Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is our weekly look at the best and worst matchups from around the NFL and how they might affect lineup decisions for your Fantasy Football team. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Drew Brees, Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson or any other top-tier players.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll is fond of new running back Marshawn Lynch, and Fantasy owners should be as well. He has the chance to be a star in Week 7 against Arizona.
Lynch had 17 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown in his first game with the Seahawks in Week 6 at Chicago. It wasn't a gaudy stat line, but Carroll said it's just the beginning for him this year.
"He's going to have games where he's going to make a lot of yards," Carroll said Wednesday. "I think he'll be able to get loose, and he'll make some big plays. You know the stats don't look so impressive, but his presence was definitely there."
The stats should be impressive this week against the Cardinals, and Lynch is our Start of the Week. Arizona is No. 29 in run defense at 141 yards per game. The Cardinals have allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs, and four (Jason Snelling, Darren McFadden, Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews) have reached double digits in Fantasy points.
Lynch will continue to share carries with Justin Forsett -- who also played well against the Bears with 10 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown and is worth using as a sleeper this week in deeper leagues -- but Lynch's production should start to improve as his role increases on offense. We wouldn't be surprised to see Lynch get 20 carries this week, and he also had three catches for 9 yards against the Bears.
We don't have Lynch ranked as a Top 10 Fantasy running back this week, but he is a Top 15 option and is worth starting in all leagues where needed. Last week was just the beginning for Lynch, but this should be start of an impressive run as the starting running back in Seattle.
|Player||Fantasy Points (projected)||Fantasy Points (actual)||Start percentage|
|Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers*||21||26||58|
|Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens||20||23||61|
|Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins||12||22||70|
|Brett Favre, QB, Vikings||17||8||31|
|Jahvid Best, RB, Lions||9||4||73|
|Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos||8||2||18|
|Michael Bush, RB, Raiders||13||5||63|
|Shonn Greene, RB, N.Y. Jets||12||4||57|
|Santonio Holmes, WR, N.Y. Jets||11||1||61|
|Kevin Kolb, QB, Eagles||13||29||18|
|Greg Jennings, WR, Packers||8||19||76|
|Thomas Jones, RB, Chiefs||7||17||23|
Our favorite sleeper in Week 6 was ... Brandon Jacobs, who had 15 Fantasy points when he was projected for
10. He was started in 47 percent of leagues, but he finished with
more Fantasy points than Adrian Peterson
(13), Jamaal Charles (11) and Ray Rice (11).
* - Start of the Week
Ben Roethlisberger (at MIA): Roethlisberger was stellar in
his 2010 debut last week against Cleveland with 257 passing yards, three
touchdowns and one interception. He should build off that performance
this week against the Dolphins. Now, Miami's secondary is nowhere near
as weak as what Roethlisberger faced in Cleveland, but Aaron Rodgers passed for 313 yards with two total touchdowns and an
interception last week against the Dolphins. Roethlisberger played well
in Miami in January in the 2009 season finale with 220 passing yards and
Kyle Orton (vs. OAK): Orton struggled last week against the Jets with 209 passing yards and one touchdown, which tied him for his worst game of the season with 16 Fantasy points, matched in Week 1 at Jacksonville. But this week he's facing a Raiders defense that has allowed two passing touchdowns in every game this season. There is some downside to Orton since only Philip Rivers has passed for more than 200 yards against Oakland, and Orton could be losing snaps to Tim Tebow, especially in the red zone. He also might be without Eddie Royal (groin). But Orton has been so good this year that he's worth using as a starting option. In two games last year against the Raiders, Orton passed for 435 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Matt Ryan (vs. CIN): The Bengals are without pass rusher Antwan Odom (suspension) and could be without standout cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle). That only enhances Ryan's chances to succeed this week. Ryan plays well at home, where he's averaged 249 passing yards in his past three games at the Georgia Dome with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. His receiving corps is complete now with Michael Jenkins coming back last week, and Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are playing at a high level. Look for both quarterbacks to play well in this game with Carson Palmer also facing a defense dealing with injuries to cornerback Dunta Robinson (concussion) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee).
