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.
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Josh Freeman has been one of the best surprises for Fantasy owners this season. His best attribute might be his consistency.
He heads into Week 10 against Carolina tied for the No. 11 quarterback spot in standard-scoring leagues with Ryan Fitzpatrick at 134 Fantasy points, but you should have a good idea what you're getting from Freeman on a weekly basis. He's only had two games this season with fewer than 17 Fantasy points, but only twice this year he has scored more than 20.
One of those 20-point games was Week 2 at Carolina when he passed for 178 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 43 rushing yards for 23 Fantasy points, and we expect him to play well against the Panthers again, which is why he's our Start of the Week. You should also expect another big outing from wide receiver Mike Williams, who has scored a touchdown in consecutive games, and Kellen Winslow is also worth starting this week at tight end.
The Panthers are dealing with several injuries on defense, and they have allowed four passing touchdowns with only one interception in their past two games against Sam Bradford and Drew Brees. Carolina also has nothing to play for at 1-7, while Tampa Bay (5-3) remains in the hunt for a playoff spot, which should provide extra motivation for Freeman.
In a week where Fantasy owners are missing Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Brees on a bye week, and we've lost Tony Romo (collarbone) and Matthew Stafford (shoulder) to injuries, Freeman is an excellent replacement option. He might not post overwhelming stats, but he should do just enough to finish as a Top 10 quarterback in all leagues.
Sometimes having consistent production is just enough to help your Fantasy team win. And if he plays like he did in the first matchup with the Panthers then he could surprise you as one of the best Fantasy quarterbacks this week.
|Player||Fantasy Points (projected)||Fantasy Points (actual)||Start percentage|
|Eli Manning, QB, Giants||24||29||71|
|Michael Vick, QB, Eagles*||18||28||74|
|Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys||9||12||57|
|Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks||7||4||30|
|Todd Heap, TE, Ravens||5||2||55|
|Chad Ochocinco, WR, Bengals||6||1||59|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills||16||13||33|
|Shonn Greene, RB, Jets||11||4||45|
|BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots||14||1||82|
|Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions||15||28||19|
|Brett Favre, QB, Vikings||15||25||13|
|Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins||7||15||35|
| Our favorite sleeper in Week 9 was ... Brandon Jackson, who had 18 Fantasy points. He was started in 69 percent of leagues, but he finished with more Fantasy points than Jamaal Charles (nine), Darren McFadden (eight) and Matt Forte (seven). |
* - Start of the Week
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. NE): Roethlisberger has struggled statistically in his past two games against New Orleans and Cincinnati with a combined 16 Fantasy points, but he should rebound in this matchup with the Patriots, who have struggled with their secondary this year. New England has allowed five quarterbacks to throw for multiple touchdowns and three to reach at least 300 yards. The Patriots are No. 29 in pass defense, and Roethlisberger has seven touchdowns and one interception in his past four meetings with New England. Also, in his past four home games, Roethlisberger has nine touchdowns and three interceptions. He should finish as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback this week -- as long as Antwaan Randle El doesn't steal too many attempts.
Kyle Orton (vs. KC): Orton comes off the bye week looking to continue his stellar season. He has at least 16 Fantasy points in every start with four games of 24 Fantasy points. The best thing about Orton is he's attempted 35 or more passes five times as Denver tends to abandon the run, which means Orton has a good chance to be a productive Fantasy option on a weekly basis. The Chiefs have been solid in pass defense this year with only Rivers, Matt Schaub and Todd Bouman throwing for multiple touchdown passes, but Orton should throw enough times to be successful. In two games against Kansas City last year Orton had 611 passing yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Joe Flacco (at ATL): Flacco and Matt Ryan will always be linked together since they were drafted in the same year and have followed a similar career path with early success. Since they are facing each other this week you should consider both as starting Fantasy options. If, by chance, you own both then go with Flacco, who has been hot lately. In his past three games he is averaging 267 passing yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions, and the Falcons have allowed nine passing touchdowns with three interceptions in their past three games. Ryan has a more difficult matchup, especially with Roddy White (knee) at less than 100 percent, but he's always good at home and does well against pressure. In his past five home games, Ryan has averaged 256 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
David Garrard (vs. HOU): Garrard may never win over Fantasy owners who have constantly been burned every time they have counted on him, and this could again be one of those times. But it's hard to argue with his production. In his past three full games against Indianapolis, Buffalo and Dallas, he has missed on just 13 passes with 11 total touchdowns and four turnovers. The Texans are last in the NFL in pass defense and have allowed every quarterback except Donovan McNabb in Week 2 to pass for multiple touchdown passes, with three throwing three touchdowns and Rivers throwing four last week. All McNabb did was pass for 426 yards and one touchdown. Houston is not good in pass defense, Garrard is hot and we recommend him as a starting option this week.
