Matt Hasselbeck

Arian Foster has nine touchdowns this season. He will face off against the struggling Bills defense on Sunday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

By now, many fantasy owners have given up because of player injuries or little success. Although things may seem bleak, don’t give up. There is still plenty of time for struggling owners to make a run and be this year’s Cinderella team. Here are a few fantasy tidbits to kickstart that winning streak many owners desperately need: 

Players to Start:

1) Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans 
Let’s be real, anyone who isn’t starting Arian Foster on a regular basis is borderline insane. That applies especially to this week, when Foster faces the Bills. Buffalo has the second-worst fantasy defense against opposing running backs and allowed a whopping four rushing touchdowns against the Titans in its last game. Coming off of his bye week, Foster will be rested and ready to rack up the fantasy points.

2) James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers 
After a fiery stretch in which he caught two touchdowns in three straight games, Jones has cooled off over the past two weeks, failing to reach the end zone or eclipse 100 yards receiving in either contest. However, with Aaron Rodgers heating up and returning to MVP form, Jones should get some good opportunities against the Cardinals on Sunday.

3) Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints 
Many people have forgotten about Graham, whose production faded after he suffered an ankle injury in week four against the Packers. However, Graham was able to score against the Broncos on Sunday night, albeit during garbage time, and he faces a struggling Eagles team this week. Saints fans haven’t had much to cheer about this season, but with the Superdome sure to be rocking for Monday Night Football, Graham should provide some fireworks.

Players to Sit: 

1) Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans 
A week after appearing on this list as a player to start, Hasselbeck is now on the outside looking in. Although he has played well in Jake Locker’s absence, a date with Chicago’s opportunistic defense looms Sunday, spelling trouble for the veteran QB. The Bears have the best fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks and have only allowed one passing touchdown in their past three games.

2) Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings 
Rudolph is a bit of an anomaly in that he has five touchdowns this year but has only eclipsed 50 yards receiving twice. Clearly, the Vikings view him solely as a red zone threat and don’t give him many opportunities in the passing game. Considering he has a combined two catches and 17 yards over the past two games, Rudolph can’t be considered a legitimate fantasy starter.

3) Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks 
Many believed this would be a breakout year for Tate. Instead Tate has only one touchdown reception since week three and has struggled with dropped passes. With a rookie quarterback directing the offense and the Seahawks facing the Vikings, who rank fourth defensively against opposing wide receivers, Tate should be in for a quiet game.

Printed on Thursday, November 1, 2012 as: Foster racking up points, Tate lacks consistency

Fantasy Football

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) stiff-arms Detroit Lions linebacker Justin Durant (52) during a 13-7 win Monday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

As October winds down and we enter the eighth week of the NFL season, it’s easy to wonder where the time has gone. In case you missed it, here are a couple of observations from the first two months of games: One, Robert Griffin III is really, really good. Two, Peyton Manning is back and as effective as ever. Lastly, fantasy football is still a crapshoot. Looking ahead to this weekend’s games, here is some advice to help make your fantasy lineup a sure thing:

Players to Start:

1) Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

Although he hasn’t reached the end zone since Week 1, Forte is completely healed from an ankle injury and is back at full strength. Considering the Bears are facing the struggling Panthers, who Forte gashed for a total of 416 rushing and receiving yards and three touchdowns in their last two meetings, he should be due for a huge day. Expect Forte to rack up fantasy points in both the running and the passing game.

2) Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans

Stepping in for injured starter Jake Locker, Hasselbeck has played considerably well over the past three weeks. With Locker out again and the Titans facing a Colts team that has given up at least two passing touchdowns in all but one game this season, Hasselbeck is a good option at quarterback this week. 

3) Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Many people believed Wayne would struggle this year without Peyton Manning throwing to him. That’s hardly been the case, however, as Wayne has had at least 70 yards receiving in every game this year. With the Colts’ offense working efficiently under rookie QB Andrew Luck and Indianapolis facing a generous Titans secondary, Wayne should have a solid game Sunday.

Players to Sit:

1) Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers

After a strong start to the season, Smith has struggled lately, turning the ball over four times and throwing only one touchdown in his past two games. Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier for Smith this week, who faces the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. So far this year, Arizona has given up the second fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Sit Smith if you have another viable option.

2) Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

With the Steelers’ top two running backs injured, Dwyer seized his opportunity last Sunday, rushing for 122 yards against the Bengals. However, with Pittsburgh facing a Washington Redskins defense that is ranked dead last in fantasy football against the pass and tenth against the run, the Steelers will likely be throwing the ball Sunday.

Printed on Thursday, October 25, 2012 as: Fully recovered Forte should gash Panthers D