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Fantasy & Reality: Be wary of the resting

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Imagine making it all the way to your Fantasy league's championship game with Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback and not having him available in Week 16.

Could happen. Seriously.

Over the next two weeks, circumstances as they relate to the end of the regular season and postseason alter the personnel teams choose to put on the field. For most teams, nothing will change as winning is all that matters. But for teams locked into a playoff spot with no hope of improving, the goal changes from winning to staying healthy for the postseason. And playing time in such situations varies from team to team.

Green Bay Packers

Playoff scenario: First-round bye clinched. Team clinches home-field advantage with 49ers loss Saturday or win Sunday vs. the Bears. The only way they don't get the No. 1 seed is if they lose their next two and the 49ers win their next two.

Could the studs sit? It's possible that the Packers begin limiting their starters' playing time as soon as this week. If the Seahawks beat the 49ers (not a stretch), there's no reason for the Packers to roll out their studs for a meaningless game against a bitter division rival. If the Niners win and the Packers win, then Week 17 will become meaningless for the Packers and the chances of Rodgers playing a lot then dwindle considerably. In 2007 head coach Mike McCarthy pulled his starters in the second quarter in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Lions (their Week 17 opponent this year, coincidentally) after building a 21-3 lead.

If you own them ... Complicating the issue is that the Packers don't play until Sunday night after most other teams play on Saturday. Rodgers becomes a very risky proposition if the Seahawks win because he might not play a full game. Backup Matt Flynn would probably see considerable playing time (but not necessarily start) in place of Rodgers, but he could be asked to do the minimum against a good Bears defense. Your only other option, unless you're loaded with studs at quarterback, is going with whomever the Bears start, which is gross. Flynn is a must-grab if you own Rodgers and don't have another quarterback you'd start ahead of him. Other Packers starters like Jermichael Finley, Jordy Nelson and Ryan Grant would likely take a seat if Rodgers takes a seat. James Jones might see a decent amount of playing time along with rookie Randall Cobb.

Suffice to say, Aaron Rodgers' Fantasy owners are big 49ers fans on Christmas Eve, and they should probably find a replacement for Week 17.

San Francisco 49ers

Playoff scenario: NFC West clinched. Team clinches a first-round bye with a win at the Seahawks and a Saints loss vs. the Falcons in Week 16. If both teams win the Niners have to beat the Rams next week for the No. 2 seed.

Could the studs sit? Highly unlikely this week unless they blow the Seahawks out of the water (or get blown out themselves). Week 17 could be tricky, however; the team knows they're running Frank Gore at less than 100 percent and might opt to use more of Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon for their finale. They'll almost certainly do that if the Week 17 game is meaningless. Rookie Colin Kaepernick could also see some snaps under center.

If you own them ... The only thing to do is back up Frank Gore with Hunter and/or Dixon, assuming you don't have a good backup running back already on your roster. Vernon Davis owners should look for another tight end if one isn't owned already. Most people who own Michael Crabtree had him as a bench player earlier in the year and should have an alternate in case he sits. David Akers will still kick regardless of the situation, but his field-goal attempts could be severely cut.

New Orleans Saints

Playoff scenario: The Saints have a playoff berth, that's it. They win the NFC South with a win Monday vs. the Falcons. They land a first-round bye if they win in Weeks 16 and 17 (vs. Carolina) and if the Niners lose one game.

Could the studs sit? Zero chance of that happening this week and it's probably not going to happen next week either. Even if the Saints win this week and the Niners lose, the Saints still need to win against the Panthers to clinch the No. 2 seed. And if the Saints lose and if the Niners win, the Saints still need to play to win against the Panthers so that the Falcons don't jump them for the NFC South crown.

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If you own them ... Consider yourself lucky. We don't see a scenario where Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Lance Moore get benched.

Dallas Cowboys

Playoff scenario: Nothing clinched yet. If they beat the Eagles at home and if the Giants lose to the Jets, they'll clinch the NFC East. If the Cowboys and Giants both win they face off next week in New York for the NFC East title. They have no chance at a first-round bye or the No. 3 seed.

