Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is our weekly look at the best and worst matchups from around the NFL and how they might affect lineup decisions for your Fantasy Football team. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Drew Brees, Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson or any other top-tier players.
It used to be so easy. You would go to your lineup page, look at your running backs and wonder who you would start opposite LaDainian Tomlinson. You never thought about benching him.
But last year, Tomlinson struggled in San Diego and became a detriment for Fantasy owners. He looked every bit of his 30 years, and it appeared like he was done. The Chargers thought so when he was released, and the sentiment was he was hanging on when he signed with the Jets.
We couldn't have been more wrong, and the Jets have produced other solid options as well.
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Through three weeks, Tomlinson has looked rejuvenated at 31. He has 37 carries for 208 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown and nine catches for 60 yards. He has replaced Shonn Greene as the starter, and he is looking like a must-start Fantasy running back.
This week, we expect Tomlinson to be a star, and he's our Start of the Week. He has a great matchup against the Bills, who have allowed four touchdowns to opposing running backs and give up 141 yards per game on the ground. Even if linebacker Paul Posluszny (knee) returns this week, Tomlinson should still run well and is no worse than a No. 2 Fantasy running back.
We also like Greene in this matchup to break out of his slump. Greene said in an interview with CBSSports.com that he's looking forward to this game for the Jets to work on their running game. Greene should be considered a solid sleeper, and he has the chance to score his first touchdown in 2010.
But this game should be all about Tomlinson. We never expected him to be a must-start option again, but here he is. So now when you go to your lineup page, insert him as a starter with confidence. He's playing well and deserves the nod.
|Player||Fantasy Points (projected)||Fantasy Points (actual)||Start percentage|
|Michael Vick, QB, Eagles||20||38||70|
|Dustin Keller, TE, N.Y. Jets||11||21||39|
|LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, N.Y. Jets||14||14||53|
|Eli Manning, QB, N.Y. Giants||15||11||43|
|Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins||9||5||67|
|Steve Smith, WR, Panthers||7||1||78|
|Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals||20||9||61|
|Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins*||16||5||67|
|Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals||11||4||61|
|Mark Sanchez, QB, N.Y. Jets||13||28||6|
|Chad Henne, QB, Dolphins||13||26||4|
|Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers||6||22||16|
| Our favorite sleeper in Week 3 was ... BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who was started in 20 percent of leagues and projected for eight Fantasy points but finished with 15. He had a better game than Frank Gore (14 Fantasy points), Arian Foster (10) and Maurice Jones-Drew (eight). |
* - Start of the Week
Michael Vick (vs. WAS): This could be the last time we write about Vick in this column since his start percentage is getting too high. He is becoming a must-start Fantasy quarterback, and owners are using him over established stars like Tom Brady and Matt Schaub. He's proving those owners right so far with 750 passing yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions and 170 rushing yards and a touchdown. He has another favorable matchup this week with the Redskins, who have the second-worst pass defense in the NFL. Look for Vick to stay hot, and keep him active in his showdown with Donovan McNabb.
Carson Palmer (at CLE): This is it for Palmer, his last chance to show Fantasy owners he can be a No. 1 quarterback before everyone jumps ship. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and trust him for this matchup with the Browns just as we did with a struggling Joe Flacco last week, and he passed for 262 yards and three touchdowns against Cleveland. In his past five games at Cleveland, Palmer is averaging 267 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. Look for him to pick on Eric Wright just as Flacco did since Wright gave up three touchdowns to Anquan Boldin. That should mean good things for Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
Matt Ryan (vs. SF): It's one thing when Matt Hasselbeck accounts for three touchdowns against the 49ers in Week 1. You expect Drew Brees to get two touchdowns against San Francisco in Week 2. But then Matt Cassel gets three touchdowns in Week 3 against this defense, and it's time to sound the alarms. That means start Ryan in all leagues. Hasselbeck, Brees and Cassel each earned more than 20 Fantasy points against the 49ers, and Ryan is coming off two great starts against Arizona and New Orleans with 453 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw for 329 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and had a rushing touchdown at San Francisco last year.
