Posted on: August 28, 2011 8:38 pm

AFC North Fantasy Outlook

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco has shown improvement in each of his first three seasons with the Ravens and heads into 2011 as a top 12 fantasy quarterback. The durable Flacco hasn't missed a start in 48 straight and should throw for 25+ touchdowns especially after the acquisition of Lee Evans. Flacco and Evans have shown a determination to connect so far in the preseason and Evans could really have a solid year. With a year in Baltimore under his belt, Anquan Boldin will improve on his team leading 64 catches for 837 yards and 7 touchdowns and should eclipse the 1,000 yard mark. The team is stacked with young receivers in David Reed, Tandon Doss and Torrey Smith and who ever snags the three spot will have value in deeper leagues. The last two seasons Ray Rice has been quite impressive especially in PPR leagues where he has collected a two year totals of 141 receptions for 1,258 yards. Couple that with two 1,200+ yard rushing seasons and Rice is a solid top 5 pick. Ricky Williams replaces the departed Willis McGahee and should see spot duty to spell Rice. He should be handcuffed and drafted in leagues that carry 5-6 backs but has limited upside at this point in his career. With the loss of Todd Heap in free agency there is a huge hole at the tight end spot. Ed Dickson is penciled in as the starter but lacks experience heading into his second year with only 11 catches for 152 yards and a score. Dickson should go undrafted in standard leagues and added to the scout team as a possible pickup. Dennis Pitta is the back up and has little value.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals enter 2011 in yet another transition year. Carson Palmer would rather retire then play for the Bengals and his request to be traded has largely been denied. The face of the franchise and starter for 7 years has been put in the past with the drafting of Andy Dalton. He has looked sharp for a rookie and he will have his moments but he should only be used as a bye week replacement with room to grow as the season progresses. Also gone from Cincy is Chad Ochocinco, who is replaced by another rookie in A.J. Green. Green has the tools to become a top 10 fantasy receiver once seasoned and he will be exciting to watch in his rookie year. If the last two games for Jerome Simpson last season are any indication of what's to come then he could be a real sleeper. Simpson totaled 18 catches for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns against San Diego & Baltimore. Slot receiver Jordan Shipley has shown some fantasy spark but should only be drafted in deep leagues. Jermaine Gresham is an up and coming tight end and should improve on his quiet rookie year. Cedric Benson was resigned and he will be used a lot to take some of the pressure off Dalton. A third 1,000+ yard season is a given baring injury. I expected to see a lot more from back up Bernard Scott a season ago but he just wasn't used much. Entering his third season, Scott should see an increase in snaps but is only worth a flyer in deep leagues.

Cleveland Browns

Entering his second season, Colt McCoy looks to grow from his eight starts as a rookie.  He will have the benefit of a solid offensive line and a sound running game. He should be drafted as a number 2 quarterback. Peyton Hillis was a surprise fantasy stud a season ago and he will continue to be fed the rock and has proven to be a reliable target out of the backfield catching 61 passes for 477 yards. He is a solid number 2 back. Montario Hardesty was expected to be the lead back in Cleveland but his rookie year ended abruptly with a torn ACL. He will be eased into playing time during the season but it will not be enough unless Hillis suffers an injury. Brandon Jackson was signed away from Green Bay and he looks to be the third down back. Jackson led Green Bay in rushing in 2010 with 703 rushing and a dismal 3.7 yards per carry. He also now has the dreaded turf toe injury and should be ignored on draft day.  The receiver position is unsteady in Cleveland with no clear number 1 or 2 receiver. Last year's leading receiver Mohamed Massaquoi has been plagued by a foot injury and hasn't played in the preseason. He could still be the opening day starter but he has failed to impress in his first two seasons and Brian Robiskie may have overtaken him so there is not a lot to like. Robiskie has had a great camp and has shown great separation in his first two preseason games. He is still only worth a flyer in deeper leagues but he should be scouted if he does go undrafted. Heading into his 7th season Josh Cribbs has had very little production and should be left undrafted. Rookie Greg Little has been a bright spot in camp and will overtake Cribbs to be the week 1 starter. He has the potential to be some what useful but only in deep leagues with 5 or more receivers. Tight end Ben Watson was the team leader in receptions (68) and yards (763) one year ago and should be a quality number 2tight end again this season. The browns want to find a way to get Evan Moore more involved in the offense and will look to split him out at receiver in some situations. Moore averaged 20.1 yards per catch in limited time last season but should only be looked at in the deepest of leagues.

Pittsburgh Steelers

After sitting out a 4 game suspension a year ago Ben Roethlisberger stepped in a guided the Steelers all the way to the Super Bowl. He threw for 3,200 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games with only 5 picks. He is a top 12 fantasy quarterbacks and will improve without the distractions from a year ago. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for a career high 1,273 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010. He should be drafted in the mid to late first round and will be the main truck again this season for the Steelers. Established veteran Mewelde Moore has no upside as the third receiver and should go undrafted. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are battling for the left over carries and whoever can win the number 2 spot would have value in this offense as a 5 or 6 back. Hines Ward returns for his 14th season but he is no longer the fantasy star he once was. He is still useful as a number 4 or 5 receiver. In only his second season Mike Wallace put up 1,257 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. He is a big play receiver evident of his 20.9 YPC and is ranked as a top 10 fantasy receivers. Jerricho Cotchery was signed after being cut by the Jets but he is no more then a number 5 or 6 fantasy receiver with no upside. Emmanuel Sanders played the slot last season catching 28 passes for 376 yards and 2 touchdowns which was 4th on the team. Unfortunately Sanders had recent foot surgery and his start to the season is in jeopardy. This has allowed Antonio Brown to emerge ahead of Sanders heading into the season and he is a sleeper in deeper leagues and a useful return specialist as well. Heath Miller's numbers slipped down from his career year in 2009 and he should only be drafted as a number 2 tight end.

