Eric Mack
Sunday November 13th, 2011

Two men exit, one man enter: Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson have reached the maximum frustration level for fantasy owners -- the Eagles are a joke right now -- but at least we get Chris Johnson back to being a factor. You just never can know for sure how things are going unfold week to week.

Vick was supposed to wake up against a suspect Cardinals secondary. But DeSean Jackson is given all Sunday to sleep in and Vick played like he was half asleep himself. And, adding injury to insults, Jeremy Maclin (shoulder, hamstring) might not be available. The Eagles are a sad bunch.

The Titans' Johnson can thank them for being the object of our fantasy ire this week, but C.J. also did himself and his fantasy owners a huge favor by waking up with a huge performance ... finally.

There is a lot to review in a busy early slate of Week 10 action, so let's get right to it. We break down each game every from a fantasy perspective in the Fantasy Football Fast Forward:

• Amid all of the fantasy points put up by the Packers, we have to note how mediocre Jermichael Finley has been. With so many other receiving weapons at Aaron Rodgers' disposal, you probably cannot view Finley as a must-start tight end right now. The ball is just spread around so much. Only Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson appear to be sure things.

• James Starks received his customary 13 carries. It has become clear that's what he will get week to week. Bad winter weather can change that, but he is a marginal fantasy option because of his lack of full duty. Regardless of the touches Ryan Grant gets, Grant is not useful in fantasy. He can be cut to stash someone with greater upside perhaps.

• Adrian Peterson did at least something against a very good Packers run defense. He can be a star against the suspect Raiders run defense next Sunday.

• Percy Harvin has at least emerged as a decent fantasy option, at least for PPR leagues. Christian Ponder is not yet a fantasy-worthy starter, but the Vikings are at least doing a better job of getting the ball to their No. 1 receiving threat.

• We learned just why you never sit Tom Brady. Against arguably the best defense in fantasy against QBs, Brady goes for 329 yards and three scores. And that was with Wes Welker having a bad day by his standards.

• It is time to add Chad Ochocinco in all leagues. We are all fortunate he didn't do more in this one. It makes some teams higher in the standing a chance at him. He is going to continue to become a bigger part of the offense, particularly with the deep balls the Pats need with so many short-to-intermediate targets like Rob Gronkowski, Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez.

• Mark Sanchez might have gotten ripped by his coach, but his fantasy owners won't complain with the production this week. He looks like a decent option against the Broncos this Thursday if your QB is on bye.

• Shonn Greene had another disappointing day, mostly because he just doesn't get the touches inside the 5- or 10-yard line. Greene should be far busier against the Broncos, but he will have to break a long one to score more than 10 fantasy points or so.

• TCU rookie Jeremy Kerley emerged for the Jets with 79 yards, but he isn't a viable fantasy option with Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller all healthy.

• The Jets defense was beaten badly here by Brady and mocked by Bill Belichick, but it is a must-start unit against Tim Tebow and the Broncos on Thursday.

• BenJarvus Green-Ellis was terrible here, but we should expect better against the Chiefs next week.

• Frank Gore was completely stuffed in the first half and sat out the second half with what was reported as a knee issue to go along with the ankle issue he was dealing with. Gore's absence led to a big half for rookie Kendall Hunter. Hunter should be picked up in a lot of leagues this week, and is a decent start if Gore is out. Early reports suggest Gore will play, though.

• Vernon Davis finally made a dent as Alex Smith had a quietly good game. He did most of his damage using the tight ends, including Delanie Walker. Walker led their receivers, while Davis got in the end zone. Michael Crabtree was held to one catch, but he should remain active in leagues against the Cardinals secondary next week. The Eagles couldn't take advantage of it, but the 49ers will.

• Eli Manning wasn't stellar, but he did crack 300 yards with a pair of scores against an elite defense. Hakeem Nicks had a quiet day before the late touchdown, but it was promising just to see him out there after dealing with the injury. The Giants finally had all of their receivers healthy

• Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham were both busy, so Manning and his targets could be in for another big week against the Eagles.

