By: Steve DeAngelo
This was the first Halloween in about 5 years where I didn’t dress up and didn’t go out. I needed a break from the costume thing this year. If I did go out I was thinking of going as Jamal Charles or Calvin Johnson, two guys who should have Monster games this weekend. Instead I stayed home and watched Oregon pounce on USC. Amazing how people still doubted that team. Well I hope everyone feels Ok and everything went safe and you had a great time. But now it’s time to focus and get your lineups in and set. By now you should have checked our rankings and 1 O’clock breakdowns, now it’s time for the late games. If you are still in your costume then you probably need to jump in the shower before you read this, your breath probably smells like a piece of Smooshed turnip.
Tennessee @ SD 4:15 est
Sitting at 2-5, the Chargers season might already be over. This is a team that is ranked #1 in both Offense and Defense yet still are in this position. Why? Because of coaching, it’s really what it comes down to. Like Wade Phillips in Dallas, Norv Turner is better suited as a Coordinator than a Head Coach. Chargers might make a run, but I think they will come up short of the playoffs.
Phillip Rivers continues to sling it all over the field with another 300 yard game last week despite not having Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates playing hurt. Gates is not a game-time decision like last week and will start while Floyd will be out again. That leaves Patrick Crayton and Craig Davis to catch Rivers throws along with Gates. Legudu Naanee is doubtful to play. Crayton is a good flex play in PPR leagues, he probably won’t score but should finish with around 5-6 catches and about 60-70 yards. Davis is more of a risk, I would look for other options. Rivers will put up yards and points it doesn’t matter what the matchup is.
The running game (17th overall) or lack thereof is another reason for the Chargers struggles. Ryan Matthews injuries have hurt but he is also missing holes as well. Matthews might finally be fully healthy this week, but Norv Turner continues to be unbalanced (270 pass to 180 runs) and it’s hard for Matthews to find a rhythm. Also Turner is still working in Mike Tolbert who gets most of the goal line carries and Darren Sproles. Matthews continues to where a wrap on his elbow and has dropped several passes. Because of that the last couple weeks Darren Sproles has played more and has produced. He’s not a terrible option as a flex in PPR leagues this week. The Titans have a pretty stingy Run D allowing just under a 100 yards a game and have only let up 1 TD all year. Still, Norv Turner needs to find a way to get this run game going with his 1st round pick in Matthews and Turner knows it, it just may not happen this week.
Vince Young has been bad against the Chargers in his career, we’ve all probably read or heard that by now. He’s likely not to improve against the #1 ranked Pass D. Plus Young is still gimpy with his ankle and knee so he probably won’t be running anywhere, although he wasn’t running much at all even before the injury which has hurt Vince’s value and effectiveness as a QB. Kenny Britt blew up last week leaving many owners including myself distraught for having him on their bench. You can’t blame us, the guy just got into a bar fight and nobody knew how long he would sit out. Well he ended up sitting out a quarter and a half and still went for 3 TD’s and 200 yards. Sometimes you just never know. You can be sure the Chargers will be looking to take Britt out of the game so expect Quentin Jammer who is playing at a high level this year to matchup with him most of the game. Britt is still a very physical wideout who runs good routes with good speed so he could still get his. You can’t sit him , he has scored in 4 straight games now. Leave Nate Washington and Justin Gage who should return this week on your bench.
Chris Johnson was bottled up last week against Philly so he will be motivated to have a big game this week against the #4 ranked Rush D. The Chargers have been solid this year, but haven’t faced a back like Johnson. Chris Johnson lite Jamal Charles had a nice game against this D in week 1 and I expect Johnson to go over 100 in this game.
Minnesota @ NE 4:15 est
The Patriots keep on winning despite losing Randy Moss as they won a tough one last week against San Diego on the road. However I think they fall this Sunday, as the Vikings are playing in a must-win situation. Tom Brady has still played fairly well without Moss even in back to back tough matchups vs Baltimore and San Diego but still only has two TD’s. When you lose Randy Moss you lose a huge redzone threat as well as a deep threat. Brandon Tate has failed to fill the role of the deep threat and can probably be cut, although maybe you want to hold out one more week. Aaron Hernandez has now kinda taken the role as the deep threat working down the field. He will remain a solid option in ppr leagues but not so great in standard leagues because of his lack of TD’s. The other rookie TE Rob Gronkowski still gets looks in the redzone. Some people said I told you so after Branch only had 40 yards after his big debut as a Patriot, but it was one game, Branch should be a consistent option every week for Brady. We are still waiting for Wes Welker to have a game over 75 yards, plus he hasn’t scored since week 2. Welker hasn’t looked the same to me at all recovering from his ACL injury although he still can be and should remain effective. Be patient with him, but don’t expect the numbers we have seen from him in past years. The Patriots will be able to pass the ball against this slightly above average Vikings Pass D (ranked 13th). Danny Woodhead is a decent option as a flex in PPR leagues, we saw Brandon Jackson have a fairly good game last week against them, So Woodhead should get some yards. I would stay away from Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis, although he will be the goal line back, just not a good option. Woodhead is a better one because he factors in the passing game.
