Week 10 Fantasy Football Matchups

To prepare you as best we can for your week of Fantasy Football, we've devised this series of previews for each NFL game. We'll give you a taste of what to expect, then rank each significant Fantasy contributor on a scale from 0-5 logos (with five logos suggesting can't-miss; a player or unit without any logos suggests you probably shouldn't start him under any circumstances). The rankings take the matchup into account, but injuries and other significant factors also contribute.

Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
Thursday, 8:20 pm, Candlestick Park
Flying to San Francisco and playing on a short week might be enough to slow the Bears here, but cracks in the 49ers defense gives them reasons for optimism. The Bears didn't run much last week but have improved their ground attack since reshuffling their offensive line. They'll see the 49ers' struggling defensive front as beatable and run more than pass before inevitably putting the ball in Jay Cutler hands as the game goes on. San Francisco's secondary wasn't beaten by Vince Young last week, but in the three weeks prior the likes of Peyton Manning , Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan put up big numbers on them, so count on Cutler to be next in line. That doesn't spell huge stats for Matt Forte , but he proved last week that he can be a factor in the passing game. Also, look for Greg Olsen to continue his work in the end zone as the 49ers have had their fair share of troubles with premier tight ends. The 49ers will lean on Frank Gore as they've typically done, but they have to like what they've seen from Alex Smith so far even though they haven't won with him. The Bears' secondary has been charred in recent weeks and the Niners won't be able to pass up the chance to take advantage. Vernon Davis seems especially likely to be a huge factor as he matches up well against the Bears' smallish and banged up secondary. Josh Bullocks might draw Davis in coverage, a mismatch if there ever was one. The 49ers will have to put up some points to win this game, but between Gore and Davis they will get their chance.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Jay Cutler QB Alex Smith
Matt Forte RB Frank Gore
Devin Hester WR Michael Crabtree
Earl Bennett WR Jason Hill
Johnny Knox WR Josh Morgan
Greg Olsen TE Vernon Davis
Robbie Gould K Joe Nedney
Bears DST 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Land Shark Stadium
If the Dolphins' defensive line and linebackers weren't healthy, the Buccaneers would have had a fighting chance. But linebacker Channing Crowder and nose tackle Jason Ferguson are expected to play, and that will impact the Bucs' offense quite a bit. Pass rusher Joey Porter might not be a factor, but he hasn't been an impact player this season anyway. The only reliable Buc is Kellen Winslow , who should tear into a Dolphins defense that has struggled with opposing tight ends. With rookie quarterback Josh Freeman showing that he can extend plays, Winslow's value is renewed, especially this week. The matchup is tailor-made for the Dolphins, who should be able to run all over the Buccaneers (ranked 30th vs. the run). Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams should both have sensational totals as Miami won't take chances with the football and instead go with its offensive strength. That's really all there is to this game.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Josh Freeman QB Chad Henne
Cadillac Williams RB Ronnie Brown
Derrick Ward RB Ricky Williams
Michael Clayton   WR Davone Bess
Sammie Stroughter   WR Greg Camarillo
Kellen Winslow TE Anthony Fasano
Connor Barth   K Dan Carpenter
Buccaneers DST Dolphins
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Mall of America Field
The Lions' offense showed signs of life in the first quarter against the Seahawks last week, but both of their short touchdown drives came following Matt Hasselbeck turnovers. The Lions were awful the rest of the game, and chances are they won't have the opportunities to score against the Vikings that they had early on at Seattle. But they are developing offensively -- once Matthew Stafford can really prove that fellow rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew is an impact player in the passing game, and once Stafford can re-ignite Calvin Johnson , the Lions could begin surprising people. There's a shot Pettigrew keeps up his play from last week against the Vikings' safeties, who aren't great at covering tight ends, but he's a risk, as