Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week 10 Starters & Benchwarmers


You don’t need me advising you to start Drew Brees and Chris Johnson, or to bench JaMarcus Russell and Michael Clayton. So I’ll leave the obvious recommendations to the network bozos and focus instead on players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 10.

Watch ‘em roll

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers vs. Bengals. He’s been very sharp of late, passing for at least two TDs in four of his last five games. With Carson Palmer as his opposite number and a stout run defense clogging the line, Big Ben will need to throw often against the NFL’s 25th-ranked pass defense. He’ll have plenty of success.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills at Titans. With Trent Edwards back under center, the Bills will lean heavily on their top tailback. Though he’ll be over-shadowed by Chris Johnson, Lynch should post his first 100-yard game of 2009, plus a score, against a unit that has been exploited regularly by opposing rushers.

Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins vs. Buccaneers. Only two teams give up more rushing yards or passing TDs per game than the Bucs. That’s great news for Miami’s dual-threat tailback, who should alternate big plays with Ronnie Brown in this cross-state showdown.

Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets vs. Jaguars. His production has been spotty of late, but with the extra week to plot against a feeble secondary, Edwards is primed for a prolific outing. The Jags get very little pressure on opposing passers, and they must focus first on the Jets’ league-leading rushing attack.

Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings vs. Lions. What’s not to like about the Vikings this week? Coming off a bye, at home, against a team that has allowed 19 passing TDs to date? Yahtzee! Harvin could score as a receiver and returner in this lop-sided affair.

More thumbs up: QBs Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Joe Flacco; RBs Ray Rice, Thomas Jones, Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Stewart, LeSean McCoy; WRs Anquan Boldin, Devery Henderson, Steve Smith (Panthers), Santonio Holmes.

Roll ‘em back

Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles at Chargers. Aside from a three-TD outburst against the Giants, McNabb’s production has been fairly pedestrian over the last four games. Traveling cross-country to face a secondary that has held opposing passers to an average of just 162 yards since their bye, he’s a risky bet to soar.

Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys at Packers. Green Bay’s defense has allowed only three rushing TDs this season. Though Barber has been solid, he gives up too many touches to his backfield mates, even around the goal-line, to be a strong play in this road affair.

Ladell Betts, RB, Redskins vs. Broncos. Denver’s defense was exposed by the Ravens and Steelers over the last two games, but they will rebound at home against this anemic offense. Though Betts will shoulder the load for the concussed Clinton Portis, he is unlikely to find much room to roam against a run defense that has still allowed just three rushing scores to date. Betts’ sore ankle won’t help.

Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars at Jets. It’s a scientific fact: David Garrard is incapable of throwing a TD pass on the road. Against the NFL’s second-toughest pass defense, his top receiver’s chances are even worse.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos at Redskins. You probably have to start him, but don’t be shocked if he disappoints in this one. His quarterback is struggling mightily, Marshall’s back has been hurting him, and the Redskins boast the league’s stingiest pass defense (160 net passing yards per game).

More thumbs down: QBs Kyle Orton, Matt Ryan, David Garrard, Trent Edwards; RBs LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook, Knowshon Moreno, Jamal Lewis, Kevin Smith, Ladell Betts; WRs Donnie Avery, Santana Moss, Jeremy Maclin.


Laveranues Coles, WR, Bengals at Steelers. The best way to score against Pittsburgh is through the air, and Carson Palmer is up to the task. The Steelers will be forced to double-down on Cedric Benson and Chad Ochocinco, which should give the suddenly relevant Coles plenty of opportunities to produce. Chris Henry’s loss should be Coles’ gain.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…neglects to check the weather reports before locking in your starting lineup. As we head into late November, blustery conditions will become a factor in many outdoor games, possibly including Green Bay this weekend. That often leads to fewer passes, more runs and erratic kicking. While inclement weather usually shouldn’t steer you away from starting your studs, knowing the conditions can help you make more informed decisions on your marginal players. Especially kickers.


  1. I need 2 RBs. I have Deangelo Williams, Ray Rice & Steve Slaton (bye)...who should I pick up, D.Sproles or Mike Bell in case Williams is out?

  2. Ladd:

    In a PPR league I need to decide on a TE between Shiancoe and J. Carlson.

    Then, I need a Flex between whomever I do not start at TE, TO, and Maclin.

    Thoughts? Thanks.


  3. Seth,

    Good news: DeAngelo is in. Stick with him

  4. dunedin,

    I just said he was! Sheesh

  5. pazhorn,

    Shiancoe at TE

    Maclin at flex