Donovan McNabb (at PHI): There's something to be said for motivation, and McNabb has plenty in his return to Philadelphia after playing there for 11 years before being discarded. Is it a great matchup? No, the Eagles secondary is tough. Is McNabb the best quarterback on the field? No, Vick is better. But think about Brett Favre against Green Bay last year when he had 515 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions in two games. McNabb won't play to that level, but elite athletes rise to the occasion, which is what will happen this week. He knows the Eagles personnel on defense having faced them countless times in practice, and he will go after what he feels are any weak spots. McNabb might not win the game, but he will put on a show by getting the ball to Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. Consider him a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this week.
Chad Henne (vs. NE): This is a great matchup for Henne, who comes into this game after passing for a career-high 363 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Jets. The Patriots secondary has been a mess, allowing multiple touchdown passes in each game to Palmer, Mark Sanchez and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last year in Miami, Henne passed for 335 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against New England, and this is a good week to ride the hot hand. Expect to see a lot of Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess, who has a good history against the Patriots and should be considered a sleeper in leagues where receptions count.
Sleeper alert: Bruce Gradkowski (vs. HOU): This is just playing the matchup here. The Texans have the worst pass defense in the NFL, allowing Peyton Manning and McNabb to each pass for more than 425 yards, and along with Tony Romo, all three quarterbacks have combined for six touchdowns and no interceptions. Gradkowski had 255 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception in his first start last week at Arizona with 24 rushing yards. He's a candidate for 18 Fantasy points, and he's a good starting option in deeper leagues or leagues that start two quarterbacks.
Vince Young (vs. DEN): Young will likely remain conservative in his matchup with the Broncos since coach Jeff Fisher won't take many chances down the field. Last week at the Giants, Young only attempted 16 passes, completing 10 for 118 yards. He has yet to attempt 20 passes in a game, and he hasn't had more than seven rushing attempts. This is going to be the Chris Johnson show all over again, so even though the Broncos have struggled in pass coverage, don't expect Young to do a lot. He's going to be a caretaker of the offense more than anything else.
Alex Smith (at ATL): Smith is struggling, Michael Crabtree has disappeared and the 49ers just fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. It's bad news for the 49ers on offense, and they also have the dreaded East Coast trip for a 1 p.m. start. Stay away from Smith in all leagues even though the 49ers are desperate for a win. If Smith plays well then let it happen on your bench. The Falcons have only allowed Brees to throw a touchdown pass against them, and Smith has just two touchdowns with five interceptions and two fumbles on the season.
Joe Flacco (at PIT): Flacco was amazing last week against the Browns and played the way we all hoped in what should be a breakout season. But this is not a week to trust Flacco, who has a poor history against the Steelers. In four career meetings, Flacco has four touchdowns, three interceptions, three fumbles and one game with more than 200 passing yards. Pittsburgh has allowed just one passing touchdown this season with five interceptions, and only Ryan has passed for more than 200 yards. Don't expect much offense from the Ravens in this game, especially if Ray Rice (knee) is out or limited. This game should be decided by field goals and defense.
Mark Sanchez (at BUF): This posting isn't to suggest Sanchez will struggle against the Bills. This is to illustrate what we mentioned above ... that the Jets will use this game to improve their ground attack, and Sanchez won't have to do much. If you're in need of a starting quarterback this week then Sanchez is a serviceable replacement, but we can see him doing plenty of handing off. He also struggled against the Bills last year with only 223 passing yards, one touchdown and five interceptions in two games. Sanchez is playing great the past two weeks with 476 passing yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions against New England and Miami, but the J-E-T-S are going to run, run, run all over the Bills.
Derek Anderson (at SD): Anderson doesn't even qualify as a No. 2 quarterback in two-quarterback leagues, and that's with Romo, Josh Freeman, Brett Favre and Matt Cassel on a bye. Anderson just lost Steve Breaston (knee) after already being without Early Doucet (hernia), and the Cardinals are going to rely on Beanie Wells and their run game this week to slow down San Diego's offense. Anderson will likely throw a token touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald, but the rest of his receiving corps consists of rookies Stephen Williams and Max Komar. If you need further proof, Anderson has barely completed 50 percent of his passes for 580 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. He's just not a good Fantasy option.