Posted on: August 25, 2011 4:58 pm

NFC North Fantasy Outlook

NFC North Fantasy Outlook

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Chicago Bears
It's surprising to see Jay Cutler's numbers so low in a Mike Martz offense. His completions, completion percentage and yards were the lowest since his rookie season in which he only played 5 games. An offensive line that let up 52 sacks a year ago needs to do better and Cutler should flourish with a year of Mike Martz system under his belt. Matt Forte continues to be a dual threat both rushing and receiving the ball and he hasn't missed a game in his three seasons as a pro. Marion Barber was signed and could end up stealing goal line carries from Forte and he will see some series on offense to spell Forte. Roy Williams was signed as a free agent and reunites with Martz from their days in Detroit where Williams had his best seasons. Leading receiver Johnny Knox should improve and will top 1,000 yards this year. Devin Hester can make some big plays at times but he is not a reliable every week starter and the same can be said for Earl Bennett. These two should only be owned in deep leagues as a 5th or 6th receiver at best. It is not surprising that Greg Olsen was traded away to the Panthers but there is no arguing that he will be missed and Martz should have found away to incorporate him into the offense. The inexperienced Kellen Davis takes over but he should be left undrafted.

Detroit Lions
If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy he could be a real steal come draft day. Stafford threw for 6 touchdowns in three games before going out for the season with the shoulder injury. He has the tools to succeed in the NFL and he has one of the best weapons to throw to in Calvin Johnson. Heading into his 5th season, Johnson is primed for a big year, coming off a 1,120 yard 12 touchdown season. In his first season in Detroit Nate Burleson was a nice compliment to Johnson and he should play a similar roll this year but should only be drafted in deeper leagues. Derrick Williams and Rashied Davis are backups with little upside on draft day. Brandon Pettigrew had a career year in 2010 and has turned into a top 10 fantasy tight end. Jahvid Best showed some big play potential early in his rookie season but that all came to a screeching halt when he developed turf toe. He was barely startable most weeks and ended up with a dreadful yards per carry average of just 3.27. The drafting of Mikel Leshoure was writing on the wall that Best is more suited as a spot back and third down specialist. Unfortunately for the Lions LeShoure was lost for the season to a knee injury. We will have to see how much the Lions can use Best without running him down. He has already suffered a concussion in the preseason so there is high risk in drafting him but he does have a lot of big play potential. Someone will have to take the load off rushing the ball and there is a log jam with Aaron Brown, Maurice Morris and new free agent signees Mike Bell and Jerome Harrison all battling for the number 2 position. 

Green Bay Packers
There is so much to like in Green Bay for fantasy owners. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the top fantasy quarterback and he continues to put up solid numbers since taking over in 2008.  Greg Jennings is the number 1 receiving option and is coming off of a monster year with 76 catches for 1265 and 12 touchdowns. Donald Driver had his 6 year 1,000 yard season streak snapped and with him getting up there in age there is a real threat for James Jones to increase his production and very well could be the starter opening day. Jordy Nelson is also in the mix for increased playing time but he should only be drafted in deep leagues unless he happens to win the starting job over Driver and Jones. Rookie Randall Cobb can be a multi-dimensional force and you'll here his name during the season at some point but he should go undrafted. Ryan Grant returns after missing all but the opener a year ago. Speculation is he could get cut but I am not buying it and Grant will end up being the starter and a number 2 fantasy back. Many people think Playoff Hero James Starks is a big sleeper heading into 2011 but as long as Grant is there Starks will play second fiddle. John Kuhn should not be drafted. Big things were expected of Jermichael Finley a year ago but that all ended when he went down for the season in week 5. He will be a factor in this offense heading into 2011 and should be viewed as a number 1 tight end with huge upside. Fellow tight end Andrew Quarless has value if Finley were to get injured.

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings brought in Donovan McNabb via trade after a 1 year unsuccessful stint in Washington. It will be interesting to see if McNabb can rebound with his new team but heading into 2011 McNabb is no more then a number 2 Quarterback with little upside. Christian Ponder will most likely ride the pine and just learn in his rookie year. Heading into his 5th season Adrian Peterson has been a model of fantasy consistency topping the 1,200 yard mark in each of his first 4 seasons with double digit touchdowns. He is established as one of the top 3 picks in all drafts. Backup Toby Gerhart plays sparingly and is only worth drafting in deeper leagues and as a handcuff for Peterson owners. Leading receiver Percy Harvin is heading into his third season and should lead the team in receiving again and will top the 1,000 yard mark as long as he stays healthy. For the last two seasons, Bernard Berrian has not been a useful receiver and he should only be drafted in deep leagues that carry 5 or 6 receivers but there is not much upside here. Michael Jenkins was brought in from Atlanta but he has done little for fantasy owners in 7 years as a pro. He could challenge Berrian for a starting roll but should be avoided in all standard leagues. Slot receiver Greg Camarillo has little to offer. Visanthe Shiancoe could be a reliable weapon for McNabb who likes throwing to his tight ends but hold your expectations in check as there is not a lot of upside here and he should be viewed only as a number 2 tight end come draft day.

Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:56 pm

AFC East Fantasy Football Outlook

AFC East Fantasy Football Outlook

Buffalo Bills
Ryan Fitzpatrick did well after taking over for Trent Edwards in week 3 last season. He enters 2011 in a contract year coming off a career high 255 completions for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. Edwards will have to produce or will be shown the door. Trading away Lee Evans doesn't help and someone needs to step up to take the position opposite Steve Johnson. After bursting on the scene via the waiver wire early last season Johnson went from 2 catches for 10 yards in 2009 to 82 catches for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He will be the go to guy again this year with high targets and is a top 20 fantasy receiver. The position battle for number 2 is between David Nelson and Donald Jones and both have started in a three receiver set during weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason.  Nelson (31-353-3) and Jones (18-213-1) played quite a bit last season so whoever wins the battle could have some value. Second year back C.J. Spiller is in a battle with Fred Jackson for the starters roll. Spiller didn't impress in his rookie season but does have more upside and if he is named starter should move up the rankings. Jackson has been steady the last two years rushing for 1,062 in 2009 and 927 a year ago and regardless of who starts both backs have fantasy value. Tight end is up in the air at this time with Scott Chandler, Shawn Nelson and veteran David Martin in the mix. It is best to stay away from Bills tight ends on draft day.

