Friday, November 20, 2009

Who's Hot and Who's Not for Week 11

It's week 11, and there are no byes this week or any weeks going forward!  We're closing in on the playoffs, so start checking out your matchups for weeks 14-16, dependent on when your playoffs lie, especially focusing on the championship game.

Due to time restrictions these days (if only I could write this blog for a living), the entries may not be as long as they used to be, but the advice is just as sound!

Start 'Em!


Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. Cleveland

All that really needs to be known here is that Stafford is facing the Cleveland Browns.  That team is bad mix of sad, pathetic and confused.  In addition, Stafford's chemistry with star receiver Calvin Johnson seems to be back in play after last week's great outing between the rookie and Megatron.  Expect Stafford to post better numbers than the below-mentioned David Garrard, Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler this week at the very least.

The Line: 34 attempts, 25 completions, 246 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns

Running Backs:

Brandon Jacobs (NYG) vs. Atlanta

The Giants Big Bad Bruiser should enjoy a grand day against the not-so-great Falcons defense.  Once touted as an up-and-coming threat defensively, the Falcons have failed to live up to such ideals.  Though he'll still be sharing time with Ahmad Bradshaw, Jacobs should still punish the Atlanta defensive line and grab a touchdown to boot.

The Line: 15 carries, 62 yards rushing, 2 rushing touchdowns

Beanie Wells (ARI) vs. St. Louis

This talented rookie should be more widely owned.  He's clearly the more talented back for Arizona, who is capable of breaking tackles and bouncing around like a human pinball to get the score.  With the dreamiest of matchups against St. Louis, Wells should be used extensively once the game gets to its later stages.  He is certainly better at clock control football than Tim Hightower and continues to improve in the passing game, though that is definitely where he loses touches to Hightower.  I would play Wells over any back who has a scary matchup this week, such as the ones listed below as sits.

The Line: 17 carries, 103 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 2 receptions, 20 yards receiving

Ricky Williams (MIA) vs. Carolina

Bye-bye Ronnie Brown.  We will miss you.  Hello Ricky!  Moving forward from the season-ending injury to Brown, the Dolphins will likely be looking to Williams as their primary ball-carrier, with Lex Hillard stealing some of the work.  It will be a different ball game without the pass threat of Ronnie Brown, but ol' Ricky has proven himself a more than capable feature back this season.  His matchup against Carolina this week is a good one, especially since Miami will have to avoid passing even more than usual against the surprisingly tough Panthers pass defense.  This week will determine if Williams is a top-10 back going forward, so pay attention if you own him.

The Line: 22 carries, 96 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown

Wide Receivers:

Steve Breaston (ARI) vs. St. Louis

Though everyone talks about Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, Breaston is creeping up the ranks as an unbelievably strong third option.  Fantasy players have gotten some great outings from him and should feel free to play Breaston against St. Louis.  While the Rams are busy trying to blanket Fitzgerald and Boldin, Breaston will be running free.  It wouldn't be surprising at all if Breaston posted 70+ yards and a touchdown.

The Line: 5 receptions, 72 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

Nate Burleson (SEA) vs. Minnesota

The Minnesota defense may crush the run, but that means there is some sacrifice through the air, as teams are forced to throw the ball.  Expect that to be advantageous towards Burleson who has become a definite second option to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.  He should post playable numbers this week and should overtake other number two options on the boards who have tougher matchups.

The Line: 6 receptions, 87 yards receiving

Tight End:

Brent Celek (PHI) vs. Chicago

The experts certainly called it right when they said Celek was the major sleeper at tight end this year.  He's been a consistent producer who has a few big games here and there to further his value.  There's no good reason not to play Celek over big names such as Antonio Gates and Jason Witten.  To top it all off, the Bears have trouble with tight ends, further increasing Celek's value and placing him in must-start territory for the tight end position.

The Line: 8 receptions, 91 yards receiving

Sit 'Em...