are all Lions. That includes Johnson, even though his history against the Vikings isn't bad. The Vikings will come out running the football and finding great success on the ground. Adrian Peterson should have a fantastic game, and if how the Vikings have operated in mismatches earlier this year is any indication, it's going to mean Brett Favre won't pass that much. He's OK to start but is a longshot for anything more than a couple of scores with some modest yardage. Remember, the Vikings won't want to risk getting him hurt or sore or anything that jeopardizes his availability in the playoffs. This does diminish the overall expectation of the Minnesota receivers so plan accordingly.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matthew Stafford   QB Brett Favre
Kevin Smith RB Adrian Peterson
Maurice Morris   RB Chester Taylor
Calvin Johnson WR Sidney Rice
Bryant Johnson   WR Percy Harvin
Dennis Northcutt   WR Bernard Berrian
Brandon Pettigrew TE Visanthe Shiancoe
Jason Hanson K Ryan Longwell
Lions   DST Vikings
Jacksonville Jaguars at N.Y. Jets
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Giants Stadium
Very tough spot for the Jaguars: Not only do they play poorly on the road, but they'll be going against a rested Jets defense that matches up extremely well with them. Maurice Jones-Drew will take on the brunt of the workload as usual, but it's going to take David Garrard utilizing receivers other than Mike Sims-Walker to give his passing game a chance. Sims-Walker might get shadowed by shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis , and that will cripple his ability to be effective. It's going to mean that Torry Holt and Marcedes Lewis need to step up for Jacksonville, but that might only result in marginal yardage. The Jets should be willing to put eight in the box to stop Jones-Drew, and that will make his day tough. Expect the Jets to keep riding their run game as the Jaguars' run defense has slipped in recent weeks and is definitely beatable. By implementing the run they'll be able to use the play-action pass to hit Braylon Edwards and others for solid gains against a terrible Jacksonville secondary. Last week even quality cornerback Rashean Mathis was burned by Chris Chambers (playing in his first game with the Chiefs) for touchdowns late. Jerricho Cotchery should be decent also, but Thomas Jones will be the best Jet of the week.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
David Garrard QB Mark Sanchez
Maurice Jones-Drew RB Thomas Jones
Rashad Jennings   RB Shonn Greene
Mike Sims-Walker WR Braylon Edwards
Torry Holt WR Jerricho Cotchery
Marcedes Lewis   TE Dustin Keller
Josh Scobee K Jay Feely
Jaguars DST Jets
New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Edward Jones Dome
The Rams will have had two weeks to prepare for this game, but it's not going to matter. They simply don't have the defensive power to even come close to handling the up-tempo offense of the Saints. Drew Brees will feast on Rams cornerback Jonathan Wade and nickelback Justin King -- both relatively inexperienced -- and hit Marques Colston and Robert Meachem for sizable gains. The Rams haven't given up huge yardage to tight ends but have given up lots of touchdowns -- that's what you can expect from Jeremy Shockey . The Rams have given up plenty of yardage to running backs, however, so you can count on Pierre Thomas , Reggie Bush and even Mike Bell getting a shot at some stats. The Rams won't keep up with the Saints offense but you can be sure they'll hammer into their defensive front with Steven Jackson . With their starting defensive tackles out, Jackson has an excellent shot to score and put up some good yardage, even with the Saints cramming the box with eight defenders. But when Marc Bulger drops back to pass, it's unlikely he'll find success as the New Orleans corners match up very well with the Rams' weak wideouts. As usual, Jackson will be the only decent Ram (outside of kicker Josh Brown ) to consider in Fantasy.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Drew Brees QB Marc Bulger
Pierre Thomas RB Steven Jackson
Reggie Bush RB Kenneth Darby
Marques Colston WR Donnie Avery
Robert Meachem WR Keenan Burton
Devery Henderson WR Danny Amendola
Jeremy Shockey TE Randy McMichael
John Carney K Josh Brown
Saints DST Rams
Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins
Sunday, 1:00 pm, FedEx Field
