Week 10 Fantasy Cheat Sheet
Have a lineup dilemma that you can't make a decision on? Dave Richard addresses every player worth considering for Week 10 in his Fantasy Cheat Sheet.
Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week $3 million Fantasy Football contest for Week 10. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $500,000. Starts Sunday, November 9nd at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now to play with Dave.
This week's confidence scale ranks some of the popular holidays celebrated both in America and around the world. Because nothing builds confidence like a paid day off work while gorging on food, getting presents or remembering heroes.
1. Election Day: The impetus for this list, this "holiday"
doesn't get you out of work for the day, doesn't involve a heavy meal,
doesn't involve loved ones, doesn't involve football and does keep some
dishonest politicians in business.
2. Boss's Day: So let me get this straight -- I pretty much have to be nice to my boss every day and now there's a special day for me to be even nicer?! (Editor's note: This might be Dave's last-ever column.)
3. Arbor Day: I'm all for trees and their relevance to our world, but planting trees doesn't sound like much of a holiday to me.
4. Valentine's Day: Sure, the day has special meaning because I have a wife, a daughter, a mom. But it also means spending a bunch of dough on flowers and who-knows-what-else.
5. Halloween: I don't personally dress up and go to parties and all that, but I appreciate those who do. And I appreciate the holiday for what it is: sending my kids out to neighbors houses to bring me back free candy!
6. New Years Eve: Basically an excuse to party all day and stay up late. Nothing wrong with that. Plus the Super Bowl is about a month away.
7. St. Patrick's Day: Like New Year's Eve but in March and without kids and grandparents dragging you down late at night. Cheers!
8. Veterans Day: Ever wanted to shake a hero's hand?
9. Christmas: You can't help but feel good around Christmas as people tend to be a little nicer. Gifts get exchanged. Besides, it signals that the playoffs are about to start.
10. Thanksgiving: It's got everything: tons of food, lots of family and plenty of football. Plus you can usually slack off the day after. (Editor's note: Dave will work the day after ... or else. Signed, The Boss.)
Alright, enough celebrating. We've got Fantasy games to win!
Dolphins at Lions, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Ryan Tannehill has played very well the past four weeks but will take on a rested and ready Lions defense that enters the week ranked among the Top 5 in passing yards allowed. They're also the only NFL team to allow less than 10 passing touchdowns on the year, impressive considering they've taken on Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Cam Newton. To be fair, they have been susceptible to the pass over their last two games, so it's not like Tannehill has a giant obstacle in front of him -- just Ndamukong Suh. Tannehill was sacked seven times in Weeks 7 and 8 before not getting sacked once in Week 9. Keeping him upright is paramount for Miami.
Ryan Tannehill (6.0): We've seen Tannehill take a step forward in his progress. A lot of it is related to the new offensive scheme the Dolphins are running and part of it is how well Tannehill has navigated the pocket and leaned on his legs (35 yards or more on the ground in five straight games) but plenty of it has to do with who he's played. Only one of his last five opponents have come against a team ranked inside the Top 12 in Fantasy points allowed to passers, and it was the Raiders. The Lions are the No. 1 ranked defense against Fantasy quarterbacks. Count on them putting a lot of pressure on Tannehill -- that doesn't guarantee that Tannehill will crack, but it could make him shaky like he was at Jacksonville two weeks ago.
Matthew Stafford (8.0): It hasn't been the dream season many of us hoped for with Stafford, but at least he's posted multiple touchdowns in consecutive games and finally gets Calvin Johnson back, hopefully for the rest of the season. Stafford's been sacked 24 times in eight games -- something that won't be lost on the Dolphins. If the Lions can protect Stafford he should find a way to put up some points on them unlike the last three quarterbacks to take on the Fish.
Lamar Miller (6.4): The touchdown the Lions allowed to Steven Jackson in Week 8 was their first in four games to a running
back. Jackson was also the first back to get more than 11 Fantasy points
on the Lions since Week 1, and it took him 18 carries for 60 yards with
the score to do it. This is a tough run defense to pick up numbers
against, especially if you're a back like Miller who hasn't had more
than 17 touches in four of his last five games. Throw in a sore shoulder
and you have the makings of a disappointment. The prediction is that
Miller won't fare any better than what we saw from him in Week 8: 99
Joique Bell (5.2): The Dolphins run defense has been very good of late, giving up just one touchdown on the ground over their last five. Two of Bell's three touchdowns have come at home, but all three came against poor run defenses (Giants, Vikings, Saints). If he doesn't score he won't get much yardage with Reggie Bush healthy and Theo Riddick expected to pick up work. I'm slightly nervous that Bell, at 3.2 yards per carry this season, could start to see his role diminish.
Reggie Bush (4.3): It's another former team coming to play Bush -- the last time he took on his old mates he left after nine touches and missed a game. Bush has five Fantasy points or less in all but one game this year and is tough to trust in standard leagues since he's averaged 12.3 touches per game this season. With Bell and Riddick expected to pitch in it's hard to project him for a good game. Miami has allowed three touchdowns through the air to running backs and 7.3 yards per grab.
Theo Riddick (4.1): Don't be quick to dismiss Riddick as the backup for Bush. He caught touchdowns in both games Bush missed and added at least 74 receiving yards in each. If Bush can't stay healthy, or if the Lions grow tired of Bell's weak rushing average, we could see Riddick start to take on a bigger role. I've stashed Riddick in my deeper leagues.
Mike Wallace (3.1): We've now seen what happens when Wallace doesn't score for two straight weeks. As we've noted before, he's completely touchdown dependent in an offense that just hasn't figured out how to master the deep pass -- and that might not be his fault. The Lions humbled Julio Jones and Roddy White in their most recent game and have allowed just one No. 1 receiver to score on them all season. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have rolled without Wallace being a huge factor, choosing to use pretty much all of their receivers to throw off defenses and keep everyone fresh. Don't expect a serious emphasis on Wallace being a big contributor this week.
Jarvis Landry (2.6): Under most radars last week was the fact that Landry led all Dolphins receivers in offensive snaps -- one more than Wallace and seven more than Brian Hartline. He also might have earned even more playing time after he made a great catch and run to put six on the board for the Dolphins. He's one to watch since it appears he'll be more than just a part-time player moving forward.
Calvin Johnson (8.7): The Lions were smart to give Johnson plenty of time to heal his ankle sprain. Hopefully it pays off, as they'll need Megatron to wreck a defense that's allowed five touchdowns to receivers all season and have held down the likes of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in recent weeks. Look for the Lions to go to Johnson when the Dolphins are expecting the run or use blitzes and leave him in single coverage.
Golden Tate (7.3): So now that Calvin's back, we should expect Tate's numbers to just shrivel up, right? If the Lions are smart they'll have Calvin run some underneath routes in hopes of drawing coverage and springing Tate on deep stuff. In his last five games -- including two with Johnson -- Tate had four games with at least 110 yards and three with touchdowns. Ultimately it will come down to whether or not the Dolphins can put enough pressure on Stafford. If they can't, Tate will have a real good game.
Charles Clay (5.3): Clay has a touchdown in two of his last three games and nearly had three in three games if not for a poorly thrown pass at Jacksonville in Week 8. Detroit has allowed a touchdown to tight ends in half of its games this season and don't seem to have an assigned defender to tight ends. There's a chance the Dolphins could get creative with Clay that could lead to some yardage, if not a score.