Could the studs sit? Not in Week 16, but possibly in Week 17. The Cowboys have to beat the Eagles and the Jets have to beat the Giants for that to happen. The last time a playoff-bound Cowboys team had a meaningless Week 17 was in 2007 when the starters played into the third quarter in a blowout loss at Washington. Several key players nursing injuries didn't play at all. Jason Garrett was the offensive coordinator at the time.

If you own them ... Be prepared to go in another direction come Week 17. Miles Austin (hamstring) and Laurent Robinson (shoulder) could sit the entire game; Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Felix Jones and Jason Witten could play a half, maybe less. Make sure you have some backups.

New York Giants

Playoff scenario: Nothing clinched yet. In fact, even if they win this week they still can't clinch anything until Week 17. Like the Cowboys, if they win out they land the NFC East crown. They have no chance at a first-round bye or the No. 3 seed.

Could the studs sit? With something to play for this week and next (if they win), there's hardly any reason to believe the Giants will rest their prominent players. Fuggedaboutit!

Atlanta Falcons

Playoff scenario: Nothing clinched yet. They land a playoff berth with a win or a combination of Cowboys/Giants, Bears and Cardinals losses. There is a chance they could earn a playoff berth before they play the Saints Monday, but if they win out and the Saints lose out they take home the NFC South, so they'll have something to play for.

Could the studs sit? Matt Ryan & Co. definitely will not rest on Monday regardless of the outcomes of other games on Christmas Eve. The only situation where they might rest players in Week 17 vs. the Bucs is if they're locked into a road playoff game before they kick off. They would need for the aforementioned combination of losses to happen, along with a loss to the Saints on Monday.

If you own them ... Expect them to play out the rest of the regular season, but it wouldn't hurt to have backups for the primary studs just in case they lock up the fifth or sixth seed.

Detroit Lions

Playoff scenario: Nothing clinched yet. A win vs. the Chargers on Saturday and they're in as a wild-card team. A combination of losses from other NFC teams would also back them into the postseason if they lose. Either of those things would make Week 17 at Green Bay meaningless since they cannot win the NFC North.

Could the studs sit? It's possible they could in Week 17 if they beat San Diego. Then again, the Lions might be cunning enough to realize that their playoff chances improve if they don't play the No. 3 seed (either the 49ers, Saints or Falcons) and take their chances against the NFC East winner. To do that they'll have to win out. Their matchup against the Packers in Week 17 could be a cakewalk if the Packers clinch the top seed before then.

If you own them ... It's also possible they rest their key players, notably the banged-up Matthew Stafford, if they win in Week 16. Have backups ready for Week 17 as a precautionary move.

New England Patriots

Playoff scenario: AFC East clinched. Team clinches a bye with a win and some help; team clinches the No. 1 seed with a win and losses by the Texans, Ravens and Steelers.

Could the studs sit? Not a chance this week, and with home-field advantage an unlikely clinch in Week 16, you can pencil in the Patriots starting their key guys against the Bills at home in Week 17. They might not play that entire game, but three quarters of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker should still be pretty darn good.

If you own them ... Don't sweat a thing ... unless the Colts, Rams and Browns pull off Week 16 upsets.

Baltimore Ravens

Playoff scenario: Playoff spot clinched. Team clinches the division with a win and a Steelers loss; team clinches a first-round bye with a win, a Steelers loss and a Texans loss. They cannot clinch the No. 1 seed this week.

Could the studs sit? They might after they put up 28 points on the Browns in Week 16. As for Week 17, there isn't a scenario where the Ravens have nothing to play for. If they win and the Steelers lose this week they can still compete for the No. 1 seed in the AFC in Week 17. If they lose and the Steelers win this week, for instance, the Ravens can still win the division with a win and a Steelers loss in Week 17.

If you own them ... You might not get 20 carries out of Ray Rice (more like 15), but you'll still get quality numbers. No need to sweat your Ravens studs.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Playoff scenario: Playoff spot clinched. The Steelers need to finish with one more win than the Ravens to land a home playoff game (they're both currently 10-4). They'll need even more help to get a first-round bye.

