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Fantasy matchups: LenDale White could break out

By Derick Moss

What's more important: Playing matchups week to week or standing by consistent top-tier fantasy starters? It's a trick question, because a winning fantasy team must do both.

For example, obviously start No. 1 players such as LaDainian Tomlinson, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson every week and take your chances. But there are times when matchups beg shifting your roster. For instance, why not play Jets against an awful Bengals defense? And wouldn't this be a good week to start Drew Brees (who gets Atlanta) ahead of Donovan McNabb (vs. the Bears)?

Byes: San Diego, Green Bay, Carolina, Cleveland

Tennessee at Houston
1 p.m., CBS


Suit 'em up: LenDale White appeared to be slipping into a tandem, but with Chris Brown hurting and Chris Henry not much of a threat, White will get whatever fantasy points are to be had out of the Titans backfield. Roydell Williams will get a few more looks with Brandon Jones out 2-3 weeks, but he's a flex option, at best.

Sit 'em down: Keep an eye on Vince Young, who hasn't practiced this week and is a gameday decision. And even though Eric Moulds might get a few more catches with Jones out, Williams is a better option.


Suit 'em up: Even if Andre Johnson plays (he'll be a game-day decision), Kevin Walter is the team's No. 2 option and is coming off a 12-catch week. And if Young doesn't play, the Texans defense is a decent play.

Sit 'em down: Ahman Green isn't healthy, and Ron Dayne's been so ineffective he was inactive last week. On top of all that, Tennessee is among the league's best against the run.

Tampa Bay at Detroit
1 p.m., CBS


Suit 'em up: Jeff Garcia continues to impress with his efficiency, and gets a tepid Lions defense this week. And though Earnest Graham has struggled in place of Carnell Williams, he gets a Detroit defense that is average against the run, and Tampa will try and hold the ball as long as it can.

Sit 'em down: Although Tampa Bay's defense has been exceptional, it's tough to hold the Lions down on their home turf. And although Michael Bennett may have some value down the line, he's not a contributor yet.


Suit 'em up: Coming off a bye, Calvin Johnson is healthy again and is the team's second-best receiver behind Roy Williams. Also, Kevin Jones is once again the featured back, and the Bucs are much better against the pass than the run.

Sit 'em down: Release Tatum Bell if you need to open a roster spot. With the Lions' explosive offense, it's not easy to sit anyone, but the Bucs are pretty good against the pass, so Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald are not great options.

Atlanta at New Orleans
1 p.m., FOX


Suit 'em up: The Falcons are going to try to run at all costs this week, but Jerious Norwood is a better play than Warrick Dunn, even if he gets half the touches. At some point, the Falcons are going to have to get him the ball consistently because he's their best offensive player right now.

Sit 'em down: With Joey Harrington hurt (and ineffective), Byron Leftwich starts. Even though the Saints defense is porous, it's hard to recommend Leftwich unless you're in a two-QB league.


Suit 'em up: Drew Brees wasn't going to be terrible forever, and he was pretty good last week. He gets a good matchup this week. Marques Colston will likely be guarded by DeAngelo Hall, but Brees loves Lance Moore, making him a nice waiver wire pickup. Reggie Bush is a Top-10 back for the rest of the season.

Sit 'em down: As stated earlier, Hall is a shutdown corner and is a tough matchup for Colston, who's had a rocky second season. Devery Henderson is buried in the New Orleans doghouse because of his numerous dropped pass, and he should be in yours too.

Arizona at Washington
1 p.m., FOX


Suit 'em up: There won't be many points in this one, especially by the Cardinals. Edgerrin James and Larry Fitzgerald are the only Cardinals worth starting, but Anquan Boldin is a flex option coming off an injury.

Sit 'em down: Tim Rattay will do well just to stay on his feet against a bullish Redskins defense. Now that Boldin is back, Bryant Johnson is down on the list of viable receivers.


Suit 'em up: Washington's defense might be the week's top play at that position. Arizona's allowing 4.4 yards per carry, and Clinton Portis could have a nice rebound game in him. Jason Campbell is solid, if unspectacular, and he's turning Chris Cooley into a Top-5 tight end.

Sit 'em down: Antwaan Randle El isn't healthy and isn't playing well, either. Santana Moss might be a gameday decision, so monitor his status and be ready to pounce on Keenan McCardell if Moss is out.

