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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fantasy football: Injury updates, start-and-sit advice, expanded playlist and more for Week 5

Before we get to the usual start-and-sit advice and expanded playlist, we'll begin with what has become another weekly staple -- injury updates.

-- Giants quarterback Eli Manning practiced Friday and is expected to be a game-time decision because of a heel injury. The Giants host the Raiders on Sunday at 1 p.m., which gives you time to decide on an alternative if Manning is inactive. If he starts, I would play him.

-- Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (rib injury) is expected to play, and he has a favorable matchup at home against the Jaguars (No. 18 vs. the pass). Consider him an upper-level No. 2 QB this week.

-- Running backs Brian Westbrook (ankle), Marion Barber (quadriceps), Kevin Smith (shoulder), Jamal Lewis (hamstring) and Derrick Ward (knee) are all expected to play. Westbrook likely will share carries with rookie LeSean McCoy, and Barber will split the workload with Tashard Choice. Lewis' injury should mean more work for Jerome Harrison, and Ward probably won't get as many touches as Cadillac Williams. Smith is the Lions' workhorse, but he has a bad matchup against the Steelers, who rank fourth vs. the run.

-- Clinton Portis wasn't listed on the Redskins' injury report this week and could have a productive day against the Panthers and their 26th-ranked run defense.

-- Willie Parker will sit for a second consecutive week, which should mean two straight big games by Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers play at Detroit, which ranks 21st defending the run.

-- Wide receivers Derrick Mason (neck), Wes Welker (knee), Antonio Bryant (knee) and Steve Breaston (knee) were limited in practice this week but are expected to play. Mason is probable, and Welker, Bryant and Breaston are questionable. Of the four, I would worry about Welker's status the most, since he's already been a surprise scratch this season. Make sure he is active before kickoff.

-- Dallas receiver Roy Williams is doubtful, which should mean more opportunities for Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin against a Chiefs pass defense that ranks 29th in the league. Crayton is a decent option as a No. 3 receiver this week.

-- Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery missed practice Friday because of a hamstring injury, and Coach Rex Ryan told reporters he might be forced to sit Monday night. Ryan said he still thought Cotchery would play, but the wideout is a risky start because the schedule doesn't allow you many replacement options if Cotchery is a late scratch. The news gives disgruntled Braylon Edwards owners more reason to play the former Brown in his first game as a Jet.

Five to start

This week’s look at part-time starters and fantasy backups who should benefit from a favorable matchup:

-- David Garrard, QB, and Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars, at Seahawks: Garrard has thrown for 819 yards and five touchdowns, rushed for 94 yards and one score and thrown only one interception in the last three games. That’s a span that coincides with Walker’s rise to prominence (19 catches for 278 yards and three TDs the last three weeks). Seattle ranks 18th against the pass.

-- Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers, at Lions:
He finally lived up to his draft billing last week in his first career start (165 yards rushing, two touchdowns and two receptions for 26 yards). With Willie Parker out again because of turf toe, Mendenhall should have another big game against the league’s No. 21 run defense.

-- Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals, vs. Texans:
He’s rushed for only 109 yards in three games, but he has 20 receptions for 172 yards and gets to face a Texans defense that ranks 30th vs. the run.

-- Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts, at Titans: The Mount Union product has six catches for 135 yards and a TD the last two weeks, and he's had long touchdowns (48 and 53 yards) in two of the last three games.

More matchups I like:

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys, at Chiefs; Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets, at Dolphins; Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, RBs, Bills, vs. Browns; Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens, vs. Bengals; Terrell Owens, WR, Bills, vs. Browns; Nate Burleson, WR, Seahawks, vs. Jaguars; Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets, at Dolphins; Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Browns, at Bills; Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings, at Rams

Three to sit

If you have a decent backup, these starters should take a seat for a week:

-- Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons, at 49ers: The second-year stud has two productive games and one no-show thus far. I wouldn’t expect a third big day against the 49ers, who rank 11th vs. the pass and have allowed only 53 points in four games.

-- Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals, at Ravens:
He’s been one of the early season surprises (367 yards rushing, two TDs), but there aren’t many backs I would start against the league’s top run defense. Baltimore is allowing only 59.5 yards rushing per game and 2.6 yards per carry.

-- Eddie Royal, WR, Broncos, vs. Patriots:
He has eight catches for 58 yards in four games, so it really doesn’t matter how good the Patriots are vs. the pass (by the way, not bad — No. 8).

More matchups I don’t like: Kevin Smith, RB, Lions, vs. Steelers; Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward, RBs, Buccaneers, at Eagles; any Dolphins receiver vs. the Jets

Last week

The start list had two hits in Carson Palmer (230 yards passing, two touchdowns, one interception and 20 yards rushing) and Joseph Addai (46 yards rushing, seven catches for 50 yards and a touchdown) and one decent play in Glen Coffee (74 yards rushing, four catches for 32 yards). The other two — Knowshon Moreno (65 yards rushing, two receptions for 11 yards) and Kevin Walter (one catch for 41 yards) — were duds.

The sit list was 2-for-3, with Marshawn Lynch (4 yards rushing, five catches for 43 yards) and Willis McGahee (24 total yards, one catch, one TD) not reaching double digits in points. Ray Rice (103 yards rushing, five catches for 49 yards), however, was not a good call.



