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Booms, Busts, Breakouts (Week 10): It's Mike Wallace Time

Michael Green |
November 11, 2010 | 1:56 a.m. PST

Staff Writer

Each week, fantasy football guru Michael Green slaves over statistics and trends to bring you the best fantasy advice this side of Bristol. Read on for the players to start (and players to sit) this week at each key position.

Take it away, Mike...


Mike Wallace (WR) - Steelers v. Patriots

Since bursting onto the scene in 2009, Mike Wallace has been a bigger long range threat than Skynet. Pittsburgh’s receiving terminator dismantled Cincinnati’s secondary last week to the tune of 110 yards and a touchdown.

Wallace will be active again this week against New England’s 29th-ranked pass defense. With a prime time duel set to take place on Sunday night between Big Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady, Wallace will look to turn Heinz Field into his own personal Daytona Speedway.

Cedric Benson (RB) - Bengals @ Colts

Those who have experienced the fantasy feast or famine that is Cedric Benson should expect to eat well this week. The Bengals’ tailback runs with the grace of a darted rhino, but you can pencil him in for 20 carries every game.

That many attempts against the Colts’ rush defense will be good enough to get Benson over the century mark. The Bengals don’t want to get into a shootout with Peyton Manning and will do their best to control the ball with Benson in this one.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB) - Bills v. Lions

Buffalo’s braniac signal caller may be getting wedgies in the locker room after practice, but he has been a lone bright spot for the struggling Bills this season. Fitzpatrick has thrown five touchdowns in his last three games, while averaging over 260 yards passing in each contest.

The win-starved Bills face Detroit in what should be a matchup completely devoid of defense. Fitzpatrick will use his Harvard education and passing prowess to take the Lions’ secondary to school in this one.

Jamaal Charles (RB) - Chiefs @ Broncos

Charles has gotten fantasy managers more hot and bothered this season than Kim Kardashian’s Carl’s Jr. commercial. Kansas City’s rushing rocketeer is averaging a ridiculous 6.4 yards per carry this season.

Charles’ partner in crime, Thomas Jones, is coming off a disappointing effort against the Oakland Raiders in which he averaged just 1.7 yards per carry. The outing will force coach Todd Haley to strongly consider giving Charles the rock more against a Denver defense that is giving up the most rushing touchdowns in the league.

* Charles had to leave last week’s game several times with an undisclosed injury. Check his status before game time and deploy the Chiefs running back accordingly.


Brett Favre (QB) - Vikings @ Bears

Picking against a first ballot Hall of Famer one week after he breaks a personal record for passing yards in a game is riskier than jumping into a lion’s cage while wearing a meat suit. But the Chicago Bears have held opponents to a league fewest five passing touchdowns this season.

Favre’s favorite target, Percy Harvin, is also struggling with migraines again. Mix that with recent grumblings that Brad Childress is losing his locker room and the Vikings offense looks like it will sputter in the Windy City. 

Peyton Hillis (RB) - Browns v. Jets

Hillis bulled his way to a career-best 184 yards rushing last week in a game that delivered a surprise ending worthy of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. The Browns' victory over the New England Patriots showed that the Dog Pound is no longer filled with puppies.

But the New York Jets’ fourth-ranked rush defense is bound to put the clamps on Hillis this Sunday. Eric Mangini managed to catch one of his former teams off guard with a sneaky good running game last week, but the Hillis Express will experience several delays when the Jets soar into town.

Matt Forte (RB) - Bears v. Vikings

An expanded role for Chester Taylor and continued shaky play from the Chicago offensive line resulted in an underwhelming game for Forte last week. The Bears’ running back has been a fantasy stud this season, but his lackluster performance against a Bills defense that ranks dead last against the run is cause for concern.

Forte is still a dangerous threat in the passing game and a solid points per reception option any week. But the Bears are clearly looking to divvy up the carries differently in the second half of the season. Taylor receiving the lone touchdown plunge last week is a testament to that. 

Steve Smith (WR) - Panthers @ Buccaneers

Several fantasy managers are stubbornly sticking by Steve Smith – once an elite receiving commodity – only to be disappointed week in and week out. The Panthers' anemic offense has absolutely destroyed Smith’s fantasy value this season.

Smith has not caught a touchdown since the second week of the season. In his last game, Carolina’s No. 1 receiver only caught one pass for nine yards. Tampa Bay doesn’t necessarily have an elite pass defense, but Smith is a must bench until he shows some signs of life.



Mike Thomas (WR) - Jaguars v. Texans

It’s been well documented that Houston and pass defense go together like Don Draper and monogamy. Accordingly, known commodities like David Garrard and Mike Sims-Walker should automatically be inserted into your fantasy lineup.

But second-year wideout Mike Thomas also deserves a look from managers in need of receiving help this week. The 5-foot-8 University of Arizona product may be short in stature, but he will be high in production this week as he victimizes the Texans’ secondary.

Kevin Smith (RB) - Lions @ Bills

No, not the director who takes up two airplane seats. The Detroit Lions’ Kevin Smith is being gradually worked back into the offense following a knee injury he suffered last season.

Incumbent starter Jahvid Best appeared to reaggravate a nagging toe injury last week and has been limited in practice. Regardless of whether Best plays, Smith should see some extra carries as a result. As a bonus, the Lions will play a Bills defense that would give up 100 rushing yards to Lieutenant Dan.

Mike Goodson (RB) - Panthers @ Buccaneers

As of Wednesday, Mike Goodson had been penciled in as the starting running back for the Carolina Panthers this week. It only took injuries to three players above him on the depth chart – DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton - to make the latest news possible.

The Texas A&M product picked a good week to get his feet wet as a starter, going against Tampa Bay’s 30th-ranked rush defense. There is a chance that one of Carolina’s other three backs suits up and wrestles some carries away from Goodson, but the second year pro still deserves consideration as a flex start.

Chad Pennington (QB) - Dolphins v. Titans

Chad Pennington’s career has been resurrected more times than Michael Meyers. And, after three shoulder surgeries, everybody’s favorite noodle-armed quarterback will be back at it again this Sunday.

Coach Tony Sparano benched Chad Henne in favor of Pennington for the Dolphins’ upcoming game against the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee has given up some big passing days to opposing quarterbacks this season, making Pennington a solid filler for fantasy teams in need of a bye week fill-in. 



To reach staff writer Michael Green, click here.

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