Brett Farve will play this Sunday, was there every any doubt? Maybe there was a bit because Favre has been getting more and more beat up each week. He’s kinda like that last guy you fight in a Video game when you reach the end of the level. You keep beating the guy and beating the guy and then finally he goes down. Will Farve go down?, It looks like he won’t last, but this guy is just indestructible, he won’t give up, he just keeps coming back like the guy you can’t kill in a horror movie. His injuries have effected his play however, there is no doubt about that. Favre has only thrown over 250 yards once all year and has only one game with multiple TD’s. He’s killing fantasy owners who have been waiting for him. He draws a good matchup this week against New England, but you have to think the Vikings will probably run the ball a ton with AP and try to keep Favre’s role minimized. He may throw Two TD’s but I wouldn’t expect a lot of yards. The Patriots D should get rookie Safety Patrick Chung back this week so that should help. Despite Farve’s struggles you can’t bench Randy Moss who will be motivated against his old team even though Belicheck will be motivated to stop him. Also Percy Harvin can do so many things whether in the pass game, run game or return game. He’s a clear-cut every week starter. Harvin should enjoy a nice overall game. Visanthe Shiancoe still hasn’t gotten it going, injuries have held him back as well as the Refs. He should have scored last week, but his TD was overturned. I would be patient with Shiancoe but if you have bettter options go with that.
TB @ Arizona 4:15 est
Max Hall stinks, Derek Anderson is worse and they are both killing Larry Fitzgerald. Again, as I have asked before the season started, what was Ken Whisenhunt thinking when he just dumped Matt Leinart like an old Couch and decided to go with Anderson as his starter. He was being stubborn, he couldn’t have really thought Anderson was the answer. So Fitzgerald has suffered as a result, not to say he would have dominated with Leinart but he would have been better there is no doubt in my mind. This offense also would have been more effective. Fitzgerald is currently the #41 ranked wideout. Steve Breaston and Early Doucet return this week so that should help rookie Max Hall, but how much could it help? Keep all these guys on your bench maybe even Fitzgerald. I would definitely start a guy like Devonne Bess over Fitzgerald.
Beanie Wells is now the starter as started by Whisenhunt. Tim Hightower will remain a factor but clearly has taken a backseat, it didn’t help that Hightower fumbled twice last week. Wells has a great matchup and I am predicting a MONSTER day against this TB Run D that is ranked 31st in the league allowing 157 yards a game. I have Wells ranked as my #3 RB this week. Beanie has been a disappointment thus far, but this week he will redeem himself.
Josh Freeman is a nice young QB with a nice matchup against this turrible Cardinals Pass D. He’s a good bye week filler and maybe you wanna be bold and bench your usual starting QB. Freeman can also run the ball too which helps his value. I would expect around 250 yards with 2 TD’s for the youngster as he will hook up with Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow who should both enjoy nice games. Legarrette Blount finally got the majority of carries last week and produced with 75 yards on 11 carries. He is the most talented back on the team but still will share a workload with Cadillac and Earnest Graham. But Blount should be in line for the majority of the carries going forward. He’s not a bad flex play this week against this Cardinals run D 29th in the league.
Seattle @ Oakland 4:15 est
Jason Campbell will draw the start for at least one more week while Bruce Gradkowski is still injured. However the focal point of this offense will continue to be Darren Mcfadden. I doubted this guy when he was drafted and was proven right after he did nothing. He went down easy, showed little agility and was always getting hurt. Injuries are still a problem for Mcfadden but today he is running with much more power and agility. He is playing like one of the best backs in the league. I was really wrong about him this year. This is not an easy matchup against Seattle and their Run D ranked 2nd overall, but Mcfadden should still succeed. Last week I saw Tim Hightower turn the corner on this defense so Mcfadden should be able to as well. Michael Bush has taken back seat with the return of Mcfadden and should be benched. Louis Murphy will be out a couple more weeks with a bruised lung, so look for Campbell to heavily target Zach Miller. Mcfadden will probably see 30 touches in this game. No other Raiders wideout is worth starting even against this 29th ranked Seattle secondary.