Matt Cassel (vs. JAC): The Jaguars are tied with Houston for the most passing touchdowns allowed with 14. Four quarterbacks in six games have passed for multiple touchdown passes and in two road games at San Diego and Buffalo, Jacksonville has allowed 554 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions to Rivers and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jaguars also are coming off a short week following a disappointing loss to the Titans and could be flat, and Cassel is coming off his best game of the year at Houston with 201 passing yards and three touchdowns. He should post another quality stat line in this game based on the matchup.
Joe Flacco (vs. BUF): Flacco has shown this year that he can take advantage of favorable matchups, and he has another one this week. Flacco had 262 passing yards and three touchdowns against Cleveland in Week 3 and 285 passing yards and two touchdowns at New England last week. The Bills have allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their past four games and should have trouble staying with all the weapons the Ravens have in their passing game. Flacco has the chance to head into the bye week playing at a high level, and he's worth starting in all leagues.
Sleeper alert: Brett Favre (at GB): Favre's cell phone scandal and NFL investigation could prove to be a distraction heading into this game, but he's been able to overcome off-field issues before and play well. He's going back to Green Bay again, and he will be more than motivated for this matchup. In two games against the Packers last year, Favre passed for 515 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Green Bay is hopeful of getting linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and defensive end Ryan Pickett (ankle) back for this game, but the Packers defense is still decimated by injuries. In their past three games, the Packers have given up 919 passing yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions to Shaun Hill, Donovan McNabb and Chad Henne. Favre appears to be OK with his elbow tendinitis, and you can expect him to get Randy Moss and Percy Harvin involved a lot in this matchup. For more sleeper quarterbacks, click here.
Donovan McNabb (at CHI): McNabb has yet to throw for more
than one touchdown pass in a game this year and has struggled on the
road. In two games at St. Louis and Philadelphia, McNabb has passed for
361 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Bears defense
also has yet to allow multiple touchdown passes in a game this year and
should be able to limit this passing attack, which could have Chris Cooley (concussion) at less than 100 percent or out. McNabb is
a useful bye-week replacement if you're missing Peyton Manning or Matt Schaub, but I
wouldn't expect McNabb to have anything more than the 15 Fantasy points
he has averaged this year.
Chad Henne (vs. PIT): The Steelers come into this game tied with the Bears with the fewest passing touchdowns allowed this year at three. They are giving up an average of 233 passing yards per game, but they also have eight interceptions. That doesn't bode well for Henne, who has played well the past three games against the Jets, Patriots and Packers. He has at least 18 Fantasy points in each of those games, but he could take a step back this week based on the matchup. Colt McCoy has the most Fantasy points against the Steelers this year with 15, and that's about the most you should expect from Henne.
Alex Smith (at CAR): Smith has not played well on the road this season with two touchdowns and five interceptions in three games at Seattle, Kansas City and Atlanta. The 49ers also have the difficult road trip to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. start, which they already did once this year against the Falcons, and Smith passed for 188 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in that matchup. The Panthers allowed five passing touchdowns in their first two games against Eli Manning and Josh Freeman but have only allowed two since, including matchups with Palmer and Drew Brees. Carolina also has nine interceptions on the season, which is the same amount for Smith. Even though he has played well the past two weeks with at least 19 Fantasy points against Philadelphia and Oakland, keep him on the bench in the majority of leagues.
Sam Bradford (at TB): This isn't a terrible matchup for Bradford. Since the Bucs lost safety Tanard Jackson (suspension) after Week 2 they have given up 472 passing yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions in three games against Charlie Batch, Palmer and Brees. But Bradford has struggled on the road this year with an average of 10 Fantasy points in two games at Oakland and Detroit. And while Danario Alexander played well against the Chargers last week and Danny Amendola should be a decent target, Bradford's receiving corps is still quite underwhelming. This is a game where Steven Jackson should carry the load for the Rams, so don't count on Bradford to be much of a factor. The better quarterback in this game is clearly Josh Freeman, who should be considered a sleeper.
