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Week 10 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you evaluate players you might be on the fence about.

As you know, we're not fans of stating the obvious. We leave that to our competitors. And the way we determine who is a no-brainer suggestion is based on start percentage. If a player is usually active in more than 80 percent of leagues then you know to start him, and we're not telling you anything important.

I'm starting Johnson over ...
Rashard Mendenhall, PIT at CIN
Shonn Greene, NYJ vs. NE
Beanie Wells, ARI at PHI
Cedric Benson, CIN vs. PIT
Marshawn Lynch, SEA vs. BAL

But, as in life, there are some gray areas, and in this case we feel the need to discuss Chris Johnson as a must-start Fantasy running back this week even though his start percentage for Week 9 was 75 percent when he faced Cincinnati. This is a week to start Johnson with confidence.

You know the story by now. His holdout caused a sluggish start, and he seemingly hasn't recovered. He only has three games with double digits in Fantasy points, one touchdown and one game with more than 100 rushing yards. But Week 10 should be his best game of the season.

He's facing the Panthers this week, and the former East Carolina standout is going back near his college town, which could provide extra motivation. He also has a tremendous matchup.

Carolina has allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. The Panthers have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing running backs, seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points and Matt Forte, Michael Turner and Adrian Peterson have each reached the 20-point threshold.

Johnson is coming off a positive week against the Bengals with 14 carries for 64 yards and four catches for 46 yards, and we hope he can build off that performance. He should not be considered a Top 5 or even Top 10 Fantasy running back this week, but he is useful as a Top 20 option, which for Johnson these days is a positive outlook.

Full Disclosure from Week 9
Start of the Week
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage Rank at position
Beanie Wells, RB, ARI 16 3 84 No. 33
Recommended starts that made us look good
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage Rank at position
Julio Jones, WR, ATL 8 28 58 No. 2
Matt Ryan, QB, ATL 21 27 78 No. 3
Tim Tebow, QB, DEN 19 27 25 No. 5
Eli Manning, QB, NYG 23 21 77 No. 11
Mike Tolbert, RB, SD 10 19 69 No. 4
Michael Bush, RB, OAK 12 18 82 No. 6
Pierre Thomas, RB, NO 10 14 63 No. 11
Antonio Brown, WR, PIT 8 10 51 No. 11
Recommended starts that made us look bad
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage Rank at position
Matt Cassel, QB, KC 20 13 33 No. 19
Mark Sanchez, QB, NYJ 19 11 25 No. 20
Jackie Battle, RB, KC 12 4 68 No. 32
Deion Branch, WR, NE 10 2 64 No. 59
Recommended sits that made us look good
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage Rank at position
Joe Flacco, QB, BAL 15 16 24 No. 17
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF 17 11 28 No. 21
Reggie Wayne, WR, IND 5 3 51 No. 58
Nate Washington, WR, TEN 6 2 46 No. 69
Dallas Clark, TE, IND 6 2 37 No. 21
Scott Chandler, TE, BUF 3 2 25 No. 20
Ryan Torain, RB, WAS 5 0 30 No. 54
Delone Carter, RB, IND 7 Minus-2 19 No. 55
Recommended sits that made us look bad
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage Rank at position
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, TEN 17 22 15 No. 10
Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA 7 19 40 No. 5
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT 9 11 77 No. 17

Quarterback

Start 'Em

Week 10 sleeper QBs
Jay Cutler, CHI vs. DET
Carson Palmer, OAK at SD
Christian Ponder, MIN at GB

