Lady and gentlepersons, welcome to week 10 of the NFL season! As usual it is going way too fast and we will soon be left to fondle our Ben Roethlisberger fatheads and start planning next year’s top 10, can you say Ray Rice?  So do your best to savor each moment! Thankfully Thursday night football is here to fray the already severely frayed knot that binds what relationships you are tenuously holding together, but it’s football, what good is “social interaction” and “love” when you can manage your fantasy team to Canton, or more likely some place online where they give you a digitized trophy? For a fantasy breakdown of tonight’s game take a look at my post over at Bears Blitz.  Yeah, I know, the Bears suck!

Here is our weekly installment of sleepers and busts. Bow to our greatness:

Three Sleepers

Chet Gresham, Here and Now

Jerricho Cotchery, WR: The Cotch Rocket should be all healed up and has a nice #1 receiver to take away some pressure in the way of Braylon “playing for the money” Edwards.  He also gets a team in Jacksonville that ranks last in DVOA to #2 wide receivers. He’s a must start this week.

Mark Sanchez, QB: To carry on with the J-E-T-S theme I’m liking a lot of their players this week up against the Jags.  Sanchez has shown he can have clunkers, but his last game before the bye was a strong one versus the weak Dolphins secondary. I feel like he can have a productive game at home off the bye against a poor Jags secondary.

Kolby Smith, RB: No, not Thomas Jones! I can only stomach so many Jets players at a time! I don’t like Kolby Smith (It’s a long story.  Essentially he tried to kill my dog.), but I think Haley does like him, at least as an inside runner.  You know I like Jamaal Charles because I own him, but my last conversation with Haley was heated on this subject.  We decided that to remain friends we would agree to disagree. I think Todd is going to give Smith a shot at the goal line.  Will he be able to convert? I’m kind of hoping not for my very selfish reasons, but since he should get the chance he’s worth a flier in deep leagues against a poor Raiders defense.

Three Busts

Matt Schauf, Rapid Draft.com

Roddy White, WR: Carolina faced the loaded pass offenses of Arizona and New Orleans over the past two weeks and allowed a total of one touchdown pass to wide receivers. Even that one to Robert Meachem last Sunday came from 54 yards out. Such big plays have been a big part of White’s success this year, as four of his six touchdowns have come from at least 31 yards away. His chances of adding to that total don’t seem great this week, however, for two main reasons. White continues to deal with a knee injury that had him questionable for the Washington game, and the Panthers don’t give up many big pass plays. They’ve allowed the fifth fewest passes of 20 yards or more (16) all year. White scored in the first meeting between these teams but also tallied just 53 yards on his six catches. As Matt Ryan has struggled a bit and the team has leaned more heavily on Michael Turner lately, White has caught four passes or fewer in three of the past four games. He has also been held to less than 60 yards in all but two outings. Those numbers don’t matter too much if you find the end zone, but they make for a pretty mediocre fantasy day when you don’t.

Greg Olsen, TE: Every tight end that has garnered at least eight targets against the Niners so far has come away with at least six catches. Unfortunately for Olsen, there has only been one game so far in which Jay Cutler threw that many passes his way. The outlook gets worse if you don’t play in a point-per-reception format, as Owen Daniels has posted the only touchdown by a tight end against San Francisco this season. The list of tight ends who played the Niners and didn’t find the end zone includes Dallas Clark, Tony Gonzalez, John Carlson and Visanthe Shiancoe. Throw in Chicago’s utter lack of a running game, and it’s not hard to imagine the Bears struggling to get close enough for Olsen to get some of the red-zone looks that led to his big game last Sunday.

Kyle Orton, QB: When you see Washington come up on the schedule this year, it’s easy to think of a thoroughly terrible team against which any opponent can get right. This isn’t the week for Orton to do so, though. No quarterback has thrown for more than one touchdown on Washington all season, and although plenty of weak passers adorn that list, it also includes Donovan McNabb, Matt Ryan and Eli Manning. In part because the Washington offense has been so anemic, only two opposing quarterbacks have even reached 200 yards the team. Let’s not discredit the Washington defense, though, which has held opponents to the sixth fewest yards per attempt. Denver has had its once attractive running game stuffed by Baltimore and Pittsburgh the past two weeks and can use this far less challenging matchup to get things going again in that area.

