|Marcus Cannon and Aqib Talib are Keys to Pats vs Broncos||Connelly’s Top Ten: Belichick’s Greatest Move||Red Sox Targeting David Price||Notes and Observations Week 11: Defense Leads Battered Patriots to Victory Over Bills 20-13|
Have you watched that new show on ABC called Flash Forward? For those who haven’t here’s a quick summary. The whole world blacked out for 137 seconds, during which, everyone saw a vision that took place six months in the future. I’m going to stop right there because that’s all I need for this introduction. Check out the show because it is awesome.
Last week I had my own flash forward (OK so it was just a dream just go with the story), but instead of crazy FBI investigations, I witnessed my fantasy playoffs and it wasn’t pretty. I owned both Matt Forte and LaDanian Tomlinson, both of whom have tough playoff schedules. In my vision…er…dream, I saw my team getting knocked out in the first round due to bad match-ups. I woke up in a terrible sweat and immediately went to my computer. I knew what I had to do. I had to warn people who could be in the same danger as I was. My situation was fixed with two trades and here’s to hoping that your trade deadline hasn’t passed so you can do the same in your leagues.
(Note: The following tables are based on playoff matchups that take place from Week 14-16, which is the standard playoff in most leagues.)
|Three Up||Three Down|
|Matt Schaub (SEA, @STL, @MIA)||Matt Ryan (NO, @NYJ, BUF)|
|Matt Hasselbeck (@HOU, TB, @GB)||Tony Romo (SD, @NO, @WAS)|
|Ben Roethlisberger (@CLE, GB, BAL)||Eli Manning (PHI, @WAS, CAR)|
|Three Up||Three Down|
|Thomas Jones (@TB, ATL, @IND)||Kevin Smith (@BAL, ARI, @SF)|
|Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams (@JAX, @TEN, HOU)||Matt Forte (GB, @BAL, MIN)|
|Pierre Thomas (@ATL, DAL, TB)||Marion Barber (SD, @NO, @WAS)|
|Three Up||Three Down|
|Donald Driver (@CHI, @PIT, SEA)||Steve Smith (NYG) (PHI, @WAS, CAR)|
|Andre Johnson (SEA, @STL, @MIA)||Sidney Rice (CIN, @CAR, @CHI)|
|Hines Ward (@CLE, GB, BAL)||Miles Austin (SD, @NO, @WAS)|
|Three Up||Three Down|
|Vernon Davis (ARI, @PHI, DET)||Dallas Clark (DEN, @JAX, NYJ)|
|Dustin Keller (@TB, ATL, @IND)||Tony Gonzalez (NO, @NYJ, BUF)|
|Greg Olsen (GB, @BAL, MIN)||Kellen Winslow (NYJ, @SEA, @NO)|
|Three Up||Three Down|
|Cardinals D/ST (@SF, @DET, STL)||Jaguars D/ST (MIA, IND, @NE)|
|Patriots D/ST (CAR, @JAX, BUF)||Bears D/ST (GB, @BAL, MIN)|
|Dolphins (@JAX, @TEN, HOU)||Panthers D/ST (@NE, MIN, @NYG)|
So there you have it. If you are sitting pretty in your league and are a sure shot to make the playoffs, it’s time you start making some moves with the future in mind. Football is as inconsistent a sport there is so you want to give yourself team the best matchups to give your team better odds coming out as champion. For those still clawing to make the playoffs, here are my starts and sits for Week 10.
Flacco has had two bad games this season, both against the Bengals. Now that he has them out of the way he can continue his great 2009 season and what better way to get it back than to face the Browns defense? Cleveland has just four interceptions on the season and have let up the 11th-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Sounds to me like Flacco could throw for 250+ yards and a couple scores, that is if Ray Rice doesn’t hog all the touchdowns. Who are we kidding, there should be plenty of scores to go around in this game.
“Sanchise” is coming off a bye week so he should be well prepared to face the Jags defense. Not that he has to be because the Jaguars give up the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Expect Sanchez to have a mistake-free game and I could see him even sneaking in a rushing score in this one. This match-up screams double digit points and if you have Matt Schaub or Eli Manning on a bye this week you could do a lot worse than Sanchez.
Other Mentions: Alex Smith (vs. CHI), Ben Roethlisberger (vs. CIN), Jay Cutler (@ SF)
Is it unfair that Matt Ryan continues to see his name in the “sit” section every week? I don’t think so because he has been a turnover machine lately (8 INT, 2 FL in last 5 games) and this week’s match-up isn’t very favorable for two reasons. (1) The Panthers defense is actually decent against the pass as they let up ninth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks and (2) Michael Turner is going to have a field day. The Falcons will want to stick with the running game on the road to keep control of the football, which means a bad day for Ryan when it’s all said and done.
A lot of fantasy owners, myself included, targeted Garrard’s last three matchups (STL, @TEN, KC) as a nice stretch where he would establish himself as a legit top 10 quarterback. Instead, he left with just one touchdown and four turnovers during that stretch. This week he faces a tough Jets defense on the road and coming off a bye week so it’s safe to say the disappointments will continue for at least another week.
Other Mentions: Carson Palmer (@ PIT), Kyle Orton (@ WAS), Matt Hasselbeck (@ ARI)
Don’t try to get cute here. While the Steelers boast the top run defense in the league and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season, Benson should still be started with confidence. Why? Because the Bengals have shown how committed they are to running the ball and Benson has carried the load with 71 rushing attempts in his last two games. The Bengals will definitely give Benson the opportunity to score and I bet he squeaks in a score to salvage a nice fantasy day.
