Much like last week, the one o’clock games are interesting because four of them could result in lop-sided victories. Indeed, owners of the play-makers on the Chiefs, Saints, Falcons, and Texans need to make sure to get them into their active line-ups this week. As for the other two games, one is of the “anything can happen” variety, and the other could end up resulting in another surprise upset. Unlike the last two weeks, fantasy owners will likely not be chasing fantasy points this weekend. There are enough good match-ups that owners should be able to set line-ups that put forth numerous fantasy points. Regardless, continue playing the match-ups in making your line-up choices.
By the way, no teams have a Week 10 Bye. Rather, the first game of the week will be the Thursday Night Game between the Raiders and Chargers. So, plan accordingly, and remember to keep playing the match-up for that game.
As you should know, whether you should play the players on your rosters in any given week should be contingent in part on the match-up. This is not about making the perfect choice because we don’t know how players will really do on a week-to-week basis. Rather, this is about making a sensible and reasonable choice on which player to play. So, to assist in being you’re “Second Opinion for Your Fantasy Football Instinct,” the goal in “Fantasy Football Weekly Choices” is to provide you, the fantasy football owner, with enough information to make sensible and reasonable choices in setting your line-up this week by reviewing the weekly match-ups and identifying which players are “On the Gridiron,” a “Coach’s Decision,” or “On the Pine.” For many of you, the information provided simply provides affirmation to the decisions you have already made. If you like, skip the fluff, and find your player’s match-up for analysis. If you are looking for a waiver wire pick-up, then look for those players still on your waiver wire, and you can read that analysis too.
ON THE GRIDIRON: Identifies players you should play because of their match-up or because of their role on their team’s offense.
COACH’S DECISION: Identifies players who you normally would play but whose match-up this week is not very good; identifies players who you normally would not play but whose match-up this week is good; or identifies players who are injured that you, the fantasy coach, will need to make the call on whether or not to play.
ON THE PINE: Identifies players who you should likely avoid unless there is no one else on your roster or on the waiver wire that can help your team win.
NOTE: Since kickers’ weekly performances are difficult to predict, kickers will not be categorized but defenses (DST) will. As to kickers, just get a good one on a team that will give the kicker an opportunity to score points.
Onto the fantasy match-up and your choices!
Sunday, November 6th
1:00 p.m. EST
DOLPHINS (0-7) v. CHIEFS (4-3)
The Dolphins are trying to get their act together and become a cohesive unit that can run, pass, and defend. But, it seems like they haven’t been able to do any two of these three things well in any one game for a win. On the other hand, the Chiefs, who have been solid both at home (2-1) and on the road (2-2), seem to have put most of their struggles behind them since losing their first three games. Indeed, the Chiefs look like a team playing some of their best ball, with their defense playing strong, as this past victory over the Chargers showed. The Dolphins aren’t the Chargers. The Chiefs should dominate this game for the win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: WR Brandon Marshall should be on the gridiron as a solid WR2 against a Chiefs pass defense giving up the tenth most fantasy points to the position. The Dolphins have had such a difficult time defending the pass that QB Matt Cassel makes for a good start this week. Of course, WR Dwayne Bowe should be active as usual as he has a knack for posting yards and scoring regardless of the opponent. Besides, the Dolphins allow the second and eighth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and wide receivers, respectively. It’s been awfully tough to find a reliable running back in fantasy this season. Yet, RB Jackie Battle has become exactly that. While Battle is not flashy, he gets the job done when given the chance. It should be noted that the Dolphins have one of the better rush defenses in fantasy right now — top 5. Still, Battle should be expected to close out this game and makes for a solid RB2. The Dolphins have problems scoring points and they have had their share of problems protecting their quarterback. The Chiefs defense is playing like a unit possessed. As such, the Chiefs DST is a must-play this week.
COACH’S DECISION: RB Reggie Bush had a breakout performance last weekend. Still, treat him as a flex-play. If RB Daniel Thomas should miss this game, Bush would obviously get a bump in value. As for RB Daniel Thomas, it is still unclear whether he will in fact play. If Thomas does play, he is a low RB2 or solid-flex play in this game as the Chiefs have problems defending the rush and are top-ten in fantasy points allowed to the RB position. Last Monday, WR Jonathan Baldwin had a breakout game for the Chiefs. While it might be a little too early to consider Baldwin a must-start, he is certainly an option. Similarly, WR Steve Breaston may be considered a low-level WR / flex-play for fantasy footballers without any better options.
ON THE PINE: No other player on either team is worth consideration this week.
