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 Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson or any other top-tier players.
Aaron Rodgers returned to practice last week and returned to Fantasy prominence. Maybe Allen Iverson should try it. Are we really talking about practice?
When Rodgers hurt his shoulder in Week 4 at Tampa Bay, he was unable to go through a full week of practice. It started to show in his play with his timing off and his stats dropping.
But Rodgers went through a full week of practice prior to facing Chicago in Week 11 and passed for 227 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also completed 76 percent of his passes.
Now, Rodgers is ready for a fantastic matchup at New Orleans, which is why he's the Start of the Week. The Saints come into this game allowing 235.2 passing yards per game with 16 touchdowns on the season and are missing their best defensive back in Mike McKenzie (knee).
Those stats are generous given how quarterbacks have done against New Orleans recently. In the Saints past four games, Jake Delhomme (195 passing yards and two touchdowns), Philip Rivers (341 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception), Matt Ryan (248 passing yards and two touchdowns) and Tyler Thigpen (235 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception) have ripped through their defense.
Rodgers should have similar success, and you can count on Greg Jennings and Donald Driver to play well also, so start both this week. Rodgers also has done well on the road with eight touchdowns and four interceptions in five games away from Lambeau Field. He has two 300-yard games on the road at Detroit and Tennessee.
With Rodgers back at practice, the Packers offense should continue to shine. So yes, we are talking about practice because it appears to work for Rodgers, and that makes Fantasy owners happy.
Sit of the Week
|Chris Johnson should find it rough going against Kris Jenkins and the Jets defense. (US Presswire)|
He has 31 carries for 72 yards and no touchdowns the past two games against Chicago and Jacksonville and only six catches for 39 yards. No one is talking about the "rookie wall" yet, but you can hear the whispers.
This week, Johnson is going to run into a different kind of wall -- Jenkins. He's back as a top defensive tackle, and he's a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
One of our NFL writer's at CBSSports.com, Clark Judge, considers Jenkins the third-best candidate behind Albert Haynesworth and Joey Porter. Jenkins has turned around the Jets run defense from No. 29 last year to No. 4 this year.
The Jets are only allowing 81.3 rushing yards per game with seven touchdowns, and Jenkins is the main reason why. He will be pushing around the Titans offensive line this week.
Even if Johnson does have some success, we know he won't be the one with the chance to score. If Tennessee gets near the goal line, Johnson is out and LenDale White is in.
This is a bad matchup for Johnson. Jenkins and the Jets are going to make sure he doesn't help your Fantasy team this week.
Eli Manning (at ARI): We've been down on Manning recently and for obvious reasons. He hasn't passed for 200 yards in a game since Week 5 against Seattle. He does have nine touchdowns over the past six games but also six interceptions. Part of the problem has been Plaxico Burress' struggles, the Giants ability to run the ball, tough opponents in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Baltimore and the Giants being ahead in games where Manning is just killing the clock. But this game has a chance to be high-scoring since Kurt Warner isn't going to stop throwing no matter the score. And if Brandon Jacobs (knee) is out or limited, Manning will be asked to do more than usual, which bodes well for his stats. The Cardinals also lead the NFL with 19 passing touchdowns allowed.
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. CIN): Roethlisberger hasn't thrown a touchdown in the past three weeks, and he's been a human piñata this season with the hits he's taken. But he does well against the Bengals, and he should post similar stats to their first meeting in Week 7 when he had 216 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Big Ben played well against San Diego last week with 308 passing yards, and his shoulder again looks OK after completing 31-of-41 passes. Hines Ward has been hot with two 100-yard games the past two weeks, and Santonio Holmes is worth starting this week also with a good history against Cincinnati.
Kerry Collins (vs. NYJ): A big reason why Matt Cassel passed for 400 yards and three touchdowns and 62 yards rushing last week is the Jets pass coverage is terrible. That's good timing for Collins, who is playing his best football of the season the past two weeks. Collins has 519 passing yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions against Chicago and Jacksonville. He is clicking with Justin Gage and Bo Scaife, who should be started this week, and Collins should be throwing again because the Jets defend the run well. But the Jets are allowing 239.7 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns, and Collins will stay hot for another week.
