Posted: Thursday November 8, 2012 12:52PM ; Updated: Friday November 9, 2012 6:59PM
Eric Mack

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Manning, Denver poised to keep good times going

Story Highlights

Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee should thrive against struggling Panthers defense

Stevan Ridley might have big game against the Bills' NFL-worst rushing defense

Despite Eagles' struggles, their defense is likely to limit Tony Romo's effectiveness

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The start of November represents the beginning of the end in fantasy leagues. It is the time to make one final push for the postseason. By the end of the month, less than half of most leagues will care about competing for waiver pickups or even setting their lineups.

Most important, bye weeks steadily are coming to a close. In one of the lightest bye weeks this season -- because of the marginal fantasy options on the Redskins, Cardinals and Browns -- owners might merely be missing the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Mason Crosby, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Trent Richardson and Larry Fitzgerald. Taking those magnificent seven away is trumped almost entirely by the return of all those elite Patriots owners count on in fantasy every week.

While your fantasy league still cares about fantasy, maybe for the last time this season, we help you with all over your roster decisions in's Week 10 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em:

Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers


Broncos -- Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Matt Prater, Broncos D/ST: No one can sit the Broncos' scorching passing game right now, and while the Panthers have played a lot better lately -- particularly against the pass -- they are still in the bottom half of fantasy versus running backs. Still, the Panthers' defense does a better job playing red-zone defense at home, so this should be a big week for Prater. On the other side, the Broncos' defense has played well enough to be considered among the top 12 D/STs weekly in fantasy.

Panthers -- Cam Newton, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen: Newton and Smith have revived their lost seasons and should rate as starts at least until the bye weeks end. As for Olsen, the Broncos are third-worst in fantasy versus tight ends, and only the Redskins and Titans have given up more touchdowns to tight ends. Even with no starting tight ends on bye, Olsen is still worth starting at home in this matchup.


Broncos -- Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Stokley, Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Virgil Green: The Panthers have been steady against the run, and the Broncos' tight ends are a weekly crap shoot. Avoid these guys until someone shows some consistency.

Panthers -- Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert, Brandon LaFell, Louis Murphy, Justin Medlock, Panthers D/ST: Even as Stewart took over primary back duties, it was Williams scoring the touchdown last week. Avoid all of the Panthers' running backs if you can afford to, against the Broncos' solid run defense. The Broncos are also in the top 10 against wide receivers.

N.Y. Giants at Cincinnati


Giants -- Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Lawrence Tynes, Giants D/ST: The Bengals don't have a bad defense, but a hunch here is the struggling Manning and Nicks (knee) rebound this week. You're going to want to keep Cruz, Tynes and the resurgent defense active, and also consider Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), Martellus Bennett and perhaps touchdown vulture Andre Brown as sleepers against a Bengals defense that is bottom 10 in fantasy versus running backs and tight ends.

Bengals -- Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham: The starts here are related to the passing game. The Giants are seventh-worst in fantasy versus quarterbacks and fifth-worst versus wide receivers. Gresham is also alive again, and only the Redskins have given up more receptions and yards to tight ends than the Giants.


Giants -- Domenik Hixon, Rueben Randle, Ramsas Barden: Manning's struggles of late are due to the tough secondaries he has faced. The Bengals are no slouch, as they rank in the top half of fantasy versus wide receivers. Ignore these secondary targets, especially if Nicks is active. If Nicks is out, Hixon is a nice sleeper in deeper formats.

Bengals -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cedric Peerman, Andrew Hawkins, Armon Binns, Mike Nugent, Bengals D/ST: The Giants have given up four 100-yard rushers in nine games, but they still rank among the top-10 teams in fantasy against running backs. BGE just isn't a great option this week. Also, the Giants are second-best in fantasy versus D/STs and in the top half against kickers, so avoid those marginal options.

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins


Titans -- Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt: CJ is hot right now, so keep him active even if the Dolphins are sixth-best in fantasy versus running backs. Johnson has already had big weeks against Houston (No. 2), Chicago (No. 3) and Pittsburgh (No. 5). Plus, he is all the Titans really have going for them right now. Britt is intriguing because the Dolphins' defense, while playing well, is fourth-worst in fantasy against wide receivers. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright would have been sleepers if the Titans didn't plan to turn the offense back over to Jake Locker, as expected.

Dolphins -- Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Brian Hartline, Dolphins D/ST: Bush and Thomas have gone into a timeshare, with Bush getting slightly more touches but Thomas getting goal-line carries. Get both active against a Titans defense that is third-worst in fantasy versus running backs. Also, Hartline proved healthy and productive enough last week to keep active while offensive teammates Ryan Tannehill, Davone Bess, tight end Anthony Fasano and kicker Dan Carpenter represent worthy bye-week stopgaps against a team that ranks sixth-worst team in fantasy versus quarterbacks, second-worst versus tight ends and the worst versus kickers.


Titans -- Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, Jamie Harper, Rob Bironas, Titans D/ST: A road game against a defense that has played pretty well makes most of the Titans marginal options, particularly with Locker's return creating even more uncertainty.