Could the studs sit? Your Steelers are good to go for Week 16, though we're pretty sure that the very second the Steelers coaches feel they've clinched a win vs. St. Louis on Saturday they'll pull Ben Roethlisberger and other starters. So there's a chance he doesn't play four quarters but it might be more like three-and-a-half. The same thing goes for next week at the Browns; the Steelers need to win both games to have a chance to move anywhere in the AFC playoff picture.

The only way the Steelers might entertain sitting their studs in Week 17 is if they lose to the Rams at home in Week 16 and the Ravens beat the Browns. In that situation the Ravens would win the AFC North and the Steelers would lock in a wild-card spot.

If you own them ... Finding a reliable starter in place of a banged-up Roethlisberger might be a good idea for this week since the Steelers face a matchup that's very favorable for their ground game. Roethlisberger might not be asked to do much; he could come up with one touchdown with some decent yardage. We're reasonably confident the Steelers will win this week and have something to play for in Week 17, so finding backups for Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Rashard Mendenhall (Isaac Redman is a good one for him) isn't a must.

Houston Texans

Playoff scenario: AFC South clinched. They could land a first-round bye but they'll need to win out and have the Ravens and/or Patriots lose along the way to get there.

Could the studs sit? Andre Johnson has already been ruled out for Week 16 and chances are he'll miss some if not all of Week 17 vs. the Titans. If they lose to the Colts on Thursday they'll essentially be locked into the No. 3 seed, in which case we could see very little of Arian Foster and Ben Tate too.

If you own them ... As long as the Texans keep winning, there's nothing to sweat. If you'll sleep easier at night backing up Arian Foster with Derrick Ward, who would probably see snaps in a meaningless Week 17 game if push came to shove, then go for it.

Denver Broncos

Playoff scenario: Nothing clinched yet, but the best they can do is clinch the AFC West with a win at the Bills and a Raiders loss vs. the Chiefs on Saturday. They cannot improve from the No. 4 seed. The Broncos could clinch a playoff berth if they win and the Jets, Bengals and Titans all lose.

Could the studs sit? If the Broncos win and the Raiders lose and the AFC West is all theirs, Week 17 would probably be a formality for them. John Fox never had a game where he pulled his starters for rest in Carolina (the closest they came was a 2005 Week 17 win over the Falcons where they blew them out and rested their starters in the fourth quarter). If they have zilch to go for we could see the Broncos rest banged-up starter Willis McGahee and possibly not chance it with injury-prone receiver Demaryius Thomas.

If you own them ... Count on them in Week 16; Week 17 might be different so having a backup for Tim Tebow (which is a must in the first place) is a grand plan.

New York Jets

Playoff scenario: Nothing clinched yet and nothing can be clinched this week. The Jets can't win their division and can only claim the sixth seed. They have to fend off the Bengals among others over the next two weeks to get it. They play at Miami in Week 17.

Could the studs sit? Not a chance -- they have to win.

If you own them ... Count on them, with "them" being Shonn Greene and possibly Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Dustin Keller and Mark Sanchez. Obviously their matchups vs. the Giants and at the Dolphins are not gimmes for stats.

Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs: These teams are clinging to playoff hopes and need two wins and help to make it. They're not resting anybody.

Capable replacements

So we've outlined several Fantasy-impact scenarios that could result in some studs getting the baseball-cap-and-sports-drink treatment down the stretch. It wouldn't be nice of us to tell you this without laying out some decent alternatives, many of whom are available via free agency, for the final two weeks of the season, now would it?

Listed in order of most-to-least valuable over Weeks 16 and 17. Please consult our rankings for replacements for just Week 16.