New England at Miami
1 p.m., CBS


Suit 'em up: Expect big numbers from most of the Pats, and play Wes Welker because he'll want to rub it in the Dolphins' faces. If Laurence Maroney plays, get him in your lineup. But take a shot at Kevin Faulk, who'll get time because a) Maroney and Sammy morris might both be out and b) he'll get carries in garbage time.

Sit 'em down: Sammy Morris is out about a month, and Ben Watson might be out two weeks. But start every Patriot who's healthy this week.


Suit 'em up: Ronnie Brown is really coming into his own on a bad team, and is the No. 1 fantasy back right now. With Chris Chambers in San Diego, Marty Booker is the team's top receiving threat. Your best hope for Miami players is that the Pats rest their regulars in the second half of a blowout, which might mean Cleo Lemon puts up numbers, justifying a No. 2 QB spot.

Sit 'em down: Ted Ginn Jr. will get some more touches as the season progresses, but the Pats are a bad matchup for him. David Martin is gimpy on a bad ankle and will be harassed by Adalius Thomas all day.

Baltimore at Buffalo
1 p.m., CBS


Suit 'em up: Another low-scoring game without many fantasy heroes. Willis McGahee has been consistent and is a good play against a smallish Bills front seven. Demetrius Williams is a viable No. 3 receiver with Kyle Boller under center, but monitor his health this week.

Sit 'em down: This looks like a trap game for the Ravens, who cannot seem to get the ball downfield in the passing game no matter who's the quarterback. Todd Heap is hurting and might not play, and Mark Clayton is a non-factor these days.


Suit 'em up: Trent Edwards is the likely starter and gets a tough matchup this week. But Roscoe Parrish is a sleeper at receiver, and Marshawn Lynch, despite the matchup, is worth a play as a No. 2 RB. The Bills defense forced six turnovers last week and gets a favorable matchup this Sunday.

Sit 'em down: Lee Evans has had an inconsistent year and will be blanketed by Chris McAlister this week. And be it Robert Royal or Michael Gaines, no Bills tight end is part of the offensive equation.

San Francisco at N.Y. Giants
1 p.m. , FOX


Suit 'em up: The 49ers haven't moved it much on offense all season, but they'll try to get Frank Gore involved plenty on Sunday, if for no other reason than to keep the Giants offense off the field. Vernon Davis returns and gets a good matchup.

Sit 'em down: The 49ers say they want to get Ashley Lelie involved in the deep passing game, but who's going to get the ball to him? Alex Smith might play, but steer clear of him and backup Trent Dilfer.


Suit 'em up: The 49ers have two good corners, but still rank 16th against the pass, which means Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer are both decent plays, and Jeremy Shockey could have a breakout game.

Sit 'em down: Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ruben Droughns – who'll start on Sunday? Jacobs and Ward are banged up, and you'll need to wait until Sunday morning before picking one of the three.

Kansas City at Oakland
4:05 p.m., CBS


Suit 'em up: What a surprise the Chiefs have been. And now that Larry Johnson seems to be going again, who knows? Oakland is allowing a whopping 5.6 yards per carry, so Johnson could see his first multi-TD game of the year. The Chiefs defense is second in the NFL: with 19 sacks, and they get an inconsistent offense Sunday.

Sit 'em down: The Raiders have allowed six passing touchdowns but have picked off nine passes, so Damon Huard probably won't do too much. Dwayne Bowe is a flex option, but he'll have a tough time.


Suit 'em up: The Chiefs are seventh against the pass, but 20th against the run, and that's Oakland's strong suit. SO go ahead and start LaMont Jordan and hope his back holds up. Of his two backups, Dominic Rhodes complained enough this week that he might get more touches than Justin Fargas.

Sit 'em down: Daunte Culpepper had five touchdowns against Miami, but remember, that's Miami. Ronald Curry is a flex option, but Jerry Porter and Mike Williams aren't options at all.

New York Jets at Cincinnati
4:05 p.m., CBS


Suit 'em up: Plenty of points to be had in this one. This may be Chad Pennington's last chance to save his job, and what better defense to face than the sorry Bengals? Jerricho Cotchery has 485 receiving yards, but no touchdowns. That streak won't hold, and this is a great matchup for him and Laveranues Coles. Thomas Jones hasn't scored in 134 carries, but he's coming off a big game.