Dolphins -- None. It is a week of sleepers for your Dolphins, particularly if you are without your Packers.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings


Lions -- Matthew Stafford, Mikel Leshoure, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Jason Hanson, Lions D/ST: The Vikings are in the bottom 10 in fantasy against quarterbacks, even if their defense is better than it has shown of late. Keep all of your primary Lions options active in this pivotal division game.

Vikings -- Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Blair Walsh: The Lions are fourth-best in fantasy versus running backs, but no one is sitting A.P. It's also a good week to trust Walsh against the sixth-worst team in fantasy versus kickers. Percy Harvin (ankle) would have been must-start if he plays, but he is doubtful. So expect Rudolph to be the go-to target, especially since the Lions are ninth-worst in fantasy against tight ends.


Lions -- Joique Bell, Titus Young, Ryan Broyles: The Vikings' defense is not necessarily one to take advantage of, particularly at home. These guys are marginal options best avoided.

Vikings -- Christian Ponder, Jerome Simpson, Michael Jenkins, Vikings D/ST: Ponder has been struggling of late, and the Lions have played much better. This is an important game that will probably be a bit less fantasy-friendly than you might expect.

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens


Raiders -- Denarius Moore, Brandon Myers, Sebastian Janikowski: These three have earned must-start status in most leagues, particularly with the running game taking the injury hit.

Ravens -- Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Justin Tucker, Ravens D/ST: The Raiders are 11th-worst in fantasy versus quarterbacks and wide receivers, so consider Flacco, Smith and perhaps even Anquan Boldin viable starts if you need bye-week replacements. It should be a big week all around for the Ravens offense against a Raiders defense that was torched by the Bucs at home. Playing an East Coast game at 1 p.m. doesn't bode well for the Raiders, so start Baltimore's injury-hit defense, too.


Raiders -- Carson Palmer, Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders D/ST: Palmer is coming off a productive week, but the Ravens are still seventh-best in fantasy versus quarterbacks. Even though the Ravens are ninth-worst in fantasy versus running backs, you shouldn't consider Reece or Jones anything more than desperation options in place of the injured McFadden and Goodson. The Ravens' defense is better than it has shown, which is bad news for the Raiders' non-existent running game.

Ravens -- Bernard Pierce, Jacoby Jones, Dennis Pitta: These marginal Ravens options don't project to get enough touches to warrant using in any leagues right now.

Buffalo at New England


Bills -- C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson: The Pats defense is seventh-best in fantasy versus running backs, but the Bills learned a week ago they have to get the ball back into the hands of their playmakers out of the backfield if they hope to compete. It should be a busy week for Spiller and Jackson in the passing game, especially with lots of the expected garbage time. Johnson (thigh) should be active in leagues if he's active for the Bills, while Donald Jones is a nice sleeper if you need a stopgap receiver. The Pats' secondary has been regularly torched and ranks ninth-worst in fantasy against wide receivers.

Patriots -- Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots D/ST: This is about as clear of a start-all game as exists in fantasy. The Pats are rested and healthy coming off a bye, and the Bills are suspect defensively, despite their performance at Houston last Sunday. The Bills are fourth-worst against quarterbacks, the worst against running backs and seventh-worst versus wide receivers and tight ends.


Bills -- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Scott Chandler, Rian Lindell, Bills D/ST: The numbers suggest a sleeper week for Fitzpatrick, but he is just so darn inconsistent and there are better quarterback sleeper plays out there. Also, many expect a productive week for Chandler against the Pats secondary (fourth-worst in fantasy versus tight ends), but Fitzpatrick's inconsistency stunts him, too.

Patriots -- Brandon Bolden, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman: The Bills' defense is so porous, you can consider these guys, but it would be a lot easier to discern which ones if Bolden was 100 percent after the bye week. That won't be known until after Week 10. Avoid these guys right now.

San Diego Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Chargers -- Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates: This should be a great week for the Chargers' passing game. The Bucs' defense is fifth-worst versus quarterbacks, third-worst versus wide receivers and 12th-worst against tight ends. Mathews is the only real question among these options, particularly since Ronnie Brown is stealing receptions and red-zone snaps and the Bucs have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL and lowest yards-per-carry. We say keep Mathews because he still is one of the top 12 most-promising backs in fantasy.

Buccaneers -- Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Connor Barth: This is one of the more irrepressible offenses in football right now, and the Chargers' defense is in the middle of the pack across the board. Keep these burgeoning fantasy stars active in all leagues, particularly at home.


Chargers -- Ronnie Brown, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Danario Alexander, Nick Novak, Chargers D/ST: Brown isn't a great play against the Bucs' defense, especially if we expect Mathews to get a bigger chunk of the pass receptions with the running game getting slowed. Meachem and Royal might return from injury, but they need to prove healthy and effective before we trust them even in the most favorable of matchups.

Buccaneers -- LeGarrette Blount, Dallas Clark, Buccaneers D/ST: Blount watched Martin post a monstrous performance last week before coming in to fumble, a sure sign he's going to be minimally involved going forward. The Bucs' defense is better than it has played, mostly because of what it can do against the run, but don't dare consider that unit against a Chargers offense that can wake up.
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