Fantasy Football News and Notes for Oct. 23

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IOctober 23, 2009

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 18:  Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 18, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

This week marks the unofficial halfway point of the fantasy football regular season, and this late in the season, every game becomes crucial as we continue to tweak our teams for a possible playoff run.

The first six weeks of NFL action have been very exciting. The Indianapolis Colts , New Orleans Saints , Minnesota Vikings , and Denver Broncos are still undefeated, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , St. Louis Rams , and Tennessee Titans are all still searching for their first victories of the season.

As for fantasy football , after six weeks your fantasy league should really be starting to take shape, but whether you are near the top or bottom of your league’s standings, it’s still extremely important to make sure you are putting your best possible line-up together on a weekly basis. Every fantasy football match-up each week has a chance to affect your league’s playoff picture.

As you prepare your line-up for a very important fantasy football match-up this week, the Bruno Boys are once again here to go over some of the news from around the NFL and study its potential fantasy football impact. As always we will take a look at some of the injuries around the NFL, a contract extension for a Pro-Bowl quarterback, and Cedric Benson ’s first game against the team who drafted him.

Cutler signs two-year extension, will be a Bear until 2013

The Chicago Bears have agreed to a two-year contract extension with quarterback Jay Cutler . Terms of the deal were not released, but it is believed to add $30 million to the life of the contract that will keep him with the Bears until 2013. The extension is also believed to have $20 million in guaranteed money.

The Bears are obviously happy with their decision to trade for Cutler during the off-season, and they have good reason to be. With the exception of the first game of the season in which he threw four interceptions, he has been worth using as a starting fantasy quarterback each week. Cutler has passed for 1,201 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

He has a good match-up this week against a Bengals defense that was torched for 392 passing yards and four touchdowns by Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub last week. Cutler should be used as a low-end QB1 this week.

Peterson limited in practice with ankle injury

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was limited in Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury. He is questionable for the Vikings’ Week Seven contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers , but unless there is a setback he is expected to play.

Peterson is coming off a 143 rushing yard performance against the Baltimore Ravens , and as expected, he has been an elite fantasy running back this season. He has rushed for 624 yards on 121 carries with seven touchdowns. If Peterson is healthy enough to play, he should be used as a mid-level RB1 this week against a Steelers defense that is ranked No. 2 against the run this season and has given up just one rushing touchdown all year.

Boldin misses practice Wednesday, questionable for Week Seven

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin missed Wednesday’s practice after suffering an ankle injury during the team’s Week Six game against the Seattle Seahawks . He left the game in the second quarter with an apparent high ankle sprain. He was able to return in the third quarter after receiving treatment, and finished the game with six receptions for 54 yards. The Cardinals did rest Boldin during the fourth quarter after they had the game well in hand.

Boldin has 29 receptions for 306 yards with one touchdown through five games this season, but he has yet to top 100 yards in a single game. He has not been the No. 1 fantasy option many owners were hoping for when they likely drafted him in the first three rounds of fantasy drafts this summer.

Keep an eye on Boldin’s progress throughout the week. If he is able to play he should be used as a starting fantasy wide receiver this week against a Giants defense that is ranked No. 1 against the pass this season, but was exposed by the New Orleans Saints last week.

Manningham injures back in Week Six, but expected to play Sunday

New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham suffered a back injury during the team’s Week Six loss to the New Orleans Saints . He did manage four catches for 50 yards with a touchdown during the game, and he now has 24 receptions for 392 yards with four touchdowns through six games this season.

Manningham was able to practice in full on Wednesday, and it appears he should be able to play this week as the Giants take on the Arizona Cardinals . In his second season in the NFL, he has emerged as New York’s No. 2 wide receiver. He has exceeded expectations, and if he is healthy enough to play this week, he should be used as a low-end WR2 against an Arizona defense that is ranked 31st against the pass.

Cedric Benson ready for first match-up against the Bears

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson should be motivated to have a big game this week as he will get to face the Bears for the first time since being released by Chicago in June of 2008. He says revenge is not a factor for him in this game, but he definitely has some bad feeling towards the team that made him a first round draft pick in 2004.

Benson has said that the Bears did everything they could to keep him from signing with another team after his release, adding that Chicago said nothing but negative things about him to the Bengals before he inevitably signed with Cincinnati during the 2008 season.

He may not be using revenge as motivation this week, but there is definitely some ill will from Benson toward the Bears. With 127 rushes for 531 yards and four touchdowns this season, he has been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL. He has also been one of the best fantasy running backs this season, and he should be used as a mid-level RB1 this week against a Chicago defense that is ranked No. 6 against the run, giving up five rushing touchdowns in five games.