By Mike Cannici
Jay Cutler @ MIA- Cutler has been much better after their week 8 bye and is a solid start Thursday night vs. a Dolphins defense that can be passed on. Start Cutler with confidence this week as he has thrown five touchdowns over his last two games.
Joe Flacco @ CAR- Flacco has posted pretty solid fantasy numbers this season and this week gets to face the dreadful Carolina Panthers. The Panthers remarkably are ranked 5th against the pass but Josh Freeman threw for 241 and two touchdowns on them last week with a receiving corp not quite up to par with the Ravens.
Mark Sanchez vs. HOU- Sanchez eyes must have lit up Monday knowing that he gets the league’s worst pass defense this week at home. Sanchez has compiled 25 + fantasy points the last two weeks against the Lions and Browns, both on the road and who are actually much better than the Texans secondary. Look for Sanchez to close in on 300 yards for the third straight week along with 2 touchdowns.
Shonne Greene vs. HOU- Greene was being dropped in a lot of leagues a few weeks back and I sincerely hope you weren’t a disgruntled owner as he has now come into a 50/50 time share with LT. Tomlinson has been showing some signs of wearing down and Greene is beginning to take advantage since he’s basically got much fresher legs. Greene was big late in the year last year for the Jets and I’m expect the same again this year and the Texans are ranked 15th against the run. Quality flex start with RB2 upside this week.
Mike Tolbert vs. DEN- Tolbert is likely to get the start this week with Ryan Mathews nursing that ankle that’s bothered him most of his rookie season. A Denver rank 30th against the run meaning Tolbert is in for a big day, especially around the goal line. He makes for a very good flex start this week so start with confidence.
Fred Jackson @ CIN- Jackson exploded last week for his best game totaling 170 yards and two touchdowns. With CJ Spiller now out indefinitely and Marshawn Lynch up in Seattle, the backfield duties are all Jackson’s and we saw what he could do last season when handling a full load (ran for 1,000 yards with 44 receptions). Solid flex start this week with big upside against the league’s 22nd ranked rush defense.
Mario Manningham @ PHI- Manningham had a big game in his first start of the season, totaling 10 catches for 90 yards and a score against the Cowboys in week 10. WR Steve Smith will miss the next few weeks due to injury and Manningham will take his spot. Mario is a quality WR3 with WR2 upside while Smith is out of the lineup so he definitely needs to be in your lineup as much of the Eagles attention will be on stopping Hakeem Nicks this week.
Danny Amendola vs. ATL- Amendola has found the end zone in three straight while also getting double digit fantasy points in those three. The Falcons can be thrown on and our away from home where they are much more vulnerable and where the Rams play their best. Amendola is a must start WR3 in PPR leagues and a solid flex play in standard leagues.
Michael Crabtree vs. TB- Crabtree has been very solid the past five weeks or so and his value has not diminished one bit with Troy Smith under center. In PPR league’s Crabtree has gotten double digit fantasy points in five of his last six games with four touchdowns during that stretch as well. He’s climbing the ladder and is now a must start WR3 and by season’s end, I’d consider him a mid level WR2 at worst. Get him in your lineup this week and watch him continue to soar up the WR rankings.
Brett Favre vs. GB- Favre is a battler but is just so banged up at the moment I just can’t trust him to put up big numbers. He’s my 16th ranked QB this week and that’s purely based on playing at home. If you have other options I’d definitely use them as I just can’t see Favre throwing for more than 180 yards and a touchdown. There is also a chance that if the Packers come out and get a big lead early, the Vikes could possibly turns to Tavaris Jackson and let Favre rest. Favre being taken out is a big stretch but not something that isn’t possible either.
Donavan McNabb @ TEN- I know McNabb put up solid fantasy numbers during Monday night’s loss to the Eagles, but a lot of that was because it was 35-0 early in the second quarter. McNabb takes his traveling circus on the road this week to Tennessee, where the Titans are coming off a tough loss to the Dolphins where they potentially ended two QB’s seasons (Chad Pennington and Chad Henne). The Titans defense plays much better at home and McNabb has played much worse on the road, so this isn’t a matchup made in heaven. Keep Donavan on the bench.
Ronnie Brown vs. CHI- Brown hasn’t been very good thus far in 2010 and I don’t see that changing much in this matchup. He’s had just two double digit fantasy games this season and last week had 12 carries for just 11 yards. The only thing that saved his fantasy day was rushing for a touchdown. The Bears rank 2nd in the league against the run and they will likely shut down the Dolphins run game and force Tyler Thigpen to beat them.
Beanie Wells @ KC- Wells has been hampered by a knee injury that he now says feels much better and is good to go Sunday. Just because he says he’ll start doesn’t mean you’re starting him. The guy has a load of talent but can’t stay healthy and apparently doesn’t have the full confidence of his coaches. Keep Wells on your bench until we something concrete that shows us he’s healthy. The Chiefs are also ranked 6th vs. the run even though they haven’t been great at stopping it lately, at home, their a completely different beast.
Darren McFadden @ PIT- I know McFadden has been nothing short of phenomenal lately but he is traveling across country to face the league’s best run defense. The Steelers are at home, pissed off about Sunday night’s loss to the Patriots and guess who they’re going to take it out on? You guessed it, McFadden and the Raiders. McFadden is nothing more than a flex start this week and to me, that’s only if you have no other options. Keep him on your bench this week as his schedule gets much easier after this week.
Broncos WR’s not named Brandon Lloyd @ SD- The Chargers are 5th in the league against the pass and I really don’t see Orton being able to find these guys too often on Sunday, other than of course, the likely comeback player of the year in Brandon Lloyd(that is if only Michael Vick wasn’t in the league). Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal need to be on benches this week if your roster allows.
Panther WR’s vs. BAL- Now by know mean’s is this a endorsement of the Ravens secondary, as they have been terrible as of late, but more on the fact of who will be under center for Carolina. Jimmy Clausen is certainly no star, but now they have Tony Pike, another rookie out of Cincinnati who will make his first career start. I’d look for the Ravens pass rush to get back on track in this one and make it a very unenjoyable debut for the rookie. Steve Smith, David Gettis and Brandon LaFell need to be on everyone’s bench not just this week, but for the foreseeable future.
Mike Williams (SEA) @ NO- Here is a guy I’m starting to come around on, but he needs to show the fantasy world what he can do when he’s not facing the Cardinals (22-232 against Arizona) and then maybe we can give him a boost as an every week starter. He gets to match up against Jabari Greer this week on the road. His one and only thing working in his favor could be that the Seahawks find themselves getting blown out early and have to go to the air. If you have better options, which I don’t in the league I own him in, then go that route please. FYI, my options to replace him in that league are Addai, Pierre Thomas and Jonathan Stewart, so i’m left to take my chances on Williams, but you hopefully don’t have too.