With the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football schedule kicking off this week, we’re posting our Start and Sit rankings early. I’m proud to say that the Cafe is still rolling along at No. 1 in the FantasyXpert.com rankings, doing better than nearly 30 other fantasy sites that post weekly rankings. When broken down by position, the Cafe has turned in top-five seasons at each fantasy position but kicker. You’re getting the No. 1 rated rankings on the web here, folks. - R.J.
Thanks RJ! And thanks again to all our rankers, not only for doing a great job every week, but for getting this week’s edition in just a bit early. We’ve got football on Thursday! I know I’m excited, so without further adieu, let’s move onto the rankings!
|1||Drew Brees||NO||at STL||96.50|
|4||Tom Brady||NE||at IND||86.75|
|9||Joe Flacco||BAL||at CLE||78.25|
|T-9||Jay Cutler||CHI||at SF||78.25|
|11||Donovan McNabb||PHI||at SD||77.50|
|12||Tony Romo||DAL||at GB||76.75|
|13||Carson Palmer||CIN||at PIT||73.75|
|14||Matt Hasselbeck||SEA||at ARI||73.00|
|15||Matt Ryan||ATL||at CAR||68.25|
|18||Kyle Orton||DEN||at WAS||63.25|
|T-18||Matt Cassel||KC||at OAK||63.25|
|21||Matthew Stafford||DET||at MIN||59.00|
|22||David Garrard||JAC||at NYJ||58.00|
|27||Trent Edwards||BUF||at TEN||44.75|
|T-27||Josh Freeman||TB||at MIA||44.75|
Start: Brett Favre, Vikings. The 40-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down so far this season. Coming off a four-touchdown performance against the Packers in Week 9, Favre looks primed for yet another big game this week. Favre’s Vikings face a Detroit defense that has allowed the second most passing yards per game in the NFL (263.1) and the second most touchdowns (19).
Start: Phillip Rivers, Chargers. Rivers has been spectacular at times this season, but perhaps just as important to fantasy players, he has been consistent. The Chargers’ signal-caller has yet to really have a “bad” fantasy start. He has not thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in any game this season and has at least 200 yards and a score in every game as well. The Chargers possess a dangerous passing game and only a mediocre rushing attack, meaning that Rivers is always going to be involved. That makes him a solid start this week, even against an above average pass defense like Philadelphia.
Sit: Matt Ryan, Falcons. I don’t think you can quite call it a sophomore slump, but some of the interception issues that plagued Ryan in college seem to be finally showing up on the pro level. Ryan has now thrown eight picks in his last four games, and has gone over 200 yards only once. The Falcons’ opponent this week, Carolina, ranks 6th in the NFL in passing yards allowed. It would probably be best to bench Ryan for the time being.
Sit: Kyle Orton, Broncos. Orton was putting up great numbers during the Broncos’ 6-0 start, but over their last two games, Denver is 0-2 and Orton’s numbers reflect that. Orton has thrown zero touchdowns and three interceptions over that span. He even shaved his trademark beard in hopes of turning it around this week against Washington. I think everyone expects the Broncos to stop their losing streak against the Redskins, but I would not expect particularly good numbers from Orton. The Redskins rank #1 in the NFL in pass defense, having allowed only 159.9 yards per game and 7 touchdowns.