Dolphins (6.4): They should be able to keep the Lions right around their season average of 20.2 points per game (that's really it) and rack up a few sacks. They're good enough to start in spite of Calvin Johnson's return.
Lions (6.6): The Dolphins have averaged 25.5 points per game on the road, but that's helped by some favorable matchups and defensive scores. Expect the Lions to rack up some sacks and turnovers while keeping the Fins to under 21 points. It's a bold call, as the Dolphins have let just one DST post good numbers against them all season.
49ers at Saints, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
It wasn't necessarily a complaint, but Frank Gore expressed concern about the direction of the 49ers offense after their loss to the Rams last week. In a game in which they had the ball for five minutes more than their opponent, the 49ers ran just 21 times -- 16 involving a running back. Gore (14 carries) couldn't get in a rhythm and Carlos Hyde (two carries) had the team's longest run of the day. There have already been so many games this season where the Niners should have ran more but didn't. Against the Saints this week it would make a world of sense for them to get back to basics, even if it's not attacking the weakness of the defense. New Orleans ranks 10th against the run but is 1-4 in games where opposing running backs get at least 20 carries.
Colin Kaepernick (6.1): There have already been several games this season where Kaepernick has melted down against weak competition. Many will expect him to do that playing at New Orleans, where only Aaron Rodgers has posted a good game against the Saints so far this year. Kaepernick played at New Orleans last season and didn't do much outside of throw two touchdowns -- completing 17 of 31 passes for under 150 yards, adding an interception for good measure. He tends to bounce back after bad performances, but the state of his offensive line isn't great and that was a huge problem for Cam Newton against this opportunistic Saints defense last week.
Drew Brees (9.0): Nearly impossible to bench at home, Brees posted 305 yards and one touchdown last season against the 49ers in the Superdome last year. But the defense was stronger then. We've seen great quarterbacks play very well against San Fran. Expect that to happen here.
Frank Gore (4.6): It really would be wise for the Niners to lean on Gore for as long as possible in this game, but I'm just not sure the coaching staff is up for that. They got away from Gore in the matchup with the Saints last year (15 total touches for 56 total yards) and the vet has six Fantasy points or less in every road game this season while averaging 11.8 touches per. Try not to count on him if you can help it.
Carlos Hyde (1.2): If the 49ers aren't willing to run with Gore, why would they suddenly embrace Hyde as a 15-touch back (other than, you know, him being the better, younger, more explosive back)? Don't trust Hyde if you can help it.
Mark Ingram (7.7): There's hardly anyone hotter at running back, making him an easy start this week. The matchup isn't easy, but the Niners have allowed four touchdowns to running backs in their last four games, affording 4.45 yards per carry over that span.
Michael Crabtree (6.1): His last five games have been a total nightmare (one touchdown, no games with even 70 yards receiving) but there are positives. For one, he has 24 targets over his last three games, including nine last week. He was targeted deep a bunch, even drawing a pass interference penalty with less than a minute remaining in the game that set up the Niners near the goal line. He even got the two targets after that one but couldn't score. The bigger issue is his quarterback being off target, though Crab also had some drops. He's risky, but the consistent work going his way will eventually pay off. A matchup like this one in which the Niners will throw could benefit him.
Anquan Boldin (5.7): The Niners' best receiver has two touchdowns in his last three games, but they've both come against the Rams. He hasn't scored on anyone else or had more than nine Fantasy points otherwise. Q has at least seven targets in five straight games -- of the 13 receivers with at least seven targets against the Saints this year, only six have posted 10-plus Fantasy points. Boldin is worth rolling with since the Niners will end up passing a bunch, and he's become a security blanket for Kap. I do like Crabtree a smidge better.
Brandin Cooks (5.2): If you're going to choose a Saints receiver, go with one with a lot of potential. In his outdoor games, Cooks has averaged 4.5 targets per, but on the fast turf Cooks has averaged twice as many -- nine! Clearly the Saints like to use him more indoors. With the Saints likely to use the 49ers loss at Denver as a blueprint, don't be shy about using Cooks as a risk/reward borderline No. 2 Fantasy receiver.
Marques Colston (3.9): Colston only has one game with 10-plus Fantasy points, and it came in a game when he had 10-plus targets. With the way the Saints have been running the ball, it seems unlikely that Brees will lean on Colston when he's done a better job going elsewhere with the ball lately.
Kenny Stills (3.3): You should take notice of how Stills is starting to get more work in the Saints offense. Over their last three games, he's caught 14 of 17 targets for 232 yards and a touchdown. That's easily a three-game best in receptions for Stills and a second-best in yardage over a trio of matchups. The catch is that the Niners have not given up a lot of big plays to receivers, but if Stills is going to keep getting work beyond the occasional Brees heave, then he has some potential to thrive as a bye-week fill-in.
Vernon Davis (3.4): There's just no way. He has at most three catches and less than 40 yards in five straight games. The Saints have been outstanding against tight ends and shut down Greg Olsen just last week. No one should start Davis.
Jimmy Graham (9.0): Graham has actually done bupkis in his three career regular-season meetings against the Niners (including his first-ever game with zero targets) including a 41-yard, no score game last year. He does own a big game against them in the 2011 playoffs. San Francisco did a great job taking away Julius Thomas in Week 7 and haven't allowed any tight end to get more than nine Fantasy points against them this season. Forgive me, but even with all that knowledge I can't bring myself to suggest sitting Graham. I might not use him in one-week leagues, though.
49ers (4.0): It's always a dicey proposition to start a DST playing in New Orleans. They're averaging 31.7 points per game since their Week 6 bye, so it seems as if Brees has them back on track. The Niners should be shelved this week but not cut, since they have a great schedule and should get healthy on defense to close out the season.
Saints (6.8): Holding the Lions, Packers and Panthers to 24 points or less in each of the last three weeks is no small feat, especially for a defense that gave up 26 points to the Browns and 31 points to the Buccaneers earlier this season. I especially like the Saints because the 49ers offensive line is in rough shape and they should be able to exploit it.
Chiefs at Bills, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Time to buy into the Chiefs defense, which still has not allowed a rushing touchdown this year and is ranked No. 1 against the pass. That makes for a problem for the Bills, as they are already down to backups at running back to begin with and will put the game on Kyle Orton's shoulders. Is that a bad thing? In his last three starts he's completed 65 of 98 passes (66.3 pct.) for 1,095 yards and eight touchdowns and two picks. But two of those games came against the hapless Vikings and Jets, who stink against the pass. The other was against New England. It might be tough for the Bills to put up a lot of points in this one.
Alex Smith (4.6): In Week 9, Smith had his first two-score game in four weeks. That's cause for extra cheeseburgers in Andy Reid's office, but it'll be a tall order for him to repeat the feat at the Ralph. Buffalo has done well against mediocre passers, holding pretty much all of them to a touchdown or less and 14 Fantasy points or less. Maybe Smith's legs will help him pick up around 16 Fantasy points.
Kyle Orton (4.5): The key to Orton's Fantasy production has been Sammy Watkins, who has three touchdowns and over 270 yards receiving in his last pair of games. But it looks as if Watkins won't play on Sunday after getting hurt earlier this week. His coach (and Watkins himself) expressed some pessimism, so for now it looks like he's out. That crushes Orton's Fantasy outlook even if it means more targets for Robert Woods and perhaps Marquise Goodwin, who has some wheels. The Chiefs have held each of the last six quarterbacks they've faced to 18 Fantasy points or less including Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick and Philip Rivers. It's tough to imagine Orton finding two scores and another 300 yards through the air without Watkins.
