Do Not Bench List - All Positions
- Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Cardinals: Fitzgerald had 11 touches in his Week 9 performance, which
saw him post his fifth straight game with at least 95 yards receiving. He
also has a catch of at least 34 yards in each game in that timeframe. Despite
his solitary touchdown in Week 5, you can't find this consistency from many
other receivers in football. This week he remains a low-tier No. 1 or high-tier
No. 2 wideout.
- Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin, Arizona
Cardinals: While Fitzgerald has continued his fantasy roll, Boldin
has not met that week-to-week production. His 40 yards on three catches in
Week 9 didn't do much to help his owners, but it was the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers defense that did him in, not his skill. He should have
a better matchup against the Detroit Lions this
week; he should at least pile up some catches if he can't find the end zone.
This might sound redundant, but along with Fitzgerald, Boldin slides in as
a low-tier No. 1 or high-tier No. 2 wideout for Week 10.
- Wide Receiver Torry Holt, St.
Louis Rams: Holt helped quarterback Marc
Bulger regain his rhythm Sunday, grabbing six passes for 110 yards and
a touchdown. Holt hasn't been the dominant force he has been in years past,
but he still puts up numbers that equate to a steadier No. 2 wideout. He has
14 catches for 192 yards in his last two games, so his favorable matchup with
the sloppy New Orleans Saints pass defense could
continue that trend. Holt carries a strong play matchup as a low-tier No.
1 or high-tier No. 2 receiver.
Warner - Playing through his elbow injury, Warner (elbow) put up an
abysmal 10-for-30 passing line in Week 9 for just 172 yards and two interceptions.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers smothered Warner even without
sacking him, and he looked uncomfortable for the entire game as he averaged
5.7 yards per passing attempt. Until he proves that he can authoritatively challenge
opposing defenses, Warner should be left on your bench.
Bulger - The Cleveland Browns gave Bulger
some room to play in their Week 8 contest as he went 24-36 with 310 yards. Despite
an interception, a pass of his even found the end zone for the first time in
four games; Bulger connected with Holt on a one-yard touchdown pass. This marked
improvement, the Rams return from the Bye week and
a matchup with the maligned New Orleans Saints pass
defense all make Bulger a strong play in Week 10. He had the extra week to rest
and could come back with a similar performance to that of Week 8. He ranks as
a strong play in a lower tier of No. 1 quarterbacks.
Smith - In another ugly quarterback performance from this division,
Smith went 17-for-38 with 149 yards and three interceptions against the Atlanta
Falcons last week. It seems that if tight end Vernon
Davis isn't involved in an offensive play, Smith can't be trusted to produce.
Against the Seahawks, the Qwest Field factor is just one of the many reasons
to keep Smith on your bench this week.
Hasselbeck - Hasselbeck spread the ball around last week in completing
30 of 47 pass attempts, completing passes to seven different receivers. He has
made ample use of wide receiver Bobby Engram
for weeks now, and the return of wideout D.J. Hackett
gave him an extra long body to find in the red zone. The inclusion of wide receivers
Nate Burleson and Ben
Obomanu, along with running back Maurice Morris,
adds to his repertoire. The Niners' pass defense has acted friendly toward quarterbacks
as of late, allowing an average of 40 attempts and 2.00 touchdowns to the position
in the last three games. With running back Shaun
Alexander deteriorating, the Seahawks are expected
to also look to pass more often. Hasselbeck stands as a strong play as a second-tier
No. 1 quarterback.
James - Edge only ran for 15 yards against the stiff Tampa
Bay Buccaneers defense, but he hit the end zone. He has averaged 2.00 red
zone utilizations per game and had one play inside the 5-yard line over the
last three games. James has now put up a goose egg in receptions for
three straight games, and backup running back J.J.
Arrington has maintained his role as a third-down and pass-receiving back.
Lining up against a rolling Lions defense, James
comes in as a weak play as a No. 2 back.