Eli Manning (at SF): The Giants will likely struggle to run the ball this week against the 49ers, especially if Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) remains out, so look for Manning to throw a lot. He is coming off another solid outing against the Patriots last week with 21 Fantasy points, and he has done well on the road this season. In his past three road games at Philadelphia, Arizona and New England, Manning has eight touchdowns and one interception with at least 250 passing yards in each game. The 49ers have also given up multiple touchdown passes four times this year, including twice at home against Tarvaris Jackson in Week 1 and Tony Romo in Week 2. (Started in 77 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Matt Ryan (vs. NO): Ryan is coming off his best game of the season in Week 9 at the Colts with 27 Fantasy points, and we hope he can build off that performance. He connected on three touchdowns, including two plays of 50-plus yards to Julio Jones. Ryan doesn't have the best history against the Saints with an average of 246 passing yards, eight total touchdowns and four interceptions in his past five games. But New Orleans has allowed four quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns this season, including three on the road with Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman. (Started in 78 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Matt Cassel (vs. DEN): Cassel was a disappointment last week when he had just 13 Fantasy points against the Dolphins at home. He has struggled in good matchups already this season with two Fantasy points at Oakland in Week 7 and last week's performance against Miami. But this is another good matchup for Cassel, and we suggest starting him if needed. The Broncos allow the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Every quarterback but Matt Moore in Week 7 has scored multiple touchdowns against Denver, and last week Carson Palmer had 332 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions against the Broncos. One of Cassel's best games in 2010 came against Denver when he had 469 passing yards and four touchdowns, and he should play well again this week. (Started in 33 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Tim Tebow (at KC): Tebow will always have fond memories facing the Chiefs. He threw his first NFL pass against Kansas City in Week 10 last year, which went for a 3-yard touchdown to Spencer Larsen. He also ran for a touchdown in the same game, and he was only on the field for three plays. This time around we all know Tebow is starting, and he should pick up where he left off last week at Oakland when he had 27 Fantasy points in a standard league. This now gives him five games with at least 24 Fantasy points in six career starts, and the Chiefs defense has struggled with opposing quarterbacks this season. Kansas City has allowed five quarterbacks to throw for multiple touchdowns, including Donovan McNabb, Curtis Painter and Moore. (Started in 25 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Mark Sanchez (vs. NE): It's becoming evident that you start the quarterback facing the Patriots every week. New England has allowed every quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards or multiple touchdowns this season. On the road, the Patriots have given up seven total touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks and an average of 374 passing yards in four games. Sanchez faced New England in Week 5 and had 18 Fantasy points, and he had 220 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Jets at home last year. He should play well again in the rematch. (Started in 25 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Sit 'Em

Ryan Fitzpatrick (at DAL): Fitzpatrick has definitely shown his warts of late, and he's no longer a starting Fantasy option in the majority of leagues. He has not reached 20 Fantasy points since Week 3, and he has struggled on the road this year. In his past two road games at Cincinnati and the Giants, Fitzpatrick has combined for 24 Fantasy points. He is coming off a poor outing against the Jets with just 11 Fantasy points, and the Cowboys have allowed just one quarterback to score more than 15 Fantasy points at home this season, which was Stafford in Week 4 when he had 19. (Started in 28 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Joe Flacco (at SEA): Flacco played a great game at the Steelers in Week 9, but he still had minimal Fantasy production with just 16 points. That's just who Flacco is -- a good NFL quarterback and a poor Fantasy option. Even in a potential positive matchup with the Seahawks, it's difficult to trust Flacco. He also has struggled on the road with only one game with more than 16 Fantasy points in four outings at Tennessee (nine points), St. Louis (33), Jacksonville (nine) and Pittsburgh. The Seahawks have also allowed an average of just 16 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in three home games. (Started in 24 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Matt Hasselbeck (at CAR): Hasselbeck was great in Week 9 against the Bengals with 22 Fantasy points, but it was just his first multi-touchdown game in his past four outings. The Panthers have only allowed one quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns against them since Week 2, and that was against Drew Brees. The Titans should be able to run the ball against the Panthers this week, and Hasselbeck shouldn't have to throw the ball 41 times like he did against Cincinnati. He also had just 14 Fantasy points in his last road game at Pittsburgh in Week 5. (Started in 15 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Andy Dalton (vs. PIT): We had Dalton as a sleeper last week against the Titans, and he came through with his best game of the season with 26 Fantasy points. But he should be mediocre at best in his matchup with the Steelers. Pittsburgh has only allowed one quarterback to reach 20 Fantasy points since Week 1, which was Kevin Kolb in a surprise performance in Week 7. So far this season the Steelers have been able to limit Matt Schaub, Tom Brady and Flacco last week to fewer than 20 Fantasy points, and they should be able to contain Dalton in this matchup. He is a risky starting option in most standard formats. (Started in 18 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Josh Freeman (vs. HOU): We said Freeman would be marginal in Week 9 against the Saints, and he was with 17 Fantasy points. He will likely be marginal again this week against Houston. The Texans have only allowed one quarterback to reach 20 Fantasy points, including matchups with Ben Roethlisberger, Flacco and Hasselbeck, and Freeman has just one game with more than 20 points in his past four games and only two on the season. Freeman did a nice job eliminating mistakes against New Orleans, but he still has six interceptions in his past four outings and 10 on the season, which is almost double the amount he had in 2010. Freeman should be considered a Top 15 Fantasy quarterback this week at best. (Started in 35 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Bust alert: Tom Brady (at NYJ): We're not saying to sit Brady in the majority of leagues. But, for example, if you own Brady along with Tebow, Newton or Matthew Stafford, you should sit Brady in that scenario. He has not played well against the Jets in New York in the Rex Ryan era. Last year, Brady had 15 Fantasy points at the Jets, and he had six Fantasy points in 2009. He had just 16 Fantasy points against the Jets at home in Week 5, and the Jets have only allowed one quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns against them this season, which was Week 1 against Romo. They have six interceptions in their past three games with five passing touchdowns allowed and 13 interceptions on the season. Again, it's hard to bench Brady in most formats, but this is a week where he could struggle. (Started in 99 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Running back