Sit 'em down: Chris Baker mouthed off to the coaching staff and won't be a factor at all this week. If Pennington has a good game, it might set the Kellen Clemens' era back a few weeks.


Suit 'em up: The Jets are almost as bad as the Bengals on defense, so Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are all No. 1 options.

Sit 'em down: Rudi Johnson is still banged up, and Kenny Watson isn't a breakaway threat.

St. Louis at Seattle
4:15 p.m., FOX


Suit 'em up: Marc Bulger is expected to return from injury this week. He's not a great play with Steven Jackson out and Torry Holt playing on a gimpy knee, though. Isaac Bruce is expected to return, as well.

Sit 'em down: Jackson is still out, but Brian Leonard, who had 18 yards on 12 carries last week, is not a good play.


Suit 'em up: Matt Hasselbeck gets a good matchup, and Bobby Engram is his top target while Deion Branch is out. D.J. Hackett might return from an injury, which would be good news for Hasselbeck as none of his receivers are playmakers.

Sit 'em down: Shaun Alexander is coming off consecutive poor performances, and his offensive line is a shell of its former self. Nate Burleson likely will lose time if Hackett plays.

Minnesota at Dallas
4:15, FOX


Suit 'em up: It's truly amazing that Adrian Peterson is splitting carries with anybody, much less Chester Taylor. But he's a top-tier back regardless, and Taylor is actually a flex play against a Dallas defense that has trouble against the run.

Sit 'em down: There's no other Viking worth starting, because the passing game is non-existent.


Suit 'em up: The Vikings are great against the run, but horrid against the pass. So Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton are all must-plays.

Sit 'em down: Marion Barber is a decent option, but he could be more of a pass-catcher and short-yardage value this week. Julius Jones doesn't figure to find much room to run this week.

Chicago at Philadelphia
4:15 p.m., FOX


Suit 'em up: What to do with Devin Hester? I say take a chance: He only needs one touch on offense to put up a long touchdown. Greg Olsen could become a top-tier tight end sooner rather than later.

Sit 'em down: The Eagles get to the quarterback, and Brian Griese has been much like Rex Grossman in terms of game management. Cedric Benson is a flex option at best, and Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad are too inconsistent to play against tougher matchups.


Suit 'em up: The Bears defense isn't playing at a level anywhere near where it have in recent years, so Donovan McNabb is a viable option, while Brian Westbrook is a must-start. The Bears turn it over in bunches, meaning the Eagles defense might get a few points, maybe even a defensive score.

Sit 'em down: Reggie Brown might be a better option than Kevin Curtis, based on last week's play-calling and Curtis' wild inconsistency. Both are flex options, but neither is a solid starter. And forget the other Philly receivers altogether.

Pittsburgh at Denver
8:15 p.m., NBC


Suit 'em up: The Broncos are great against the pass, but vulnerable against the run. So Willie Parker is a clear No. 1 option, and Najeh Davenport is a flex play.

Sit 'em down: Bad combination here: Denver has the best cornerback tandem in the league, and Steelers receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes are coming off injury. Downgrade Ben Roethlisberger to a No. 2 QB for this week.


Suit 'em up: It's hard to like any Broncos this week, but Travis Henry might get enough carries to justify a flex play. Brandon Marshall is a fine No. 2 option, even if the offense can't get the ball downfield.

Sit 'em down: If you have other options than Jay Cutler, take them. Daniel Graham continues to be a serious bust at tight end.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN


Suit 'em up: You can't sit any of the key ColtsPeyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark or Joseph Addai. But this is a tough matchup for Indy against a great defense, so temper your expectations.

Sit 'em down: Secondary Colts options like Anthony Gonzalez and Kenton Keith shouldn't be in your lineup.


Suit 'em up: The Jags are going to run it right at Indianapolis, so Maurice Jones-Drew is a solid No. 2 option, possibly a No. 1 if Fred Taylor is limited by a groin injury. David Garrard is playing just well enough to get into plenty of fantasy lineups, maybe yours.

Sit 'em down: Although it is an elite unit, this isn't the week to start the Jags defense. It's hard to recommend either Reggie Williams or Dennis Northcutt, and Ernest Wilford and Matt Jones are out of the question.

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