Bust alert: Matt Schaub (at OAK): It's hard to bench Schaub, but it's a move you might consider this week if you have a capable backup quarterback. This is just a terrible matchup, and he might not have Andre Johnson (ankle), who is a game-time decision. The Raiders are No. 2 in pass defense -- at least partly due to their soft run defense -- but they also have a quality secondary with standout cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Raiders have allowed just two quarterbacks to throw for multiple touchdowns in Oakland since the start of last year (Jason Campbell in 2009 and Sam Bradford in Week 2). And in two games against the Raiders in each of the past two years, Schaub has averaged 238 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Schaub has five touchdowns and four interceptions on the season and is taking a lot of sacks behind his reworked offensive line. We expect to see a lot of Arian Foster in this game with Schaub not doing much, especially with Johnson at less than 100 percent or out and Owen Daniels still limited. Start Schaub if you must, but be prepared that he could struggle.
Ronnie Brown (vs. NE): If you had a running back averaging 5.4 yards per carry, including two matchups against Minnesota and the Jets, you would probably give him the ball quite a bit right? That's what the Dolphins have in Brown, but he only has 37 carries for the season since he's been sharing with Ricky Williams. And last week against New York the Dolphins went to the air, which limited Brown to 11 carries. But this week, Brown should get upwards of 15 carries with Williams having fumble issues. The Patriots have also allowed over 100 rushing yards in their past two games against the Jets and Bills, and two running backs (Cedric Benson and C.J. Spiller) have scored touchdowns this season. Count on Brown for double digits in Fantasy points in this matchup.
Joseph Addai (at JAC): Addai was sluggish last week at Denver with only 13 carries for 29 yards and two catches for 10 yards as he was dealing with a knee injury. But he came into the game playing well with limited touches of 30 carries for 136 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and eight catches for 50 yards. This week, he faces a Jaguars defense that has allowed double digits in Fantasy points to Knowshon Moreno, Mike Tolbert and Darren Sproles this season, and Addai has a good history with Jacksonville. He has three games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past five meetings with the Jaguars, who are giving up 115 rushing yards per game. Consider Addai a solid No. 2 Fantasy option.
Peyton Hillis (vs. CIN): It's time to start him and start him with confidence. He has a touchdown in each of his three games this season, and last week he ran over the Ravens for 144 yards and seven catches for 36 yards. The Bengals have only allowed one touchdown to an opposing running back with Jonathan Stewart last week, and Ray Rice is the only running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points. But if you can run well against Baltimore you should be able to run well against any defense. Hillis is worth using as a No. 2 Fantasy or flex option in all leagues this week, and he's a great bye-week or injury replacement. Jerome Harrison has become an afterthought for the Browns with the way Hillis is playing.
Justin Forsett (at STL): The last time Forsett went to St. Louis last year he was a star with 22 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He's also coming off his best game this season against San Diego with 17 carries for 63 yards and three catches for 31 yards. The Rams have allowed double digits in Fantasy points to Tim Hightower and Darren McFadden this season, and Forsett could follow suit. Julius Jones and Leon Washington don't appear to be a concern for taking away carries, and this is why you drafted Forsett for matchups like this. He's worth starting in all leagues.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at MIA): It's hard to count on New England's running backs because the Patriots throw so much, but someone has to carry the ball in this matchup with Fred Taylor (toe) likely out. Sammy Morris and Danny Woodhead won't get the majority of touches, but Green-Ellis should based on the way he played against Buffalo last week with 16 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown. He has the potential to be a No. 2 Fantasy running back this week. The Dolphins have struggled in run defense the past two weeks against Minnesota and the Jets, and Miami has some depth issues on their defensive line. Green-Ellis should be able to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and we consider him a quality Fantasy option in this matchup.
Sleeper alert: John Kuhn (vs. DET): Brandon Jackson should be considered a sleeper also based on the matchup with the Lions, who are last in the NFL in run defense at 149 yards per game allowed and five touchdowns. Kuhn and Jackson split carries against the Bears last week, but Kuhn (51 total yards) was more productive than Jackson (39). Both have the opportunity to play well in this game, but Kuhn will likely be the one working near the goal line. If you're dealing with injuries at running back or need a bye-week replacement, consider plugging in Kuhn in standard formats and Jackson in leagues where receptions count. For more sleeper running backs, click here.
