Week 9 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
Donovan McNabb has been fighting for respect since the day he was drafted by the Eagles. Well, our Jamey Eisenberg does his best to prop him up, declaring the veteran quarterback a must-start for Week 9 in his Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
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 team. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson or any other top-tier players.
Donovan McNabb seems to never get the respect he deserves. From the time he was drafted in 1999 and booed on stage to Fantasy owners not trusting him 100 percent, McNabb always appears overlooked and undervalued as a great quarterback.
I'm guilty of it also. I had McNabb listed as a sit quarterback last week for his matchup against the Giants. He didn't play well the previous two games against Oakland and Washington, and I thought he was headed for another bad game.
McNabb came out against New York and passed for 240 yards and three touchdowns with a lost fumble, which was his third game with at least 20 Fantasy points this season of the five games he's played. Still, McNabb has yet to earn back your trust, and he's only started in 77 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com heading into Week 9 against Dallas.
You can expect another good game from McNabb against the Cowboys, and he's our Start of the Week. McNabb should take advantage of Dallas' weak secondary.
The Cowboys have allowed at least two passing touchdowns in five of seven games this season and four in a row. They are allowing more than 237 passing yards per game, and four quarterbacks have been over 20 Fantasy points against Dallas this year (Eli Manning, Kyle Orton, Matt Cassel and Matt Hasselbeck).
Dallas has improved its pass rush with 17 sacks in the past five games and four interceptions over that span, but getting Brian Westbrook (concussion) back for this game will help. And with the way DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Jeremy Maclin are playing, that's too many weapons for Dallas to stop. McNabb also has four total touchdowns in his past two games against Dallas and knows the Cowboys well from their many NFC East battles.
You should consider Jackson and Celek as No. 1 Fantasy options at their respective positions, and Maclin is a good sleeper at wide receiver. Westbrook should also get back in your starting lineup now that he's healthy.
Before the season, we said McNabb would finish with the best stats of his career, and he'll need a strong second half for that to happen after missing two games with a rib injury. But he's playing well right now with 10 total touchdowns and only one interception on the season, and he should have another outstanding game against Dallas this week.
Sit of the Week
Matt Ryan has become turnover prone, and it's killing his Fantasy value. He has gone downhill the past three weeks in his production.
Ryan, the Sit of the Week, only threw 11 interceptions as a rookie last year, but he might break that mark this week against Washington based on his recent play. He has nine interceptions for the season with eight of them over the past four games against San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and New Orleans.
When you include his fumble against the Cowboys, he's been hurting your Fantasy team more than helping the past three weeks, averaging only 13 Fantasy points over that span. And it could get worse against the Redskins.
Washington, surprisingly, is No. 2 in pass defense with less than 165 passing yards per game allowed and only six touchdowns. The Redskins only have three interceptions, but they haven't allowed a 300-yard passer or multiple passing touchdowns in a game this season.
Now, looking at their schedule, they haven't faced many top-tier quarterbacks in games against St. Louis, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Kansas City. But the Redskins did limit Eli Manning to 256 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception in Week 1 and Donovan McNabb to 156 passing yards and one touchdown in Week 7.
Washington has solid playmakers in the secondary with Carlos Rogers, DeAngelo Hall and LaRon Landry, and the Falcons are dealing with injuries to left tackle Sam Baker (ankle) and wide receiver Roddy White (knee). Ryan's offensive line has also let him down the past two games with seven sacks against Dallas and New Orleans, and that could be a big reason for his turnovers.
Ryan will turn things around this year and start playing well again. He's too talented and has quality weapons in place, but this is a good week to keep him reserved if you have a better option on your bench.
