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Tag:Fantasy Football
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
Posted on: November 24, 2010 8:26 pm
 

Week 12 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

Brett Favre (at WAS): I’m counting on the Vikings to be highly motivated in this game with Leslie Frazier taking over for the fired Brad Childress. We’ll find out if Favre and the rest of his teammates can finish the season strong, and he has a favorable matchup this week against the Redskins. Washington is No. 29 in pass defense with 18 touchdowns allowed, and Favre should benefit with all of his targets now healthy with Sidney Rice back to join Percy Harvin.

Eli Manning (vs. JAC): Even with Hakeem Nicks (leg) and Steve Smith (pectoral) out, you can still expect Manning to post quality stats. The Jaguars have struggled in pass defense and come into this game ranked No. 28 with 20 touchdowns allowed. Manning should rebound from his poor performance against the Eagles last week, and he will be able to get the ball to Mario Manningham, Derek Hagan and Kevin Boss. If you need to start Manning this week then don’t be afraid even though his receiving corps is depleted.

RUNNING BACK

Maurice Morris (vs. NE): Jahvid Best (toe) could be out or limited against New England, which would allow Morris to start with Kevin Smith (thumb) on injured reserve. He had 71 total yards in Week 11 against Dallas, and he could get another seven or eight Fantasy points this week against the Patriots. We like Morris more in PPR leagues since he had four catches against the Cowboys, and Detroit likely will struggle this week against New England. Look for a lot of passes to Morris out of the backfield.

Darren Sproles (at IND): Sproles has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games and should continue to have a prominent role on offense with Ryan Mathews (ankle) injured. We love Sproles in PPR leagues, and the return of Vincent Jackson should open up the offense. The Colts have struggled in run defense all season, and Mike Tolbert and Sproles should take advantage of this matchup.

Reggie Bush (at DAL): We keep waiting for Bush to return, and he should be able to play on Thanksgiving Day. Look for the Saints to rely on Bush against a Cowboys defense that has allowed seven touchdowns to opposing running backs and nine to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Chris Ivory should also be considered a sleeper based on his recent play and with Pierre Thomas (leg) still out, and Ivory should continue to see work near the goal line.

Justin Forsett (vs. KC): Forsett could see an increased role this week with Marshawn Lynch losing two fumbles last week against the Saints. Forsett has 19 Fantasy points in his past two games, and he’s been more explosive than Lynch, who is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry since coming to Seattle. The Chiefs have also allowed two receiving touchdowns to running backs in the past two games, and that’s where Forsett should make an impact for owners in PPR leagues.

WIDE RECEIVER

Brandon Gibson (at DEN):  Gibson continues to emerge as the newest weapon for Sam Bradford after he had five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta on 10 targets in Week 11. Danny Amendola remains the most consistent receiver for the Rams, but Gibson now has 19 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown in his past three games.  The Broncos have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, including five in the past two games.

Ben Obomanu (vs. KC): Mike Williams (foot) is expected to be out against the Chiefs, which should allow Obomanu to continue his recent quality production. Last week he had five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown at New Orleans on six targets. He has two touchdowns in his past three games with 30 Fantasy points over that span. And he should see an increase in targets against the Chiefs with Williams out.

Steve Breaston (vs. SF): Breaston has been great since coming back from a knee injury in Week 8. In four games against Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City he has three with at least 90 receiving yards. He also has 20 catches over that span, which has been great for owners in PPR leagues. Arizona has struggled to run the ball this year, which has helped Breaston and Larry Fitzgerald. And we consider Breaston a solid No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this week.

Derek Hagan (vs. JAC): Hagan played well in his first game with the Giants in Week 11 at Philadelphia and finished with three catches for 10 yards and a touchdown. He should see even more targets this week against Jacksonville with Nicks and Smith out. The Jaguars have allowed 14 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and this is a good matchup to consider Hagan as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver in deeper leagues.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 18, 2010 3:08 pm
 

Week 11 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

Matt Cassel (vs. ARI): The last three quarterbacks the Cardinals have faced each reached at least 19 Fantasy points with Josh Freeman, Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck. Cassel is coming off a career game against Denver with 40 Fantasy points on 33 of 53 passing for 469 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s not going to throw that much against the Cardinals, but he should still be successful. Look for him to have a similar performance to Week 7 against Jacksonville when he was 13 of 18 passing for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Also keep in mind that Todd Haley is the former coordinator for the Cardinals and should know this defense quite well.