Tim Hightower (at SD): Wells coming back last week against the Raiders from a knee injury made Hightower's stock plummet, and we expect Wells to again get the majority of the carries against the Chargers. That means Hightower is not worth starting in the majority of leagues. The Chargers have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season, which came on a breakaway run from Jamaal Charles in Week 1. Hightower also isn't being used much as a receiver with three catches in his past two games. If he's not catching the ball and Wells is back, his value is limited in most formats.
Clinton Portis (at PHI): Portis needs to play well to keep his job because Mike Shanahan is frustrated with his play and lack of effort after he fell down on a long run against the Rams last week to avoid being stripped. Ryan Torain is waiting in the wings, and he could eventually replace Portis as the starter since both split carries against the Rams. The Eagles run defense hasn't been great this year, allowing 126 yards per game, but Portis isn't going to do much damage here. He's nothing more than a flex option based on his inconsistent production, and he should only be started if you're in a dire situation.
C.J. Spiller (vs. NYJ): Spiller had his best game of the season last week against the Patriots with four carries for 29 yards and three catches for 10 yards and a touchdown, but we're not talking about an elite running back with 39 total yards. The Jets run defense has been stellar at 62 yards per game allowed and one touchdown, and no running back has reached more than six Fantasy points this season. Marshawn Lynch will likely get the majority of carries, and Fred Jackson is still in the mix. The Bills need to trade Lynch for Spiller's value to improve, but he's far from a starting Fantasy option heading into Week 4 in this matchup.
Jahvid Best (at GB): Best is dealing with a toe injury that will limit his production even if he's able to play, so don't take the risk. Keep him reserved in all formats. The Packers run defense is tough and limited Matt Forte to 11 carries for 29 yards last week. Best has been a tremendous Fantasy option when healthy, but this toe injury could be problematic. We hope it doesn't linger, but you shouldn't trust him to be at his best at less than 100 percent on the road against a tough defense.
Correll Buckhalter (at TEN): Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) is expected to miss this game, but that doesn't mean Buckhalter will get increased carries. The Broncos want to keep him as a third-down back, and Laurence Maroney would be starter. We like Maroney as a starting Fantasy running back in deeper leagues and a flex option in standard formats. As for Buckhalter, he would only be worth using in deep leagues where you get a point per reception. Maroney will likely work at the goal line, and Buckhalter will struggle to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Don't consider him as a bye-week or injury replacement in this matchup.
Bust alert: Ray Rice (at PIT): As of Thursday, Rice said he plans to play against the Steelers this week despite dealing with a knee injury. We'll find out his status Sunday morning (and we'll be the first to let you know on Fantasy Football Today at 11 a.m. ET), but we would recommend sitting him in this matchup. The Steelers are No. 3 in run defense and have already shut down Michael Turner in Week 1 (19 carries for 42 yards) and Chris Johnson in Week 2 (16 carries for 34 yards). Rice is supremely talented and crushed a depleted Steelers defense last year for 310 total yards in two meetings, but the dominating Pittsburgh defense is back, which means Rice at less than 100 percent should struggle. And it goes without saying that if Rice is out, sit Willis McGahee as well.
Terrell Owens (at CLE): If you see Wright lined up against Owens then look for a big play. Wright, a defensive back for the Browns, allowed Boldin to score three touchdowns last week against the Ravens. And Owens is due for a big game. He is No. 5 in targets among all receivers with 33, but he only has 14 catches for 152 yards to show for it. The Browns have allowed five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in three games, and Owens and Chad Ochocinco should break out this week. Owens is one big play away from getting double digits in Fantasy points, and he's worth trusting as a No. 2 receiver based on the matchup.
Donald Driver (vs. DET): As we all know, few things in life are guaranteed. There's the old expression of death, taxes and Driver playing well against the Lions. Wait, what? Yes, Driver owns the Lions. His last name might as well be Ford. In his past five games against Detroit, Driver has 37 catches for 559 yards and three touchdowns. He's had double digits in Fantasy points in every meeting over that span, and the Lions are once again struggling in pass defense. Driver has two touchdowns this season, and there's a good chance the third one is coming in this matchup.
