NFL fantasy start 'em, sit 'em

Publish date:

Kyle Orton, QB, Bears

After missing Week 10 against the Titans, Orton struggled mightily against the Packers and their tough pass defense on Sunday at Lambeau to the tune of 13 for 256 passing for 133 yards and a lost fumble. Things get dramatically easier this week for him in St. Louis against the Rams, who have disintegrated after losing star running back Steven Jackson during a short resurgence last month. St. Louis has allowed an average of 258.5 passing yards in the Edward Jones Dome this year and will be playing without yet another defensive starter, cornerback Ronald Bartell, which should open things up for Orton, Rashied Davis, Marty Booker and maybe even the slumping Devin Hester.

Warrick Dunn, RB, Buccaneers

Back from his bye week book tour just in time, Dunn will have to shoulder a majority of the backfield load for the rest of the season after Earnest Graham was added to I.R. this week. Dunn might eventually begin losing snaps to Cadillac Williams, who has an outside chance of making his return from knee reconstruction surgery by the end of the year. But this week against a lowly Lions D that allowed both of Carolina's top runners, James Stewart and DeAngelo Williams to run for over 100 yards last week, the multi-talented veteran is a good call.

Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs

You're looking for a way to salvage some justification for still having the troubled Johnson still on your roster and here it is. Last week against the Saints Johnson returned to the lineup with 19 carries for 67 yards and a 20-yard catch out of the backfield. He'll add to those numbers against a Bills team spiraling downward and having surrendered nine rushing TDs in all five losses this season, including a pair in each of the last two. Although it looked sketchy there for a while, Johnson will pay some dividends this season afterall.

Peyton Hillis, RB, Broncos

The rookie fullback played exceedingly well last week in a big road win over Atlanta, reaching the end zone twice and proving to naysayers (like yours truly) that he could indeed be a lead back. This week with Selvin Young still not ready to take the job back, Hillis will face the Raiders, who have allowed more rushing yards (636) than any other defense this month. Only the Lions and Chiefs have given up more ground yards per game than Oakland's 164.5, and most of those this week will go to Hillis.

Derrick Ward, RB, Giants

With Earth (Brandon Jacobs) limited this week with a tricky knee, you can look for Wind (Ward) and Fire (Ahmad Bradshaw) to pick up the slack. Ward quietly ranks 19th in the NFL in rushing, having outgained Maurice Jones-Drew, James Stewart and Joseph Addai to name a few in rushing yards per game. He'll get the first- and second-down carries if Jacobs can't go against the Cardinals. Either way is worth a flex play in what could turn into a shootout in the desert between two sure playoff teams.

Santana Moss, WR, Redskins

As the Seahawks offense slowly returns to health, the defense is crumbling, giving up at least 20 points in each of the teams eight losses, including three games in a row. Last week against the Cardinals, Anquan Boldin had an NFL season-high 186 yards receiving on 13 catches, and Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 balls for 151 yards, the 14th best one-day total in the league in '08. Look for head coach Jim Zorn to turn to the film and have Jason Campbell and Moss attempt to exploit the same flaws in the wideout coverage that Kurt Warner and his star pass-catchers did last week.

Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Dolphins

The first time the Dolphins and Patriots met, it was the Ronnie Brown show, as the running back was responsible for five touchdowns in five plays out of the Wildcat formation. The Patriots will be keying on any Miami trickery, which should mean that Miami will play it closer to the vest this week. Enter Ginn, who has overcome his inability to get off the line of scrimmage to score in consecutive games, bringing in at least four catches in four of his last five appearances. He's also a threat to break a long one every time he touches the ball. Look for Tony Sparano to find a way to get Ginn out in space again, which should result in paydirt for his owners.

Brady Quinn, QB, Browns

After doing a credible job in his first two NFL starts, Quinn looks like a great call to play against a Texans defense that's allowed the third most TD passes (17) in the league. However he'll be playing with a broken finger (if he's able to play at all) and he hasn't been sharp enough (52.1 percent completions, 79.8 rating) to trust to play in what promises to be a cold afternoon on the shores of Lake Erie.

Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles

Like the rest of his teammates, the unanimous top 5 fantasy pick is in a terrible slump, coming off a third straight showing of fewer than 100 yards from scrimmage and no touchdowns. In fact he has just two games with more than 100 yards from scrimmage the entire season. The Ravens defense is seething after giving up more than 200 yards to the Giants last week and is looking to put a hurt on an opposing runner to re-establish it as the league's best. Facing an offensive line much inferior to the one they faced last week in New Jersey, Baltimore will do just that back at home, sending Westbrook deeper into the fantasy abyss.

Chris Chambers, WR, Chargers

After starting off the season on fire, scoring five touchdowns over the first five games, Chambers has been nearly invisible catching just eight balls for 68 yards since. Although he's fully recovered from a sprained ankle that has slowed him down, he's not a good play against the Colts who've gone four straight games without giving up a TD through the air and have allowed just one wideout, Houston's Andre Johnson, to score all season.