It’s clear that Pierre Thomas is the undisputed #1 RB in New Orleans. However, let’s not dismiss the matchup here. The Saints offense is going to roll all over the Rams defense on Sunday and don’t think for a second that Mike Bell is going to miss out on the party. The Saints will go up big, early in this game so Bell will benefit from some garbage time carries and he has shown he has the talent to produce when given the touches. He makes for a nice flex play with borderline RB2 upside.
Other Mentions: Ricky Williams (vs. TB), Laurence Maroney (@ IND), Jonathan Stewart (vs. ATL)
What a disappointment Forte has been in his sophomore season. In his first eight games, he has been held under six points four times and just doesn’t look like the same running back we all fell in love with last season. The 49ers have let up big games to Michael Turner and Chris Johnson this season, but other than that, they have been dominant against the run. Forte isn’t as good as those two so you should feel safe leaving him on the bench this week.
There’s probably no one more frustrated at LT more than I am. Throughout his Hall of Fame career I did not own him once in any fantasy league I played in. I finally had the opportunity last year and drafted him at #2 and was rewarded with crap. Then this year I drafted him again at #7 thinking that maybe he would have one last good season before he drifted off to fantasy irrelevance. Again, crap. I’m done with LT forever and despite any matchup that he may have I will never feel comfortable starting him because he hasn’t shown any burst or ability to break through tackles like he once could. It doesn’t even matter that the Eagles ranked ninth-best against running backs this season because I wouldn’t recommend starting LT against anyone right now.
Other Mentions: Kevin Smith (@ MIN), Julius Jones (@ ARI), Marshawn Lynch (@ TEN)
Steve Smith has suffered mightily at the hands of his quarterback Jake Delhomme this season. However, the Falcons are without starting CB Brian Williams and the last time these two teams met Smith went off for 131 yards on eight catches. Delhomme is targeting him enough that’s for sure so hopefully Smith has a repeat performance against a banged up secondary. I say the chances are pretty good that he gets in the end zone for the second time this season.
Mason struggled last week against the Bengals, but he was facing one of the better corners in the league in Leon Hall. This week he won’t have the problem of facing good defenders, which means he’s a safe bet to find the end zone and haul in some passes. The Ravens really need to get back on track so look for them to go up big in this game.
Other Mentions: Bernard Berrian (vs. DET), Michael Crabtree (vs. CHI), Jerricho Cotchery (vs. JAC)
Sims-Walker has been one of the top waiver wire pickups this season, but this week he matches up against Darrelle Revis who is one of the top corners in the league. The Jets are coming off a bye and playing at home, all bad things for the Jaguars offense so don’t be surprised if they struggle to put points on the board on Sunday.
Another talented wide receiver, another bad matchup. Much like Sims-Walker gets downgraded for facing Revis, Bowe is downgraded for facing Nnamdi Asmugha. The Raiders are also coming off a bye week so they have been preparing for the Chiefs offense and it’s not like they are that great to begin with. Bowe did score a touchdown in their first meeting this season, so only sit him if you have a better option on your bench.
Other Mentions: Justin Gage (vs. BUF), Donnie Avery (vs. NO), Santana Moss (vs. DEN)
Pettigrew finally broke out last week with seven catches for 71 yards and a score. This week he faces the worst team against opposing tight ends so he should be able to build on last week’s performance and put forth another productive afternoon.
On the other sideline, Shiancoe is enjoying another fine season with six touchdowns on the year already. Detroit’s defense ranks third in most points given up to opposing tight ends so chalk up another successful Sunday for Shiancoe.
Other Mentions: Greg Olsen (@ SF), Zach Miller (vs. KC), Brent Celek (@ SD)
The Colts may be missing pieces of their secondary for Sunday’s matchup, but even so they are one of the toughest units against opposing tight ends. The Patriots will air it out often in this game, but look for most of those passes to go in Randy Moss’ or Wes Welker’s direction.
There were big expectations for Davis after he took over for Cooley in Week 6. He delivered in Week 7, but last time out he caught just two passes for 26 yards. Denver has been brutal against opposing tight ends so I don’t expect Davis to right the ship this week.
Other Mentions: Dustin Keller (@ JAC), Tony Scheffler (@ WAS), Bo Scaife (vs. BUF)
Jets are coming off a bye week so the defense should be ready to return to early-season form against a weak Jacksonville offense.
Is it possible that Vince Young has an effect on the defense too? Who knows, but since he was named the started this unit has scored 14 and 17 points in consecutive weeks. This week they get the Bills’ mess of an offense so expect more points to come.
The Cowboys defense plays right into the Packers’ strengths. Green Bay loves to air it out and Dallas has trouble stopping the pass. Not a good combination.
The Colts could not have asked for a worse time to lose two starting members of their secondary. Tom Brady and co. should have a lot of success down the field.
Remember you can follow me on Twitter @BOSsportsbeat
Tags: Ben Watson, Brandon Pettigrew, Cedric Benson, David Garrard, Derrick Mason, Dwayne Bowe, Fantasy Radar, Fred Davis, Joe Flacco, LaDanian Tomlinson, Mark Sanchez, Matt Forte, Matt Ryan, Mike Bell, Mike Sims-Walker, Start 'Em/Sit 'Em, Steve Smith, Visanthe Shiancoe