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NFL Skinny: Week 10 preview

I seem to have a way of inspiring receivers to great heights with some well-timed comments. A few weeks ago in this forum I suggested that Plaxico Burress(notes) was cuttable, and he went on to catch four passes for 25 yards … and 3 TDs! Last week I talked in detail about the incompleteness of Vincent Jackson's(notes) game as I designated him a yellow light against Green Bay, even concluding my diatribe on V-Jax by saying, "Of course, by saying all that, I've just guaranteed his success in Week 9. You're welcome, V-Jax owners." As you're probably well aware, Jackson was the recipient of three touchdown grabs last week.

Despite those big misfires, I haven't changed my general overall feelings in regards to the two receivers. But it just offers further proof of the painful fact that on any given Sunday, my (anyone's) strongest fantasy football opinions can be so very wrong. And if some of you want to start fading those players I treat particularly harsh each week, I understand. Just to save you the time, I'll let you know that Michael Crabtree(notes) is probably that guy this week. Although I will say that I withheld about three-four sentences of anti-Roy Williams analysis because it seemed hard to justify wasting any space on him. So there you go, Crabtree and Williams, this week's Funston fade All-Stars. Have at 'em.

Alright, let's jump into the Week 10 matchups, Skinny-style (players in parentheses are chartreuse plays, stuck somewhere between a green and yellow light):

Total Week 10 green-light plays by position: 12 QBs; 22 RBs; 24 WRs; 15 TEs; 9 Defenses


Darren McFadden(notes) (foot) won't play in this one, done in by the short week (Thursday night game). That means Michael Bush(notes) should get another healthy workload against a San Diego defense allowing 4.5 YPC. Bush averaged 100 rushing yards and scored in each meeting against the Chargers last year and is coming off a 129-YFS, TD effort against Denver last week. Carson Palmer(notes) does have a tendency to float some passes into harm's way, but he showed that his ability to throw downfield (9.5 YPA last week) can turn out some impressive numbers with his speedy group of receivers. Jacoby Ford(notes) looked best working with Palmer, although Denarius Moore(notes) was targeted 12 times (but just four receptions). Something's up with Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes), who was targeted just once by Palmer after producing consistently up until Sunday. Head coach Hue Jackson said it (DHB's diminished role) was just a game flow situation and not an injury. Who knows? But it's probably best if you bench DHB this week. … The Raiders looked downright pathetic on defense last week against Tim Tebow(notes). The Raiders rank 19th in the league in INTs and 18th in the league in QB sacks. This is a matchup that Philip Rivers(notes) should have a field day against. Ryan Mathews(notes) is expected to return from a groin injury. But I doubt he sees more than a 50/50 workload split with Mike Tolbert(notes) given that a setback for Mathews is always lurking just around the corner. Malcom Floyd(notes) is out again, so rookie Vincent Brown(notes) is a quality sleeper play this week after posting a 4/79 line last week.
Philip Rivers; Michael Bush; (Ryan Mathews); (Mike Tolbert); Vincent Jackson; Antonio Gates(notes); San Diego Defense
(Carson Palmer); (Jacoby Ford); Patrick Crayton(notes); Denarius Moore
Darrius Heyward-Bey; Kevin Boss(notes); Oakland Defense
Marcel Reece(notes); Vincent Brown
Raiders: RB Darren McFadden (foot); PK Sebastian Janikowski(notes) (hamstring)
Chargers: RB Ryan Mathews (groin); WR Malcom Floyd (hip); LG Kris Dielman(notes) (concussion)
Headline: Rivers rolls as Chargers gain traction in AFC West
Final score: Chargers 30, Raiders 22

