Health Meter: Healthy Fantasy Picks for Week 10

Dan Van Wie@@DanVanWieContributor IIINovember 10, 2011

Health Meter: Healthy Fantasy Picks for Week 10

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    Entering Week 10 of the 2011 NFL season, fantasy football owners are faced with tough calls to make on players that are either coming off of an injury, or are trying to come out of a rehab from the bye week, and needing to determine if it is worth starting them or sitting them down. 

    We will look at a number of injured players who appear to be ready to play in Week 10, (as of the time of this publication), and will project how well we think they will fare. If you have a tough call to make on a certain position, and you own some of these players in question, maybe this will help to sway you in which direction to go. Or maybe your starter has already been declared out, and the only waiver wire options are guys coming off an injury. There are no NFL teams that have Week 10 off with a bye week.

    You also need to be aware that Week 10 begins the start of Thursday Night Football on NFL Network, so you need to make sure you have checked your roster for either Oakland Raiders or San Diego Chargers and make sure you have decided to either start or sit them before the Thursday night kickoff.

QB to Start: Matt Hasselbeck

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    You might have noted that Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was limited in practice on Wednesday. He is said to be suffering from a leg injury and a hurt thumb.Hasselbeck has had a solid season, and is currently the No. 11 ranked quarterback in the NFL. He has completed over 62 percent of his passes and is averaging 252 yards passing per game. He has thrown 13 touchdowns to six interceptions.

    While it is always a concern to know that your quarterback is hurting, you have to know that this time of year, all quarterbacks are hurting. Some more than others.

    This week Hasselbeck faces the Carolina Panthers, who are ranked No. 13 in pass defense in the NFL. They are allowing 226 passing yards per game, so feel confident in starting Hasselbeck.

    Fantasy Advice: Start him.

QB to Sit: Sam Bradford

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    I realize that in this column last week, you were advised to start Sam Bradford over Kevin Kolb. The reality was that Bradford started, while Kolb was not able to play at all. Bradford didn't necessarily light it up last week, but he didn't score a "zero" either. Bradford is still bothered by an ankle injury, and he is expected to play this Sunday.

    This week, with different opponents and different options, we are advising you to bench Bradford and go with a different option. The reason is that Bradford wasn't clicking that great with his receivers last week, so will probably need another game or two to re-establish some chemistry with his receivers.

    In addition, his opponent this week is the Cleveland Browns, who just happen to have the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL. If that was the only statistic I was able to use to convince you, would that be a sufficient reason to sit Bradford? You bet, it should.

    Fantasy Advice: Sit him.

RB to Start: Steven Jackson

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    Was anybody able to practice on Wednesday for the St. Louis Rams? Running Back Steven Jackson turned out to be limited in practice because he is dealing with a foot injury.

    Jackson racked up 130 yards in rushing against the Arizona Cardinals last week, and with the Rams facing the No. 1 pass defense in the league, you know that their best chance to move the chains is to keep handing off the ball to Jackson.

    It also helps to know that the Browns run defense is ranked No. 30 in the NFL. So, that should be all you need to know. Don't worry about the Jackson injury, start him with confidence.

    Fantasy Advice: Start Him

RB to Sit: Beanie Wells

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    Beanie Wells has been playing with a bum knee. But he is the best running back they have, so there are no plans to let him take off a week to let the knee get better.

    In Week 9, the best that Wells could do was crank out 20 yards on 10 carries, which means he was averaging 2,0 yards per carry. That kind of production will guarantee your fantasy team a loss.

    This week the Cardinals face the Philadelphia Eagles, who are known to give up some yards in the running game. But if Wells is not healthy enough to take advantage, why torture yourself?

    Fantasy Advice: Sit him.

RB to Start: Ryan Mathews

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    Ryan Mathews didn't play last week due to his groin injury. He is back practicing this week, and due to the crazy San Diego Chargers schedule (the Thursday night game is their third contest over the span of 11 days), it will be a huge asset for the Chargers to have Mathews suited up for the game.

    On the season, Mathews is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and is also averaging 72.7 yards per game. The Chargers do not expect to have wide receiver Malcolm Floyd available for Thursday night, so expect to see a little more emphasis on the running game. Not only that, but the Raiders run defense gave up a ton of yards to Willis McGahee last Sunday.

    Mathews will probably be splitting carries with Mike Tolbert, but if you are trying to decide who to start between Felix Jones, Beanie Wells, Joseph Addai, Jahvid Best or Mathews, your smartest play is to go with Mathews.

    Fantasy Advice: Start him.

RB to Sit: Joseph Addai

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    The days of Joseph Addai being a top running back are a distant memory. Addai has been coming back from a knee injury and will have to leap over younger running backs like Donald Brown and Delone Carter in the depth chart to get meaningful snaps.

    Last week, Carter found himself in the dog house due to a fumble, while Brown came up with 70 rushing yards against Atlanta. Addai didn't practice on Wednesday, but then again, lots of veterans don't practice on Wednesday. But, if you are figuring that he is going to play and make an impact, I just don't see that happening.

    Fantasy advice: Sit him.

WR to Start: Hakeem Nicks

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    While scouring the notes of NFL teams, there is evidence of more key wide receivers still being declared out or doubtful like Miles Austin, Andre Johnson or Lee Evans. One key receiver that seems to think he is going to play on Sunday, is New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.

    Nicks missed last week due to a hamstring injury, but was able to run at full speed the last two days on his own. He missed practice on Wednesday, so you will need to monitor his progress later in the week to see if there is any changes with him.

    But if Nicks feels like he will play, and as productive as the chemistry has been between Nicks and Eli Manning, it makes sense to go with Nicks as your wide receiver if you are in doubt about who to start.

    Fantasy Advice: Start him.

WR to Sit: Sidney Rice

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    Sidney Rice has been dealing with a foot injury, but also has a new injury that has not yet been disclosed. While Rice has had two games that have resulted in more than 100 yards in receptions, he also has had several games where he has failed to crack 40 yards.

    This week, Rice gets to face the Baltimore Ravens secondary. The Ravens will be putting pressure on Tarvaris Jackson and the Ravens pass defense is ranked No. 5 in the NFL.

    If you are deciding between Sidney Rice, Hines Ward and Malcolm Floyd, I would start Rice. If you have better or equal options to Rice, I would chose to sit him this week.

    Fantasy Advice: Sit him.

TE to Start: Dustin Keller

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    New York Jets Dustin Keller took a chance by trying to jump over a Buffalo Bills defender when he was running after a catch last Sunday. Keller was upended with a nasty flip, and wound up with a concussion.

    Keller has gone through the various concussion testing procedures and has been cleared to practice and play this Sunday. Keller is facing a New England Patriots secondary that is giving up a ton of passing yards, so if you do not have a better tight end option or were considering taking a chance on someone else out of fear that Keller was hurt, do not fret.

    Start Keller with confidence against the Patriots.

    Fantasy Advice: Start him.

TE to Sit: Todd Heap

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    Todd Heap has been dealing with a hamstring injury, but didn't see any snaps last weekend, even though he was active for the game. The hamstring is starting to improve, but Heap still was unable to go through a full practice on Wednesday.

    The Cardinals plan to dress Heap, but you have to consider that his quarterback will be John Skelton, who is extremely green. Not only that, but the Cardinals are going up against the Philadelphia Eagles talented secondary.

    Pass on Heap, and wait for a better matchup, along with some further evidence that he is actually producing.

    Fantasy advice: Sit him.