Jackson - After a Week 8 first-half performance that included 41 rushing
yards and a touchdown run, Jackson (back) left the game with back spasms. He
has told reporters that it was precautionary because of his concurrent groin
injury. Jackson reportedly did some running drills Monday, and he should play
in Week 10 if his practices go well this week. Even if he returns he stands
as a weak play against the stalwart Saints run defense.
He's likely to play this week and could be viewed as a weak play as a No. 2
Leonard - If Jackson for some reason can't go, Leonard would once again
slide in as the top back. He has been far from reliable, averaging only 31.7
rushing yards in his last three games. Even when you add the average of 2.00
receptions for that, he could only be considered a No. 3 back. With Jackson
likely to play, Leonard is a weak play as a low No. 3 or Bye week sub.
Gore - After being declared inactive for Sunday's game, Gore (ankle)
opened up the door for backup running backs Maurice
Hicks and Michael Robinson. Hicks walked
through that gateway by scoring a touchdown. This development could close the
portal for Gore's chance to carry a heavy majority until he proves he can stay
healthy. Gore hit the Seahawks for 79 yards back
in Week 4, but that might be when he was a shell of his current self. Gore is
likely to play, but keep an eye on his status, and don't look to count on him
as your No. 1 back this week.
Alexander - Change might be coming in the Northwest, as Alexander (knee,
wrist, ankle) could very well have his carries chopped with emerging roles from
running backs Maurice Morris and Leonard
Weaver. Already wearing a cast on his wrist this season, Alexander left
Seattle's Week 9 game in the second quarter. He only pounded out 32 yards against
the slacking Browns run defense; you know he's not
as reliable an option as when he was drafted. The 49ers
look like an enticing matchup for him, but he might not be physically able to
take advantage of it. He may not even play, although he has a strong play matchup.
With Morris looming, there's a reason he tumbled from the Do Not Bench list.
You should take notice. If you own Alexander, and Morris is available, you should
grab Morris from the wire yesterday. If you don't own Alexander, Morris is still
an option to pick up, and he could be used as a No. 3 back as a strong play.
Bruce - Bruce continues to plow along after a six-reception, 70-yard
performance in Week 8. Against the Saints pass defense,
he could see some more looks as he takes advantage of a weaker secondary. He
has been targeted enough recently in his last two efforts, and that might be
enough to produce some solid numbers as a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver for the coming
week in a strong play matchup.
Bennett - The last time we saw Bennett he produced a solid game for
a No. 3 receiver, compiling six receptions for 63 yards on seven looks for his
best game of the season. He only has 14 receptions on the season, however, and
it will take more than a touchdown-less effort to warrant a pickup. Keep him
on your bench, as he may not be the top option for the Rams.
Jackson - Despite receiving a target boost on the end of eight looks,
Jackson caught just two passes for the second straight week. Jackson has fallen
behind wide receiver Arnaz Battle and tight end
Vernon Davis in the pecking order, it seems,
and with Smith struggling under center Jackson can only be recommended as a
Bye week replacement.
Burleson - With the possible return of Seattle's normal No. 1 wide receiver,
Deion Branch (foot), Burleson could be relegated
to No. 3 or No. 4 receiver, as wideout D.J. Hackett
seems to be settling back into his normal No. 2 role. Burleson still retains
some value, as he has posted a return touchdown in each of his last two games.
This is not necessarily a guarantee that he will do this each week, but for
those leagues that count return yardage Burleson would gain fantasy points on
two fronts. Expect a diminished role, but against the Niners he's a strong play
as a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. He would likely drop in value with the return
Engram - When you're on the end of 21 looks, you should have a decent
shot at converting on two-thirds of those. Engram did just that with a 14-catch
performance in Week 9. He was already Hasselbeck's favorite target, and he now
has 43 looks over their last three games. His last game doesn't skew that figure
as much as one would originally perceive, because he had 11 looks in each of
his previous two games. The return of Branch would slide Engram into the slot.
