This is the first week where teams have bye weeks, so if you have a player on the Cardinals, Eagles, Panthers, or Falcons, go ahead and make sure to put them on your bench. We've also witnessed some top performers succumb to injury, so now is the time to find some diamonds in the rough that you may have missed during the draft. If you have a player underperforming, it may be time to cut ties instead of keep hoping that he'll put up a good game. So here's a quick break down of some players poised for big games, guys primed big let downs, and some sleepers to think about in case your star player has a bye week or is missing time.
Who is poised for a big game?
Eli Manning, QB, Giants – Despite a young receiving core, Eli Manning is starting to look a lot like his older brother Peyton. He's thrown for five touchdowns in three games, and he'll likely continue to shine against the Kansas City Chiefs, who've been torched through the air so far this season.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears – He's proving his worth in Chi-town, completing over 75% of his passes in the past two games. This week he's up against the Lions. ‘Nuff said.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals – The former first round pick is averaging 23 carries a game, and he's going up against a Browns team going through an identity crisis on both sides of the ball. The Bengals offense will likely put up an early lead, so look for Benson's number to be called a lot to take away any opportunity for the Browns to come back.
Glenn Coffee, RB, 49ers – Frank Gore is out for a bit, and the 49ers are going up against a pedestrian Rams defense that has allowed an average of over 140 rushing yards a game. The writing is on the wall for Coffee to have a coming out party.
Tashard Choice, RB, Cowboys – Reports are that Marion Barber fully participated in practice on Thursday, and looks ready to go. However, Choice looked really good last week, so he should see some carries. The Cowboys are playing at a windy Invesco Field, so they need to run it early and often.
Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins – The Dolphins will be likely play conservative with Chad Henne under center, so expect Brown's role to increase even more against the Bills.
Nate Burleson, WR, Seahawks – If you wonder why T.J. Houshmandzadeh isn't getting many points, it's because Burleson is gobbling them up. He has 20 receptions so far this season, The Seahawks will likely have to pass a lot to keep up with the Colts, so look for another big game from Burleson.
Dallas Clark, TE, Colts – He's one of the best receiving tight ends in the game, plays for one of the best quarterbacks in the game, and the Colts are at home against a Seattle team which doesn't travel well. That's an easy recipe for success.
Greg Olsen, TE, Bears – He had a great game last week, and this week he's going up against a Lions defense that's allowed 10 passing touchdowns thus far this season.
Bengals Defense/ST – They get to the quarterback, which can cause turnovers, and they'll have a lot of success forcing Browns signal caller Derek Anderson into some bad throws.
Who needs to ride the bench?
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys – He doesn't look like the Romo we're used to seeing. Plus they're playing at Denver, where the Broncos haven't allowed a passing touchdown yet.
Lendale White, RB, Titans – He's no longer a big target in the redzone, and the Jaguars have played well against the rush as they transition to playing in the 3-4.
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers – He's been unusually quiet thus far. You could attribute it to the good defenses he's had to run against, but this week he's playing a stout Vikings defense. I don't like his chances.
Roy Williams, WR, Cowboys – His quarterback is on this list. He admitted that he doesn't know his role on the team, and he's had noticeable trouble getting open in man coverage. Keep him on your roster for now because he is the #1 receiver in Dallas, but if the Cowboys don't start to show some life in the passing game, dump him.
Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs – He gets a lot of carries, but hasn't done much of anything yet. Now he's going up against a Giants defense that will most likely load the box and force the Chiefs to pass.
Sleepers to Look at This Week
Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins – He isn't the long term answer in Washington, but he has put up some points. Now he's playing a bad Bucs pass defense.
Brett Favre, QB, Vikings – The Packers have given up six passing touchdowns in three games. Even though the man belongs in an antique shop, Favre always puts up a great show in prime time games.
Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens – He's not getting a lot of carries thanks to sharing the load with Ray Rice, but McGahee's scored at least two touchdowns every week.
Donald Brown, RB, Colts – If your group of running backs is looking a little thin, give this guy a look. He's seen more playing time every week, and the Seahawks might as well roll out the red carpet for him. They've allowed opponents to run for an average of 5.6 yards a carry.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars – The Titans will likely focus on stopping the Jaguars running game, so look for the former UCF stud continue emerging as a valuable target in the passing game. The Titans haven't been good against the pass either.
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