Sleeper alert: Shaun Hill (at BUF): If Stafford (shoulder) were healthy he would likely have been our Start of the Week for this matchup against the Bills. Buffalo has allowed multiple touchdowns to six quarterbacks this season, and their secondary is not good with only one interception. Hill is back from his broken left forearm, and he will replace Stafford. When Hill filled in for Stafford as the starter from Week 2-6 he had three games with at least 24 Fantasy points against much tougher opponents in Philadelphia, Green Bay and St. Louis. We would have considered Drew Stanton a sleeper this week based on Buffalo's defense and all the talent Detroit has on offense. If you need a quarterback this week, take a flier on Hill, and also look for Fitzpatrick to play well in what should be a high-scoring game. For more sleeper quarterbacks, including Mark Sanchez, click here.
Brett Favre (at CHI): Favre was great last week against Arizona with 25 Fantasy points. But chalk that up to facing a bad defense in the Cardinals. In his three previous games, Favre combined for 24 Fantasy points against Dallas, Green Bay and New England. And in his past two games on the road against the Packers and Patriots he has one touchdown and four interceptions. This week he's facing a Bears defense that leads the NFL in fewest passing touchdowns allowed with just five. The Arizona game was the first time Favre threw more than 40 times with 47 attempts, and his sore elbow could be even worse. On top of that, Brad Childress doesn't want to play comeback like that again. Favre is too risky to consider a starting option this week.
Carson Palmer (at IND): Palmer's production the past three games has been solid with an average of 23 Fantasy points against Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh. He has seven touchdowns and two interceptions over that span, and he's doing a great job of throwing to Terrell Owens, who is the No. 1 Fantasy wide receiver in standard leagues. He did well in a tough matchup against the Steelers last week, but he could struggle in his matchup with the Colts, especially in Indianapolis. The Colts have only allowed one quarterback (Orton) to pass for more than 250 yards this year, and Eli Manning and Garrard are the only quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns. In three home games against Manning, Matt Cassel and Schaub, the Colts have allowed an average of 173 passing yards with only three touchdowns and two interceptions. This should be a week where Cedric Benson carries the offense for the Bengals.
Matt Cassel (at DEN): Cassel has taken advantage of his good matchups recently and comes into this game at Denver with eight touchdowns and one interception in his past four outings. He only has one game with fewer than 19 Fantasy points, and he played well last week at Oakland with 216 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. But the Broncos have done well in pass defense with Peyton Manning the only quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards. They have allowed 12 touchdowns with only five interceptions, but they did a solid job against Cassel last season, holding him to 291 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions in two meetings. With Denver's run defense among the worst in the NFL, this should be a game where Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones carry the load.
Jay Cutler (vs. MIN): Cutler had a solid Fantasy day against Buffalo in Week 9 with 22 points, but he only passed for 188 yards on 57 percent completions. And that was against the Bills. The Vikings have struggled in pass defense at times this season, but Romo and Rodgers are the only quarterbacks to throw for multiple touchdowns. Rodgers is also the only quarterback to pass for more 250 yards. As we've seen all season, when Cutler faces pressure he tends to struggle, and the Vikings should be blitzing all game. Cutler played three games in October with one touchdown, five interceptions and 19 sacks and is prone to poor performances. This could be another bad game in what has been an erratic year.
