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Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Visanthe Shiancoe, Dustin Keller.
What do these players all have in common? They are all on their byes this week.
Why do you care? Well, you don’t really, but consider this – out of all the players on a bye this week (for all you math majors out there that’s five fantasy players per team times six teams), have you ever seen a smaller group of viable fantasy starters? And I’m using the term “viable” loosely because if you are starting Berrian, Harvin, Cotchery, Shiancoe or Keller every week then you are either in a deep league or you’ve moved on to fantasy basketball by now.
I’m sure owners aren’t losing sleep over not having Terrell Owens, Lee Evans and Marshawn Lynch this week. You’re telling me Derek Anderson, Jamal Lewis and Mohamed Massaquoi aren’t playing this week?! Oh, the horror! As long as I can start Justin Fargas or Zach Miller then I’ll be fine. What? No!
Mark it down. In the year 2009, the week of November 3-9 will go down as the best bye week of all time for fantasy owners. The only downfall is we don’t have the Raiders, Browns and Rams defenses to beat up on.
With Favre being the only good QB sitting out this week, it will be tough to find a hidden gem that you would consider starting this week. However, if you own either Matt Schaub or Matt Ryan (read below), then you may want to consider Cassell this week. He’s coming off a bye week and facing a very weak JAX defense that has let up double digit points to opposing quarterbacks every week.
The Ravens are not as good against the pass as you would think and Palmer threw for 271 and one touchdown the last time these two teams met. In his last game, Palmer threw for 233 yards and five touchdowns against Chicago and has been enjoying a very nice season (1608 yards, 13 TD, 7 INT). On the road, Baltimore has let up an average of 21.3 points to quarterbacks and Palmer should reap some of those benefits.
Other Mentions: Alex Smith (vs. TEN), Joe Flacco (@ CIN), Kurt Warner (@ CHI)
The Colts’ defense has been the fourth toughest on QBs (7.7 points per game) and Schaub just lost his second favorite target for the season in Owen Daniels. Kevin Walter has been a major disappointment this year and we don’t know what to expect out of the Houston backfield. Sure, Schaub has the ability to throw for 300 yards on any given Sunday, but this week the odds are stacked up against it.
The Redskins have a very stingy pass defense that hasn’t let up more than 200 passing yards since week three. Also, their defense has not allowed more than one touchdown in a game. Ryan has been a turnover machine in his last three games (7 INT, 2 FL), which has led to mediocre point totals (11, 9, 9). I’d recommend sitting him this week.
Other Mentions: David Garrard (vs. KC), Kyle Orton (vs. PIT), Eli Manning (vs. SD)
Hightower ranks second on the team in receptions (39) and while he hasn’t scored on any of them he does have five rushing touchdowns. The Bears have let up 15+ points to running backs in four of their last five games and Hightower has scored a touchdown in four straight. He seems like a safe play to me.
We saw how Chris Johnson ran for 228 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars’ defense. Now Jamal Charles gets to face the same Jags’ defense as the Chiefs’ new starting RB. He is averaging five yards per carry and is a lock for at least 15 touches, which means you can bet on 75 total yards and a good chance for a score.
Other Mentions: Clinton Portis (@ ATL), Mike Bell (@ CAR), Kevin Smith (@ SEA)
Steelers are the toughest team against the run (76.6 yds/g) and Moreno has only two rushing touchdowns this season. He still splits time with Buckhalter, so the yards will not be aplenty. Oh, and the chances of him scoring? The Steelers have let up just two rushing TDs all season, so I wouldn’t count on it.
You could start Slaton and be rewarded with a nice game against a weak Colts’ run defense, or you could be punished with another zero point performance because Gary Kubiak decided to send another message. The leash is short on Slaton and we have seen how Kubiak reacts to mistakes on the field. I would bench him for this week to see how the situation plays out now that Ryan Moats is in the picture and reassess the situation in week 10.