Quarterbacks

Bryan Fontaine, Rookie Blitz

Sleeper: Brett Favre: The Vikings got a much needed week of rest after the emotional win for Favre in his return to Lambeau Field.  Favre has surprisingly been a top 10 option at QB thus far in 2009, and this week he draws a juicy matchup with one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.  The Lions are allowing an average of 18.6 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and Favre will have no issues finding his receivers very open all day.  In their Week 2 matchup, Favre completed 23 of 27 passes for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He should easily score for several touchdowns, but also approach the 300 yard mark in passing.  Start Favre with confidence this week.

Bust: David Garrard: David Garrard’s on again, off again 2009 season is about to hit the skids yet again.  Garrard finished in the 10 top last week for quarterbacks due to a matchup against the weak Kansas City Chiefs and an offensive explosion by Mike Sims-Walker.  The Jets have been one of the toughest matchups so far in 2009 for opposing quarterbacks allowing only 7 fantasy points per game on average.  Darrelle Revis should have no problem containing Sims-Walker, and the constant pressure from the blitzing Jets defense won’t give Garrard any time to find any of the other Jaguars receivers.

Running Backs

Jason Sarney, Fantasy Phenoms

Sleeper: Mike Bell: We over at Fantasy Phenoms had this one circled for weeks. With Bell and the Saints heading into St. Louis in Week 10, this game should be in the books before the 2nd quarter. Look for Bell to get plenty of second half carries, as Pierre Thomas will likely be resting much of the latter part of the contest. If Bell touches the rock 15 times, he will certainly produce quality fantasy stats against the leagues 27th ranked rush defense. If you have both Thomas as well as Bell…play’em both.

Bust: Rashard Mendenhall: I’ve got nothing but love for Mendenhall overall, but in Week 10 against the Bengals’ 2nd ranked rush defense, look for the Steelers to go to the air the majority of the game. Inversely, the Bengals’ pass defense is suspect, and a bottom 10 unit, so look for Big Ben and his weapons to be the main source of production for the Steelers.

Wide Receiver

Ginny Loveless, Football Diehards

Sleeper: Robert Meachem: This play is somewhat contingent on the availability of Lance Moore, but the mid-week report is that Moore still has not practiced, and hasn’t practiced since Week 8. With that said, Meachem has an excellent match-up this week against a Rams secondary that is 30th in the league in passing yards allowed per game at home, 257.7. They allow a league worst 9.2 yards per attempt. The Rams are also 29th in points per game allowed at 27.6. Meachem is coming off a game that saw him targeted a season-high 6 times, in which he led the Saints receivers with 5 catches for 98 yards including a highlight reel 54-yard touchdown score. Meachem is producing when Brees goes to him, and this game for the Saints should be a high-scoring wide-open affair, with plenty of fantasy points to go around for this offensive juggernaut.

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Bust: Mike Sims-Walker: All the stats stack up against Sims-Walker this week. First off, he’s on the road, and the Jacksonville passing attack has been horrible in away games, averaging only 150.5 yards passing a game. In comparison, they average 291.0 yards passing a game at home. The last time we saw MSW on the road was against Tennessee where he had two catches for nine yards. In sizing up the Jaguars opponent, the Jets, they are 3rd in the league in allowing only 145.2 yards passing a game at home. The are especially stingy to the wide receiver position where they are 2nd in the league in allowing only 8.8 receptions per game, and 1st in lowest yards allowed to the position per game at 96. Jets are also 2nd in the league in allowing only three wide receiver touchdowns.

Tight Ends

Jim Day, Fantasy Football Whiz

Sleeper: Brandon Pettigrew: Pettigrew looks to be fully healthy again and with Calvin Johnson on the field to take some of the pressure off, Pettigrew had his best game as a pro with 7 receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown on 8 targets in week 9. In week 10 he faces a Vikings defense that is 32nd against opposing TEs. Detroit will most likely get behind early and Pettigrew might be the only player that can actually get open against Minnesota.

Bust: Dustin Keller: Keller is coming off his best fantasy game of the year in week 8 when he was the Jets leading receiver against the Dolphins. He recorded 8 receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. The Jets had a bye in week 9 but this week they face a Jacksonville team that has not allowed any TEs over 39 yards and has only allowed 1 TD all year to TEs. Find a better option than Keller. The Jets should be able to run all day on the Jaguars and will look to take shots deep against a defense that only has 8 sacks and 5 INTs on the season.