All Ryan has to do is stop turning the ball over, and his stats will start to improve.
|Starts that made us look good|
|Player||Stats||Fantasy Points||Week 8 Start %|
|Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota*||244 pass yards, 4 TDs||33||44%|
|Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore||84 rush yards, TD, 24 rec. yards||16||89%|
|Braylon Edwards, WR, N.Y. Jets||74 rec. yards, TD||13||69%|
|Sits that made us look good|
|Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta||289 pass yards, TD, 3 INT||11||69%|
|Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver||39 rush yards, TD, fumble||7||33%|
|Hakeem Nicks, WR, N.Y. Giants||53 rec. yards||5||59%|
|Starts that made us look bad|
|Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago||225 pass yards, INT, 32 rush yards||10||79%|
|Ricky Williams, RB, Miami||27 rush yards, 41 rec. yards||6||66%|
|Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jacksonville||9 rec. yards||0||94%|
|Sits that made us look bad|
|Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia||240 pass yards, 3 TDs, 14 rush yards, fumble||26||67%|
|Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina||87 rush yards, 2 TDs||20||23%|
|Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco**||91 rush yards, TD, 43 rec. yards||19||77%|
|Our favorite Week 8 sleeper pick was ... LeSean McCoy, who had 82 rushing yards and a touchdown and 10 receiving yards, which was 15 Fantasy points.|
* -- Week 8 Start of the Week
** -- Week 8 Sit of the Week
Matt Hasselbeck (vs. DET): Only one starting quarterback
who has faced the Lions this year has failed to pass for at least two
touchdowns, and it was Marc Bulger last
week. Is that a sign Detroit has improved its pass defense? No, it's an
indication of how bad the Rams are this year. Four quarterbacks have
surpassed 25 Fantasy points against Detroit this year, and Hasselbeck
should be in line for a tremendous outing. He's had at least two
touchdown passes in three of the five games he's played this season and
should enjoy this matchup at home.
Joe Flacco (at CIN): Flacco gets the chance to avenge his one bad game this season against the Bengals. In Week 5, Flacco passed for just 185 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against Cincinnati at home, but he's had at least 17 Fantasy points in five of seven starts this year. The Bengals have had four games allowing at least 20 Fantasy points and come into this game No. 30 in pass defense with more than 253 passing yards allowed per game with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
David Garrard (vs. KC): I should have stuck to only recommending Garrard at home after his stinker last week at Tennessee. From now on, no road games for Garrard. In three home games, Garrard has averaged 313 passing yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Garrard is also due for a touchdown after not finding the end zone since Week 4 against Tennessee, a span of three games. The Chiefs, who are dealing with injuries in their secondary, have allowed some big games to opposing quarterbacks in Joe Flacco, Kevin Kolb, Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers, who all topped 25 Fantasy points.
Carson Palmer (vs. BAL): The Ravens have struggled in pass defense on the road this year. All three of their bad games -- Week 2 at San Diego, Week 4 at New England and Week 6 at Minnesota -- were away, and Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Brett Favre each had at least 20 Fantasy points in those games. Palmer is coming off a bye and had his best game of the season the previous week against Chicago with 233 passing yards and five touchdowns. He doesn't have a great history against Baltimore with only four touchdowns and two interceptions in his past five meetings, and he had 271 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception in their Week 5 game. But Palmer has the chance to play well here if the Ravens continue to struggle on the road.
Sleeper alert: Alex Smith (vs. TEN): Smith is making his first home start since Week 8 in 2007. He's overcome injury and a lot of adversity to return home as a starting quarterback, and he has a great matchup to prove he deserves the job. The Titans lead the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed with 17, and six quarterbacks have had at least 20 Fantasy points against Tennessee in seven games this year. The 49ers have some issues on the offensive line with both starting tackles out, but the Titans have struggled to provide a consistent pass rush all year. Smith might not post overwhelming stats, but playing at home against Tennessee should make him a viable Fantasy option, especially with the way Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree have played the past two weeks. Some other sleepers to consider this week are Matt Cassel (at JAC) and Vince Young (at SF).
Eli Manning (vs. SD): Things aren't looking good for
Manning, with his mechanics now being questioned and injuries at wide
receiver to Mario Manningham (shoulder).