David Garrard (JAC) vs. Buffalo

A lot of players have got Garrard sitting on their team and use him for matchup play.  I want to officially put an end to this idea.  I've purged Garrard from all my team due to his striking inconsistencies.  The Jaguars offense will have to keep it on the ground against an interception heavy Bills defense.  Garrard may see the end zone once, but his chances of throwing picks are much stronger, especially with the ball-hunting rookie Jairus Byrd in the secondary for Buffalo.

The Line: 29 attempts, 14 completions, 184 yards passing, 3 interceptions, 3 carries, 10 yards rushing

Running Backs:

Marshawn Lynch (BUF) vs. Jacksonville

While the Jaguars defense can be picked on from time to time, at home they can be a tough unit, especially on the ground.  It seems that Fred Jackson is the more exciting back for Buffalo, while Lynch is simply the higher-paid option.  Though Lynch may be seeing a heftier workload in traditional forms, Jackson is the go-to back for the Wildcat formation, which should be a bigger factor for the Bills going forward.  This week, Lynch will look even more mortal than usual between losing touches and facing a stout front seven.

The Line: 12 carries, 35 yards rushing

Ryan Grant (GB) vs. San Francisco

The Packers offense is obviously pass-centric with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.  Though Grant is the obvious starter for them, he is losing touches to Ahman Green and Brandon Jackson.  In the red zone, things are rather unpredictable and San Francisco is a tough team to run against.  This week, bench Grant in favor of a better matchup play or strong second-stringer, such as Jonathon Stewart or Ahmad Bradshaw.

The Line: 18 carries, 67 yards rushing, 2 receptions, 9 yards receiving

Joseph Addai (IND) vs. Baltimore

Addai is a tough back to play already, due to his unpredictability, but this week you can lean on the stingy Ravens defense to put a stopper on the back.  It's unlikely that Addai will see significant gains against Baltimore and the Colts will have to keep the ball in the hands of their holiest treasure, Peyton Manning, in order to secure their 11th win.  Unless Addai suddenly becomes the front man for a Wildcat formation, only play him in tasty matchups.

The Line: 11 carries, 38 yards rushing, 1 reception, 16 yards receiving

Wide Receivers:

Roy Williams (DAL) vs. Washington

This receiver just puts a bad taste on the tongue of every fantasy football player.  Though he did offer up some surprises, there is no good reason to gamble on Williams against the stalwart Washington pass defense.  Williams will have a rough day against the divisional rival and could be shut down entirely, even with Miles Austin suffering double-coverage.  Don't gamble on the Dallas Diva.

The Line: 2 receptions, 30 yards receiving

Devin Hester (CHI) vs. Philadelphia

One of the main reasons to bench Hester is due to his quarterback this week.  Cutler is coming off of a horrendous performance and now has to face the Eagles defense.  The likelihood of him forcing passes and throwing interceptions is the same likelihood that Adrian Peterson has yet another successful fantasy outing for owners.  It's going to happen, with his receiving corps suffering along with him.  Hester should be very limited in his unfavorable matchup versus Asante Samuel.  There are better options out there, so sit Hester.

The Line: 3 receptions, 42 yards receiving

Tight End:

Kellen Winslow (TB) vs. New Orleans

Sure he's a star and all that good stuff, but the going will be tough for the Bucs against the Saints this week.  While the Saints seem to fluctuate from week to week, they won't underestimate Josh Freeman and company, which means bad things for Winslow.  Though he'll still likely see some targets and receptions, his day won't be as productive as most others, making him a flex play at best.

 The Line: 4 receptions, 33 yards receiving

Monday, November 16, 2009

See Them Run, Oh How They Run!

This Sunday featured eleven 100+ yard rushers.  Not all of them grabbed a touchdown, but all were worth plenty of points in most standard leagues.  Let's take a look at their stats.

