secondary. Moss is the safer start based on his role in the offense. Or is he? We like Armstrong this week as a No. 3 option.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 3, 2010 1:37 pm
 

Amendola helps Rams in quest for NFC West title

The Rams haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004, but that could change this season. Not many people expected that to happen with a rookie quarterback, a second-year head coach and lots of questions on both sides of the ball at various positions.

But here we are in Week 13 with the Rams in a fight for the NFC West title. They benefit from playing in the worst division in the NFL, but they also have shown plenty of talent, something Fantasy owners have realized as well.

One of those talented players is wide receiver Danny Amendola, who is proud of what the Rams have accomplished thus far and excited for the chance to play in the postseason. He hopes St. Louis can win the division, and he’s ready for a key game Sunday at Arizona.

“At the beginning of the season there was a lot of uncertainty,” Amendola said in a phone interview this week. “Through time we found out we can compete. We’re trying to feed off each other and keep it rolling.”

Steven Jackson was the one player Fantasy owners knew they could count on for the Rams. After that, nothing was guaranteed, especially with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, but we’ve seen several players have moments throughout the year. And right now, Amendola likes what he sees on offense.

He said the Rams are starting to come together at the right time. Remember, the receiving corps has been decimated by injuries. Donnie Avery (knee) was lost before the season, and Mark Clayton (knee) went down after a hot start. Laurent Robinson and Danario Alexander have battled injury problems all year, and St. Louis just lost rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle) for at least a month.

Amendola has been one of the few constants for the Rams with 64 catches for 534 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also added 81 rushing yards and has been a solid option for Fantasy owners in point per reception leagues along with deeper standard formats.

For someone who went undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2008 to earning a role off the practice squad, Amendola is thrilled to be a significant contributor on a potential playoff contender.

“I didn’t set any goals for myself,” Amendola said. “I’m not big on numbers. The only thing I wanted was to have a role on this team.”

Amendola said the receiving corps for the Rams is playing well after overcoming the injuries to Avery and Clayton. Alexander has the potential to be a quality Fantasy option down the stretch if he can stay healthy with his knee problems, and Brandon Gibson has also been a useful Fantasy receiver at times.

This isn’t the “Greatest Show on Turf,” which was led by Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, but they are getting the job done.

“We have a bunch of guys that want to step up and make plays,” Amendola said. “They’re young and hungry and trying to hustle. Everyone is contributing, and it’s nice to see.”

The catalyst of the offense, however, has been Bradford. He has improved tremendously throughout the year, and he’s playing well heading into the game with the Cardinals. Fantasy owners could even consider Bradford a starting option in deeper formats.

Bradford is coming off the best game of his rookie season with 308 passing yards and three touchdowns at Denver in Week 12. In his past six games, Bradford has 11 touchdowns and one interception with an average of 19 Fantasy points over that span.

“Sam’s a great player,” Amendola said. “He doesn’t act like a rookie. He has leadership qualities like a veteran. With experience, it’s going to be scary how good he can be in the future. He really has a good grasp of the offense. He’s doing a great job.”

And then of course there’s Jackson, who is having another quality year. He is a Top 15 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, and the only thing missing from his impressive resume this season is scoring touchdowns with just three.

That stat bothers Fantasy owners, but Amendola doesn’t seem to care.

“It’s obviously nice to have a Pro Bowl running back and workhorse like Steven back there,” Amendola said. “He’s the type of guy we like to rally around. He’s our leader. His presence on the field is unlike any other.”

The Rams would give fans in St. Louis a feeling unlike any other if they could make the playoffs this season. Amendola said there is a buzz in the city about the team that has the players excited.