While Manningham could return this week, Manning has been miserable
since coming down with plantar fasciitis, which he is playing through
but not effectively. In his past three games against New Orleans,
Arizona and Philadelphia, Manning has three touchdowns and six
interceptions with a lost fumble. He's overthrowing receivers and
struggling with time to make plays. The Chargers have allowed some big
passing games this year to Ben Roethlisberger
and Kyle Orton, but you just can't trust
Manning right now to consider him a starting Fantasy option.
Kyle Orton (vs. PIT): The Steelers have some issues in the secondary with safety Ryan Clark battling an illness, but the Broncos have issues on the offensive line with Ryan Harris (toes) out. Orton got a taste of what kind of pressure he will face this week from the Ravens, who sacked him twice but were in his face most of the day. It was Orton's first game without a touchdown this year and he was held to a season-low 152 passing yards. Pittsburgh has allowed four passing touchdowns on the road this season, but the Steelers have only allowed one passing touchdown in the two games since Troy Polamalu returned from a knee injury he suffered in Week 1.
Jay Cutler (vs. ARI): Cutler's turnovers have become a problem, and that's killing his Fantasy production. He's faced some mediocre secondaries the past two weeks in Cincinnati and Cleveland and finished with one touchdown and four interceptions. This week he faces an improved Arizona pass defense, which has held Matt Hasselbeck, Eli Manning and Jake Delhomme to two touchdowns and four interceptions in the past three games. The Cardinals have given up some big games through the air this season to David Garrard, Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub, but Cutler's turnover problems are becoming an issue. Until he gets that corrected you might consider other options at quarterback this week. It also doesn't help that Devin Hester (ankle) and Greg Olsen (ankle) are less than 100 percent.
Chad Henne (at NE): In Henne's first road start last week at the Jets he passed for 112 yards and a touchdown, but he took five sacks and is holding the ball too long. He also had two interceptions returned for touchdowns in Week 7 against New Orleans. The Dolphins are going to rely on their ground game as usual to keep Tom Brady and New England's passing attack off the field, and Henne could struggle in his limited attempts. The Patriots are No. 5 in pass defense with only eight passing touchdowns allowed this season.
Bust alert: Ben Roethlisberger (at DEN): I'm in the minority at our office about sitting Big Ben this week, and it's been an interesting debate with Dave Richard about his value. Here's my argument: The Broncos secondary is among the best in the NFL. They have only allowed two passing touchdowns at home to Tom Brady in Week 5, but no quarterback has reached 20 Fantasy points against them this year. Brady was also the only quarterback to pass for multiple touchdowns against Denver, which has faced Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco. Now, Roethlisberger has been stellar this year, but he has no 300-yard games on the road and one road game with multiple touchdown passes, which was at lowly Detroit in Week 5. His other road games were at Chicago and at Cincinnati. Roethlisberger also has six touchdowns and two interceptions in his past two games coming off a bye, one of which was at Denver in 2007 when he passed for 290 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Could he do that again? Sure. But this is a different Broncos defense, and I'm counting on them to contain Big Ben. It's tough to bench Roethlisberger with the way he's played this year, but just be aware if you start him he could struggle.
Julius Jones (vs. DET): The Lions get run over by most good
rushing teams (not that Seattle fits that description), but they have
struggled on the road. In games at New Orleans, Chicago and Green Bay,
Detroit has allowed an average of 118 rushing yards to Mike Bell, Matt Forte and Ryan Grant. The Lions have allowed more than 117 rushing yards per
game for the season, and Jones had his two best rushing games at home
this year against St. Louis (117 yards and a touchdown in Week 1) and
Chicago (98 yards in Week 3). The Seahawks released Edgerrin James this week, which should give Jones and Justin Forsett more carries, so consider Forsett a sleeper in deep
leagues. But Jones qualifies as a No. 2 Fantasy running back this week.