Tampa Bay allows a league-high 6.3 yards per play (tied with New England). I doubt we'll see WR Andre Johnson(notes) return this week from his hamstring injury, which means more of the same from Houston – a heavy dose of Arian Foster(notes), with liberal use of backup Ben Tate(notes) to give Foster a breather. The Bucs have allowed 11 runs of 20-plus yards (second-most), and without DT Gerald McCoy(notes) (torn biceps), this matchup becomes even more of a nightmare for the Bucs. Look for another conservative effort from Matt Schaub(notes). … Houston's pass defense has been fantastic. That's a problem for Josh Freeman(notes), who doesn't have a true go-to receiver that he can trust to get open consistently. LeGarrette Blount(notes) would be the best weapon against the Texans, but the Texans have been good in fantasy against the run because the opposition typically gets forced to the passing game because of scoreboard circumstances. And it appears that Kregg Lumpkin(notes) is taking over the check-down role that Earnest Graham(notes) exploited earlier in the year, so forget about extra Blount production in the passing game.
Arian Foster; (Ben Tate); Andre Johnson (health ?); Owen Daniels(notes); Houston Defense
(Matt Schaub); Josh Freeman; (LeGarrette Blount); Kevin Walter(notes); Mike Williams; Kellen Winslow(notes)
Jacoby Jones(notes); Arrelious Benn(notes); Tampa Bay Defense
Kregg Lumpkin
Texans: WR Andre Johnson (hamstring)
Bucs: DT Gerald McCoy (arm)
Headline: Texans two-step with Foster and Tate to fourth straight win
Final score: Texans 27, Bucs 17

In terms of offensive yards per play, Cleveland ranks 31st (4.3) and St. Louis ranks 30th (4.7). Other than Steven Jackson, who looks like he drank from the fountain of youth, I wouldn't trust anyone in this contest – and that goes for Brandon Lloyd(notes), who faces absolute shutdown corner Joe Haden(notes). The Browns have been outstanding at limiting the opposing team's go-to wideout.
Steven Jackson
Sam Bradford(notes); Colt McCoy(notes); Chris Ogbonnaya(notes); Greg Little(notes); Brandon Lloyd; Joshua Cribbs(notes); Benjamin Watson(notes); Cleveland Defense; St. Louis Defense
Brandon Gibson(notes); St. Louis tight ends
None of significance
Rams: TE Lance Kendricks(notes) (foot); WR Greg Salas(notes) (leg); WR Danario Alexander(notes) (hamstring)
Browns: WR Mohammed Massaquoi (concussion); RB Peyton Hillis(notes) (hamstring); RB Montario Hardesty(notes) (calf); OT Tony Pashos(notes) (knee); S T.J. Ward(notes) (foot, finger)
Headline: Rams dial up the pass rush to pull out second win of the season
Final score: Rams 16, Browns 13

Like the Steelers, the Bengals employ an elite defense. The Steelers have the second-lowest yards per play allowed mark (4.7), and the Bengals follow right behind them at 4.8 yards per play. The Bengals have allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards to RBs, and yards have been mostly hard to come by for Rashard Mendenhall(notes). This has the makings of another 18/60 type line for him, with a touchdown being his best (only?) chance at Week 10 salvation. I'd stick with the Steelers passing game, though, as Ben Roethlisberger(notes) is great at buying time in the pocket and, really, the jury is still out a bit on the Bengals pass defense given that they've faced a who's who of bad QBs (Colt McCoy, Alex Smith, Blaine Gabbert(notes), Curtis Painter(notes), Tarvaris Jackson(notes)). The Bengals have not faced a QB currently ranked in the top 12 in fantasy PPG. Start Mike Wallace(notes) and Antonio Brown(notes), who has been targeted as often as Calvin Johnson(notes) (74 times). … Cedric Benson(notes) has rallied at home against Pittsburgh each of the past two seasons, going over 70 YFS and scoring a TD in each game. Expect the Bengals to try to lean heavily on Benson in this one. He's got similar value to Mendenhall in that he should get a fair number of carries, but the yardage ceiling is very low. It's hard to sit rookie WR A.J. Green(notes), but this matchup against CB Ike Taylor(notes) is rough. Green's a big-play threat, but only the Jaguars and Lions have allowed fewer pass plays of 20-plus yards than Pittsburgh. Go Green if you must, but temper expectations.
Ben Roethlisberger; Mike Wallace; Antonio Brown; (A.J. Green); Pittsburgh Defense
(Rashard Mendenhall); (Cedric Benson); Heath Miller(notes); Jermaine Gresham(notes); Cincinnati Defense
Andy Dalton(notes); Hines Ward(notes); Jerome Simpson(notes)
None of significance
Steelers: WR Emmanuel Sanders(notes) (knee);
Bengals: LB Rey Maualuga(notes) (ankle); TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring)
Headline: Big Ben's late heroics lift Steelers past Bengals
Final score: Steelers 20, Bengals 17