Donovan McNabb (vs. PHI): Will he be able to finish the game based on his stamina? Does he know the playbook enough? Can he play well against his former team? There are so many issues with McNabb this week that it makes him a risky Fantasy option. He should be motivated to face the Eagles for the second time this year, but he struggled in the first meeting in an emotional return to Philadelphia with 125 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. He has yet to throw for multiple touchdown passes in a game this year and has seven touchdowns and eight interceptions on the season. The Eagles have been hit or miss with their pass defense, but they contained Peyton Manning last week to 294 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. This is a key matchup for the Eagles, and they should turn up the pressure on McNabb. Also keep in mind that Philadelphia is among the league leaders in interceptions (13) and sacks (24), which also doesn't bode well for McNabb.
Bust alert: Tom Brady (at PIT): You probably can't afford to bench Brady this week with all the quality quarterbacks on a bye. And it's going to be tough to sit him based on his name value alone. But if you just looked at his recent production you would say he is not a good Fantasy quarterback. In his past four games -- all without Moss -- he has averaged just 15 Fantasy points with last week's game at Cleveland his best performance with 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. But the Browns don't present the same level of difficulty as the Steelers, who have struggled the past two games against Brees and Palmer, but are still among the league leaders with only eight touchdowns allowed and 24 sacks. The Patriots have become a dink and dunk offense, and Brady might finish with minimal stats. Now, with Pittsburgh's run defense, Brady could be throwing all game and finish with quality production. He also has a great history against the Steelers with an average of 334 passing yards in four meetings with nine touchdowns and three interceptions over that span. The bottom line with Brady is that it's starting to become a risk to keep him active in Fantasy leagues. If you feel comfortable benching him for someone like Freeman or Garrard, that's a move you should make because those quarterbacks likely have a higher ceiling for this week.
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LeGarrette Blount (vs. CAR): As you can see, we're going all in on the Bucs this week, and Blount is no exception. He has an excellent matchup against the Panthers, who just lost middle linebacker Dan Connor (hip) for the season. Carolina has allowed just five rushing touchdowns this year, but the Panthers are No. 26 in run defense at 125 yards per game allowed. Blount struggled last week at Atlanta with 13 carries for 46 yards, but that was a tough matchup. He should have better production this week with the chance to find the end zone. Carolina has allowed six running backs to reach at least nine Fantasy points this season.
Brandon Jacobs (vs. DAL): Jacobs continues to play at a high level and is thriving in the secondary role behind starter Ahmad Bradshaw. He has five touchdowns in his past four games, and his worst game for Fantasy owners was last week at Seattle when he finished with 11 carries for 78 yards without scoring. Part of that recent stretch was his performance at Dallas in Week 7 when he had 12 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown, and he has four touchdowns in his past four meetings with the Cowboys. Dallas has allowed a running back to score or reach 100 rushing yards in each of its past seven games.
Jahvid Best (at BUF): This is a great game for Best to get back on track since the Bills have the worst run defense in the NFL. They have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs with seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Best hasn't scored since Week 2 and has been dealing with turf toe, but he's finding a way to be productive with at least 70 total yards in four of his past five games. He even got 16 carries last week against the Jets, which could be a sign that he's feeling better despite still playing in pain. With Stafford out, the Lions might increase the touches for Best, and we consider him a solid starting option this week. Kevin Smith could also be considered a sleeper, and Buffalo running back Fred Jackson should also run well this week against the Lions and is worth starting in the majority of leagues.
Thomas Jones (vs. DEN): Jones struggled last week at Oakland with 19 carries for 32 yards, but he continues to be involved on offense, which shouldn't change this week against Denver's porous run defense. We like Jones and Charles to have a big game since the Broncos lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed with 14 and are No. 31 in run defense at 157 yards per game. There should be enough production for Charles and Jones, and Jones has been getting the majority of carries recently. In his past four games, Jones has 77 carries compared to 63 for Charles. It's clear the Chiefs will continue to rely on Jones, who has three games this season with double digits in Fantasy points. Look for him to rebound from last week's performance and have a solid outing.