Tyler Thigpen (vs. BUF): The one concern with Thigpen this week is Buffalo has allowed the third-fewest passing touchdowns with seven, but the Bills are going to be deflated coming off that tough loss Monday against Cleveland on a short week. Thigpen has played too well since taking over as the starter four games ago to bench now. He has eight touchdowns and one interception over that span with only one game with less than 235 yards passing. The Chiefs offense is playing well, and Thigpen will continue to shine. Look for Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez and Mark Bradley to help Thigpen post another solid outing.
Jeff Garcia (at DET): Warrick Dunn will play well with Earnest Graham (knee) out, but Garcia will take on more responsibility with the passing game. He has played well this season and is coming off four games of at least 225 passing yards. The downside with Garcia is he hasn't thrown for multiple touchdowns in a game this year, but he has a great matchup this week. Detroit is among the league leaders with 16 passing touchdowns allowed. The Lions also give up 230.2 passing yards per game, so look for Garcia to make some plays and have a chance for his best output of the season.
Sleeper alert: Marc Bulger (vs. CHI): Bulger is having a miserable season, but the times he's played well this year have been at home and against teams with poor pass defense. He has both scenarios here since the Bears are No. 30 in pass defense with 249.3 yards allowed per game with 13 touchdowns. With Steven Jackson (thigh) out, you can count on Bulger throwing the ball at least 30 times, and he's a candidate for about 250 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns. You have to expect an interception or two also, but Bulger should play well in this matchup. Some other sleepers this week include Brady Quinn (vs. HOU), Matt Cassel (at MIA), Jason Campbell (at SEA) and Shaun Hill (at DAL).
Jake Delhomme (at ATL): Where to begin with Delhomme? Let's start with his past two games where he's combined for 170 passing yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Oh yeah, that was against two stellar defenses in Oakland and Detroit. Now let's move on to Delhomme on the road where he has two touchdowns and seven interceptions and is averaging 188 passing yards in four games. The Falcons don't have the greatest pass defense, but it's too hard to trust Delhomme. Until he can break 100 yards passing on a consistent basis, you can't use him again. And with the way Carolina is running the ball right now -- and you should continue to start DeAngelo Williams this week and possible Jonathan Stewart as well -- Delhomme might not need to do much.
Donovan McNabb (at BAL): Don't expect another tie this week, but you should expect McNabb to struggle again like he did last week when he had three interceptions at Cincinnati. The Bengals said after the game that the Eagles were predictable on offense, and McNabb is going to have change things up to keep moving the ball. With Brian Westbrook not 100 percent, that could be hard to do. It's not like McNabb is going to fall apart this week, and the Ravens are vulnerable in pass coverage due to some injuries in the secondary, but McNabb has five interceptions in his past three games after throwing just three in the first seven games. He's struggling right now, and this is a good week to keep him reserved because of the matchup.
Matt Hasselbeck (vs. WAS): Redskins coach Jim Zorn, the former quarterbacks coach at Seattle, should know what Hasselbeck and the Seahawks like to do, which will help Washington's defense. Hasselbeck is also still rusty after coming back last week against Arizona following a five-game layoff with the back injury. He threw three interceptions against the Cardinals, and the Redskins defense should pose a tougher challenge. For now, Hasselbeck remains a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, but he will improve as the season goes on as long as he can stay healthy.
Joe Flacco (vs. PHI): Flacco looked like a rookie last week against the Giants with two interceptions, which snapped a streak of four games in a row without a pick. He faces another tough defense in the Eagles, which will blitz him on a regular basis and has enough talent in the secondary to create problems. Flacco has a great matchup looming in Week 13 at Cincinnati, but this is a rough week to count on him in Fantasy leagues. Philadelphia might have to win this game with its defense, and the Eagles have enough talent to get it done against a rookie quarterback.
