Start or Sit - Week 9

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Like I tell you every week, you probably won't find your stud players on this list. Guys like Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald should always be started, regardless of who they're playing so it's a waste of time to even mention them.

If you have any questions about your lineup, send me an email at

and between Ricky and myself, we'll do the best we can to help you out.

Otherwise, good luck this weekend.



Kyle Orton - Bears vs. Lions - I almost feel dirty including a Bears quarterback on this list. But the K.O. Kid is the real deal and should tear apart one of only two winless teams in the NFL.

Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd may be returning to the lineup this week, giving Orton one more weapon is his arsenal of mediocrity. Expect a 250 yd, 2 TD game out of the bearded Boilermaker.

Kurt Warner - Cardinals vs. Rams - The most famous former grocery store clerk in the country returns to the place where his career was resurrected and a Super Bowl title was won.

Playing in the same stadium in which he steered the greatest show on turf, Warner will come out guns-a-blazing against a Rams defense that has shown small levels of improvement in recent weeks.

It won't be enough and Warner should deliver in a big way.

Matt Schaub - Texans vs. Vikings - It won't take long for the Texans to figure out that running against the Vikings isn't going to get them anywhere.

Schaub is going to have to throw to win this game and I think he'll do just that.

Jay Cutler - Broncos vs. Dolphins - This high powered offense has been stuck in neutral for too long and is way overdue for a big game from all of their skill position players. The swelling in his finger has subsided and Cutler appears ready to go on Sunday.

Play him.


Jason Campbell - Redskins vs. Steelers - Through eight games this year, Campbell has yet to throw and interception and has been the model of fantasy consistency.

The only blemish on his impressive resume came in week one against the Giants when he looked confused and unsure of himself. Campbell hasn't faced another defense of that caliber since and has been taking advantage of it.

But this is the week when we Campbell falls back to earth against the NFL's best pass defense. Not only will his first pick come in this game, but count on at least two.

Peyton Manning - Colts vs. Patriots - Word out of Indy is that Reggie Wayne unexpectedly missed practice yesterday and is suddenly a question mark for this weekend's much anticipated tilt against the Pats.

That leaves Manning without his best playmakers in Wayne and RB Joseph Addai is still a question mark with a hamstring injury. The withering wonder that is Marvin Harrison has struggled all season and won't be able to do much against an inspired veteran Pats defense.

Manning continues his downward spiral into becoming average.

Tyler Thigpen - Chiefs vs. Bucs - If you're even considering this I'm probably too late to talk any sense into you.

But I'm begging you, please don't play Thigpen. I know you might have just needed a bye week replacement, but there are better options out there!

Running Backs

Must starts: Adrian Peterson (Min), Brian Westbrook, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis


Matt Forte - Bears vs. Lions - The wunderkind out of Tulane has been stuck in a slump the past couple weeks, whether you realized it or not.

Granted, he's found the end zone three weeks in a row now and has probably been one of your most consistent producers. But by looking closer you can see that Forte has been unable to find any running room and failed to crack the 100-yd rushing mark since week one.

But the Lions are the cure to what ails you and Forte should be in for a monster performance.

Brandon Jacobs - Giants vs. Cowboys - At this point, can you say that there is a more physical, punishing back in the NFL than Brandon Jacobs?

He drops the hammer up the middle better than anyone in the game and is the last guy the Cowboys defense wants to see right now. Manning is going to lean on Jacobs late in the game to keep the chains moving and more importantly, down in the red zone.

A pair of scores is certainly a possibility.

Michael Turner - Falcons vs. Raiders - After jumping out to such a great start, the 'Burner' has cooled in recent weeks and has failed to produce a 100-yd performance since week five.

This week he'll return to his early season form and roll against a vulnerable Raiders defense.

Maurice Jones-Drew - Jaguars vs. Bengals - New rule of thumb: Start every single player you have that plays the Bengals.

Perhaps no other player in fantasy football is as big of a boom or bust candidate as MJD.

Here comes the boom.