Start 'Em

Week 10 sleeper RBs
Ben Tate, HOU at TB
Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE vs. STL
Roy Helu, WAS at MIA
Danny Woodhead, NE at NYJ
Donald Brown, IND vs. JAC

Mike Tolbert (vs. OAK): Ryan Mathews (groin) is expected to return this week against the Raiders after sitting out in Week 9 against the Packers, but Tolbert should still play well. He had 19 Fantasy points against Green Bay and now has consecutive games with double digits in Fantasy points. He scored two touchdowns against the Raiders in two games last season, and Oakland has allowed nine touchdowns to opposing running backs and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Mathews is also worth starting this week, but Tolbert should have the better outing. (Started in 69 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Willis McGahee (at KC): McGahee showed in Week 9 that his hand injury is of little concern with 28 Fantasy points at Oakland. He now has double digits in Fantasy points in five of his past six games, and he should run well against the Chiefs. Kansas City has allowed nine touchdowns to opposing running backs and seven have reached double digits in Fantasy points, including Reggie Bush last week when he had 142 total yards and a touchdown. We don't expect McGahee to run for 163 yards and two touchdowns again, but he should reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Started in 45 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Reggie Bush (vs. WAS): Bush might be having the best stretch of his career over the past four games. He has at least seven Fantasy points in three of those outings, and he's averaging 6.4 yards per carry over that span. He has 31 Fantasy points in his past two games against the Giants and Kansas City, and the Dolphins will lean on him even with Daniel Thomas (hamstring) now healthy. We don't expect Bush to get 20 Fantasy points like he did last week against the Chiefs, but the Redskins have allowed eight running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points despite allowing just five touchdowns to running backs this season. (Started in 52 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Pierre Thomas (at ATL): Thomas will likely see increased playing time again with Mark Ingram (heel) either out or limited for the third game in a row. Thomas has played well the past three games with an average of 11 Fantasy points over that span, and he has scored in consecutive games. The Falcons have only allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but Thomas has five touchdowns in his past five meetings with Atlanta. He has never had fewer than nine Fantasy points against the Falcons over that span, and he should be able to reach that total again in this matchup. (Started in 63 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Rashard Mendenhall (at CIN): Mendenhall falls into the same category as Johnson as someone you should start with confidence this week. He has three touchdowns in his past five games and is averaging more than 10 Fantasy points a game over that span. It would be nice if the Steelers gave him more carries since he has just 13 a game in each of his past three outings, but he does have the chance to score this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs and four have reached double digits in Fantasy points. In his last game at Cincinnati last season, Mendenhall had 22 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 31 yards. We doubt he can get to 18 Fantasy points this week, but double digits should be in reach, which makes him a quality starting option in Week 10. (Started in 77 percent of leagues in Week 9)