Kevin Kolb (at TEN): We had Kolb in this spot last week, and he proved us wrong with 326 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Falcons. He also is facing a pass defense that has allowed at least 340 passing yards to the three quality quarterbacks they have faced in Eli Manning, Orton and Tony Romo. But the Titans also are among the league leaders with 10 interceptions, and they lead the NFL with 24 sacks. Kolb won't have DeSean Jackson (concussion) in this game or left tackle Jason Peters (knee). And prior to the Falcons game, Kolb had averaged just 15 Fantasy points in two games against Washington and San Francisco. That should be your expectations for him this week since he's missing his best weapon in the passing game.
Bust alert: Jay Cutler (vs. WAS): After a hot start with an average of 27 Fantasy points in his first two games against Detroit and Dallas, Cutler has come back to earth in a big way. He missed Week 5 with a concussion, but in his past three games he has averaged eight Fantasy points against Green Bay, the Giants and Seattle. The biggest problem for Cutler is his offensive line, which has allowed him to get sacked 15 times against the Giants and Seahawks, and you can bet the Redskins will be coming after him. Now, on paper, he does have a favorable matchup since Washington is No. 31 in pass defense. But the Redskins have only allowed two quarterbacks (Schaub and Peyton Manning) to pass for multiple touchdowns, and they held Romo and Aaron Rodgers to 18 Fantasy points or less. Cutler can easily play well in this game if he gets time, but it's a risk with Washington's pass rush (13 sacks on the season). If he's running for his life again then he won't be much help for your Fantasy team.
Peyton Hillis (at NO): The Saints have allowed six
touchdowns to opposing running backs, and they are allowing 106 yards
per game on the ground. That bodes well for Hillis, who is an
all-purpose running back. His worst game of the season was last week at
Pittsburgh when he got eight Fantasy points, and he should do well in
this matchup with the Browns leaning on him to carry the load. He
remains a safe starting option in all leagues.
Ryan Torain (at CHI): Torain was a star last week against the Colts with 20 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and he now has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games. The Redskins should lean on Torain again this week, especially if Lance Briggs (ankle) is out again for the Bears. Chicago allowed two rushing touchdowns against Seattle last week to Lynch and Forsett, and the Bears have now given up six rushing touchdowns on the season. Torain should have another solid outing in this matchup.
Knowshon Moreno (vs. OAK): Moreno returned last week after a three-game absence with a hamstring injury and finished with 12 carries for 48 yards, but he should see more of a workload this week. He has a great matchup against the Raiders, who are No. 30 in run defense and have allowed six rushing touchdowns on the season. In six games, Oakland has allowed five running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Last year against the Raiders, Moreno had 161 total yards and a touchdown in two meetings.
Thomas Jones (vs. JAC): Jamaal Charles and Jones should both run well this week, and both are worth starting in the majority of leagues. Last week against the Texans, Jones had 19 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 10 yards, while Charles had 16 carries for 93 yards and four catches for 24 yards. Jacksonville has allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs, and four have reached double digits in Fantasy points (Moreno, Mike Tolbert, Joseph Addai and Chris Johnson). Look for the Chiefs to do whatever they want on offense in this matchup.
Chris Ivory (vs. CLE): The Browns have improved in their run defense this year with only Michael Turner gaining more than 100 yards rushing, and Rashard Mendenhall is the only running back to score on the ground. They have limited Ray Rice, Cedric Benson, Charles and Jones to single digits in Fantasy points, which is a surprise. But Turner and Mendenhall did their damage in each of the past two games, and Ivory should build off last week's performance when he had 15 carries for 158 yards and one catch for 17 yards at Tampa Bay. Ivory isn't a must-start Fantasy running back in most standard leagues, but he could be considered a starter in deeper formats and a good flex option since the Saints will lean on him with Pierre Thomas (ankle) and Reggie Bush (leg) out.
Sleeper alert: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at SD): Danny Woodhead is also a nice sleeper this week since both are playing well coming into this contest. Green-Ellis has a touchdown in each of the past three games, and Woodhead has double digits in Fantasy points in three games in a row. This week they face a Chargers defense that has allowed double digits in Fantasy points in their past two games against Michael Bush and Steven Jackson, and the Patriots should share carries evenly where Green-Ellis and Woodhead can both be successful. We would start Green-Ellis over Woodhead in standard leagues, but don't be afraid to use Woodhead as a flex option based on his recent play. For more sleeper running backs, click here.
