Weeks 10-13 are the crucial weeks before most leagues begin their playoffs from weeks 14-16. This season, week 10 is especially crucial since many fantasy players will be missing out on some of 2010′s best fantasy performers, particularly Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Darren McFadden. So who can you count on this week, and who should you count out?
Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will Dominate- The 2010 Chiefs running game is similar to the Panthers ground game in 2009 with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The biggest difference between the two is the number of total touchdowns. Charles is sixth in the NFL in rushing yards, Jones is 16th, but combined they have just five touchdowns. Through eight games last season, Williams and Stewart had 11 scores. This week, JC and TJ should add to their TD total against Denver, the league’s 31st ranked rush defense. The Broncos have given up a league high 14 rushing touchdowns, so if Charles and Jones don’t both find pay-dirt this weekend, Charlie Weis should be forced to coach Notre Dame again.
Arian Foster will Continue to be Fantasy’s 2010 MVP, and the other Texans Skill Players will Benefit
Denver’s rush defense is terrible, but Jacksonville isn’t much better. That is great news for Foster owners, like myself, since the Jags have given up 11 touchdowns on the ground and allow an average of 119 yards a game. Jacksonville has done a very good job this season defending running backs in the passing game, so temper some expectations, but Foster should still get 15-25 points this week. And as the Jags do gang up to slow down Foster, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson should benefit greatly.
Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis, Meet the New York Jets Defense
Peyton Hillis has been perhaps the biggest free agent addition in fantasy football this season, while Colt McCoy has made Hillis and the Browns a mid-season surprise after wins over the Saints and Patriots. Hillis is the 12th leading rusher in the NFL, but now he faces the league’s 4th best rushing defense, and a unit that has allowed only three scores on the ground in eight games. Hillis is still worth a start if you don’t have two better options at tailback, but don’t expect a lot. Probably a touchdown and 40-50 yards, maybe a catch or two, but it is no secret that Rex Ryan will force McCoy to win the game, and I just can’t see him pulling off another big victory, even in front of the Dawg Pound.
Start Jacob Tamme, Period
If you were lucky enough to pick up Tamme, and unless Antonio Gates is your other tight end, Tamme is a must start for the remainder of the season. With Austin Collie battling a concussion, Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark out for the season, and Jospeh Addai once again dealing with nagging injuries. Peyton loves checking down to his tight end, and Tamme is carbon copy of Clark, minus the blocking. But in fantasy, I don’t care about blocking, and either do you. You should care about catches, yards, touchdowns, and targets, and Tamme is at or near the top amongst all tight ends in those categories during the past two weeks.
I have a Man-Crush on Percy Harvin, but I Don’t Love him Against Chicago
Sidney Rice looks like a viable candidate for week 11 or 12, but it doesn’t seem like he will return in time for this week’s game against the Bears. I benched Harvin in the two leagues I have him in, but without Moss and his ankle injury, I was nervous about his production. Of course, Percy played one of his best games as a pro, but I don’t like his chances for another big game against Chicago. Without another big threat outside, Harvin doesn’t see as many throws in the redzone, and while in a PPR league he is a better candidate to put up big numbers, if you have two better options at WR, Harvin is a decent flex option but not a for-sure starter.
Start All Bills and Lions Skill Players this Weekend,
If you laughed reading that, imagine what I must have been thinking writing it. Despite their combined record of 2-14, the Bills and Lions are not terrible on offense. Sure, neither team lights up the scoreboard, but they do have some nice fantasy players. Bills WR Steve Johnson is ranked seventh among receivers in PPR leagues, one spot behind Calvin Johnson of the Lions. In addition, both teams are dreadful against the run (Lions 27th, Bills 32nd), so rookie Jahvid Best should have a field day for Detroit, while Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller (yes, C.J. Spiller) should have decent efforts. At quarterback, Matt Stafford’s season-ending shoulder injury means Shaun Hill is back under center for Detroit, and he hopes to play like he did before his injury against the Giants, where he still managed a TD and 91 yards before having to leave the game. Hill is capable of a 3-TD, 1-INT, 275 yard kind of day against Buffalo, although weather could be a factor. Meanwhile, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a top 15 quarterback, and with Chan Gailey leaning on his passing game heavily, the Harvard man is a smart start (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Miles Austin and Jason Witten Should Find a Home on your Bench
I have Austin in one league, and of the three WRs I had to start, I went with Austin over Mike Williams of Tampa Bay and Harvin. To say I made a mistake is an understatement. I almost switched at game time but didn’t. Now I feel like Jerry Jones, waiting one week too long to make a tough move, but Austin is no longer a WR1 or a WR2 with Kitna at QB, and he only starts if my other options are injured or find themselves on Revis Island. As for Witten, he is a better play than Austin, but he hasn’t been himself all season, and with the offensive line struggling so badly for Dallas, he may be asked to block more often. Sit both or try trading them to a Cowboys fan if your trade deadline hasn’t passed.
Mark Sanchez will Get you to the Playoffs, but you Better have Another Option during Weeks 15 and 16
Mark Sanchez has had a roller coaster season. Started slow, woke up and played very well until the bye week, then has struggled again. He is at the bottom of the top 15, but he should do well down the stretch. During weeks 10-14, Sanchez and the Jets offense faces Cleveland, Houston, Cincinnati, New England and Miami. The pass defense rankings of those teams, in order; 25th, 32nd, 17th, 29th and 13th. However, in the playoff weeks (15 and 16), the Sanchize is on the road against Pittsburgh and Chicago. The Steelers have allowed eight scores, the Bears five (the fewest in the NFL), and each have made 11 interceptions. So if you are relying on Sanchez, continue to do so, but try to obtain another option if you hope to win your league.
Josh Freeman is Officially a QB1
Many Bucs fans, including a few friends of mine, saw the selection of Josh Freeman as an utter mistake. Now, that feeling has been replaced with hope, as Freeman has emerged this season as a star on the rise. It helps that Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams are great young receivers, while LaGarrette Blount has been a nice surprise in the backfield. But at the end of the day, it has been Freeman’s development in the pocket and his improving accuracy that has made all the difference. Although much of his supporting cast is still unknown, you should feel comfortable starting Freeman down the stretch, including this week against lowly Carolina.
About the Author
Written by Robert Bode
A sports die-hard through and through. I grew up playing almost every sport possible, and to this day I try to stay as active as possible. However, since I'm not a professional athlete, talking and writing about sports is the next best thing. A University of Florida graduate but living in my hometown of Washington D.C. (well Northern Virginia), my favorite teams are the Florida Gators, Miami Dolphins, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Real Madrid, good up-tempo NBA teams (so not the Knicks), and Washington Capitals.