A friend and I were kicking this idea around, and I’d like to hear your opinion on the matter. We are playing each other this week, and we have multiple money leagues. He confided in me that he’s bummed because I have Brandon Lloyd, DeMarco Murray and Owen Daniels, who he has in his other league. From looking at his team, I see he has Roddy White, Alfred Morris, and Dennis Pitta, who I have in another money league. I proposed that we do a one-week trade of my guys for his guys when we play each other, and then trade back next week. So let me ask you all, do you think it’s collusion if we’re playing each other? Let me know in the comment section below.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans
Comfortables: Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Defense
Cautions: Matt Hasslebeck, Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Jared Cook
Casualties: Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Emmanuel Sanders, Tennessee Defense
Sleeper: Darius Reynaud
For all the Chris Johnson owners out there who haven’t hanged themselves yet, it’s time to take a serious look at Darius Reynaud. I’ve listed him as a Sleeper week after week, and nothing has come of it because of Tennessee’s insistence that Chris Johnson can still get the job done. His 141-yard effort two weeks ago (mostly during garbage time, mind you) didn’t help Reynaud’s chances. But after a while, you have to figure that the Tennessee coaches are going to start being as fed up with CJ0K as his fantasy owners are. Javon Ringer is out for the foreseeable future, so it should be Reynaud’s time to shine. Lord knows they need SOMETHING different after losing week after week. Start all starting Steelers offensive options and enjoy the early lead.
Prediction: Steelers roll into Tennessee and put a whoopin’ on the hapless Titans.
Oakland Raiders vs. Atlanta Falcons
Comfortables: Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Michael Turner, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Defense
Cautions: Carson Palmer, Denarius Moore, Brandon Myers
Casualties: Mike Goodson, Jacquizz Rodgers, Darius Heyward-Bey, Rod Streater, Oakland Defense
Sleeper: Harry Douglas
The Oakland Raiders defense will be the bane of my fantasy existence this year. This week, I’m playing against Matt Ryan in two out of my three money leagues, and in Week 11, I play Drew Brees in ALL THREE of my money leagues when he’s going up against Oakland. This Oakland secondary is far from the days when Nnamdi Asomougha and Stanford Routt were shutting guys down. The past three games, Oakland has produced a 100-yard receiver on the opposing team. The only question is, who of the three main receiving targets on the Falcons will eclipse the century mark? Or will it be more than one? I even like Harry Douglas to snag a few balls. So much for all those pundits saying Michael Turner is cooked (yeah, about that…). The Jacquizz Rodgers breakout train might have to wait to leave the station. Other than Run DMC, you’re not starting any Raiders in standard 10- or 12-team leagues.
Prediction: With an awful team having to come across the country and play in a loud dome where they rarely ever lose, the undefeated Falcons will be upset by the Raiders! Yeah right…
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Comfortables: Andy Dalton, BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Trent Richardson, AJ Green, Andrew Hawkins, Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Defense
Cautions: Armon Binns
Casualties: All Browns not named Trent Richardson (including Defense)
Sleeper: Brian Leonard
Well, the Browns sure gave me a scare last week putting up 14 with the quickness on the Giants before Big Blue snapped out of it and took care of business. What we have here with Cleveland is a bad football team. Their quarterback threw a pass, which he caught when it got deflected, and then threw another pass on the same play (which you can’t do, by the way). It’s Trent Richardson followed by bust. Backup Bengal running back Bernard Scott was put on IR, so the only person left to spell The Law Firm is former Scarlet Knight Brian Leonard. I actually like him to get some garbage time yards (and maybe a score) once this game gets out of hand.
Prediction: The Bengals roll comfortably.