They want to make the postseason and shock the world. It’s something most people didn’t expect to happen when the year started.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 2, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Week 13 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

QUARTERBACK

Mark Sanchez (at NE): Sanchez struggled last week against Cincinnati in a game where he wasn’t needed. He only attempted 28 passes, which was his lowest total since Week 4 at Buffalo. He will likely pass the ball at least 35 times in this matchup with the Patriots, and he was a star in the previous meeting in Week 2 with 220 yards and three touchdowns. Sanchez has five games with at least 23 Fantasy points this season, and he should be able to connect with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards this week based on New England’s secondary. The Patriots have allowed six quarterbacks to pass for multiple touchdowns this season.

Chad Henne (vs. CLE): Henne was one of the biggest surprises in Week 12 with his performance against the Raiders with 307 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was able to shake off a knee injury and his previous demotion to have his second-best game of the season against the Raiders. Brandon Marshall (hamstring) could return this week against the Browns, and it’s a favorable matchup for him since Cleveland has allowed eight quarterbacks to pass for multiple touchdowns this season. Even if Marshall is out, Henne showed he could get the job done with Davone Bess and even Marlon Moore. He is worth using as a No. 2 starter in two-quarterback leagues.

RUNNING BACK

Tashard Choice (at IND): Felix Jones remains the starter for the Cowboys, but Choice will benefit with Marion Barber (calf) out.  You should expect Choice to work near the goal line and also play a role as a receiver out of the backfield. This is a good week to use Choice against the Colts, who have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing running backs this year. Choice also scored last week against New Orleans and should prove to be more effective than Barber with the increased playing time.

Toby Gerhart (vs. BUF): If Adrian Peterson (ankle) is out then Gerhart would go from sleeper to must-start Fantasy option in all leagues. You’re going to want to watch Fantasy Football Today at 11 a.m. ET this week to find out if Peterson is active in this matchup. But even if Peterson plays we could see Gerhart playing a significant role against the Bills, who are last in the NFL in run defense. They have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing running backs this year, and Gerhart could find the end zone for the second week in a row in this matchup.

Marshawn Lynch (vs. CAR): Lynch has struggled recently and should only be used as a flex option in deeper leagues. Justin Forsett falls into the same category, but this is a good matchup for the Seahawks. Carolina is among the worst teams in run defense and has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs. Last week was the epitome of failure when Peyton Hillis had 194 total yards and three touchdowns. Lynch has scored once since Week 6, and it’s hard to trust him. But this is a favorable matchup for Fantasy owners in deeper leagues.

Chris Ivory (at CIN): Ivory would be considered a must-start Fantasy option if Pierre Thomas (ankle) was ruled out, but Thomas is optimistic of returning this week. And with Reggie Bush already back, that would make things complicated in New Orleans. But if Thomas is out then Ivory should be used as a No. 2 Fantasy running back. The Bengals have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing running backs this year, and Ivory has three touchdowns in his past two games.

WIDE RECEIVER

Danny Amendola (at ARI): I like Amendola and Danario Alexander as sleepers this week against the Cardinals, who have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, including five in the last five weeks. Amendola has scored in two of his past three road games and has at least six catches in six games this season. He’s a standout option in leagues where receptions count. Alexander had four catches for 95 yards in his first game back after missing three with a knee injury, and these two should help Sam Bradford post a solid stat line against the Cardinals this week.

Davone Bess (vs. CLE): Bess had six catches for 111 yards in his return to his hometown of Oakland last week, and hopefully that performance can motivate him to finish the season strong. He has a good matchup this week against the Browns, who have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season. With Marshall likely out again, Bess will be the go-to wide receiver for Henne. If the Raiders game was any indication then Bess is back as a starting option in leagues where receptions count.

Legedu Naanee (vs. OAK): Vincent Jackson (calf) is out and Malcom Floyd (hamstring) and Antonio Gates are still not 100 percent. That could open the door for Naanee or even Seyi Ajirotutu to make some plays against the Raiders. Naanee returned from his hamstring woes last week against the Colts and finished with three catches for 38 yards. He is only worth using in the deepest of leagues, but Philip Rivers needs someone to catch the ball. And the Raiders have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this year, including five in the past five games.