Name (Team): Carries - Yards - Yards per carry - Touchdown(s)

Adrian Peterson (MIN): 18 - 133 - 7.4 - 2

Chris Johnson (TEN): 26 - 132 - 5.1 - 2

Steven Jackson (STL): 26 - 131 - 5.0 - 1

Justin Forsett (SEA): 17 - 123 - 7.2 - 1

Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC): 24 - 123 - 5.1 - 1

Michael Bush (OAK): 14 - 119 - 8.5 - 0

Ladell Betts (WAS): 26 - 114 - 4.4 - 1

Michael Turner (ATL): 9 - 111 - 12.3 - 0

Frank Gore (SF): 25 - 104 - 4.2 - 1

Jamaal Charles (KC): 18 - 103 - 5.7 - 1

Ricky Williams (MIA): 20 - 102 - 5.1 - 0

At least half of the above running backs should be started by 80% of teams.  Every week there are surprises and players that will be swept up off the waiver wire.  Some you should avoid, some are worthwhile.  From the above, take a good hard look at Jamaal Charles and a lighter look at Justin Forsett.  Julius Jones left the game with an injury, leaving Forsett to very ably fill in for him.  Against the tough Arizona run defense, Forsett excelled and there may be some turnover for the Seahawks in the backfield, but Jamaal Charles should have solidified his starting role this week.  There will be a couple duds going forward, but he's a worthwhile flex option in most leagues.

Always start a few of the above; namely Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Michael Turner.  They will rarely disappoint you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 10 (2009) Sunday Happenings

First Matchups of Sunday:
Atlanta vs. Carolina
Tampa Bay vs. Miami
Detroit vs. Minnesota
Jacksonville vs. New York Jets
Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
New Orleans vs. St. Louis
Buffalo vs. Tennessee
Denver vs. Washington

Second Matchups of Sunday:
Kansas City vs. Oakland
Seattle vs. Arizona
Dallas vs. Green Bay
Philadelphia vs. San Diego

  • As always, check for full injury listings.
  • Game to Watch: Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
  • Everyone is scared of whether or not to start the injured DeAngelo Williams.  Will he rebound from the injury or will the ball be in the hands of Jake Delhomme and Jonathon Stewart?  Update: Williams is active for the game, but I would favor Stewart in production this week.