Quarterbacks Running backs Wide receivers Tight ends DSTs
Rex Grossman (vs. MIN, at PHI) Kahlil Bell (at GB, at MIN) Titus Young (vs. SD, at GB) Brent Celek (at DAL, vs. WAS) Broncos (at BUF, vs. KC)
Carson Palmer (at KC, vs. SD) Jackie Battle (vs. OAK, at DEN) Malcom Floyd (at DET, at OAK) Brandon Pettigrew (vs. SD, at GB) Cardinals (at CIN, vs. SEA)
Mark Sanchez (vs. NYG, at MIA) Chris Ivory (vs. ATL, vs. CAR) Plaxico Burress (vs. NYG, at MIA) Anthony Fasano (at NE, vs. NYJ) Titans (vs. JAC, at HOU)
Matt Moore (at NE, vs. NYJ) Isaac Redman (vs. STL, at CLE) Andre Roberts (vs. CIN, at SEA) Joel Dreessen (at IND, vs. TEN) Chiefs (vs. OAK, at DEN)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. DEN, at NE) Ricky Williams (vs. CLE, at CIN) Nate Burleson (vs. SD, at GB) Visanthe Shiancoe (at WAS, vs. CHI)  
Kyle Orton (vs. OAK, at DEN) Lance Ball (at BUF, vs. KC) David Nelson (vs. DEN, at NE)    
John Skelton (at CIN, vs. SEA)   Doug Baldwin (vs. SF, at ARI)    
Christian Ponder (at WAS, vs. CHI)   Steve Breaston (vs. OAK, at DEN)    
Alex Smith (at SEA, at STL)   Golden Tate (vs. SF, at ARI)    
T.J. Yates (at IND, vs. TEN)   Randall Cobb (vs. CHI, vs. GB)    
Caleb Hanie (at GB, at MIN)   Kevin Walter (at IND, vs. TEN)    

The splendid art of Fantasy blocking

You better believe there's late-season gamesmanship to be played! If you're in the final game of your Fantasy season, go take a look at who your opponent is starting. If his or her lineup is loaded with studs expected to play and if his or her bench is robust and deep, chances are there's nothing you can do to hurt his or her chances. But if the owner made it this far and has holes in his or her roster, you can and definitely should try to pick up players that could help the owner get over the top against you.

You're playing defense in Fantasy Football!

After evaluating your opponents' roster, take a look at Jamey Eisenberg's Waiver Wire column. Anyone who could help out your rival via free agency will be listed there. If he or she has a hole at DST or even kicker, it's completely normal to load up on those positions to make it harder for the opponent to make a good pickup.

Of course, if you're stockpiling players to hurt your opponent then you have to drop someone. Take a look at the players you know you won't use in the final week of your league. And make sure they wouldn't improve your opponent's team! If you're positive you or your foe won't use them, drop them. Unless you're a sentimental schmo who thinks it's lucky to carry LaDainian Tomlinson on your roster, there is no purpose to carrying players who you won't use. You have absolutely no reason, allegiance or commitment to anyone in Fantasy except yourself. So load up that bench with players your opponent can't use!

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Ben Roethlisberger deserves to start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It goes without saying that Ben Roethlisberger's six-touchdown, 522-yard performance Week 8 against Indianapolis was a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, and I stand by my earlier assessment that he's too inconsistent to start in standard 12-team leagues. But that's more for those weeks when every quarterback is available. With six teams on bye, that's certainly not the case in Week 9.

For those owners accustomed to starting Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler, Roethlisberger may be the best choice. His matchup against Baltimore isn't great. The Ravens rank a suspect 22nd against the pass, giving up 256.0 yards per game, but having allowed just seven touchdowns through the air, they've surrendered the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Regardless of the matchup, though, Roethlisberger has a better chance than most of the quarterbacks who might be available of putting up the numbers you're accustomed to.

I'd prefer Carson Palmer, Nick Foles and Cam Newton to him, to name just a few fringy types, but Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Ricahrd both have Roethlisberger in their top 10 for this week.


Brandon LaFell not the only Patriots WR to consider
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It's time to give Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell a shot in Fantasy -- as in not just owning him, but starting him. If his 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown Week 8 against the Bears weren't enough to convince you, his matchup Week 9 against Denver should be.

It's not that the Broncos are so bad against the pass. They rank in the middle of the pack, allowing 242.9 yards per game. It's just that the Patriots' only hope against them is to beat Peyton Manning at his own game. Their passing attack -- at least the version they've shown in the last four weeks -- is good enough to beat anybody when they're motivated to use it.