Jonathan Stewart (at NO): Stewart had a great game in tandem with DeAngelo Williams last week at Arizona, which came into that matchup with the best run defense in the NFL. Stewart finished with 87 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and he has a great matchup this week against the Saints. New Orleans is playing on short rest after last week's Monday night victory against Atlanta and is dealing with a key injury to defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (knee). Michael Turner ran 20 times for 151 yards and a touchdown against the Saints, and Stewart and Williams should follow suit. Stewart averaged 62 rushing yards in two games with the Saints last year, including a touchdown in each outing.
Pierre Thomas (vs. CAR): Mike Bell continues to get more carries than Thomas, but Thomas showed last week against Atlanta that he can be a stud Fantasy option. Thomas had 14 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown and also had a receiving touchdown against the Falcons, and hopefully he can build on that this week against the Panthers. It's worth finding out since Carolina has allowed an opposing running back to score in every game this season. Nine running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against the Panthers, so Thomas has the chance for another good game. If you're ranking the running backs for the Saints, go with Thomas, Bell and Reggie Bush in that order. This should be the point in the season where Thomas starts to pull ahead of Bell, or at least that's what all of us are hoping for.
Jamaal Charles (at JAC): Charles gets the chance to audition for the starting job in Kansas City with Larry Johnson suspended for this game. And he has a great matchup against the Jaguars, who are No. 25 in run defense. The Jaguars just allowed Chris Johnson to run for 228 rushing yards and two touchdowns in Week 8, and five running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Jacksonville this year. The Chiefs don't have a good offensive line, but Charles' speed could be a difference maker compared to Johnson's plodding style. And Charles should do well catching the ball out of the backfield. If you need a running back this week, consider Charles a good option with the chance to prove he could be a starter for the rest of the year and the future.
Ryan Grant (at TB): The Bucs should be rested coming off their bye week, but the Packers might lean on Grant this week with Aaron Rodgers (foot) less than 100 percent. And he has a great matchup against Tampa Bay. The Bucs have allowed seven running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Grant has at least nine Fantasy points in every game this season except last week against Minnesota when he was held to 51 total yards. Last year, Grant was held to 20 rushing yards with a fumble at Tampa Bay, but he was playing with an injured hamstring and not at 100 percent. That's not the case this week.
Sleeper alert: Laurence Maroney (vs. MIA): Maroney will continue to get the majority of carries with Sammy Morris (knee) and Fred Taylor (ankle) out, and he has a good matchup against the Dolphins, especially if Channing Crowder (shoulder) misses another game. Last week, Crowder was out against the Jets, and Thomas Jones ran for 102 yards. Maroney isn't going to get you 20-plus Fantasy points in this matchup, but he's capable of reaching double digits and playing like a No. 2 running back. Maroney has 29 Fantasy points in his past two games against Tennessee and Tampa Bay. The last time he faced the Dolphins as a primary contributor for the Patriots was 2007, and he finished with 14 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Knowshon Moreno (vs. PIT): Moreno has struggled the past
three games even with scoring a touchdown against the Ravens last week.
He's averaging 57 rushing yards against New England, San Diego and
Baltimore with an average of just over six Fantasy points per game.
That's not helping your team much, and this week he has a terrible
matchup against the Steelers, who are No. 1 in run defense. Only two
running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against
Pittsburgh with Cedric Benson in Week 3
and Adrian Peterson in Week 7, and
Moreno will struggle to do much against the Steelers this week.
Cadillac Williams (vs. GB): The Packers have been one of the best teams against opposing running backs this year. While they've given up two 100-yard rushing games to Cedric Benson and Steven Jackson, they have only allowed one running back to score against them, which was Adrian Peterson in Week 4 and Week 8. Williams hasn't gone over 100 yards rushing this season, and he only has two rushing touchdowns. The Bucs are giving rookie Josh Freeman his first NFL start, and the Packers will likely stack the line of scrimmage and force Freeman to beat them through the air. Williams also continues to lose carries to Derrick Ward, which will hurt his production in this matchup.
Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. SD):You should continue to stay away from Bradshaw with this ankle/foot injury, and his play the past three weeks against New Orleans, Arizona and Philadelphia is a good indication. He has two touchdowns over that span, but he has just 101 yards and a fumble. He's also averaging just over six Fantasy points a week, and he's not worth the risk. The Chargers don't have a good run defense, so Brandon Jacobs is in line for a good game, but keep Bradshaw reserved until he proves he can run without a problem with his injury.
Beanie Wells (at CHI): Keep Tim Hightower in your starting lineup, especially in leagues where receptions count, but bench Wells this week. It was disappointing to see Wells only get eight carries for 47 yards last week against Carolina, and Hightower remains a key part of the offense since Arizona likes to throw so much. The key for Wells and Hightower will be Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) and his status. If Harris plays as expected then Wells should struggle. Wells only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points and needs to be more consistent before you can count on him in tough matchups.
Ryan Moats (at IND): It was smart to add Moats off the waiver wire with what happened last week at Buffalo. To recap, Steve Slaton was benched after losing his fifth fumble of the season, and Moats came on and rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns. But don't expect Slaton to sit on the bench for another week. With the two sharing carries, and Slaton still the more talented running back, keep Moats on your bench. Remember, we said to add Moats with the chance his role could increase, but that doesn't mean he's a guaranteed Fantasy starter. Slaton is still the better starting option of the two, but the safe bet is to keep both Houston running backs reserved this week until we find out how this situation is going to play out.
Bust alert: Marion Barber (at PHI): Barber has struggled this season since injuring his quad in Week 2 against the Giants and hurting his thumb in Week 5 at Kansas City. He only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in his past three games and has only one game with more than 15 carries this season. Barber is losing carries to Felix Jones, and he also has disappeared from the passing game with only six catches for 57 yards. The Eagles have only allowed one rushing touchdown in their past five games and have not allowed a 100-yard rusher all year. The Eagles have only allowed four running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points, with Brandon Jacobs the first to do so last week in the past five games. Consider benching Barber this week if you have better options in reserve.
Mike Sims-Walker (vs. KC): Sims-Walker should get back on
track after a disappointing game last week at Tennessee when he was held
to two catches for 9 yards. Sims-Walker has been great at home this year
with 22 catches for 317 yards and three touchdowns in three games. The
Chiefs have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this
year, and six receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points
against Kansas City. This is a game where Sims-Walker should shine, and
also look for Torry Holt to play well as
Michael Crabtree (vs. TEN): Crabtree played better in his first two games at Houston and Indianapolis following the five-game holdout than anyone could have expected. He has 11 catches for 137 yards, and now he gets his first home game in San Francisco. It helps that he has a tremendous matchup since the Titans are last in the NFL in pass defense with 19 touchdowns allowed. They have allowed a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in every game this season except for last week against Jacksonville. Look for Crabtree to start a new streak against Tennessee as he can hopefully score his first NFL touchdown in this matchup.
Steve Smith (at NO): Smith is starting to come around, and it might be time to trust him again. Smith had his first touchdown last week at Arizona, and he had 99 yards receiving in Week 7 against Buffalo. And the Saints are giving up some big games to wide receivers. Five wide receivers have gone over 90 yards against New Orleans this year (Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Hakeem Nicks, Brian Hartline and Roddy White). And Smith has four touchdowns in his past five games with New Orleans, and last year he had 11 catches for 259 yards in two games against the Saints. He should be a No. 2 Fantasy option this week.
Dwayne Bowe (at JAC): Bowe should be excited about this matchup since the Jaguars have struggled in pass defense all year. They have allowed 11 touchdowns to an opposing wide receiver, and six wide receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Jacksonville. Bowe has reached double digits in Fantasy points in four of the six games he's played this season, and he has four touchdowns on the year. Look for him to play well coming off a bye week.