Felix Jones (vs. NYG): The Cowboys are dealing with another
injury on their offensive line with left guard Kyle Kosier (Achilles' tendon) out for this game. That will impact
Jones, who has played well the past two weeks against Tennessee and
Minnesota. But the Giants run defense has also been stellar in shutting
down Matt Forte, Arian Foster and Jahvid Best over
the past three games. Those three running backs combined for 107 total
yards and no touchdowns, and Jones has yet to score this year. He's
worth using as a flex option in standard leagues, but don't expect a
standout performance from Jones this week.
Ronnie Brown (vs. PIT): The Steelers are No. 1 in run defense for a reason when you look at the running backs they have shut down. Turner, Chris Johnson, Rice and Hillis have all been held to under 45 rushing yards with no touchdowns. Brown hasn't scored since Week 1 at Buffalo, and he continues to split time with Ricky Williams. It was encouraging to see Brown get 19 carries at Green Bay last week, but he only finished with 73 rushing yards. This is just a poor matchup for Brown, and the right thing to do is bench him this week in all standard leagues.
Fred Jackson (at BAL): The Ravens run defense has shown flaws this season with four rushing touchdowns allowed and 106 yards per game, but the Bills don't have the offensive line or type of power running game to cause Baltimore problems. Jackson has yet to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and you have to hope the Bills plan to get rookie C.J. Spiller more involved coming off their bye week. Jackson is worth stashing on your roster for favorable matchups ahead, but this isn't one of those games where you should risk starting him.
Brandon Jackson (vs. MIN): The Vikings have allowed one rushing touchdown since Week 1 and should be able to contain Jackson in this matchup. He's played well the past two weeks against Washington and Miami, averaging 10 Fantasy points over that span, but this is a tough matchup to trust him. He only has one touchdown on the season, and Rodgers is handling the rushing load in the red zone. We'd like to see what Jackson could do with more carries, but he's only averaging 11 carries per game. That's not going to get the job done against this stout Minnesota defense.
Darren McFadden (at DEN): McFadden is hopeful of returning this week after being out the past two games with a hamstring injury. Let's give him a week before throwing him back into your lineup. There's a good chance he'll be rusty with the layoff, and we haven't seen how the Raiders will split carries with Michael Bush. We still consider Bush the better Fantasy option for this week since he's 100 percent healthy and playing well. McFadden also struggled in two games against the Broncos last year with 122 total yards, no touchdowns and two fumbles.
Bust alert: Ryan Mathews (vs. NE): It's risky to sit Mathews because at some point this season he's going to have a breakout game. But it's possible that he rushed back too soon from the ankle injury he sustained in Week 2 against Jacksonville since he's been struggling ever since, and he again sat out practice Wednesday to rest. In Week 6 at St. Louis, he had his first game with double digits in carries (12) since Week 1, and he hasn't rushed for more than 64 yards since prior to the injury with only one touchdown. Mike Tolbert continues to get goal-line carries, and the Patriots run defense has done well this year with only one rushing touchdown allowed, which was Week 1 against Cedric Benson. Now, the Chargers could lean on Mathews this week with all the injuries in their receiving corps, but we still expect Philip Rivers to come out throwing quite a bit based on the holes in New England's secondary. Mathews will start to produce at a high level, and hopefully soon, but right now he's not helping your Fantasy team and is worth keeping on your bench if you can afford to sit him.
Dwayne Bowe (vs. JAC): Bowe came alive last week with his
performance against the Texans with six catches for 108 yards and two
touchdowns on nine targets, and he should be in line for another good
game this week. Of Jacksonville's 14 passing touchdowns allowed this
year, 10 have gone to wide receivers. Last year at Jacksonville, Bowe
had four catches for 74 yards, and he should easily reach that total
again based on how poor the Jaguars have looked in their secondary. Bowe
appears to have regained the trust of Cassel and the coaching staff, and
he should be a go-to guy again this week. He should be considered a
starting Fantasy option in the majority of leagues.