David Garrard (vs. MIN): Garrard struggled last week against Tennessee with 135 passing yards, no touchdowns and an interception, and he has another tough matchup this week. The Vikings don't have the best secondary in the NFL, but they are tied with Carolina for the third-fewest passing touchdowns allowed at eight. Matt Jones' status will also play a factor since he missed last week's game with a thigh bruise. Garrard will definitely struggle without Jones since the rest of his receiving corps is terrible. Look for the Vikings to keep this game close and keep Garrard from making enough plays to help your Fantasy team.
Bust alert: Matt Ryan (vs. CAR): Ryan didn't take advantage of a good matchup last week at home against Denver with 250 passing yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He will struggle again this week since Carolina's defense has played well this season. The Panthers are No. 5 in pass defense with 185.4 yards per game allowed and eight touchdowns. And Carolina already did a good job against Ryan earlier this year in Week 4 when the Panthers held him to 158 passing yards and no touchdowns. Now, Ryan has improved dramatically since then, but he's still a rookie playing in a key division game this late in the season. There's a good chance he could be feeling the pressure and a better chance he will be running away from Julius Peppers and Carolina's defense a lot this week.
Warrick Dunn (at DET): It sounds like a joke. How bad is the Lions run defense? It's so bad that not only one running back but two ran for over 120 yards and a touchdown last week at Carolina. Ha, ha, ha. DeAngelo Williams (120 yards and two touchdowns) and Jonathan Stewart (130 yards and a touchdown) ran over the Lions, which is nothing new. Detroit is last in run defense with 171.5 yards per game allowed and 17 touchdowns. With Earnest Graham (knee) out for the season, Dunn now becomes the starter. And when given a chance this year, he's shined with eight games with more than 50 total yards and two games with over 100 total yards. He will get the ball enough times this week to rack up the stats.
Peyton Hillis (vs. OAK): Hillis had a great first start last week at Atlanta with 10 carries for 44 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 26 yards. His stats might have been even better if he didn't hurt his shoulder and leave the game. He's expected to be fine this week, and he has a great matchup against the Raiders. Oakland allows 164.5 rushing yards per game with 15 touchdowns on the season. Hillis should be able to make plays running and catching the ball, and he's the goal-line back for the Broncos as well. If for some reason the shoulder limits his play this week, use Tatum Bell as a replacement. But Hillis is the one to count on in this matchup.
Willie Parker (vs. CIN): Parker put aside any doubts about his shoulder injury with 25 carries for 115 yards against San Diego last week. Now he gets to play in a matchup he loves. In his past five games against the Bengals, Parker has 551 rushing yards and five touchdowns and seven catches for 57 yards. Parker missed the earlier meeting this year at Cincinnati with a knee injury when Mewelde Moore ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a touchdown. You can count on Parker to have a big game also since the Bengals allow 131.1 rushing yards per game and 12 touchdowns on the season.
Ryan Grant (at NO): The running back Fantasy owners fell in love from last year is back, and it's time you started using him every week. Grant has at least 75 yards rushing in his past six games and three touchdowns in his past four outings. He is coming off his best game of the season with 25 carries for 145 yards and one touchdown against Chicago. After facing tough run defenses the past three weeks in Tennessee, Minnesota and the Bears and rushing for 306 yards and two touchdowns, Grant should be excited about facing the Saints. New Orleans allows 111 rushing yards per game and five touchdowns, and Grant should continue his hot streak on Monday night.
Larry Johnson (vs. BUF): The Bills are coming off a short week following an emotional loss against Cleveland on Monday night, and they are going to a tough place to play in Kansas City. Johnson returned last week from his three-game exile and showed he was ready to go with 19 carries for 67 yards and one catch for 20 yards against New Orleans. He should get a few more touches this week, and the Bills run defense is vulnerable, allowing 109.6 yards per game on the season with 13 touchdowns. Johnson should make Buffalo even more miserable with a strong performance in this matchup.
Sleeper alert: Derrick Ward (at ARI): The Cardinals run defense has been a surprise this year and ranks No. 7 with 89.8 yards per game allowed and seven touchdowns on the season. But Arizona hasn't faced an offensive line like this, and the Giants will push the Cardinals around like they have every opponent this season. New York has rushed for more than 200 yards as a team the past three games, with Brandon Jacobs leading the way. But it sounds like Jacobs could miss this game or be limited with a knee injury, which would open the door for Ward to get more playing time. Ward has already excelled this year in a secondary role with at least 50 total yards in every game. With increased touches, Ward could be a star, so use him in your lineup this week.
