The good news for Denver fans is that Champ Bailey (groin) might return to face Atlanta this week.
Nate Webster became the third starting linebacker in three games to suffer a knee injury when the middle man hobbled off the field in the first quarter of Thursday's 34-30 victory at Cleveland with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
With Webster joining weakside linebacker D.J. Williams in the training room and with Boss Bailey, the original starter at the strong side, done for the year, Denver will go to Atlanta on Sunday with linebackers who have been backups for most of the season.
So it should be another good week for Falcons. You'll find Michael Turner, Roddy White and Matt Ryan near the top of the weekly Yahoo! position ranks. Michael Jenkins (28 percent-owned) and Jerious Norwood (38 percent) should both rank as solid starts, too. Norwood is still averaging fewer than 10 touches per game, but he's been outstanding whenever the match-up is favorable: 99 combined yards and a TD vs. Detroit; 105 yards vs. Kansas City; 83 yards and a TD at Oakland; 105 yards and a TD vs. New Orleans.
The usual Tuesday review of user-friendly defenses follows, with a few observations...
St. Louis and Detroit are really in a tier of their own. Those Ds combined to allow 85 points and six rushing touchdowns on Sunday ... We shouldn't need to tell you to start your Panthers, Colts, Saints or Cardinals, but, for the record: start 'em. And expect a huge bounce-back game from Steve Smith ... There aren't many universally-owned Rams or Niners, but that Week 11 match-up is worth an investment ... Mark Bradley has 18 catches and two TD receptions over the past three weeks, and he threw a touchdown pass in Week 9. Bradley and Tyler Thigpen face the Saints this week. New Orleans just lost CB Mike McKenzie (kneecap) for the rest of the year ... The Cowboys defense hasn't been anything special, but they're probably just visiting the bottom 10. You'll note that yardage-wise, they haven't been as generous as the rest of the defenses above.
Here's a quick look at teams that are especially weak against the run and/or pass:
The Green Bay-Chicago match-up is an interesting one for fantasy purposes. The Bears defense has been excellent against the run (74.9 yards per game, 3.1 per carry), but miserable against the pass. Meanwhile, the Packers will shut down your air attack (179.1 yards per game, 51.5 completion percentage, 16 INTs), but they can't stop anyone on the ground.
Green Bay just lost LB Nick Barnett (knee) for the season, too, so a poor run defense gets worse. Expect another nice day from Matt Forte. Chicago corner Nathan Vasher was a mess on Sunday, so look for Donald Driver to produce useful numbers.
Deuce McAllister gets the Chiefs in Week 11, pre-suspension. Reggie Bush (knee) has a fair chance to return, though, so watch the practice situation closely ... This should be another nice week for the Wildcat and its practitioners, as Miami faces Oakland (158.1 rushing yards per game allowed) ... Marshawn Lynch gets Cleveland, Kansas City and San Francisco in the weeks ahead, and he'll face Denver in Week 16. If you're buying low, it's worth getting a price check on Beast Mode ... The Steelers don't have many useful match-ups left on the schedule -- they travel to Baltimore and Tennessee in Weeks 15 and 16 -- but Pittsburgh is at home against the NFL's worst pass defense on Sunday. The Chargers have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
One programming note: The blog editor will be out for a few days while appealing his suspension for the Jamaal Charles incident. Mr. Pianowski is at the controls. Do not taunt him.
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