Santana Moss (at ATL): Moss should take advantage of this Falcons secondary, which has struggled the past two weeks after losing Brian Williams (knee). In their past two games, Atlanta has allowed big games against Miles Austin (171 yards and two touchdowns) and Marques Colston (85 yards and a touchdown). While Moss isn't as talented as those two, he had played well in domes and on turf. He had 10 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown at Detroit in Week 3, and last year combined for 17 catches, 285 yards and a touchdown at Detroit and at Dallas. Look for Moss to be heavily involved in the offense with Washington coming off its bye week.
Sleeper alert: Nate Burleson (vs. DET): You have to like the way Burleson has played at home this year. In four home games he has 24 catches for 321 yards and three touchdowns. You should start T.J. Houshmandzadeh this week as well since the Lions have given up eight touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and eight receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Detroit. Burleson has four games this year with at least six catches and 70 yards, and he should reach that total this week. Since he has a good chance to score, he's a solid Fantasy option against the Lions. Some other sleepers to consider this week include Steve Breaston (at CHI), Austin Collie (vs. HOU) and Chris Henry (vs. BAL).
Roy E. Williams (at PHI): Williams isn't happy with his
role in the offense, which is understandable when you look at his
production. Still, he shouldn't complain since the Cowboys are on a
three-game winning streak and playing their best football of the season
heading into their biggest game against the Eagles. You have to keep
Williams reserved even though he scored against Seattle last week -- he
hasn't reached double digits in Fantasy points since Week 1. The Eagles
have done a great job against opposing wide receivers this season, with
only two (Marques Colston and Devin Thomas) reaching double digits in Fantasy points, so be
cautious with Miles Austin this week as
well. But Williams is definitely the wide receiver to sit, and hopefully
things will turn around for him in the second half of the season.
Kevin Walter (at IND): Walter gets the chance to prove he can be a good Fantasy option again now that Owen Daniels (knee) is out for the season, but we need to see it first. Walter has been horrible the past five weeks with 15 catches for 157 yards and no touchdowns, and he has a difficult matchup this week. The Colts have only allowed one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver, and only three wide receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Indianapolis this year. In two games against the Colts last year, Walter had five catches for 115 yards and no touchdowns. Keep an eye on how Walter does over the next couple of weeks to see if he can step up for Daniels, but keep him reserved for this game.
Devery Henderson (vs. CAR): Henderson hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1, which was the last time he had double digits in Fantasy points. Drew Brees is just spreading the ball around to all his other targets, and Henderson has suffered. It doesn't help that his matchup this week is tough, with Carolina at No. 1 in pass defense. The Panthers have only allowed two touchdowns to an opposing wide receiver, and only two receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Carolina this year. Henderson also hasn't scored a touchdown against the Panthers in his past five meetings.
Antonio Bryant (vs. GB): Bryant doesn't seem thrilled to have a rookie quarterback, with Josh Freeman making his first start this week against the Packers. Bryant said when asked about Freeman this week, "That's the position we're in." Hopefully he can still perform at a high level with Freeman as his starter, but Bryant has struggled this year. He does have two touchdowns in his past four games, but he hasn't topped 65 yards receiving yet. And since he does have a rookie quarterback, the safe option is to keep him reserved. The Packers are among the league leaders with 13 passing touchdowns allowed, but it's hard to count on Freeman and Bryant playing at a high level in their first start together.
Hakeem Nicks (vs. SD): The Chargers have done a great job against opposing wide receivers this year. They have only allowed four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and only three wide receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against San Diego, with none in the past three weeks against Denver, Kansas City and Oakland. Nicks had his four-game touchdown streak come to an end at the Eagles last week, and his Fantasy production could start to dwindle. Remember, Nicks played well against some poor secondaries in Kansas City, Oakland, New Orleans and Arizona during his scoring streak, and he also needed a fluke play against the Cardinals to score. It's hard to count on that on a weekly basis.
