Division games are always tricky. Some teams save their best for their division rivals. Some fall flat more often than not. If this was the 2009 Washington Redskins, we'd all know which side of that equation they'd fall on. The 2009 Redskins went 0-6 in the NFC East. But the 2010 Redskins are 2-0.
The Redskins take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, and the stats and analysis might tell you to stay away from most Redskins players on your fantasy teams this week. We'll look at both for each player on each team.
Michael Vick is coming off a 26.12 point fantasy performance with 218 passing yards, 74 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He's a must-start in every league, but maybe not without the slightest bit of hesitation. Vick has earned over 20 points in four of the five games he's played in 2010. The one he didn't? You guessed it. The Redskins have a history of injuring their opponent's best players this season. They did it against the Eagles in Philadelphia, and don't be surprised if they do it again in Washington.
Donovan McNabb enters this game with something to prove, just like he did six weeks ago in Philadelphia. In that game, McNabb earned only 11.91 fantasy points, but that was when the Redskins' running game was at its best. With both of their top running backs recovering from injury, its possible that the Redskins will give McNabb a bit more freedom in the passing game. With that said though, do what Mike Shanahan would do when the game is on the line. Bench him.
LeSean McCoy is the No. 8 rated fantasy running back in the NFL so far. However, the Redskins held Jahvid Best to 48 yards rushing and Matt Forte to 41 in their past two games. Neither had a touchdown. That's an improvement, and the Redskins defense is now ranked 18th against the run, but it's not enough to sit a quality fantasy player. McCoy had 15.40 points in the teams' first meeting, and Yahoo is projecting him to earn 11.01 this time around.
Neither Ryan Torain or Clinton Portis is a good option this week. Torain had 18 carries for 70 yards and a score in Philadelphia, but he's been limited in practice with a hamstring injury. Portis isn't far ahead as he continues to recover from his concussion. The problem with both backs is that this is a Monday night game, so any late setback will leave you short a player. If this was a Sunday 1:00 game, I might give you some different advice, but leave both on your bench one more week.
It may have had something to do with the Vick's injury, but in Week 4, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were held to four catches for 34 yards. Combined. Jackson and Maclin are tied for ninth on the list of wide receivers in Yahoo public leagues. Jackson's on a bit of a tear since returning from his concussion, but Maclin has scored fewer than six fantasy points each of the past two weeks. Give him a break.
The Eagles' defense has given up 14 receiving touchdowns in 2010. They'll probably give up a few to the Redskins Monday night. The question is who will catch them. In their last game, the Eagles held Santana Moss without a catch. Don't expect that to happen again. Moss is worth a start, and deep threat Anthony Armstrong also makes for a good option in deeper leagues or if you need a bye week replacement.
Chris Cooley is the eighth highest-rated tight end in Yahoo public leagues, and he caught a touchdown in the first meeting between these NFC East rivals. He's a solid start. That's a whole lot better than Philadelphia's Brent Celek, who also caught a touchdown in the first game between these teams, but he has averaged just 0.40 fantasy points the past two weeks.
David Akers of the Eagles hit on four out of four field goal attempts both of the past two weeks. If he's a free agent in your fantasy league, pick him up. Now! Graham Gano has been a consistently decent fantasy option, but his five points against the Eagles earlier in the year was his lowest total of the season. Best to find a different kicker this week if Gano is on your roster.
The Redskins' defense is ranked sixth on Yahoo, and yet it is only owned in 40 percent of leagues. What's up with that? Don't let Vick scare you. The Redskins are tied for the league lead with 19 takeaways, and takeaways mean points. Philadelphia's defense is tied for third in the league in interceptions, and it could add a few more sacks to their total this week as Washington's offensive line continues to struggle in pass protection.