Tim Hightower (vs. SEA): There's a good chance Beanie Wells (knee) could miss the game or be limited like he was last week at Minnesota, which would open the door for Hightower to play well in a favorable matchup. Seattle's run defense has fallen apart the past five games with seven running backs reaching double digits in Fantasy points and five scoring touchdowns. For the season, the Seahawks have given up nine touchdowns to opposing running backs, including Wells in Week 7. Hightower has been limited recently because of his fumble issues, but he could see an increase in touches with Wells hurt. In the first two weeks of the season against St. Louis and Atlanta, Hightower started and had two touchdowns and finished both games with double digits in Fantasy points. He's a nice sleeper in deeper leagues for Week 10.
Sleeper alert: Mike Goodson (at TB): Goodson isn't worth starting in the majority of leagues. What would make you think he can succeed where DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart failed? But with Williams (foot) and Stewart (concussion) expected to be out, Goodson will start in what is a favorable matchup. The Bucs are No. 30 in run defense at 147 yards per game, and they have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs with eight reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Goodson actually had his best game of the season in Week 2 against Tampa Bay even with Williams and Stewart healthy with five carries for 20 yards and two catches for 33 yards. There isn't much to like about Carolina in Week 10, but Goodson might be the Panthers' best Fantasy option. If you need a running back in a deeper league, give him a shot based on how much he should touch the ball. For more sleeper running backs, including Donald Brown, click here.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at PIT): Green-Ellis was a disappointment last week at Cleveland with nine carries for 14 yards, and he could struggle again in this matchup. The Steelers are No. 1 in run defense, and last week Benson was only the third running back to score against them and first since Week 4. Benson and Willis McGahee are the only running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points against Pittsburgh. We like Danny Woodhead to actually have a better game than Green-Ellis this week, but you shouldn't have high hopes for either Patriots running back in this game.
Felix Jones (at NYG): Jones has seen his production decline in each of the past four games, and there's no reason to suggest a sudden surge is coming in this matchup with the Giants. After the bye in Week 4 when the Cowboys said Jones would get more touches, he had 11 Fantasy points against Tennessee the following week. He then went to nine points at Minnesota, five points against the Giants, three points against Jacksonville and one point last week at Green Bay. Are we headed for negative numbers in the rematch with New York? That's not likely, but don't expect more than the five he got in Week 7. The Giants are No. 2 in run defense and have shut down Matt Forte, Arian Foster, Best and Marshawn Lynch in recent weeks. They should be able to contain Jones once again.
Ricky Williams (vs. TEN): Maybe the move to Chad Pennington as the new starting quarterback for the Dolphins will jumpstart the offense, but Williams has not seen much involvement recently. Last week at Baltimore was a new low when he had two carries for 1 yard and no catches. He does have two touchdowns on the season, but the Titans come into this game with only three rushing touchdowns allowed. Williams isn't expected to be successful as long as Ronnie Brown is healthy, and Brown had his best game of the season against the Ravens, which could increase his touches. Keep Williams stashed on your bench, but you might not want to start him as long as he continues to share carries with Brown.
Shonn Greene (at CLE): We keep waiting for Greene to become more of a factor on offense, but his past three games have been a disappointment. It's not like LaDainian Tomlinson has been dominant recently, but he remains the better Fantasy option in New York's backfield. In Greene's past three games against Denver, Green Bay and Detroit he has combined for 25 carries for 111 yards and no touchdowns, and he only has one touchdown for the season. The Browns have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season to Rashard Mendenhall in Week 6, and they have held Jones, Charles, Ray Rice and Benson to single digits in Fantasy points. It's hard to bench Tomlinson based on his ability to catch the ball, but Greene should be considered a risky starting option this week.