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Sit 'Em

James Starks (vs. MIN): Starks has done a solid job for the Packers this season, and his Fantasy value would be higher with more touches. He's always on the cusp of a big game on a weekly basis but has not reached double digits in Fantasy points since Week 2. He is averaging just five Fantasy points in the six games since then, and he is not worth starting in the majority of leagues unless you're looking for nine Fantasy points at most on a good day. He had nine Fantasy points at Minnesota in Week 7, but the Vikings have only allowed one running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points since Week 2, which was Matt Forte in Week 6. (Started in 50 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Brandon Jacobs (at SF): Jacobs was great last week at New England in place of Bradshaw with 15 Fantasy points, but he should struggle in this matchup with the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed the fewest Fantasy points to opposing running backs. Only one running back has scored against San Francisco, which came on a shovel pass by LeSean McCoy, and that includes matchups with Marshawn Lynch, Felix Jones, Cedric Benson, LeGarrette Blount and Jahvid Best. Jacobs actually caught four passes for 28 yards against the Patriots, and if he can do that again it would help his value. But it's doubtful he reaches double digits in Fantasy points against the 49ers since only three running backs have done that this year. (Started in 62 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Maurice Morris (at CHI): Morris is again expected to start for the injured Jahvid Best (concussion), and he played well in his previous game against Denver in Week 8 with 11 Fantasy points. But this should be a tough matchup against the Bears, and we would only use Morris in leagues where receptions count. Chicago has allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs and four have reached double digits in Fantasy points, including Best in Week 5 when he had 12 carries for 163 yards and a touchdown. But in Chicago the Bears have only allowed Peterson to score a touchdown and Michael Turner to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Morris should not be started in the majority of standard leagues. (Started in 39 percent of leagues in Week 8)
DeAngelo Williams (vs. TEN): Williams is being dropped in several leagues, which is not a bad move given his poor play this season. He has just one touchdown and one game with double digits in Fantasy points. In his past three games, Williams has combined for 10 Fantasy points, and Jonathan Stewart continues to outplay him. We would start Stewart ahead of Williams in all leagues, and Stewart has the chance to play well. The Titans have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing running backs and six have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Unfortunately for Williams, he is not playing well enough or getting enough touches to take advantage of this matchup. (Started in 40 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Cedric Benson (vs. PIT): Benson is a frustrating running back to own because he continues to get carries (at least 16 in every start this season), but he has just two touchdowns and three games with double digits in Fantasy points. He's been particularly disappointing of late with only one touchdown since Week 1, and he's facing the Steelers this week, who should be motivated coming off a tough loss against Baltimore. Benson does have a touchdown in each of his past two home games against Pittsburgh, but the Steelers should focus on stopping Benson and forcing Dalton to throw. The Steelers have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but I'm leery of starting Benson in the majority of leagues this week. (Started in 80 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Bust alert: Marshawn Lynch (vs. BAL): I'm excited to see Lynch playing well after touting him this offseason, and he comes into Week 10 riding a four-game touchdown streak. He had his best game of the season in Week 9 at Dallas with 19 Fantasy points, and he has double digits in Fantasy points in three of his past four games. But his touchdown streak will likely end against the Ravens based on Baltimore's stout run defense. The Ravens have allowed three touchdowns to opposing running backs this year, including one in each of the past two games against Beanie Wells and Mendenhall, but stopping Lynch should be somewhat easier given Seattle's lack of firepower on offense. Lynch can still be considered a flex option in the majority of leagues, but this is a good week to bench him if possible based on the matchup. (Started in 40 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Wide receiver

