Evan Silva

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D-Will will get the pill

Saturday, October 10, 2009




Cleveland @ Buffalo

Jerome Harrison was used like a workhorse (28 touches, 119 total yards per game) during Jamal Lewis' two-week hamstring injury. With Lewis back this week, though, Harrison's workloads going forward depend on Eric Mangini's talent evaluation. That's not something we'd rely on considering his ridiculous underuse of Leon Washington in New York, belief that Brad Smith could be a real weapon, and Lewis' domination of the backfield in Weeks 1 and 2. Harrison is the ideal sell high, especially with Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Baltimore coming up in the Browns' next four games.

Derek Anderson's rise to the QB job didn't rescue Braylon Edwards, but at least briefly helped Mohamed Massaquoi's value. Unfortunately, he'll now see the rolled coverages that Edwards used to see because Cleveland has no other skill players worth double teaming. From an offensive perspective, the NFL game is almost all about defensive attention. Massaquoi is rosterable in fantasy leagues because he is a No. 1 receiver, but the raw rookie won't save your season...This offense isn't suddenly back on track. Avoid Chansi Stuckey, Mike Furrey, and Joshua Cribbs.

Marshawn Lynch returned from his three-game suspension last week to siphon all fantasy value out of the Buffalo backfield. Fred Jackson started against Miami, but the league's fourth leading rusher to that point saw 12 touches to Lynch's 13. While both can be considered as FLEX plays in Sunday's matchup with a Browns defense surrendering more rushing touchdowns per game than anyone else, it appears the Bills will keep losing games while employing an even timeshare.

Trent Edwards isn't a good quarterback, and is one of the worst when Jonathan Scott and Kirk Chambers are his tackles. Through four weeks, only Green Bay has yielded more sacks than the Bills. LT Demetrius Bell's (groin) return will help, but not nearly enough to make Edwards a fantasy starter...The Browns are 21st against the pass, but it really doesn't matter. Terrell Owens and Lee Evans are both low-upside fantasy options considering the state of the offense.

4:05PM ET Games

Atlanta @ San Francisco

Atlanta returns from its bye looking to reestablish the ground game after a slow start that wasn't helped by Jerious Norwood's concussion. Norwood is back now, and will keep defenses on their heels while Michael Turner supplies the power. However, San Francisco is fourth in the league in run defense, has not let up a rushing touchdown, and surrenders just 3.1 yards per carry. Turner should get the ball 18-22 times and is always a good bet for a TD, but don't expect over 80 yards.

The 49ers' pass defense has been nearly as stingy on a per-attempt basis, but their peripheral numbers say they can be beaten. San Francisco has allowed 10 plays of 20+ yards, five passing TDs, and a 61.7 completion rate against. The Niners are all middle-of-the-road in those categories, and shouldn't significantly limit the fantasy upside of any Falcons passing attack member. Michael Jenkins should be benched, but Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Matt Ryan are all quality plays.

Many owners are "chasing" Week 4 points by immediately adding San Francisco as a fantasy defense. No doubt, the Niners have been revitalized by hard-nosed coach Mike Singletary and coordinator Greg Manusky, but the unit won't score three defensive TDs again for the rest of the season. They're not a good option against Atlanta....Glen Coffee is, though, with Frank Gore (ankle) out another game. Replacement "No. 2" RB Michael Robinson did not touch the football once last week. Coffee is a rare every-down back, going against a poor Atlanta run defense.

Since going target-less in Week 2, Josh Morgan has turned it around somewhat with lines of 4-47 and 2-39-1 against Minnesota and St. Louis, respectively. His matchup with Falcons RCB Chris Houston is fairly favorable on paper, but he's still no more than a low-end WR3...As Brad Morgan pointed out in this week's Red Zone report, the 49ers call virtually all of their red-zone passing plays for Vernon Davis. San Francisco won't struggle to move the ball Sunday, and Davis will benefit. It's worth noting that he is the No. 3 fantasy tight end overall through four games.