Robert Meachem (vs. CLE): Meachem showed last year that when he gets hot he can be among the best Fantasy options at any position. He had six touchdowns in a five-game span in 2009, and he's started another streak this year with two touchdowns in a row coming into this game. This is also a favorable matchup for him with the Browns secondary struggling. Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens, Roddy White, Hines Ward and Mike Wallace have combined for seven touchdowns in the past four games against the Browns, so look for Marques Colston and Lance Moore to also play well this week. Whoever lines up across from cornerback Eric Wright should be in line for a big day.
Mike Williams (vs. STL): We're going to use this space for both guys named Mike Williams. The one in Tampa Bay has a favorable matchup since the Rams are dealing with several injuries in their secondary. He has played well this year and has a solid rapport with Freeman with three touchdowns in five games. The Rams have also allowed six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and Williams should play well. In Seattle, the other Mike Williams also has a favorable matchup against the Cardinals, especially since he should see a lot of Arizona cornerback Greg Toler. The Cardinals have allowed four touchdowns to wide receivers and six receivers to reach at least nine Fantasy points. Williams is coming off the best game of his career with 10 catches for 123 yards on 15 targets at Chicago, and he has the chance to build off that performance in this matchup.
Deion Branch (at SD): You have to like what you saw last week from Branch in his first game with the Patriots since 2005 with nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. His rapport with Tom Brady looked as good as ever, and that should continue as the season moves on. The Chargers are No. 1 in pass defense and have done a great job against opposing wide receivers, but San Diego's secondary is highly overrated. The Chargers have faced Kansas City, Jacksonville, Seattle, Arizona, Oakland and St. Louis so far this year -- not exactly Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Brady will expose San Diego's pass defense with Branch and Wes Welker leading the way. And Branch also got a good look at this secondary in Week 3 with the Seahawks when he had five catches for 60 yards. He should do better than that this time around and is worth starting in the majority of leagues.
Terrell Owens (at ATL): Owens should pick up where he left off prior to the bye in Week 6 when he had 17 catches for 324 yards and two touchdowns in two games against Cleveland and Tampa Bay. This is another favorable matchup for him with the Falcons dealing with injuries on defense, especially to Robinson. Chad Ochocinco should also play well in this game, and the Bengals should be able to throw on Atlanta much like the Eagles did last week. As we said above, Palmer should also be considered a starting Fantasy option since this game has the potential to be high scoring.
Sleeper alert: Patrick Crayton (vs. NE): Don't worry about Rivers this week with his injured receiving corps. He'll pick apart this Patriots secondary just like every other quarterback this season since none have gotten less than 18 Fantasy points. With Malcom Floyd (hamstring) out and Antonio Gates (toe) and Legedu Naanee (hamstring) out or limited, the Chargers will turn to Crayton and Buster Davis, and both have sleeper potential. Crayton is the better choice since he had six catches for 117 yards on seven targets last week at St. Louis, while Davis had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. New England has allowed nine wide receivers to reach at least eight Fantasy points, and the Patriots have surrendered six touchdowns to opposing receivers. In leagues where you start three wide receivers consider Crayton an excellent option this week based on need and the matchup. For more sleeper wide receivers, click here.
Mike Sims-Walker (at KC): You're going to notice a theme
with three of our sit wide receivers this week, and it's based on the
uncertainty at quarterback. Sims-Walker might not have David Garrard (concussion) or even Trent Edwards (thumb) this week based on injuries, so he could be
catching passes from Todd Bouman or Patrick Ramsey. For a receiver who is struggling as much as Sims-Walker
the easy decision is to bench him this week in all leagues. He did have
a good game against the Chiefs last year with six catches for 147 yards
and a touchdown and has both of his touchdowns on the road this season,
but with the quarterback scenario and his overall body of work, you can
likely find a better starting option this week.
Donald Driver (vs. MIN): The Vikings secondary is dealing with several injuries and last week against Dallas allowed three touchdowns to Roy Williams (two) and Dez Bryant. But Driver has struggled the past two weeks against Washington and Miami with seven catches for 89 yards and no touchdowns, and this quad injury could be bothering him. He also has a poor history against the Vikings with only 23 catches for 265 yards and no touchdowns in his past five meetings. I'm still starting Driver as a No. 3 wide receiver in one of my leagues out of necessity, but I wouldn't consider him a Top 24 option with his recent play and his past outings against Minnesota.