Tim Hightower (vs. NYG): It's interesting how the roles have changed for the Cardinals running backs. J.J. Arrington started on the bench behind Edgerrin James and Hightower, with Hightower the goal-line and third-down back. Then Hightower replaced James as the starter and Arrington moved up, with James taking a seat. Arrington now could become the most Fantasy relevant of the three if last week at Seattle is any indication. Like James earlier this year, Hightower started and led the team with 11 carries but only 35 yards rushing. Arrington, meanwhile, had eight carries for 40 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 21 yards and a score. With Arrington cutting into Hightower's playing time (he only has 57 rushing yards and no touchdowns the past two games) and the matchup against the Giants, keep Hightower on the bench this week.
Willis McGahee (vs. PHI): McGahee has struggled with tough run defenses this year, including last week at the Giants when he had nine carries for 18 yards and two catches for 7 yards. He was outplayed by Ray Rice (37 total yards) and LeRon McClain (41 total yards and a touchdown). All three will get touches again, which will cut into McGahee's playing time. And the Eagles have done well against the run this year, allowing just 98.7 yards per game and five touchdowns on the season. As we've said with McGahee when he's healthy, use him when he has a good matchup, but this is not one of those weeks.
Kevin Smith (vs. TB): I was wrong about Smith last week against Carolina when he had 24 carries for 112 yards, which was the first 100-yard game of his career. It's nice to see the Lions are feeding Smith the ball, but the Bucs will key in on stopping him this week. Tampa Bay has excelled in run defense this season, allowing 99.3 yards per game with only one rushing touchdown, which leads the league. It's obvious Smith is going to get plenty of touches even if the game is out of reach, but Tampa Bay is coming off a solid performance against Adrian Peterson (85 yards rushing and no touchdowns) and should be able to contain Smith in this matchup.
Michael Turner (vs. CAR): Kevin Smith was the first running back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Panthers this season. Prior to that, Carolina has played well against some top-notch competition with LaDainian Tomlinson (97 yards), Matt Forte (92 yards), Adrian Peterson (77 yards), Larry Johnson (2 yards) Reggie Bush (55 yards) and Earnest Graham all limited, although Bush left with a knee injury. Turner also struggled against the Panthers earlier this year with just 56 yards rushing, proving again he struggles in tough matchups. Turner does play well at home, with only one game with less than 80 yards rushing, and he has three touchdowns in his past two home games. But the Panthers took care of Turner once this year and should be able to stop him again.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at MIA): It appears the "Law Firm" is closed. Green-Ellis' time as a starting Fantasy option ended last week when Sammy Morris returned from a three-game absence from a knee injury. Green-Ellis was held to two carries for 9 yards against the Jets. While the score had something to do with it with New England trailing, it's clear when all the running backs are healthy that Green-Ellis is third on the depth chart behind Morris and Kevin Faulk. Look for Green-Ellis to get a few carries again, but not enough to help your Fantasy team. And Miami has done well against the run this year, allowing just 91.3 yards per game with five touchdowns.
Bust alert: Brian Westbrook (at BAL): Westbrook admitted following last week's tie against Cincinnati that he's not 100 percent with nagging injuries to his knee, ankle and ribs, and it's showed in his play the past three weeks. He has no touchdowns and hasn't topped 100 total yards against Seattle, the Giants and the Bengals while averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. On top of that, Donovan McNabb is throwing the ball too much, which isn't giving Westbrook the touches he needs. Now he faces the Ravens, who are going to be a foul mood after getting run over at the Giants last week. Even with that performance, Baltimore is still No. 3 in run defense with 79.6 yards per game allowed and three touchdowns. The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 29-straight games, and with the way Westbrook is playing right now, he won't break the streak. If you have two better running backs on your team with better matchups, then bench Westbrook. For example, on one of my teams, I have Ronnie Brown, Matt Forte, Chris Johnson, Thomas Jones and Westbrook. I'm starting Brown and Forte this week.