LaFell appears to have leapfrogged Julian Edelman in the pecking order, but frankly, Edelman might not be such a bad play either. Tom Brady is going to need every weapon at his disposal to outscore Manning and company. Edelman is more of a desperation play than LaFell, I think, advisable only if you're short on startable wide receivers, but Dave Richard likes him enough with this matchup to rank him 24th at the position.


Shane Vereen a better choice than Jonas Gray
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) By giving the previously unknown Jonas Gray 17 carries for 86 yards Week 8 against Chicago, the Patriots revealed that they'll stick with a two-man backfield even with preferred rusher Stevan Ridley out for the year with a torn ACL and MCL.

But Week 9 against Denver might be a better matchup for preferred receiver Shane Vereen, who also thrived in Week 7 against the Jets. The Broncos, like the Jets, have done a good job stopping the run this season. They rank No. 1, in fact, allowing 72.4 yards per game.

Plus, the Patriots will most likely have to throw more than usual just to keep up with the league's highest-scoring team. These days, a team's only real choice against Peyton Manning is to beat him at his own game.

So most likely, Gray will spend much of Week 9 on the sidelines while Vereen spends much of it in the backfield. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Vereen among their top 20 running backs for this week.


Vincent Jackson not such a great play
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On a day when the Buccaneers couldn't get anything going offensively Week 8 against Minnesota, wide receiver Vincent Jackson was barely involved, catching one pass for 13 yards. He was targeted five times, but for a player who misses a lot of the balls thrown his way, both because of his role in the passing game and his issues with drops, that's a pretty low number. He averaged 10.0 targets in his first six games.

Even worse for Jackson, quarterback Mike Glennon has developed a nice rapport with both Mike Evans and Louis Murphy, and the Buccaneers passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain three wide receivers. Is it more likely to sustain him than those other two? Yeah, probably. But it'll likely cut into his production regardless.

And it could cut into his production in a big way Week 9 at Cleveland. The Browns don't rank especially high against the pass, but they don't give up many touchdowns through the air, allowing the fourth-lowest quarterback rating of any team this season. Cornerback Joe Haden, who has played better in recent weeks after a slow start, is a big reason for that, and he'll likely go up against Jackson on Sunday.

Neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard rank Jackson among their top 30 wide receivers -- and that's in a week with six teams on bye.


Time to the roll the dice on Denard Robinson?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Sitting Denard Robinson the week after his breakout 127-yard effort against the Browns was understandable. It was an outlier performance achieved with an especially favorable matchup, and there was some big talk about Toby Gerhart still playing a big role. But now, after back-to-back 100-yard games, taking a conservative approach with Robinson just seems kind of silly.

Especially since his matchup Week 9 at Cincinnati is, at least on paper, a favorable one. The Bengals rank 29th against the run, allowing 140.7 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to running backs. And as tough as the Jaguars defense has played in recent weeks, you don't have to worry so much about the Bengals running away with the game, compelling the Jaguars to throw every down.

Calling Robinson a must-start is taking it a bit far. Some people have enviable depth at the position. But in Week 9, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Robinson among their top 24 running backs, with Dave slotting him as high as 15th.


Is starting Andy Dalton a good idea?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank the Bengals' Andy Dalton among their top 12 quarterbacks for Week 9, presumably because he's facing the Jaguars. But how did that work out for Ryan Tannehill in Week 8, Brian Hoyer in Week 7 or, yep, even Ben Roethlisberger in Week 5?

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of the whole "start Player X against the Jaguars because they're bad" argument. Because they're not. At least not anymore -- not on defense, anyway. The Jaguars have allowed an average of 16.5 points in their last four games, and if not for the Dolphins' two defensive touchdowns in Week 8, it'd be 13.0

True, star wide receiver A.J. Green is looking likely to return from a three-game absence for a toe injury, which would certainly improve Dalton's chances. But again, quality quarterbacks -- namely, Tannehill and Roethlisberger -- have had their full arsenals when they faced the Jaguars, and they still underwhelmed against them. I'm not sure this is Dalton's week.