Steve Johnson (at BAL): Johnson has four touchdowns in his past three games against New England, the Jets and Jacksonville and has established a solid rapport with Ryan Fitzpatrick. You may even consider him the No. 1 wide receiver for the Bills with the way Lee Evans has struggled. But this week you should keep Johnson in reserve since he's facing a tough matchup with the Ravens. Baltimore has only allowed three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers and should be able to contain this passing attack. Johnson (54 percent ownership on CBSSports.com) is worth adding if you need help at wide receiver, but the next time you should start him is Week 10 against Detroit.
Louis Murphy (at DEN): Here's our second wide receiver dealing with a quarterback problem since Jason Campbell (knee) and Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder) could be out, which would make Kyle Boller the starter for the Raiders. That doesn't bode well for Murphy, who has struggled recently with only four catches for 70 yards and no touchdowns in his past three games against Houston, San Diego and San Francisco. In two games against the Broncos last year, Murphy combined for four catches for 46 yards and no touchdowns, and he could see a lot of Champ Bailey in this matchup. With the quarterback scenario, his recent struggles and the matchup, we would suggest sitting Murphy in all formats.
Dez Bryant (vs. NYG): It was good to see Bryant get his first NFL touchdown catch at Minnesota last week, but he only had one reception for 31 yards. In his past two games against the Titans and Vikings he has just three catches for 53 yards and has yet to reach double digits in Fantasy points. The Giants are No. 2 in pass defense, and while they will struggle to stop all the Cowboys receiving options in Miles Austin, Williams and Bryant, the rookie is just too inconsistent to trust. Let him score in consecutive games or have a breakout performance before considering him a starting Fantasy option.
Bust alert: Kenny Britt (vs. PHI): It's risky to sit Britt since he has a four-game touchdown streak going, but he's another wide receiver dealing with a quarterback issue since Kerry Collins could start for the injured Vince Young (knee). That's not a combination we're fond of based on last year's results. Britt had 19 catches for 289 yards in six games with Collins in 2009 before Young took over. He scored three touchdowns in the final nine games and has caught all four touchdown passes from Young this year. The Eagles have allowed six wide receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points with four scoring touchdowns, so the chance for Britt to play well is there, but he also could lose some targets with Justin Gage (hamstring) possibly returning. We just don't like the scenario of Collins or an injured Young at quarterback, and that makes Britt a questionable starter in standard formats.
Heath Miller (at MIA): In his last two games with
Roethlisberger as the starting quarterback, Miller has seven catches for
106 yards and two touchdowns. One of those games was Week 17 at Miami
last year when Miller had five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. The
Dolphins have allowed two tight ends (Visanthe Shiancoe and Dustin Keller) to
reach at least eight Fantasy points in five games, and Miller is worth
starting this week based on all the tight ends on a bye and those
dealing with injuries.
Benjamin Watson (at NO): The Browns are expected to be without wide receivers Josh Cribbs (concussion) and Mohammed Massaquoi (concussion) so someone has to catch the ball in Cleveland, and Watson is up to the task. He already leads the Browns in receptions (29), yards (318) and touchdowns and showed an instant rapport with rookie quarterback Colt McCoy last week. The two connected for six catches, 88 yards and a touchdown at Pittsburgh, and this is a better matchup for him against the Saints, who have allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends and three to reach at least seven Fantasy points.
Jermaine Gresham (at ATL): Gresham has yet to reach double digits in Fantasy points in any game this season, but he does have two touchdowns in five games and should be able to produce in this matchup. The Falcons injuries on defense should create some opportunities in the secondary, and Atlanta has allowed two tight ends to score this year in Jeremy Shockey and Vernon Davis. If you need a starting option at tight end this week due to bye weeks or injury then consider Gresham a sleeper.
Sleeper alert: Tony Moeaki (vs. JAC): We had Moeaki in this spot last week at Houston, and he let us down with only two catches for 22 yards. But he has the chance to rebound against Jacksonville, which is another team that struggles with tight ends. The Jaguars have allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends, and Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark and Bo Scaife have each reached double digits in Fantasy points. Moeaki does have two touchdowns on the season, and both have come in his only two home games.