Here's another matchup that qualifies as Must-Flee TV. And Mike Shanahan is trying to make things even messier by failing to anoint rookie Roy Helu(notes) the starter after he went for 146 YFS last week (14 catches for 105 receiving yards and 10/41 on the ground). That said, Helu is still expected to be in the lead role against Miami. But fantasy owners know the history of Shanahan, and Miami is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs, so Helu comes with risk. Outside of Helu in a FLEX role capacity, Fred Davis(notes) is the only Redskin I'd hang my hat on. John Beck(notes) and Jabar Gaffney(notes) are interesting given the shortcomings of the Miami secondary, but Davis is the only one where talent and matchup blend to make green. … Reggie Bush(notes) has been a revelation for the Miami backfield the past month, averaging 6.4 YPC in his past four games. Rookie Daniel Thomas(notes) has been ineffective since suffering a hamstring early in the year and Bush should continue in a 15-20 touch capacity this week against a pretty good Redskins defense. But Washington has been susceptible to big plays, allowing 10 runs of 20-plus yards (third-most) and 31 pass plays of 20-plus yards (seventh-most), so you have to like Bush's chances of breaking a big gainer – Bush has had four runs of 20-plus yards and a catch of 27 yards in the span of his past four games. Matt Moore(notes) pretty much only has eyes for Brandon Marshall(notes) in the passing game. B-Marsh is the second-most targeted WR in the league behind Wes Welker(notes), and you can't sit a WR getting that kind of attention especially against a Redskins defense that has allowed 100-plus receiving yards to nearly every quality No. 1 WR that they have faced (Hakeem Nicks(notes), Larry Fitzgerald(notes), Jeremy Maclin(notes), Steve Smith).
(Reggie Bush); Brandon Marshall; Fred Davis
John Beck; Matt Moore; (Roy Helu); Daniel Thomas; Jabar Gaffney; Antony Fasano; Miami Defense; Washington Defense
Davone Bess(notes); Anthony Armstrong(notes)
None of significance
Redskins: OT Jammal Brown(notes) (groin)
Dolphins: CB Vontae Davis(notes) (hamstring); CB Nolan Carroll(notes) (leg)
Headline: Miami leans on Marshall plan as Dolphins net second straight victory.
Final score: Dolphins 19, Redskins 16

Chris Johnson showed signs of life with 110 YFS against Cincy last week. He didn't look vintage by any stretch of the imagination. But it was enough to feel good about the matchup this week against Carolina's most-generous fantasy run defense. The Panthers allow 4.6 YPC and have also been skewered by RBs in the passing game – Johnson ranks fifth among RBs with 31 receptions. Carolina has been fantastic at shutting down the opposition's top wideout, which is bad news for Nate Washington(notes). Jared Cook(notes), who is No. 8 among TEs in fantasy PPG since Kenny Britt(notes) was lost to injury, is the Titans' best bet in the passing game. The Panthers have allowed the third-most receiving yards to the position. … Carolina is an elite offense under Cam Newton(notes), as only Green Bay, Philly and New England average more than the Panthers' 6.4 yards per play. In addition to Newton and Steve Smith, who are evergreen fantasy plays, you have to feel good about Greg Olsen(notes) – the Titans allow the fifth-most fantasy PPG to TEs, and Newton loves throwing to the position. Also, Jonathan Stewart(notes) is averaging 14.5 touches in his past two games, and that kind of workload should pay dividends against a Titans defense that is allowing 28 percent more fantasy PPG to RBs than the league average over the past five weeks.
Cam Newton; (Jonathan Stewart); Chris Johnson; Steve Smith; Greg Olsen; (Jared Cook)
Matt Hasselbeck(notes); Javon Ringer(notes); DeAngelo Williams(notes); Nate Washington; Damien Williams; Tennessee Defense
Legedu Naanee(notes); Carolina Defense
Jeremy Shockey(notes)
Titans: WR Lavelle Hawkins(notes) (finger); DE Dave Ball(notes) (concussion); SS Chris Hope(notes) (forearm)
Panthers: LB Thomas Williams(notes) (neck)
Headline: Newton, Stewart lay the groundwork for Panthers victory over Titans
Final score: Panthers 24, Titans 20