Miami Dolphins
This is a make or break year for Chad Henne with the Dolphins and he has shown glimpses of being a quality starter at times but other times has been downright awful. His career average quarterback rating is 75.3 and that's just not going to get it down in the NFL. Henne, entering his 3rd year as starter, does have Brandon Marshall to throw the ball too. Marshall topped the 1,000 yard mark for the 5th straight year and will improve upon his 3 touchdowns from a year ago now that he is familiar with the offense. He is easily a top 20 receiver. Brian Hartline starts opposite Marshall and should improve his numbers in his third season. Davone Bess plays mostly in the slot but actually has more value then Hartline because of his route running skills. Bess had career highs in 2010 and had a high target count of 122 which was 49 more targets then Hartline although Hartline did miss the last 4 games to injury. Only the Bengals has a lower yards per carry then Miami's 3.7 so gone are Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown replaced by Reggie Bush and rookie Daniel Thomas. The injury prone Bush was acquired in a trade and he brings speed and pass catching ability to the team but don't look for him to get more then 10-12 carries per game with an occasionally hit for a touchdown. Thomas should see the bulk of the carries and be a fairly productive number 2 back. If Thomas should slip look for Lex Hilliard to get more involved. Anthony Fasano reached career highs in receptions (39) and yards (528) last season and is a solid number 2 tight end in leagues that require 2.

New England Patriots
Tom Brady continues to be one of the top 5 Fantasy quarterbacks year after year and it will be no different in 2011. Last year proved to be Brady's second best season only topped in 2007's record breaking year. He threw for 3,900 yards, 36 touchdowns and a career low 4 Interceptions with a quarter back rating of 111.0. Brian Hoyer is a good handcuff for Brady owners but the team did draft Ryan Mallett although it doesn't look as if Hoyer's spot is in jeopardy. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was on the bubble last preseason supposedly behind Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. The way it played out was much different as Green-Ellis led the Pats in rushing (1,008) and rushing touchdowns (13) and in most leagues a steal off the waiver wire. He heads into this season as the number 1 back and should produce double digit touchdowns again. Last season Jets castoff Danny Woodhead was signed to replace an injured Kevin Faulk and despite his size (5'8" 195) Woodhead put up some surprise totals of  547 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns and 34 catches for 379 yards and a score. He looks like he will play the same role again this year making Faulk dispensable. To make things a little more interesting though the Pats drafted some youth at the position with rookie Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. Vareen has yet to see the field in two preseason games but Ridley has been quite a surprise so far rushing for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns and another 74 receiving with a score in two preseason games. Wes Welker's catches and yards dipped in 2010 but he did put up 7 touchdowns and will likely improve now that he is a full 18 months recovered from his knee injury. After coming over in a mid-season trade with Seattle last season, Deion Branch added a spark to the team with his return. Branch (32) actually neared career highs in 2010 but he is considered a low end number 4 receiver at best especially with the trade to acquire Chad Ochocinco from Cincinnati. Ochocinco has never had this quality of a passer throwing to him and he looks rejuvenated so far in the preseason. At 33 it's hard to say what he has left in the tank but he is a definite number 2 receiver in this offense. Brandon Tate and Taylor Price would only be valuable due to injury. It's hard to recommend two starting fantasy tight ends from the same team but the way the Patriots utilized both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez a year ago it's hard to argue. Gronkowski caught 42 balls for 546 and 10 touchdowns and Hernandez caught 45 for 563 and 6. Both are considered fantasy starters.

New York Jets
Entering his third season Mark Sanchez still has some work to do to take the next step in becoming a fantasy starter. His completion percentage for one needs to improve. It will interesting to see if offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's tutoring helps Sanchez to blossom and improve on his 17 touchdowns from a year ago. A lot of us expected big things from Shonn Greene last season and they just never materialized. He rushed for 766 yards and a mere 2 touchdowns and made fools of those who drafted him high and stuck with him for the first half of the year waiting for a breakout. He looks to be the starter heading into 2011 but the presence of LaDainian Tomlinson still looms so high risk reward remain. Tomlinson surprised those who thought he was finished, leading the Jets in rushing with 914 yards and 6 touchdowns. What separated Tomlinson from Greene was in the pass catching department and the all important blitz pickup in passing situations. If Greene doesn't improve in these two areas he is likely to play second fiddle again this season. Joe McKnight is also looking for some carries and he proved he can carry the load when he carried the rock 32 times for 158 yards in the final game last season. The team resigned Santonio Holmes and he will be better with a year in the system and with no suspension looming. Holmes is a solid number 2 fantasy receiver. It's hard to gage just how good Plaxico Burress will be at  34 years old and without playing for 2 years. He has some risk reward as a number 3 or 4 receiver. Despite his age, (37) Derrick Mason just seems to keep producing. His numbers were down a year ago and it's hard to see him as more then a late round flyer in deep leagues for use on a bye week. Rookies Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight may be needed if injuries take out the ageing receiver corp. Dustin Keller reached career highs in 2010 and has shown to be one of Sanchez's favorites, receiving 101 targets and catching 55 for 687 and 5 touchdowns.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:54 pm

NFC East Fantasy Football Outlook

NFC East Fantasy Football Outlook

New York Giants
The NFC east has arguable three out of the top 12 Quarterbacks with Michael Vick, Tony Romo and Eli Manning. Last season was a career high 31 touchdowns for Manning but he does need to cut down on his lead leading 25 interceptions from a year ago. Ahmad Bradshaw was a key resigning for the Giants and he brings more versatility then bruiser Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw had a career high 1,235 yards rushing in 2010 with 8 touchdowns and added 47 catches for 314 as well. He did lead the league with 6 fumbles. Jacobs ran for 823 yards with 9 touchdowns. Both are valuable fantasy contributors. Andre Brown looks like the third back and will see little time. Hakeem Nicks has developed into an elite receiver and looks to improve upon his 79 catches for 1052 and 11 touchdowns from a year ago. He did miss 3 games getting banged up but Nicks has blossomed  into a top number one fantasy receiver. Mario Manningham keeps improving and he is locked in as a top 30 receiver. with upside. Manningham reached career highs with 60 catches for 944 and 9 touchdowns a year ago. With Steve Smith gone to the Eagles Manningham could improve off of last years numbers. Domenik Hixon currently sits third coming off a knee injury but looks good so far in camp and should see enough action to warrant a roster spot in deep leagues. Free Agent signee Michael Clayton has a lot to prove to make any fantasy roster. Tight end could be a real weak spot unless someone steps up to replace the departed Kevin Boss (Oak). At this point it's a battle between Travis Beckum, Bear Pascoe and Daniel Coats. Beckum appears to be the front runner but stay away from Giants tight ends unless someone shows signs of being a late round pick in deep leagues.

Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick attained career highs in completions (233), completion percentage (62.6), yards (3018) and touchdown passes (21) in 2010 and those numbers were reached in only 12 games. Vick added 676 yards on the ground and another career high 9 rushing touchdowns. If Vick can stay healthy he could break more career highs in 2011. LeSean McCoy improved in his second year with 1080 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has proven to be a valuable asset through the air adding 78 catches on 90 targets for 547 yards and 3 scores. McCoy is easily a top 10 fantasy back even with the acquisition of Ronnie Brown who will only spell the more versatile McCoy. The often injured Brown actually played in and started all 16 games for the Dolphins a year ago but you wouldn't think so by his dismal fantasy statistics. He rushed for 734 yards on a career low 3.67 per carry with 5 touchdowns. He should get drafted in deeper leagues and as a handcuff for McCoy. Rookie Dion Lewis will only see spot duty baring injury. DeSean Jackson get's a little nicked up with his style of play and did miss 2 games a season ago resulting in a career low 47 receptions in 2010. Jackson did add 1,056 yards and 6 touchdowns and with his lead leading 22.47 yards per catch is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Jeremy Maclin has had some recent medical issues but has been given a clean bill of health. He needs to catch up and get in game shape if he wants to improve upon last years totals of 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. Recent signee Steve Smith is till recovering from knee surgery but will be the third receiver once healthy so he could be drafted in deeper leagues but is best to be left on the waiver wire in smaller leagues because reports are he will not begin practicing until around week 1 and there is no time table on his return. Jason Avant has been the third receiver and has made some big third down plays at times. Riley Cooper will receive some looks in 4 receiver sets but should be left on the waiver wire. Brent Celek was thought to be a solid fantasy starter coming off his 2009 numbers but he dipped in 2010 and just didn't get as many looks with Vick throwing him the ball. He will probably be drafted as a number 2 but could prove to be steal if he gets more involved this season. Backups Clay Harbor and Donald Lee should not be drafted.

Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo looks to bounce back from his broken collarbone suffered last season and should be amongst the leaders by years end. Not including last season his three year average is 4,047 yards and 29 touchdowns which he could easily reach with the weapons he has in Dallas. Felix Jones looked sharp in the second half of 2010 but it will be interesting to see if he can be a legitimate number 2 fantasy back with the departure of Marion Barber to Chicago. Jones put up a career high 800 yards rushing and 450 receiving a year ago but only scored twice, once on the grown and once threw the air. Jones could lose goal line carries to rookie DeMarco Murray or possibly Tashard Choice. Both should be drafted in deeper leagues with 5 or 6 backs to see how the carries play out. Dez Bryant was having a productive rookie year with 45 receptions for 561 yards and 6 touchdowns before breaking his ankle in week 13 on a kickoff return. He also added 2 punt return touchdowns. Bryant is a top 20 receiver heading into 2011 and a clear cut number 2 with high upside. Miles Austin dipped a bit last season from his surprise 2009 season but still topped 1,000 yards with 7 touchdowns all without Romo for 12 games. Austin will produce and should be drafted as a number 2 receiver. The third receiver spot is worth monitoring in deeper leagues with Kevin Ogletree, Jesse Holley and rookie Dwayne Harris all competing for the spot. Nine year veteran Jason Witten topped 1,000 yards for the second year in a row and caught a career high 9 touchdowns last season. Martellus Bennett backs him up but is not worth drafting in two tight end leagues.

Washington Redskins
Coach Mike Shanahan surprised a lot of people going with John Beck and Rex Grossman as his quarterbacks for 2011. Beck is the front runner although he hasn't thrown a regular season pass since his rookie year in 2007 while with the Dolphins. It will be interesting to see if Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan can coach Beck into a productive starter in the NFL. If the Beck experiment fails the job will be give to Rex Grossman for the season. The Redskins definitely have more weapons then a year ago, trading for Jabar Gaffney and signing free agent Donte' Stallworth and adding Leonard Hankerson through the draft. Gaffney caught 65 passes for 875 and 2 scores a year ago in Denver. He is a possession type receiver and should be the number 2 receiver until Hankerson is ready to take over and a 6th receiver at best. Unless Stallworth has a Brandon Lloyd type comeback he should be left undrafted. Hankerson is worth watching to see if he can beat out the veteran group for playing time. Santana Moss is coming off a really good year catching 93 balls for 1,115 yards and 6 scores. and he is the only Redskins receiver that really should be drafted in standard leagues. Anthony Armstrong had some spark a season ago in deep leagues but with the new acquisition it's hard to see any value with him. With Shanahan at the helm we all know that the running back position is never clear cut and it's even more of a mess heading into 2011. It looks like Ryan Torain is the starter after rushing for 742 yards and 4 touchdowns taking over for the injured Clinton Portis a year ago. However, The Redskins acquired Tim Hightower in a trade and drafted Roy Helu and Evan Royster plus they still have Keiland Williams who was a valuable third down back a year ago catching 39 for 309 yards. Hightower reached a career high last season with 736 yards and an impressive 4.8 yards per carry. He is also a more proven receiver out of the backfield then Torain is. Watch how this plays out and don't be surprised if it's Hightower and Helu ahead of Torain early into the season. Chris Cooley had a productive 2010 catching 77 passes for 849 and  3 touchdowns but he has missed camp time with a sore knee. He doesn't reach the endzone much and has more value in PPR leagues. Fred Davis is also involved in the offense but should be drafted only in deep leagues but could move up if Cooley's knee continues to be a problem.