Jamaal Charles (8.7): Remember when we were freaking out about Jamaal back in September? No reason to worry now -- the Bills run defense was punctured for three touchdowns on the ground in their last game and has allowed 4.8 yards per carry in their last two.
Bryce Brown (3.6), Anthony Dixon (2.8): Both are extremely risky starts as the Chiefs are the last team in the NFL to not allow a touchdown to a running back. But they have allowed 5.0 yards per carry and 7.9 yards per catch to backs this season, cracking open the door for Brown to do something if he can get more than seven carries -- perhaps the Bills spent the bye week evaluating both backs and realized that Brown has more juice than Dixon.
Dwayne Bowe (1.3): Week 8 was the first time all season the Bills didn't allow a touchdown to a wide receiver. It's not a great secondary, but it's not like Bowe is a great Fantasy choice.
Sammy Watkins (7.7 if healthy): It looks like Watkins won't play, so be prepared to find an alternative for him. It's too bad because of the six touchdowns the Chiefs have allowed to receivers, four have been to No. 1 wideouts. They've also given up a trio of 100-yard games to wideouts including Percy Harvin last week.
Robert Woods (2.8): I would expect Woods to see a slew of targets head his way if Watkins doesn't play. That doesn't make him a Fantasy dynamo by any stretch but you can't forget that he has 10-plus Fantasy points in two of his last three games (with Orton). He's not a bad desperation option for Week 10 if Watkins is indeed out.
Travis Kelce (7.0): The Chiefs did it! They recognized a favorable matchup and utilized their tight end into their plan! This week they'll play a Bills defense that's allowed just two touchdowns to tight ends all season -- elite-level ones in Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski. Expect the Chiefs to try using Kelce again, but don't necessarily expect a huge game. He has exactly four catches in each of his last three games.
Scott Chandler (3.8): Since Orton has taken over, Chandler has 14 catches on 22 targets for 174 yards and a score last week. Tight ends have started to find the end zone with the Bills, but it hasn't always been Chandler. He's a risky play, but the Chiefs have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends in their last three games.
Chiefs (7.8): The Chiefs defense hasn't melted down in six straight games, allowing an average of 14.7 points per game. The Bills have topped that number in each of Orton's four starts, but they only got past 22 points once (at the Jets) and it doesn't look like Sammy Watkins will be a factor. Five of the last six DSTs to play the Bills have wound up as Top 12 finishers for the week.
Bills (5.0): The Chiefs haven't allowed a DST to finish as a Top 12 option in seven straight games. The Bills might contend to end the streak, but there are other options you'll feel safer going with.
Titans at Ravens, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
There are major changes happening to the Ravens secondary -- enough to make this game interesting for Zach Mettenberger. Shut down corner Jimmy Smith is sidelined and Lardarius Webb will start opposite journeyman Danny Gorrer, who has played for four other NFL teams. Tack on a pass rush that got off to a good start against Ben Roethlisberger and then vanished, and we could have a Titans offense come up with some big plays.
Zach Mettenberger (5.1): How many times this year have we seen quarterbacks take advantage of favorable matchups involving a defense missing a couple of starters? Heck, we saw it last week when Roethlisberger torched the Ravens for six scores. We also saw it when Mettenberger, in his NFL debut, threw for 299 yards and a pair of scores against a bad Texans unit. If you're desperate for a starter, don't be afraid to try the rookie. Baltimore's pass defense is that bad.
Joe Flacco (5.2): The assumption is that the Ravens will try to get the ground game going this week, if only to limit how much Flacco throws after putting the ball up 45 times the week prior. Each time Flacco has put up 35 or more pass attempts in a game this season he's dialed it back the following week. That doesn't cement weak Fantasy stats -- he had that massive game against the Bucs on only 29 pass attempts -- but the Titans have given up 20-plus Fantasy points to three of eight quarterbacks this season. I'd shy away from Flacco.
Bishop Sankey (2.6): The one area of the Ravens defense that remains solid is against the run. I like how Sankey had 25 yards on four catches with Mettenberger back in Week 8, but he's still just too unreliable.
Justin Forsett (6.5): Forsett's been dressed to the nines each of the last three weeks, posting exactly nine Fantasy points per game with at least 90 total yards in five of his last six. He's also picked up more work as a pass catcher with eight catches in his last two games. If the Ravens aim for a balanced approach, it should mean more work for him against a Titans run defense that's allowed 4.2 yards per carry and 6.1 yards per catch this season. I might expect at least 90 total yards again from Forsett with a crack at 100 total.
Lorenzo Taliaferro (5.8): The Titans have allowed eight rushing touchdowns to running backs in their last seven games. Three of the last four rushing touchdowns allowed by Tennessee have come at the goal line. In a week where there aren't a lot of great running backs, Taliaferro should be at the very least serviceable.
Justin Hunter (5.9): You better believe the Titans will dial up some long shots to Hunter after the Ravens were eviscerated by deep passes last week and because of the state of their secondary. Hunter is a risky play since he's been known to disappoint, but I like the idea of taking a chance on him in one-week leagues as well as using him as a bye-week replacement. He already has one touchdown from Mettenberger back in Week 8 and led the team with 10 targets in that game.
Kendall Wright (1.5): Wright didn't do a whole lot in his last game with Mettenberger, catching three of his five targets. But the matchup against the beleaguered Ravens secondary is right for Wright to delight -- put him on the sleeper list.
Steve Smith (5.5): I liked Smith last week because of the potential for a big play. But eight of the nine targets he had were throws inside of 15 yards, with the outlier being a deep ball that bounced off Smith's hands while tangled with a defender in the end zone. The week before he had three deep targets but two were incomplete and one resulted in a penalty on Smith, negating an 80-yard touchdown. It's risky to suggest that Flacco will try more deep shots, but if the Ravens are smart they'll test cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson a couple of times. Smith might be best suited to win against that guy.
Torrey Smith (3.4): Give credit where it's due: this Smith has finally picked it up and has posted at least 50 yards with a touchdown in three of his last four games, particularly against bad pass defenses. It's been fluky, as he has 19 targets in his last four games, second to Steve Smith's 28 targets, but Stevie hasn't been nearly as productive. The Titans are particularly frugal against receivers, allowing only five touchdowns all year. If Smith lines up against Jason McCourty a lot then he'll struggle.
Delanie Walker (6.8): Yep, the Ravens have been solid against opposing tight ends, but you can't ignore the shape of their secondary and you can't ignore the caliber of tight ends they've taken on (Greg Olsen and Dwayne Allen are the best ones they've faced). Walker had nine targets from Mettenberger in his debut two weeks ago and scored against a Houston defense that was awesome against tight ends. Figure Walker to remain involved.
Owen Daniels (5.2): The Titans have allowed a combined 11 Fantasy points to tight ends in five of their last six games. The exception? The Texans, who threw one pass at a tight end in the game. Daniels has caught six of nine targets in each of his last two games -- he might not be as involved this week but is a candidate to score.
Titans (4.4): Last week was the first time in four games that a DST posted a Top 12 finish against the Ravens. Though they might get an interception and a handful of sacks, the Titans DST isn't recommended.
Ravens (5.8): Taking on a rookie quarterback is always a good reason to start a DST, not to mention a return game that came alive last week. It helps that the Titans have allowed DSTs to post good results in two straight games. I'd normally be higher on them but that secondary is a major liability.