4:15PM ET Games

Houston @ Arizona

This projects to be the highest-scoring game of Week 5. Both pass-happy teams with weak-to-average secondaries will be greeted by 90-degree weather and lots of sun. Andre Johnson is always an elite fantasy start, and Kevin Walter should be used as he faces Cards LCB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. DRC (fractured finger) will play with a bulky wrap on his right hand that could affect his ability to jam Walter at the line of scrimmage. Walter is a big-time threat after the catch and Rodgers-Cromartie tackles poorly, so this is a matchup Matt Schaub will likely look to exploit.

Steve Slaton still fumbles too much and Arizona ranks sixth against the run, but the second-year runner has totaled 202 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. Every-down backs who play on offenses that move the football at will are nearly impossible to sit. Chris Brown is due back from his undisclosed illness and will likely push Ryan Moats (15 carries off the bench in Week 4) back to a third-string role, but is no longer a lock for red-zone and short-yardage carries after his game-costing goal-line fumble two weeks back. Play Slaton confidently.

It's not crazy to think this will be the week Chris Wells gets more than seven carries. The Cards' coaches undoubtedly watched quite a bit of game film during their Week 4 bye, and had to notice that Wells is a much more effective runner than Tim Hightower. Hightower needs to be in lineups as an RB2 against Houston's 32nd-ranked run defense, but Wells can be utilized as a high-upside FLEX. The Cardinals' offensive line seems to open more holes when Beanie is in the game.

Texans LCB Jacques Reeves (fractured fibula, thumb surgery) finally returns, but will likely be rusty after an 11-week layoff. That's a scary thought with Anquan Boldin on tap. Boldin was red hot before the bye (14 receptions in Weeks 2-3) and Arizona's new shortened-up passing attack has suited him perfectly...Steve Breaston is worth getting into lineups. He is Arizona's second-leading receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald and will likely see plenty of rookie nickel back Brice McCain. An awesome route runner, Breaston should run circles around the sixth-round pick.

Jacksonville @ Seattle

Mike Sims-Walker isn't a fluke. You would've heard of him long before now had he simply stayed healthy in his first two seasons. At 100%, Sims-Walker truly is Jacksonville's best wideout since Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. 30-year-old Seahawks RCB Ken Lucas is unlikely to slow his roll...TD-less Torry Holt isn't even a matchup play at this point, and Seattle finally gets back LCB Josh Wilson (high ankle sprain)...TE Marcedes Lewis has mixed two strong games with two downers. He figures to be on the line blocking Darryl Tapp and Cory Redding for most of this one.

The "other half" of the Jags' dynamic hyphenated duo, Maurice Jones-Drew has several things working in his favor going forward. He gets back mauling RT Eben Britton (knee) this week, faces a Seattle defense that will be minus do-it-all DE Patrick Kerney (groin) and was already giving up 5.1 YPC (sixth worst in the NFL), and has a ridiculously favorable upcoming schedule (@ SEA, vs. STL, vs. KC in three of the next four games). Rookie Rashad Jennings, by the way, has overtaken FB Greg Jones as the Jaguars' No. 2 ball carrier and should be owned in all leagues.

Matt Hasselbeck (ribs) has resumed practicing, but his status for Week 5 is a game-day decision dependent upon how he feels in warmups. Hasselbeck is going in and out of pain fits and isn't worth waiting on in fantasy leagues with a 4:15ET start. From this point of view, it wouldn't be smart for the Seahawks to risk their 34-year-old QB behind an offensive line down three starters (LT Walter Jones, RT Sean Locklear, RG Rob Sims)...Nate Burleson quieted down with 31 yards on four receptions in Week 4 and will likely end up being a disappointment most weeks.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh depends less on timing and chemistry than Burleson (Seattle's idea of a deep threat) because his game relies on short route running and possession-type skills. Housh is a better fantasy play than Burleson with a quarterback returning from a three-week layoff...The Jags' run defense has been solid, ranking 12th in the league and allowing just 4.0 yards per carry. Julius Jones' modest talent limits his upside, and he typically needs highly favorable matchups to be worth an RB2 play. He's a better FLEX.


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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