BUCCANEERS (4-3) v. SAINTS (5-3)
So far this season, the Buccaneers have been a shell of their former selves, with the running and the passing games seemingly off. Even though posting a winning record, the Buccaneers hardly seem like the “sure thing” it seemed they would be when the season started. Besides, the Bucs are a better home team (3-2) than they are a road team (1-1). The Saints seemed to be rolling along just fine until being upset last weekend by a lowly Rams team that has struggled since Week 1. Still, the Saints still look like an offensive juggernaut whose defense is generally decent, but can play at a higher level against the right opponent. The Saints are undefeated at home. The Saints should remain undefeated after this game.
ON THE GRIDIRON: QB Josh Freeman can be on the gridiron this week against a Saints’ defense which has been susceptible to the pass. Similarly, RB LaGarrette Blount should be good to go as an RB2 in this match-up. Last week was obviously an anomaly of what we are used to seeing from the Saints. So, keep playing QB Drew Brees, WR Marques Colston, TE Jimmy Graham, and RB Darren Sproles. Besides there is nothing about the way the Buccaneers defend these positions that would require considering any of them for the pine. Because the Buccaneers have had their share of turnovers, the Saints DST makes for a solid start.
COACH’S DECISION: Every fantasy footballer would agree that it’s difficult to play WR Mike Williams right now. In fact, he might even be available on your waivers. Unfortunately, between Williams, WR Arrelious Benn, and WR Preston Parker, your guess is as good as The Fantasy Greek’s guess as to which one will perform on any given Sunday. Each is worth a WR3 play in this match-up, but it is a situation to avoid. The Saints also have a tough time defending opposing tight-ends. Still, TE Kellen Winslow hasn’t done well even when the match-up has been favorable. But, if you need the help, Winslow is an option but one you might want to only consider if there is no other player you could get on the gridiron.
As for the Saints, RB Pierre Thomas should be a good flex-play options against a Buccaneers defense that is in the middle of teams defending the rush. As it pertains to the other Saints wide receivers, it is clearly a carousel of options with none of them being a sure thing in fantasy. Indeed, for WR Robert Meachem and WR Devery Henderson, they haven’t done much for fantasy footballers lately. It seems that WR Lance Moore has done the best among them when called upon. Yet, the number of plays they are on the field and the number of balls thrown their way seems to be constantly changing. As such, none of them are seemingly better than a flex-play, with Moore having the slight edge. Preferably, these three receivers should be avoided if possible.
ON THE PINE: The Saints have actually done a good job protecting the ball. Besides that, this would not be a week to play the Buccaneers DST against this high-powered offense. It looks like RB Mark Ingram is going to miss this game.
FALCONS (4-3) v. COLTS (0-8)
The Falcons have played strong, especially defensively, in the two games right before their bye week. On the road, the Falcons are 2-2. On the other hand, things are simply a mess for the Colts. No one player is a sure thing in fantasy – they are simply players with potential. In this case, fantasy is mimicking reality. The Falcons are expected to manhandle the Colts and in fantasy football, fantasy footballers should expect the same in what should be a Falcons win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: The bottom line is the Colts are one of the top-five worst defenses in fantasy against the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions. Therefore QB Matt Ryan, WR Roddy White, RB Michael Turner, and WR Julio Jones are must-starts this week. While the Colts defend the tight-end position well, you have to think that as lopsided as this game could get, TE Tony Gonzalez should be active too, unless you have a better option. With the Colts struggles on offense, defenses have feasted. Make sure the Falcons DST is active this week. The Falcons have had their share of problems defending the pass. The Fantasy Greek still feels that out of all the Colts’ wide receivers, WR Pierre Garcon is the best bet to do something in this game, and can be treated as a low WR2 or WR3.
COACH’S DECISION: It looks like RB Joseph Addai will make it back to the gridiron this week. Unfortunately, because it is very unclear what his role will be, this is a situation to avoid especially because RB Donald Brown and RB DeLone Carter will likely be in the mix. Otherwise, at best, all of them are at best flex-plays, just not very good ones. Similarly, because of the Colts struggles on offense, WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark have become shaky fantasy plays, even though there is nothing unfavorable about the fantasy match-up. Still, Wayne is at best a low WR3 or low flex-play, and treat Clark as a high TE2.
ON THE PINE: No other player on either team is worth fantasy consideration.
BROWNS (3-4) v. TEXANS (5-3)
The Browns have been a decent but not great team this season. In part, they have struggled because their main playmaker, Peyton Hillis has been battling injury most of the season. In addition, teams are gaming for them. The Browns have a losing record (1-2) on the road. Quite the opposite, the Texans have been a special team this season. They have been able to adapt to injury on both the offensive and the defensive side of the ball. Speaking of the defensive side of the ball, the Texans boast one of the best defenses in the league right now. The Texans have been tough at home (3-1). While the Browns will battle, the Texans should win this game.