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Posted on: October 9, 2009 1:26 pm

Start 'em & Sit 'em Week 5

Start 'em & Sit 'em Week 5


Start 'em
Donovan McNabb vsTampa Bay
McNabb will be returning from his rib injury that sidelined him in week 1 and will look to tear apart a Buccaneers defense that has allowed 9 passing touchdowns and a friendly 101 passer rating.
Matt Schaub at Arizona
Schaub will continue to find success facing a Cardinals defense that is ranked 30th in pass defense. Schaub should have to air it out as this should be a high scoring affair in
University of Phoenix Stadium.
Joe Flacco vsCincinnati
Flacco has continued to prove he is a weekly fantasy starting quarterback and is a must start against division opponent Cincinnati and their 26th ranked pass defense that has let up the most receptions of 20 yards or more.
Ben Roethlisberger vs Detroit.
Roethlisberger is currently leading the league in completion percentage and is 3rd in yardage. He will get some quick scores against a Lions defense that has let up a league leading 12 passing touchdowns, 72.5% completion percentage and a 119 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. Keep your passing yardage expectations in check as the Steelers will be up early and Rashard Mendenhall will do most of the damage as the Steelers roll at home.
Other quarterbacks with favorable matchups
Brett Favre at St. Louis
Matt Hasselbeck vs Jacksonville
Sleeper Alert
Trent Edwards vs Cleveland
Edwards has struggled thus far throwing just 5 touchdowns and 5 picks and only a 76.5 passer rating. He has not been able to utilize Terrell Owens and Lee Evans making them bench fodder in most leagues. This is as good as a matchup as Edwards could ask for at home against a Browns defense ranked 21st against the pass with only 1 pick in 4 games.
Sit 'em
Mark Sanchez at Miami
Sanchez endured a long day at New Orleans last week proving he is not ready for Fantasy Football stardom just yet especially in tough road games. Sanchez will have another tough road game this time in the division facing a Dolphins defense ranked 10th overall. It may seem tempting with the acquisition of Braylon Edwards but with only one touchdown on the road and a 71.2 passer rating on the season with 5 picks he is far too risky.
Jason Campbell at Carolina
Campbell had a nice string of 3 easy games and did well in two of them but now must travel to Carolina coming off a bye week and ranked 6th in pass defense. Stay away.
Tony Romo at Kansas City
Romo was on the sit 'em last week and struggled on the road against the Broncos. He should have a little more success this week but playing at Arrowhead is no easy task and the Cowboys passing attack has sputtered for 3 straight weeks tallying only one passing touchdown. Sit 'em if you have better options.
Others quarterbacks with unfavorable matchups
Eli Manning vs Oakland (injury)
Kerry Collins vs Indianapolis
Bust Alert
Tom Brady at Denver

Running Backs

Start 'em
Rashard Mendenhall vs Detroit
Mendenhall had a coming out party on Sunday night rushing for a career high 165 yards and a couple of touchdowns on 29 carries. Willie Parker will be held out again and with a 20th ranked Lions defense coming to town letting up 5.2 YPC on the ground the Steelers will ride Mendenhall for 25+ carries and an easy 125+ yard day.
Brandon Jacobs vs Oakland
Jacobs has struggled to get into the endzone this year with only 1 rushing touchdown but with an injured Eli Manning the Giants will look for Jacobs to control the game against a Raiders team with no offense and a rushing defense letting up 146 YPG. Start him.
Tim Hightower vs Houston
Hightower really hasn't been an effective runner but does lead the league in receptions for running backs. Hightower will have little difficulty getting into the enzdone on the ground against a Texans team ranked 29th on the ground that has let up a league leading 8 scores on the ground and 5.5 YPC.
Marshawn Lynch vs Cleveland
Lynch and Fred Jackson will get plenty of opportunities against a Browns team ranked 31st in defending the run at 177 YPG with 8 scores.
Other running backs with favorable matchups
Clinton Portis at Carolina
Glenn Coffee vs Atlanta
Sleeper Alert
Jerome Harrison at Buffalo
Sit 'em
Stephen Jackson vs Minnesota
Jackson will have a tough time facing a Vikings team ranked 9th against the run and has yet to let up a touchdown on the ground. The Vikings will key on Jackson and force Kyle Boller or Mark Bulger (if he plays) to beat them with a thin and inexperienced receiving core. Sit 'em
Thomas Jones at Miami
Jones has another tough matchup against the 2nd ranked Dolphins run defense. Couple that with splitting time with Leon Washington and the teams goal to get Shonn Green more involved and he is too risky to start.
Cedric Benson vs Cincinnati
Benson will have a tough road game against a Ravens defense ranked 1st against the run with an average 2.6 YPC and only 59.5 YPG.
Michael Turner at San Francisco
It's hard to bench Turner but if you have better matchups than do so because Turner will be on the road against a 4th ranked 49ers rushing defense that has not let up a score on the ground.
Other running backs with unfavorable matchups
Cadillac Williams at Philadelphia
Kevin Smith at Pittsburgh
Bust Alert
Steve Slaton at Arizona

