Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 10: Solutions for Tough Matchups on Sunday
To start or not to start? That is the biggest fantasy football question related to William Shakespeare.
So, perhaps the ironic playwright was expecting that we tweak his perspective toward a quarterback such as Michael Vick. After all, Vick's situation with the Philadelphia Eagles is a tough dilemma after getting pulverized by the New Orleans Saints last week.
And the Eagles get a better defense in the Dallas Cowboys this week.
For as explosive as Vick and Philly's offense can be, he's a difficult fantasy player to trust, especially regarding turnovers and lack of points.
With that, consider the previous nine weeks of performance an audition for Week 10—and this is a fantasy football casting call for Vick and others players facing rough matchups.
Michael Vick: QB, Eagles (vs. Cowboys)
If the Philadelphia Eagles want to avoid losing once again, running the ball with LeSean McCoy is the best option.
For one, defending the run is not the Dallas Cowboys' strength. Secondly, the Eagles five losses have come when McCoy is not given at least 20 carriers. Ironically, he was fed 19 attempts on Monday against the New Orleans Saints.
And for as bad as Vick's pass protection has been, Dallas is capable of applying even more than New Orleans. The best way to counteract an aggressive pass rush is by running the rock.
It helps set up play-action, forces a defense to honor the ground game and limits the pass rush altogether.
So, regardless of the outcome, don't anticipate much from Vick. He's either going to drop back quite often and get sacked/turn over the ball, or Philly will slam on the ground and limit his turnover potential.
Sit Michael Vick
Jamaal Charles: RB, Chiefs (at Steelers)
It's certainly reasonable to anticipate that Jamaal Charles will get bulldozed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Kansas City Chiefs present no legitimate offensive balance to Pittsburgh, which only makes it easier on Dick LeBeau's defense. K.C.'s passing game is among the worst around and the lack of consistent reliability has clearly affected Charles' ground game production.
Exclude his 91-yard touchdown run against the Saints and his averages take quite a nosedive. Pittsburgh on the other hand, has seen its defense gain an immense amount of confidence as of recent.
The Steel Curtain has allowed only 16.3 points over the past three contests and gives up only 262.6 total yards per game. One minute advantage for the Chiefs, though, is Pittsburgh's lack of a pass rush and Matt Cassel's pocket protection.
Pittsburgh has just 14 sacks this season and Cassel has only been sacked 16 times. In turn, K.C. will be able to take a few shots downfield and back the Steelers off enough to let Charles find minimal success on the ground.
Here, Charles' best fit is solely at the flex position.
Start Jamaal Charles
Philip Rivers: QB, Chargers (at Buccaneers)
One major competitive advantage to Rivers and the offense is Tampa ranking No. 32 against the pass. So, it's definitely expected that Rivers tosses for 300-plus yards and gets the Bolts into scoring position quite often.
The problem is actually scoring touchdowns and maintaining consistency. Along with Rivers being turnover-prone, the Bucs have a knack at forcing turnovers. With 13 interceptions and nine forced fumbles this season, Tampa Bay will give its offense some additional possessions versus San Diego.
In addition, Tampa's offense is troublesome for the Bolts. Josh Freeman, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson present one efficient attack that possesses impressive balance. As a result, the Bucs will fluidly move the rock against the Chargers defense.
That will keep Rivers and Co. off the field and the potential turnovers from Ronde Barber and the Bucs defense minimizes fantasy impact.
Sit Philip Rivers
Andre Johnson: WR, Texans (at Bears)
Andre Johnson has just two touchdowns this season, but he is getting roughly 70 receiving yards per game.
Obviously not Johnson's most dominant of seasons, although the Houston Texans aren't a pass-first offense either. Facing the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field this week, Houston lines up against one of the NFL's best defenses from an all-encompassed perspective.
Chicago can stuff the run, lockdown in man coverage and literally make a point of forcing multiple turnovers per game. And for the Texans to win, minimizing turnovers and hitting on the ground with Arian Foster is vital to ball control, field position and ultimately winning.
That said, the Bears can be suspect against the pass as they allow 231 passing yards per game (ranked No. 16). The downside for opponents is that Chicago will give up a completion but then force fumbles.
Therefore, Johnson's targets will get limited over the middle at the intermediate and deep levels. Still, the No. 1 receiver is capable of beating man coverage and the Texans' rushing attack will set up play-action.
Matt Schaub will need to take shots downfield, because it's the only way to keep Chicago honest and a deep interception simply changes the field position.
Start Andre Johnson
Atlanta Falcons Defense (at New Orleans Saints)
The Atlanta Falcons defense has been impressive thus far. Having collected 10 picks and 20 sacks, the Dirty Birds play disciplined against the pass.
Also, the Falcons have given up just eight passing touchdowns which is only one per game right now. This week; however, Atlanta faces its toughest offensive opponent in Drew Brees.
Airing it out is the New Orleans Saints only shot at upsetting the Falcons, because Matt Ryan and his offense will rack up yards and points versus New Orleans' horrendous defense. Keep in mind that Atlanta also allows 4.9 rushing yards per carry and a 63.5 completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks.
Despite Brees sometimes being interception-prone, the guy is always good for thwarting any coverage when needed. Hosting Atlanta in Week 10, though, anticipate New Orleans running a bit more early on.
Because the Falcons are weaker against the rush, it's about keeping Ryan off the field and letting Brees takeover late. In other words, Atlanta's defense will get worn down by the Saints' array of ball-carries and Brees dices well off play-action.
Sit the Atlanta Falcons Defense
Steven Jackson: RB, Rams (at 49ers)
Squaring off against the NFL's best defense, the St. Louis Rams need to find ground game success for any shot at winning.
The San Francisco 49ers are too well-disciplined against the pass and at pass-rushing for St. Louis to be one-dimensional all game long. And with San Francisco being so dominant versus the run, a dynamic balance will be required.
This is where Steven Jackson comes in because his presence at hitting up the gut and off tackle will be vital to play-action. Also, that impact will help Daryl Richardson in two-back sets and draw up an extra defender to set up screen passes as well.
Another reason for Jackson getting fed on the ground is pressing downfield. Sam Bradford must challenge the 49ers' coverage when the opportunity is presented because it simply keep San Francisco honest.
Unfortunately, Jackson's impact won't translate into fantasy numbers. It's all about giving him carries so the Rams don't abandon the run, which simply forces the 'Niners to honor the balanced approach.
Sit Steven Jackson
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