Fantasy Football Week 10 Start Em Sit Em: Who Are the Smart Matchup Plays?
The 2011 Fantasy Football season is entering it's 10th week, which means we all get a one-week respite from bye weeks that gives us a deeper pool of talent to choose from, although the enthusiasm from that fact is dampened somewhat by the shortened prep time as the Thursday night games begin.
As a service to fantasy owners forced to look outside the Top 10 Players at Every Position, here's a look at 10 fantasy football options for this week that have the sort of favorable matchup that opens the door for better than average fantasy production.
1. Matt Cassel: QB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN)
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Quarterback Matt Cassel and the Kansas City Chiefs would surely like to forget last week's performance as soon as humanly possible, as the seventh-year veteran went 20-of-39 for 253 yards and was sacked five times in the Chiefs' 31-3 loss to the previously winless Miami Dolphins.
Cassel should have the chance to get the bad taste out of his mouth this Sunday when the Chiefs play host to the Denver Broncos, who are the friendliest fantasy matchup in the National Football League for opposing quarterbacks this season.
2. Mark Sanchez: QB, New York Jets (vs. NE)
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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez hasn't been lighting the world on fire during the Jets' three-game winning streak, but the third-year pro has played effectively, averaging just over 200 passing yards a game and tossing five touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Sanchez should have the opportunity to build on those numbers this week at home against the New England Patriots, who have allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and against whom Sanchez had his highest QB rating of the season several weeks ago.
3. Chris Johnson: RB, Tennessee Titans (at CAR)
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After spending most of the 2011 season mired in a horrific slump, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson finally showed some signs of life Sunday, piling up 110 total yards and rushing for a season-high 4.6 yards per carry in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The performance gave Johnson's fantasy owners some room for optimism about the rest of this season, and hopefully that optimism will grow after this week's game with the Carolina Panthers, who have surrendered the most points per game to opposing fantasy running backs this year.
4. Ryan Matthews: RB, San Diego Chargers (vs. OAK)
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San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Matthews sat out the Chargers' wild loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday with a groin injury, but the second-year pro participated in a walk-through Monday and is expected to make his return to action when San Diego faces off with the Oakland Raiders Thursday night.
Matthews was held out of Sunday's game as much as a precaution as anything else, and with a matchup on tap against an Oakland team that has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to opposing running backs and was just absolutely gashed by the Denver Broncos, Matthews' fantasy owners will likely be elated to see him back on the field.
5. Willis McGahee: RB, Denver Broncos (at KC)
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Speaking of the Denver Broncos, it was ninth-year veteran running back Willis McGahee who did much of the gashing last week, racking up a gaudy 163 rushing yards and scoring two touchdowns in a 38-24 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
McGahee looked strong in returning to action after breaking his hand in Week 7 and is averaging a robust 5.1 yards per carry on the season, and with a very favorable matchup upcoming with a Kansas City Chiefs squad that is the seventh friendliest fantasy matchup for opposing running backs, McGahee's solid 2011 campaign should continue this week.
6. Percy Harvin: WR, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)
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It's been mostly a lost season in the Twin Cities for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, as the third-year veteran has managed only a paltry 31 receptions for 334 yards in eight games this year, although he did score a rushing touchdown in Minnesota's Week 8 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Hopefully the Vikings spent their bye week getting rookie signal-caller Christian Ponder more acclimated in the offense and figuring out ways to get Harvin the ball more, beginning this week against the Green Bay Packers, who have given up the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season and rank 31st in the NFL against the pass.
7. Santonio Holmes: WR, New York Jets (vs. NE)
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It's been very much and up-and-down season for New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, and while the sixth-year pro has managed only eight catches for 116 yards in his past three games, Holmes was able to salvage decent fantasy production in two of those games by scoring a touchdown.
Holmes had one of his best games of the year in Week 5 against the New England Patriots, reeling in four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown, and there's a good chance he should at least match those numbers this week given that the Patriots allow the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in the league.
8. Laurent Robinson: WR, Dallas Cowboys (vs. BUF)
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin suffered yet another hamstring injury in last week's victory over the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to be sidelined 2-4 weeks, thrusting fifth-year veteran wide receiver Laurent Robinson into the starting lineup in Big D.
Robinson has 10 receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns over his past two contests and should be in for another decent outing this week when the Cowboys host the Buffalo Bills, who rank a moribund 25th in the National Football League against the pass and are a favorable fantasy matchup for opposing wide receivers.
9. Brent Celek: TE, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)
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After being a complete non-factor for much of the early part of the 2011 season Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek has once again emerged as a viable fantasy option and weapon in the Philadelphia passing attack, hauling in 18 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns over the Eagles last three games.
The fifth-year veteran should have every opportunity to continue that hot streak this weekend when the Eagles play host to the Arizona Cardinals, who rank 29th in the NFL in pass defense and have allowed the tenth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this year.
10. St. Louis Rams Team Defense/Special Teams (at CLE)
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The St. Louis Rams and their fans have had precious little to cheer about this season as their team stumbled and lurched to a 1-7 mark at season's halfway point, including the play of their defense, which ranks 23rd in the National Football League in total yards allowed and dead last in the NFL in run defense.
However, the table is set for the Rams to have a much better day defensively this week, at least for fantasy football purposes, as the Cleveland Browns are the NFL's 30th ranked offense and have given up the ninth most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season.