|3||Ray Rice||BAL||at CLE||93.50|
|4||Michael Turner||ATL||at CAR||89.50|
|6||Maurice Jones-Drew||JAC||at NYJ||85.25|
|8||Pierre Thomas||NO||at STL||82.75|
|14||Cedric Benson||CIN||at PIT||74.25|
|15||Marion Barber||DAL||at GB||73.25|
|16||Mike Bell||NO||at STL||72.25|
|18||LeSean McCoy||PHI||at SD||71.00|
|20||Reggie Bush||NO||at STL||70.75|
|21||Marshawn Lynch||BUF||at TEN||69.75|
|23||Matt Forte||CHI||at SF||68.25|
|T-23||Laurence Maroney||NE||at IND||68.25|
|26||Jamaal Charles||KC||at OAK||67.50|
|27||Knowshon Moreno||DEN||at WAS||65.75|
|T-27||Kevin Smith||DET||at MIN||65.75|
|33||Felix Jones||DAL||at GB||62.00|
|37||Fred Jackson||BUF||at TEN||56.25|
|38||Cadillac Williams||TB||at MIA||56.00|
|39||Tashard Choice||DAL||at GB||55.50|
|T-39||Julius Jones||SEA||at ARI||55.50|
|45||Kolby Smith||KC||at OAK||49.75|
|46||Correll Buckhalter||DEN||at WAS||49.25|
|47||Kevin Faulk||NE||at IND||46.25|
|48||Maurice Morris||DET||at MIN||45.25|
|49||Derrick Ward||TB||at MIA||45.00|
|50||Brian Westbrook||PHI||at SD||43.81|
|52||Sammy Morris||NE||at IND||43.25|
|55||Justin Forsett||SEA||at ARI||41.00|
|59||Rashard Jennings||JAC||at NYJ||26.25|
|60||LeRon McClain||BAL||at CLE||26.00|
|61||Willis McGahee||BAL||at CLE||25.00|
|62||Garrett Wolfe||CHI||at SF||24.25|
|63||Jason Snelling||ATL||at CAR||15.75|
|64||Adrian Peterson||CHI||at SF||12.50|
|T-64||Dantrell Savage||KC||at OAK||12.50|
Start: Ricky Williams, Dolphins. I think one of this year’s more interesting story lines is the 32-year-old Williams’ resurgence in the Dolphins’ wildcat offense. Sure, he only gets around 10 touches a game, but he’s got a 5.4 yards-per-carry average, he’s involved in the passing game, and he’s got a nose for the endzone. There is plenty of room for both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to produce in the wildcat, and this week’s matchup against the Bucs should have the two backs licking their chops. The Buccaneers may have finally gotten their first win last week, but they still allow a whopping 163.4 yards per game on the ground.
Start: Pierre Thomas, Saints. Thomas is in a similar situation as the previously mentioned Williams this week, in that they are both sharing carries, but also both play a weak run defense. Thomas has topped 80 total yards and scored in the Saints’ last two games. It seems that he is slowing wresting the lead runner role from Mike Bell, and is getting more looks in the redzone. That’s good news for his fantasy owners, as the Saints are sure to find the redzone several times this week against St. Louis.
Sit: Cedric Benson, Bengals. OK, so I’m not necessarily suggesting that everyone has a better option than Benson just hanging out on their bench. After all, Benson is still ranked in our top 15 this week. However, be aware that Benson has a tough game ahead of him against the Steelers’ top-rated run defense. Pittsburgh allows just 70.4 rushing yards per game, and has given up just 2 total touchdowns on the ground. If you are having a tough time deciding between Benson and another top back, you should keep that in mind.
Sit: Ladainian Tomlinson, Chargers. It seems like just yesterday that LT was the best runningback in the league, and a must-start every week. In reality though, those days are long-gone. Tomlinson has yet to top 80 rushing yards in a game this season, is not finding the endzone, and is not involved in the passing game like he used to be either. He’s a decent play against weaker opponents, but hopefully you have a couple better options available when he plays tougher defenses (ie. the Eagles).