St. Louis Rams vs. Miami Dolphins
Comfortables: Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline, St. Louis Defense, Miami Defense
Cautions: Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill, Steven Jackson, Daniel Thomas, Brandon Gibson, Davone Bess, Lance Kendricks, Anthony Fasano
Casualties: Daryl Richardson, (The Other) Steve Smith
Sleeper: Lamar Miller
This is probably the most interesting game of the week. It’s not interesting in the sense that I’ll watch it, but it’s interesting that you have two teams who aren’t necessarily good, but play other teams hard and manage to eke out a win here and there. So who eeks it out here? Sam Bradford lost his top receiving weapon in Danny Amendola, and Steven Jackson is going against one of the best run defenses in the league. This should be an old school, low-scoring affair akin to the Baltimore/KC game last week, which is great for football purists, but bad for those who like fun things. Other than Bush, Hartline, and the defenses, the only guys from either team you should start are the kickers. Greg the Leg, baby!
Prediction: The Zuerleins outscore the Carpenters 15-9.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets
Comfortables: Andrew Luck, Donald Brown, Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Defense
Cautions: Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Donnie Avery, Jeremy Kerley, Coby Fleener, Dustin Keller (if active), New York Jets Defense
Casualties: Tim Tebow, T.Y. Hilton, Jason Hill, Chaz Schillens, Jeff Cumberland
Sleeper: Dwayne Allen
In my first foray into Fantasy Expert territory, I’ve been right about a lot of things, but sad to say I haven’t been right about Coby Fleener. My reasoning for liking him was sound…he already has established rapport with Andrew Luck from playing together at Stamford and, as a rookie, Luck will need to find his security blanket. Little did I know just how quickly Luck would develop rapport with Reggie Wayne. Thankfully I have a couple shares of Wayne and am riding him like the wind week after week, but I do sympathize for my main man Coby. It certainly doesn’t help that Dwayne Allen has a couple of scores, so I have Allen listed as a sleeper. The Jets played hard and impressed the hell out of me last Monday against a vastly superior Texans team, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens here. You still can’t start any Jet with confidence until somebody breaks free from the pack. Jeremy Kerley is close, and Dustin Keller will be Sanchez’s first look if he ever gets the opportunity to suit up. I think the Jets have a good chance to win this game, but I don’t know where the production is going to come from.
Prediction: Luck, Wayne, and Donald Brown all come up big and the Jets lose their third straight game at home.
Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Comfortables: Matthew Stafford, Mikel Leishore, LeSean McCoy, Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Brandon Pettigrew, Brent Celek, Detroit Defense
Cautions: Michael Vick, Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Defense
Casualties: Kevin Smith, Bryce Brown, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Tony Scheffler
Sleeper: Joique Bell
Michael Vick is the fantasy gift that keeps on giving. Start the Detroit defense. I don’t know what’s going on with Jeremy Maclin, but it’s starting to become a concern. I still feel comfortable rolling with Mikel Leishore this week, as I expect him to be closer to his first game as a starter in terms of production rather than his second. Joique Bell is a trendy sleeper as well, as he gets a lot of volume on the field. Maybe Kevin Smith can try getting traded to Arizona.
Prediction: Detroit wins a shootout on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Comfortables: Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Defense
Cautions: Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount, Kansas City Defense
Casualties: Brady Quinn, Dexter McCluster (except in PPR), All Kansas City Pass Catchers not named Bowe, All Tampa Bay Pass Catchers not named Jackson
Sleeper: Shaun Draughn
Christ was that Chiefs/Ravens game ooglay last week. Even so, J-Mail managed to get his points. The Chiefs are going to need to rely on him with Brady Quinn getting the start (does anybody else long for the days of Tyler Palko or Ricky Stanzi? No? Okay then). Poor Matt Cassel got cheered by his own team’s fans for getting injured. Wow. No matter what you think, Chiefs fans, he’s still your best option. I worry about Dwayne Bowe’s fantasy productivity with Quinn at the helm, but he can’t be sat at this point. I’m still high on Doug Martin. Despite losing touches (and goal-line touchdowns) to LeGarrette Blount, I still say that talent will always win out, and Martin is too talented to stay off the field.
