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By David Sandora
Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010
 

The Detroit Lions are a juggernaut.

OK, perhaps that's going a bit too far. But the Lions are very, very good for fantasy teams.

After years of having players who made fantasy owners regret drafting them, the Lions have put together an offense that ranks No. 7 in the NFL in scoring and passed for 240 yards against the Jets' stingy secondary last week.

All that with a running game that ranks No. 30.

Even so, rookie running back Jahvid Best, thanks to his pass-catching skills, is one of five Lions who should be owned in nearly every fantasy league. So is Matt Stafford, or Shaun Hill, or Drew Stanton -- whomever happens to be behind center for them on a given week.

Add into that group fantasy All-Pro Calvin Johnson, young tight end Brandon Pettigrew and receiver/returner Nate Burleson, and the Lions have the look of a team that can put up serious points against Buffalo.

Hill has already proven his value as a fantasy sub this season. This time, he could make a case to be in your starting lineup full-time.

 

 

FANTASY FAKES

• The Buffalo Bills are turning into a team you should avoid. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a serviceable quarterback, and Steve Johnson has become a sleeper wide receiver, but neither is worth more than spot play in fantasy leagues. In the running game, the Bills don't have a back averaging more than 39 yards per game, and rookie C.J. Spiller simply is not getting opportunities to showcase the skills that made him a preseason favorite.

• Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald is one of the game's best receivers, and Woodland Hills product Steve Breaston is an emerging sidekick. But Derek Anderson and Max Hall can't be trusted to get them the ball, and the Cardinals are averaging only 168 passing yards per game. Toss in Beanie Wells' weak 3.3 yards-per-carry average and Tim Hightower's fumble problems, and the Cardinals might be the team who disappoint the most fantasy owners this season.

• The Carolina Panthers are last in the NFL in passing yards per game, No. 26 in rushing yards per game and are 5.3 points behind any other team in points per game (11.0). They also rank last with 25 giveaways this season. Stay far, far away.

Dolphins' new Chad makes for a good sub

Chad Pennington has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns while playing more than three games in a season.

Pennington also never has had a season with more than 8 yards per attempt.

This information is relevant this week more than ever, with Pennington scheduled to start for the Dolphins at home against the Tennessee Titans. Chad Henne has been relegated to the bench, and Pennington will face a defense that is allowing 239 passing yards per game but has more interceptions than touchdowns allowed.

Pennington, though, is smart with the football and risk-averse. That bodes well for fantasy owners who are look for a bye-week sub for Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers. There are many worse choices than Pennington.

HOT PICKUPS

Mike Goodson, Car RB

Troy Smith, SF QB

Seyi Ajirotutu, SD WR

FREEZING COLD

Michael Bush, Oak RB

Beanie Wells, Ari RB

Steve Smith, Car WR

WIDEOUTS TO WATCH

Braylon Edwards, N.Y. Jets : Caught a 74-yarder last week. He has plenty to prove against the Browns.

Jacoby Jones, Houston : No. 2 option in a passing attack against the woeful Jags.

INJURY REPORT

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta : Questionable with a knee injury; expect him to be limited on the short week.

Ryan Torain, RB, Washington : Practicing with hamstring injury.

Clinton Portis, RB, Washington : Back at practice makes him worth a pickup.

Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota : Missed practice with migraine. Watch carefully.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, N.Y. Giants : Ankle sprain deemed not serious.

Fred Taylor, RB, New England : May return from turf toe on both feet this week. Sit him, anyway.

CLOSE RUN

Players who have converted the highest percent of runs inside the 3-yard line this season:

Brandon Jackson, GB : 3 touchdowns on 4 attempts (75 percent)

Mike Tolbert, SD : 5 touchdowns on 7 attempts (71 percent)

Peyton Hillis, Cle : 4 touchdowns on 6 attempts (66 percent)

Adrian Peterson, Min : 4 touchdowns on 6 attempts (66 percent)

Joseph Addai, Ind : 2 touchdowns on 3 attempts (66 percent)

Beanie Wells, Ari : 2 touchdowns on 3 attempts (66 percent)

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