First Matchups:
  •  First Blood: Kyle Orton to a wide open Brandon Marshall for a huge touchdown.  Washington's pass defense doesn't look so tough now.  It's the first opening drive touchdown for Denver this year.  They want this one.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew does all te work on Jacksonville's opening drive, capping it with a 33-yard touchdown run.
  • Atlanta will have to do it on the ground, which is fine after watching Michael Turner break a 40-yard run, though the Falcons have to settle for a field goal in the end.
  • The Lions holdoff the downfield march, leaving the Vikings with three points on the board.
  • The Play No One Saw Coming: Direct snap to Fred Jackson who airs it out 27 yards to Lee Evans for a touchdown.  I'm confused.  Really, really confused.  There's no predicting some things and this was definitely one of them.
  • Why do you start Ronnie Brown every week?  'Cause he breaks 45-yard runs and caps off that drive with a touchdown.
  • Jason Campbell has a touchdown today after a pummeling drive, connecting with tight end Todd Yoder.  It doesn't do any good for those folks who picked up and started Fred Davis.  When did this year's Denver defense get subbed out by last year's?
  • Today, the Carolina run game belongs to Jonathon Stewart.  He gets the one-yard touchdown.
  • Marc Bulger had his offense in the red zone...and threw an interception.  No one even blink an eye.  It was bound to happen.  The only good news for Bulger?
  • Chris Johnson gets his first touchdown on he day on a nearly 30 yard dash to the end zone.
  • How do you beat the Steelers?  Get kickoff returns for touchdowns.  It's their greatest weakness.  Bernard Scott isn't even a particularly fast player, but he still manages to take it the needed 96 yards.
  • AGAIN!  AGAIN?!  Brandon Marshall was wide open for an even deeper touchdown pass.  That's two between Orton and Marshall.  The 'Skins are just lost...horribly, horribly lost.
  • Weirdest Play: Adrian Peterson lateralling to Percy Harvin.  It results in a fumble turnover.  Why does a team with just normal weapons like AP and Favre need to run trick plays?
  • Mark Sanchez to Jericho Cotchery: 7-yard touchdown pass.  The Jaguars are a good team to pick on in matchup play.
  • Again, there's no predicting the goal line back for the Saints.  This time, the touchdown goes to Reggie Bush.
  • Vince Young looks...well, good.  He's got six completions for 101 yards and a 14-yard touchdown to Nate Washington.  Can we start considering starting Titans receivers these days?
  • DeAngelo Williams wants us all to know that he's just fine.  He breaks a 28-yard run, just to prove it.
  • Everyone who took a chance on Carolina's Steve Smith this week is finally happy.  Jake Delhomme connects with him for a short pass touchdown.
  • Hello?  New Orleans, you there?  You just let Marc Bulger throw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery, tying the game at seven points.
  • Reggie Bush, we should have played you.  He now has a receiving touchdown on the day.  That's one through the air and one on the ground.
  • The Vikings offense is back on track.  Adrian Peterson has his weekly touchdown and Sidney Rice has 93 yards receiving on four catches.
  • Sadly, Turner doesn't get the goal line touch for the Falcons.  It goes to Jason Snelling, who slams it in.
  • Mark Sanchez has only three completions on ten attempts.  That just doesn't seem right against the Jags.
  • Two touchdowns to Lee Evans.  It seems the Titans are back to being their vulnerable selves.
  • TRICK PLAY ALERT!: The Redskins move from field goal formation to punt formation and then have Hunter Smith throw the ball downfield to a wide open Mike Sellers.  That may be the play of the day.  It was the bold move that Washington needed to keep their heads high.
  • Mike Sims-Walker overcomes the questions about his matchup Darrelle Revis by getting a deep touchdown for himself.
  • Steven Jackson IS the St. Louis Rams.  His touchdown was well-earned.
  • Two four-yard pass touchdowns to Steve Smith on the day.
  •  Chris Simms has taken over for Kyle Orton after the half when Orton limped off the field prior to halftime.
  • Michael Turner has a sprained ankle.  Not good for owners who wanted a touchdown on his 111 yards.
  • AP has two touchdowns.  No surprise there.
  • Reggie Bush is the lead rusher this week for the Saints.  Just when you thought Pierre Thomas had a hold on the job, it starts acting like New England in how cryptic the division will be.
  • Marques Colston fumbles on the one-yard line, it bounces out of bounds in the end zone and is declared a touchback in favor of St. Louis.  This is increasingly weird.
  • Matthew Stafford's mini-feud with Megatron seems over.  They've connected six times for 72 yards.
  • Matt Ryan finally gets a touchdown.
  • Ladell Betts may not have a touchdown, but he's got 83 yards so far, finding big holes and making big plays.  The Redskins look tough and are wearing down Denver's defense.
  • Fantasy owners are having a hard time figuring out who to play from the Saints offense.  Robert Meachem gets a touchdown.
  • Sidenote: Shaun Suisham has drilled two kickoffs out of bounds, giving the Broncos great field position.
  • Chris Johnson has his usual 100+ yards and two touchdowns.  Fantasy owners rejoice.
  • Chris Simms throws deep to the end zone for Brandon Marshall and is intercepted by DeAngelo Hall.
  • There may need to be a fantasy "welcome home" party for Terrell Owens, who has topped 80 yards today.
  • Cedric Benson is out with a hip injury.
  • Thomas Jones has a touchdown in the one-point Jets/Jags game.
  • Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh has been a game of field goals.
  • Sidney Rice has 201 yards receiving against the meak Lions defense.
  • Jonathon Stewart has no problem breaking the big runs himself, going 45 yards for a touchdown.
  • Marc Bulger doesn't look too shabby with two touchdown passes to Donnie Avery, but that's bound to happen time to time.  Don't put any stock in this performance.
  • Josh Scobee gets the game-winning field goal as time expires.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Malcom Floyd Ready for the Big Gains

The Inve$tment Corner!