Bust alert: Santonio Holmes (at DEN): Holmes just isn't scoring touchdowns this year, and that has become a huge problem for his Fantasy production. He hasn't scored since Week 1 against the Titans, and he only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in his past six outings. On the road, Holmes has only 10 catches for 151 yards in three games. The Broncos have only allowed three wide receivers to top double digits in Fantasy points this season in Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson and Derrick Mason, with Welker's 14 points the highest total. Rookie Mike Wallace has outplayed Holmes this season, and Hines Ward and Heath Miller remain vital parts of the passing game. Holmes has been limited in his Fantasy production, and it might be a good idea to sit him this week.
Fred Davis (at ATL): Davis is ready to take over for the
injured Chris Cooley (ankle), and he
should start off playing well against the Falcons. Davis had eight
catches for 78 yards and a touchdown when he came on for Cooley (ankle)
in Week 7 against Philadelphia, and he's capable of playing like that on
a weekly basis. The Falcons have allowed four tight ends to gain at
least 50 receiving yards, and three tight ends have scored touchdowns
against Atlanta. Cooley averaged five catches for 52 yards prior to
getting hurt, so Davis should be a solid start this week.
Vernon Davis (vs. TEN): It's amazing how things have turned around for Davis, who comes into this game with a league-high seven touchdowns. He has four touchdowns in his past two games and three games with double digits in Fantasy points. The Titans secondary should start to improve as they get healthy bodies back from injury, but Tennessee has still allowed four tight ends to gain at least 60 receiving yards, and three tight ends have scored against the Titans this year. With Davis playing at a high level, he should be considered a No. 1 Fantasy option the rest of the season.
John Carlson (vs. DET): No team has allowed more touchdowns to tight ends than the Lions. Jeremy Shockey (two), Visanthe Shiancoe, Kellen Davis, Greg Olsen, Heath Miller and Daniel Fells have combined for seven touchdowns, and only the Redskins and Packers failed to have a tight end score against Detroit. Carlson has the chance for his first good game since Week 1, which was the last time he topped 60 yards or scored a touchdown. He has spent a lot of time in pass protection, which shouldn't be an issue against the Lions, and this is a good week to rely on Carlson again if he's still on your roster.
Sleeper alert: Kevin Boss (vs. SD): Boss scored his first touchdown of the season last week against the Eagles and should build on that performance against the Chargers, who have given up some big games to tight ends this season. Zach Miller, Heath Miller and Tony Scheffler have all gone over 70 yards receiving against San Diego this season, and the Chargers have given up four touchdowns to tight ends. Boss finally got the chance to be a significant contributor in the passing game last week against Philadelphia (another team that struggles against the tight end for you Jason Witten owners) with three catches for 70 yards and the touchdown. He should be able to reach double digits in Fantasy points this week and is a good replacement if you're missing Owen Daniels (knee), Chris Cooley (ankle) or have Visanthe Shiancoe on a bye. Some other tight ends to consider this week include Kellen Winslow (vs. GB) and Benjamin Watson (vs. MIA).
Todd Heap (at CIN): Heap had seven catches for 41 yards in
the first meeting with the Bengals in Week 5 and scored a touchdown at
Cincinnati last year, but Heap has been struggling recently. He only has
one game over 50 yards since Week 1 and hasn't scored a touchdown since
Week 2. Last week he had his worst Fantasy day of the season with three
catches for 16 yards, which is one Fantasy point. The Bengals have done
well against opposing tight ends this season, and only one has reached
double digits in Fantasy points, which was Owen Daniels. We can all agree Heap is not as talented as Daniels.
Greg Olsen (vs. ARI): Olsen has struggled the past two weeks against the Bengals and Browns with seven catches for 64 yards. And Olsen has just two games with double digits in Fantasy points this season in Week 3 at Seattle and Week 6 at Atlanta. In five games this year, Olsen has six Fantasy points or less. The Cardinals have only allowed two tight ends to reach double digits in Fantasy points in Marcedes Lewis in Week 2 and Dallas Clark in Week 3. Olsen was expected to have a breakout season this year with the addition of Jay Cutler, but he's going to need a strong finish for that happen.