Start 'Em

Week 10 sleeper WRs
Percy Harvin, MIN at GB
Steve Breaston, KC vs. DEN
Josh Cribbs, CLE vs. STL
Laurent Robinson, DAL vs. BUF
Jacoby Ford, OAK at SD

Santonio Holmes (vs. NE): This is a good week to start Holmes and Plaxico Burress since the Patriots have struggled with receivers all season. New England has allowed nine touchdowns to opposing receivers and eight to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Holmes had four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots in Week 5, and even Jeremy Kerley scored a touchdown in that previous meeting. Holmes has three touchdowns in his past four games and should be considered a solid No. 2 Fantasy option in this matchup. (Started in 68 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Julio Jones (at NO): We expected Jones to play well last week against the Colts, and he had the best game of his rookie season with 28 Fantasy points. He won't duplicate that performance this week, but he now has double digits in Fantasy points in the past three games he's been able to finish before hurting his hamstring in Week 5. The Saints have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing receivers and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Since this game should be high-scoring, Jones has the chance for another outstanding outing in his quest to top A.J. Green as the No. 1 rookie receiver this year. (Started in 58 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Antonio Brown (at CIN): Brown should continue to play at a high level with Emmanuel Sanders (knee) out and Hines Ward (concussion/ankle) dealing with multiple injuries. Brown has three games in a row with double digits in Fantasy points, and he has 34 targets over that span. The Bengals have allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers, including two against Tennessee last week, and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points. But this is easily the best pass attack Cincinnati has faced this season, and Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Brown and Heath Miller should have plenty of success. (Started in 51 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Jordy Nelson (vs. MIN): If you've been following Nelson and his trends then this is a week to avoid him. He has scored a touchdown in every other game since Week 2, including last week when he had 16 Fantasy points at San Diego, and in Weeks 3, 5 and 7 he has combined for just 10 Fantasy points. But in looking at his season a little closer he has a touchdown in every home game this year with 13 catches for 272 yards and three touchdowns at Lambeau Field. He had just four catches for 52 yards at Minnesota in Week 7, but the Vikings have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points. This should be another good week to trust Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley as No. 1 options, Nelson as a No. 2 receiver and James Jones as a solid No. 3 receiver in all leagues. (Started in 69 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Mario Manningham (at SF): Manningham is starting to perform like the receiver we expected prior to the season with nine catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games against Miami and New England. He has 16 targets over that span, and he benefited with Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) out against the Patriots. There is a chance Nicks could return against the 49ers, which would impact Manningham and Victor Cruz, but we would still consider Manningham no worse than a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues. San Francisco has allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Started in 75 percent of leagues in Week 9)