ON THE GRIDIRON: It sounds like RB Peyton Hillis will make it back this week and can be started as an RB2. Without WR Andre Johnson, the Texans have been adjusting their offense to their opponents. QB Matt Schaub has had tough opponents this season, but he has played well. Schaub can be on the gridiron as a low QB1 as two hundred to two hundred and fifty yards passing, with one or two touchdowns is definitely doable. Likewise, RB Arian Foster has run well against the teams he has faced, good and bad. Keep starting Foster as an RB1. As the Browns allow the seventh most fantasy points to opposing tight-ends, TE Owen Daniels should be on the gridiron as should the Texans DST which has turned out to be one of the best in the league.
COACH’S DECISION: The Texans’ defense is so tough that it is top-five in defending opposing tight-ends. So, if there is a week to avoid TE Ben Watson, this is it. On the other hand, the Texans have had their share of problems against opposing wide receivers. But still, while WR Greg Little has a chance, The Fantasy Greek has to believe you have better options. If not, consider Little, at best, a low WR3. There is another possibility that WR Andre Johnson could be on the gridiron this week. If active, you likely have to play him. However, there is still a better chance he does not play and even if he does, his role could be limited.
ON THE PINE: RB Montario Hardesty looks like he will miss this game due to last week’s injury. With Peyton Hillis back in the mix, RB Chris Ogbonnaya should be avoided as we do not know what his exact role will be this week. QB Colt McCoy has been serviceable, but the Texans’ defense is playing too well right now. The Browns DST has been a pleasant surprise, but the expectation here is that the Browns will not be able to handle the Texans’ offense. WR Kevin Walter and WR Jacoby Jones have done a good job with Andre Johnson out. Prudent owners would do best to avoid them in what is already a tough match-up, and avoid the possibility that the wide receiver you play is the wide receiver who does not post a single stat during the week. RB Ben Tate put up some great stats two weeks ago. But, as The Fantasy Greek cautioned last week, Tate may not get the same opportunity especially in a tough match-up. Tate will get some work for sure, but whether he touches the ball enough to make an impact right now is unlikely.
JETS (4-3) v. BILLS (5-2)
The Jets seem like a team in disarray as their offense and defense haven’t been exactly what we expected this season. Their passing game has sputtered at times, and their defense has not been as dominant as expected, especially against the rush. On the contrary, the Bills are playing well this season and deserve the good things that they have done. The Jets are 0-3 on the road, while the Bills are undefeated at home. The Fantasy Greek sees a Bills win in a game where the running game could be well emphasized by both teams.
ON THE GRIDIRON: The Bills are in the middle of all teams defending the rush, so RB Shonn Greene makes for a solid start this week as a high RB2. Likewise, the Bills are in the middle of teams defending opposing wide receivers, so don’t hesitate to give WR Santonio Holmes the start as a solid WR2. It goes without saying that RB Fred Jackson is a must-start in fantasy. This week, he faces a Jets rush defense that is allowing the eight most fantasy points to opposing RBs. The Bills DST should be on the gridiron with all the problems the Jets have had turning the ball over, especially while passing the ball. The Bills are opportunistic and the match-up is favorable for them in this regard.
COACH’S DECISION: QB Mark Sanchez has struggled at times. This week, however, he faces a Bills defense that can be generous to opposing quarterbacks. If you are looking for a one week option, you could do worse than to go with Sanchez. As for WR Plaxico Burress, he had a good game last week because of two touchdown catches. Otherwise, he would not have played well. While there is no guarantee here, Burress is worth a WR3 or flex-play start if you have no better options. The Bills have struggled defending tight-ends and are top-ten in fantasy points allowed to the position. So, TE Dustin Keller is an option this week for fantasy footballers looking for help, or just wanting to play the match-up. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Steve Johnson have been pretty solid this season, but the Jets excel at defending the pass, and especially a team’s No. 1 wide-out. Now, it is true that Johnson played Jets shut-down corner Darrelle Revis well last season. So, while fantasy footballers can play Johnson, the fact is this may or may not be a bad outing for him. For owners of WR David Nelson, he may be a better play as a WR3 or flex-play. But still, if you have another option you should consider it.