Malcom Floyd (Wide Receiver - San Diego Chargers)

Notable Matchups: Week 12 vs. Kansas City, Week 13 vs. Cleveland, Week 15 (playoffs) vs. Cincinnati, Week 16 (championship) vs. Tennessee

Floyd, despite being all the rage of the fantasy world after Chris Chambers was formally released by the Chargers, is currently underowned in many formats.  Consider adding Floyd to help out your wide receivers who are struggling this season or who have a rather tough schedule during the fantasy playoffs.  I would definitely recommend Floyd to owners of Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, as Anthony Gonzalez should be back in the lineup by the playoff weeks.  The 6-foot-5 Floyd is yet another gargantuan target in the hefty Chargers air attack, headed by quarterback Philip Rivers.  With his 21.5 yards per catch average, Floyd is certainly a deep threat, much like his equally behemoth peer, Vincent Jackson.  Though Jackson should see more looks in the end zone, Floyd seems a likely candidate going forward for a few touchdowns in good matchups, especially when opponents are forced into double coverage on Jackson.  During weeks six through eight, Floyd was especially active in division matchups, pulling in at least 50 yards or a touchdown.  The Giants were able to harass Floyd a little more in one of his first major starts, but Floyd will be more than able to carry his weight during the second half of the season.  Expect a comforting level of consistency from V-Jax Lite and owners in deeper formats should be able to rely heavily on outings from the Chargers' second banana in the receiving game.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekly Podcast: Your Running Backs and You

Check out The Mann Report every week for some NFL and fantasy football insight from me, Charley Mann.  Don't forget to check out the material below as well for more advice throughout the week!  Just click below to go!

Also, let me take a moment to plug this site!  I'm going to start having a column every day for my readers out there.  So check back every day for something new!  Also, always feel free to leave comments and give me feedback with what I'm doing.  If you all demand something, I'll do my best to make it happen!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Who's Hot and Who's Not for Week 10

It's week 10 of the regular season and only two teams have a bye this week, the Houston Texans and New York Giants. While it is only two teams on bye, the number of players you might be missing could be pretty long: Matt Schaub, Eli Manning, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks and possibly Kevin Walter. Check out below to see who you can replace them with for this week.

General Note: These recommendations don't necessarily mean you should bench your studs like Maurice Jones-Drew and Drew Brees in favor of them. It just means that if you are looking to cover your bye week deficencies or want to play someone else in place of a poor matchup, you should consider the players below. Also, I'm changing the format this week due to only two quarterbacks missing. This week you're getting one quarterback and three running backs for each section. Hope it helps! Good luck!

Start 'Em!


Mark Sanchez (NYJ) vs. Jacksonville

Sanchez started this season by being voted Rookie of the Week for the first three weeks of the regular season and then his prolific start suddenly came to a halt until week seven against Oakland. Though he only had 16 pass attempts in that game, he made the most of them, throwing for 143 yards and a touchdown, with another score on the ground, bring his rushing touchdown total to three on the year. Sanchez then followed up that game with his week eight performance against Miami, throwing for two touchdowns and over 250 yards, again adding a touchdown on the ground. Though he does have 10 interceptions this year, eight of them came in two games against extremely stingy pass defenses. This week, Sanchez has the fortune of facing the miserable Jags defense, who are allowing the 7th most yards through the air (242.2 per game) and 9th most points to the opposition. This looks like prime pickings for the rookie who will look to help raise the Jets potential contention for a playoff spot. Though his team certainly favors the run (they're first place in yards per game on the ground), Sanchez's efficiency in the air will be a great boon, especially in the red zone. Expect a solid game from the quarterback, especially with Jacksonville having to concern themselves with the powerful Jets run duo of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene.

The Line: 25 attempts, 16 completions, 190 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, 4 carries, 16 yards rushing

Running Backs:

Jonathon Stewart (CAR) vs. Atlanta

Carolina is on a role. Finally they are preventing errors in their offense simply by keeping the ball in the hands of their deadliest weapons, DeAngelo Williams and Stewart. This week they face a defense that ranks 24th against the pass, allowing an average of 123.5 rushing yards per game. The Panthers have the 3rd best ground game in the league, courtesy of their dual-headed attack. This week, Stewart should be featured more in the run game after having an "off" week against the crushing defense of the Saints. While Williams was able to break it big, Stewart had a tough time crushing through the tacklers for those extra yards. Now that he gets to go against a much weaker defense, he should see some more touches and some goal line work as the Panthers look to going for 4-5 this season, as they slowly pick themselves back up after stumbling through the early season.