Steve Smith (vs. CHI): The Bears are No. 28 in pass defense, but they've only allowed two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. That's because teams dink and dunk their way down the field against this defense, and Smith is perfect for that kind of matchup. He's still looking for his first touchdown this year, but he played well last week against the Titans with nine catches for 103 yards. He's capable of another game like that in this matchup. Eli Manning isn't a great starting Fantasy option against the Bears, but he's a low-end No. 1 quarterback. And his stats will look good as long as he's finding Smith with a lot of targets.
Louis Murphy (vs. HOU): The Texans have the worst secondary in the NFL, and opposing wide receivers have done well in this matchup. Austin Collie, Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss, Joey Galloway and Roy E. Williams have each had at least eight Fantasy points against Houston. Murphy is coming off two great games against St. Louis and Arizona with 11 catches for 210 yards and a touchdown, and he should keep up his recent production. He only had three catches for 34 yards at Houston last year, but don't look at that previous game. Murphy is playing at a much higher level now, and the Texans secondary has taken a step back.
Jeremy Maclin (vs. WAS): Vick steps in for Kevin Kolb in Week 1, and Maclin hasn't stopped scoring since. In two and a half games with Vick, Maclin has four touchdowns. He's thriving with all the single coverage he's receiving thanks to DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy also being on the field, and he has another great matchup this week with the Redskins, who are the second-worst secondary in the NFL. Washington has allowed the most receptions to opposing wide receivers (66), and four wide receivers have already reached double digits in Fantasy points (Miles Austin, Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones). Look for Maclin and Jackson to play well this week, and we'll find out if Maclin can keep his touchdown streak alive.
Sleeper alert: Mike Sims-Walker (vs. IND): Fantasy owners have given up on Sims-Walker, and rightfully so. He's struggled this season with one great game at San Diego in Week 2 and two nonexistent games in Week 1 against Denver and Week 3 against Philadelphia. But I'm going to give Sims-Walker another chance to prove himself in what appears to be favorable matchup. The Colts secondary was abused by Denver last week with Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney each going over 140 yards receiving, and four wide receivers have scored touchdowns against Indianapolis in three games. Sims-Walker had six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Colts at home last year, and David Garrard needs a good game here to save his job. That means a lot of targets for Sims-Walker, who should remain a No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver. He's due. For more sleeper wide receivers, click here.
Demaryius Thomas (at TEN): Thomas, despite his outstanding game in Week 2 against Seattle, is still the No. 4 wide receiver for the Broncos behind Gaffney, Eddie Royal and Lloyd. And for this week, we would bench Thomas in all leagues and consider doing the same with Lloyd. For Thomas, he might not see many targets, which would limit his production. And Lloyd, based on his tremendous play so far this season, could be matched up with standout defensive back Cortland Finnegan. Royal should be the best Broncos wide receiver this week and has the chance to play as Smith did for the Giants against the Titans in Week 3. And Gaffney should benefit with Jason McCourty (arm) being out in Tennessee's secondary. Kyle Orton also remains a solid Fantasy option at quarterback.
Derrick Mason (at PIT): Mason doesn't seem to be adjusting well to his role as the No. 2 wide receiver for the Ravens with Boldin now the top target (28) for Flacco. In three games, Mason has just seven catches for 82 yards and one touchdown on 19 targets, and he has a tough matchup this week. The Steelers have only allowed one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver and none have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Mason only has one touchdown against the Steelers in his past five meetings, and he seems to have become an afterthought in this passing game. Keep Boldin active despite the matchup, but Mason should be considered a reserve option.
Steve Smith (at NO): We had Smith as the bust alert last week, and now he's just an outright sit. You just can't trust him with rookie Jimmy Clausen under center. Last week against the Bengals, Smith had only three catches for 22 yards, and he was targeted five times. Those numbers will go up this week, and Smith has a tremendous history against the Saints with three games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past five meetings. But New Orleans has only allowed one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver this year, and Smith has minimal upside in this matchup with his inexperienced quarterback. He should only be considered a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this week.
