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Week 4 Start – Bench

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: LaDainian Tomlinson  of the New York Jets runs the ball against the New England Patriots at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 19, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Patriots 28 - 14. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

This week marks the beginning of the bye weeks in the NFL, and four teams will be out of action. Those squads are the Cowboys, Chiefs, Vikings and Buccaneers. During the bye weeks, it is a challenge for fantasy owners to bench disappointing players because they may not have the depth on their squad.

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Take a look at our start and bench suggestions going into the final game of the first quarter of the fantasy football season.



Donovan McNabb at Eagles: Unless you have one of the big time quarterbacks in fantasy football Donovan McNabb makes for a solid play this week. Pay no attention to David Garrard’s numbers against the Eagles last week as the Jaguars are going into the tank already and Garrard was bad the week before.

For McNabb this is a huge game as he will return to Philadelphia and play his old team for the first time. Clinton Portis couldn’t finish last week, and the Redskins are set to throw the football often this season. Look for McNabb to go over 300 yards and pick up a couple of scores in this one.


Matt Schaub at Raiders: You will obviously need to consider your bench options before you make a move to sit Matt Schaub this week. Schaub has been disappointing two of the first three weeks this season and Andre Johnson is ailing with a bad ankle. I think Schaub will be effective when the Texans put the football up, but they will probably run the football a bunch against the Raiders.

Running Backs


LaDainian Tomlinson at Bills: Future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson has been on a mission to prove he can still play and for the first time in a few seasons the veteran has stayed healthy early in the season. Fellow Jets running back Shonn Greene has shown his youth by fumbling the football and has been out played by the veteran early on.

Last week Tomlinson had a good game against the Dolphins and scored a touchdown inside the red zone. This week the Jets will face the Bills, and Tomlinson should have another productive game as the Patriots ran for a bunch of yards on Buffalo last week.


Ray Rice @ Steelers: Ray Rice hasn’t had a hot start to the season as he’s failed to rush for over 100 yards in a game and is still looking for his first touchdown. At the end of last weeks’ game against the Browns, Rice suffered a knee injury and is now questionable to play against the Steelers.

Speaking of the Steelers, their defense is back to championship level, and they’ve been lights out against the run. Weeks one and two they held Michale Turner and Chris Johnson under 50 yards on the ground. Rice needs to sit on your bench for a week, and hopefully his knee can recover for the rest of the season.

Wide Receivers


Austin Collie at Jaguars: Obviously Austin Collie is a starter this week, but it goes a little deeper than that with this receiver. Pierre Garcon has been dinged up and ineffective this season and Anthony Gonzalez is suffering from a high ankle sprain.

Look for Collie as a matchup proof starter for your squad and a top fifteen receiver now.


Michael Crabtree at Falcons: I’ve been down on Michael Crabtree since week one, and it looks like he’s going to take some time before he’s ready to start weekly. This week should be a good opportunity for him but fantasy owners shouldn’t trust him at this time.

Tight Ends


Tony Gonzalez vs 49ers: The Falcons had a hard time making Tony Gonzalez a productive pass catcher until last week when Gonzalez had over 100 yards and a touchdown. Tight ends have had some success against the 49ers, and that should continue this week.

Gonzalez should put another good game together as the Falcons look for another win at home.


Todd Heap at Steelers: Another Raven player that needs to find the bench this week. Outside of Anquan Boldin, quarterback Joe Flacco is having a hard time finding anyone else.



Neil Rackers at Raiders: The Texans continue to give Neil Rackers opportunities to kick every week as he has at least two field goals in all three games this year. This should be another game where Rackers puts up around three or more against the Raiders.


David Akers vs Redskins: I hate to recommend you bench a quality kicker but since Michael Vick has taken over the Eagles are converting drives into touchdowns. In the past two weeks Akers has nine pats and zero field goal opportunities.

Team Defenses


Falcons vs 49ers: The Falcons did a good job on defense against the Cardinals in Atlanta and should have another productive day this week. Last year the Falcons crushed the 49ers in San Francisco, and that was when the 49ers were actually playing well.


Bears at Giants: The Bears had their struggles stopping Aaron Rodgers on Monday night and Eli Manning should be productive against them. This group is worth having on your squad but this week isn’t a great matchup for them to take advantage of.

More 2010 NFL Fantasy Football Player Rankings

Waiver Wire Pickups | Weekly Player Rankings | Start’em – Sit’em Lineup Advice | FF Injury Status Reports

NFL fantasy football player rankings writer Sean E. Douglas:

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