• Brandon Jacobs was a bad play against the 49ers, but he will be a must-start against the Eagles if Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is out again. D.J. Ware would be worth cutting if Bradshaw does play.

• Jay Cutler had a surprisingly quiet week as the Bears got up big early and started running out the clock early with the ground game. It is clear who the Bears go-to receiver is now that Earl Bennett is healthy. This combo can do this for weeks to come. Own Bennett in any league now.

• Playing with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, Matthew Stafford made too many mistakes -- four interceptions. He did help make five receivers (actually two of them tight ends) productive for fantasy owners, though. Nate Burleson was surprisingly good in garbage time, while Titus Young stayed in on the action, too. Young is a nice rookie sleeper in deeper leagues when the matchup is right down the stretch.

• The Lions running game is not productive with Jahvid Best (concussion) out for what could be weeks. Kevin Smith, who was signed off the street, did break a 14-yard run and might get worked into the mix more in future weeks. You might make a speculative pick with him in deeper leagues.

• You're going to want to take fliers on Lions this week with the Panthers next up on the schedule. The Panthers are bad against RBs, so Maurice Morris and maybe even Smith could be sleeper pick-ups.

• Marshawn Lynch extended his TD streak and held up well against a tough Ravens run defense. Next up for him is the Rams, who had the worst run defense in the NFL in the first half. Lynch will be a must-start.

• Ed Dickson shows he is not done being a fantasy sleeper. He comes up with a huge day: 10 catches and two scores. The consistency isn't there, but the Ravens are a team that uses the tight end.

• Ray Rice strangely got only five rushing attempts. The Ravens didn't even try to establish the run against the Seahawks, who have an underrated run defense. Rice managed to score with a passing touchdown and reeling in eight catches for 54 yards through the air.

• Torrey Smith showed he is not going to be a consistent fantasy option. There are going to be rare big weeks and multiple weeks of what we got here. It makes him a low-end option.

• Joe Flacco took a step back after that impressive rally against the Steelers. Flacco attempted a season-high 52 passes and has had real high passing attempts in each of his past three games. This isn't going to be the formula to beat the Bengals next week. Consider Flacco a low-end option in that matchup.

• Sidney Rice left with a head injury. He doesn't look like he will be a viable play next week.

• Julio Jones' hamstring injury opened the door for Harry Douglas to gash the Saints late. Douglas will be a nice sleeper against the Titans next week if Jones doesn't play.

• Matt Ryan is playing much better ball for fantasy owners and is a viable all-week starter down the stretch. You should feel confident in him in any matchup.

• The Saints running game was atrocious against a stiff Falcons run defense. Mark Ingram returned but he didn't look good. Pierre Thomas was far more effective but still not productive. Even Sproles laid an egg here. Ingram will be far better, and healthier, after the bye week.

• Robert Meachem finally made an impact and did it at the expense of Lance Moore. We shouldn't have confidence in anyone but Jimmy Graham or Marques Colston. Drew Brees just spreads it around so much.

• Michael Turner was decent, but it is noteworthy the share of carries Jacquizz Rodgers is getting now. It should help Turner stay more fresh down the stretch.

• The Texans' running game is so good, it supports three significant fantasy performers: Arian Foster, the monster; Ben Tate, the slasher; and Derrick Ward, the finisher. Foster and Tate are going to be sorely missed on bye next week.

• Jacoby Jones broke a long one, but he is not a great flier because of the upcoming bye and return of Andre Johnson in Week 12.

• Matt Schaub didn't need to throw much, but he was awfully effective when he did, getting the two long ones to Jones and Foster. Schaub is going to be a much more productive fantasy QB after the bye. It is a good time to trade for him.

• Josh Freeman has been a bust of a fantasy quarterback. He is not worth owning in many leagues now, particularly if you have a steady starter and want to take a flier on someone you might actually use down the stretch. Freeman's struggles have ruined Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams as well.

• LeGarrette Blount failed in a tough matchup here and has an even tougher matchup next week against the Packers stiff run defense. You need to find a starter to replace him.

