By Eric Mack
November 08, 2012

The start of November represents the beginning of the end in fantasy leagues. It is the time to make one final push for the postseason. By the end of the month, less than half of most leagues will care about competing for waiver pickups or even setting their lineups.

Most important, bye weeks steadily are coming to a close. In one of the lightest bye weeks this season -- because of the marginal fantasy options on the Redskins, Cardinals and Browns -- owners might merely be missing the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Mason Crosby, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Trent Richardson and Larry Fitzgerald. Taking those magnificent seven away is trumped almost entirely by the return of all those elite Patriots owners count on in fantasy every week.

While your fantasy league still cares about fantasy, maybe for the last time this season, we help you with all over your roster decisions in's Week 10 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em:


Broncos -- Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Matt Prater, Broncos D/ST: No one can sit the Broncos' scorching passing game right now, and while the Panthers have played a lot better lately -- particularly against the pass -- they are still in the bottom half of fantasy versus running backs. Still, the Panthers' defense does a better job playing red-zone defense at home, so this should be a big week for Prater. On the other side, the Broncos' defense has played well enough to be considered among the top 12 D/STs weekly in fantasy.

Panthers -- Cam Newton, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen: Newton and Smith have revived their lost seasons and should rate as starts at least until the bye weeks end. As for Olsen, the Broncos are third-worst in fantasy versus tight ends, and only the Redskins and Titans have given up more touchdowns to tight ends. Even with no starting tight ends on bye, Olsen is still worth starting at home in this matchup.


Broncos -- Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Stokley, Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Virgil Green: The Panthers have been steady against the run, and the Broncos' tight ends are a weekly crap shoot. Avoid these guys until someone shows some consistency.

Panthers -- Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert, Brandon LaFell, Louis Murphy, Justin Medlock, Panthers D/ST: Even as Stewart took over primary back duties, it was Williams scoring the touchdown last week. Avoid all of the Panthers' running backs if you can afford to, against the Broncos' solid run defense. The Broncos are also in the top 10 against wide receivers.


Giants -- Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Lawrence Tynes, Giants D/ST: The Bengals don't have a bad defense, but a hunch here is the struggling Manning and Nicks (knee) rebound this week. You're going to want to keep Cruz, Tynes and the resurgent defense active, and also consider Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), Martellus Bennett and perhaps touchdown vulture Andre Brown as sleepers against a Bengals defense that is bottom 10 in fantasy versus running backs and tight ends.

Bengals -- Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham: The starts here are related to the passing game. The Giants are seventh-worst in fantasy versus quarterbacks and fifth-worst versus wide receivers. Gresham is also alive again, and only the Redskins have given up more receptions and yards to tight ends than the Giants.


Giants -- Domenik Hixon, Rueben Randle, Ramsas Barden: Manning's struggles of late are due to the tough secondaries he has faced. The Bengals are no slouch, as they rank in the top half of fantasy versus wide receivers. Ignore these secondary targets, especially if Nicks is active. If Nicks is out, Hixon is a nice sleeper in deeper formats.

Bengals -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cedric Peerman, Andrew Hawkins, Armon Binns, Mike Nugent, Bengals D/ST: The Giants have given up four 100-yard rushers in nine games, but they still rank among the top-10 teams in fantasy against running backs. BGE just isn't a great option this week. Also, the Giants are second-best in fantasy versus D/STs and in the top half against kickers, so avoid those marginal options.


Titans -- Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt: CJ is hot right now, so keep him active even if the Dolphins are sixth-best in fantasy versus running backs. Johnson has already had big weeks against Houston (No. 2), Chicago (No. 3) and Pittsburgh (No. 5). Plus, he is all the Titans really have going for them right now. Britt is intriguing because the Dolphins' defense, while playing well, is fourth-worst in fantasy against wide receivers. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright would have been sleepers if the Titans didn't plan to turn the offense back over to Jake Locker, as expected.