The Line: 10 carries, 45 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown

LeSean McCoy (PHI) vs. San Diego

Brian Westbrook sitting out this past Sunday had people scrambling to start his replacement and he gave them 115 yards from scrimmage in return. While he didn't find pay dirt, McCoy showed that he is an ample replacement for Westbrook both on the ground and in the receiving game, pulling in five receptions for 61 yards. Though Westbrook may be back this week, McCoy should still be the more explosive option, especially if the Eagles intend on looking forward with McCoy as the foundation of next year's running game. Even if he is held to the same number of touches as Westbrook (which would be very unwise of Andy Reid), McCoy will still be a strong starter against the 7th worst rushing defense in the league, with a lot of his value coming in the passing game. Expect solid numbers that make McCoy a worthwhile starting option as a flex player and in deeper formats.

The Line: 13 carries, 52 yards rushing, 7 receptions, 65 yards receiving

Knowshon Moreno (DEN) vs. Washington

Monday night's game against the Steelers was a tough one for the rookie rusher, gaining only three yards on five carries. He had a hard time gaining any momentum, evidenced by his longest run going for a measly four yards. This week the Broncos should be ready to rebound against the horribly confused Redskins, who are 25th in the league against the run. Moreno will hopefully see some work in Denver's "Wild Horses" formation, which served him well against the Patriots earlier this year. If the Broncos want to break their two-game losing spell, it will have to be done on ground level, as the Redskins currently have the No.1 ranked pass defense. Look for Moreno to run with fervor, trying to prove he deserves the starting role opposite Buckhalter, who was clearly more productive on Monday, being given runs to the outside. Moreno's explosive qualities should also play a factor in the passing game, though he needs to improve his blocking on passing downs. He's a good flex option and starter in 14+ team leagues.

The Line: 12 carries, 51 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 2 receptions, 22 yards receiving

Wide Receivers:

Percy Harvin (MIN) vs. Detroit

Harvin is the fourth rookie on the list this week and deservedly so. He has risen after lackluster outings to become one of Brett Favre's go-to receivers, running opposite the behemoth Sidney Rice. The greatest advantage this week is Harvin's matchup against the Ford Kittens, who are allowing the second most yards in the air and the second most points per game. Expect Favre to have another banner day, benefiting Harvin greatly. The Minnesota defense should ensure plenty on playing time for their offense and the divisional matchup is bound to become another nail in the coffin for Detroit. Watch for Harvin to run wild downfield, with big plays and incredible speed equating to strong yardage and a likely visit to the end zone.  Feel free to play Harvin in all formats this week.

The Line: 7 receptions, 98 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

Tight End:

Zach Miller (OAK) vs. Kansas City

There's almost no arguing that Miller is the only receiving threat for Oakland, despite the attention paid to rookie receivers Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Kansas City ranks even lower than the Raiders in their division, so this matchup doesn't mean much other than the Raiders finally not being last place.  Though it's not much in terms of glory, it's certainly better than last place.  Maybe this is the year that the Raiders are not the worst team in football.  If that is to be the case, Jamarcus Russell has got to feed the ball to the talented tight end.  While he won't post amazing numbers in a far-too-pathetic-to-be-worthwhile offense, his potential to rein in some start-worthy numbers is certainly tempting, especially in such a good matchup.

