Week 10 “Must-Starts”
Last week’s recommended starts were superb. Indianapolis Colts tight end Jacob Tamme had 73 receiving yards to lead the Colts in their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Seven points is good for a fantasy tight end, and Tamme is quickly becoming an elite tight end option as he tries to fill the injured Dallas Clark’s role as Peyton Manning’s safety valve.
The other must-start was running back Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills, who demolished the weak Detroit Lions’ rushing defense. Jackson totaled 170 yards from scrimmage, and crossed the goal line twice in the Bills’ 14-12 win. While the Bills’ offense may not be explosive, it is fairly obvious their running back is; they traded Marshawn Lynch to Seattle earlier in the year, and nicked-up C.J. Spiller (who has already been ruled out of Buffalo’s next game due to a hamstring injury) got only two touches. Jackson is a borderline top 20 running back from here on out, and could be put in as your second running back or at the flex position on your fantasy team, depending on the Bills’ matchup.
Week 10 Fantasy Studs
It’s impossible to talk about great fantasy performers from Week 10 without mentioning Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick right off the bat. His Monday Night Football performance was one for the ages, scoring nearly 50 fantasy points (depending on your league’s scoring system). Now might be the time to sell high on Vick, however. He will never come close to that many points again this year, and he remains an injury risk due to his run-and-gun playing style. If you could get an elite fantasy quarterback in a trade for Vick right now, it might be wise to pull the trigger.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard and wide receiver Mike Thomas shocked the world with a Hail Mary with no time remaining to beat the Houston Texans. But even before the 50-yard bomb, Garrard and Thomas had shown off quite a connection, as Thomas had seven catches for almost 100 yards. Jacksonville sports a 5-4 record, but there is no way they will keep it up. Four of their next five opponents have winning records, so look for Jacksonville to be losing many of their next games. This means a lot of passing, and Mike Thomas is likely to be the beneficiary, as he is showing that he is the most talented of the Jaguars wide receivers (he also had a 20-yard run, giving him 167 total yards on Sunday). Don’t buy into Garrard’s hype, however, as two fantastic matchups (the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans) have inflated his recent numbers. He just is not an elite NFL quarterback.
Running back Keiland Williams of the Washington Redskins had great fantasy numbers (139 yards and three touchdowns), but don’t put all your eggs in Williams’ basket quite yet. Monday’s Eagles-Redskins game was a shootout like nothing we have ever seen before (the score was 45-14 at halftime), and Williams will shift back into the third spot on the ‘Skins depth chart once Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain come back from their injuries. If your league-mates will give up someone value for Williams, trade him away and reap the benefits.
Week 10 Fantasy Duds
Peyton Manning was a real letdown for anyone who needed a great performance during their push for the fantasy playoffs. Manning had only 185 passing yards and no touchdowns as the Colts’ offense disappointingly scored only one touchdown against the 2-7 Bengals. Manning now has five touchdowns in his past five games, numbers that are definitely not what owners hoped for when they took him in the second or third round of their drafts. Reggie Wayne, a consensus top five fantasy wideout and Manning’s favorite target, suffered from Manning’s inability against the Bengals’ secondary. Wayne had only three catches for 34 yards. Fear not, however, as Manning, Wayne and the rest of the Colts travel to New England to take on the Patriots and their porous pass defense, which allows the sixth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Manning and Wayne should have numbers that will remind you why you drafted them so high.
Another dud from last Sunday was Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall. The third-year player out of Illinois came into the Steelers’ Sunday night matchup against the Patriots as one of the best fantasy running backs this year, but finished with only 55 total yards of offense. This can be chalked up to the fact that the Patriots jumped to an early lead, which forced the Steelers to the air to try and get quick scores. Mendenhall was solid when they did give him the ball, averaging more than 4.5 yards per carry. He remains a must-start for the rest of the season, regardless of matchup.
Week 11 Sleepers
If you are scrambling for a quarterback for Week 11, look no further than the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez. In his last two games, Sanchez has had 336 and 299 passing yards along with three total passing touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown in each. Look for him to obliterate the Texans’ secondary this Sunday, just as Garrard did last week.
I hate to keep picking on the Detroit Lions, but they have an awful rushing defense (see: Fred Jackson’s Week 10). If Felix Jones is available in your league, scoop him up because the Cowboys face the Lions this Sunday, and Jones will have the opportunity to run wild. If Jones is taken and you need another sleeper, Marion Barber III could get you a cheap score or two.
For wide receivers, be sure to check out Santonio Holmes (Mark Sanchez’ new favorite target) against the Texans and Nate Washington of the Tennessee Titans, who matches up with a Redskins secondary that just allowed four passing touchdowns to the Eagles.