SUNDAY GAMEDAY LIVE CHAT
I’ll be hosting a rapid-fire fantasy live chat from 10:30am to 11:30am eastern this Sunday morning. The usual topics up for debate include Starts & Sits, injury updates, weather reports and our locks/predictions.
CLICK HERE to access the chat!
KICK MY BUTT, WIN MONEY
Think you have what it takes to beat me in a weekly game of fantasy football? Here’s your chance to find out. We’ve got a $350 prize pool and a $5 bonus if you can score more points than I do. Plus, a win over yours truly means you can talk as much trash to me via twitter as you want.
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SURVIVOR SMASH: WEEK 9
Three straight weeks of winners means we’ll keep this section alive until all goes to hell. While our options are limited for Week 9, we’ll take the Atlanta Falcons (at Indianapolis) in an attempt to advance to Week 10.
POINT SPREAD SMASH OF THE WEEK
Current Record: 4-3 (no pick in Week 2)
Last week’s selection: Buffalo Bills (-6) vs. Washington Redskins: WIN
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-3.5) at Washington Redskins: Somebody please tell me how the Redskins plan to score any points in this one? They’re going into this matchup without their top two offensive weapons (WR Santana Moss, RB Tim Hightower) and have to find a way to make it work against a top-ten NFL defense. And don’t tell me, “The game is on the east coast.” I couldn’t care less about that. The Niners went to Cincy and beat a five-win Bengals team early this year and followed that up with a come-from-behind win at Philadelphia. Harbaugh knows how to prepare these guys.
CLICK HERE to check out the rest of the Week 9 lines.
START ‘EM UP
Cassel should find plenty of success against Miami's questionable passing defense.
Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Miami): It’s unlikely that Cassel shoots the lights out Sunday against the Dolphins, but he’s a solid bye week replacement for those of you who may be without Cam Newton or Matthew Stafford this weekend. The Dolphins currently rank 27th in the NFL against the pass (270.7 yds/gm) and are giving up an average of 23.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (3rd-most in NFL). Remember, Cassel has thrown for 255+ yards in three of his last four starts, so we think he has a good chance of delivering a respectable stat line in Week 9.
The line: Kansas City -4/40
Vegas notes: The Dolphins are 1-8-1 against the spread in their last ten games overall, while the Chiefs are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
The pick: It’s just a lean, but I’ll take the Chiefs and will lay the points.
Michael Bush, RB, Oakland Raiders (vs. Denver): With Darren McFadden (foot) expected to miss Sunday’s divisional showdown against the Broncos, feel free to insert Bush into your starting lineup. Denver currently ranks 17th in the NFL against the run (117.7 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 15.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. While the Broncos have had some moderate success defending the run this season, Bush should see enough touches to justify a starting spot as an RB2 or flex option.
The line: Oakland -7.5/42.5
Vegas notes: The Broncos are 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five games against a team with a winning record, while the Raiders are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games against AFC West opponents.
The pick: This is a big line, but if new quarterback Carson Palmer can move the sticks and protect the football, Oakland should be able to get it done.
Mario Manningham, WR, New York Giants (at New England): Granted, Manningham’s 2011 campaign has, to date, fallen short of expectations, but the former Michigan standout has been targeted eight or more times in each of his last three games and finally found the end zone in Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins. We recommend starting Manningham this weekend because he literally couldn’t find himself in a more favorable situation. The Patriots currently rank dead last in the NFL against the pass (323.1 yds/gm) and are giving up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team in the league (29.1 pts/gm). It doesn’t get much sweeter than this.
The line: New England -9/51
Vegas notes: The Giants are 29-13 against the spread in their last 42 road games, while the Patriots are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an against the spread loss.
The pick: No play, but this game has shootout written all over it, as the New England and New York defensive backs have struggled quite a bit in 2011.
Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chicago): After a lackluster start to the season that consisted of only 73 receiving yards through Philadelphia’s first five games, Celek has begun to heat up. The former Cincinnati Bearcat has turned 18 targets over his last two games into 11 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. While this recent hot streak could wind up being a fluke, we’ll take our chances in Week 9 against a Chicago defense that is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team in the league (12.1 pts/gm).
The line: Philadelphia -8/47
Vegas notes: The underdog is 7-2 against the spread in the last nine meetings between these two teams.
The pick: The Eagles have turned the corner, but are 1-3 against the Bears in the last four meetings between these two teams. No play.
Oakland Raiders, D/ST (vs. Denver): The Raiders currently rank 26th in scoring among fantasy D/STs, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that this unit is playing host to a Denver Broncos team that ranks 27th in the NFL in total offense (305.4 yds/gm) and 23rd in scoring (19.0 pts/gm). If quarterback Tim Tebow plays anything like he did last Sunday, the Oakland D/ST could be in for a big day.
The line: Oakland -7.5/42.5
Vegas notes: In 2011, UNDERS are 14-4 in games that feature at least one team coming off a bye.
The pick: UNDER 42.5
Jump for joy! Sanchez made it into our "Starts" column.
Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets (at Buffalo): Sanchez is two weeks removed from a three-touchdown outing against the San Diego Chargers and comes off the bye this Sunday to find himself in another favorable matchup. Should the wind conditions remain adequate, the New York signal-caller will have the opportunity to pile up the points in Week 9 against a Buffalo Bills team that ranks 24th in the NFL against the pass (265.9 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 20.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (11th-most in NFL).
The line: Buffalo -2/44
Vegas notes: The OVER is 13-3-2 in the Jets’ last 18 road games against a team with a winning record, while the OVER is 7-1 in the Bills’ last eight games overall.
The pick: OVER 44
Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (at Tennessee): Benson returns from his one-game suspension for an AFC showdown against a Titans team that currently ranks 27th in the NFL against the run (129.3 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 21.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (7th-most in NFL). We don’t think he’s going to roll up Adrian Peterson-type numbers, but Benson should see enough carries to bring home a respectable fantasy total.
The line: Tennessee -3/41.5
Vegas notes: The Bengals are 8-0 against the spread in their last eight games vs. AFC opponents, while the Titans are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up win.
The pick: So you say I can have the better football team AND three points? Don’t mind if I do.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, St. Louis Rams (at Arizona): Whether or not starting quarterback Sam Bradford (ankle) is ready to go this weekend doesn’t change the fact that Lloyd has amassed an impressive 25 targets over his first two starts since being traded to St. Louis. Should he receive the same volume of opportunities this Sunday, expect a solid stat line against an Arizona Cardinals team that ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass (277.6 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 26.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (t-5th-most in NFL).
The line: Arizona -2/41.5
Vegas notes: The Rams are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games on grass, while the Cardinals are 0-6 ATS in their last six games against NFC West opponents.
The pick: I don’t like it, but I’ll take the Rams +2.
Head to page 2 for our Week 10 Sits.
JAN 28 The Sports Quotient
A look at playcalling in Super Bowl history.
JAN 20 Tony Villiotti
Following Monday's announcement of those declaring for the Draft, a look at the numbers.
JAN 19 Jeff Fedotin
Chiefs' special teams coordinator has unique football mind.