Crucial weekend for fantasy owners.
There are plenty of risky options out there this weekend. Desperate owners will need to take some of those risks to get in the win column again.
The standard weekly start/sit advice is below, but first a few injury updates:
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions: Detroit is calling Smith week-to-week with a shoulder injury. He likely will be a game-time decision this weekend. Fantasy owners should prepare to be without his services. Maurice Morris is the handcuff here, but may not be a serviceable option.
Marion Barber & Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: Barber is expected to return to the Cowboys’ lineup this weekend after missing last week’s Monday Night Football game. Jones — who took Barber’s place as the starter in the MNF affair — however is not expected to play after spraining his knee during Monday’s game.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: Tomlinson has put in a couple of full practices this week and looks ready to return at Pittsburgh. The long flight should not complicate matters, but being a Sunday night game certainly does. Fantasy owners without another option in the Sunday night or Monday night game will need to decide on Tomlinson early in the day.
Willie Parker, RB, Steelers: It is looking less and less likely that Parker plays against the Chargers. He is battling turf toe which is a really significant injury for a running back. Mewelde Moore likely will be the major beneficiary. Rashard Mendenhall is too inconsistent to trust at this point.
- Mark Sanchez @ Saints: I would not normally endorse a rookie quarterback on the road in a hostile environment. But Sanchez has impressed me every week and I think he can put together a respectable stat line in keeping up with the high-powered Saints’ offense.
- Jason Campbell v. Buccaneers: Another good match-up for Campbell this weekend. He has been a good stop gap for Donovan McNabb owners. The yardage will be there and he generally limits turnovers, so hopefully he splashes in a touchdown or two.
- Cedric Benson @ Browns: If you have not used Benson yet, this is his best match-up of the season to date. Good time to fill that void in your roster left by Frank Gore or Willie Parker.
- Matt Forte v. Lions: Fantasy owners who drafted Forte in the first round are starting to panic. If he does not bounce back with a big effort and a trip or two to the endzone this week, I might join the masses jumping ship.
- Devin Hester v. Lions: Including no-brainer Jay Cutler, this is a great weekend to start your Bears. Greg Olsen is a good play and even Johnny Knox in a deep league. It could be a fireworks show in Chicago this Sunday.
- Mike Sims-Walker v. Titans: The once-proud Tennessee defense looks more like swiss cheese this season. The Albert Haynesworth effect? The loss of an interior pass rush is hurting the secondary.
- Vernon Davis v. Rams: Relatively unowned in most leagues until the conclusion of week 3, get Davis in the starting lineups from here on out. It looks like he is finally becoming involved in the offense and is the best skill player on the field with Frank Gore out.
- Matt Cassel v. Giants: He has not set the world on fire yet in KC and it may take a year to two for the team to acquire the right talent. Dwayne Bowe might not suit up again this weekend, complicating matters further. Not to mention how good the Giants D has been.
- Eli Manning @ Chiefs: This should be a clinic by the Giants offense, but not so much for Eli. Expect a lot of ground control from Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Manning should get in the endzone but I think the yardage total will be quite low.
- Clinton Portis v. Buccaneers: Something is wrong with Portis and it is not just mental. Whatever is ailing his lower body is limiting his upside. It might be a good time to put him on the bench and hope for the best.
- Thomas Jones @ Saints: The Saints have one of the best defenses in the league against the run this year. Kevin Smith, Brian Westbrook and Fred Jackson were all held in check during the Saints first three games this season.
- Donnie Avery @ 49ers: He is being dropped like a rock in many fantasy leagues, so is anybody even starting this guy anymore? If so, stop it. Especially with Kyle Boller at quarterback.
- Ted Ginn v. Bills: Another player with a new quarterback this weekend. Chad Henne takes over for the injured Chad Pennington (what is up with Chads in Florida?), making this the wrong time to start Ginn.
- Zach Miller @ Texans: It is really hard for me to sit anyone playing the Texans. But JaMarcus Russell has been that bad. And that makes everyone else on the Oakland offense a risky start. Find a better option.
For more great fantasy roster advice this week, including a plethora of Start & Sit links and consensus rankings, head over to the Fantasy Football Librarian. Don’t forget to grab your library card.