The Line: 4 receptions, 34 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

The Risky Play

Reggie Bush (NO) vs. St. Louis

In 2006, Bush was lined up to be the future back for the Saints, but since then he has averaged an overall 3.7 yards per carry and no more than six rushing touchdowns in a season, which was his rookie year.  However, all during the past four years, Bush's name has been synonymous with the Saints organization and he has still managed to rack up four touchdowns on the ground this year on 49 attempts.  This week he ought to see some decent action against one of the worst defenses in the league, especially with Lance Moore dealing with ankle issues.  This means that Bush should line up in the slot, taking in a few catches as he goes.  It wouldn't be surprising if he broke the goal line on a carry or reception this week and will be valuable in PPR leagues.  Play him as such or in deeper formats.

The Line: 7 carries, 22 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 5 receptions, 40 yards receiving

Sit 'Em...


Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. Carolina

Ryan's slump has come as the Falcons have faced a number of tough pass defenses, namely those of New Orleans and Washington.  This week he's up against the 6th ranked Panthers defense.  In week two, Ryan passed for three touchdowns and only one pick, but expect things to look a little different this week since Carolina has been winning games and finding a rhythm.  In addition, the Falcons will likely lean on running back Michael Turner to do most of the damage.  Though Roddy White and Michael Jenkins are strong receivers, the Carolina defense can surprise if they're motivated, which they will be.  The last meeting left the Panthers with a loss of 28-20; this week should be a whole new beast - after all, the Panthers were able to challenge the dominant Saints last week.  It might be worth sitting Ryan just this week in favor of a stronger matchup, though he is still certainly playable in larger leagues.

The Line: 28 attempts, 15 completions, 201 yards passing, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions

Running Backs:

Cedric Benson (CIN) vs. Pittsburgh

There's no denying that Benson's productivity has been a major story line in the NFL this year after his disappointing seasons with the Chicago Bears.  Now, with the Bengals, Benson has been a fantasy beast, but the Steelers are the one team that may be most bestial than the prodigious running back.  The Steelers rank number one against the run and have allowed only two rushing touchdowns this year, all while holding opposing backs to an average of 3.7 yards per carry.  Though in their week three matchup Benson carried the ball 16 times for 76 yards, giving him a 4.8 yards per carry average, the Steelers will come prepared this time.  In week three, the Bengals were just beginning to gain momentum and teams were unprepared for their offense.  This time around, the Steelers should be more than ready to crush the ground game, especially with Troy Polamalu in the mix.  You may not be interested in benching Benson this week after all he has done for you, but just don't be surprised if he comes up with merely pedestrian numbers.

The Line: 20 carries, 71 yards rushing, 1 reception, 14 yards receiving

Kevin Smith (DET) vs. Minnesota

I've tried so hard to spin a positive light on the Lions' "workhorse," but there's just no hope at this point.  With the Vikings hosting the Lions this week, you've just got to bench Smith for a better matchup.  Like the Steelers, the Vikes have allowed only two touchdowns on the ground with the 6th best rush defense in the league.  That opposite the 20th ranked rush offense of the Lions just does not bode well for Smith. In their last meeting, Smith averaged 3.5 yards per carry, carrying the rock 24 times for 83 yards.  Unless Smith carries the ball over 30 times (which let's be realistic, would never happen), he's not going to produce a useful fantasy day, especially considering the number of other options out there.  Go ahead and universally sit Smith this week in favor of a stronger matchup back, such as the above Bush or other secondary back in a more prolific offense.

The Line: 17 carries, 33 yards rushing, 1 reception, -2 yards receiving

Matt Forte (CHI) vs. San Francisco

The stat to worry you: San Francisco is allowing an average of 3.4 yards per carry.  This has given the Niners the 4th ranked run defense and this week they are going to be swarming all over Forte, who is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry.  In addition, Forte's only truly productive outings came against the pathetic defenses of Denver and Cleveland.  Owners are exhausted with the sophomore, who continues to pull in terribly meager numbers.  There was a spark of something special last week against Arizona, but he was most useful in the passing game, where San Francisco is slightly more vulnerable.  Like the above Smith, Forte should only be started in larger formats or as a flex option, but unless Jay Cutler wants to give Forte the pigskin through the air, chances are that the running back will have a very grounded day.