ON THE PINE: There is a role for RB LaDanian Tomlinson in this game. Unfortunately, Tomlinson hasn’t done much in a while. TE Scott Chandler made a re-appearance in the stat column last week after having disappeared from it for weeks. However, the Jets do defend the position well, and more than likely you will have a better option.
FORTY-NINERS (6-1) v. REDSKINS (3-4)
The Forty-Niners are playing winning ball with a conservative offense and a dominating defense. The Redskins, however, have been on a four game slide where the potent offense they had on the field at the beginning of the season has pretty much disappeared. Even the Forty-Niners’ defense has struggled as of late, and the reality is that until the Redskins find a running game and create some movement on the field, it doesn’t matter what their defense does. Besides, the Redskins are 2-1 at home while the Forty-Niners are 3-0 on the road. This is a long west coast to east coast trip for the Forty-Niners, but it’s hard to see anything less than a Forty-Niners win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: The Redskins are towards the middle of all teams defending opposing running backs. With RB Frank Gore playing so well as of late, there is no reason to believe that he is not a must-start in this game. The same can be said as to how the Redskins defend the tight-end position, making TE Vernon Davis a player that should be on the gridiron. The 49ers DST remains a must-start as one of the best defenses in the league and against an offense that is struggling. If you are a fantasy footballer with TE Fred Davis on your roster, this is a good match-up with the Forty-Niners average defending the position.
COACH’S DECISION: This is not the easiest match-up for QB Alex Smith, but if you need some bye week help, Smith should be decent enough so as not to hurt your team. The same can be said about WR Michael Crabtree. Crabtree will likely not have a great game, but you can still look at him as a WR3 if you have no better options. WR Jabar Gaffney didn’t do much last week with Santana Moss out due to injury. Still, he makes for a low WR3 as the Forty-Niners’ weakness is their pass defense.
ON THE PINE: WR Braylon Edwards finally got back on the field. But until he proves himself, he should remain on the pine. Further still, the Forty-Niners are running the ball more than they are passing it, for now. Until QB John Beck, RB Ryan Torrain, and RB Roy Helu prove themselves, they should be avoided in fantasy. Besides, the Forty-Niners boast the number one rushing defense in the league. The Forty-Niners hardly turn the ball over, so avoid the Redskins DST if you can.
SEAHAWKS (2-5) v. COWBOYS (3-4)
The Seahawks have struggled to get the semblance of a consistent offense going even though they have come up with some big plays. Their defense, on the other hand, has generally played well. In a similar vein, the Cowboys have all the talent in the world but due to some untimely injuries and difficult match-ups, they are having some difficulty transforming their play on the field into W’s. Still, you can’t but help and look at them to know this is a talented team. This talent should be able to overcome the Seahawks who have struggled on the road at 1-3. The Cowboys playing at home should be the better, especially because they have been winning there at 2-1.
ON THE GRIDIRON: With Tarvaris Jackson quarterbacking the team again, WR Sidney Rice becomes a solid option in fantasy especially against a Cowboys secondary that can be burned by the deep pass. The Seahawks’ pass defense is good but not good enough to keep QB Tony Romo off the gridiron. This has the look and feel of a game where WR Miles Austin, WR Dez Bryant, and TE Jason Witten could do something. They may not post breakout games, but they are worthy of being active this week. Likewise, the Seahawks’ rush defense is good enough to pose a challenge to RB DeMarco Murray, but not good enough to keep him off the gridiron. The Cowboys’ defense has generally speaking been pretty solid against the pass and the rush. The Seahawks allow the most fantasy points to opposing defense, so the Cowboys DST is a top fantasy play for this week.
COACH’S DECISION: QB Tavaris Jackson may not be the greatest quarterback in the league, but he is posting some great yardage. If he could only connect for a touchdown or two that would help fantasy footballers tremendously. Jackson is not yet a very good option but the Cowboys can be beaten by the pass. So, if you are struggling to find a quarterback to start this week, Jackson is a risky option given the match-up. RB Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been great, but he hasn’t been bad either in fantasy. At best, Lynch is a low-end flex-play, with the Cowboys boasting a rush defense ranked top-five in fantasy. WR Doug Baldwin has been a pleasant surprise this season, while WR Ben Obamanu was a pleasant surprise last weekend. There are plenty of balls to go around if Jackson is passing the ball. This week Baldwin and Obamanau are both no better than flex-play with upside.
ON THE PINE: The Cowboys are one of the worst teams defending the tight-ends. Yet, the Seahawks have failed to incorporate TE Zach Miller into the offense. The Seahawks DST can be tough, but not tough or consistent enough in fantasy with a struggling offense. RB Felix Jones is expected to miss this game for the Cowboys.
Good luck this week!