Greg Olsen (vs. WAS): Olsen doesn't have a catch in his
past two games and hasn't scored a touchdown in his past three outings.
The Bears might need him to block more with all the troubles on the
offensive line. Washington has allowed three touchdowns to opposing
tight ends, but none have topped 60 yards receiving against the
Redskins, which includes matchups against Clark, Jason Witten, Owen Daniels and Brent Celek. There are better tight ends available than Olsen out
there that could help your Fantasy team this week.
Anthony Fasano (vs. PIT): The Steelers finally gave up some big plays to tight ends last week against Cleveland with Watson and Evan Moore each gaining more than 80 yards, and Watson scoring the touchdown. Prior to Week 6, the Steelers have done a great job against tight ends this year, holding down Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow and Todd Heap to a combined eight catches for 94 yards and no touchdowns. Fasano has played well recently with two touchdowns in his past three games, but he was held to two catches for 41 yards against the Steelers in Week 17 last year. Don't be surprised if he's asked to spend some time blocking in this game to slow down Pittsburgh's pass rush.
Visanthe Shiancoe (at GB): If Shiancoe didn't have a holding penalty in last week's game against Dallas you wouldn't know he played. He didn't have one target and now has just three catches for 35 yards and no touchdowns in his past three games. Shiancoe did score in two games against the Packers last year, and Green Bay has struggled with tight ends this season. But Shiancoe's disappearance from the offense is troubling and makes him too hard to trust even with a favorable matchup.
Bust alert: Marcedes Lewis (at KC): As we said with Sims-Walker, the uncertain quarterback situation for the Jaguars will hurt all the receiving options. Lewis is also coming off a difficult game against Tennessee with four catches for 39 yards and a lost fumble. He does have five touchdowns on the season, but the Chiefs have only allowed two tight ends to score (Gates and Joel Dreessen). Gates is the only tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points against the Chiefs, and that includes matchups against Vernon Davis and Clark.
Chiefs (vs. JAC): As we told you last week, the Chiefs DST was
due for a letdown with a tough matchup at Houston. The unit managed just
two Fantasy points on two sacks with no turnovers, but they should
improve in this matchup. The Jaguars offense is mediocre at best when
Garrard is the starter, but the potential for Bouman to be the No. 1
option should help the Chiefs DST thrive. They started the season with
three games in a row with double digits in Fantasy points, and they have
the chance to reach that mark again this week. Jacksonville managed just
249 yards of total offense last week against the Titans with three
interceptions and a lost fumble, and the Jaguars scored only three
points. Look for Jacksonville to struggle again, and the Chiefs DST is
worth starting in all leagues.
Other DSTs with good matchups: Seahawks (vs. ARI), Redskins (at CHI) and Broncos (vs. OAK)
Bengals (at ATL): The Bengals DST will improve if Joseph is able to play, but the loss of Odom will hurt the pass rush since Cincinnati only has six sacks on the season to begin with. The Falcons also have done a good job at home this year on offense, and they are getting healthy with Jenkins back last week. The Falcons DST is also a risky option in this matchup with all their injuries on defense, but we would recommend sitting the Bengals DST since they are on the road and less than 100 percent healthy.
Robbie Gould (vs. WAS): The Redskins lead the NFL with the
most field goal attempts allowed at 19, and they have also given up 11
extra points. The good thing for Washington is opposing kickers have
only converted 12 field goals, but that could be a problem this week
based on Gould's accuracy. He does have two missed field goals this
season, but he is usually among the most accurate kickers each year. He
also has five field goals in his past two games against Carolina and
Seattle and has at least two field goals in every game but Week 4 at the
Giants. The Bears offense should be able to move the ball against the
Redskins, but they could struggle in the red zone. That should lead to
Gould having a big game.
Jay Feely (at SEA): Feely is coming off his best game of the season in Week 5 against New Orleans with three field goals and three extra points, but that was his first game with double digits in Fantasy points. Seattle has only allowed eight made field goals and nine extra points on the season, and Feely's chances could be limited this week to mostly extra points. We expect the Cardinals offense to move the ball here, but that doesn't necessarily translate into field goal chances. Consider Feely more of a No. 2 Fantasy kicker in this matchup.
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