Braylon Edwards (vs. HOU): Edwards played up to his capabilities last week at Buffalo with eight catches for 104 yards, and he was in rhythm with quarterback Brady Quinn. The best thing about his performance was Quinn threw in Edwards' direction 16 times, and that should continue if Kellen Winslow (shoulder) is out or limited this week. It also helps that the Texans have allowed 17 passing touchdowns this year, which is among the worst in the NFL. Edwards has been hard to trust this season, but hopefully last week was a sign he has turned the corner and is ready for a strong finish.
Justin Gage (vs. NYJ): If Gage had only stayed healthy all season and played at the level he's at right now, then he'd be a starting Fantasy option every week. He has eight catches for 194 yards and three touchdowns against Chicago and Jacksonville, and the Jets pass defense is among the worst in the NFL. Look for Gage to stay hot, and Kerry Collins continues to look in his direction. He was targeted six times last week against Jacksonville and made the most of his opportunities by averaging 36.8 yards per catch. You can count on Gage as a No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver this week.
Plaxico Burress (at ARI): Burress has been terrible recently with one touchdown in his past four games and only one game with more than 100 yards this season. But this is a good week for Burress to get back in the good graces of Fantasy owners since the Cardinals lead the NFL with the most passing touchdowns allowed with 19. The Giants should throw the ball more than usual this week, especially if Brandon Jacobs (knee) is out or limited, and that means Eli Manning will start going back to Burress. He's been hard to trust this season, but this is a week to have confidence in his play starting to turn around.
Donnie Avery (vs. CHI): Avery is coming off a good performance where he had nine catches for 93 yards at San Francisco, and the Rams offense is better at home than on the road, so he should build off that game. It helps that Chicago is among the worst pass defenses in the NFL, and Avery should have plenty of chances to make plays. He was also targeted 13 times last week against the 49ers. Torry Holt also has an opportunity to help your Fantasy team with the Rams expected to do plenty of throwing with Steven Jackson (thigh) out.
Antonio Bryant (at DET): The Lions did a good job against Steve Smith (six catches for 59 yards) last week, but Detroit hasn't been able to shut anyone down this season. And Bryant has been the most reliable receiver for the Bucs, and now his production could increase since Earnest Graham (knee) is out for the year. Bryant had five catches for 59 yards last week against Minnesota and has at least five catches in his past four games. Jeff Garcia will continue to look in Bryant's direction, and against the Lions, Bryant should make plenty of plays.
Sleeper alert: Ted Ginn, Jr. (vs. NE): The Patriots secondary has been a weak link all year, and the injuries for New England's defense will continue to be exposed with Rodney Harrison (thigh) and Adalius Thomas (forearm) out. And the Dolphins are doing whatever they can to get Ginn involved in the offense since he's their best receiver. Against Oakland last week, Ginn had a 40-yard touchdown run to go with four catches for 51 yards. He has become a viable Fantasy option and is worth starting this week. The Patriots don't have the speed to stay with Ginn.
Chris Chambers (vs. IND): Chambers scored a touchdown against the Colts in their last meeting in the playoffs and finished with three catches for 67 yards. But that was a different Colts defense, and Chambers was playing better at the time. Indianapolis comes into this game leading the NFL with only two passing touchdowns allowed. And Chambers has been cold the past three weeks with eight catches for 68 yards and no touchdowns against New Orleans, Kansas City and Pittsburgh. The Chargers offense won't be stopped in this matchup, but Chambers isn't playing well enough to trust right now.
Bernard Berrian (at JAC): Berrian's hot streak appears to be over. He has three catches for 46 yards and no touchdowns the past two weeks against Green Bay and Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville should create some problems. The Jaguars are No. 2 in passing touchdowns allowed with 18, but Rashean Mathis should be able to stay with Berrian. Instead, look for Gus Frerotte to rely on Bobby Wade and Visanthe Shiancoe this week. When Berrian is outdoors on grass he's not the same receiver, so don't start him on your Fantasy team.