The Broncos have been exposed in consecutive weeks by the Ravens and Steelers, and the Redskins defense should have enough of an idea of what to do to make Kyle Orton uncomfortable in the pocket. Expect the Redskins to bring a heavy pass rush, which they should have some success with because their cornerbacks match up fairly well with Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler . One thing Denver might try is to utilize Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter on screens and dump-off passes more -- that would shake up the Redskins defense some. Additionally, there could be opportunities for Eddie Royal to play in the slot in three-receiver sets and take advantage of mismatches against either nickelback Fred Smoot or free safety Reed Doughty . But until Orton can regain some consistency, he has to be considered a risk. And generally speaking, this isn't a great matchup for the Broncos. The same can be said for the Redskins, who will be without Clinton Portis . The Broncos should overpower the Redskins offense to the point where they'll struggle for multiple first downs on a drive. The Steelers were able to gash the Broncos with the run, but the Redskins haven't moved the ball on the ground against anyone recently. The Steelers made waves and scored through the air; the Redskins have struggled to even find time to throw the ball much less be overly successful at it. There's a realistic chance that Washington is limited to field goals here, which is too bad since Ladell Betts will be one of a few rushers with a crack at 20 touches this week but won't have the offensive line or matchup to help him make good use of the workload.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Kyle Orton QB Jason Campbell
Knowshon Moreno RB Ladell Betts
Correll Buckhalter RB Mike Sellers
Brandon Marshall WR Santana Moss
Eddie Royal WR Antwaan Randle El
Tony Scheffler   TE Fred Davis
Matt Prater K Shaun Suisham
Broncos DST Redskins
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Heinz Field
This matchup sets up well for the Bengals, who will get the Steelers on a short week while dealing with injuries to their defensive line. The Bengals tend to hang around in their divisional games and not break out to early leads. They'll try to control the clock with Cedric Benson here and lean on their quality offensive line against the Steelers. Not having Chris Henry won't hurt the Bengals offense as a whole much, and it might open up opportunities for Laveranues Coles and Andre Caldwell since Chad Johnson will easily draw double coverage on just about every play. In fact, Ochocinco could struggle to post huge numbers until the other Bengals receivers begin warranting more than single coverage. Don't expect a ton of points from the Bengals, though they'll surely try to run more plays that the Steelers. As for Pittsburgh's offense, it has typically gotten by Cincinnati with a lot of running. Willie Parker totaled nearly 130 yards from scrimmage earlier this season and has been their primary catalyst in recent meetings. That job will now fall on Rashard Mendenhall shoulders. The Bengals' run defense is not foolproof and rushers have totaled over 100 yards against them in two of their last three meetings. But all this means that the Steelers will have to dedicate themselves to rushing and not let Ben Roethlisberger pass all over the place. Possible? Sure, but the Steelers have been more of a passing team than a rushing team in 2009. At the very least, expect some balance between the two -- at least until the fourth quarter when they'll try to ice the game, probably with Roethlisberger's arm and not Mendenhall's feet.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Carson Palmer QB Ben Roethlisberger
Cedric Benson RB Rashard Mendenhall
Brian Leonard   RB Mewelde Moore
Chad Johnson WR Hines Ward
Laveranues Coles WR Mike Wallace
Andre Caldwell WR Santonio Holmes
J.P. Foschi   TE Heath Miller
Shayne Graham K Jeff Reed
Bengals DST Steelers
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Bank of America Stadium