Troy Smith (vs. TB): Smith will hopefully remain the starter for the 49ers once Alex Smith (shoulder) returns because he has been solid in his past two games. He has 40 Fantasy points against the Broncos and Rams without a turnover, and he’s helped San Francisco go 2-0 over that span. Troy Smith has a favorable matchup in his next two games against Tampa Bay in Week 11 and Arizona in Week 12, and we would consider starting him in leagues that need two quarterbacks. And if you’re looking for a sleeper in standard leagues then consider Smith against the Bucs, who have allowed multiple touchdowns to four quarterbacks this year.

RUNNING BACK

Keiland Williams (at TEN): It appears likely that Ryan Torain (hamstring) and Clinton Portis (groin) could be out for at least another week, which would make Williams an excellent option against the Titans. We had him listed here last week against the Eagles, and he responded with 31 Fantasy points. He won’t reach that total this week, but Tennessee has allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs with six reaching double digits in Fantasy points. But based on the amount of touches Williams will get he’s worth the risk in the majority of formats.

Danny Woodhead (vs. IND): During Tom Brady’s career against Indianapolis he’s been able to rely on Kevin Faulk to slow down the Colts’ pass rush. Faulk is out with a knee injury, but he had at least seven Fantasy points in four of the past five meetings with Indianapolis. Woodhead has taken over for Faulk, and he has the opportunity for similar production. If you’re looking for a No. 3 Fantasy running back or flex option this week then consider Woodhead a nice sleeper in this matchup.

Reggie Bush (vs. SEA): If Bush is able to play this week as expected then he’s worth starting as a No. 3 Fantasy running back. Seattle has struggled in run defense this season with 10 touchdowns allowed and nine running backs reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Bush has the chance to do a variety of things, which makes him an attractive Fantasy option in leagues where receptions count. We also see him cutting into Lance Moore’s role, so look for Bush to find a way to get at least seven or eight Fantasy points in this game.

WIDE RECEIVER

Danny Amendola (vs. ATL): We had Amendola in this spot last week, and we’ll give him another shot since he’s been successful. All Amendola does is score touchdowns. He now has three games in a row with a touchdown, and he’s become Sam Bradford’s most consistent wide receiver. Amendola also has a favorable matchup this week against Atlanta, and he’s worth using in most formats as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver. In leagues where receptions count, Amendola should be considered a No. 2 option with 13 catches the past two games. In deeper formats also look at St. Louis wide receiver Brandon Gibson since he has 14 catches for 139 yards the past two games.

Mike Thomas (vs. CLE): Thomas was also in this space last week. And as expected, Thomas took advantage of a tremendous matchup against Houston and scored on a miracle play at the end of regulation to win the game. But take away the 50-yard Hail Mary, and Thomas still had a standout performance. He now has 31 Fantasy points in his past two games, and only once in his past six games has he gotten fewer than seven Fantasy points. The Jaguars have another favorable matchup in Week 10 against Cleveland, and Thomas is worth starting as a No. 3 Fantasy option in standard leagues and a No. 2 wide receiver in deeper formats.

Devery Henderson (vs. SEA): I could be reaching here since Henderson has just one touchdown on the season and has five Fantasy points in his past four games. He’s also the No. 4 option at best in the passing game behind Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Moore/ Bush. But the Seahawks have allowed a lot of big plays to wide receivers this season with nine reaching double digits in Fantasy points with eight touchdowns. This should be a game where Drew Brees can get Henderson involved, so if you’re looking for a deep sleeper that’s my call for this week.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 11, 2010 3:43 pm
 

Week 10 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

Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. DET): Fitzpatrick should be able to rebound from last week’s poor performance against Chicago, which has a much better secondary than most people realize. He was held to 13 Fantasy points against the Bears, but the Lions struggled last week against Mark Sanchez, who had 323 passing yards and two total touchdowns. Detroit also has played poorly on the road, allowing five passing touchdowns with two interceptions in the past two road games at Green Bay and at the Giants. In Fitzpatrick’s past two home games against the Jets and Jaguars he has averaged 25 Fantasy points.