With John Skelton(notes) at QB, Arizona could muster just 13 points through four quarters against the Rams in Week 9. Beanie Wells(notes), dealing a sore knee and a neck stinger, rushed for a mere 20 yards on 10 carries. It's worth noting that in five games with Skelton under center, Wells has a combined 40 carries for 110 yards (2.75 YPC). The Eagles spread out defensive front offers up some gaping running lanes, but you can't bank on Wells given the QB and health situation. He's a low-end RB2 or FLEX option. As for Larry Fitzgerald, he's managed to overcome with Skelton at QB, tallying at least 7.2 fantasy points in four of five games with Skelton, including double digit tallies in three of the past four. However, Philly has been excellent at shutting down the other teams' top wideout. Fitzgerald owners shouldn't count on more than 7-10 fantasy points (standard scoring) in this one. … Against an Arizona secondary that has allowed 38 pass plays of 20-plus yards, it's hard not to think the Eagles passing game will get back on track. I can't find a good reason to bench any of the Eagles' regular skill position players.
Michael Vick(notes); LeSean McCoy(notes); (Larry Fitzgerald); DeSean Jackson(notes); Jeremy Maclin; Brent Celek(notes); Philadelphia Defense
(Beanie Wells); Early Doucet(notes)
John Skelton; Todd Heap(notes); Arizona Defense
Jason Avant(notes)
Cardinals: QB Kevin Kolb(notes) (toe); RB Beanie Wells (knee, neck)
Eagles: None of significance
Headline: Vick carves up Cardinals as Eagles get rebound win
Final score: Eagles 34, Cardinals 17

With Willis McGahee(notes) hitting on all cylinders in the run game, and flashing breakaway speed, to boot, Tim Tebow showed more stability behind center last week than we'd previously seen from him this season. Of course, it helps that Oakland's pass rush was pathetic and their ability to pick up Tebow's read-options even worse – those plays where Tebow would fake the handoff to McGahee and then takeoff on a keeper around the end for big gains. The good news for Tebow and his owners is that KC brings the league's worst pass rush to the table – 9 sacks in eight games. And the Chiefs allow the seventh-most yards per play (5.9), including 39 pass plays of 20-plus yards (2nd-most in the league). By nature, Tebow's a tricky call, but he won't see too many matchups that seem to set up as well for him as the Chiefs do. I'd be fine rolling with him this week. That said, you can never feel confident about Tebow's receivers. But Eric Decker(notes) has at least scored in each of the past two games, and Tebow has targeted him 17 times in that span. His upside isn't great, but he's a justifiable flyer. … Matt Cassel(notes) wasn't the aerial stalwart I expected him to be last week against Miami, but he did throw for 253 yards and rush for another 38 yards to salvage a decent fantasy line. The Broncos are an even better matchup on paper than Miami, as only Indy has allowed a higher QB Rating than Denver. Cassel should be good for another 250-plus and a couple TD tosses – the average QB line against Denver is 276 yards and 2.2 TD passes. The Broncos have allowed just one rushing TD to a RB, and just 4.1 YPC. There's not much reason for optimism for Jackie Battle(notes), who is averaging just 3.3 YPC the past two weeks.
(Tim Tebow); Willis McGahee; Dwayne Bowe(notes); (Steve Breaston(notes)); Kansas City Defense
(Matt Cassel); Jackie Battle; (Eric Decker); Denver Defense
Kansas City tight end; Daniel Fells(notes); Demaryius Thomas(notes); Eddie Royal(notes)
Jonathan Baldwin(notes); Dexter McCluster(notes)
Broncos: S Rahim Moore(notes) (head)
Chiefs: None of significance
Headline: Bowe flexes with two TD catches as Chiefs survive Tebow
Final score: Chiefs 23, Broncos 20

Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) has an illustrious history against Indy, averaging 122 YFS and scoring 11 TDs in 10 career meetings. He's a sensational play this week, as the Colts are arguably the worst defense in the league – they are not at all helped by the fact that the Colts offense is also among the worst in the league. But can you trust any other Jags? This is a team averaging a league-low 4.0 yards per play, after all. Jason Hill(notes), who has scored in three of his past four games, is a fair cross-your-fingers gamble. But I wouldn't try to get cute with anyone else. … The Jags have been a staunch defense in fantasy against opposing QBs, RBs and WRs. The Colts are only averaging 8.0 PPG in their past three games, so I would definitely look to stick their skill position players on the bench against a defense allowing the eight-fewest PPG. That said, Jacob Tamme(notes) gets sleeper status this week with Dallas Clark(notes) done for the year. The TE is the one clear weakness of the Jags' defense as it allows the third-most fantasy PPG to the position.
Maurice Jones-Drew
Donald Brown(notes); (Jason Hill); Pierre Garcon(notes); Marcedes Lewis(notes); Jacksonville Defense
Blaine Gabbert; Curtis Painter; Delone Carter(notes); Reggie Wayne(notes); Mike Thomas(notes); Indianapolis Defense
Jacob Tamme
Jaguars: None of significance
Colts: TE Dallas Clark (leg)
Headline: Jags find their MoJo in win at Indy
Final score: Jaguars 19, Colts 13

Dallas isn't a great matchup for Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes). The Cowboys gets after the QB and they have covered well on the back end. They allow the 11th-lowest QB Rating (80.5) and have only allowed one WR (Calvin Johnson, 96 yards) to reach the 75-yard mark against them. This is yet another week where everything points to Fred Jackson(notes) being the be-all, end-all for the Bills – the Cowboys have allowed Steven Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch(notes) to post big numbers against them in the past three weeks. … DeMarco Murray(notes) runs strong and with little nonsense. He gets to where he needs to go in a hurry and he's hard to take down – second among RBs in average Yards After Contact. His kind of style and talent will likely be more than the Bills can reasonably contain. Like Cedric Benson and Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) before him, I like Murray to become the third RB to top 100 rushing yards against the Bills. Felix Jones(notes) is talking about trying to come back from his high ankle sprain this week. He'd be a nice change up from Murray, but Jason Garrett is crazy if he gives Jones anything more than spot work. The Buffalo defense is good at creating turnovers, but also good at allowing big plays – ninth-most pass plays of 20-plus yards (28) and sixth-most rush plays of 20-plus yards. Tony Romo(notes) may throw a pick or two, but he's also likely to find ample room to move through the air. Jason Witten(notes) and Laurent Robinson(notes) will provide the chain-moving skills for the passing game, with Dez Bryant(notes) more than capable of pulling off a big play/TD or two.
Tony Romo; Fred Jackson; DeMarco Murray; Laurent Robinson; (Dez Bryant); Jason Witten
(Ryan Fitzpatrick); (Stevie Johnson(notes)); David Nelson(notes); (Scott Chandler(notes)); Dallas Defense; Buffalo Defense
None of significance
Bills: PK Rian Lindell(notes) (shoulder); LT Demetrius Bell(notes) (shoulder); DL Kyle Williams (foot)
Cowboys: WR Miles Austin(notes) (hamstring); LB Sean Lee(notes) (wrist)
Headline: Murray carries Cowboys to shootout victory over Bills
Final score: Cowboys 31, Bills 27