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Sit 'Em

Nate Washington (at CAR): Washington is expected to play in Week 10 despite leaving in Week 9 against Cincinnati with a hip bruise, but he should not be started in the majority of standard leagues. Washington has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in his past five games, and he has no touchdowns on the road this season. The Panthers have only allowed four touchdowns to opposing receivers and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Carolina also has not allowed a touchdown to an opposing receiver in the past five games, including matchups against New Orleans and Atlanta. (Started in 46 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Pierre Garcon (vs. JAC): It's time to realize that Garcon had two great games this season, and he might not have any more. He had 50 Fantasy points in consecutive games against Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Since then, he has combined for 14 Fantasy points in his next four games against Cincinnati, New Orleans, Tennessee and Atlanta. Now, No. 1 receivers have done well against the Jaguars this year, so maybe he bounces back or even Reggie Wayne. But Garcon has just 10 catches for 84 yards and no touchdowns in three career meetings with Jacksonville, and he's just not trustworthy as a starting option in the majority of leagues. (Started in 71 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Mike Williams (vs. HOU): We don't expect Williams to go the rest of the season without scoring a touchdown, but this is getting a little ridiculous since he hasn't scored since Week 1. He remains a must-start Fantasy option in PPR leagues since he has at least six catches in each of his past three games, but he hasn't topped seven Fantasy points in a standard format since Week 1. The Texans have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but can you really trust Williams with a potential Fantasy playoff spot on the line in the majority of leagues? (Started in 47 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Deion Branch (at NYJ): Branch has done well against the Jets since returning to the Patriots with 10 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns in two regular-season meetings, and he also scored against the Jets in the playoffs. And even though he has done well this season when Aaron Hernandez is healthy, he struggled in Week 9 against the Giants with two catches for 21 yards and could have another tough outing this week. The Jets have only allowed four touchdowns to opposing receivers and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Branch has not reached double digits in Fantasy points in four road games this season, and he should finish around six Fantasy points this week. (Started in 64 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Bust alert 1: Brandon Lloyd (at CLE): Lloyd has improved since joining the Rams with at least seven Fantasy points in his past three games. But he has just one touchdown over that span, and he should struggle this week against the Browns and standout cornerback Joe Haden. Cleveland has only allowed three touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, and Haden has held Wayne, Brandon Marshall, Washington and Sidney Rice to six Fantasy points or less in each matchup. It's hard to bench Lloyd in the majority of leagues, but just lower your expectations for him against Haden and the Browns. (Started in 92 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Bust alert 2: Larry Fitzgerald (at PHI): As bad as Fitzgerald appears this season he still has four games with double digits in Fantasy points, and he played well with John Skelton last week against St. Louis with 10 Fantasy points with Skelton starting for Kevin Kolb (toe). That said, I'd be hesitant to start Fitzgerald this week against the Eagles in the majority of standard leagues. Philadelphia has done a stellar job against No. 1 receivers this season behind cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Eagles have limited Roddy White, Hakeem Nicks, Steve Johnson, Santana Moss and Miles Austin to eight Fantasy points or less. If you take out White's touchdown in Week 2, then the high for a No. 1 receiver against the Eagles would be three Fantasy points by Moss. (Started in 96 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Tight end

Week 10 sleeper TEs
Brent Celek, PHI vs. ARI
Joel Dreessen, HOU at TB
Jacob Tamme, IND vs. JAC

Start 'Em

Greg Olsen (vs. TEN): Olsen had his best game of the season in Week 8 against Minnesota with four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, and he should pick up where he left off prior to the bye in Week 9. The Titans have allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends and seven have reached at least six Fantasy points. Olsen has three touchdowns in his past four home games and should have another solid game in this matchup. (Started in 49 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Brandon Pettigrew (at CHI): The Bears have struggled with tight ends all season. Chicago has allowed six touchdowns to opposing tight ends and seven have reached at least six Fantasy points, including Pettigrew in Week 5 when he had four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. Pettigrew has four games with at least six Fantasy points on the season, and he should make it five with his matchup against the Bears. (Started in 70 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Jake Ballard (at SF): Fantasy owners need to realize that Ballard is for real. He has three touchdowns in his past five games and continues to be a favorite target for Manning with 14 targets in his past two games. The 49ers have only allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends but four have reached at least six Fantasy points. Ballard is playing like a Top 10 Fantasy tight end over the past month, and Fantasy owners should start him in all leagues where needed. (Started in 35 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Sit 'Em

