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The players you need to dominate your fantasy league

Spears is a first-year broadcast journalism major and can be contacted at rodney.spears@drake.edu

Here are some key players for fantasy football for this weekend’s NFL games:

Tim Hightower (RB, Washington redskins)
The Washington Redskins take on the 0-3 St. Louis Rams, who have the worst running defense in the NFL. Mike Shanahan, the Redskins head coach, is an offensive genius and he will find ways for Hightower to exploit the Rams. Hightower is averaging 84 yards a game on the ground.

Daniel Thomas (RB, miami dolphins)
The rookie running back out of Kansas State is averaging over 100 yards a game for the Miami Dolphins, which take on the San Diego Chargers this Sunday. The Chargers allowed over 110 yards of rushing offense in each of their first three games.

A.J. Green (WR, Cincinnati Bengals)
Forget all of the hype of Julio Jones. Green is the best rookie wide receiver in the league. The Bengals take on a weak Buffalo secondary and Cincinnati has feature plays for Green, similar to when Chad Ochocinco was in Cincinnati. The Bengals will be taking on the Buffalo Bills, which have the 24h ranked pass defense.

Steelers’ offensive players
The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Houston Texans this week. They have the 27th ranked pass defense and just gave up 40 points against the Saints. Wide receiver Mike Wallace has a speed advantage (4.33 40-yard dash time) that will command safety help over top. The safety help will open up short routes for Hines Ward, seam routes for Heath Miller and running lanes for Rashard Mendenhall.

Eli Manning (QB, New york giants)
The Arizona Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson, a cornerback out of LSU, to help their secondary, but with the absence of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this secondary is not strong enough to ward  Eli and the Giants. The 24th ranked pass defense of the Cardinals surrendered over 400 yards to a rookie quarterback in Cam Newton, and Eli has thrown at least 27 touchdowns in the past two seasons.

Matthew Stafford (QB, Detroit Lions)
The third-year quarterback out of Georgia has too many weapons in Calvin Johnson (NFL leader in touchdown receptions), the speedster Jahvid Best and Brandon Pettigrew, who is tied for second in receptions among tight ends. Stafford, who is from Dallas, will have a homecoming game against the Cowboys.

Jimmy Graham (TE, New orleans saints)
Graham is averaging over 75 yards a game and has two touchdowns on this young season. The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is historically weak against the pass as they are in the same division as Matt Schaub and Peyton Manning. The Jags are currently ranked seventh in pass defense, but that stat is not accurate because they have not faced a superstar quarterback like Drew Brees.

Ed Dickson (TE, Baltimore ravens)
The Baltimore Ravens have a double tight end package similar to the New England Patriots, who have been known to gash the same Jets defense under Rex Ryan. The Ravens face the New York Jets this week. Dickson, out of Oregon, is the primary receiver in this package like the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski. Dickson’s numbers are not staggering, but he is sure to be featured in the Ravens game plan this week.

Tampa Bay Defense
Unless Peyton Manning’s neck miraculously heals, the Colts will have trouble putting up points against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers defense is ranked 24th overall and is surrendering 20 points a game, but the Colts offense only averages 15 points a game.

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