Hines Ward (vs. BAL): The Steelers wide receivers have been impossible to figure out based on their inconsistent quarterback play. Charlie Batch did a great job in place of the injured Dennis Dixon (knee) last week at Tampa Bay, and he connected with Ward for one touchdown and Mike Wallace for two scores (although the last one was a fluke on a tipped ball). This is the last game before Ben Roethlisberger (suspension) returns, and we're looking forward to considering Ward and Wallace as quality starting options again. Despite the touchdown last week, Ward had just three catches for 34 yards, and he has only four catches for 43 yards in his past two games. He hasn't scored a touchdown against the Ravens in his past five meetings, and Baltimore is No. 1 in pass defense with no opposing wide receiver gaining more than 60 yards. Don't count on much from Ward in this game.
Michael Crabtree (at ATL): Crabtree has easily been one of the biggest disappointments through three games this season with only six catches for 81 yards and no touchdowns against Seattle, New Orleans and Kansas City. It won't get any easier this week with a matchup against Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, who helped limit Marques Colston to four catches for 25 yards last week in New Orleans. The 49ers offense has fallen apart, and Crabtree has a lot to prove before Fantasy owners can trust him. Leave him on your bench this week with San Francisco also expected to be a little sluggish with the cross-country trip for the early start time at 1 p.m. ET. The only 49ers worth using in Fantasy leagues this week are Frank Gore and Vernon Davis.
Bust alert: Kevin Walter (at OAK): Three touchdowns in three straight games is hard to ignore, but eventually that streak is going to come to an end. And it could happen this week, especially if Andre Johnson (ankle) is out. Asomugha would then shift over to play Walter or Jacoby Jones, and that's a tough battle for either receiver. Walter also has struggled with the Raiders, having faced them in each of the past three years with just six catches for 91 yards and no touchdowns to show for it. He's a great receiver to stash on your bench and use when he has a favorable matchup, but the Texans should rely on their ground game this week. And if Johnson is out, the last thing you want in your lineup is Walter vs. Asomugha, because that matchup heavily favors the defense.
Zach Miller (vs. HOU): Miller is coming off a solid game in Week 3 against Arizona with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, and he has another good matchup this week. The Texans have struggled against tight ends with Dallas Clark and Chris Cooley scoring touchdowns the first two games, and Jason Witten had seven catches for 56 yards last week. In two games against the Texans in each of the past two years he has seven catches for 103 yards, but look for him to play well based on how Houston has done against tight ends this season.
Dustin Keller (at BUF): There's no reason to bench him now with 13 catches for 213 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games against New England and Miami, and he could find the end zone again this week. Buffalo has allowed double digits in Fantasy points in each of the past two games to Jermichael Finley and Rob Gronkowski, and Keller is the lone receiving threat for the Jets who should be a guaranteed starter in this matchup. He's playing too well to put on your bench.
Aaron Hernandez (at MIA): Another tight end who should remain active in all leagues. In his past two games against the Jets and Bills, Hernandez has 12 catches for 166 yards. He's losing touchdowns to Gronkowski, but Hernandez is a solid Fantasy option in leagues where receptions count. The Dolphins also struggle with tight ends as Visanthe Shiancoe and Keller have combined for 12 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns the past two games. Consider Hernandez a great bye-week replacement this week since he's only owned in 64 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com.
Sleeper alert: Kevin Boss (vs. CHI): Boss had his best game of the season last week against the Titans with three catches for 88 yards, and he has the chance to play well in this matchup. We like Boss as a sleeper in deeper formats, especially in leagues where receptions count. The Bears have yet to allow a touchdown to opposing tight ends, but they have given up the most catches to tight ends with 28. Tony Scheffler, Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett and Finley have each had at least five catches against Chicago. Boss might not find the end zone, but he could get five catches like all the rest of Chicago's opponents. He could be a good bye-week replacement since he's only owned in 31 percent of leagues.