Now, with so many high-profile quarterbacks (such as Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler) on bye this week, you may want it to be Dalton's week, but I'd give Carson Palmer, Nick Foles, Cam Newton or Tannehill a shot before I turned to him.


Greg Olsen deserves your trust
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Panthers coach Ron Rivera mentioned Monday that the reason tight end Greg Olsen had only one catch for 16 yards in Week 8 is because the Seahawks rotated their coverage toward him, particularly in the red zone. You can understand why they'd do that after Olsen averaged 70.4 yards with four touchdowns in his first four games.

Unfortunately, since the Seahawks limited the Panthers to just nine points in that game, they've invited other teams to emulate them, and while the Saints, Olsen's Week 9 opponent, certainly aren't the Seahawks defensively, they've done good job of containing tight ends this season, giving up the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to them. And that's even though they rank 31st against the pass.

But just because you can make a reasonable case to sit one this year's most productive and reliable tight ends doesn't mean you should follow through with it. Week 8 was just the second time in eight games that Olsen's production didn't justify a starting spot -- a terrific ratio for any player, regardless of position -- and the Saints haven't really faced a team with a top-flight tight end until now.

If quarterback Cam Newton has big numbers in this game -- and the data suggest he should -- Olsen will, too. Keep him active.


Who knows with the Saints wide receivers?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On the road against the Panthers in Week 9, chances are one of the Saints top two wide receivers, be it Marques Colston or Brandin Cooks, will have a big game. The Panthers are tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns allowed and have given up the fifth-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

So which one? Particularly with Kenny Stills getting involved the last couple weeks, it's become a real crapshoot. Cooks tends to be more of a volume receiver in his good games, but Colston showed with six catches for 111 yards in Week 7 that he can still make an impact as well.

Of course, star tight end Jimmy Graham was basically just a decoy in that game. When his shoulder had recovered enough for him to catch a few passes himself in Week 8, Colston's numbers shrank again. Cooks, meanwhile, had six catches for 94 yards and a touchdown and has generally had an easier time coexisting with Graham.

I'd feel OK about starting Cooks in this one, particularly in points-per-reception leagues. Yeah, he's basically a 50-50 proposition, but that's more than I can say for Colston, particularly with Graham back in the mix. Colston still matters in Fantasy, but mostly in leagues with 14 teams or more.


Kelvin Benjamin could come up big
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) With the Panthers expected to pass a lot in Week 9 against a Saints team that ranks second in total offense and fifth in scoring offense, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin figures to be one of the prime beneficiaries. After all, he's emerged as quarterback Cam Newton's preferred downfield target as a rookie and, at 6-feet-5, is a big target in the red zone as well.

After a strong start to the season, his yardage has been hit or miss lately, but generally speaking, when Newton is on, so is Benjamin. And all signs point to a big game for Newton. Not only is that the only way he keeps the Panthers in the game, but the Saints rank 31st against the pass, giving up 289.3 yards per game. They've also allowed the second-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Considering he's scored a touchdown in five of eight games this season, you're probably starting Benjamin regardless of any matchup data. But you can do so with confidence this week. Both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him among their top 10 wide receivers.


Good chance Cam Newton bounces back
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Granted, Cam Newton hasn't been the most predictable quarterback from week to week, and because his production is largely a function of how often and how effectively he runs the ball, that doesn't figure to change. But after a disappointing showing against the Seahawks in Week 8, he should be in for an easier time Week 9 against the Saints.

After all, the Saints' explosive offense combined with their suspect defense predisposes them to shootouts. Of course, the last time I predicted a shootout for the Panthers Week 7 at Green Bay, it didn't go so well for Newton either, but that matchup wasn't as favorable as this one. The Saints rank 31st against the pass, allowing 289.3 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

In a week when high-profile quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler are all on bye, I would think someone in a 12-team league would want to start Newton, even if that someone isn't you.


 
 
 
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