Dolphins -- Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Brian Hartline, Dolphins D/ST: Bush and Thomas have gone into a timeshare, with Bush getting slightly more touches but Thomas getting goal-line carries. Get both active against a Titans defense that is third-worst in fantasy versus running backs. Also, Hartline proved healthy and productive enough last week to keep active while offensive teammates Ryan Tannehill, Davone Bess, tight end Anthony Fasano and kicker Dan Carpenter represent worthy bye-week stopgaps against a team that ranks sixth-worst team in fantasy versus quarterbacks, second-worst versus tight ends and the worst versus kickers.


Titans -- Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, Jamie Harper, Rob Bironas, Titans D/ST: A road game against a defense that has played pretty well makes most of the Titans marginal options, particularly with Locker's return creating even more uncertainty.

Dolphins -- None. It is a week of sleepers for your Dolphins, particularly if you are without your Packers.


Lions -- Matthew Stafford, Mikel Leshoure, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Jason Hanson, Lions D/ST: The Vikings are in the bottom 10 in fantasy against quarterbacks, even if their defense is better than it has shown of late. Keep all of your primary Lions options active in this pivotal division game.

Vikings -- Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Blair Walsh: The Lions are fourth-best in fantasy versus running backs, but no one is sitting A.P. It's also a good week to trust Walsh against the sixth-worst team in fantasy versus kickers. Percy Harvin (ankle) would have been must-start if he plays, but he is doubtful. So expect Rudolph to be the go-to target, especially since the Lions are ninth-worst in fantasy against tight ends.


Lions -- Joique Bell, Titus Young, Ryan Broyles: The Vikings' defense is not necessarily one to take advantage of, particularly at home. These guys are marginal options best avoided.

Vikings -- Christian Ponder, Jerome Simpson, Michael Jenkins, Vikings D/ST: Ponder has been struggling of late, and the Lions have played much better. This is an important game that will probably be a bit less fantasy-friendly than you might expect.


Raiders -- Denarius Moore, Brandon Myers, Sebastian Janikowski: These three have earned must-start status in most leagues, particularly with the running game taking the injury hit.

Ravens -- Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Justin Tucker, Ravens D/ST: The Raiders are 11th-worst in fantasy versus quarterbacks and wide receivers, so consider Flacco, Smith and perhaps even Anquan Boldin viable starts if you need bye-week replacements. It should be a big week all around for the Ravens offense against a Raiders defense that was torched by the Bucs at home. Playing an East Coast game at 1 p.m. doesn't bode well for the Raiders, so start Baltimore's injury-hit defense, too.


Raiders -- Carson Palmer, Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders D/ST: Palmer is coming off a productive week, but the Ravens are still seventh-best in fantasy versus quarterbacks. Even though the Ravens are ninth-worst in fantasy versus running backs, you shouldn't consider Reece or Jones anything more than desperation options in place of the injured McFadden and Goodson. The Ravens' defense is better than it has shown, which is bad news for the Raiders' non-existent running game.

Ravens -- Bernard Pierce, Jacoby Jones, Dennis Pitta: These marginal Ravens options don't project to get enough touches to warrant using in any leagues right now.


Bills -- C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson: The Pats defense is seventh-best in fantasy versus running backs, but the Bills learned a week ago they have to get the ball back into the hands of their playmakers out of the backfield if they hope to compete. It should be a busy week for Spiller and Jackson in the passing game, especially with lots of the expected garbage time. Johnson (thigh) should be active in leagues if he's active for the Bills, while Donald Jones is a nice sleeper if you need a stopgap receiver. The Pats' secondary has been regularly torched and ranks ninth-worst in fantasy against wide receivers.

Patriots -- Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots D/ST: This is about as clear of a start-all game as exists in fantasy. The Pats are rested and healthy coming off a bye, and the Bills are suspect defensively, despite their performance at Houston last Sunday. The Bills are fourth-worst against quarterbacks, the worst against running backs and seventh-worst versus wide receivers and tight ends.


Bills -- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Scott Chandler, Rian Lindell, Bills D/ST: The numbers suggest a sleeper week for Fitzpatrick, but he is just so darn inconsistent and there are better quarterback sleeper plays out there. Also, many expect a productive week for Chandler against the Pats secondary (fourth-worst in fantasy versus tight ends), but Fitzpatrick's inconsistency stunts him, too.