Cowboys vs. Jaguars, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The Cowboys loss last week goes beyond the scoreboard, as they might be without three more defensive starters. Defensive end Tyrone Crawford (who has been awesome) is almost certain to be out while defensive tackle Nick Hayden and linebacker Rolando McClain (who aren't as awesome) seem iffy to play with shoulder and knee injuries, respectively. You have to think the Jaguars will attack that front seven with the run, especially considering how they've been running the ball the past three weeks.
Tony Romo (4.75): As of now, we're expecting Romo to see action against a Jaguars defense that allowed two touchdowns last week but still has held five straight quarterbacks to 18 Fantasy points or less. It's a list that includes Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Tannehill and Andy Dalton. Tack on the reality that Romo isn't 100 percent, and the outlook gets bleak. What will it take for Romo to get to 200 yards and two touchdowns? Not much, but it'll mean he works out of a clean pocket and makes accurate throws despite limited mobility because of his back. We've seen Romo play at a limited level earlier this season and it was a nightmare. We've seen the Jaguars defense play better lately, they could be a nightmare for him. Even with a healthy offensive line I just can't trust Romo this week.
Blake Bortles (4.9): Bortles has 20 Fantasy points in two straight road games and had two touchdowns for the first time since Week 3 thanks to Allen Hurns, who scored on a deep ball in Bortles' other two-touchdown appearance. Two of the last three quarterbacks to take on the Cowboys have thrown three touchdowns each, but didn't need the deep ball to do it. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Jaguars will try some deep passes, lean on tight ends and ultimately use play-action passing to their advantage. I think Bortles can be helpful as a bye-week replacement.
DeMarco Murray (9.2): The Jaguars run defense was rolling until Jeremy Hill squished them for over 150 yards and two touchdowns. It wouldn't be shocking to see Murray do the same thing.
Denard Robinson (7.4): Dallas' run defense has started to slide over the last two weeks, allowing 4.3 yards per carry to backs with a rushing touchdown in each game. That slide will continue with Crawford out, Justin Durant on injured reserve and Nick Hayden and Rolando McClain not expected to be at full strength even if they do play. Meanwhile, Robinson has posted at least 100 total yards for three straight weeks and has a touchdown in two of his last three. I like Robinson to keep the good numbers going. Think about him in one-week leagues.
Dez Bryant (8.0): Jacksonville gave up touchdowns to stud wideouts A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu last week and should be ripe for Dez to score in the red zone this week. Romo being less than 100 percent limits his potential for sure, but he can still come up with a decent stat line like he has for much of the season.
Terrance Williams (1.4): Credit Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News for telling our radio show (Saturday nights on CBS Sports Radio!) what's been going on with Williams. He compared the receiver's hot streak to Laurent Robinson's back a couple of years ago, as Williams has been making big plays when things break down around Romo. That explains why Williams didn't get a lot done last week with Brandon Weeden. I wouldn't expect a lot of deep passing from Romo and his body might not let him move around the pocket and make a bunch of fantastic plays downfield, so this could be a very good week to skip on Williams.
Allen Robinson (3.7): Hurns had the big plays downfield last week, but Robinson is the guy who plays the most and gets plenty of targets. The majority of touchdowns scored by receivers against the Cowboys have been from inside the red zone, not on bombs. That suggests that Robinson will have a chance to get back in the end zone after a one-week dry spell.
Allen Hurns (2.9): Hurns got a major opportunity last week and didn't disappoint, playing nearly every snap and catching 7 of 9 targets for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He's definitely a boom or bust candidate, but he's no different than pretty much every other one out there.
Jason Witten (5.0): It's pretty cool that Witten is getting back involved in the offense, catching 15 of 22 targets for 183 yards and two touchdowns over his last four games. It might not be much, but it's way, way better than what he delivered in the first five weeks of the season. Expect high single-digits from him against the Jaguars, who have been impressive against some pretty decent tight ends over the last four weeks. He's a Top 12 tight end by default.
Clay Harbor (4.8): If the Jaguars are going to have success through the air, Harbor should be a part of it. Dallas is among the worst in Fantasy points allowed to tight ends -- it has allowed eight touchdowns to the position through nine games, including two in the last three weeks. Harbor's targets have dwindled since getting eight in Week 4, but he should be a red-zone threat worth taking a chance on in Week 10.
Cowboys (6.0): They are appealing simply because the Jaguars have allowed every DST they've faced to finish in the Top 12 ... until last week when the Bengals couldn't do it! I actually think the Jaguars will give the depleted Cowboys defense all they can handle, but it doesn't mean there won't be sacks and turnovers. They are a low-end option.
Jaguars (3.6): If DeMarco Murray somehow missed the flight to London and couldn't get on the field, then perhaps the Jaguars DST would be worth a look against a sore Tony Romo. But since Murray is there and healthy, there's just too much unnecessary risk in starting this unit.
Steelers at Jets, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
How can the Jets slow down Ben Roethlisberger? Here's a hint: They can't. The best defense is a good offense, which is what the Jets will have to lean on against an improving but still worrisome Steelers defense expected to be without Troy Polamalu and Ryan Shazier. That makes the run matchup more appealing for the Jets, who got some good work out of Chris Johnson when Chris Ivory couldn't get it going. The Steelers have allowed over 130 total yards to running backs in three of their last four games.
Ben Roethlisberger (9.1): It's all clicked for Roethlisberger: the rise of Martavis Bryant, the way defenses have covered his receivers and the suddenly easy matchups for him (playing the Colts without Vontae Davis, playing the Ravens without Jimmy Smith). Now he'll take his show on the road against a Jets pass defense that's been picked apart by most everybody. It's worth noting that Rex Ryan's defenses have held Ben to under 20 Fantasy points nine times in 12 meetings -- a hefty track record against the gunslinging quarterback -- but this defense is just plain awful. Even if he hadn't thrown 12 touchdowns in his last two games we'd love Roethlisberger this week.
Michael Vick (4.8): It wouldn't be a surprise at all to see Vick have a good game against a beat up Steelers defense. Polamalu won't man the defensive backfield, rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier can't spy on Vick, Jason Worilds has an abdominal injury that could hamper him and the secondary is still going to be vulnerable even if Ike Taylor manages to play. Pittsburgh has allowed multiple touchdowns in three straight games and six of nine games on the year. He just needs to keep from turning the ball over and let his receivers make plays. Might not be too much to ask against the Steelers, who have 16 sacks and seven interceptions on the year.
Le'Veon Bell (8.2): Remember the feared Jets run defense? Be it because games became lopsided or not, running backs have averaged 105.2 rush yards and 35.6 receiving yards per game with six total scores in the Jets' last five games. Four starting backs had at least 11 Fantasy points in that span. Ride with Bell.
Chris Ivory (6.0): Ivory got off to a cold start last week while Chris Johnson caught fire, so the Jets went with Johnson. It's a sign of potential problems ahead for Ivory since he typically had more opportunities per game, but that was before Vick and Harvin made the offense more dangerous. He still is a candidate to score this week, keeping him in the No. 2 running back chatter.
Chris Johnson (5.5): One, Johnson looked great last week. Two, this is typically when we start seeing Johnson put up numbers -- the second half of the season. He's done it three years straight and when he's on the field the Jets offense is even more dangerous thanks to his speed (it's better than Ivory's). Harvin's presence really helped create some space for Johnson. It would be shocking if that went away, particularly against a banged up and shaky Steelers defense.