Tony Scheffler (vs. PIT): Scheffler struggled last week against an aggressive defense at Baltimore with one catch for 9 yards. He should struggle again this week since the Steelers will bring plenty of pressure, and the Broncos are dealing with some injuries on the offensive line. Scheffler had the big game at San Diego in Week 6 with six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, but the rest of the season he has only 11 catches for 125 yards and one touchdown. Scheffler could be a productive player, but the Broncos aren't giving him enough touches to be a quality Fantasy tight end.
Bust alert: Heath Miller (at DEN): I was wrong on Miller once this year, and he could play well this week coming off a bye. He did have five catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns in his last game at Denver in 2007, which was also off a bye. But this is a different Broncos defense, and they have been amazing against opposing tight ends this year. Denver has only allowed one touchdown to an opposing tight end in Week 5 against Benjamin Watson. The Broncos have shut down Zach Miller (two catches for 17 yards), Jason Witten (four catches for 31 yards), Antonio Gates (five catches for 70 yards) and Todd Heap (three catches for 16 yards). Much of the credit goes to safeties Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill, but Denver's linebackers have also played well in coverage. It's hard to bench Miller with the way he's played, but just lower your expectations for him based on how Denver has done against some elite tight ends this year.
New England (vs. MIA): The Patriots will either let Stephen Gostkowski kick it deep or just kick away from Ted Ginn, Jr., which was Miami's only offense last week at the
Jets. And Chad Henne has struggled in
his past two games with two interceptions returned for touchdowns in
Week 7 at New Orleans and seven sacks against the Saints and Jets. The
Patriots are coming off a bye, but in their past two games they allowed
just seven points against Tennessee and Tampa Bay. If New England can
clamp down on the run and force Miami to throw, the Patriots DST should
have another dominating day for your Fantasy team.
Other DSTs with good matchups: New Orleans (vs. CAR), Seattle (vs. DET) and San Francisco (vs. TEN).
Dallas (at PHI): The Cowboys DST has been stellar the past two games with touchdowns against Atlanta and Seattle thanks to punt returns from Patrick Crayton. They also have started to apply pressure again with 17 sacks in their past five games and four interceptions over that span. But the Cowboys have a tough test this week with the Eagles, who should be able to score against Dallas. Donovan McNabb might take some sacks, but he also has only one interception on the season and should avoid any mistakes. And with Brian Westbrook coming back, the Eagles should keep the Cowboys DST from finishing as a Top 12 option this week.
Lawrence Tynes (vs. SD): Tynes has cooled off recently with
five of his past six games under 10 Fantasy points, but he has done well
at home. Tynes, who leads the NFL with 21 field goal attempts, is 7 of 7
on field goals with nine extra points in three home games against
Washington, Oakland and Arizona. The Chargers come into this game having
allowed double digits in Fantasy points in two of their past three games
against Matt Prater in Week 6 and Sebastian Janikowski in Week 8. San Diego has allowed multiple field
goals in four of seven games this season. Tynes should find double
digits again based on this matchup.
Neil Rackers (at CHI): Rackers isn't having the type of year you would expect based on the team he plays for. Rackers only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points this season, which was Week 1 against San Francisco. He's only made more than one field goal in a game twice this year and only once since the 49ers game. The Bears have allowed multiple field goals in a game twice this year against Green Bay in Week 1 and Seattle in Week 3, but in three home games they have only allowed one made field goal to Jason Hanson in Week 4. As we've told you before, there are better Fantasy kickers available on the waiver wire than Rackers.
You can email your Fantasy Football questions to DMFantasyFootball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Start 'Em and Sit 'Em in the subject field. Include your full name, hometown and state, and we'll get to as many as we can. Also, follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/jameyeisenberg.
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