Prediction: Tampa Bay forces Brady Quinn to make too many mistakes, and the Bucs win at home.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Baltimore Ravens
Comfortables: Joe Flacco, DeMarco Murray, Ray Rice, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Defense
Cautions: Tony Romo, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Dallas Defense
Casualties: Felix Jones, Bernard Pierce, Kevin Ogletree, Jacoby Jones, Ed Dickson
If you have the Baltimore defense, you must be licking your chops right now to get a chance at another Romocalypse. This one’s going to be rough, Cowboys fans. It’s from the frying pan to the fire going from the Bears at home to the Ravens on the road. The Seven Nation Army chants will be out in full force for this one. Roll with Ray, roll with Torrey, and even the struggling Dennis Pitta should get his. I’m still stubbornly clinging to the DeMarco Murray bandwagon. Maybe Jason Garrett finally figured out that if you get Murray involved and keep the ball OUT of Tony Romo’s hands, the Cowboys have a better chance of winning. Either Miles Austin or Dez Bryant will play well, not both, but you have to start both because I have no idea who it’s going to be. Anquan Boldin’s been great lately, but Dallas has some good cornerbacks, so I’m not too high on Boldin this week.
Prediction: Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the Baltimore Defense smother up Romo as he throws another 7 interceptions and the Ravens win big.
Buffalo Bills vs. Arizona Cardinals
Comfortables: Stevie Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Scott Chandler, Buffalo Defense, Arizona Defense
Cautions: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kolb, Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Donald Jones, Andre Roberts
Casualties: Tashard Choice, Brad Smith, Early Doucet, Todd Heap
Sleeper: William Powell
This just in: you’re still not doing anything with the Arizona backfield. LaRod Stephens-Howling? William Powell? Nope and nada. I like Powell as a deep sleeper because chances are he’s in the waiver pool and you’ll probably need a lottery ticket. Much like the St. Louis/Miami game, I like both defenses here and expect a low-scoring affair. Both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller’s fantasy values are handicapped with the other involved in the offense. I’m rolling with Jackson this week mostly because I don’t have a viable alternative.
Prediction: Arizona bounces back from their first loss against a Bills team that has to go out west.
New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
Comfortables: Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, New England Defense
Cautions: Russell Wilson, Brandon Bolden, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Aaron Hernandez (if active), Seattle Defense
Casualties: Danny Woodhead, Robert Turbin, Julian Edelman, Braylon Edwards, Anthony McCoy
Sleeper: Shane Vereen
I had Aaron Rodgers in two leagues when he stepped onto Qwest Field, and got torpedoed in both leagues. So if there’s any week I’m really low on Tom Brady, this is the week. He’s always must-start material, but expectations need to be tempered this week. Seattle’s got a good defense. But still, he’s Tom Brady and there’s always potential for him to go off, especially since the Patriots went into Fuck You mode a couple weeks ago against the Bills and haven’t looked back, so my expectations for Seattle’s defense are tempered as well. Sigh. As somebody who owns both Brady and the Seahawk defense, it’s damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I pretty much just shouldn’t be watching this game. Aaron Hernandez might be coming back this week, but I’d hold off on starting him for a week and wait for him to get his game legs back underneath him.
Prediction: Upset special. Seattle stifles Brady and wins at home on the back of Marshawn Lynch.
New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers
Comfortables: Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Frank Gore, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks (if active), Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Martellus Bennett (if active), Vernon Davis
Cautions: Alex Smith (if active), David Wilson, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs (if active), Domenik Hixon, New York Giants Defense, San Francisco Defense
Casualties: Andre Brown, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Ramses Barden, Reuben Randle, Randy Moss
Sleeper: Colin Kapernick (especially if Alex Smith is inactive)
SLEEPER ALERT! SLEEPER ALERT! START MARIO MANNINGHAM! Trust me! There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and football players going against their former teams for the first time. I was right on Robert Meachem last week, and I’ll be right again on Manningham this week. I’m targeting him in all my leagues if he’s on the waiver wire, and I plan on starting him. It doesn’t matter if it’s Alex Smith or Colin Kapernick at QB. They’re going to feed him the ball. I would also list Brandon Jacobs here as well, but there’s no guarantee he’ll even be active. If he is, and they get to the goal line, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jacobs brought in for a quick 1-yard score. Hakeem Nicks owners, I feel your pain. Domenik Hixon isn’t quite the plug-and-play handcuff we hoped him to be. Thankfully though, Victor Cruz is reaping the benefits. I’m not incredibly high on any New York passing option, but you’re not sitting any of them, even Martellus Bennett. Andre Brown, thanks for playing. He was concussed early, and David Wilson may have run his way out of Tom Coughlan’s doghouse on a 44-yard TD. I had dropped Wilson for Brown, and may have to reverse back. But this is still Ahmad Bradshaw’s yard.