You know how some teams run the ball to keep the opposing team's quarterback on the sideline? The Falcons will run the ball to keep Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams on the sideline. Not only that, but Michael Turner has once again become the face of the Atlanta offense and the team isn't about to change its identity this week, especially with Panthers weakside linebacker Thomas Davis on the shelf. The Panthers' run defense is much improved compared to where they were at the start of the season, but they're still giving up a touchdown on the ground per game. Turner has scored five in his last two against the Panthers including one in Week 2, so he'll keep it going. This isn't to say that Matt Ryan won't throw, but the Falcons limited him last week and the team won big. With the Panthers secondary playing fairly well and Julius Peppers always a factor, it wouldn't be surprising to see Ryan attempt around 30 passes. That kind of limited workload could hinder Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez , but their upside keeps them valuable in Fantasy. Look for the Panthers to run the same kind of offensive attack, leaning on DeAngelo Williams and their offensive line to put up yardage, score points and grind the clock. Jonathan Stewart will help in that plan, though he hasn't delivered consistently this year. The matchup isn't entirely awful for Jake Delhomme , who has had some success against the Falcons lately, but the team will definitely keep the pressure off of him for as long as they can.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Ryan QB Jake Delhomme
Michael Turner RB DeAngelo Williams
Aaron Stecker   RB Jonathan Stewart
Roddy White WR Steve Smith
Michael Jenkins   WR Dwayne Jarrett
Tony Gonzalez TE Gary Barnidge
Jason Elam K John Kasay
Falcons DST Panthers
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 1:00 pm, LP Field
Who will start at quarterback for the Bills? Does it matter? Signs point to Trent Edwards reclaiming his job from Ryan Fitzpatrick , but a rejuvenated Titans defense (with a decent pass rush) should be good enough to test the Buffalo offensive line and get to the quarterback. That's going to impact the stats of Lee Evans and Terrell Owens , who is hampered with an injury as it is. The Tennessee run defense has struggled in recent weeks but it should be strong enough to keep Marshawn Lynch limited. As for the Titans' offense, this matchup is perfect for Chris Johnson as the Bills don't have the quality tacklers on the outside to keep Johnson from burning them. Expect the Titans to lean on Johnson, again, while the other parts of the offense take on limited roles. The Titans will want to play this one conservatively since the Bills' secondary has played well of late and Vince Young is not exactly a quality passer at this point. Rob Bironas might see some extra work if the Titans can't convert in the red zone.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Trent Edwards   QB Vince Young
Marshawn Lynch RB Chris Johnson
Fred Jackson RB LenDale White
Lee Evans WR Nate Washington
Terrell Owens WR Justin Gage
Derek Fine   TE Bo Scaife
Rian Lindell K Rob Bironas
Bills DST Titans
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Sunday, 4:05 pm, Oakland Coliseum
The Chiefs won't be able to ignore the Raiders' sloppy run defense, but their attempts to run over them won't be overly successful. Remember, the Chiefs' offensive line is a mess and Jamaal Charles and Kolby Smith aren't quite overpowering running backs. Neither one can be trusted to put up huge stats, though Charles' receiving skills could make him a decent option if you're looking for someone to total, say, 75 yards. The Raiders have been sound against the pass and are fairly familiar with not only Dwayne Bowe but also Chris Chambers from his days with the Chargers. Matt Cassel success will be limited with half the field taken from him by cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha . Hard to trust any Chiefs, but the same can mostly be said for the Raiders. Sure, Oakland's run game should find success against Kansas City's run defense, but with Darren McFadden returning, the Raiders will have a three-headed rushing attack including Justin Fargas and Michael Bush . There's no telling who will do what in the run game with so many cooks in the kitchen. The Chiefs' secondary is a joke but so is the Raiders' passing game. If Chaz Schilens makes his 2009 debut for Oakland he could put up a couple of catches -- JaMarcus Russell looked his way a ton in camp and in the early preseason and clearly has missed him so far this season. He's not a starter but is worth a look if you have the roster room.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Cassel QB JaMarcus Russell
Jamaal Charles RB Justin Fargas
Kolby Smith RB Michael Bush
Dantrell Savage   RB Darren McFadden
Dwayne Bowe WR Louis Murphy
Chris Chambers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
Leonard Pope   TE Zach Miller
Ryan Succop   K Sebastian Janikowski
Chiefs DST Raiders
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers
Sunday, 4:15 pm, Lambeau Field