Marcedes Lewis (vs. IND): Go to Lewis' player page and look at the decline in his Fantasy production. He had 15 points in Week 1 against Denver, seven points in Week 2 at San Diego and one point last week against Philadelphia. He's that type of player, one who could be all over the spectrum of production, which makes him hard to trust. In his past four games against the Colts he has 15 catches for 152 yards and no touchdowns, and the Colts have held opposing tight ends to seven catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns. Granted, the best tight end they faced was a limited Daniels in Week 1, but it's not like Lewis is going to post overwhelming stats to make him a No. 1 Fantasy option.
Todd Heap (at PIT): Heap had a tremendous game against the Steelers in Week 17 last year with two catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns, but it's the only time he's scored against Pittsburgh in his past five meetings. Only one time over that span has he gained at least 50 yards. The Steelers have done well against opposing tight ends this year, holding Tony Gonzalez and Kellen Winslow to a combined five catches for 59 yards, and Pittsburgh has yet to allow a tight end to score. We don't expect Heap to have another big game against the Steelers, and he should be considered a reserve this week.
Heath Miller (vs. BAL): We'll stay in the same game here and bench Miller as well since the Ravens have only allowed 11 catches for 84 yards and one touchdown to opposing tight ends, which includes Keller and Jermaine Gresham. Miller has struggled this year with only eight catches for 68 yards and no touchdowns, and he needs Roethlisberger to return before you can consider him a starting Fantasy option. In his past five games against Baltimore, Miller has just 12 catches for 91 yards and no touchdowns. He'll likely be doing more blocking and less receiving in this game.
Bust alert: Brent Celek (vs. WAS): Celek has been a tremendous disappointment thus far and one of the few Eagles weapons not to benefit from Vick as the starting quarterback. In three games, Celek has just nine catches for 101 yards and no touchdowns. Vick doesn't seem ready to involve him in the offense, which is odd considering the success he had in Atlanta with Alge Crumpler. The Redskins also have done well against opposing tight ends, holding Jason Witten and Owen Daniels to less than three Fantasy points in each matchup. And in two games against Washington last year, Celek had just seven catches for 41 yards and no touchdowns.
Falcons (vs. SF): The Falcons defense comes into this game playing at a high level. They are tied for the NFL lead with Tampa Bay with six interceptions after getting two from Drew Brees last week, and Atlanta also has seven sacks. That bodes well for the Falcons in a matchup with Alex Smith, who has five interceptions and two fumbles on the season. Atlanta will struggle to stop Gore, but Smith has at least two turnovers each week. With all the problems San Francisco is having on offense, the Falcons DST makes for a great bye-week replacement since they are only owned in 47 percent of leagues.
Other DSTs with good matchups: Chargers (vs. ARI), Colts (at JAC) and Bengals (at CLE)
Patriots (at MIA): The Patriots DST has gone downhill since a tremendous performance in Week 1 against the Bengals. They had 19 Fantasy points against Cincinnati but only eight the past two weeks against the Jets and Buffalo. New England is giving up 27 points per game, and the Dolphins offense played well in Week 3 against the Jets. The Patriots are struggling with their pass rush with only five sacks, and their secondary has been abused by some lackluster quarterbacks, allowing seven touchdowns and just three interceptions. Until they turn things around, don't consider the Patriots DST a No. 1 Fantasy option.
Mike Nugent (at CLE): In a game between two teams from Ohio we'll give the nod to the kicker from Ohio State. Nugent has played well so far this season with eight field goals and no missed kicks. He's also added five extra points, and this Bengals offense is poised for a big game. He has two field goals of 50-plus yards, and the Browns have allowed an average of two field goal attempts per game and 19 points per game. Nugent has at least eight Fantasy points in each game this season, and he's only owned in 63 percent of leagues. Consider him a quality bye-week replacement and a starting Fantasy option.
Jay Feely (at SD): Feely hasn't started out playing well in his first season with the Cardinals. He only has two field goals on three attempts, and the Cardinals offense could be shaky in this matchup with Steve Breaston now injured. The Chargers are allowing 20 points per game on defense, but they've only allowed four field goals in three games. Feely hasn't had more than six Fantasy points in a game, and he was limited to one point in his last road game in Week 2 at Atlanta. He is not worth starting in the majority of leagues this week.
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