Mark Sanchez (at CLE): The Browns have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in all but two games this season, with Josh Freeman, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Tom Brady all performing at a high level against Cleveland. Only Matt Cassel and Matt Ryan struggled against the Browns, and Sanchez has the chance to play well in this matchup. He broke out of his mini-slump against the Lions after going three games with one touchdown and four interceptions, and he should take advantage of this matchup by getting the ball to Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller.

Derek Anderson (vs. SEA): Anderson has not played well this year, but he does have a favorable matchup against the Seahawks, who are No. 30 in pass defense. If you’re looking for help in a two-quarterback league then Anderson might be a good replacement for this week. Seattle has allowed three quarterbacks to pass for at least 300 yards and five to throw multiple touchdown passes. We’re fond of Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston this week, so there’s a good chance for Anderson to have two touchdowns based on Seattle’s defense.

RUNNING BACK

Donald Brown (vs. CIN): Brown played well last week at the Eagles with 97 total yards, and he has the chance for a similar performance this week against the Bengals with Joseph Addai (shoulder) and Mike Hart (ankle) expected to be out again. The Bengals have allowed a running back to score in each of their past six games, which also bodes well for Javarris James, who is the goal-line option for the Colts. Consider both sleepers in a game where the Colts should be able to do a lot on offense.

Cadillac Williams (vs. CAR): You know we’re fond of the Bucs this week, and that means even Williams could be involved on offense. We’re talking deep leagues here because LeGarrette Blount is clearly going to carry the load for Tampa Bay. Williams has just four Fantasy points in his past two games, but he might get some additional carries if the Bucs go up big in this matchup. Carolina has allowed just five rushing touchdowns this year, but the Panthers are No. 26 in run defense at 125 yards per game.

Keiland Williams (vs. PHI): Ryan Torain (hamstring) and Clinton Portis (groin) remain on the injury report this week, and if they’re out then Williams would end up as the starter. That’s a stretch since we expect Torain to play, but continue to monitor what develops heading into Sunday. Even if Torain and Portis return we could see Williams being used in passing situations. And if the Eagles are up in this game then Williams might have the chance for increased playing time. He should only be considered for deep formats unless he was to end up starting with Torain and Portis out.

WIDE RECEIVER

Danny Amendola (at SF): Amendola has two touchdowns in his past two games prior to the bye week, and he will look to pick up where he left off against the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed eight touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, including five to possession-type receivers in Deion Branch, Dexter McCluster, Harry Douglas and David Gettis. Amendola isn’t known for his touchdown prowess with only three career scores, but he is definitely worth using in leagues where receptions count.

Jacoby Jones (at JAC): Jones has struggled this season with only one touchdown, and he has just 11 catches for 103 yards in his past four games. But this is a matchup where Matt Schaub can target Jones down the field since the Jaguars have struggled in pass defense all season. They are second only to Houston with 17 passing touchdowns allowed, with 12 going to wide receivers. It’s hard to trust Jones in the majority of leagues, but he could be worth a one-week flier based on the matchup.

Mike Thomas (vs. HOU): Thomas is a great sleeper this week against the Texans, who have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. He has at least seven Fantasy points in four of his past five games, and he scored his first touchdown this season in Week 8 at Dallas. As we said in Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em, we like all the Jaguars this week, and Thomas is no exception. Consider him a good starting option if you need help at wide receiver in all leagues.

Nate Burleson (at BUF): Burleson has done well as the No. 2 wide receiver for the Lions playing opposite Calvin Johnson, and he’s coming off a tremendous game in Week 9 against the Jets with seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. He has three touchdowns in his past four games and continues to play at a high level with 14 catches in his past two outings. You’d rather have Matthew Stafford (shoulder) throwing to Burleson, but Shaun Hill is a quality replacement. Count on Burleson playing well against the Bills.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 4, 2010 4:46 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 9:54 pm
 

Week 9 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

Chad Henne (at BAL): Henne isn’t a must-start Fantasy option in most leagues, but the Ravens have been vulnerable in their secondary recently. In their past three games, Kyle Orton, Tom Brady and Ryan Fitzpatrick have each passed for at least 290 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions over that span. The Dolphins will struggle to run the ball in this game, and Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess should be able to make plays. In deep leagues where you start two quarterbacks and need someone for this week, consider Henne a starting option.