Patriots -- Brandon Bolden, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman: The Bills' defense is so porous, you can consider these guys, but it would be a lot easier to discern which ones if Bolden was 100 percent after the bye week. That won't be known until after Week 10. Avoid these guys right now.


Chargers -- Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates: This should be a great week for the Chargers' passing game. The Bucs' defense is fifth-worst versus quarterbacks, third-worst versus wide receivers and 12th-worst against tight ends. Mathews is the only real question among these options, particularly since Ronnie Brown is stealing receptions and red-zone snaps and the Bucs have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL and lowest yards-per-carry. We say keep Mathews because he still is one of the top 12 most-promising backs in fantasy.

Buccaneers -- Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Connor Barth: This is one of the more irrepressible offenses in football right now, and the Chargers' defense is in the middle of the pack across the board. Keep these burgeoning fantasy stars active in all leagues, particularly at home.


Chargers -- Ronnie Brown, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Danario Alexander, Nick Novak, Chargers D/ST: Brown isn't a great play against the Bucs' defense, especially if we expect Mathews to get a bigger chunk of the pass receptions with the running game getting slowed. Meachem and Royal might return from injury, but they need to prove healthy and effective before we trust them even in the most favorable of matchups.

Buccaneers -- LeGarrette Blount, Dallas Clark, Buccaneers D/ST: Blount watched Martin post a monstrous performance last week before coming in to fumble, a sure sign he's going to be minimally involved going forward. The Bucs' defense is better than it has played, mostly because of what it can do against the run, but don't dare consider that unit against a Chargers offense that can wake up.


Falcons -- Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant: Turner is the important start of note here, because the Saints are second-worst against running backs. It should be a big day for Turner and it may be worth considering Jacquizz Rodgers for those desperate for a flex. The rest of these guys are good starts against anyone and great ones at New Orleans.

Saints -- Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Garrett Hartley: The Falcons are top 10 in fantasy versus wide receivers, but Colston should remain active in all leagues, along with these others, when healthy. Lance Moore isn't quite a must-start, but he is viable when healthy, too.


Falcons -- Falcons D/ST: Clearly, a defense is the only option to sit weekly against the Saints.

Saints -- Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Devery Henderson, Saints D/ST: The Saints' running backs got a boost from the absence of Sproles, but it is still too much of a crap shoot on which one to trust right now. Wait another week for it to settle some, if it does at all.


Jets -- Dustin Keller: We debated even including Keller here. The Seahawks are top 10 against quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers -- and even better at home. They are middle of the pack against tight ends and Keller figures to be targeted frequently in the short, conservative passing game. Start Shonn Greene if you need to, but he probably won't be good for double-digit points against the defense in Seattle.

Seahawks -- Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Seahawks D/ST: The Jets' defense is seventh-worst in fantasy against running backs, so everyone is resigned to just pound the ball at them. Rice is a marginal option against a Jets defense that is No. 1 in fantasy versus wide receivers, even with Darrelle Revis (knee) out for the season. As for the defense, it should be among the leading scoring units against that pitiful Jets attack.


Jets -- Mark Sanchez, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Nick Folk, Jets D/ST: No one missed the Jets last week when they were on bye. You won't miss them this week either.

Seahawks -- Russell Wilson, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, Steven Hauschka: Wilson is much better at home, but the Jets are still sixth-best in fantasy versus quarterbacks, so look elsewhere.


Cowboys -- Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cowboys D/ST: The Eagles' defense was playing better with their past defensive coordinator. The Cowboys have weapons to attack a secondary that can be good at times. Keep these guys active, especially the defense, because the Eagles are second-worst in fantasy against opposing D/STs.

Eagles -- LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Eagles D/ST: After last week, it may be time to give up on your Eagles, save for these options. McCoy is going to get the red-zone carries he didn't get last week and the defense gets a Cowboys team that is sixth-worst in fantasy against D/STs.


Cowboys -- Tony Romo, Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner, Dan Bailey: Romo has all but signed his fantasy death certificate for the stretch run. He could still have some big games, but don't expect one here. The Eagles, despite their struggles, are still in the top half of fantasy against quarterbacks. The running back job is still Jones' with Murray (foot) out, but it is hard to imagine him doing anything against this Eagles front.