Laveranues Coles (at TEN): Coles has been missing from the Jets gameplan the past three weeks even though they have scored 107 points over that span. In the past three games against Buffalo, St. Louis and New England, Coles has nine catches for 92 yards and no touchdowns. Brett Favre has gone away from Coles, and Coles has a tough matchup this week. The Titans are No. 2 in the NFL with five passing touchdowns allowed. Tennessee's secondary is playing well this season and should be able to contain Coles and Jerricho Cotchery this week. But since Coles has disappeared from the offense, he's the one you want to avoid.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (at PIT): Chad Johnson being deactivated for Thursday’s game at the Steelers leaves Houshmandzadeh as the lone receiving threat for the Bengals, and that’s not a good thing. He will now see plenty of coverage from the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL. Earlier this year, Houshmandzadeh had eight catches for 58 yards against the Steelers, and he has a modest history against them with 33 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns in his past five meetings. But all those games were with Johnson on the opposite side of the field to help in taking away pressure from the defense. With Johnson out, Houshmandzadeh is flying solo, and Pittsburgh will be focusing on him.
Lee Evans (at KC): Since Josh Reed (ankle) got hurt and missed the past three games, Evans has gone in a funk. He has six catches for 63 yards in three games, including no catches Monday against Cleveland. Teams are doubling Evans, and Trent Edwards can't get him the ball. This is going to continue until Reed returns, and Fantasy owners just can't start Evans against the Chiefs even though it's a good matchup. Edwards also has gone in the tank, and Marshawn Lynch has become the Bills' leading receiver the past three games. Right now, Lynch is the only player in Buffalo that Fantasy owners can count on.
Bust alert: Marvin Harrison (at SD): You would think Harrison would be in line for a good game. He's coming off a season-high nine catches for 77 yards and a touchdown against Houston and playing the worst pass defense in the NFL. But Harrison would only be a good start this week if he were playing at home. On the road, Harrison has been brutal. He has 11 catches for 108 yards and no touchdowns in five games on the road this year. Since this game is in San Diego and on grass, Harrison is not worth using. His old legs don't move as well off the turf, and he should not be started this week even with the favorable matchup. Instead, look for Peyton Manning to use Anthony Gonzalez, who should be considered a sleeper this week.
Dustin Keller (at TEN): He's playing great the past two weeks and has become Brett Favre's favorite target. Keller has 14 catches for 194 yards and a touchdown against St. Louis and New England, and the Titans have struggled with tight ends this year. Dallas Clark (seven catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns), Tony Gonzalez (six catches for 97 yards), Todd Heap (four catches for 41 yards), Visanthe Shiancoe (four catches for 47 yards), Owen Daniels (four catches for 71 yards) and Greg Olsen (five catches for 40 yards) have played well against Tennessee this season. Look for Keller to do the same.
Greg Olsen (at STL): The Rams secondary has been vulnerable all year, and Olsen should be able to make some plays. St. Louis has allowed 15 passing touchdowns this season, including two the past two weeks against Dustin Keller and Vernon Davis. The Bears should do plenty of running this week with Matt Forte, but Olsen will get a chance to make a couple of catches. He is worth starting as a No. 1 option, especially if Kyle Orton is able to shake off the rust after returning from an ankle injury last week at Green Bay.
Kevin Boss (at ARI): Boss will bounce back this week after going without a catch against Baltimore last week. The Ravens do well defending tight ends, but the Cardinals aren't as good. Prior to getting shutout against Baltimore, Boss had scored a touchdown in three-straight weeks. He might not have the same success, but he should post solid enough stats to finish as a No. 1 option this week.
Sleeper alert: Todd Heap (vs. PHI): Heap has started to show signs of life recently with eight catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns the past two weeks against Houston and the Giants. Hopefully that continues, and he has a good matchup this week against the Eagles, who have struggled with tight ends this year. Randy McMichael (five catches for 77 yards), Jason Witten (seven catches for 110 yards), Heath Miller (four catches for 63 yards), Greg Olsen (four catches for 35 yards and a touchdown), Chris Cooley (eight catches for 109 yards and a touchdown) and Kevin Boss (six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown) have all played well against the Eagles this year. If Joe Flacco can find time, he should look for Heap like he has the past two weeks.