The Line: 13 carries, 44 yards rushing, 3 receptions, 21 yards receiving

Wide Receivers:

Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. Oakland

We all know by now how pathetic the Raiders are on offense, with a run defense to match, but their best kept secret is the strength of the pass defense.  After all, no one expects much of anything from Oakland these days, though fantasy owners are fond of picking on the defense for matchups.  Oakland has some strength in its secondary, which has given it a top 15 pass defense that allows an average of only one touchdown through the air per game.  They held Andre Johnson to a merely human 66 yards in week four and have had similar performances against star wideouts in other weeks.  Bowe does have the previous matchup in his favor, during which he totaled 56 yards and a touchdown on five catches when the Raiders bested the Chiefs in week two.  This time, with Chambers in the mix, Cassel should be spreading the wealth and coverage should catch up with Bowe.  Still start Bowe in most formats if you must, but don't be surprised if his day is less than stellar.

The Line: 4 receptions, 47 yards receiving

Calvin Johnson (DET) vs. Minnesota

Fantasy Fact: It's been a tough year for Megatron.  The monstrous Detroit star wideout has suffered from a knee injury and things has started to come apart between him and rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford.  The Vikings are not the best team to be up against when you've just spent the last weekend in a spat with the man who feeds you the ball.  Look for another week of paltry numbers from a receiver you probably spent a round three pick on.  It may be worth exploring matchup options, but sometimes it's difficult to bench a star like Johnson.  If you're one of those people, prepare to lament as you have over Megatron's last few matchups.

The Line: 2 receptions, 41 yards receiving

Monday, November 9, 2009

Backfield Confusion

There have been some pretty wild moves in a few backfields recently, not the least of which is the official dropping of Larry Johnson by the Kansas City Chiefs.  Let's take a look at some of the fantasy backfield issues for a few teams.

1) Houston Texans - A lot of us spent a first round draft pick on Steve Slaton, who was recently ousted from his starting job by Ryan Moats due to ball control issues.  Yesterday, however, both backs had touchdowns, Moats through the air and Slaton on the ground.  After being swept up by a lot of owners this week, Moats was a solid start, but Slaton was equally effective.  What does this mean going forward?  Well, it could mean a variety of things, but I think Gary Kubiak is going to start dividing carries between the two backs.  Slaton obviously has the big play potential, while Moats is the gruntwork back.  Expect both to be seeing nearly equal touches in the weeks moving forward, unless one really outdoes the other.  I would recommend starting Moats over Slaton, who saw equal work in the passing game (both had three receptions) and nearly triple the number of carries as Slaton (16 for Moats, 6 for Slaton).

2) Arizona Cardinals - Many owners thought that rookie Beanie Wells was going to explode coming out the gate and drafted him far earlier than they should have, as early as the 6th round in some cases.  Obviously that hasn't been the case, with Tim Hightower still being the leader of the pack, though not by much.  While Wells is the future of the team on the ground, Hightower is being more heavily utilized this year while the rookie earns his stripes.  It is possible by the end of the season that Wells will be seeing more work than Hightower, for now Hightower is the better start, though that could change if Wells has another game like he did against the Giants.  For now, play Hightower in deeper leagues and keep Wells riding the pine (he may be an asset in keeper leagues, so keep an eye out).

3) Miami Dolphins - First off, the Miami rushing offense is easily the most exciting ground game in the league.  It's just plain fun to watch thanks to the prevalent use of the Wildcat formation, which seems to be here to stay.  Updates to it included using rookie Pat White to increase the pass threat, though he's not a player that you'll be picking up.  Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are simply phenomenal and impress every week.  With Williams adding yet another touchdown performance this week against the Patriots, he is now a top 10 running back in fantasy points.  Guess what you're doing if you've got Williams on your bench?  You're starting him now, as if the past few weeks didn't clue you in enough.  Ronnie Brown is also a must-start, as he above Ricky in the top 10 backs list.  Start 'em both if you've got them.  Miami's offense likes to score and does it on the ground, often.

I hope this helps going forward.  I'll be addressing more running back issues on this week's podcast, so tune in this Thursday!