Steve Slaton - Texans vs. Vikings - Going up against the NFL's second ranked run defense doesn't bode well for the rookie this week. You should explore other options if you have them, but don't expect much from this star in the making come Sunday.

Thomas Jones - Jets vs. Bills - Each week it seems the Jets are finding new ways to get backup RB Leon Washington the ball and Jones is losing out touches because of it.

Jones will still have his days in the sun this season, but against a stout Bills defense he'll just be banging his head against a wall for a solid two or three hours.

Edgerrin James - Cardinals vs. Rams - Despite what appears to be a very good matchup for James on paper, you should avoid using him at all costs this weekend.

He's been an afterthought from day one in this offense, highlighted by his brutal seven-carry, 17-yd performance last week against the Panthers.

Wide Receivers

Must starts: Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Plaxico Burress, Andre Johnson, Roddy White


Bernard Berrian - Vikings vs. Texans - All it took was a quarterback change for the Vikings to realize the weapon they have in Berrian. Just like when he was with the Monsters of the Midway, Berrian's good for at least one deep ball per game and shouldn't have a problem finding room against a soft Texans secondary.

Lee Evans - Bills vs. Jets - Time for speedy Lee's annual torching of the Jets and with so many players on bye this week, it couldn't come at a better time.

Evans has developed a strong rapport with QB Trent Edwards and will bust loose for a couple deep balls on Sunday.

DeSean Jackson - Eagles vs. Seahawks - The most consistent offensive threat in Philly hasn't hit paydirt in his past three games and is overdue for a score.

It'll happen this week against a Seahawks team that's giving up an average of 26.3 ppg this season.


Greg Jennings - Packers vs. Titans - I think America learned a lot about that Titans defense on Monday night.

Consider me a believer and after that I won't endorse any team's number one receiver against that defense. They made Pro Bowl WR Reggie Wayne look like an amateur and frustrated future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning all night long.

What do you think they'll do to a guy like Aaron Rogers?

Braylon Edwards - Browns vs. Ravens - I'm running out of things to say about his demise, but his downfall is turning into a Greek tragedy.

"The Man Whose Hands Turned to Stone"

What a shame.

Ted Ginn Jr. - Dolphins vs. Broncos - It's unrealistic to expect Ginn to repeat last week's 175 yd outburst, no matter who he's playing against.

It took 22 games for Ginn to tally his first 100-yd receiving day and he'll still experience ups and downs before he becomes a consistent receiver. Throw in the fact that Chad Pennington loves to spread the ball around and you have the makings of a very average day for Ginn.

Tight Ends

Must starts: Chris Cooley, Kellen Winslow Jr, Owen Daniels, Dallas Clark


Greg Olsen - Bears vs. Lions - The Bears leading receiver is getting better with each week and should hit paydirt at least once against the Lions.


Jason Witten - Cowboys vs. Giants - On any other day he's a must start. But this week you've got to sit him. Sounds like he's going to attempt to play despite having broken ribs and will being doing it against one of the most physical defenses in football.

Look elsewhere my friend.

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I need a bye week fill-in for Rivers. Should I go with Marc Bulger or Pennington?

Olsen responds: I'd go with Pennington for a couple reasons.

First and foremost, the Rams are not a good football team. They've looked better lately, but let's not forget the fact that Marc Bulger has been sacked 22 times this season, good enough for fourth most in the league.

That 300-yd performance last week was a byproduct of Steven Jackson being on the sidelines more than it was a resurgence of Marc Bulger's career. He still holds onto the ball for too long and while the emergence of Donnie Avery as a legitimate receiver is promising, this offense is designed to have Jackson as its engine.

Not Bulger.

The Cardinals defense is better than people give credit for and if Kurt Warner gives them an early lead, Whisenhunt will unleash the hounds on Bulger as he tries to play catch up through the air.

That could get ugly.

The safe play and the one with more upside here is Pennington.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for and editor of He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on October 31, 2008 7:26 AM.

Can Week Eight's stars keep it going? was the previous entry in this blog.

Injuries to monitor through the weekend is the next entry in this blog.

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