Still, given his rapport with Hasselbeck, Engram presents a strong play as a
third-tier No. 1 receiver.
Pope - Pope was targeted once Sunday but didn't register on the stat
sheet. The Cardinals have been trying to find ways
to use him with little success. He's too erratic to consider even as a remotely
valuable tight end this week, so keep him on your bench.
McMichael - McMichael has caught just 10 passes in his last four games
and hasn't scored a touchdown in his last three contests. He hasn't caught more
than three passes in a game this year. With this pattern not producing a steady
fantasy contributor, McMichael ranks as a low-tier No. 1 tight end or a Bye
Heller - Heller's spot might be in jeopardy with the possible return
of fellow tight end Marcus Pollard (knee). Receiving
just one look last week, that plan might already be in play. That two-touchdown
performance in Week 7 seems to be deep in the rearview mirror. Bench Heller,
because he's a weak play. If Pollard plays, he belongs on the bench, too.
Davis - Davis continued his display as the No. 1 receiving option with
seven receptions for 77 yards in Week 9. He has been taregeted almost nine times
per game in his last three outings, and he could hit the jackpot once again
this week. The Seahawks have allowed an average of
6.33 receptions per game to tight ends in their last three games. Davis remains
the main piece of the San Francisco passing game, and he stands as a strong
play this week as a second-tier No. 1 tight end.
Rackers - Rackers put up just one field goal and one extra point for
the Cardinals in their 17-10 loss to the Buccaneers
last week. He runs into a scorching Lions defense
that has allowed a league-low 2.0 kicker points per game over their last three
contests. The Lions could minimize the Cardinals'
scoring opportunities, and that could minimize any argument against keeping
Rackers, a weak play, on your bench.
Wilkins - The Rams have a chance to put up
some points against the Saints pass defense. Wilkins
hasn't registered double-digit kicking points since Week 5, but the Saints
have allowed 6.2 kicker points per game in their last four games. If Bulger
heats up, Wilkins could convert. Put him in as a low-tier No. 1 or as a Bye
Brown - Brown has tallied double-digit kicker points in his last two
games and three of his last five. San Francisco has surrendered an average of
8.0 kicker points per game in their last three contests, and the rolling Seattle
passing game could put Brown in position for some field goals. His only missed
field goal in 17 attempts came on a block in Week 6, and he has made his last
eight consecutive kicks. Brown stands as a strong play this week as an upper-tier
No. 1 kicker.
Nedney - Nedney carried the Niners offense last week with three field
goals and 10 kicking points. He made boots from 49, 32 and 22 yards. Despite
that success, he can't be guaranteed to repeat those numbers on the road against
the Seahawks. He's a weak play, so leave him on your bench; there are more profitable
directions to explore.
Cardinals - The Cardinals run into quarterback
Jon Kitna and the Lions, who seem to be touched
by the football gods recently. They have steamrolled their last three opponents
by a combined score of 73-30, and running back Kevin
Jones seems to have ignited the pride. Keep the Cardinals, a weak play,
on your bench.
Rams - Having allowed a combined 82 points
in their last three games, the Rams don't stand as
a defensive factor in fantasy football. They travel to face the Saints' hot
passing offense led by quarterback Drew Brees
and will try to find someone that can contain running back Reggie
Bush. Both Brees and Bush have been tearing up fantasy leagues lately, and
the Rams defensive unit, a weak play, should be put
out to pasture on your bench this week.
Seahawks - Seattle ranks as a good one-week
play as they face San Francisco at home. With the Niners offense struggling
to string together a reliable passing or rushing attack, the Seahawks
should be able to either keep the scoring low or amass several turnovers. The
defense should be stoked to face quarterback Alex
D. Smith, and Seattle, a strong play, is lined up for a productive week
as a starting defense.
49ers - The Niners defense has not offered
any evidence to be considered a fantasy option. They're a weak play, so keep
them on your bench against the Seahawks.
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.