November 15, 2009

The RotoExperts Staff looks ahead to Week 10, with lineup recommendations in every game capsule.

With Trent Edwards back at the helm, you can give Terrell Owens a slight bump in value, with Lee Evans seeing a bit of a decrease. Neither is worthy of anything other than a WR3 play against the rejuvenated Tennessee secondary. Marshawn Lynch is averaging right at seven fantasy points a game since returning from suspension. That's all you can expect until he shows otherwise (which doesn't seem likely against the suddenly spunky Titans). Fred Jackson should only be considered in incredibly deep PPR leagues. All of a sudden, Vince Young is a productive member of the fantasy football community again. He's completing 73 percent of his passes over his last two games, and has posted consecutive weeks of 14 and 13 fantasy points. Look for him to find the end zone at least once against Buffalo. He won't attempt more than 20 passes however, so stay away from the likes of Nate Washington and Kenny Britt, who is starting in place of the injured Justin Gage. Chris Johnson will easily notch his fourth straight 100 rushing yard games against Buffalo's 32 ranked rush defense. -- Chris Ryan

Standout Start: Vince Young

Banish to the Bench: All receivers playing for both teams

Look for Matt Ryan to continue his fantasy disappointment against a Panthers team ranked sixth in the league in pass defense. He'll hook up with either Roddy White or Tony Gonzalez for a score -- 10 of Ryan's 14 TD passes have gone to White and Gonzo -- just don't expect much more. This game will be all Michael Turner. On the Carolina side, it will be all DeAngelo Williams, as long as his injury doesn't sideline him. Expect to see a hint of Steve Smith sprinkled throughout. Somehow Smith has remained fantasy relevant despite Jake Delhomme's struggles, although he's clearly no longer a top-tier option. Sixty yards with the chance of a long touchdown is all you can hope for these days. Jonathan Stewart has double-digit touches in five consecutive games, but as evidenced by his one-point performance last week, he's a risky option. The 79 total yards he posted in the Panthers first meeting with the Falcons should be viewed as a high-end estimate. -- C.R.

Standout Start: Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams (if active)

Banish to the Bench: Matt Ryan

The Steelers have the league's top rush defense, but Cedric Benson was effective against them the first time around in Week Three. Benson rushed for 76 yards (4.8 yards per carry), and a score. The former Bears bust has become an easy start. He has just one game this season where he hasn't rushed for either a score or 140 yards. Meanwhile Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and the Bengals passing game will be rushed in this game. The Steelers are fourth in the league with 23 sacks and Palmer was inefficient against them last time around, completing 20 of 37 passes for a season-low 183 yards. Palmer is good enough to gamble on, but he's no lock for fantasy success this week. Ochocinco needs to be started each time out even though Palmer could struggle. The Bengals are second best against the run (83.9 yards per game), and have allowed only four rushing scores. Rashard Mendenhall will get a full load of carries so he's worth a play if you're short on options, but he'll be hard pressed to score or top 90 yards. Cincinnati's corners are talented and excel in takeaways (10 INTs), but they do allow yards, (241.6 yards per game; 25th in NFL). Expect Ben Roethlisberger to approach 300 yards, with a TD or two and at least one INT. Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller are all solid plays. Mike Wallace really burned the Bengals in Week Three with his speed, (seven catches, 102 yards). The Bengals' aggressive corners combined with Roethlisberger's strong pump fakes make Wallace a great play. -- Adam McFadden

Standout Starts: Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace

Banish to the Bench: Rashard Mendenhall

Be leery of using any Washington back this week. Clinton Portis is out and replacement Ladell Betts doesn't make a great play since the Broncos are eighth best against the run, (97 yards per game). Santana Moss couldn't exploit an Atlanta defense vulnerable to long plays last week and is a marginal start at this point. Take away his Week Two fiesta (10 catches, 178 yards) and he's averaged 46 yards per game. Denver is solid against the pass (seventh in the NFL), so make Moss a last option. The same goes for Jason Campbell, whose revival in Week Seven didn't last. Washington has been susceptible to the run, but Knowshon Moreno is a long shot to break out. From weeks 2-5 Moreno averaged over four yards per carry and looked like a good value. Since then, however, he hasn't topped 45 yards in the past three and bottomed out with three yards on five carries against the Steelers. Fantasy owners would be wise to put the Broncos' run game on ice until there is some improvement. Correll Buckhalter got more carries (nine) against Pittsburgh but only produced 24 yards. The Redskins are the NFL's best team against the pass, allowing only 159.9 yards per game. Kyle Orton showed cracks against the Steelers (three INTs), and hasn't been useful since Week Six. Expect 220 yards at most in this contest. Brandon Marshall was very active last week with 11 catches for 112 yards. He's inconsistent and may be inactive due to a back injury, but Orton appears to be locked on to him right now. -- A.M.