Willis McGahee (at ATL): You have to be impressed with McGahee's recent production. He has a touchdown in four of his past five games and has done well playing in tandem with Rice. But this is a tough matchup for the Ravens on the ground at Atlanta, and it makes using the second running back for Baltimore a risky option. The Falcons have only allowed three touchdowns to opposing running backs and none rushing since Week 2. You're not going to bench Rice, who gets the majority of touches, but you should only use McGahee as a No. 3 running back or flex. In his past five games he has averaged just nine touches a game when you consider he was a healthy scratch against New England in Week 6. There are better running backs available this week than McGahee.
Bust alert: Matt Forte (vs. MIN): Chester Taylor's role is expected to increase for the Bears, especially this week against his former team, which makes Forte a questionable starting option in standard leagues. Taylor already stole a touchdown from Forte last week against Buffalo, and Forte hasn't scored in his past two games with only 12 Fantasy points over that span. He also struggled against the Vikings last year with 29 carries for 101 yards and five catches for 27 yards with no touchdowns, and Minnesota should be able to push around this Chicago offensive line. You should still plan on using Forte in leagues where receptions count based on his ability to make plays out of the backfield, but owners in standard formats might consider benching him for this matchup.
Dez Bryant (at NYG): The one good thing to come out of the Cowboys recent woes has been the play from Bryant. In his past four games he has 22 catches for 255 yards and four touchdowns, and he deserves to be started in all leagues. He had two touchdown catches in Week 7 against the Giants, and he's easily Jon Kitna's best weapon since he took over from Romo. Maybe the Giants will focus on Bryant, which could open things up for Miles Austin to start playing at a high level again, but you have to keep Bryant active based on his recent play. We know Dallas can't run the ball so look for Bryant and all the receivers to see a significant amount of targets in this matchup.
Randy Moss (at MIA): There's uncertainty with Moss, and rightfully so. He's been traded twice this year and likely has Kerry Collins as his starting quarterback against the Dolphins. But Moss has shined in his first game with a new team with 22 catches for 489 yards and five touchdowns in four "debut" appearances. He's also been a Miami killer with five touchdowns in his past four meetings, and the Dolphins have struggled recently with wide receivers, allowing Greg Jennings, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Owens and Derrick Mason to all reach double digits in Fantasy points with six touchdowns between them in the past four games. Moss went without a catch against the Dolphins in Week 4 when he was with the Patriots, but he only had one target in the game. He should see more action this week, and we're expecting him to play well. We would also consider using Nate Washington as a starter since he should benefit now that Moss is his teammate.
Mike Sims-Walker (vs. HOU): We'll see if he can come through when it matters now that Fantasy owners are starting to believe in him. He has a touchdown in each of his past two games against Kansas City and Dallas and has scored in three of his past four outings. Unlike last year when he did all of his damage at home, he has only scored on the road this season. But he has a tremendous matchup this week against the Texans, who have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Last week, undrafted rookie Seyi Ajirotutu for the Chargers had four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns at Houston, and Sims-Walker has the chance to follow suit. You never know what to expect from Sims-Walker, but we're putting our faith in Jacksonville's passing game this week based on the matchup.
Santonio Holmes (at CLE): We'll see if this trend holds true now that he's with the Jets. Holmes, a former standout at Ohio State, has done well going to Cleveland in his career with the Steelers. In four career games at Cleveland, Holmes has combined for 18 catches for 375 yards and two touchdowns. He hasn't had fewer than nine Fantasy points in any meeting, and he's coming off his best game with the Jets last week at Detroit with five catches for 114 yards. We also like Braylon Edwards in this matchup against his former team for the first time, and the Browns have struggled in pass defense this year, allowing 10 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers and eight to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Last week, Sanchez hit Edwards for a 74-yard touchdown, his fifth of the season, and the Jets duo should shine in this matchup.
