Dealing with the Madden Curse: As I wrote on the blog earlier this week there is no greater indicator of a player becoming a fantasy bust than having them dawn the cover of EA Sports’ Madden Football. Peyton Hillis is the latest victim. The Browns’ running back has managed to play in just five games this season and failed to score in four them and has failed to have a 100-yard game. Now a hamstring injury has him sidelined and a contract squabble could prevent him from playing another snap with Cleveland.
SETTING YOUR LINEUP (Byes: None)
RB Steven Jackson (@CLE) – With 54 carries for 289 yards and two touchdowns over his last two games, owners have to be stoked for Jackson’s matchup this week at Cleveland. The Browns are the league’s third-worst rushing defense and game up over 100 yards rushing to not one, but two runners in Houston’s Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
WR Steve Breaston (vs DEN) – While last week’s 100-yard receiving day was Breaston’s first of the season for the Chiefs you have to like his chances of a repeat in Week 10. Only the Colts have allowed more passing TDs (18) and yards per pass (8.5) than the Broncos (17 & 8.2, respectively). Consider him a decent WR3/flex option.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (@DAL) – After a hot start to the season which saw him toss nine touchdowns in three games while averaging 280 yards each time out, Fitzpatrick has fizzled of late and is coming off his worst start of the year. He’s only averaging 217.8 ypg over his last five and has thrown as many INTs (6) and TD’s (6) in that span.
WR Sidney Rice (vs. BAL) – If you take out his two 100-yard games this season, Rice has averaged three catches for 56 yards in the other four contests. Going versus a Ravens’ D that has only allowed six passing TD’s all year and that gives up just 192.6 yards per game through the air Rice is better left on the bench in Week 10.
RB Darren McFadden (foot) – A foot injury will keep McFadden sidelined for a second straight week and his status for Week 11 doesn’t look good either. Expect Michael Bush to continue to shine in the lead role in the Raiders’ backfield in his absence.
RB Mark Ingram (foot) – The Saints’ rookie practice for the second straight day on Thursday after missing the last two games and has a good shot to play this weekend. He’ll be a game-time decision and will likely be limited even if he’s able to return vs. Atlanta.
RB Beanie Wells (knee) – Wells was limited in practice again on Thursday, but it appears as if he’ll suit up on Sunday vs. PHI. He has played through the injury, but has been ineffective tallying just 103 yards on 30 carries over the past two weeks.
RB Jahvid Best (concussion) – There has no progress made by Best, who missed two games and had a bye week as he deals with his second concussion of the season. With his status for the remainder of the season up in the air owners need to look for other alternatives moving forward.
WR Miles Austin (hamstring) – Another hamstring injury will sideline Austin this week and likely longer. Some reports suggest he could be 2-4 weeks. Owners may want to consider adding Laurent Robinson, who shined last week in Austin’s absence.
Other injuries of note: Andre Johnson (hamstring), Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
BIG FINISHES – RB's
Here are a few running backs with favorable matchups over the next five weeks that could surprise…
Chris Johnson (@CAR, @ATL, TB, @BUF, NO) – Despite a disappointing start to the year Johnson could get hot with three matchups against bottom 10 defenses against the run over the next five, including tilts with the Panthers, Bills and Saints.
Marshawn Lynch (BAL, @STL, WAS, PHI, STL, @CHI) – After a tough Week 10 matchup against the Ravens, Lynch will get the lowly Rams twice and the struggling Eagles’ D in three of his next four.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (@NYJ, KC, @PHI, IND, @WAS) – Assuming he’s the primary ball carrier for the Pats over the next month Green-Ellis should excel with games on tap versus KC, Philly and Indy ahead.