Booms, Busts, Breakouts (Week 9): Start Freeman, Sit Schaub
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...
Eli Manning (QB) - Giants @ Seahawks
Eli Manning and the Giants have been steamrolling the competition as of late. But Mini Peyton’s production has been up and down throughout the season. His four touchdown passes in Week 7 against the Dallas Cowboys were soured by three interceptions.
This week Manning faces a Seattle Seahawks pass defense that just got picked apart by the Raiders like a Thanksgiving turkey in the Madden household. With Seattle likely to focus on stopping the tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, there will be plenty of airspace for Manning this week.
LaDainian Tomlinson (RB) - Jets @ Lions
Old Man Tomlinson just refuses to slow down. LT2 has shown that he has plenty of fuel left in his 31-year-old tank through half a season. The Jets running back will have no problem continuing to rack up mileage against a Detroit rush defense that is giving up over 130 rushing yards per game.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez looked like he wasn’t suited to play for his local YMCA touch football team last week. Expect Rex Ryan to employ a conservative gameplan that contains a heavy dose of Tomlinson to help get his quarterback back on track this Sunday.
Brandon Jackson (RB) - Packers v. Cowboys
Brandon Jackson is finally starting to produce like fantasy owners expected after snatching him off the waiver wire early in the season. His moves on the field will not land him on the next season of “Dancing With the Stars,” but Jackson is a solid flex play in most leagues.
The Dallas defense has been playing with the tenacity of a geriatric sea cow, so Jackson should have no problem finding holes against a sagging Cowboys defensive squad.
Mike Williams (WR) - Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons
Despite being a top 20 receiver in passing yards through seven games, Mike Williams continues to be underappreciated in most fantasy leagues. But fantasy managers will be bringing out the “We Like Mike” banners this week after he dissects Atlanta’s shaky secondary.
The Falcons are giving up a shade over 260 passing yards per game and were absolutely torn apart by Carson Palmer and the Bengals before heading into their bye week. Williams broke the century mark for the first time this season last Sunday and could easily yield similar results this time out.
Matt Schaub (QB) - Texans v. Chargers
Matt Schaub could open up an amusement park with the roller coaster ride he has had this season. After an underwhelming performance against the Indianapolis Colts, Schaub will go against a 3-4 defense in San Diego that has eaten quarterbacks alive all season.
With weapons like Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, it’s hard to understand why Schaub has been firing enough blanks to become a spokesman for Cialis. Whatever the reason, the Houston quarterback cannot be trusted against top pass defenses until he shows more consistency.
Chad Henne (QB) - Dolphins @ Ravens
All Chad Henne wanted this holiday season was Randy Moss to come to Miami. Instead, he will get a face full of Ray Lewis. Henne has been a solid spot starter for fantasy teams this season, but owners should look elsewhere for help at the quarterback position.
The Dolphins’ quarterback had a rough outing against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, throwing for no touchdowns and a pick. There is no reason to think the sailing will be any easier when Miami docks in Baltimore.
Dwayne Bowe (WR) - Chiefs @ Raiders
After scoring just one touchdown in his first four games, Dwayne Bowe has reached pay dirt five times in his last three contests. But fantasy owners may want to cut the “Bowe” off of their fantasy lineup this week when the Chiefs go to Oakland.
The Raiders have been playing their best football in years thanks in large part to a much-improved defense. Oakland ranks fifth in passing yards allowed this season. Bowe may get a break if shutdown corner Nnamdi Asomugha can’t play due to a high ankle sprain. But Kansas City’s top receiver is still a risky start against a stifling Raiders secondary.
Jahvid Best (RB) - Lions v. New York Jets
After a torrid start to the season, Detroit’s explosive rookie has been slowed due to a nagging toe injury. Best has not scored a touchdown since Week 2 of the NFL season and has averaged a paltry 3.3 yards per carry on the ground.
Best is still a solid option in points per reception leagues, but his matchup against the New York Jets this week makes him a prime candidate to ride your team’s bench. New York has only given up two rushing touchdowns this season. Detroit also figures to pass the ball more now with a healthy Matthew Stafford under center.
Josh Freeman (QB) - Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons
Not even Nostradamus could have predicted that Josh Freeman would have more touchdown passes than Brett Favre and Jay Cutler this season, but that is exactly where he stands at the midway point. Freeman also has the second most rushing yards out of any quarterback in the league.
The second-year Kansas State product has developed into a true leader for one of the league’s most surprising teams in 2010. Freeman will be tested in a critical division matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday.
But Atlanta has been giving up big yardage through the air to opposing offenses and this game should be a high-scoring affair. If you are looking for a deep sleeper to plug in at quarterback this week, Freeman is your guy.
Seyi Ajirotutu (WR) - Chargers @ Texans
San Diego’s receiving depth chart has been looking increasingly like the patient list for a medical ward in recent weeks. With Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee hurting and Buster Davis recently placed on IR, San Diego is looking for production in some unlikely places.
Undrafted rookie Seyi Ajirotutu emerged as the team’s leading wide receiver last week with three receptions for 48 yards. The Fresno State product is looking at another busy week against a Houston Texans pass defense that provides less coverage than one of Lady Gaga’s onstage outfits.
Brandon Tate (WR) - Patriots @ Browns
New England’s second-year receiver had a coming out party against the Minnesota Vikings last week, tallying 101 yards and his first career touchdown. With Wes Welker commanding the majority of attention from defenses in the post-Moss era, Tate will continue to see plenty of opportunities.
Cleveland’s pass rush has been giving quarterbacks light years to throw on them. Tom Brady doesn’t need a stopwatch to know what to do when he is given extra time in the pocket. Look for Brady and Tate to connect on a couple bombs against the Browns this week.
Jacob Tamme (TE) - Colts @ Eagles
The Tammenator was a big box office draw last week, stepping in for an injured Dallas Clark. With Clark done for the season, expect Jacob Tamme to continue the love connection with Peyton Manning.
Everybody knows that Manning enjoys throwing to his tight end even more than he enjoys passionate dance-offs with Will Forte. The Philadelphia Eagles’ aversion to covering the middle of the field provides even more incentive to play Manning’s newest toy.
To reach staff writer Michael Green, click here.
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