Antonio Brown (9.8): The last No. 1 receiver to not get 100 yards and a touchdown against the Jets was ... well, it was Dwayne Bowe last week. But Bowe stinks. Brown doesn't.
Martavis Bryant (6.9): The best part about Bryant is that he's not a one-trick pony. He actually ran routes like a fairly seasoned receiver, not that he's doing anything complicated. Expect more plays for Bryant after getting in on about half the snaps last week (unless the game becomes a blowout). The Jets have allowed 10 touchdowns to receivers all year with multiple receivers scoring in three matchups.
Markus Wheaton (1.1): Wheaton is not going to get a ton of targets, but he sure will see single coverage a bunch. If Roethlisberger keeps building trust in him, he'll be another problem for defenses to sweat. I'm not ready to trust him in Fantasy.
Eric Decker (6.3): Decker claimed this week that he was finally getting healthy, a curious statement. Nonetheless, he should exploit single coverage against smaller cornerbacks as he also benefits from Harvin and the Jets' resurgent run game. The Steelers have allowed three touchdowns to receivers in their last two games, breaking a three-game string of keeping receivers out of the end zone. They've also allowed over 170 yards per game to receivers, tied for 10th worst in football.
Percy Harvin (5.3): There wasn't much to Harvin's big game last week, other than dedicating a lot of touches to him. He was excellent after the catch, totaling over 70 net yards (it includes yardage behind the line of scrimmage). Not only should he see a lot of targets again in Week 10, but he'll take on a worse defense. I would buy in.
Heath Miller (5.1): If the Chiefs could pick on the Jets' poor defense against tight ends then the Steelers should too. Miller is a risk, but the Jets have allowed 10 touchdowns to tight ends in their last seven games.
Steelers (5.4): A lot of people will run to the Steelers because they're playing the Jets. Even though the Jets scored just 10 points, the Chiefs weren't worth even 10 Fantasy points last week. I'd be careful here and consider another option if I could.
Jets (0.9): Have you heard about the quarterback who threw six touchdowns in consecutive games?
Falcons at Buccaneers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The Buccaneers move back to Josh McCown at quarterback puts everything that they had going for them at receiver up in the air. In basically two and a half games as the starter McCown threw two touchdowns, four interceptions, lost a fumble and averaged 6.18 yards per attempt. Not that Mike Glennon was crushing opponents, but he at least gave the offense some life. It feels like we need to see McCown play well before trusting any Bucs receivers, even in a really good matchup at home.
Matt Ryan (8.9): Ryan has been flawless in his last three games coming off the bye and has a pretty solid track record against the Bucs. Tack on a defense that's been decimated by opposing quarterbacks (including by Ryan in Week 3) and you have the makings of a get-right game. Hopefully the Falcons have patched up the O-line to hold up for four quarters instead of two.
Josh McCown (4.0): McCown's early-season struggles make him tough to trust, even in a favorable matchup. Atlanta has allowed multiple touchdowns to three of the last four quarterbacks they've faced, but McCown hasn't thrown two scores in a game since last year.
Steven Jackson (6.6): I think Jackson can score this week. Tampa Bay has allowed six touchdowns on the ground in its last seven games to backs, including a fortuitous one to Jackson back in Week 3. S-Jax had 18 carries in the Falcons last game thanks to the team building an early lead. The same thing should happen here.
Bobby Rainey (7.0): Remember that bummer Rainey had with two fumbles against the Falcons in Week 3? He had over 100 total yards, and that was without taking every snap. He's in the same boat again this week at home and coming off a game with 120 total yards, and he had 167 total yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons at home last season. Even with Charles Sims expected to play, Rainey should be in the driver's seat for a good game.
Charles Sims (1.8): I might expect a max of 10 touches from Sims, particularly if Rainey develops a hot hand early on against a bad Falcons run defense. Sims remains worth carrying on the bench, not starting.
Julio Jones (8.9): You have to keep him active even though he's delivered duds in four of his last five. He had a huge game against the Bucs back in Week 3, and that was when their secondary had a semblance of order. Now the unit is thinner than ever. Hopefully Ryan can target him downfield some more.
Roddy White (6.5): The matchup is good, the talent is suspect. White has three games with a touchdown and at least 13 Fantasy points (two outdoors) and four games without a touchdown and six Fantasy points or less. He should have a chance to score if not rack up a bunch of targets and grind to a decent stat total.
Mike Evans (7.0): Even with 10 targets in his first-ever game with McCown, we haven't seen Evans play well with the veteran quarterback. Over his last four games, Evans has scored four times and picked up his first-ever 100-yard game last week on seven catches. No one is fearing the matchup against the Falcons, who have struggled with speed receivers for much of the year. It's all about the quarterback.
Vincent Jackson (4.5): Maybe the move back to McCown will wake up Jackson, who hasn't really been himself all year. Then again, Jackson had eight catches on 16 targets for 87 yards in McCown's first two full games. Jackson did score in his last game against the Falcons, has a solid track record against the Falcons and picked up 12 targets last week (from a different quarterback). If only there was a better track record with McCown.
Falcons (5.6): I get queasy starting a defense that doesn't have a pass rush on the road regardless of who they play, but no one is expecting a big game from McCown. That puts the Falcons in the convo as a low-end starting option.
Buccaneers (3.8): If they can repeatedly get to Matt Ryan, they should put up a very nice game. But that's a pretty big if -- Tampa Bay has just 13 sacks this season. They can't be trusted.
Broncos at Raiders, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET
Statistically, this isn't a bad matchup for the Raiders passing game. Each of the last four quarterbacks to take on the Broncos have posted multiple touchdowns, and each of the last three pushed for over 250 yards. Derek Carr has shown glimpses of being a very capable quarterback, getting a pair of touchdowns last week at Seattle and four touchdowns at home against the Chargers back in Week 4. No one will trust him, but his receivers and tight ends have some sneaky value. Besides, garbage time counts the same as clutch time in Fantasy.
Peyton Manning (9.6): Unrelated-to-Peyton note/embarrassing fact about the author, Vol. 9 of 16: I traded Josh Gordon in a panic move last week to fill a hole in a PPR league lineup, receiving Eric Decker in return. I didn't even use Decker in my final lineup. P.S.: I won my matchup anyway.
Derek Carr (4.7): Carr is fully capable of taking advantage of a disinterested defense in the second half to put up some numbers. Quarterbacks have averaged just over 43 pass attempts against the Broncos this season. Carr should be up for attempting at least that many passes but is averaging 5.9 yards per attempt on the year, completing just over 60 percent of his passes. So maybe he gets 250 yards and a couple of scores, but there will definitely be some turnovers along the way. Consider him a low-end, bye-week replacement.
Ronnie Hillman (8.8): Don't sweat the return of Montee Ball -- Hillman has been way too good to lose his role in the offense, averaging 15.3 Fantasy points over his last four games with at least 17 touches in each.
Juwan Thompson (5.4): The Raiders have allowed seven rushing touchdowns to running backs in their last five games and otherwise struggle against the run. Thompson is a great candidate to tumble into the end zone.
Darren McFadden (4.0): The Raiders might try to control the clock with their run game but it's not going to fly, even if McFadden has averaged 17 touches per game over his last three. The Broncos run defense has been solid, but there will be room for DMC to be a small factor as a pass catcher, making him a low-end play in PPR.