Standout Starts: Brandon Marshall (if active)

Banish to the Bench: Santana Moss, Knowshon Moreno

This Lions offense is really bad. It's unwise to consider benching first-round talent, but Calvin Johnson doesn't look healthy and hasn't been effective. Minnesota is 21st against the pass in terms of yardage, but Jared Allen will haunt Matthew Stafford's dreams after this contest. Unless Detroit makes a concerted effort to get the ball to Johnson on screens and quick passes, Stafford won't have time to find him downfield. Start Johnson expecting 80 yards, and bench everyone else in the Lion passing game. Kevin Smith out-touched Maurice Morris 15-4 last week and appears to be back in control as long as he's healthy. Expect low rushing totals with a chance for a short score and a few receptions. Detroit is middle of the road against the run and Adrian Peterson is a must-start. Expect 25 carries and at least 100 yards. The Lions secondary is transparent so Brett Favre is a good bet to get 2-3 TDs before the Vikings have a big enough lead to focus on the run. Visanthe Shiancoe and Sidney Rice are the solid plays since Favre looks their way often, (Shiancoe in the red zone). Percy Harvin is a riskier play since the Vikings might not throw much, but with such a porous Detroit defense, both Harvin and Bernard Berrian are decent options. -- A.M.

Standout Starts: Brett Favre, Visanthe Shiancoe

Banish to the Bench: Kevin Smith

Maurice Jones-Drew is on an absolute tear with 407 rushing yards and six TDs in his past three games. The Jets are middle-of-the-pack against the rush, but David Garrard hasn't done much and any offense the Jags produce will go through Jones-Drew. Look for 150 total yards and at least one TD. The Jets are second in the league against the pass, so stay away from Garrard this week. If Mike Sims-Walker plays, he's usually a great option. He has topped 100 yards in three of his six games this year. But Darrelle Revis will likely make life tough this week so steer clear if possible. Thomas Jones is a good play against a below average Jacksonville run defense, (119.8 yards per game). He should go over 100 yards for the fourth consecutive week. Shonn Greene won't get enough carries to have a big fantasy impact. The Jags don't allow much to tight ends but Dustin Keller's recent chemistry with Mark Sanchez (eight catches, 76 yards and a TD last week) makes him a decent option. Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards could each garner around 70 yards. Sanchez will find space to throw since Jacksonville is 26th against the pass. Expect something a little less than his 265 yards from last week along with one or two TD passes. -- A.M.

Standout Starts: Thomas Jones, Dustin Keller

Banish to the Bench: Mike Sims-Walker, Shonn Greene

As great as the matchup looks for Drew Brees and the passing game of the Saints, don't forget about Pierre Thomas. The last time the Saints faced a run defense this bad was Week Three against Buffalo when Thomas ran for 126 yards and two scores. This is a game the Saints should control from start to finish, so expect them to hand the ball off to their backfield often in an effort to kill time. Marques Colston comes off a one-catch performance and should have a bounce-back effort, as the Rams simply can't cover the big WR. Ditto for Jeremy Shockey. Remember the days when the Saints secondary got torched every week? Neither do the current New Orleans defensive backs. The team has benefited from facing weaker QBs like Trent Edwards, Jake Delhomme, and Mark Sanchez, but Marc Bulger fits right in with that class. With the Saints defensive front ready to bully the offensive line of St. Louis, Bulger will spend a lot of time on his back. Because of this, fantasy owners should avoid deploying Donnie Avery. Despite the dreary outlook, Steven Jackson will continue to get his. The Saints offense will likely coax the Rams into passing a ton, but Jackson is second on the team in receptions. St. Louis understands that Jackson is their only hope, so expect him to get plenty of touches, be it on the ground or through the air. -- Chris Carbonell