L.J. Smith (at BAL): The Ravens continue to lock down opposing tight ends after holding Kevin Boss without a catch last week. Already this season Kellen Winslow (seven catches for 78 yards in two games), Heath Miller (two catches for 8 yards), Dallas Clark (two catches for 17 yards), Anthony Fasano (two catches for 25 yards), Zach Miller (two catches for 56 yards) and Owen Daniels (one catch for 13 yards) have struggled against Baltimore. Smith had three catches for 15 yards and a touchdown last week against Cincinnati, but the Ravens defense is tougher on tight ends than the Bengals are.
John Carlson (vs. WAS): The Redskins defense held Jason Witten to two catches for 34 yards, although No. 2 tight end Martellus Bennett scored on a 25-yard catch. Still, Carlson should struggle in this matchup since the Redskins pass defense is No. 11 with only 10 touchdowns allowed. Carlson had three catches for 39 yards last week in his first game with Matt Hasselbeck in five games. Hasselbeck will continue to look in Carlson's direction, but he's not worth starting this week because of the tough matchup.
Marcedes Lewis (vs. MIN): The Vikings have struggled at times with tight ends this season, including last week at Tampa Bay when Jerramy Stevens had six catches for 84 yards. But Lewis is coming off a poor outing with one catch for 19 yards against Tennessee. The Vikings have enough speed to stay with Lewis, and he's only useful during the bye weeks. Since the bye weeks have passed, it's safe to let go of Lewis in all leagues at this time.
Bust alert: Tony Scheffler (vs. OAK): Scheffler has a great matchup this week against the Raiders, and he caught one pass for 72 yards at Oakland in Week 1. But Scheffler is coming off a disappointing game where he had no catches at Atlanta, and he said his injured groin is still a concern. Scheffler missed three games earlier this year with the injury, and if it's bothering him again, that should raise some red flags. There might be another tight end available you can start this week, including Jerramy Stevens (at DET) if Alex Smith (ankle) is out again or even Anthony Fasano (vs. NE).
Washington (at SEA): The Redskins defense isn't going to finish as the No. 1 option this week. But if you are an owner who plays the matchups on a weekly basis, Washington is worth using against the Seahawks. Redskins coach Jim Zorn knows what to expect from Seattle's offense since he's the former quarterbacks coach there, which will help the defense in its preparation. Matt Hasselbeck came back from a five-game absence last week against Arizona and threw three interceptions, and the Redskins should contain Seattle's rushing attack. The Redskins DST has a chance to finish among the Top 12 units this week, and they are only owned in 48 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com.
Other DSTs with good matchups: New England (at MIA), Tampa Bay (at DET) and Chicago (vs. STL)
Cardinals (vs. NYG): The Cardinals defense has played well this season and has taken advantage of playing in the downtrodden NFC West. But the Giants are going to create plenty of problems for the Arizona defense, and you won't want to count on the Cardinals this week even though they are at home. The Cardinals come into this game with 10 interceptions and 23 sacks. While Eli Manning does have three interceptions in the past three weeks and could turn the ball over in this outing, he won't take many sacks behind that offensive line. Keep the Cardinals DST reserved this week.
Nick Folk (vs. SF): Folk has been one of the biggest busts at any position this season and has no field goals the past two games against the Giants and Washington. But the Cowboys offense should play well this week against the 49ers, who are among the worst scoring defenses in the NFL. San Francisco also leads the NFL with 26 field goals allowed. Look for Folk to get plenty of chances, and he could be available in your leagues. He's only owned in 63 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com.
Adam Vinatieri (at SD): Vinatieri is terrible away from home and bad outdoors. He's 3-of-6 on field goals in five games away from Indianapolis this season and only 1-of-2 in three games on grass fields. The Colts should score some points this week, but Vinatieri was 0-of-2 on field goals at San Diego in the regular season last year. He's not an elite kicker anymore and is only worth using when he's at home. Last week against Houston, Vinatieri had four field goals, but he's not going to produce those totals on the road.
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