Matt Hasselback has been playing better of late but still doesn’t have a 300 yard game all year and only one game with multiple TD’s. Keep him on your bench and off your team! Mike Williams has been his favorite target and Williams has played well and shown good hands. However not a good week for him against Nhamdi Ashmouga and the Raiders 5th ranked Pass D. He’s still a decent flex play because Hasselback will throw to him a ton. All other Seattle wideouts leave on your bench including TE John Carlson.
Marshawn Lynch is averaging under 3 yards a carry as a Seahawk, he runs hard but hasn’t been getting many openings and really doesn’t have the speed to get through the little cracks. He will be factored into the gameplan this week as head coach Pete Carroll will look to attack this 28th ranked Raiders Run D. Lynch will be held under 100 yards though most likely although he could find endzone. He’s a low-end #2 this week. Justin Forsett is talented but is not getting enough touches to warrant starting.
Pittsburgh @ New Orleans Sunday Night 8:20 est
I’m trying to think of how New Orleans will win this game. It is at home on Sunday Night so the energy will be there, but I just don’t see them winning this one. Pittsburgh’s run D will make them one-dimensional and they will shut down Chris Ivory who will be filling in again for the injured Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Like Thomas, reports are now that Bush won’t return til week 11. So with the run game toned down, Brees will have to throw the ball at least 40 times. Brees is not throwing it well right now. Defenses are covering his wideouts and he’s forcing throws. This isn’t the most talented group. Brees is a great QB but there is only so much he can do. Reggie Bush not being there has hurt to open up things for his offense. Bush draws a lot of attention and really creates for the Saints. Without him they have struggled. That said Brees is still in your lineups, even though he may throw 2 Int’s he will still get his 300 yards and 2-3 TD’s. He will look to target his best wideout Marques Colston who had his first 100 yard game and his first TD last week. Picking between Lance Moore and Robert Meachem is a crapshoot but they both make for low-end flex plays. With all that said, Drew Brees could play a masterful game Sunday Night and lead his team to victory, but I don’t see it.
The return of Ben has helped this Pittsburgh pass game tremendously as we’ve seen. Mike Wallace has scored in back to back weeks and Hines Ward has went back to being a solid #2 wideout. The Saints Pass D is ranked 3rd in the league but it’s misleading. They have faced the likes of Alex Smith, Colt Mcoy, Jimmy Claussen and Derek Anderson. That is a pretty brutal list. Rothlisberger should be able to move the ball nicely with Wallace, Ward and Heath Miller contributing as well. Rashad Mendenhall will bruise this Saints Run D and keep a nice balance for the Steelers. Start all your Steelers this week and expect good production.
Houston @ Indianapolis Monday Night 8:30 est
Peyton Manning is coming off a bye week and that spells trouble for opposing defenses. Dating back to 2005, Manning is 5-0 coming from the bye. Manning also wants revenge after a week 1 loss to Houston. There are injuries in on this Colts offense with Austin Collie out a month or so and Dallas Clark lost for the season. However it does not matter when you have Manning. Jacob Tamme will fill in for Clark and is a solid start this week at TE against Houston and their 32nd ranked Pass D. Tamme is athletic and can get open so expect him to finish with a fairly solid game. Anthony Gonzalez returns from injury finally this week and don’t forget this guy and his talent. He’s probably a better wideout than Collie, he will be a factor as well. Pierre Garcon came back a few weeks ago and him and Manning started to hit him once again. He will deliver. Then of course you have Reggie Wayne who is the staple in this receiving core. Even Blair White might add something, but I like him the least of the bunch. All this adds up to a MONSTER game for Manning. Manning might throw for 400 yards this week and 5 TD’s. The injuries will not affect Manning this week against this defense. Get all your Colts in this game.
Donald Brown will play and will be a factor, but since he’s banged up he will probably share time with Mike Hart. Both are decent flex plays, although I believe Brown will have the better game.
Will Arian Foster have another MONSTER ( that word again) game against the Colts? In week 1 he went for 200 yards against them. You can bet that the Colts will be motivated to stop him and should do a better job although Foster will still produce. Matt Schaub will connect with his beastly wideout Andre Johnson as the Colts have no answer for him. It was good to see Owen Daniels finally enjoy a nice game before their bye week as he we went for 76 yards. He’s getting healthier and is a good start this week. Stay away from Jacoby Jones and the MIA Kevin Walter. There really isn’t much to say in this matchup other than there will be a ton of points scored.
Happy Halloween everyone and good luck today. Leave the candy for the kids………..