We've entered the stretch run in the 2010 fantasy football season and it's time to start staking a claim to those last few playoff spots or risk playing out the end of the season in the consolation bracket. In a season that has been full of surprises and disappointments deciding who to start down the stretch is no easy task.
Let's look position by position and see who we should be playing and avoiding in those crucial week 10 matchups.
David Garrard: Garrard is coming off a solid performance two weeks ago and a bye week to prepare. This week he leads the Jaguars against the Texans and a pass defense that has allowed more yards per game through the air than any other team in the league.
Peyton Manning: While this may seem like a no brainer, Manning's team is falling apart around him and he continues to produce. The Colts are playing the Bengals this weekend who are in the bottom 10 in scoring defense this season.
Eli Manning: Eli Manning and the Giants have been absolutely red hot as of late. This weekend they take on a Cowboys team that is coming apart at the seams. Eli went for four touchdowns in his last game against the Cowboys and is averaging three touchdowns per game in his last four contests.
Others Receiving Votes: Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub.
Tom Brady: If you have another quality option do not play Brady this weekend. Brady's performance has been erratic this season and in week 10 his Patriot's are facing off against the league's best scoring defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers. While an abysmal game against Cleveland last week could serve as inspiration, don't look for it to come against this defense.
Donovan McNabb: Even if he plays Donovan is clearly banged up physically and mentally. While the first meeting was Donovan's showcased return to Philadelphia, the novelty has worn off and there is no escaping the fact that he is not having a good season. This time, his familiarity with the Eagles will be a weakness as will his tenuous relationship with his head coach.
Jon Kitna: While some teams in need have turned to Kitna in the hopes that maybe he will be able to harness all of the Cowboys offensive weapons, this is not the week. The Cowboys are in turmoil following the firing of their head coach and are coming off an absolute shellacking by the Green Bay Packers. Factor in that the opposing Giants have one of the league's best defenses and pass rushes and Kitna will consider himself lucky to finish the game on Sunday.
Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler.
Bye Week: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, and Jason Campbell.
Jahvid Best: The Detroit Lions have been a much more competitive team this season even if they only have two victories to show for their effort. While the running game has been a weakness for them this season, Best is a talented back who proved against Philadelphia that he can be a fantasy threat. The Bills have been absolutely abysmal on defense this season for look to Best to have a surprising game.
Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones: I'm listing the Chiefs duo together because they are both no brainers this weekend. The Chiefs have the league's top rushing attack and they are taking on the Broncos 31st ranked run defense. The Broncos pass defense is solid while the Chiefs passing attack has been terrible. This all adds up to a lot of touches for both back on Sunday.
Cedric Benson: Benson has simply been underwhelming for the Bengals this season. He has put up average yardage totals but has struggled to find the endzone. One contributing factor has been a schedule which includes some of the league top run defenses, but this weekend Benson should have a solid game against the Colts. The Colts defense has been mediocre this season and has allowed nine rushing touchdowns already, look for Benson to add to that total.
Others Receiving Votes: Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Ahmad Bradshaw and Rashard Mendenhall.
Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis: If they play running back for the New England Patriots do not start them this Sunday. All though both players have been relatively pleasant surprises this season and sleepers in deeper leagues they have both been too unreliable to warrant a starting spot. Considering that they will be taking on the Steelers top defense this Sunday there is no reason to start either player.
LaDainian Tomlinson: Since starting the season red hot for his new team, the New York Jets, LT has begun to resemble the player that was run out of San Diego following last season. His yard per carry has decreased to about 3.5 over the past three games and he has failed to accumulate 100 total yards in any of those contests. Cleveland's run defense has only allowed one rushing touchdown this season and could be a surprisingly good match for the Jets' aging superstar.
Peyton Hillis: The surging Browns are coming off big victories over Super Bowl contenders New Orleans and New England. Hillis went for 184 yards rushing against the Patriots and scored two touchdowns. Hillis is in line for a let down against the Jets this weekend. The Jets have one of the league's top defenses and without much of a passing attack to speak of the Jets will be able to key in on stopping Cleveland's rushing attack.
Others Receiving Votes: Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Frank Gore, and Michael Turner.
