Week 10 of the NFL season marks the start of the Thursday night games. This week the 49ers host the Bears so make sure you get your players set up before kickoff of this game. But more importantly are the fantasy playoffs which are right around the corner. I'm going to give you a few hints here that may help you navigate the rocky waters of the trade deadline and the playoffs.
- The most important tip is to do what got you here. Don't try and be cute and go for the sleepers… just play the normal starters and forget about the names.
- When looking at trades, look at the weeks 14, 15, and 16 schedules. Teams like Minnesota and New Orleans won't have anything to play for, so guys like Marques Colston and Brett Favre are going to be offered in trades since their playoff value will dip.
- Now that all the bye weeks are done (Texans and Giants are this week), you don't need that backup/bench depth anymore. See if you can package your RB2 or WR3 with some bench depth and grab you a RB1/WR2.
- Do what got you here! I know I said it in #1, but it is that important. I get far too many emails asking if someone should play, say, T.O. this week and I tell them all, "No, keep doing what got you here. Of course play the matchups, but did you start Owens yet this season? Then why start him now?"
##### Start 'em
Ben Roethlisberger: The Bengals pass rush isn't the same without Antwan Odom and they are ranked 25th in the NFL with 241.6 passing YPG allowed. I'm looking for Big Ben to finish the week in the top 5 for fantasy QBs and I have no problem starting him after Brees, Peyton Manning, and Rodgers.
Brett Favre: Ok, so I've finally shown Favre some love in the fantasy Start 'em section. This week the Vikings host the helpless Detroit Lions, and doesn't it just seem like when you watch the Discovery channel and you see the Lion stalking the poor Zebra? You know he is about to get eaten, yet the Zebra has no clue what is about to happen to him. As a change the Lions will be played by the Vikings and the Zebra will be played by the Lions.
Ray Rice:Rice is an up and down player from week to week since the Ravens don't give him 20 touches each week. But, playing the Browns has a way of making an RB2 look like a top-5 RB1, and that's just what Rice is this week.
Ricky Williams:Sticky Ricky is someone that I normally wouldn't put on the start list because he is a backup to Ronnie Brown. However, the Buccaneers are ranked 30th against the rush (163.4 YPG) and since the Dolphins are a run 1st, 2nd, and 3rd team, Williams is a top-tier RB2.
Wes Welker:Welker is the #2 to Randy Moss, but since I think the Sunday night game will be a passing game, I like Welker as a low-end WR1. I could see close to 100 yards and a score from him.
Sidney Rice: I'm not a big fan of Rice, but since Favre should tee off against the Lions Rice is an interesting WR2 pick this week. Favre has found his go-to guy in Rice and you should feel safe playing him this week.
Kellen Winslow:I am not excited to play anyone on the Tampa Bay team. But Winslow is about all the Buccs have to rely on and they will need him to play up to his talent level against a tough Dolphins defense.
Denver Broncos defense:The Broncos defense will have the task of shutting down a Redskins offense that can't get itself started. Clinton Portis is out, Jason Campbell is dealing with an ankle injury, and they lost their failsafe in Chris Cooley. Denver is my #1-ranked defense this week.
Carson Palmer:The Bengals have been proving people wrong all season long, and this week they face the Pittsburgh Steelers in a true test of how good the new-look Bengals really are. Personally, as much as I like Palmer as a player, I've got to sit him this week because the last time he faced the Steelers he threw for just 183 yards and one TD.
Kyle Orton:Orton reverted back to the Orton of old last week as he failed to throw a TD yet threw three interceptions. Orton hasn't thrown a TD in the past two weeks and the Redskins are ranked #1 against the pass with their 159.9 passing YPG. If you have any other options, use them this week.
Ledell Betts (pictured): many people are rushing out to snag Betts off the waiver wire, but I wouldn't be so quick to do so. The Broncos are ranked 8th against the run and Washington is ranked 24th in the league for rushing attempts.
Kevin Smith: I had some high hopes for Smith since the rest of the Lions are terrible, but Smith has hit the 100-yard mark just once this season and that was back in Week 3. Since then, he hasn't had more than 67 yards rushing and hasn't scored in the last four weeks.
Mike Sims-Walker:This is a week I think the Jaguars will have a hard time moving the ball on offense and Sims-Walker is going to suffer. The Jets are ranked #2 against the pass and David Garrard has been up and down all season long.
Roy E. Williams: I am not a big fan of Williams' to begin with, so playing the Packers 8th ranked passing defense doesn't make me feel any better for his chances. Add to that the fact that Miles Austin has taken over the #1 WR role in Dallas and I would sit Williams this week.
Visanthe Shiancoe: I've seen rankings that have Shiancoe ranked in the top-5 for fantasy TEs this week. I, however, do not feel the same about him and think he will finish the week out of the top 12, making him not worth starting.
Green Bay Packers defense: While I don't like Williams at WR, I do think Marion Barber, Miles Austin and Jason Witten. And Tony Romo will do enough damage to make the Packers defense not worth playing this week.
##### Question of the week
Q:Hello, the trade deadline is approaching and I wanted to know what I should do. I have Barber and Peterson as my backs; I have Austin Collie, Greg Jennings, Sidney Rice, and Brandon Marshall for WRs, with Vernon Davis and Winslow as my TEs. One guy wants to trade me M. Colston for Barber. I want to but I would want to first trade one of my receivers that I have and throw in Winslow for Pierre Thomas or maybe get Stephen Jackson, there's a slight chance I can get De'Angelo Williams or Ray Rice but that's a far reach. So what should I do, in regards to the first two RBs mentioned and what WRs should I give? Thank you for the advice. (Chito from Eagle Pass, Texas)
A:The thing you have to look at with guys like Colston is that they won't have anything to play for when the fantasy playoffs come rolling around. Week 15 and 16 they will play a little, but not a full game. So, I'd rather have better RBs than WRs because they have a much better shot at carries than a WR does targets. Also, the WR has to rely directly on the QB... and do you think the Saints are going to play Brees in the second half if the team gets a good lead?
I'd love to have Ray Rice... but at what cost? You named me 2 RBs, but 4 WRs and 2 TEs... you only need 3 WRs and 1 TE once the bye week is over. I'd pair a WR or TE with Barber to see if I could get Ray Rice or Williams. I'd prefer Barber and Winslow in the offer.
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