Steve Smith (at SEA): Yes, that Steve Smith. The Seahawks have allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season, including 11 in the past five games. This might be the last chance you would consider using Smith this season even with Jimmy Clausen as the starting quarterback. Smith hasn’t scored since Week 2, so use caution when setting your lineup, but he does have a favorable matchup and could find a way to score.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 26, 2010 2:58 pm
 

An inside look at the Chicago Bears

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Matt Forte is having fun again. He’s healthy, he’s involved on offense for the Bears and he’s making an impact in all Fantasy leagues.

Heading into Week 12 against Philadelphia, Forte has been one of the best surprises for Fantasy owners. There was a thought that the addition of Mike Martz as the offensive coordinator this season would ruin Forte’s production. The signing of Chester Taylor didn’t help matters either, but Forte has proven all the skeptics wrong.

He is the No. 13 running back in standard-scoring leagues, and he is coming off a solid game in Week 11 at Miami with a season-high 25 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown. Forte is hoping for more games like that as the season goes on.

“It’s fun when you get back there as a running back and get into a rhythm,” Forte said in an interview with CBSSports.com. “It makes the game slow down, and it’s easy. “

Last year wasn’t easy for Forte. He played through injuries to his knee and hamstring and struggled to gain just over 1,300 total yards and four touchdowns. It was a tremendous dropoff from his rookie season when he gained more than 1,700 total yards and 12 touchdowns. But he’s healthy now, and it shows in his production.

He has five games with double digits in Fantasy points, and he’s been pleased with his performance.

“I’ve been pretty consistent,” Forte said. “I just have to stay consistent throughout the rest of the year.”

The expectations for the Bears on offense with Martz were that Jay Cutler would be an elite Fantasy quarterback, they would have multiple receivers to count on and that Forte and tight end Greg Olsen would turn out to be busts. None of that has come true.

Forte is the best Fantasy option for the Bears while Cutler, who missed one game with a concussion, is only the No. 21 quarterback in standard leagues, and he trails unheralded passers like Ryan Fitzpatrick, David Garrard and Mark Sanchez. He only has one game with more than 300 passing yards and four games with multiple touchdown passes.

But with the Bears (7-3) winning games, Cutler doesn’t mind being a game manager and sacrificing his stats. Wide receiver Johnny Knox said Cutler has been “incredible” so far this season in his overall play.

“He takes some hits but is always getting back up to make plays,” Knox said. “He’s always motivating us to get better, and that’s what keeps us all going.”

Knox has been the best Fantasy receiver for the Bears, but he’s only No. 37 in standard formats. He has just one touchdown on the season. The next best Chicago wide receiver is Devin Hester at No. 72.

Still, Knox said Martz’s offense is exciting, and he said the Bears still have plenty of plays in their arsenal that have yet to be displayed. If they open up the offense then the passing game can still flourish.

“The offense has picked it up the past few weeks,” Knox said. “From what I’ve seen how the offense worked in the past and what I see to this point, it’s a lot of fun.”

Olsen has turned into a pleasant surprise for Fantasy owners. Martz told the Chicago Sun-Times that Olsen brings “a whole different dimension that I've never experienced before'' at tight end, and it shows in his production.

He is only the No. 16 tight end in standard leagues, but he is just eight points back from cracking the Top 12, which would make him a starting option. And he’s on pace for a solid year with 44 catches for 515 yards and six touchdowns if you project his stats for 16 games.

“When the plays come my way, for the most part I make them,” Olsen said. “I’m doing a lot of things you don’t see in the stat sheet, but I’m pleased so far. I feel good about my role.”

The Bears are rolling now, especially Forte, heading into the showdown with the Eagles. It’s not a great matchup for them, but they have proven many people wrong so far this year. We’ll see if it can continue for one more game and as the season goes on.

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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