Demaryius Thomas (9.2): There isn't a cornerback on the Raiders that can hang with him, and everyone will start him, but he has only scored in one game against the Raiders since Manning became his quarterback. No. 1 receivers have not been overly productive against the Raiders this year.
Emmanuel Sanders (8.4): Another obvious must start, though the Raiders have allowed multiple touchdowns to receivers in the same game just once this year. Of course, they haven't played the Broncos yet -- a Broncos team coming off a loss.
Wes Welker (1.0): It sounds like he'll play after taking a huge hit last week, but he's tough to trust with one touchdown in six games played. He has yet to top 60 yards in a game.
Andre Holmes (2.5), James Jones (0.9): Of the six touchdowns allowed by the Broncos to receivers over their last four games, four went to heavily targeted outside receivers. Through their last four games Jones has more targets and receptions than Holmes, but Holmes has more touchdowns. Both are perimeter receivers who might score, but I'd chance it with Holmes given that he's more explosive and could end up beating Aqib Talib for a score. Neither receiver registers as even a No. 3 option unless you're desperate.
Julius Thomas (8.5): The past few weeks have been disappointing for Thomas -- he hasn't posted 10 or more Fantasy points since Week 6. Oakland hasn't allowed a touchdown to a tight end in three straight but it hasn't played any prominent tight ends in that span. Stud tight ends like Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski have done well against the Raiders. Thomas should too.
Mychal Rivera (5.5): The Raiders have made an effort the last couple of weeks to get Rivera more involved in the offense, getting him the ball 15 times on 20 targets for 121 yards and a pair of scores last week. The Broncos have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in three of their last four games. They'll be aware of Rivera, and it's not hard to cover him because he is not fast, but if the targets keep coming for him then he'll fall into production. I like him as a Top 10 tight end by default.
Broncos (9.0): Carr's penchant for turnovers and a lack of a run game should give the Broncos a chance to hold the Raiders to under 21 points and 300 total yards.
Raiders (0.00001): I was about to look up how many points per game the Raiders have given up this year and compare it to how many points per game the Broncos score. Eh, why bother? We know what's going to happen.
Rams at Cardinals, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
The Rams did almost nothing offensively last week to make anyone think they can be a competitive unit. Their touchdown was set up by a Colin Kaepernick fumble at midfield and their go-ahead score came after a terrible punt that put them in instant field goal position. If Arizona plays clean football without many mistakes they'll win this one going away.
Austin Davis (1.3): I still don't see him having the protection or receivers needed to post quality stats. Last week was an example of exactly that -- he had more interceptions than completions of 20-plus yards.
Carson Palmer (8.4): Palmer hasn't let us down in a game yet this year and will take on a Rams pass defense that isn't as good as Colin Kaepernick made them look last week. Expect Palmer to be the third quarterback this season to notch 20-plus points against the Rams.
Tre Mason (5.0): One plus from the Rams win last week was the coaching staff tipping their hand on the back they like best, giving Mason 19 carries to Benny Cunningham's four and Zac Stacy's zero. When the matchup is right, Mason should have a good game. However, the matchup isn't right this week. The Cardinals have allowed one rushing touchdown to a running back in their last four and that includes keeping DeMarco Murray out of the end zone and under 100 total yards, something no team had done through Murray's first eight games.
Benny Cunningham (1.4): The passing downs back for the Rams could end up getting some decent playing time if the Cardinals build a lead and force the Rams to play from behind. Backs are averaging 7.5 yards per catch out of the backfield against Arizona on the year.
Andre Ellington (7.8): Ellington has become a must start but the Rams run defense isn't a pushover, except two weeks ago when the Chiefs pushed them over for three touchdowns. But take away that game and the Rams have held LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch out of the end zone and under 90 total yards over a four-game span. Ellington might have more of a grind ahead of him than you might think.
Marion Grice (0.9): For now, it looks like this is the handcuff to have with Ellington. He scored last week on an opportunity provided by Ellington taking on a lot of work on a late drive and catching some rest on the sideline. He's expected to pick up more work this week, but it might not be much.
Kenny Britt (0.8): Britt scored last week, but for a No. 1 receiver on an NFL team you'd expect more than four targets and two catches in a game. He also has three catches or less in five straight. Arizona has allowed a receiver to score in all but one game, so I suppose there's a chance for Britt to find the end zone again, but I wouldn't trust him.
Larry Fitzgerald (6.8): Last week stunk, but he had two awesome games against the Rams last season (at least 15 Fantasy points in each). Count on him finding at least five catches, which he's done in three of his last four. Six of nine receivers to catch at least five passes against the Rams this season have scored.
Michael Floyd (4.3): Floyd's problems: He's not seeing a lot of targets (about five per game since their bye) and he's not making plays downfield. That's despite playing a lot of snaps week after week. It's almost as if he's inherited the role we thought Fitzgerald would have -- doing the dirty work underneath. Despite the poor numbers, I would still give him the nod this week because of the matchup. We're not the only ones who have realized Floyd hasn't scored lately.
John Brown (1.2): By now you should know what you're getting into with Brown. He has two games with 17 Fantasy points and six with eight or less. If there's a common thread in the big games it's that they've been in Arizona against competitive opponents (he's scored on the Chargers, Niners and Eagles). Don't lean on him this week unless you're thin at receiver.
Rams (4.6): You definitely have to take notice of the Rams front seven and their dramatic improvement over the past few games (13 sacks in their last three games, including eight last week). They'll get to Carson Palmer a couple of times, but don't expect the secondary to hold up its end of the bargain.
Cardinals (9.1): The Rams have allowed opposing DSTs to finish in the Top 12 in each of the last two weeks, with the Rams offense averaging 10.0 points per game in that span. You have to like the Cardinals DST this week.
Giants at Seahawks, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
This is the third time in four years that these teams will meet. Last year, the Seahawks shut out the Giants with Eli throwing five interceptions. In 2011, Manning threw three touchdowns and three picks with 420 passing yards in a 36-25 loss. Both games were in New Jersey. Manning has a clear grasp on his offense and should have decent pass protection this time around, but he'll take on a Seahawks defense getting back cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, getting them a little bit closer to full strength (Kam Chancellor is doubtful).
Eli Manning (5.4): Six of the last seven quarterbacks to take on the Seahawks have thrown at least two touchdowns. But of those six, only four have hit 20-plus Fantasy points and no one has done it since Romo did in Week 6 at Seattle. With the 'Hawks secondary getting healthy and the Giants offense relying on garbage time to prop up their numbers, the hunch is that Manning struggles. It doesn't help that he has eight interceptions in his last two against the Seahawks.
Russell Wilson (7.7): Last week was supposed to be a get-right game for Wilson, but instead he became more wrong, failing to score and posting season lows in passing yardage (179) and completion percentage (48.6 pct.) against the Raiders. So maybe this is the get-right game for Wilson, as the Giants have allowed nine passing touchdowns in their last three games and will miss starting cornerback Prince Amukamara for the rest of the season. It will especially help Wilson to get a couple of starting offensive linemen back. Look for that get-right game this week.
Andre Williams (3.4): The Seahawks have played better against the run over the last couple of games, but a lot of it has to do with who they've played -- the Panthers and Raiders. Not that Williams is much better after struggling to get 46 yards last week (and scoring). If he gets off to another slow start we might actually see Peyton Hillis take more work off of his plate.