Wide Receivers

DeSean Jackson vs Tampa Bay
Jackson has only 12 catches on the year but with his league leading 21.6 YPC he is a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. Facing a Buccaneers team that has let up the most plays over 4o yards and 9 passing touchdowns bodes well for Jackson. Start 'em.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh vs Jacksonville
Houshmandzadeh has yet to get in the endzone with his new team but this should be the week as he faces a  Jaguars defense ranked 31st against the pass that has let up 7 passing touchdowns. He sits currently at 7th in receiving yards for wide receivers and will look to move up with the return of Matt Hasselbeck. Nate Burleson is also a great start.
Pierre Garcon at Tennessee
Garcon will face the 31st ranked Titans pass defense that has let up the second most touchdowns through the year with 10. Reggie Wayne will have a big day but look for Garcon and quite possibly Austin Collie to have a productive day.
Other receivers with favorable matchups
Hines Ward vs Detroit
Bernard Berrien at St. Louis
Sleeper Alert
Nate Burleson vs Jacksonville
Sit 'em
Antonio Bryant at Philadelphia
Bryant has battled injuries and has proven not to be worth the big money Franchise 1 year deal he received from the Buccaneers. He will be questionable to play and is facing an Eagles defense ranked 2nd against the pass. Stay Away.
Santana Moss at Carolina
Take away his week 3 game against lowly Detroit and Moss has 7 catches for 115 and a touchdown including games with 6 yards and 35 yards. Campbell will struggle against the 6th ranked Panther pass defense and with no other receiving threat stepping up Carolina will easily take Moss out of the game.
Wes Welker at Denver
Welker has been a bust so far due to an inured knee and is still limited in practice. Sit 'em against a 3rd ranked Broncos pass defense that has not let up a score threw the air.
Bust Alert
Steve Smith (nyg) vs Oakland

Tight Ends

Start 'em
John Carlson vs Jacksonville
Carlson could have a big day against the Jaguars 31st ranked pass defense and the return of Hasselbeck.
Owen Daniels at Arizona
Daniels will be involved in what should be a high scoring game facing a Cardinals team letting up 280 YPG through the air.
Jason Witten at Kansas City
Witten should have his most productive day of the season against a Chiefs defense ranked 28th against the pass and 251 YPG. With a banged up Roy Williams Witten will be the go to guy.
Other tight ends with favorable matchups
Brent Celek vs Atlanta
Heath Miller vs Detroit
Sleeper Alert
Todd Heap vs Cincinnati
Sit 'em
Kellen Winslow at Philadelphia
Winslow and the Buccaneers offense has been struggling and now they must travel to Philadelphia to face the 2nd best pass defense that is well rested coming off a bye. Sit 'em.
Ben Watson at Denver
Watson will face a Broncos Defense ranked 3rd against the pass with 0 touchdowns through the air. This will be a hard fought low scoring game and Watson should sit.
Visanthe Shiancoe
Shiancoe has 2 touchdowns on the year but really hasn't been involved in the passing game. He has no games above 26 yards receiving and there are better options. Sit 'em
Other tight ends with unfavorable matchups
Chris Cooley at Carolina
Dante Rosario vs Washington
Bust Alert
Tony Gonzalez at San Francisco

Posted on: October 6, 2009 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2009 11:32 pm

Week 5 Pickups and Scout Team


 Week 5 Pickups and Scout Team

Derek Anderson - CLE / 14% owned
Anderson lit a spark in an offense that had gone without an offensive touchdown in the first three games throwing for 269 yards and a touchdown as well as rushing touchdown. He has the potential to put up some nice numbers especially in the right matchup and should be owned in most leagues and definitely more than the 13% owned. With the Bills on the schedule and big name guys like Cutler, Rivers, Rodgers and Brees on a bye he could be very useful to some owners.
Jerome Harrison - CLE / 47% owned
Harrison has slowly been moving up the radar as Jamal Lewis nurses his injuries and after Harrison's 121 yard effort against the Bengals should be the starter going forward or at least see the most carries between he and the slow footed Jamal Lewis. Harrison also has better hands and is a threat out of the backfield making him even more appealing to PPR leagues. Definite Add. 
Sidney Rice - MIN / 20% owned
Rice made last weeks list as a pick up in deeper leagues and after a solid performance Monday night he no doubt will rise from 20% owned. Rice grabbed 5 balls for 70 yards and his second touchdown in as many weeks against the Packers Monday night. Rice will be heavily involved in this offense and even threw a pass and had two onside kick recoveries. He should be owned in all leagues.
Kenny Britt - TEN 23% owned
Britt is clearly the number 1 wide out in Tennessee and as he grasps the offense throughout the season his production will go up. Adding to that how terrible the Titans Defense has been and the teams run first philosophy is quickly turning into a must pass team. Collins is currently struggling which hurts his value but he should be owned in all deep leagues.
Mohamed Massaquoi - CLE  / 4% owned
In his first 3 games Massaquoi totaled 2 catches for 31 yards and 0 touchdowns with Brady Quinn at quarterback. In Week 4 when Derek Anderson was inserted into the starting lineup Massaquoi  went off for 8 catches for 148 yards on an impressive 13 targets. The Bengals double teamed Braylon Edwards (0 catches) which freed up Massaquoi one on one and Anderson took advantage of the Rookie's route running skills and 4.5 speed.
1 More to add
Michael Bush - OAK / 48%

Deep Leagues

Jermichael Finley - GB / 23% owned
Finley has been splitting time with Donald Lee making him a less appealing option at TE despite his upside especially with the depth at the position. Coming off a catch less performance against the Rams in Week 3 and only 5 catches on the season Finley exploded for a career high 6 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. At 6-5 247lbs Finley has a lot of upside heading into the second half of the season if the Packers choose to utilize his skills.
Austin Collie - IND / 4% owned
Collie actually has more targets than Garcon on the year 19-17 and the Colts are using both in three wide sets in a potent offense yet Collie is only owned in 4% of leagues. Well it's about opportunities and Garcon has clearly done more with his opportunities than Collie thus far. Collie is also still learning the offense and is showing signs of improving every week and gaining confidence from Peyton Manning. Pick him up in deep leagues that carry 5 or 6 receivers.
Hakeem Nicks - NYG / 21% owned
Nicks made the scout team last week and should be owned in deeper leagues because of his huge upside. In his first game back from a sprained foot Hicks caught 1 pass and it was for a 54 yard touchdown. He is behind Steve Smith and Mario Manningham so he is a risky play at this time but he should enjoy some success down the road and especially if one of the starters gets injured.
Rashad Jennings - JAC / 3% owned
Rookie running back Jennings out rushed Maurice Jones-Drew against the Titans gaining 53 yards on 9 carries. He will be given more opportunities as the season progresses and take some of the load off of Jones-Drew and his 5-7 frame. Jones-Drew owners should definitely handcuff him and other owners with dead weight on the bench should serious consider adding him in deep leagues. Jennings ran for 1500 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008 at Liberty.
Brandon Pettigrew - DET 12% owned
Pettigrew will get more and more passes thrown his way as the season progresses and had his best day Sunday catching 4 balls for 64 yards and a near touchdown on 10 targets. Deep leagues could add him and shallow leagues should scout him.
Others to Add in deep leagues
Josh Morgan - SF / 29%
Chad Henne - MIA / 10%