The Saints allow an NFL-high 5.3 YPC. Atlanta, no doubt, would love to get Michael Turner(notes) 25-30 carries in an attempt to control clock and limit Drew Brees'(notes) possessions. The Falcons are 5-0 this season when Turner touches the pigskin 20 times and 0-3 when he doesn't. Matt Ryan(notes) has averaged just 28 pass attempts the past four games and has only once attempted more than 33 passes in five career meetings with New Orleans. Expect him to play it conservative again. Roddy White(notes) has had good recent success against the Saints, and he's the third-most targeted WR in the league. There's no reason to think he can't post something like a 6/75/1 line against a Saints defense that has been the 14th-most generous unit in fantasy to opposing WRs. Obviously, you can't think about sitting Julio Jones(notes) after his huge performance last week, but it's worth noting he only caught three passes and he's relied on the big play for fantasy success, something that the Saints are adept at limiting – 21 pass plays of 20-plus yards allowed ranks as the sixth-fewest in the league. … The Saints employ the No. 1 fantasy backfield, unfortunately it's split up three ways – and maybe four if Mark Ingram(notes) returns from his heel injury, although that still looks iffy. Both Darren Sproles(notes) and Pierre Thomas(notes) have been top 12 fantasy RBs over the past five weeks despite giving up more than 11 touches per week during that span to a No. 3 RB (Ingram or Chris Ivory). Atlanta has been good against the run, but these two teams usually play scoreboard bingo, and the Saints backfield always has opportunities because of how Brees can loosen things up. So Sproles and PT are viable. Among WRs, Marques Colston(notes) is the clear target leader, though he combined for just 6/46 in two games against Atlanta last season. Falcons CB Brent Grimes(notes) is a tough draw for Colston, and this could be a Lance Moore(notes) game – facing highly-suspect CB Dunta Robinson(notes).
Drew Brees; Michael Turner; Darren Sproles; (Pierre Thomas); Roddy White; (Julio Jones); Tony Gonzalez(notes); Jimmy Graham(notes)
Matt Ryan; Marques Colston; (Lance Moore); New Orleans Defense
Devery Henderson(notes); Robert Meachem(notes); Atlanta Defense
Jacquizz Rodgers(notes); Chris Ivory
Saints: CB Tracy Porter(notes) (neck)
Falcons: T Corey Peters(notes) (knee); S William Moore(notes) (thigh)
Headline: Turner turns in 100-yard effort as Atlanta squeezes by Saints in NFC South
Final score: Falcons 27, Saints 26

The Seahawks allow just 5.3 yards per play, 11th-lowest in the league. And they rank among the best at limiting plays of 20-plus yards, be they run (only 4) or pass (just 23). For Baltimore, Ray Rice(notes) and Anquan Boldin(notes) are still quality plays. But I'd be inclined to leave Joe Flacco(notes), Torrey Smith(notes) and the tight ends on the sidelines. … The Seahawks average just 15.2 PPG, fifth-lowest in the league. The Ravens allow just 16.2 PPG, second-fewest in the league. There's not a Seahawk I'd feel good about his week.
Ray Rice; Anquan Boldin; Baltimore Defense
Joe Flacco; (Sidney Rice(notes)); Torrey Smith; Doug Baldwin(notes); Ed Dickson(notes); Dennis Pitta(notes); Seattle Defense
Tarvaris Jackson; Marshawn Lynch; Mike Williams; Zach Miller
None of significance
Ravens: LG Ben Grubbs(notes) (toe); LB Brendon Ayanbadejo(notes) (concussion)
Seahawks: None of significance
Headline: Ravens defense overwhelms Seahawks, Baltimore wins third straight
Final score: Ravens 24, Seahawks 10