Colt McCoy (vs. NE): This is a huge reach given that McCoy has only started two games in his rookie season and doesn’t have many quality options at wide receiver. But like Henne, if you’re desperate for a quarterback this week in two-quarterback leagues, look at McCoy based on his matchup. The Patriots are vulnerable in the secondary, having allowed 13 passing touchdowns and multiple touchdown passes to five quarterbacks. McCoy could find his way into about 15 Fantasy points, which could be helpful depending on the size of your league and what you need for this week.

RUNNING BACK

Fred Jackson (vs. CHI): The Bears have struggled in their run defense recently, and it comes at a time when Jackson is getting an increase in carries. In Chicago's past four games against the Giants, Carolina, Seattle and Washington, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Justin Forsett, Marshawn Lynch and Ryan Torain have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Jackson has 55 carries in his past three games, and he has seven Fantasy points in each outing. He's not scoring touchdowns with only one on the season, but he has the chance to find the end zone this week. We like Jackson as a sleeper in deeper formats, and he's worth starting depending on the size of your league and what you need in Week 10.

Darren Sproles (at HOU): As we’ve told you for the past two weeks, the Chargers need help in the passing game, and Sproles has helped to fill the void. He has 147 total yards with 13 catches and a touchdown in his past two games with a great matchup at Houston in Week 9. As we said in the column, start Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert based on their overall production, but we like Sproles as a sleeper this week again, especially in PPR formats.

Chris Ivory (at CAR): It feels like we always mention Ivory in this space (maybe because we do), but he gets another week as the starter for the Saints with Pierre Thomas (ankle) and Reggie Bush (leg) out. Unlike last week when he faced the Steelers, this is a much better matchup for him. He struggled against Pittsburgh with seven carries for 7 yards, and he left the game with a concussion. But he is fine, and he should do well against Carolina. The Panthers have allowed double digits in Fantasy points in two of their past three games against Frank Gore and Matt Forte, and we could see Ivory getting about 6-8 Fantasy points in this matchup.

Donald Brown (at PHI): As of Thursday afternoon it appears like Brown will be the starting running back for the Colts with Joseph Addai (shoulder) and Mike Hart (ankle) not able to practice. If Brown is the starter he would be worth using as at least a flex option based on the amount of touches he will get. The Eagles have only allowed four touchdowns to opposing running backs, with three reaching double digits in Fantasy points. But if Brown doesn’t have competition for carries then he should be able to find decent enough production this week if you’re stuck due to injuries or a bye.

LaRod Stephens-Howling (at MIN): Beanie Wells (knee) is banged up and Tim Hightower is in the doghouse, which could allow Stephens-Howling to get additional carries this week. The Vikings, as we pointed out, are tough to run on at home, but they have allowed four rushing touchdowns in their past two games against Green Bay and New England. Stephens-Howling had four carries for 41 yards and a touchdown last week against Tampa Bay and could be someone to fill a roster spot if you’re in a tough situation this week.

WIDE RECEIVER

James Jones (vs. DAL): We’ll add Jordy Nelson to this list as well since both should see an increase in production with Donald Driver (thigh) out. Jones has more upside since he will get the start opposite Greg Jennings, but Aaron Rodgers will spread the ball around, which will help guys like Nelson and tight end Donald Lee. The Cowboys have allowed six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their past two games against the Giants and Jacksonville, and Rodgers should have a field day picking apart this mediocre secondary. 

Brandon Tate (at CLE): The Browns have been good for opposing wide receivers this season as they have allowed 10 touchdowns, including eight in their past five games. We’d like to see Tate matched up with Eric Wright, which would allow Tom Brady to take some shots down the field. Tate had his best game of the season last week against Minnesota with three catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, and hopefully he can build on that performance in this matchup. He could be a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver in deeper leagues.