Pierre Garcon (vs. CIN): With Austin Collie (concussion) out you have to assume Peyton Manning will rely a little more on Garcon and not force all of his targets to Reggie Wayne and Jacob Tamme. This is also a quality matchup for Garcon against the Bengals, who have struggled in pass defense recently and are playing on a short week after losing to Pittsburgh on Monday night. Cincinnati, still minus standout pass rusher Antwan Odom (suspension), has allowed six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the past four games against Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh. Garcon has struggled this season with one touchdown, and he was shutdown last week at Philadelphia with two catches for 15 yards. But this is a good game for him to have a breakout performance, and we also like Blair White as a sleeper based on the matchup and his increased opportunity with Collie not available.
Sleeper alert: Steve Breaston (vs. SEA): Breaston didn't play in Week 7 at Seattle because he was still dealing with a knee injury, but he will be excited for this matchup in Week 10. In his past three meetings with the Seahawks, Breaston has 16 catches for 247 yards and a touchdown in each game. He will look to extend that scoring streak to four with Seattle having plenty of issues in the secondary. The Seahawks have allowed three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their past four games with four reaching double digits in Fantasy points in matchups with Chicago, Arizona, Oakland and the Giants. Last week was just the second time this season where Breaston failed to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but he should post positive stats this week against a team he loves to play. For more sleeper wide receivers, including Danny Amendola, click here.
Chad Ochocinco (at IND): There's a chance Ochocinco goes off this week, especially if the Colts build a lead, forcing the Bengals to throw from behind. There is also the chance to make a public statement that all is well with Ochocinco and the rest of the team after his poor display Monday night against the Steelers where he was asked to sit because of his constant complaints. His play has been abysmal this season aside from two games against New England and Atlanta, and in his past two outings against the Dolphins and Steelers he's combined for four catches for 49 yards and no touchdowns with Owens doing all the heavy lifting. Andre Johnson, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are the only receivers to score against the Colts in Indianapolis this season in three home games, and it will likely be tough for Ochocinco to find success this week. Besides, do you really want to trust him as anything more than a third option with the way he's playing?.
Santana Moss (vs. PHI): Moss will face a familiar opponent this week, but it's a rival he hasn't had much success against. In 10 career games against the Eagles, Moss has caught 42 passes for 528 yards and two touchdowns. More recently, in his past five meetings he has just 15 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown, and he was held without a catch at Philadelphia in Week 4 with just one carry for 5 yards. Moss also has just one touchdown in his past five games, and in Week 7 at Detroit he was held to six catches for 56 yards. It's hard to bench Moss because he's so involved in the passing game in Washington, but the Eagles have found a way to render him ineffective. This is a week where's better off only being used as a No. 3 Fantasy option.
Steve Smith (at TB): The days of Smith as a starting Fantasy option in the majority of leagues are likely over. In his past three games against San Francisco, St. Louis and New Orleans he has averaged three Fantasy points, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2, which was the first meeting with the Bucs. But now he has Jimmy Clausen as his starting quarterback again with Matt Moore (shoulder) out for the season, and we saw how this experiment worked earlier this year. In two games with Clausen as the starter in Week 3 and 4 against Cincinnati and New Orleans, Smith combined for five catches for 33 yards. Tampa Bay may not have a great secondary, but Smith isn't in a great situation right now and might never be again, at least in terms of his Fantasy value.
Wes Welker (at PIT): It's hard to start Welker in a standard league based on his recent performance. In Week 9 at Cleveland he needed to kick an extra point with Stephen Gostkowski (thigh) hurt to get four Fantasy points, which was his best outing in his past three games. Welker has just 13 Fantasy points in the four games since Moss was traded, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2. Teams are just sitting on his underneath routes, and he might be showing the drawbacks from last year's knee injury with no speed to get downfield. You have to start Welker in leagues where receptions count based on all the targets he gets each week, but he's just not playing well. It's time to look at his recent production and call him a sit for his matchup with the Steelers.