Peyton Hillis (3.0): It's a deep dive in PPR leagues, but Hillis could end up as the passing downs/play-from-behind back for the Giants in this game. Last week he snared 5 of 6 targets for 50 yards. The Seahawks have allowed 8.9 yards per catch to running backs over their last three games.
Marshawn Lynch (9.5): Yes!! The Seahawks finally gave him a big dose of work last week and he rewarded them with over 140 total yards and two touchdowns. With the offensive line getting some starters back and the Giants continuing to struggle to stop the run this should be a big week for Lynch, even if he's not getting four yards per carry.
Odell Beckham (5.1): I'm impressed with this guy and I think Eli Manning is too. He caught 8 of 11 targets last week for 156 yards and 4 of 7 targets the week before for 34 yards and two scores. There's little doubt that Manning will have to throw and with Beckham the hotter hand in the offense, he's a candidate for another pretty good game.
Rueben Randle (2.3): Things have turned sour for Randle, as he had another game with a lot of targets last week and still didn't put up many numbers. How much longer until Manning loses faith in him and someone like Corey Washington starts to pick up some of his work? Against the Seahawks it's tough to expect a big game with Randle.
Doug Baldwin (4.0): Pete Carroll said Friday that he would play, a very big positive considering the matchup. Though I expect a lot of running from the Seahawks I wouldn't be surprised to see Baldwin score on a handful of catches. The Giants allowed a pair of scores to Colts receivers last week and have struggled with No. 1 receivers over their last four games. Losing cornerback Prince Amukamara won't hurt Baldwin's outlook.
Larry Donnell (7.5): Chancellor is still going to be out for the Seahawks, which boosts Donnell quite a bit. In their last three home games the Seahawks watched tight ends pile on the touchdowns -- at least two per team per game. That includes Mychal Rivera coming up with a pair of scores last week. They also gave up three scores to Antonio Gates a while back. Donnell should remain a focal point of the Giants offense; the more Randle struggles, the more opportunities we'll see Donnell get.
Giants (3.9): They're about to get smashed by a rainbow candy colored locomotive with "Beast Mode" tattooed on the side. Losing Amukamara in the secondary hurts a bunch too. The Seahawks have posted at least 23 points in five of their last six.
Seahawks (8.3): With the secondary getting healthy and the Giants offense becoming easier to prepare for without a substantial rushing presence, we'll see the Seahawks defense show up. They've had Manning's number over the past few years.
Bears at Packers, Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET
The Bears are desperate for some sort of answer to slow down Aaron Rodgers. Back in Week 4, the Packers scored on each of their first six drives and missed a field goal on their seventh and last. They didn't punt once! Then again, neither did the Bears, who scored on their first three possessions before turning over the ball on two consecutive third quarter drives. We might very easily see another track meet between both offenses, but you can be sure the Bears will try to win the time of possession again much like they did in Week 4. Their 12-minute advantage made their blowout loss all the more confounding.
Jay Cutler (7.1): Cutler has never performed well against the Packers with his better numbers coming at Soldier Field. At Lambeau it gets worse. In three career games at Green Bay, all with the Bears, Cutler has two touchdowns and 10 interceptions. This will be his first crack at the Pack in Marc Trestman's offense, so he should be able to be more productive, but expect him to turn the ball over a couple of times and not necessarily make up for it with his other stats.
Aaron Rodgers (9.7): I mean, just look at this. Then this.
Matt Forte (9.4): Five straight weeks of monster production from Forte should turn into six. His weakest game in his last five came against the Packers -- 171 total yards. The Packers were destroyed by Mark Ingram in Week 8. The Bears have to lean on him to have a chance to win.
Eddie Lacy (7.5): Four out of Lacy's last five games have been solid, the lone weak game coming at Miami. The Bears run defense, in a word, is terriblawfulbad. He's scored in each of three career games against the Bears with 150 yards in his home game against them last season.
Alshon Jeffery (8.1): Over the last six weeks, Jeffery has been the Bears best Fantasy receiver. He's posted 10-plus Fantasy points in five of those six games, averaged 14.8 yards per grab in those six and scored three times. He also has at least seven targets in each of those games. The Packers have allowed a receiver to get 10-plus Fantasy points six times this year -- including Jeffery himself back in Week 4 -- marking the second time in three games against the Packers that he's found the end zone.
Brandon Marshall (6.7): Marshall has been brutal over the past six weeks. He's posted 10-plus Fantasy points in one of those six games, averaged 12.6 yards per grab in those six and scored once. Making things more frustrating is that he's had at least nine targets in each of his last three, including four end-zone targets at New England. Cutler is trying to get him involved, he's just not breaking through. But he should this week, as he's scored in four straight against the Packers with at least 50 yards to go with it in three of those four.
Randall Cobb (9.6): Cobb has scored twice in each of his last two against the Bears and has been good for at least nine Fantasy points (15 in PPR) in each of his last three. The Bears do not have an answer for him.
Jordy Nelson (8.8): Nelson scored twice on the Bears in Week 4, has scored in each of his last three home games and has scored in four of his last five overall. Plus, he's tacked on plenty of yardage.
Davante Adams (3.5): He's been steadily delivering 7 or 8 Fantasy points in each of his last four games, either scoring and getting low yardage or coming up with over 70 yards receiving. Because this should be a high-scoring game I might expect a lot of targets for Adams, giving him a shot at getting at least seven Fantasy points. He's a pretty good No. 3 Fantasy receiver.
Martellus Bennett (8.0): Bennett was a big part of the Bears game plan in their early meeting with the Packers, collecting nine catches on 11 targets for 134 yards. The incompletions? End zone targets. Big-time tight ends have done very well against the Packers this season, so look for him to be a focal point of the Bears plans once again. He downplayed a rib injury to reporters on Friday.
Richard Rodgers (3.9): With five targets and 50 percent of the playing time in the Packers last game, Rodgers is a guy to keep your eye on moving forward. The Bears stink against tight ends (seven touchdowns allowed to the position in their last four games) and the Packers have typically used their tight ends to attack the Bears defensive scheme. If you're in a real pinch, Rodgers could be helpful.
Bears (2.0): The Bears have held the Packers to under 21 points just once in their last eight meetings, and it wasn't at Lambeau Field.
Packers (6.2): They have a good plan to harrass Jay Cutler every time and force him into some turnovers. It only helps that the Packers will get cornerback Sam Shields back.
Panthers at Eagles, Mon., 8:30 p.m. ET
All eyes will be on the Eagles new quarterback, but let's not ignore the Panthers quarterback. Cam Newton's arm is starting to let him down after he made some incredible passes earlier in the year, which is strange because now his legs are starting to heat up. He has at least 40 rush yards in three of his last four ... and has seen his passing yardage drop in each of those games. His offensive line should be a bit stronger this week compared to last week, a big key for the Panthers if they're going to upset the Eagles.
Cam Newton (6.9): All but one quarterback to play the Eagles has thrown multiple touchdowns, each of whom hit the 20-point mark. That includes Colin Kaepernick, who also ran for 58 yards on top of throwing a couple of scores in Week 4. The comparison is made because the Eagles have taken on a running quarterback (one with so-so accuracy like Newton) and struggled. Even if the Eagles blitz Newton a lot in hopes of causing a turnover, he'll still go after their secondary with Kelvin Benjamin. He left a lot of stats on the field last week thanks to Benjamin's drops.