Standout Starts: Pierre Thomas, Steven Jackson, Marques Colston

Banish to the Bench: Marc Bulger, Donnie Avery

The Dolphins added a new wrinkle to their Wildcat offense, using QB Pat White as the point man last week. This altered formation should cause more headaches for opposing defensive coordinators, who now have to be a bit more concerned about the pass. This should open things up even more for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, who were already strong plays against a weak Bucs run defense. Chad Henne, who has yet to throw for 250 yards, should take his usual back seat in the offense and let his RBs do their thing. With the Dolphins doing a masterful job of burning the clock, Tampa Bay will have to make the most of their opportunities every time they have the ball if any of their players are to provide useful fantasy totals. Keep an eye on whether DT Jason Ferguson and LB Channing Crowder return to the field this week. Their absence created more running room for Laurence Maroney and the Pats in Week Nine, and it would make Cadillac Williams a decent flex play in deeper leagues. Josh Freeman showed great poise engineering a huge fourth quarter rally last week, but fantasy owners have to temper their expectations. Miami does a much better job of getting pressure on the quarterback than Green Bay, so expect some rookie mistakes on Sunday. Kellen Winslow needs to stay in starting lineups as the Dolphins have had issues covering TEs this season. -- C.C.

Standout Starts: Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Kellen Winslow

Banish to the Bench: Josh Freeman

The Chiefs officially cut Larry Johnson on Monday, but don't go racing to your waiver wire for Jamaal Charles or Kolby Smith. When you combine coach Todd Haley's pass-first attitude with the fact that Kansas City will be playing from behind often, it makes for a timeshare not worth investing in, (even against Oakland). Chris Chambers had an impressive fourth quarter in Week Nine, hauling in two scores during a furious (albeit failed) rally. One has to figure that Chambers will get more looks as the season goes on, and the Chiefs clearly have no problem getting him the ball in a crucial spot. While logic dictates that Chambers' arrival could damage Dwayne Bowe's fantasy value, it may not be the case. Bowe looked sharp towards the end of last week's game when the Chiefs went to a no-huddle offense. Bowe stands to be more productive since the offense looks poised to lean on Matt Cassel and the passing attack, (especially if they go to the no-huddle more). Darren McFadden may get the start on Sunday, but fantasy owners are better off keeping him on their bench until he proves to be healthy and effective. Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell would be in store for some sweet numbers against a terrible Chiefs secondary if he were anyone other than JaMarcus Russell. That being said, Zach Miller should have little trouble getting open in this matchup, catching the few passes that Russell manages to complete. -- C.C.

Standout Starts: Matt Cassel, Zach Miller Banish to the

Bench: Kolby Smith, Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden

Aaron Rodgers should end up with a very dirty uniform as the Cowboys defensive front will plow through a Green Bay O-line that has offered little pass protection this season. Rodgers remains a must-start option, but injury concerns abound when you're getting hit constantly. Donald Driver could still provide solid totals as a WR2, but Greg Jennings' deep-threat style is a tough play since Rodgers will have little time to air it out. With the way the Cowboys offense is humming, it's looking like they could put the Packers in an early hole. That means Ryan Grant will see fewer carries, making him a low-end RB2 this week. Tony Romo is seeing the field extremely well lately, and he should brutalize a shady Packers secondary. Miles Austin came up with just one catch last week, seeing just three targets. Defenses will no doubt key in on him thanks to his emergence in the passing game, but he still deserves to be started due to the matchup. Roy Williams enjoyed a season-high five catches last week, but fantasy owners should exercise caution and let him ride the pine for at least another week. Marion Barber is not an advisable start this week. Green Bay has allowed just three rushing TDs and Dallas' offense is doing a far better job of moving the chains via the pass, so expect them to stick with what's working. -- C.C.

Standout Starts: Tony Romo Banish to the

Bench: Greg Jennings, Marion Barber

You can expect a bit more of a shootout this week in San Diego than what happened in the Meadowlands last week. Donovan McNabb is under a lot of pressure to get the offense going and crank out a win this week to prevent further slippage in the NFC East. The Chargers' pass defense isn't really that impressive, so plan for 220-plus yards and a couple scores to quiet the Kevin Kolb-loving, McNabb-hating Philly faithful. There's still no word on Brian Westbrook's status for Sunday, and although it looks like another game-time decision, the smart move is to insert LeSean McCoy. Andy Reid is not taking any chances on re-injuring Westbrook's ankle or risking his health for the second half. As always, hit-or-miss receiving options Brent Celek, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin remain entrenched in the risk/reward category. Since San Diego is eerily effective at stopping the big play, it might be wise to sit Maclin, who counts on bombs to legitimize a fantasy start. For the Chargers, it's another crapshoot in the rushing game, with LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles as major question marks against a solid Eagles run defense. Look elsewhere if you can, but make sure to pencil in Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson, who both seem impervious to tough matchups. Antonio Gates is nearing the end of his elite fantasy status, but he's still a must-start.