Other Mentions: Ricky Williams (@ NE), Rashard Mendenhall (@ DEN), Cadillac Williams (vs. GB)
I love Crabtree’s matchup this week. Tennessee has the league’s worst pass defense and Crabtree is quickly becoming a very nice #2 WR. He has yet to find the end zone, but in his first two starts of his NFL career, Crabtree has 11 catches for 137 yards. The Titans have let up 19 passing touchdowns, so I expect Crabtree to reach pay dirt for the first time this year.
It’s looking less likely that Anquan Boldin is going to play this Sunday, especially with Arizona on a bye next week. With Boldin out, Breaston would get the start and immediately becomes a nice fantasy option in the Cardinals’ pass-happy offense. Kurt Warner likes to spread the ball around and if Boldin sits, Breaston is in line for a healthy amount of targets.
Other Mentions: Jeremy Maclin (vs. DAL), Devin Hester (vs. ARI), Mike Sims-Walker (vs. KC)
Holmes hasn’t scored since opening night and has only scored double digit points twice this year. He hasn’t been the receiver many of us thought he would after his Super Bowl performance. To make matters worse, Holmes has to face the fourth toughest defense against wide receivers this week. The Broncos have let up just three touchdowns to wide receivers all year, so don’t expect Holmes to get in the end zone this week.
Here’s a stat for you – the Colts have faced the fourth-most pass attempts to wide receivers (154) and still have only let up one touchdown this season. With Owen Daniels lost for the season, Kevin Walter should see a boost in production, but some of the targets will also go to Jacoby Jones and whichever running back Kubiak decides to go with. I do like Walter to get better this year, but it won’t start until week 11 against Tennessee.
Other Mentions: Roy Williams (@ PHI), Mario Manningham (vs. SD), Antonio Bryant (vs. GB)
The Redskins love to use their tight ends and with Chris Cooley out of the picture, Fred Davis is the man to own. The Falcons are the sixth worst defense against tight ends and in his last game, Davis caught eight balls for 78 yards and a score.
The Chargers let up the seventh-most points to tight ends and Kevin Boss is coming off a week where he caught three balls for 70 yards and one score. Even though Boss didn’t score more than six points in any prior week, I think the Giants exploit he middle of the field and get Boss some work.
Other Mentions: John Carlson (vs. DET), Benjamin Watson (vs. MIA), Jeremy Shockey (vs. CAR)
Miller is enjoying a fine season and has been one of the top tight ends this year, but this week he faces the stingy Broncos defense. This season, the Broncos have let up just 20 catches for 192 yards and one touchdown to opposing tight ends. Expect a low scoring game on Monday night.
He’s been a major disappointment this year and the Cardinals’ defense has let up double digit points to tight ends just twice this season.
Other Mentions: Bo Scaife (@ SF), Marcedes Lewis (vs. KC), Brandon Pettigrew (@ SEA)
You might be surprised that the Seahawks’ defense has two shutouts this season. Both were at home and both were against subpar offenses. Home game? Check. Is Detroit a bad offense? Double check.
Despite letting up 35 points to the Saints offense on Monday night, the Falcons defense did force four turnovers and score a defensive touchdown. The Redskins offense is anything but the Saints, so I expect the Falcons to have another nice game.
Giants have the reputation and the names, but they haven’t been delivering the numbers. They have let up 40+ points in two of their last three games and have only forced four turnovers. That’s not enough to compensate for the massive amounts of points being scored on this offense now and the Chargers offense isn’t bad either.
Miami gets to face New England coming off a bye in Foxborough, Mass. Let this defense ride your fantasy pine.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Fantasy Radar, Fred Davis, Greg Olsen, Heath Miller, Jamal Charles, Kevin Boss, Kevin Walter, Knowshon Moreno, Matt Cassell, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Michael Crabtree, Santonio Holmes, Start 'Em/Sit 'Em, Steve Breaston, Steve Slaton, Tim Hightower