Eagles -- Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, Alex Henery: If the Eagles thought it was tough to score against the Saints' defense, wait until you see what the Cowboys' defense has in store for it. That unit is good, ranking No. 3 in fantasy versus quarterbacks and sixth against both wide receivers and tight ends. Avoid Vick like the plagued after his choke-job Monday night.


Rams -- None: The 49ers' defense isn't one to mess with, particularly at home in a division matchup.

49ers -- Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, David Akers, 49ers D/ST: This isn't quite a start-all game for your 49ers, because the Rams can slow some teams. Davis is the one to expect a revival here after the bye week. The Rams are eighth-worst in fantasy against tight ends. Because this should be a big day for the 49ers, you can consider Alex Smith and backup running back Kendall Hunter if you're desperate for a fill-ins. There are still at least 15 quarterbacks and 30 running backs that are more promising, though.


Rams -- Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Daryl Richardson, Danny Amendola, Chris Givens, Brandon Gibson, Lance Kendricks, Greg Zuerlein, Rams D/ST: The 49ers' defense is No. 1 against quarterbacks and running backs, second-best against wide receivers and eighth-best against tight ends and kickers. Also, the Rams haven't proven capable against anyone this season. Ignore them all.

49ers -- Randy Moss, Mario Manningham: The return to health of Manningham makes the secondary targets a bit of a question mark, especially since the throws should go to tight end Davis more often again.


Texans -- Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Texans D/ST: This figures to be a bad week to expect the steady numbers the Texans tend to give. Johnson is one to consider sitting, too, if you have replacements. Peanut Tillman is a lock-down corner that can take the best of them out of the game plan.

Bears -- Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Robbie Gould, Bears D/ST: The same goes for your Bears. As good as the Texans' defense is, the Bears are at home and these options have earned every-week-starter status in fantasy.


Texans -- Matt Schaub, Ben Tate, Kevin Walter, Shayne Graham: The Bears' defense is fifth against quarterbacks, third against running backs, 11th versus wide receivers and fourth against kickers. These guys are not worth considering except in the most favorable of matchups. This defense certainly does not qualify there.

Bears -- Jay Cutler, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Alshon Jeffrey, Kellen Davis: The Texans are top 10 in fantasy against quarterbacks and wide receivers and these guys aren't consistent fantasy options even in favorable matchups. This should be a classic defense and smash-mouth game.


Chiefs -- Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe: Avoid these guys if you can afford to. The problem is who are your replacements for two guys that could be top 10 at their position if the Chiefs' coaching staff and play-callers weren't the biggest jokes in football?

Steelers -- Ben Roethlisberger, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, Shaun Suisham, Steelers D/ST: This is a start-all game for the Steelers at home in prime time against one of the most moribund franchises in football. Redman is coming off a monster game and Dwyer is expected to return as well. Both can be starts as bye-week replacements in all leagues. Wallace and Miller should also be quality options even if this game blows out, because Antonio Brown (high-ankle sprain) is likely out. That point might even allow you to consider Emmanuel Sanders if you need a sleeper.


Chiefs -- Matt Cassel, Peyton Hillis, Jon Baldwin, Steve Breaston, Tony Moeaki, Ryan Succop, Chiefs D/ST: The Steelers' defense hasn't gotten the credit is deserves. It is ranked second, fifth and fourth against quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, respectively. Don't own a Chiefs player, much less start them, if you can help it this week.

Steelers -- Rashard Mendenhall, Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery: Injury forces you to plan for other options than Mendenhall and Brown, while Cotchery is easily a fourth, or fifth, receiving option behind Wallace, Miller, Sanders and Redman.

For those that play in those weekly salary-cap games, here are some of the undervalued bargains this week:

QB -- Eli ManningRB -- Stevan RidleyRB -- Michael TurnerWR -- Hakeem Nicks (if active) or Domenik Hixon (if not)WR -- Mike WallaceTE -- Antonio Gates and Vernon DavisK -- David Akers and Matt PraterD/ST -- Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers

Got some better ideas? Hit me with them on Twitter @EricMackFantasy, and you can't lose!

Eric Mack writes fantasy for Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his last-minute Cheat Sheet on Sunday mornings and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

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