Eleven Player Scout Team for Deep Leagues

Marcedes Lewis - JAC / 17% Owned
Lewis caught 4 balls for 76 yards and a touchdown in week 4. Matching his career high of 2 touchdowns this early in the season bodes well for Lewis who has improved every year he has been in the league. I think his upside is limited so add him only in deeper leagues of 20 players or more. 
Kelley Washington - BAL / 11%
Washington is having his best year since his 2nd year in the league in 2004 and is on pace for a career year in his 7th season in the league. Washington has always been employed for his special teams skills but with such a weak receiving core Washington has been the number 3 receiver in a surprisingly potent 6th ranked passing attack. He is not really intriguing enough to pick up so scout him.
Michael Jenkins - ATL / 23%
Jeremy Maclin - PHI / 24%
Davone Bess - MIA / 18%
Brian Hartline MIA / 1%
Mike Wallace - PIT - 16%
Miles Austin - DAL / 16%
Josh Johnson - TB / 6%
Jason Snelling - ATL / 1%
Garrett Wolfe - CHI / 1%
Drop from scout team
Justin Forsett, Chansi Stuckey, Maurice Morris, Adrian Peterson (chi)
Last Week's List
Mike Sims-Walker was 45% owned now 80% owned
Pierre Garcon was 39% owned now 91% owned
Glen Coffee was 41% owned now 93%
Tashard Choice was 31% owned now 86%
Earl Bennett was 48% owned now 53%
Deeper Leagues
Vernon Davis was 41% owned now 80%
Adrian Peterson was 3% owned now 9%
Isaac Bruce was 44% owned now 39%
Sidney Rice was 12% owned now 20%
Michael Jenkins was 25% owned now 23%
Michael Bush was 48% owned now 45%
Scout Team
Hakeem Nicks was 24% owned now 21%
Jeremy Maclin was 31% owned 24%
Kenny Britt was 18% owned now 22%
Josh Morgan was 30% owned now 29%
Chansi Stuckey was 37% owned now 28%
Davone Bess was 15% owned now 18%
Justin Forsett was 24% owned now 12%
Maurice Morris was 6% now 14%
*This column is based on players owned in less than 50% of Sportsline leagues. In a typical completive 20-22 player league available free agent players are usually all under 50% owned.

Posted on: October 6, 2009 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2009 7:25 pm

Top 5 most impressive Fantasy Performances Week 4

 Top 5 most impressive Fantasy Performances Week 4

Brett Favre – MIN - 24-31-271-3-0
Favre was impressive Monday night against his former team, throwing for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns with a 135.3 passer rating as the Vikings defeated the Packers 30-23. Favre now has defeated all 32 NFL teams over the course of his 19 seasons. Favre has now thrown for 8 touchdowns on the season and is currently 3rd behind Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in passing efficiency.


David Garrard – JAC - 27-37-323-3 / 8-38-0
Garrard tore apart the Titans woefully bad pass defense throwing for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns with an impressive 126.3 passer rating as the Jaguars thumped the Titans 37-17 in front of the home crowd of 49,014. He added 38 yards on the ground as well. Garrard was likely the top fantasy point’s player this week in all leagues with his season’s best performance.


Steve Smith - NYG - 11-134-2
Smith continues to dominate the season so far with another impressive performance catching 11 passes on 16 targets for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Giants beat the Chiefs 27-16 at Arrowhead Stadium. He leads the league Smith leads the league in targets (45), Receptions (34), receiving yardage (411) and touchdown receptions (4). Smith is the steal of all drafts and in many leagues a steal off of the waiver wire.


Rashard Mendenhall – PIT - 29-165-2 / 2-26-0
In Mendenhall’s 1st start in 2008 he suffered a shoulder fracture and was done for the year so it was unclear what Mendenhall would do in only his 2nd career start. After being inactive last week for a subpar practice week, Mendenhall responded with a career day rushing for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns and added 26 receiving yards as the Steelers defeated the Chargers 38-28 at Heinz Field.


Antonio Gates – SD - 9-124-2
Gates started out slow with only 1 catch for 15 yards on 4 targets in the first half of Sunday night’s game at Pittsburgh but after some half time adjustments Gates caught all 8 of his second half targets for 109 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season as the Chargers tried to rally from a 21-0 half-time deficit. Gates sits second to Dallas Clark with 349 yards on the season and is the leading the league at TE with 35 targets.  

Posted on: October 2, 2009 11:24 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2009 11:27 pm

Start 'em & Sit 'em Week 4 Full Player Chart

updated with injuries

Players are grouped into three categories and they are No Risk Starts, Risk & Reward Starts and Risky Starts. Obviously with bye weeks and injuries a lot of us will have to use players from the Risky Start category so we’ll have to hope for the best. Heck I have to choose between Derek Anderson and Seneca Wallace because my starters are Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck.


No Risk: Players that should be started with no risk involved.

 Risk & Reward: Players that can be started but there is a risk that they could perform badly but could reward with a productive day.

 Risk - Players that should sit because the risk far outweighs the reward.