Standout Starts: Donovan McNabb, DeSean Jackson

Banish to the Bench: Jeremy Maclin, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles

During their first meeting, the Cardinals stomped the Seahawks 27-0, but both teams have done their best Jekyll and Hyde impressions since Week Six. With Marcus Trufant back at CB1 for Seattle, Kurt Warner will have a harder time peppering the Hawks' secondary, although 200 yards and two TDs is feasible (just watch out for the picks), and Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin will both get their share of targets and produce. Keep an eye on the status of Boldin, who practiced in full Wednesday. If he's inactive, it gives Steve Breaston a huge bump in value. Despite the undying support for rookie Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower is the better fantasy back and remains a solid play for his PPR value. For Seattle, the offense revolves around the effectiveness of the offensive line. Matt Hasselbeck has overperformed this season, considering both his injuries and the inconsistency of the line, and Julius Jones is either a fantasy stud or dud, largely depending on Hasselbeck's line. When it's good, Jones catches passes and gets cheap rushing touchdowns. When it's not, he's stuck picking up blitzes and providing added help. Consider both T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson solid WR3s with upside, John Carlson a good TE2 but bad starter, and keep Justin Forsett on the bench until he proves he can be the complete back the offense needs.

Standout Starts: Anquan Boldin (if active), Tim Hightower, Matt Hasselbeck

Banish to the Bench: Seattle RBs, Steve Breaston (if Boldin plays)

Don't over think this one. The Patriots have a myriad of offensive weapons and Tom Brady at the helm, and the Colts have a myriad of offensive weapons and Peyton Manning calling the plays. There's not much room for defense in Lucas Oil Stadium this week, so all the usual suspects for the Pats (Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Laurence Maroney), and the Colts (Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark), are solid plays. It'll be interesting to watch the Patriots tighten the clamps on Clark in bracket coverage and force Manning to look for deep threat Pierre Garcon or rookie Austin Collie, who injured his neck in Week Nine but looks to be okay. Clark is still a must-start, but will probably see his targets reduced, making Garcon a good bet to catch at least one big TD pass and a solid start at WR3. It's probably not wise to start Ben Watson since the Colts do a good job keeping opposing tight ends under wraps, although Kevin Faulk could make a decent RB3 or FLEX play in deeper PPR formats if the Pats face frequent "third-and-manageable" situations. Colts backup RB Donald Brown is still questionable and can't be started unless he gets a clean bill of health before Sunday.

Standout Starts: Kevin Faulk, Joseph Addai, Pierre Garcon

Banish to the Bench: Ben Watson, Austin Collie, Donald Brown

This is a good matchup for Joe Flacco and the struggling Ravens to get back on track. While fantasy stud Ray Rice continues his multi-faceted assault, there hasn't been much for Flacco, Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton owners to get excited about during the past few games. The Browns' putrid offense (now under the auspices of one Brayden Tyler Quinn -- just pretend he's a new player, Browns fans) -- will continue to sputter in the face of the Ravens powerhouse defense, a unit that uncharacteristically scuffled last week against the surging Bengals. The Browns don't have much to offer and could easily get shut out, so if you're a lucky Ravens DEF/ST owner, you should be licking your chops. It's not wise to play Mohamed Massaquoi, Jamal Lewis or any of the other skill-position starters until some semblance of an offense emerges from Cleveland. If that doesn't sound bad, the Browns are now without starting linebackers D'Qwell Jackson (IR/shoulder injury in Week Six) and Eric Barton (also on IR with a shoulder injury), and are using a rotation of inexperienced LBs to take their place in Eric Mangini's pitiful version of a 3-4. If the Ravens' passing game takes flight early, it could be a huge day for everybody involved, including third wide receiver Kelley Washington and TE Todd Heap.

Standout Starts: All Ravens starters

Banish to the Bench: All Browns starters

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