Dwayne Bowe (at DEN): Bowe has been among the hottest wide receivers of the season with his performance in the past four games. He has 17 catches for 268 yards and five touchdowns against Houston, Jacksonville, Buffalo and Oakland with a four-game scoring streak entering Week 10. But this is a difficult matchup for him against Denver cornerback Champ Bailey, who is still playing at a high level. Bailey has done well against Sims-Walker, Wayne and Anquan Boldin this year, holding them to a combined five catches for 73 yards and no touchdowns. The Broncos also have a good history against Bowe since he has 26 catches for 327 yards and no touchdowns against Denver in five career meetings. Last year at Denver, Bowe was held to one catch for 6 yards. It's almost impossible to sit Bowe based on his recent play, but don't be surprised if his touchdown streak comes to an end with Bailey draped all over him.
Bust alert: Brandon Marshall (vs. TEN): Remember, the bust alert doesn't always mean to bench someone. Sometimes you just have to lower your expectations, and you have probably done so with Marshall already based on his recent play. In his past three games, Marshall has just 15 catches for 151 yards and no touchdowns, and he's only scored once this season. And now we have a quarterback change from Chad Henne to Pennington. That could improve Marshall's outlook since Pennington is extremely accurate and won't turn the ball over, but this is also a difficult matchup. Marshall will see a lot of Cortland Finnegan, who is a standout cornerback, and the Titans have allowed just four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers with six reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Again, it's hard to bench Marshall based on his potential, but this could be another week where he struggles.
Brandon Pettigrew (at BUF): Pettigrew has every tight end's dream matchup in the Bills. Buffalo has allowed the most touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year with eight and six have reached at least eight Fantasy points. Greg Olsen was the latest tight end to score against Buffalo in Week 9, and Pettigrew shouldn't lose much production with Hill stepping in for Stafford. In five starts with Hill, Pettigrew had 32 catches for 330 yards and a touchdown, and he has a two-game scoring streak coming into this matchup. There's a good chance he could make it three in a row based on Buffalo's porous defense.
Marcedes Lewis (vs. HOU): Lewis is looking for his first touchdown against the Texans, but there's a good chance he can get one this week. Houston leads the NFL with 20 passing touchdowns allowed, with six going to tight ends. Last week, Randy McMichael, who was filling in for the injured Antonio Gates (foot), scored two touchdowns against the Texans, and five tight ends have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Lewis comes into this matchup with a career-high seven touchdowns, and he's developed a great rapport with Garrard this season. He is definitely worth starting in the majority of leagues.
Chris Cooley (vs. PHI): The Eagles have allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year, and Cooley scored one of them in Week 4 when he finished with two catches for 37 yards on five targets. Five tight ends have also finished with at least nine Fantasy points, including last week when Jacob Tamme had 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Cooley hasn't posted overwhelming stats this season, but he does have four games with at least six Fantasy points. Santana Moss has a bad history against the Eagles, so someone has to catch the ball, and Cooley is the most likely choice. He has two touchdowns in his past five meetings with Philadelphia.
Sleeper alert: Joel Dreessen (at JAC): There's a good chance Owen Daniels (hamstring) is going to be out again after missing Week 9 against San Diego, and if that's the case then consider Dreessen a potential starting Fantasy option in all leagues. Dreessen played well against the Chargers last week, and he has another favorable matchup in Week 10 at Jacksonville. He had a team-high eight targets against San Diego, and he's played better than the injured Daniels this season with two touchdowns to none. The Jaguars have allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season, and it appears like Schaub has trust in Dreessen. Someone has to step up and help Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, and Dreessen is a likely candidate.
Benjamin Watson (vs. NYJ): The Jets have allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends, including last week against Pettigrew. But only one tight end has reached double digits in Fantasy points, which was Aaron Hernandez in Week 2. Watson has cooled off the past two games after his breakout performance at Pittsburgh in Week 6 with two catches for 42 yards against New Orleans and New England. Watson might be asked to do more blocking with the Jets attacking defense, and he might not see many targets. This is not a good week to consider him a starting option in the majority of leagues.