Benjamin Watson (vs. STL): The Rams don't do many things well on defense, but defending tight ends has become one of their strengths. St. Louis has only allowed one tight end to score this season, which was Week 7 against Jason Witten. But no tight end has reached double digits in Fantasy points, and the Rams have held Brent Celek, Ballard, Fred Davis, Jermichael Finley and Jimmy Graham to three Fantasy points or less in each matchup this season. Watson hasn't scored since Week 4, and he should not be used in any leagues against St. Louis this week. (Started in 11 percent of leagues in Week 9)
Jermaine Gresham (vs. PIT): Gresham is expected to return this week after sitting out the past two games with an injured hamstring. But based on the matchup with the Steelers and some potential rust with the injury, you should plan on keeping Gresham in reserve. He does have three touchdowns on the season, but he has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 1. He had just two catches for 11 yards against the Steelers last year, and Pittsburgh has only allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. (Started in 48 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Kellen Winslow (vs. HOU): Winslow has a touchdown in consecutive games against Chicago and New Orleans, but he's still looking for his first game with double digits in Fantasy points on the season. He likely won't get it against the Texans since they have allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends and only one to reach double digits in Fantasy points, which was Graham in Week 3. Winslow also has yet to score at home this season since his two touchdowns have come against the Bears in London and at the Saints. (Started in 32 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Bust alert: Vernon Davis (vs. NYG): Davis has been a bust the past three games with four Fantasy points over that span against Detroit, Cleveland and Washington. He only has three games with double digits in Fantasy points, and his targets have dwindled with just 12 in his past three contests. The Giants struggled with Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez last week with both scoring touchdowns, but prior to that the Giants had not allowed a tight end to score all season. It's hard to bench Davis in the majority of leagues, but he's given you enough evidence the past three weeks to consider sitting him if you have another option on your bench. (Started in 80 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Defense/Special teams

Start 'Em

Week 10 sleeper DSTs
Rams at CLE
Jaguars at IND
Dolphins vs. WAS

Eagles (vs. ARI): The Eagles DST has mostly been a disappointment this year given the preseason hype with all their offseason additions. The Eagles only have four games with double digits in Fantasy points, and they were terrible against the Bears in Week 9 with no sacks against Jay Cutler. Philadelphia should rebound this week against Skelton, who is starting for Kolb. Skelton played well in Week 9 against St. Louis with no turnovers, but traveling to Philadelphia with the Eagles coming off a disappointing loss against Chicago should be tough. We expect the Eagles to bounce back in a big way against the Cardinals. (Started in 72 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Sit 'Em

Bears (vs. DET): The Bears have done a nice job on defense, and Chicago is coming off a solid performance against Philadelphia in Week 9. But the Bears DST is boom or bust for the most part, and their Fantasy value is almost predicated on Devin Hester scoring touchdowns in the return game. Chicago has four games with eight Fantasy points or less, and the Bears DST has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points when they don't score a touchdown. Included in those outings is Week 5 at Detroit when the Bears had just five Fantasy points with an interception and only one sack. Chicago has six games this season with two sacks or less, and the lack of a pass rush should be a problem in this matchup with the Lions. (Started in 39 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Kicker

Start 'Em

Week 10 sleeper Ks
Alex Henery, PHI vs. ARI
Nick Folk, NYJ vs. NE
Josh Scobee, JAC at IND

Dan Carpenter (vs. WAS): Carpenter needs this matchup with the Redskins because he has now gone consecutive games without making multiple field goals after doing that for five games in a row. The Redskins have allowed the most field goals this season with 20 on 22 attempts. Washington has allowed 13 field goals in the past four games to Alex Henery (two), Olindo Mare (four), Rian Lindell (three) and David Akers (four). Carpenter has been solid at home with six field goals in three games, and he should have another outing with multiple field goals in this matchup with the Redskins. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 9)

Sit 'Em

Mike Nugent (vs. PIT): Billy Cundiff had the best game for an opposing kicker against the Steelers in Week 9 when he had three field goals and two extra points. It was the first time this year that an opposing kicker had double digits in Fantasy points against Pittsburgh. Prior to that, the Steelers had allowed just three kickers to make multiple field goals against them. Nugent struggled in his lone meeting with Pittsburgh last year when he missed two field goals and had three extra points. Nugent has been solid this season with at least six points in every game, but he only has three games with double digits in Fantasy points. He had one field goal and three extra points last week at Tennessee, and another week with six Fantasy points is a safe projection for him in this matchup. (Started in 34 percent of leagues in Week 9)

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Player News
Bears sign DE Austen Lane
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) The Bears have signed defensive end Austen Lane, Pro Football Talk reports.

Lane will fill the roster spot of defensive end Willie Young, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Lane was with the Bears during the preseason but didn't survive the final cuts. He's managed three sacks in 30 career games.


