It's already week ten in the NFL and there are several key divisional games that could go a long way in determining what teams make the playoffs and what teams stay home. It's the Jets against the Patriots, the Eagles look to rebound versus the Redskins, and a big NFC West match up of the Rams and Seahawks. Each of these games are important to all of us fantasy players too.
In addition to the games above, there were several developments that you should keep an eye on. The Chiefs head coach, Herm Edwards, now says that he's not sure who will be the starter once Trent Green is healthy enough to play. You could have a quarterback controversy there in a week or two. In Jacksonville, they've ended any controversy by naming David Garrard the starter as long as he plays well. There were also a couple of key injuries last week with running back Willis McGahee suffering a broken rib that could keep him out for a couple of weeks. Wide receiver Bernard Berrian injured his ribs as well and will be out for 2-4 weeks. Keep an eye of Rashied Davis because we think he might be able to be the downfield threat for Chicago while Berrian is out.
Once the playoffs start in your league it's all about which teams have the better match ups. Here are a couple of teams that we think should have an easier time of it down the stretch. Houston plays NYJ, Oakland and Tennessee in weeks 12 – 14. Green Bay plays the Jets, SF and Detroit starting in week 13. On the flip side, you might want to avoid any Cleveland players since they face Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Tampa Bay starting in week 13. Cadillac Williams and Joey Galloway may also struggle late in the year since the Bucs play Dallas, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Chicago starting in week 12.
Here are a few players that you might want to take a look at plugging into your starting lineup this week to either turn around your luck or keep your success going! They may not be the top names in fantasy football, but most are the ‘in between' guys that you might have to make a tough decision on. The good fantasy owner is able to pick these players out from a crowd and stick them in their lineup for fantasy success!
QB – Steve McNair – McNair should be very motivated this week as he faces his old team the Titans. You know he wants to show his old team that they made a mistake for letting him go. McNair has been averaging 18 fantasy points over his last two games and he goes up against a Titans defense that has already given up 14 passing touchdowns, ranking them T28.
RB – Anthony Thomas – Thomas will get a chance to start for at least the next two games while Willis McGahee heals up. Last week, Thomas rushed for 95 yards and a score after McGahee went down. This week the Bills visit the Colts and their 32nd ranked rushing defense. We expect the Bills to try to exploit this matchup and Thomas should get 20+ carries. He should be available as a free agent pickup in just about every league. Get him quick before he gets picked up.
RB – Fred Taylor – Taylor still ranks as the number 15 fantasy running back despite losing playing time to rookie Jones-Drew. The Jags have become a run first team and now rank 6 in rushing offense. The Jags entertain Houston this week and we expect to see plenty of Fred Taylor going against a Texans rushing defense that ranks 25th. Taylor is much better at home averaging almost 15 fantasy points a game versus 9 on the road.
WR – Donte Stallworth – After a red hot start to the season, Stallworth has plummeted to a wide receiver ranking of 52. The drop in ranking is because of injuries, but now he's healthy and going against a very weak Redskins defense at home. The Eagles offense looks to explode and the bye week gave Stallworth another week to heal up. Expect plenty of points as the Redskins passing defense ranked 30th goes against an Eagles passing attack that ranks 2nd.
WR – Mushin Muhammad – The Bears need Muhammad to step it up with the injury to Bernard Berrian. Muhammad responded with a touchdown last week and we expect a solid performance this week when the Bears travel to New York to meet the Giants. The Chicago passing offense ranks 9th and goes against a Giants passing defense that ranks 16th. Muhammad looks to rekindle some of his magic from week 3 when he caught 9 passes for 118 yards.
TE – Heath Miller – The Steelers have been a disappointing team this year but they can still put up points and their passing offense ranks 5th. The Steelers play host to the Saints who have averaged over 21 points against the AFC North this year. We expect a high scoring game and Miller seems to be heating up. Miller caught a season high 5 receptions last week against a stiff Denver team. Look for Miller to build on last week's successes in this back and forth contest.
DEF – Denver – The Raiders looked just plain awful last week on Monday Night Football. Oakland has 21 turnovers and an astounding 44 sacks. We expect the Broncos to tack on a few more of each this week when they visit Oakland. To make matters worse, the Raiders rank dead last in offense only averaging 227 total yards a game. We wouldn't be shocked if the Raiders posted another goose egg this week, which is usually a bonus for fantasy defenses.