Great matchup for the Cowboys. Tony Romo has been passing the ball very well lately and isn't likely to be harassed much by the Packers' pass rush. That's a bad combination for Green Bay, even with its good cornerbacks. Dallas might struggle to run consistently, but their pass attack should be very effective. Miles Austin is definitely getting attention from opposing defenses, but last week's game against Philadelphia proved that Jason Witten , Roy Williams and the Dallas running backs can put up some modest stats through their receptions to keep defenses off-balance. That's going to hurt Green Bay, just as the Packers' porous offensive line will hurt Aaron Rodgers . Dallas' pass rush has exploded and should remain very effective here, and that means Rodgers will continue to get beat up as he throws downfield. The matchup isn't that great for the Packers passing game: Dallas hasn't allowed a 300-yard passer or 100-yard receiver since Week 2. Tack on the fact that the Cowboys did a number on the Eagles (a West Coast offense like Green Bay's) last week and it could be trouble for Rodgers. Ryan Grant isn't a great choice either -- the Cowboys haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher all season and have given up just three touchdowns on the ground (two to running backs). Behind that offensive line, and probably playing from behind, Grant's chances at big yardage seem slim.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Tony Romo QB Aaron Rodgers
Marion Barber RB Ryan Grant
Tashard Choice RB Brandon Jackson
Miles Austin WR Donald Driver
Roy Williams WR Greg Jennings
Patrick Crayton   WR James Jones
Jason Witten TE Donald Lee
Nick Folk K Mason Crosby
Cowboys DST Packers
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, 4:15 pm, University of Phoenix Stadium
The Seahawks woke up last week after falling behind 17-0 against the Lions to blow them out, but they were blown out in their last game against Arizona because their offensive line couldn't protect quarterback Matt Hasselbeck . Seattle will make that their top priority this week, and that should help a little bit. Expect a lot of formations that include at least one extra blocker from the Seahawks just so they have the chance to beat up the Cardinals through the air. Hasselbeck's track record against Arizona has been spotty -- sometimes good sometimes bad -- but you have to figure that the only way he'll post good stats this week is if he's playing from way behind and the Cardinals call off the dogs, sort of like how Jay Cutler got his numbers last week. That makes it tough to trust Hasselbeck or any Seahawk this week in your typical "stud" range, but T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson are good enough to round out rosters. The Cardinals should feast on the Seahawks on the ground and certainly through the air. The Seattle pass rush isn't good enough to get to Kurt Warner , nor is the secondary strong enough to limit Larry Fitzgerald . Throw Anquan Boldin back into the mix along with Tim Hightower running the ball and it will be too much for the Seahawks defense. Arizona won't put up five touchdowns as it did last week, but it should find plenty of success, making all the usual players worthy Fantasy options.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Matt Hasselbeck QB Kurt Warner
Julius Jones RB Tim Hightower
Justin Forsett   RB Beanie Wells
T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR Larry Fitzgerald
Nate Burleson WR Steve Breaston
John Carlson TE Ben Patrick
Olindo Mare K Neil Rackers
Seahawks DST Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles at San Diego Chargers
Sunday, 4:15 pm, Qualcomm Stadium
We're not sure who will suit up at running back for Philadelphia, but whoever it is should have a good game. The Eagles have been pretty good up front in run blocking and take on a Chargers front that has only slightly improved over their last few games. The Eagles will throw more than run but their running back (let's assume it's LeSean McCoy for now) should be plenty involved. The matchup is also better for Donovan McNabb compared to recent weeks because the Chargers' pass rush is average and their secondary won't be able to consistently bottle up DeSean Jackson , not to mention tight end Brent Celek (the Bolts struggle with opposing tight ends). San Diego's offense will have to put up some points to keep up, and that's right down Philip Rivers alley. Like the Chargers, the Eagles are weak against opposing tight ends, so expect Antonio Gates to be a huge contributor to the offense. Vincent Jackson will also be a huge factor as his size is impossible for the Eagles' cornerbacks to deal with, and LaDainian Tomlinson should get the chance to do some damage. It would not be a surprise if this became a high-scoring affair.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Donovan McNabb QB Philip Rivers