Chicago allows a healthy 5.9 yards per play, sixth-most in the league. But it's a bend-don't-break defense that doesn't often get burned by big plays (although the Lions managed to burn them a few times in the previous meeting). Matthew Stafford(notes) threw for 219 yards and 2 TDs in a Week 5 home victory over the Bears, averaging a healthy 8.4 yards per attempt. In that gain, Jahvid Best(notes) ran for 163 yards and a TD on 12 carries, and Calvin Johnson went for 130 yards and a TD through the air. Best isn't expected to be available for the Lions this time around and, while Maurice Morris(notes) is no slouch, the loss of Best in this contest makes the Lions much easier to defend than last time. I'd expect Stafford to lean more heavily on Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew(notes) in this one – the Bears allow the most fantasy points to tight ends and Pettigrew went 4/39/1 in the previous meeting with the Bears. Stafford's other receivers (Nate Burleson(notes) and Titus Young(notes)) are completely unreliable. … It's clear that Jay Cutler(notes) missed Earl Bennett(notes), who caught all five balls Cutler threw to him on Monday night for 95 yards and a TD. Bennett should take the target lead in the Bears receiving corps going forward, and he's the only receiver I'd feel decent about. Outside of Matt Forte(notes), this is a tough matchup for the Bears as the Lions have been one of the best defenses against the pass, limiting QBs to the fourth-lowest QB Rating (72.3). But Cutler's getting great protection in recent weeks and he's excelled in his Bears career against Detroit (109.2 QB Rating in six meetings). Cutler went for 249 yards and a TD pass against the Lions last time, and that feels like the right projection neighborhood this time around.
Matthew Stafford; Matt Forte; Calvin Johnson; Brandon Pettigrew
(Jay Cutler); (Maurice Morris); (Earl Bennett); Chicago Defense; (Detroit Defense)
Keiland Williams(notes); Nate Burleson; Titus Young; Roy Williams; Kellen Davis(notes)
Marion Barber(notes); Tony Scheffler(notes)
Lions: RB Jahvid Best (concussion)
Bears: WR Devin Hester(notes) (ankle)
Headline: Forte leads way once again as Bears win fourth in a row
Final score: Bears 24, Lions 21

There's a good chance that Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks will be out again for the Giants. There wasn't much hope for the Giants running the ball even with Bradshaw – the 49ers are easily the best run defense in fantasy. Without Bradshaw, the Giants aren't a backfield to even consider. There's much more hope for Eli Manning(notes) and the passing game. The Giants have protected Manning very well. I like Victor Cruz(notes) and Mario Manningham(notes) to have at least serviceable fantasy production in this contest, though I'd definitely favor Cruz of the two – he's been targeted at least nine times in four of his past five games and he's had a catch of at least 23 yards in five of his past six games. Unlike the Mike Singeltary years, the 49ers are allowing some production to tight ends. The matchup doesn't warrant sitting down Jake Ballard(notes), who has been remarkably consistent his past five games. … Frank Gore(notes) tweaked his ankle in Week 9, but he's supposedly just fine. 49ers fans better hope so because he's pretty much all the team has on offense. Vernon Davis'(notes) production has dried up in recent weeks (he's topped 47 yards just once all year, and he hasn't found the end zone since Week 5). Amazingly, he's just 22nd among TEs in targets. The 49ers would be wise to up his level of involvement going forward. Seven targets last week is a step in the right direction. Michael Crabtree ranks 93rd among WRs with 10.5 YPC. If you want 4-5 catches and 40-50 receiving yards, Crabtree can give it to you. If you want more than that, the 49ers receiving corps is the wrong place to be shopping.
Eli Manning; Frank Gore; Victor Cruz; (Mario Manningham); Jake Ballard; San Francisco Defense; NY Giants Defense
Michael Crabtree; (Vernon Davis);
Alex Smith; Brandon Jacobs(notes); Braylon Edwards(notes);
Kendall Hunter(notes)
Giants: WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring); RB Ahmad Bradshaw (hamstring)
Niners: RB Frank Gore (ankle); RB Kendall Hunter (finger); WR Braylon Edwards (shoulder)
Headline: Giants make life miserable for Alex Smith, earn big road victory
Final score: Giants 20, 49ers 16

