Welcome to week 10 of the NFL season. I hope your fantasy teams are all 9-0 and coasting into the fantasy playoffs. If by some wildly offensive cheating by your league mates has put you at a less than satisfactory record, I hope I can help you prepare for the week ahead. Here are some guys who you should think about starting and sitting this week.
Ryan Tannehill (vs. Tennessee) – Tannehill isn’t going to blow your doors off, but he’s looked good this season, albeit inconsistently. Last week he threw for 290 yards and a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts and this week he heads back home to face a Tennessee Titans team that is giving up a league leading 72% completion rate and 20 passing touchdowns. With Robert Griffin III and Aaron Rodgers on a bye, some of you may be reaching for Tannehill.
Josh Freeman (vs. San Diego) – Freeman has been on fire of late. Over the last four games he ranks second, only to Aaron Rodgers, in fantasy points per game. In those four games he is averaging 314 yards passing and 2.75 touchdowns. And this week he gets a San Diego pass defense who were giving up 273 yards passing and 2.3 touchdowns per game until they shut down Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel. I think Josh Freeman will have better luck.
Stevan Ridley (vs. Buffalo) – The Buffalo Bills are neck and neck with the Saints for worst rushing defense in the league. They are giving up 141.8 rushing yards per game to running backs (31st), 5.3 yards per carry (32nd) and 1.5 rushing touchdowns per game (1st). The last time the Patriots took on the Bills, Ridley ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns, while his backup Brandon Bolden ran for 137 yards and one touchdown.
Marcel Reece (@ Baltimore) – The Raiders running backs are dropping like flies and it looks like Marcel Reece gets a nice match-up versus the Ravens. Yes, Taiwan Jones is in the mix, but Reece is able to take more punishment and is better at pass blocking and receiving than Jones. Jones will get work, but Reece will be the trusted back against the Ravens who are giving up 130 rushing yards per game at 4.2 yards per carry. In their last five games they are giving up 150 yards per game. Reece is worth trotting out there.
Brian Hartline (vs. Tennessee) – Hartline has been quiet lately due to some tough match-ups against the Jets and St. Louis, but last week he had 8 receptions for 107 yards in a good match-up and he gets another one this week against the Titans. You can check out their pathetic pass defense stats up there next to the Ryan Tannehill blurb.
Vincent Jackson (vs. San Diego) – Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson didn’t take long to get on the same page this season. Jackson is probably the least talked about fourth-best fantasy receiver in a while. He’s averaging a crazy 22.9 yards per reception and has six touchdowns. He’s facing his old team who he wasn’t all that fond of and they’ll be traveling cross-country.
Martellus Bennett (@ Cincinnati) – The Bengals are giving up a lofty 73% completion rate to opposing tight ends to go along with five touchdowns. Bennett looks like he is fully back from his injury and should be able to do some damage in Cincinnati.
Brandon Pettigrew (@ Minnesota) – In week four, Pettigrew had seven receptions for 67 yards against Minnesota. That’s pretty good in PPR leagues, but that was when Matthew Stafford was in pure slump mode. This week we’ll see two teams headed in different directions.
Michael Vick (vs. Dallas) – It looks like Michael Vick will live to fight another day, but this week he gets the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys haven’t been winning much, but they sure have been shutting down opposing quarterbacks. Matt Ryan and Eli Manning combined for zero touchdown passes against the Cowboys over the last two weeks and before that, they held opposing quarterbacks to seven touchdown passes in six games. Vick could only muster one touchdown pass against the Saints who were giving up an average of three touchdown passes over the last four games.
Matt Schaub (@ Chicago) – The Bears have given up a league best six touchdown passes in eight games and have returned seven interceptions for touchdowns. Opposing quarterbacks have thrown more touchdown passes to the Bears defense than they have to their own receivers. They lead the league in sacks and interceptions as well. Yes, the Texans are a better team than they’ve been playing lately, but this Bears defense is crazy good.
Fred Jackson (@ New England) – Earlier this season Jackson rushed 13 times for 39 yards and lost a fumble against the Patriots. He did have a couple of nice receptions, with 3 for 50 yards, but on the day he had five fantasy points in standard leagues. The Patriots have been giving up plenty of receiving yards this season, but have been tough against the run. In their last five games they haven’t given up more than 54 yards rushing to a running back and only one touchdown. On the season they’ve given up a total of two rushing touchdowns and only one rushing game over 100 yards and that was 101 yards to Ray Rice.
Jamaal Charles (@ Pittsburgh) – Over the last five games the Steelers are giving up 73 yards per game to running backs and 3.9 yards per carry. Jamaal Charles is not a guy to mess with, but going into Pittsburgh is going to be tough for the Chiefs to stay close and Charles will have a tough time getting a lot of carries. It’s hard to sit him with his explosive ability, but if you are stacked at running back I would consider it.
Dwayne Bowe (@ Pittsburgh) – The Steelers just held Eli Manning to 125 yards passing, in New Jersey. What do you think they’ll do to Matt Cassel in Pittsburgh? It’s not going to be pretty.
Andre Johnson (@ Chicago) – Johnson has been playing well and it’s tough to sit him, even in Chicago, but you’ll need to really lower expectations. The Bears have given up some big yardage games to receivers, but they haven’t let them in the end zone. Tim Jennings and Peanut Tillman have been playing outstanding football. Even when Steve Smith went for 118 yards two weeks ago, he needed 16 targets to haul in seven of them. And the week before that they shut down the best receiver in the league, Calvin Johnson. I’m just asking you to be careful.
Dwayne Allen (@ Jacksonville) – I like Dwayne Allen a lot, even more than Coby Fleener and with Fleener out, Allen makes a good pickup. The problem this week is that the Jaguars have been playing tight ends very well. They have yet to give up a touchdown to a tight end and are only allowing them to catch 58% of their targets.
Dustin Keller (@ Seattle) – The Seahawks defense started the season destroying opponents, but they’ve been getting beat more often of late. But the good news is, they get to play at home again this week and the Jets and Mark Sanchez get to travel a long ways to face a tough defense in a hostile environment. Seattle has given up two touchdowns to tight ends this season and a big chunk of the stats against them come from Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Keller is a good player, but the Seahawks will have an answer for him.