Bye Week: Brandon Jackson, Darren McFadden, Chris Ivory, and Mike Tolbert.
DeSean Jackson: Jackson is one of the most electrifying players in the NFL today. With Michael Vick back under center the Eagles may be the best playmaking team in all of football. Jackson is a direct beneficiary of both Vick's powerful arm and ability to buy time in the pocket. Houston's pass defense has been terrible this season and should be an easy target for Jackson on Sunday.
Larry Fitzgerald: So far this season Fitzgerald has disappointed his owners mostly due to a lack of talent at the quarterback position in Arizona. The Cardinals are coming off two games in which their offense was finally able to score some points and face off against one of the worst passing defenses Sunday against Seattle. Fitzgerald will be looking to top 100 yards for the second consecutive week and only the second time this season.
Mike Wallace: Mike Wallace has been one of the season's pleasant surprises as Pittsburgh's leading receiver but has struggled with consistency. Luckily for Wallace, the Patriots bend but don't break defensive strategy has been making opposing player's fantasy owners very happy all season. His confidence will be at an all time high coming off a 110 yard performance last week and he will be licking his lips against New England's inexperienced secondary.
Others Receiving Votes: Mike Williams, Roddy White, and Braylon Edwards.
Calvin Johnson: Just about the positive this season for the winless Buffalo Bills has been their secondary. They are one of the league's top units and with the chances to win games running out, look for the Bills to be going all out on Sunday. Johnson has been productive this season but against the Jets' top unit last week he recorded only one reception.
Percy Harvin: The Vikings had a breakout week in their overtime victory over Arizona, but it must be kept in mind that before that performance, their offense was in shambles. The Bears have allowed fewer passing touchdowns than anyone in the league and thus will not be an easy challenge for a Vikings offense that remains in a very tenuous situation.
Brandon Lloyd: Lloyd will be an unpopular selection on the Sit Em list but look for a down week against Kansas City. Kansas City has given up decent amounts of yards through the air but been proficient at denying opposing receivers access to the endzone. Kansas City will also likely dominate possession in this game due to their advantage in the rushing game and Lloyd won't be afforded many opportunities to catch the ball.
Others Receiving Votes: Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, and Johnny Knox.
Bye Week: Greg Jennings, James Jones, Donald Driver, Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, and Malcolm Floyd.
Aaron Hernandez: The Patriots have their work cut out for them on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers staunch defense. However, the Steelers will not be able to completely shut down Tom Brady and the gang so look for Hernandez to be the beneficiary of the focus. Gonzalez finally found the endzone last weekend and the first time is always the hardest. Gonzalez is just too versatile to completely shut out.
Brandon Pettigrew: The Lions Tight end has been having a quality season and will be looking to put up big numbers against the Bill Sunday. The Bills have a solid pass defense but tight ends have had some success against them this season. Look for the Lions to pound the ball in multiple tight end sets and utilize the play action pass to get the ball to Pettigrew.
Dustin Keller: Keller has been one of Sanchez's best weapons so far this season. He hasn't scored a touchdown since week four and is definitely due for a big game. The Browns have looked good over the last couple of weeks but will not be able to contain all of the Jets' weapons. The Jets may struggle with the ground game and thus use Keller frequently through the air.
Others Receiving Votes: Marcedes Lewis, Vernon Davis(If he Plays), and Tony Moeaki.
Jason Witten: Witten has been solid throughout the Cowboy's tumultuous season but this week does not look good. The Cowboys are taking on the Giants who own one of the league's best defenses. Last week against Green Bay, Witten was only able to come away with three receptions. Look for his struggles to continue this weekend against another one of the league's best pass defenses.
Chris Cooley: Cooley is in the throngs of an average campaign during which he has only accumulated two touchdown receptions. Since tight ends are not targeted as much as wide receivers, they rely on touchdowns to score points for fantasy owners. Whether it is the new offense or a lack of chemistry with Donovan McNabb, Cooley has not been getting the job done this season. A tough game against the Eagles won't do much to change his fortunes so sit Cooley on Sunday.
Others Receiving Votes: Ben Watson and Tony Gonzalez
Bye Week: Zach Miller, Antonio Gates, Jeremy Shockey, and Donald Lee.