A visit to the Meadowlands to play the Jets hasn't been very fruitful the past three meetings, as the Pats have averaged just 14 points in those contests. And the Pats have seemed out of sorts in the past three games of this season, averaging just 19 points in that span. Tom Brady(notes) is managing to stay productive for fantasy purposes, but we aren't seeing the elite, out-of-body type performances that we've become accustomed to. Teams are really clamping down on Wes Welker off the block, and Brady seems to be having a hard time finding his secondary options quickly. BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) was a huge factor in the Pats' win against the Jets in Week 5 as he carried 27 times for 136 yards and 2 TDs, pretty much sucking the life out of the Jets down the stretch with one chain-moving run after the other. You have to think the Pats will try to get "The Law Firm" more heavily involved after pretty much going away from the running game in recent weeks. As for Brady, he's a hard guy to sit. But he's been less-than-ordinary in his past two trips to New York, and the Jets have been the toughest defense in fantasy against opposing QBs. I consider Brady a borderline top 10 QB play this week. As for Wes Welker, and the tight ends, they're evergreen, and Welker is unique among WRs in that he consistently comes away from Revis Island well fed. … The Jets are finding their groove on offense with the ground-and-pound approach. Shonn Greene(notes) is running hard and that has allowed Mark Sanchez(notes) to be more of a threat with the play-action pass. Fantasy owners are well aware the Patriots have been scorched via the pass this season. And Sanchez owns an 8:3 TD-to-INT ratio against the Pats in his past four meetings, last season's playoff showdown included. You can certainly justify Sanchez as a viable top 12 QB play this week. Greene went for 21/83/1 against New England in Week 5, and that's been a fairly typical line hung on the Pats by lead backs this year. Expect something similar. As for Sanchez's receivers, only Dustin Keller(notes) has topped 80 yards this season. He scored both times he's hosted the Pats in his career and he's the safest bet in the Jets passing game. Santonio Holmes(notes) and/or Plaxico Burress could step up, but they've been a lackluster fantasy combo, save for the week that I suggested Burress wasn't worth a fantasy roster spot.
Tom Brady; Mark Sanchez; Shonn Greene; (BenJarvus Green-Ellis); Wes Welker; Aaron Hernandez(notes); Rob Gronkowski(notes); (Dustin Keller)
(Santonio Holmes); (Plaxico Burress); Deion Branch(notes); (NY Jets Defense)
LaDainian Tomlinson(notes); New England Defense
Kevin Faulk(notes)
Pats: LB Brandon Spikes(notes) (knee); RB Kevin Faulk (knee); RB Danny Woodhead(notes) (leg)
Jets: WR Plaxico Burress (back); RB Shonn Greene (head)
Headline: Team effort by Jets delivers tough win over division-rival Patriots
Final score: Jets 23, Patriots 21

Christian Ponder(notes) posted a respectable 219/2/2 line in his first pro start in Week 7 against the Packers. Green Bay is very generous to opposing QBs in fantasy, so Ponder's viable, for sure. But it's hard to believe that in a non-bye week that you wouldn't have a better No. 1 option at QB. You can make the case that Ponder belongs among the top 20 QBs this week, but calling him a top 15 option would be a stretch. Outside of Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin(notes) is probably the only Vikings player I'd gamble on. Michael Jenkins(notes) had a big game (3/111/1) in the previous meeting with Green Bay, but he's spotty at best, only once catching more than four passes in a game this season. Harvin at least offers the threat of a rushing or return TD in addition to his receiving work – he scored on a 10-yard rush against the Panthers in Week 7. And Harvin has both stepped up his game on Monday night and at Lambeau Field in his career. … Obviously, Aaron Rodgers(notes) and all his regular passing options are viable starts each and every week. The only question is whether any members of the backfield will get to join the party. James Starks(notes) has touched the rock at least 14 times in six straight games. Unfortunately, Rodgers has been too efficient in the passing game in that span as the Packers don't have a rushing TD since Week 2. So while Starks will probably get his typical 60-80 YFS (99 in his last meeting with the Vikes), he's not very likely to get more than that.
Aaron Rodgers; Adrian Peterson; Greg Jennings(notes); Jordy Nelson(notes); (Percy Harvin); Jermichael Finley(notes); Green Bay Defense
Christian Ponder; James Starks; Michael Jenkins; Visanthe Shiancoe(notes)
Ryan Grant(notes); Minnesota Defense
James Jones(notes)
Vikings: WR Percy Harvin (rib); RG Anthony Herrera(notes) (knee)
Packers: LB Frank Zombo(notes) (hamstring)
Headline: Same old story, Packers roll behind big effort from Rodgers
Final score: Packers 30, Vikings 17

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