LeSean McCoy RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Leonard Weaver   RB Darren Sproles
DeSean Jackson WR Vincent Jackson
Jeremy Maclin WR Malcom Floyd
Brent Celek TE Antonio Gates
David Akers K Nate Kaeding
Eagles DST Chargers
New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 8:20 pm, Lucas Oil Stadium
Bill Belichick will take one look at the Colts' young cornerback group and order plans for Tom Brady to throw. Indy's run defense hasn't been anything great either, and Laurence Maroney should see a decent amount of work too, but it would be a shock to see Brady not throw for 250 yards or more with at least two scores. This is going to be the second week in a row that Randy Moss will be covered by an inexperienced corner -- he burned the Dolphins last week and should do the same to the Colts this week. Wes Welker will also get his and Sam Aiken could stretch the thin Indy secondary further. Really excellent matchup for the Patriots, and it should make all the difference. Don't even be worried about the Colts' pass rush getting to Brady -- he'll be protected. Peyton Manning doesn't have it as good as Brady this week because New England's secondary has been doing well. Granted, they've played some pretty weak quarterbacks over their last three games. Getting pressure on Manning is another issue; the Pats have just 15 sacks on the season (three one-win teams have more) but five have come in their last two games. Look for New England to bring pressure up the middle as others have done in recent weeks, not necessarily attack the edges. Still, Manning should adapt and hit Reggie Wayne and his other receivers for downfield gains. We were re-taught an interesting lesson last week from Professor Manning: He's going to throw the ball to the open guy or the guy with bad coverage. In this game, Pierre Garcon might be that guy, as Belichick's Patriots have a solid track record of blanketing Dallas Clark (one 100-yard game, no TDs in last six vs. Patriots) and Wayne (one 100-yard game, one TD in last six). Austin Collie will also have some passes go his way but Garcon's deep speed makes him more appealing this week. So what about the Colts' run game? It should be effective, and Indy will need it to utilize play action and keep the Pats defense guessing. New England ranks 20th vs. the run and is allowing opponents to gallop 4.5 yards per carry, so Addai should be considered a solid option, especially considering how well he's done from scrimmage lately.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Tom Brady QB Peyton Manning
Laurence Maroney RB Joseph Addai
Kevin Faulk RB Chad Simpson
Randy Moss WR Reggie Wayne
Wes Welker WR Pierre Garcon
Sam Aiken WR Austin Collie
Benjamin Watson TE Dallas Clark
Stephen Gostkowski K Matt Stover
Patriots DST Colts
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Monday, 8:30 pm, Cleveland Browns Stadium
This should be a laugher for the Ravens as they take on an opponent they've faced once already this year and dominated. In that game, Baltimore was more than willing to throw even though they didn't have to, which bodes well for Joe Flacco and his receivers. Better yet for the Ravens, the Browns will play without linebacker Eric Barton , which means both of their starting inside linebackers are done for the season. Ray Rice should have a field day, and it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Willis McGahee get a little more work than what he's been getting. There's just no way the Browns defense can contend with the Ravens here. Brady Quinn will take over under center but he's been more careful with the ball than aggressive, and that's not going to lead to a ton of success. Not that being aggressive would help. No Brown is expected to come close to having a good game regardless of their offensive game plan, so keep all Browns seated -- or on waivers.
Name Rating Pos. Name Rating
Joe Flacco QB Brady Quinn
Ray Rice RB Jamal Lewis
Willis McGahee RB Jerome Harrison
Derrick Mason WR Mohamed Massaquoi
Mark Clayton WR Josh Cribbs
Todd Heap TE Steve Heiden
Steven Hauschka K Phil Dawson
Ravens DST Browns
Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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