Prediction: I have to say Giants, but forgive me if I’m not filled to the brim with confidence on this one.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Washington Redskins
Comfortables: Christian Ponder, Robert Griffin III (if active), Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris, Percy Harvin, Pierre Garcon, Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Defense
Cautions: Leonard Hankerson, Fred Davis, Washington Defense
Casualties: Toby Gerhart, Ryan Grant, Evan Royster, Jerome Simpson, Josh Morgan
Sleeper: Kirk Cousins (only if RG3 is inactive)
Ah, how nice it feels to be able to trust a Mike Shanahan running back! Alfred Morris, please don’t fumble. This job is yours to keep (for now…). I don’t know the prognosis on RG3, who was concussed last week, but I’m pretty sure that the Redskins are going to do everything in their power to make sure he plays on Sunday. Kirk Cousins becomes an interesting conversation piece if RG3 goes down, but chances are that you drafted RG3 as your backup QB and have another top option waiting in the wings. Percy Harvin is absolutely amazing and I wish I got the chance to draft him somewhere. Continue to roll with Kyle Rudolph as well.
Prediction: Even if RG3 plays, he isn’t his normal self and the Vikings win on the road.
Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans
Comfortables: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Greg Jennings (if active), Jordy Nelson, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels
Cautions: Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Defense, Houston Defense
Casualties: Ben Tate, Justin Forsett, Kevin Walter, James Casey
Sleeper: Alex Green
Dare I bench Aaron Rodgers for Ben Roethlisberger? I’m certainly thinking about it. The Texans D is no joke. I wouldn’t start Alex Green this week, but he’s an obvious pickup to roster and wait. Cedric Benson’s injury actually helps Rodgers because he was leaning heavily on Benson to get the run going. All Rodgers needs now is his receivers, especially his tight end, to catch the ball. I had seen enough of Jermichael Finley for the year. All the talent in the world means nothing if you can’t catch the ball. Owen Daniels is a beast at tight end though, so continue to roll with him. I am also ready to give up on Ben Tate as anything other than an Arian Foster handcuff, as he’s essentially unstartable unless Foster is out. Even if Tate misses a second straight game, Justin Forsett is not the answer either. It’s basically Foster or bust.
Prediction: Green Bay’s road woes continue, and Houston remains undefeated in a huge home win.
Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers
Comfortables: Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Willis McGahee, Ryan Matthews, Eric Decker, Demariyus Thomas, Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates
Cautions: Jackie Battle, Robert Meachem, Jacob Tamme, Denver Defense, San Diego Defense
Casualties: Lance Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Ronnie Brown, Chris Brinkley, Brandon Stokley, Joel Dreesen, Dante Rosario
Sleeper: Vincent Brown (if active)
Manning vs. Rivers might be the new big rivalry if Peyton sticks around the Broncos for a couple more years. It seems like these two teams are always in primetime. I’ll never understand the NFL scheduling. You have last week’s Monday night winner (the Texans) playing on Sunday night this week and last Sunday night’s loser (the Chargers) playing on Monday night. Whatever happened to variety? Antonio Gates looks awful. He’s slow and plodding, barely getting open, and isn’t holding onto balls thrown his way. He might be cooked. I’m benching him for Brandon Pettigrew this week. Yes, Vincent Brown is possibly coming off IR this week. It’ll be interesting to see where he fits in the mix. Those of you who followed my advice and rolled with Meachem last week, don’t do it this week. It’ll be back to normal status quo, with Rivers looking Malcolm Floyd’s way.
Prediction: Still feeling sore after being stung by Brady and the Pats last week, Manning gets mean and runs it up on San Diego on the road.
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