Mark Sanchez (6.2): While I was touting Nick Foles this preseason I couldn't help but notice that Sanchez played better than Foles did. I might be nervous about Sanchez if he were in Carolina's offense, but the fit of Philadelphia's offense should agree with him. Quick decisions and a solid supporting cast (including Evan Mathis back at center) will help Sanchez play as well as Foles did, if not better. It helps that his first start is at home against a Panthers pass defense that came up three yards shy of allowing their fifth quarterback to get 20-plus Fantasy points in six games. Sanchez should be the go-to replacement for those owners who lost Foles.
Jonathan Stewart (4.8), DeAngelo Williams (4.2): The Eagles have allowed a running back to notch at least 10 Fantasy points in six of their last seven games. Unfortunately, the last time either Stewart or Williams had a game with 10 or more Fantasy points was Week 2. Both of them had eight carries last week with Williams getting the only catch between them. It looked like Stewart had a lot of third-down duty but didn't miss a snap inside the 10, giving him more red-zone snaps than Williams. That gives Stewart an edge between the two of them, but neither is a recommended start.
LeSean McCoy (9.0): A spotlight home game with a new quarterback getting his feet wet against a bad run defense? Sounds like the perfect time for McCoy's best game of the year. Count on him eclipsing his 15 Fantasy-point game from Week 2 at Indy with a mammoth total against the hapless Panthers.
Kelvin Benjamin (7.5): When you have as many drops as receptions you know it's a tough week. That's what happened to Benjamin, who had 10 targets in Week 9 but only caught two of them. But the details of those targets are what keep Benjamin relevant: Three targets were on deep passes and four of them were into the end zone. Benjamin is still a beast who could have easily had a monster game last week. Keep him active.
Jeremy Maclin (9.0): It's easy to feel good about Maclin catching passes from Sanchez after last week. He caught all four of Sanchez's targets for 81 yards and a touchdown, including a 52-yard deep ball. Maclin should remain a force against the Panthers.
Jordan Matthews (2.7): While he couldn't connect with Riley Cooper, Sanchez did hit Matthews twice for 35 yards and a red-zone touchdown. While this might not be enough proof to suggest that Matthews will keep getting looks from Sanchez, at the very least one might surmise that Sanchez spent the most time working with Matthews on the second-team offense and is comfortable with him. Only one of the Panthers 12 touchdowns allowed to a receiver this year came out of the slot, though.
Greg Olsen (7.3): The Panthers game plan last week was to target Benjamin over and over and take shots on the Saints, not lean on Greg Olsen. In fact, that might have been part of a plan over the last two weeks, as he's been a total dud. The Eagles have been proficient against tight ends this season but haven't faced many legit ones -- Dwayne Allen, Vernon Davis and Larry Donnell are the toughest they've seen. Olsen shouldn't be benched.
Zach Ertz (3.5): It would be a pleasant surprise to see Ertz find a touchdown with Sanchez under center. The Panthers have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in each of their last two games, but Ertz just hasn't been able to produce. It makes him tough to trust (which means he'll end up going off this week, because Fantasy is crazy).
Panthers (4.7): A lot of people are going to rush to this DST because Sanchez is under center. Maybe they'll be right for doing so, but I think the Eagles scheme is strong enough to keep Sanchez from becoming, uh, Mark Sanchez.
Eagles (7.3): Look for a lot of pressure to be in Cam's face. It should result in some sacks and a turnover. Carolina hasn't put up 21 points in each of its last three games. Even without DeMeco Ryans, roll with the Birds.
Browns at Bengals, Thu., 8:25 p.m. ET
The Browns best chance to stay in this game and thus in the AFC North race is to get that run game working. Cincinnati is tied for 30th in the league in rushing yards per game allowed (139.6), tied for last in rush yards per carry allowed (4.8) and tied for 28th in rushing touchdowns allowed (nine). Ben Tate hasn't been overly effective for the past few weeks and was supplanted for much of the second half by Terrance West -- including inside the 10-yard line -- where West caught a touchdown pass from short range. If the Browns opt to lean on West and give him a chance behind a still-suspect offensive line, it should keep the Bengals offense off the field.
Brian Hoyer (3.8): Even with a rare two-touchdown game last week, he's just not good enough to trust in what amounts to a tough matchup. Four quarterbacks have posted 20-plus Fantasy points on the Bengals this year -- one of them needed huge rushing stats to get there and another needed garbage time.
Andy Dalton (5.3): The last time Dalton faced a Mike Pettine-coached defense he hung 337 yards and three touchdowns on them. He also posted three touchdowns in a weird stat line against the pre-Pettine Browns last year. Only one team has truly been able to put up numbers on the Browns pass defense this season, so it's a little risky to go with Dalton, especially on a short week (when Dalton has struggled each of the last two years).
Terrance West (6.7): The most encouraging thing here is the matchup, as the Bengals have allowed at least one rushing touchdown to a back in seven of eight games (including six straight) this season. West had more goal-line work than Ben Tate last week and should be in line to lead the way after scoring and blocking well last week. It's not hard to believe West has a better rushing average than Tate, right?
Isaiah Crowell (2.0): I wouldn't be surprised if we saw him bumping around a little bit more. Tate had six touches to West's four by the end of the first half -- by the end of the game, West had 16 to Tate's 14. Maybe it means they split but the sense I get is that Tate is fighting uphill for playing time. Averaging 2.16 yards per carry over a four-game span will do that to you.
Jeremy Hill (8.4): Remember earlier in this column where I mentioned that the Bengals are tied in rush yards per game and rush yards per carry? One of the teams they're tied with is the Browns! They leave a lot to be desired as a run defense, even though the Browns have allowed two scores to running backs in their last five. Hill is a Top 10 back this week.
Andrew Hawkins (2.6): Banged up after a disappointing game against the Bucs, Hawkins runs into a matchup against a Bengals pass defense that has struggled with the deep pass -- especially last week -- but has otherwise been pretty darn good. Hawkins doesn't run a slew of deep routes and playing hurt on a short week against a secondary that should be able to contain him doesn't suggest a lot of Fantasy success.
Taylor Gabriel (2.1): A huge risk considering his limited experience, but Gabriel has the deep speed to give the Bengals fits. T.Y. Hilton and Allen Hurns have both recently caused a lot of problems for Cincy with their deep speed.
A.J. Green (8.2): Green had a bad 2013 against the Browns, totaling 58 yards on nine catches over two games. No one should even think about sitting him based on this, but maybe owners should cool their jets a little as the Browns have done well against top-targeted receivers but have stunk versus second-most targeted guys. You'd have to be loaded at receiver to even do the unthinkable and sit Green.
Mohamed Sanu (7.9): Sanu has become a must-start Fantasy receiver. In his last seven games he's posted 10-plus Fantasy points six times, seen eight or more targets six times ans been responsible for a touchdown five times. We've also seen second-best targeted receivers Allen Robinson, Andre Holmes and Mike Evans all post 10-plus Fantasy points on the Browns in the last three weeks. Hopefully Dalton's short-week blues don't cost him.
Browns (4.8): Even with 10-plus Fantasy points in four straight games the Browns aren't that safe of a play against the Bengals offense. Cincinnati has allowed an opposing DST to finish in the Top 12 just twice out of eight weeks.
Bengals (5.2): Many folks think the Bengals are a safe pick but they're not. The Browns have allowed just one rival DST to finish in the Top 12 against them. The Bengals DST hasn't posted 10 points in five straight weeks.
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