List is in no particular order. Week 4 Opponent is on the right of players

Risk & Reward Week 4

No Risk
Peyton Manning SEA
Drew Brees NYJ
Jay Cutler DET
Matt Schaub OAK
Carson Palmer at CLE
Eli Manning at KC
Philip Rivers at PITT
Tom Brady BAL (Probable)
Risk & Reward
Brett Favre GB
Aaron Rodgers at MIN
Ben Roethlisberger SD
Joe Flacco at NE
Jason Campbell TB
David Garrard TEN
Kerry Collins at JAC
Kyle Orton DAL
Shaun Hill STL
Tony Romo at DEN
Trent Edwards at MIA
Seneca Wallace at IND
Mark Sanchez at NO
Derek Anderson CIN
Matthew Stafford at CHI
Kyle Boller at SF
JaMarcus Russell at HOU
Chad Henne BUF
Matt Cassel NYG
Josh Johnson at WAS
Marc Bulger (Questionable)
Matt Hasselbeck (Doubtful)

Running Backs
No Risk
Adrian Peterson GB
Chris Johnson at JAC
Matt Forte DET (Probable)
Cedric Benson at CLE (Probable)
Ronnie Brown BUF
Steve Slaton OAK
Glen Coffee STL
Darren McFadden at HOU
Brandon Jacobs at KC
Willis McGahee at NE
Maurice Jones-Drew TEN
Pierre Thomas NYJ
Risk & Reward
Fred Jackson at MIA
Julius Jones at IND
Joseph Addai SEA
LaDainian Tomlinson at PIT (Probable)
Ahmad Bradshaw at KC
Donald Brown SEA
Ryan Grant at MIN
Steven Jackson at SF
Ray Rice at NE
Correll Buckhalter DAL
Knowshon Moreno DAL
Ricky Williams BUF
Michael Bush at HOU
Marshawn Lynch at MIA
Marion Barber at DEN (Probable)
Tashard Choice at DEN
Leon Washington at NO
Chester Taylor GB
Reggie Bush NYJ
Kevin Smith at CHI (Questionable)
Clinton Portis TB (Questionable)
Thomas Jones at NO
Felix Jones at DEN (Out)
Frank Gore (Out)
Mike Bell (Out)
Derrick Ward at WAS (Questionable)
Willie Parker SD (Doubtful)
Fred Taylor BAL
Larry Johnson NYG
Cadillac Williams at WAS (Probable)
Ernest Graham (Probable)
LenDale White at JAC (Probable)
Darren Sproles at PIT
Jerome Harrison CIN
Chris Brown OAK (Questionable)
Maurice Morris at CHI
Adrian Peterson DET
Mewelde Moore SD
Laurence Maroney BAL (Probable)
Lynell Hamilton NYJ
Justin Forsett at IND
Ladell Betts TB
Jamal Lewis CIN (Doubtful)
Jamaal Charles NYG
James Davis CIN (Out)
Le'Ron McClain at NE
Kevin Faulk BAL
LaMont Jordan DAL
Rashard Mendenhall SD
Garrett Wolfe DET
Aaron Brown at CHI
Sammy Morris BAL
Dantrell Savage NYG
Patrick Cobbs BUF
Edgerrin James at IND
Peyton Hillis (Probable)
Michael Bennett at PIT

Wide Receivers
No Risk
Reggie Wayne SEA
Randy Moss BAL
Vincent Jackson at PIT
Andre Johnson OAK
Chad Ochocinco at CLE
Santana Moss TB
Steve Smith (ny) at KC
Calvin Johnson at CHI
Jerricho Cotchery at NO
Greg Jennings at MIN (Probable)
Devin Hester DET
Marques Colston NYJ
Mario Manningham at KC
Hines Ward SD
Donald Driver at MIN
Mike Sims-Walker TEN
Nate Burleson at IND
Santonio Holmes SD
Brandon Marshall DAL
Kevin Walter OAK
Risk & Reward
Wes Welker BAL (Questionable)
Braylon Edwards CIN
Devery Henderson NYJ
Percy Harvin GB
Bernard Berrian GB
Sidney Rice GB
Lee Evans at MIA
Terrell Owens at MIA
Derrick Mason at NE (Questionable)
Earl Bennett DET
Torry Holt TEN
Justin Gage at JAC
Kenny Britt at JAC
Johnny Knox DET
Ted Ginn Jr. BUF
Pierre Garcon SEA
Donnie Avery at SF
Mark Clayton at NE
Eddie Royal DAL
Isaac Bruce STL

Roy E. Williams at DEN
T.J. Houshmandzadeh at IND
Dwayne Bowe NYG (Questionable)
Josh Morgan STL
Laveranues Coles at CLE
Hakeem Nicks at KC (Probable)
Lance Moore NYJ (Probable)
Patrick Crayton at DEN
Louis Murphy at HOU
Kelley Washington at NE (Probable)
Antwaan Randle El TB
Chris Henry at CLE
Julian Edelman BAL
Davone Bess BUF
Mike Wallace SD
Jabar Gaffney DAL
Malcom Floyd at PIT
Antonio Bryant at WAS (Questionable)
Michael Clayton at WAS
Andre Caldwell at CLE
Bryant Johnson at CHI
Chansi Stuckey at NO
Josh Reed at MIA
Legedu Naanee at PIT
Nate Washington at JAC
Mark Bradley NYG
Jacoby Jones OAK
Bobby Wade NYG
Keenan Burton at SF
Mike Furrey CIN
Joey Galloway BAL
Austin Collie SEA
Jordy Nelson at MIN
Domenik Hixon (Out)

Tight Ends
No Risk
Dallas Clark SEA
Antonio Gates at PITT
Chris Cooley TB
Jason Witten at DEN
Owen Daniels OAK
Vernon Davis STL (Probable)
Jeremy Shockey NYJ
Greg Olsen DET
John Carlson IND
Risk & Reward
Kevin Boss at KC
Dustin Keller at NO
Visanthe Shiancoe GB
Kellen Winslow at WAS
Todd Heap at NE
Zach Miller at HOU
Heath Miller SD
Marcedes Lewis TEN
Bo Scaife JAC
Jermichael Finley at MIN
Benjamin Watson BAL
Chris Baker BAL
Anthony Fasano BUF
Tony Scheffler DAL
Alge Crumpler at JAC
Randy McMichael at SF
Robert Royal CIN
Daniel Graham DAL
Jerramy Stevens at WAS
Brandon Pettigrew at CHI
Donald Lee at MIN
Daniel Fells at SF

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or