Defenses

Greg Dietz, Big Troph

Sleeper: Chicago Bears: The Bears have been a dreadful defense for you if you picked them up in the beginning of the year. They rank in the bottom third in fantasy football this season and with guys like Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa down for the year, it is easy to see why. However, this week they head to San Francisco on Thursday night to face off against a San Francisco team that hasn’t won in four consecutive weeks despite the re-emergence of QB Alex Smith. I expect Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman to drape the 49ers’ wide receivers and come up with a couple interceptions which will be a nice surprise for owners in need of a defensive pickup in week 10.

Bust: Indianapolis Colts: Indianapolis might be the best all around team in football. Their offense is quite obviously one of the most proficient in the league and is supporting what has been at times, a patchwork defense.. And while the secondary made due last week without Bob Sanders, Kelvin Hayden, and Marlin Jackson, it is going to catch up with them on Sunday night. Tom Brady will exploit every nook and cranny of the Indianapolis defense and turn the game into a shootout which never spells good news for fantasy defense owners. If you have to start Indy, do what you must, but I’d be seeing if I could pick up someone at least for week 10.

  1. Josh says:
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    hmm, a lot to chew on here. I’ve got Mike Bell, Meachem and Sims-Walker in a league – do I really start one of the Saints over MSW? and which one? Bell I presume?

  2. Smashin Pumpkins says:
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    Do I play Kevin “Banged Up” Smith @ MIN or Jamal “I Get No Carries” Charles @ Oakland in PPR? Ugh

  3. Jo says:
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    I hate this new era of tandem backfields…in PPR, start Charles or Smith?

  4. Jon says:
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    Guys – would you do the following trade in a PPR league:

    Give:
    Ochocinco
    Grant

    Get:
    DW

  5. Jon says:
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    My other WR’s are:

    VinJack
    Breaston
    Crabtree
    Rice
    Floyd

    Other RB’s are:

    Burner
    Sproles

  6. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Josh: If Revis shadows MSW he could come close to giving him a goose egg. I’m not confident that Bell or Meachem will give you the numbers you want (they easily could), but I think in this instance it might be worth starting Meachem. Bell is risky. They should have him in there toward the end, but you never know.

    @Smashin Pumpkins: I like Jamaal in a ppr.

  7. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Jon: Do you play 3 WR’s, 2 or 3 RB’s?

  8. Jon says:
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    3 WRs 2 RB’s No flex

  9. Josh says:
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    @Doc: damn, that sounds pretty dire. I’m gonna stick to hoping that Westbrook remains Out of Order and I can just throw McCoy into that slot.

  10. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Josh: Hah! I try to uplift!

    @Jon: I like the trade in a vacuum, but you really can’t afford to lose Ocho. Anyway to make it happen another way?

  11. Sean says:
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    Not that it changes the prediction of the Colts as a bust…but the Colts are playing the Patriots at home…not in Foxboro

  12. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Sean: Thanks Sean

  13. rj says:
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    Seriously – you listed Brett Favre, playing the Detroit Lions as a SLEEPER??? Gee – thanks for the tip. Why don’t you also tell us theat Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner are must starts this week?

  14. RJ is Right says:
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    Seriously, you can’t list MVP candidates as Sleeper picks. And I’ve been known to just go against what Dietz says this season.. And I’m in first place.

  15. Dave says:
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    I have Bell and MSW also. I am benching MSW this week and playing Bell but for my flex to show how much I believe MSW will be shut down I am playing shonn Green and still thinking about sliding in Kolby Smith instead of Shonn not sure yet. If you have any input on my thoughts please let me know.

    Dave

  16. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Dave: Yeah, I like Greene this week. Worried about Smith.

  17. Justin says:
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    Who should I pick off of waivers as a bye week fill in? My options are
    Jamal Lewis, McGahee, Chester Taylor, McFadden, Betts, Wells. Thanks!

  18. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Justin: It’s between McFadden and Wells. McFadden is riskier, but has a higher ceiling because he could get more work than Wells. Depending where you are I’d go McFadden for upside or Wells for safety.