• The Texans D/ST looks like a must-start in all formats, particularly against the offensively inept Jags in Week 11.

• Tony Romo came out scorching and was so far ahead even he couldn't mess it up. He has made Laurent Robinson a solid fantasy option in all leagues. Dez Bryant is also a must-start. Jason Witten remains a bit disappointing, though. Stay confident Witten will come around.

• Demarco Murray said this week he still sees Felix Jones as a starter. Murray must not be looking at his stats. He is a star and a fantasy MVP the past month.

• It seems like a long time ago, Ryan Fitzpatrick was hot and the Bills were a contender. Fitzy shouldn't have signed that contract extension apparently. Fitzpatrick is no longer worth owning in fantasy, much less starting. He made a bust out of Steve Johnson here as the fantasy points that were scored went to Donald Jones and David Nelson.

• Fred Jackson still got his yards, but he needs more than just 13 carries. He handles tough matchups, a mark of a fantasy gem.

• Welcome back, Chris Johnson. This has been long overdue. That Falcons run defense is tough, but Johnson earned another start with this 130-yard, one-score performance. He also was a threat in the passing game, too.

• Damian Williams has steadily improved and should be considered a viable fantasy pickup now. He has taken over for Nate Washington as Matt Hasselbeck's go-to receiver.

• We should throw out this Panthers game completely. Nothing went according to plan coming off the bye. Jonathan Stewart didn't outplay D'Angelo Williams -- although both were equally ineffective. Cam Newton finally struggled. Steve Smith was pretty nonexistent. And Legadu Naanee outplayed Smith and both Panthers tight ends. We shouldn't expect this to happen again, although Naanee might be a sleeper in deeper leagues. Newton is going to develop someone outside of Smith, who figures to get a lot of double coverage and safety help.

• Rashard Mendenhall wasn't great, but he scored for fantasy owners with the TD runs. We should see more of this in the coming weeks. Mendenhall has a favorable schedule and will carry the Steelers down the stretch. Make a deal for him now, if you can.

• The Bengals defense held Ben Roethlisberger pretty well. Big Ben is going to be far better against the Chiefs next week. Keep him active.

• Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense struggled as expected here. Jermaine Gresham's return was intriguing, though. He can be a productive TE starter down the stretch.

• Cedric Benson wasn't overly productive here and it won't get much better next week against the Ravens. A.J. Green, who caught one TD pass before leaving with hyperextended knee, might be the only Bengal to use against the Ravens next week. Green sounded confident he would be able to play next week.

• Michael Vick is a complete bust. You need to look elsewhere for a fantasy starter now. Sure, DeSean Jackson's team-held suspension and Jeremy Maclin's injury hurt, but Vick just cannot get the back down the field. When he does, it tends to be to the other team.

• Steve Smith emerged here and might be a sleeper in future weeks. Jason Avant was supposed to be the one to emerge in Jackson's unexpected absence, but he was held to one catch for two yards. Smith is more of an underneath receiver to help in the inept Vick.

• John Skelton was surprisingly winging it around against the supposedly vaunted Eagles secondary. The Eagles are a mess, but at least Skelton has made Larry Fitzgerald a star again. Hopefully you didn't sit him. This game is an example why you shouldn't.

• Beanie Wells looks healthy again, but he is going to be a tough play against the No. 1 rushing defense in the NFL next week, San Francisco.

• Reggie Bush isn't doing things a whole lot better, except for the fact he is making more plays in the red zone. Despite Daniel Thomas being healthy enough to carry 17 times, it was Bush that was the fantasy producer here with the two rushing scores.

• Roy Helu didn't get enough chances to follow up on his breakthrough last week. The Dolphins have a good run defense, though. Helu has a tough run defense next week, so don't consider starting him or Ryan Torain next week.

• Leonard Hankerson proved to be a gem in his first career start, on the field he played his college ball. He did have a hip issue, but doesn't figure to miss time. Pick up Hankerson if you need a WR sleeper. He is a decent talent and appears to have something with Rex Grossman. Grossman wasn't sharp, but he should be better with the full amount of reps in practice. Grossman isn't a good fantasy option against the Cowboys defense next week, though.