|2||Marques Colston||NO||at STL||88.50|
|3||Randy Moss||NE||at IND||85.75|
|8||Wes Welker||NE||at IND||81.25|
|9||DeSean Jackson||PHI||at SD||80.25|
|11||Calvin Johnson||DET||at MIN||79.35|
|12||Chad Ochocinco||CIN||at PIT||78.00|
|13||Derrick Mason||BAL||at CLE||77.75|
|16||Nate Burleson||SEA||at ARI||77.25|
|18||Miles Austin||DAL||at GB||75.75|
|21||Roddy White||ATL||at CAR||75.40|
|22||Devin Hester||CHI||at SF||74.75|
|T-23||T.J. Houshmandzadeh||SEA||at ARI||74.25|
|25||Dwayne Bowe||KC||at OAK||73.50|
|26||Lee Evans||BUF||at TEN||73.25|
|T-26||Brandon Marshall||DEN||at WAS||73.25|
|30||Terrell Owens||BUF||at TEN||70.00|
|32||Mike Sims-Walker||JAC||at NYJ||69.25|
|34||Mark Clayton||BAL||at CLE||67.00|
|35||Devery Henderson||NO||at STL||65.50|
|36||Johnny Knox||CHI||at SF||64.75|
|37||Earl Bennett||CHI||at SF||64.25|
|38||Robert Meachem||NO||at STL||64.00|
|42||Jeremy Maclin||PHI||at SD||62.00|
|T-42||Antonio Bryant||TB||at MIA||62.00|
|45||Roy Williams||DAL||at GB||61.75|
|48||Bryant Johnson||DET||at MIN||59.50|
|T-50||Malcom Floyd||SD||vs. PHI||58.50|
|53||Eddie Royal||DEN||at WAS||57.25|
|56||Patrick Crayton||DAL||at GB||56.25|
|57||Torry Holt||JAC||at NYJ||55.75|
|T-57||Deion Branch||SEA||at ARI||55.75|
|59||Laveranues Coles||CIN||at PIT||54.25|
|60||Michael Clayton||TB||at MIA||53.50|
|66||Michael Jenkins||ATL||at CAR||47.50|
|68||Sam Aiken||NE||at IND||43.50|
|69||Antwaan Randle El||WAS||DEN||43.00|
|73||Johnnie Lee Higgins||OAK||KC||39.50|
|74||Kelley Washington||BAL||at CLE||39.25|
|75||Mark Bradley||KC||at OAK||38.25|
|76||Jason Avant||PHI||at SD||36.00|
|80||Lance Moore||NO||at STL||34.75|
|83||Chris Chambers||KC||at OAK||29.75|
|85||Sam Hurd||DAL||at GB||28.50|
|87||Andre Caldwell||CIN||at PIT||25.75|
|T-87||Brandon Stokley||DEN||at WAS||25.75|
|90||Josh Reed||BUF||at TEN||25.50|
|91||Dennis Northcutt||DET||at MIN||25.25|
|92||Bobby Wade||KC||at OAK||25.00|
|93||Maurice Stovall||TB||at MIA||24.50|
|94||Sammie Stroughter||TB||at MIA||24.00|
|95||Mike Thomas||JAC||at NYJ||22.00|
|98||Jabar Gaffney||DEN||at WAS||14.75|
Start: Derrick Mason, Ravens. Mason’s performance has been inconsistent this year, so ideally you would play him only when his matchup is good. The Cleveland Browns would certainly be considered a good matchup. Cleveland is 22nd in the NFL is passing defense, and last time the Ravens faced the Browns, Mason record a season high 118 yards and a touchdown.
Start: Steve Smith, Panthers. I firmly believe that despite the Panthers’ failure to get him the ball, Smith is still one of the NFL’s best receivers. I like his matchup this week against Atlanta. The Falcons have shown weakness in their passing game recently, and have dropped near the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed. Not to mention that the last time Smith faced Atlanta he had his best game of the season (8 catches, 131 yards).
Sit: Santana Moss, Redskins. As the Redskins’ only reliable wide receiver, Moss has been able to put up somewhat respectable numbers, despite a decimated offensive line and shaky quarterback play. His matchup against the Broncos is not a favorable one though. He will likely be lining up across from one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks in Champ Bailey, and with the Redskins trotting out banged up and inexperienced offensive lineman, Jason Campbell will likely get very little time to look downfield.