1. Peyton Manning, Colts, at Titans (tied for No. 31 vs. the pass)

2. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, at Lions (No. 27)

3. Donovan McNabb, Eagles, at Buccaneers (No. 19)

4. Tom Brady, Patriots, at Broncos (No. 4)

5. Joe Flacco, Ravens, vs. Bengals (No. 28)

6. Matt Schaub, Texans, at Cardinals (tied for No. 11)

7. Kurt Warner, Cardinals, vs. Texans (No. 10)

8. x-Eli Manning, Giants, vs. Raiders (No. 13)

9. David Garrard, Jaguars, at Seahawks (No. 18)

10. Brett Favre, Vikings, at Rams (No. 21)

11. Carson Palmer, Bengals, at Ravens (No. 25)

12. Tony Romo, Cowboys, at Chiefs (No. 29)

13. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks, vs. Jaguars (No. 18)

14. Mark Sanchez, Jets, at Dolphins (No. 26)

15. Matt Cassel, Chiefs, vs. Cowboys (No. 30)

16. Matt Ryan, Falcons, at 49ers (tied for No. 11)

17. Shaun Hill, 49ers, vs. Falcons (No. 7)

18. Kyle Orton, Broncos, vs. Patriots (No. 8)

19. Trent Edwards, Bills, vs. Browns (tied for No. 23)

20. Jason Campbell, Redskins, at Panthers (No. 3)

x-Make sure Manning (heel injury) is active.


1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings, at Rams (No. 25 vs. the run)

2. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, at Seahawks (No. 22)

3. Brian Westbrook, Eagles, vs. Buccaneers (No. 31)

4. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers, vs. Redskins (No. 23)

5. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers, at Lions (No. 21)

6. Marion Barber, Cowboys, at Chiefs (No. 24)

7. Brandon Jacobs, Giants, vs. Raiders (No. 27)

8. Chris Johnson, Titans, vs. Colts (17)

9. Steve Slaton, Texans, at Cardinals (No. 2)

10. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins, vs. Jets (No. 14)

11. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos, vs. Patriots (No. 12)

12. Joseph Addai, Colts, at Titans (No. 8)

13. Ray Rice, Ravens, vs. Bengals (No. 16)

14. Michael Turner, Falcons, at 49ers (No. 5)

15. Steven Jackson, Rams, vs. Vikings (No. 10)

16. Thomas Jones, Jets, at Dolphins (No. 14)

17. Clinton Portis, Redskins, at Panthers (No. 26)

18. Tim Hightower, Cardinals, vs. Texans (No. 30)

19. Fred Jackson, Bills, vs. Browns (No. 32)

20. Glen Coffee, 49ers, vs. Falcons (No. 15)

21. Willis McGahee, Ravens, vs. Bengals (No. 16)

22. Julius Jones, Seahawks, vs. Jaguars (No. 23)

23. Marshawn Lynch, Bills, vs. Browns (No. 32)

24. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants, vs. Raiders (No. 27)


1. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, vs. Texans (tied for No. 11 vs. the pass)

2. Reggie Wayne, Colts, at Titans (tied for No. 31)

3. Andre Johnson, Texans, at Cardinals (tied for No. 11)

4. Steve Smith, Giants, vs. Raiders (No. 13)

5. DeSean Jackson, Eagles, vs. Buccaneers (No. 19)

6. Hines Ward, Steelers, at Lions (No. 27)

7. Randy Moss, Patriots, at Broncos (No. 4)

8. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals, vs. Texans (No. 10)

9. Steve Smith, Panthers, vs. Redskins (No. 5)

10. Roddy White, Falcons, at 49ers (tied for No. 11)

11. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs, vs. Cowboys (No. 30)

12. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals, at Ravens (No. 25)

13. Derrick Mason, Ravens, vs. Bengals (No. 28)

14. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks, vs. Jaguars (tied for No. 31)

15. Santonio Holmes, Steelers, at Lions (No. 27)

16. Calvin Johnson, Lions, vs. Steelers (No. 17)

17. Brandon Marshall, Broncos, vs. Patriots (No. 8)

18. Terrell Owens, Cowboys, vs. Browns (tied for No. 23)

19. Mario Manningham, Giants, vs. Raiders

20. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars, at Seahawks (No. 18)

21. x-Wes Welker, Patriots, at Broncos (No. 4)

22. Bernard Berrian, Vikings, at Rams (No. 21)

23. Santana Moss, Redskins, at Panthers (No. 23)

24. Nate Burleson, Seahawks, vs. Jaguars (tied for No. 31)

25. Pierre Garcon, Colts, at Titans (tied for No. 31)

26. Kevin Walter, Texans, at Cardinals (tied for No. 11)

27. Braylon Edwards, Jets, at Dolphins (No. 26)

28. x-Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers, at Eagles (No. 2)

29. Kenny Britt, Titans, vs. Colts (No. 9)

30. Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns, at Bills (tied for No. 23)

31. Sidney Rice, Vikings, at Rams (No. 21)

32. Patrick Crayton, Dolphins, at Chiefs (No. 29)

33. x-Jerricho Cotchery, Jets, at Dolphins (No. 26)

34. Lee Evans, Bills, vs. Browns (tied for No. 23)

35. Torry Holt, Jaguars, at Seahawks (No. 18)

36. Michael Jenkins, Falcons, at 49ers (No. 11)

x-Make sure Welker (knee), Bryant (knee) and Cotchery (hamstring) are active.

MORE FANTASY FOOTBALL: To read observations about the first four weeks of the season, including eight of the biggest surprises, click here for today’s column. The link also includes our weekly audiocast.

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