Lance Moore (at CAR): Moore continues to play well with the absence of Bush, and he should continue to dominate the Panthers as he has done for most of his career. When Moore plays the Panthers, he always seems to turn it up a notch. Moore has a career-high four touchdowns in six games against the Panthers. He hauled in a touchdown in Week 4 against Carolina and has three touchdowns in his last two games against the Panthers. Last week, Moore had seven catches for 54 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers, and he’s capable of a similar stat line this week.

Seyi Ajirotutu (at HOU): The Chargers are hurting at wide receiver with Malcom Floyd (hamstring), Legedu Naanee (hamstring), Buster Davis (ribs) and Vincent Jackson (suspended) out. That should allow Antonio Gates, Patrick Crayton, Sproles and Ajirotutu to make plays in the passing game, and Ajirotutu should receive a boost just by moving into the starting lineup. He has five catches for 74 yards in his past two games, and he has a great matchup this week at the Texans, who are the third-worst team against opposing wide receivers. They have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and we like Ajirotutu to make a few plays this week just based on his matchup and opportunity.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 28, 2010 4:44 pm
 

Week 8 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

Matthew Stafford (vs. WAS): Stafford hasn’t played since Week 1 with his injured shoulder, but Shaun Hill lit up the scoreboard in his absence with three games with at least 24 Fantasy points in his first four starts. The hope is Stafford can post similar stats, and he has a great matchup at home against the Redskins coming off a bye week.  Five quarterbacks have passed for at least 280 yards against Washington this year, with Matt Schaub and Peyton Manning throwing for multiple touchdown passes. My one concern with Stafford is there could be plenty of rust based on all the missed time.

Josh Freeman (at ARI): Freeman continues to be an underrated Fantasy quarterback this year, but he’s playing well. In six games, he has just two with less than 17 Fantasy points. He’s making plays throwing and running the ball heading into his matchup at Arizona, and the Cardinals have allowed three quarterbacks to pass for multiple touchdown passes in six games.

RUNNING BACK

Jonathan Stewart (at STL): DeAngelo Williams (foot) could miss the game, which would make Stewart the starting option. We all remember how that went last year when Stewart had four games with double digits in Fantasy points in his final five outings. The Rams are dealing with injuries at defensive tackle and linebacker, which could allow Stewart to finally have a breakout performance after struggling most of the season. The key, however, is Williams being out.

Darren Sproles (vs. TEN): Sproles got back to doing what he does best last week against New England with nine catches for 70 yards. That’s something that should continue in Week 8 against Tennessee, and it also helps that Ryan Mathews continues to struggle. In leagues where receptions count, Sproles is a must-start running back. The Titans have been great at stopping the run, but Darren McFadden and LeSean McCoy have each had 50 yards receiving against Tennessee this year. And four running backs have caught at least five passes against the Titans.

Marion Barber (vs. JAC): The Jaguars are second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed with 10 behind Denver (12), which should allow Barber the chance to score his second touchdown of the season. Felix Jones has more upside than Barber based on their recent play, but Barber could be on the field to close out the game if Dallas builds an early lead as expected.

WIDE RECEIVER

Nate Burleson (vs. WAS): The Redskins lead the NFL in catches (120) and yards (1,454) allowed to opposing wide receivers, and they have also given up seven touchdowns. Burleson is playing well with 10 catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games, and he should benefit with Stafford back under center. Calvin Johnson should have a tremendous game against the Redskins, but Burleson also has plenty of upside in this matchup.

Anthony Gonzalez (vs. HOU): With Austin Collie (thumb) and Dallas Clark (wrist) out, Gonzalez should see a huge boost in value.  Be careful with his status heading into Monday night against the Texans because of his ankle injury, but it’s a favorable matchup for him if he’s able to play as expected. The Texans have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and Collie had a big day in Week 1 with 11 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. In leagues where receptions count, Gonzalez is worth starting as a No. 3 Fantasy option.

James Jones (at NYJ):  With Donald Driver (quad) at less than 100 percent, Jones has the chance to be a significant contributor for the Packers. He had four catches for 107 yards last week against Minnesota, and he should see a hefty amount of targets again this week with Driver limited. It’s a tougher matchup for him against the Jets, but Aaron Rodgers could need Jones based on Driver trying to play hurt. He’s worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver in deeper leagues.

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com