Sit: Donnie Avery, Rams. Avery was considered by many (myself included) to be a possible breakout candidate this year. Unfortunately, that never materialized, even after a five-catch, 87-yard game a few weeks ago that I thought might help him turn the corner. Avery now has only four catches in his last three games. This week, the Saints’ aggressive blitzes and ball-hawking corners should be more than the Rams’ passing game can handle.
|4||Tony Gonzalez||ATL||at CAR||84.25|
|5||Jeremy Shockey||NO||at STL||84.00|
|7||Brent Celek||PHI||at SD||82.75|
|8||Kellen Winslow||TB||at MIA||82.00|
|9||Jason Witten||DAL||at GB||81.75|
|12||John Carlson||SEA||at ARI||77.50|
|13||Greg Olsen||CHI||at SF||77.00|
|15||Todd Heap||BAL||at CLE||70.50|
|16||Brandon Pettigrew||DET||at MIN||68.00|
|18||Tony Scheffler||DEN||at WAS||65.00|
|T-19||Ben Watson||NE||at IND||63.00|
|25||Marcedes Lewis||JAC||at NYJ||56.50|
|26||Sean Ryan||KC||at OAK||56.25|
|28||Daniel Coats||CIN||at PIT||53.25|
|29||Martellus Bennett||DAL||at GB||47.00|
|30||Derek Fine||BUF||at TEN||44.25|
Start: Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings. I believe I recommended Shiancoe as a “Sit” in Week 4, stating that he did not seem too involved in the Vikings revamped passing game. Well, Visanthe must have taken that personally, because he’s scored five touchdowns in five games since then. He’s a great start against the struggling Lions this week.
Sit: Todd Heap, Ravens. Maybe I can inspire Heap by listing him as a “Sit” this week. The former Arizona State Sun Devil has been involved in the Ravens’ offense, but has not scored since Week 2. He’s got a good matchup this week, but it is still hard to recommend him over the fourteen guys listed ahead of him on our list.
|2||David Akers||PHI||at SD||92.00|
|3||Stephen Gostkowski||NE||at IND||87.75|
|4||John Carney||NO||at STL||84.50|
|5||Nick Folk||DAL||at GB||81.00|
|11||Matt Prater||DEN||at WAS||79.25|
|12||Robbie Gould||CHI||at SF||76.75|
|14||Steven Hauschka||BAL||at CLE||76.25|
|16||Jason Elam||ATL||at CAR||73.25|
|18||Rian Lindell||BUF||at TEN||71.25|
|23||Ryan Succop||KC||at OAK||67.25|
|24||Olindo Mare||SEA||at ARI||65.75|
|25||Josh Scobee||JAC||at NYJ||65.00|
|26||Shayne Graham||CIN||at PIT||64.50|
|28||Jason Hanson||DET||at MIN||62.00|
|30||Connor Barth||TB||at MIA||61.00|
Start: Jay Feely, Jets. Feely is probably available in most leagues, so if you normally start Lawrence Tynes or Kris Brown and need a bye-week replacement, the Jets’ kicker could be your man. Feely has topped seven points in each of his last five games, and the Jaguars are far from an intimidating defense.
Sit: Shayne Graham, Bengals. It’s funny, Graham is generally considered a good kicker, and the Bengals have been pretty good on offense, but for some reason he has only managed ten field goal attempts on the season (and he’s only made seven of them). I would not expect a big turnaround this week against the stingy Steelers’ defense at the less than kicker-friendly Heinz Field.
Start: Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins don’t rank highly in many defensive categories, but they have also played some really tough offenses so far this year (the Saints, Colts, Patriots, Falcons, Chargers, Jets twice). This week, however, they play Tampa Bay, a team that averages just 15.4 points per game. And that’s after the 38 points they scored last week in their first win (that total includes two defensive touchdowns). Point is, the Dolphins have a good matchup this week, and could be available in your league if you need a replacement.
Sit: Indianapolis Colts. This one’s pretty simple. The Colts are top ten fantasy defense, but this week they play one of the league’s best offenses in the Patriots. Our rankers have taken notice, dropping Indy all the way to 29th in this week’s rankings (ouch!) If you have been starting the Colts every week up to this point, you might want to consider your other options for this week.
Nick Hopkins is a Cafe member who has been contributing to the Start & Sit since 2006. He posts on the Cafe under the name terpfan. R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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