Cardinals' Thomas starts practice 'shaky,' finishes 'pretty strong'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians indicated that Week 17 starting quarterback Logan Thomas was "shaky" at the beginning of Wednesday's practice but finished "pretty strong" as he developed an understanding of where to throw his passes, ESPN.com reports.

"He's worked, fundamentally, extremely hard and gotten much better," Arians said. "But putting those fundamentals to use in the offense, that's two totally different things."

Thomas has just three days of practice before facing the 49ers in a game that has the possibility of landing his team with a first-round bye with a win and help from other results.

"It wasn't the greatest, but as it went on, it got better and better," Thomas added. "It just comes with reps and comes with time."

The Cardinals are a 6-point underdog in San Francisco Sunday.


Seahawks' Russell Okung, Max Unger practice Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung (lung) practiced in full Wednesday, while center Max Unger (ankle) was able to return to practice in a limited fashion.

Okung is on track to return in Week 17 after missing last week's game with a bruised lung. Unger hasn't played in any of the team's last five game due to a high ankle sprain. The Seahawks will earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win Sunday, and it's possible Unger suits up for the crucial game.

The Seahawks are a 12 1/2-point favorite at home against the Rams in Week 17.


Raiders QB Derek Carr practices Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was able to practice Wednesday despite dealing with an illness.

"I got here early to work out and see how I would feel during that and after that and I felt pretty good," Carr said at a press conference Wednesday. "So, felt good at practice today, obviously not 100 percent but it felt good to practice and be out here."

Carr has been able to start every game for the Raiders this season, completing 58.6 percent of his passes while racking up 3,112 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Raiders are a 14-point underdog in Denver in Week 17.


Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman practices in full Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman was able to practice in full Wednesday for the first time since suffering a left foot injury on Nov. 9, ESPN.com reports.

"We've had a chance to watch him all week, participate and he's obviously further ahead than he was this time a week ago," head coach John Fox said after Wednesday's practice. "And the fact we're on grass, not on Astroturf, lot of variables, but I like what I see."

Hillman has been able to practice in a limited fashion during the last two weeks but hasn't been active on gameday since the injury occured. The Broncos are a 14-point favorite at home against the Raiders in Week 17.


Falcons RB Steven Jackson (quad) expected to miss Week 17
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Falcons running back Steven Jackson (quad) is not expected to play in Sunday's Week 17 matchup with the Panthers, ESPN.com reports.

Jackson missed practice Wednesday and the team promoted running back Jerome Smith from the practice squad. Jacquizz Rodgers and Devonta Freeman are expected to share the workload in the critical regular-season finale if Jackson is indeed sidelined.

The Falcons are a 4-point favorite at home against the Panthers.


49ers RB Carlos Hyde still sidelined
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) 49ers rookie running back Carlos Hyde missed practice again Wednesday with an ankle injury. He sat out Week 16 and appears likely to miss Sunday's game against Arizona, too.

With Hyde out, veteran Frank Gore went off for 158 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries against San Diego. Gore should see another big workload against the Cardinals.


Michael Crabtree doesn't sound eager to return to 49ers
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Impending free-agent receiver Michael Crabtree was asked Wednesday if he wants to return to the 49ers next season. "It depends," Crabtree said, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don't even want to talk about it."

Crabtree is finishing up a disappointing season. He's played every game but has only 64 catches for 657 yards and four touchdowns, a far cry from the 85 grabs, 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns he put up in his last full season, 2012.


Ravens LT Eugene Monroe bothered by ankle injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Ravens starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, who hurt his ankle Week 16 against Houston, missed practice Wednesday, reports ESPN.com. His status is uncertain for the regular-season finale at Tennessee.

If Monroe can't play, undrafted rookie James Hurst likely would start, the website said.


Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe (shoulder) unable to practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2014) Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe, who sprained his shoulder in last week's loss at Pittsburgh, was unable to practice Wednesday, reports ESPN.com. Bowe leads Chiefs wideouts with 57 catches for 724 yards.

Kansas City hosts San Diego on Sunday as a 3-point favorite.


 
 
 
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