  19. FrancisE says:
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    Am stuck with a dilemma at flex in my non-PPR league: should I go with steady-but-largely scoreless Burleson against the Cards, or Portis-for-a-Day Ladell Betts against the newly-leaky Bronco D? Or maybe dark horse candidate Beanie Wells?

    I’m probably in need of a little more bang than usual from this slot, as I decided to go WITH Cutler and bench Olsen. (I’m a genius!)

  20. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Justin: McFadden implied he might not start. Not sure what that means, but Wells is looking safer.

    @FrancisE: Betts is hurting. I’d go with Wells.

  21. bluesstrummer says:
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    So would you start Austin Collie over Sims-Walker??

  22. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @bluesstrummer: Sounds bad doesn’t it? But I would. I really hate that matchup in NY.

  23. bluesstrummer says:
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    Doc, what’s your address in case this doesn’t work out. lol!
    Collie hasn’t done much lately.

  24. bluesstrummer says:
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    I do have Coles. Maybe i start him ahead of MSW or Collie.

  25. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @bluesstrummer: hah, yeah, it’s tough. MSW is easily the most talented, but I’ve seen Randy Moss and Andre Johnson shut down by Revis and couple that with Garrard not doing jack on the road and it’s pretty scary. But really, his skill probably evens him out with Collie and Coles. So I could see starting him.

  26. Dars says:
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    screwed up i guess and played crabtree over housh at 1 wr.

    so now flex: housh @ Ari or Lynch @ TN? (nonppr)

  27. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Dars: I like Lynch

  28. Bryan says:
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    I’ve got Kevin Smith, J Charles, and K Moreno to fill my RB2 spot… leaning towards Kevin Smith since Kolby Smith scares me.

    Also trying to figure out if I should trade away a WR for a QB or RB this week (Fri deadline, non-PPR 12-team league).
    I’ve got A Johnson, Moss, and D Jackson starting every week. K Walter, M Floyd, D Henderson on the bench. I know I can get Carson Palmer for Jackson. Might be able to deal one of the WRs for Pierre Thomas or Ryan Grant.

    Any advice would be appreciated

  29. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Bryan: I like Smith out of those.

    A big drop off at WR if you trade one away. Who do you have at QB and RB right now?

  30. Bryan says:
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    Orton and Sanchez at QB, not much on waivers (maybe Garrard)
    Thomas Jones, Kevin Smith, J Charles, and K Moreno at RB.

    Just thinking avg production between Walter and Jackson for the rest of the year might not be as significant as Orton vs Palmer.

  31. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Bryan: Yeah, I could see making that trade in your place. I’d also like to see an upgrade at RB. Who else does the Palmer owner have? Could you give Moreno or Smith with maybe Moss or AJ for Palmer and an upgrade at RB?

  32. Bryan says:
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    I actually got Moreno/Orton from him earlier in the year for Sims-Walker (I was stuck with Garrard/T Edwards). He doesn’t have much anymore: Slaton, Moats, Lynch, and Buckhalter (he traded away AP… don’t ask). I doubt he’ll move Slaton. I can also pick up Betts for this week to get past Smith vs MIN.

    Looking around the league, only 3 teams have big QBs on the bench for trading and none of those teams have a RB to trade that would be a decent upgrade. It’ll probably end up being just a 1:1 trade.

  33. Jason says:
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    Flex dilemna Doc:
    Bell or Stewart? I keep shifting back and forth, important matchup this wk.

    Also, (Non PPR) Berrian’s clearly not 100% and what are the chances they’ll let him rest; not like they even remotely need him this week. I’ve got Cotch in but only have Floyd on bnch. Should I stick with Berrian and be confident?

  34. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Jason: I like Stewart just because you know he’ll get some looks.

    Not confident with Berrian. I hate hamstring injuries. If he goes I think you have to go with him over Floyd though.

  35. Jason says:
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    Thanks Doc, I’m your huckleberry.

  36. Krush says:
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    Betts, Maroney or Sproles at flex?

  37. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Krush: I like Maroney

  38. Jason says:
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    Doc, that Berrian situation is bothering me… just checked the wire, guys available (slim pickin’) – would you recommend starting any of these over Bernard: Washington or Britt vs Bills, James Jones vs Dallas, B. Johnson, Minn. Appreciate it…

  39. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Jason: I would stick with Berrian. One long TD pass will save him.

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