Brent Celek (at WAS): Celek nearly broke out of his Michael Vick-lockdown last week against the Colts when he appeared to catch a 56-yard touchdown, but it was negated by a holding penalty. He and Vick are just not connecting, and his two touchdowns have come with Kevin Kolb under center, including Week 4 against Washington when Vick was injured. Celek only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points, which was Week 5 at San Francisco. He also has five games with fewer than five Fantasy points, including last week against Indianapolis when he had no catches. In two games against the Redskins last year, Celek had seven catches for 41 yards, and Washington has not allowed a tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year.
Todd Heap (at ATL): The Falcons had two tough games with tight ends this year in Week 3 against New Orleans and Week 4 against San Francisco when Jeremy Shockey and Vernon Davis scored touchdowns. Since then they have shut down Watson, Celek (with Kolb), Jermaine Gresham and Winslow to 50 yards or less and no touchdowns in each game. Heap has been hit or miss with three touchdowns in two games against New England and Buffalo before getting shut down last week against Miami with just two catches for 23 yards on two targets. In four road games this year, Heap has just 16 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown.
Bust alert: Greg Olsen (vs. MIN): We had Olsen as a sleeper last week against the Bills, and he came through with three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. He took advantage of a great matchup, but this should be a tougher task with the Vikings. We could see Olsen doing more blocking like he has done recently, and keep in mind he went two games against Carolina and Seattle in Week 5 and 6 without a catch. He has scored in each of his past two home games against the Vikings, but Minnesota has only allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year and has done well against Pettigrew, Dustin Keller, Jason Witten and Hernandez with each gaining less than 53 receiving yards and no touchdowns. He could score again this week, but we'd be careful in using him as a starter.
Buccaneers (vs. CAR): The Buccaneers DST has four games this season with double digits in Fantasy points, including three games with at least 15 points. One of those games was Week 2 at Carolina when Tampa Bay allowed just seven points with two interceptions and four sacks – and that was with Moore and a healthy backfield. For the season, the Bucs only have six sacks, so that tells you something. On top of that, the Panthers will start Clausen again and are missing Williams and Stewart. The Panthers have allowed at least 15 Fantasy points to the last four DSTs they have faced with an average of 23 against Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis and New Orleans.
Other DSTs with good matchups: Eagles (at WAS), Cardinals (vs. SEA) and Rams (at SF)
Patriots (at PIT): The Patriots DST has not played well this season, and last week was a new low point. They scored just two Fantasy points at Cleveland with no sacks, no interceptions and 34 points allowed. The Patriots DST has only one game with double digits in Fantasy points in their past four outings, and that was at San Diego in Week 7. The Steelers could have a turnover or two, especially with Roethlisberger throwing an interception. But New England has a struggling pass rush – three sacks in the past three games – which should negate some of the issues the Steelers have on the offensive line. The Patriots are always a threat to score on special teams, but Pittsburgh should be able to score at will. Consider the Patriots DST a risky starting option for this week.
Lawrence Tynes (vs. DAL): Tynes has been fantastic in his past three games. He has six field goals and 14 extra points against Houston, Dallas and Seattle with double digits in Fantasy points in all three outings. The game against the Cowboys was in Week 7, and he went 2 of 2 on field goals with five extra points. The Cowboys have changed coaches by firing Wade Phillips, but they still have the same lousy defense. And the Giants offense is playing at an unbelievable level. The only concern with Tynes is his best games have come on the road. In three home games this year he is 3 of 6 on field goals, but that happened in the first four weeks of the season. A lot has changed since then, and Tynes is worth trusting in this matchup.
Ryan Longwell (at CHI): The Bears defense is No. 4 in scoring at just 16.6 points per game. They have only allowed 16 touchdowns on the season, and they have been difficult for opposing kickers this year. Chicago is tied with Minnesota and Tampa Bay for fewest made field goals at seven, and the Bears are tied with the Saints for the fewest made extra points at 14. It adds up to allowing the fewest Fantasy points to opposing kickers, and it makes Longwell someone you should bench. Last week was his best game with nine Fantasy points against the Cardinals, and it was the first time he had multiple field goals in a game this year. And in his past five games on grass, including last year at Chicago, Longwell has struggled, going 4 of 5 on field goals and 14 of 15 on extra points.
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