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Fantasy football check: When to bench, when to show patience
By John Dietz | Daily Herald Columnist

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has the ball knocked loose as he fumbles during the second half Sunday in Minneapolis against the Miami Dolphins.


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After a good showing against Detroit, Devin Aromashodu had only one play against Dallas. Fantasy owners should be patient and expect him to become a redzone target later in the season.


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New York Jets running back Shonn Greene may not get many touches until LaDainian Tomlinson shows down. The Jets have a lot more faith in LT than Greene so far.


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Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon should have some big games (and big duds) for fantasy owners. With a lot of talented receivers on the Colts, he won't be the go-to player.


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Published: 9/23/2010 2:48 PM

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You left your draft feeling good. Nice running backs. Solid QB. Up-and-coming wide receivers.

Two weeks later, there's a pit in your stomach and you're racing for the Pepto because Shonn Greene, Jamaal Charles, Pierre Garcon, Robert Meacham and Dwayne Bowe are all MIA.

Should we give up on these guys? Is there any hope? Let's look at those five plus eight more and offer a Dr. Dietz diagnosis:

Running backs

• Greene (20-70, 1 lost fumble). The Jets are clearly more comfortable with a resurgent and trustworthy LaDainian Tomlinson (22-138), which is a nightmare for Greene owners. Prescription: Bench and hope LT slows down.

• Charles (22-141, TD). This situation isn't as dire as the one above because Charles has shown his explosiveness with a 56-yard TD run and a 27-yard reception. Still, Thomas Jones is a headache that's not going away. Prescription: A low-end RB2 at this point.

• Ryan Matthews (25-104, 2 lost fumbles). The Chargers' rookie has a high ankle sprain and will likely miss a month, and backup Mike Tolbert looks like he'll be the goal-line back when Matthews returns. Prescription: Add Tolbert and insert immediately.

• Jonathan Stewart (13-55). The good news: His carries went from 5 in Week 1 to 8 in Week 2. The bad news: Eight carries? Prescription: Bench for now but watch for workload to slowly increase. He'll be a flex option soon.

• C.J. Spiller (8-9). Buffalo has baffled the NFL by using a three-man committee, and it's infuriated fantasy owners who were expecting much more from Spiller. Prescription: Bench until further notice.

Wide receivers

• Garcon (4-54). There are only so many catches to go around in a talented receiving corps. Prescription: If you are weak at WR, stay patient. You'll get some big games but some big duds too.

• Bowe (5-58). Is it too early to suggest bust-of-the-year candidates? Bowe would be at the head of the class. Prescription: He'll come out of it but not this week.

• Meacham (3-33). He was on the field for fewer than a quarter of the Saints' offensive snaps against the 49ers. Prescription: Drop unless you are in a deep league.

• Devin Aromashodu (5-71). What a buzzkill. Had he held onto a sure TD in the opener and not dropped 2 other passes, he would have had more than one play against the Cowboys. Prescription: Bench but be patient. He's too good of a red-zone target to disappear all season.

• Percy Harvin (6-44) and Bernard Berrian (3-27). Brett Favre has no chemistry with anyone other than TE Visanthe Shiancoe. Prescription: Play Harvin this week against the Lions (if he can go), then bench him. Drop Berrian.

• Joe Flacco (402 yards, TD, 5 INTs). Flacco (my eighth-rated QB in preseason) has been a huge disappointment. Tthe good news is he was on the road against two tough defenses (Jets, Bengals). The bad news? Pittsburgh, Denver and New England all loom. Prescription: I like Flacco this week but he's definitely a situational starter now.

• Brett Favre (1 TD, 4 INTs, lost fumble). Father Time has draped himself all over the Vikings' QB. Sidney Rice's absence is killing Favre's ability to improvise and be the gunslinger he wants to be. Prescription: Play him against Detroit, then ride the pine because Jets, Cowboys, Packers and Patriots are on the schedule after the Week 4 bye.

My teams: Another split decision. I rolled in my regular league (1-1) to a 133-73 victory thanks to huge weeks by Matt Schaub (42 points) and Adrian Peterson (27). My unit league (1-1) team is sucking wind and fell 68-43. Tony Romo and Cedric Benson need to get going or it will be a long season.

Good bets

• Texans WR Jacoby Jones vs. Dallas. This game has shootout written all over it. The Cowboys' secondary is suspect, which means Jones should be in plenty of lineups.

• Ravens QB Joe Flacco vs. Cleveland. I'm giving Flacco one more shot. Don't make me look bad two weeks in a row, Joe!

• Saints RB Pierre Thomas vs. Atlanta. I've never been a big Thomas fan from a fantasy standpoint - he's just too inconsistent. But with Reggie Bush out at least a month, he becomes a viable RB2.

• Redskins WR Santana Moss at St. Louis. Amazing what happens when a real QB is throwing you passes. Moss (16 catches, 166 yards on 22 targets) is reborn and starter material the rest of the way.

• Rams WR Mark Clayton vs. Washington. Did you see his stat line last week? Two catches, 2 TDs. Nice. Expect more touches now that shutdown corner Nnamdi Asomugha isn't velcroed all over him.

• Bengals RB Cedric Benson and the Cincinnati defense at Carolina. With Jimmy Clausen making his first NFL start, I expect plenty of turnovers and short fields for the Bengals. That bodes well for Benson.

Bad bets

• Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Tennessee. He's not an awful play, but I wouldn't expect more than 80 rushing yards against the stingy Titans.

• Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe vs. San Francisco. This is a tough matchup against a defense that basically shut down Drew Brees on Monday.

• Bucs WR Mike Williams vs. Pittsburgh. The rookie is off to an impressive start (2 TDs), but you'd be smart to bench him against one of the best defenses in the league.

• Steelers WR Hines Ward at Tampa Bay. So, when does Ben Roethlisberger come back again? Ward (1 catch, 9 yards last week) can't wait for Week 6 when Pittsburgh hosts the Browns.

• Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson at Miami. LT (6.3 per carry average) has impressed, but you sould find another option because the surprising 2-0 Dolphins figure to be jacked up for their home opener.

• Packers RB Brandon Jackson at the Bears. Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Co. are allowing an NFL-best 1.4 yards per carry and just 28 yards per game on the ground. That can't last forever, but a second-rate back like Jackson will find it tough sledding on Monday Night Football.

• Falcons QB Matt Ryan at New Orleans. Ryan struggles on the road (11 TD passes in eight games last year), and he was particularly bad in the Superdome (1 TD, 3 INTs). He's not the worst play, but I think he's only a top-16 guy this week.