• Matt Moore wasn't as good this week, but he is at least keeping Brandon Marshall steady for fantasy owners.

• Sam Bradford wasn't good, but he should continue to improve and may even prove to be a sleeper to start in the right matchup down the stretch. Brandon Lloyd at least gives him a reliable down field target.

• Colt McCoy didn't play poorly, but he needs to make more plays in the red zone against a vulnerable defense at home. It doesn't bode well for his NFL future. Greg Little at least had a revival, but the so-so QB play makes Little hardly worth using.

• Chris Ogbonnaya wasn't bad against a suspect Rams run defense, but he has some tough matchups coming up against some of the NFL's elite run defense. It makes him a low-end fantasy option, especially because McCoy can't get the Browns in scoring position.

• Tim Tebow completed just two passes, but he made one of them count and also stay productive on the ground. He is going to be embarrassingly bad against the Jets this week. Don't dare use him or anyone on the Broncos this week.

• Willis McGahee (hamstring) and Knowshon Moreno (knee) both left the game with injury, allowing Lance Ball to surprise with 96 rushing yards. None of these backs should be used against the Jets run defense.

• Matt Cassel (shoulder) let us and Dwayne Bowe down in this one. It was supposed to be a good matchup. Bowe will remain a must-start against the Pats next Monday night.

• Jackie Battle's lack of carries is curious. If he is not injured, he will be a potential start against the Pats.

• Blaine Gabbert is the least impressive of the rookie quarterbacks this season. He couldn't muster anything against a bad Colts team and he has made formerly decent fantasy options Marcedes Lewis and Mike Thomas worthless. Gabbert just can't get the ball down field. Don't own any Jags other than Maurice Jones-Drew.

• We thought Curtis Painter might have been through as the Colts quarterback last week. This performance should clinch it. He was terrible and Dan Orlovsky outplayed him late. The QB change will impact who we can count on among Colts receivers. Pierre Garcon was a Painter favorite, but now Jacob Tamme or another sleeper like Austin Collie could take over.

• Jacob Tamme filled in well in Dallas Clark's absence, but he is not worth owning -- especially since the Colts are headed into a bye.

• Donald Brown got the bulk of the carries, which makes Delone Carter no longer worth owning. Joseph Addai should be healthy enough to play the next time the Colts play in Week 12. Brown might not be worth stashing either, since the Colts have such a pitiful offense.

• OK, it is probably a week late, but rookie Vincent Brown, a third-round pick, is a must-add in fantasy right now. After his second big game -- he should have been given credit for two touchdowns Thursday night

• Brown might not surrender his starting role opposite Vincent Jackson to the injured Malcom Floyd. Brown looks legit and Philip Rivers is going to get better in this awful season of his. Jackson will rebound next week, too.

• Carson Palmer finally looks fantasy-worthy. Even if he has ruined Darrius Heyward-Bey, he has resurrected rookie Denarius Moore. Moore is Palmer's go-to man and DHB looks unworthy of owning, much less starting.

• T.J. Housmanzadeh might even have more value than DHB now. The longtime Palmer favorite caught a pass off the street this week, something DHB hasn't done in weeks since Palmer has taken over.

• The Chargers ruin their chances to win an important divisional home game because they didn't establish the run against one of the most vulnerable run defenses in the NFL. Mike Tolbert got just seven carries and the returning Ryan Mathews just six. That was a big mistake and cost fantasy owners dearly. The Bears next week, on the road, looks like a bad time to trust either back.

• The Chargers defense no longer looks worthy of owning in most fantasy leagues. They are getting beaten up regularly now and couldn't force the error-prone Palmer into enough mistakes in this one.

Eric Mack writes fantasy for, including the Start 'em, Sit 'em, the Weekend Fantasy Watch List and his Sunday night staple: Fantasy Football Fast Forward. If you need a further clarification on lineups this week hit him up on Twitter. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy.

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