We’ve got 4 teams on bye this week, and we are officially over the 1/4th point of your fantasy season. Bummer. It goes by so fast- so even if you’re struggling and frustrated try to get some enjoyment out of this thing – there’s still time to turn it around. And we’ll try to help – so if you have a specific roster question please message us & we’ll help. So here’s some friendly advice for you on this week’s starts or sits – and we’ll try not to make it condescendingly obvious either.
Buffalo at Cleveland
Start em RB Fred Jackson – Spiller is iffy. Jackson is the only game in town and has played well this year. He is nursing a knee, but he will play. I wouldn’t expect huge numbers for him, but he is probably worth a flex or bye week start.
Start ‘em WR Josh Gordon – I really don’t like the Bills secondary. I think Gordon, given the opportunity, can produce like Torry Smith did last week. I feel good about this start.
Sit ‘em WR Stevie Johnson – Joe Hayden has been playing excellent all year. He is playing like an all pro. He held A.J. Green to 7 catches and only 51 yards last week. I think Hayden will get Stevie Johnson this week. I like Stevie Johnson as a player, but not this week.
Jaguars at Rams
Start ’em Rams defense. The Rams d has been an underachieving disaster so far, but QB Blaine Gabbert can be good for what ails you as a team. In a league where Brian Hoyer, Terrell Pryor, and even EJ Manuel are finding success in limited moments – it’s tough to rationalize how bad Gabbert’s pro career has been. He looks like he’s playing hurt – except he’s never looked healthy. Tentative and erratic, if the Rams d can’t force turnovers this week, they are droppable even if they’re the only defensive you own.
Sit ’em WR Justin Blackmon: This is just a reminder with Blackmon to proceed with caution over the next few weeks. It is great that he’s back from suspension and apparently looking great in practice, but he still will have Gabbert trying to get him the ball for a few weeks at least. So his rust, combined with Gabbert’s suck = uneven production at best. In game 1 of his return I would expect to see something like 4 catches for 45-50 yards and no scores. Leave him on the bench for now.
Sit ’em RB Daryl Richardson: Nothing like using twitter to announce you’ve been benched. Silly and potentially doghouse worthy. Richardson likely will have a role in this game as a pass catcher or change of pace back (if his stupid twitter comments don’t get him regulated to “healthy scratch”) – but that role is not enough to consider him worth a flex spot. He was barely serviceable as a fantasy starter before having his role reduced, so he’s definitely not one now. I don’t think you can cut him, unless you clearly have depth – because the Rams’ rb situation is so fluid he may expand his role again before long. But for now, he is fantasy bench material only.
Chiefs at Titans
Start ’em Chiefs defense: This is more a nod to the fact that the Chiefs are a weekly starting fantasy defense now, rather than a reaction to facing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick won’t be much worse (if not better) than Jake Locker, but the truth is neither would be good against this pass rush. The Chiefs have young and fast players on defense that are turnover hungry, and Tennessee is not an offense that can generate a ton of yards or points against.
Sit ’em WR Nate Washington: Nate’s been hot lately, but I would sit him this week if you have better options until we see how Fitzpatrick favors him. The early returns seem promising based on his long td last week when Fitzpatrick entered the game, but Washington has never had much consistency in his career fantasy wise – so it’s a bit of a gamble to start him here.
Panthers at Cardinals
Sit’em RB Deangelo Williams: I know DeAngelo had a great 1st 3 games, and is fresh off the bye, but consider that he’s just not a redzone option for this team. Then consider Arizona is the 2nd best rush defense in the league right now statistically speaking – and well, maybe you should be less excited about plugging Williams back in. In his 1st 3 games Williams had 85, 86, and then 120 yards – and then consider his 120 came against a terrible Giants defense. You might argue that he got a solid 85 against Seattle, but I am starting to doubt Seattle’s run d as being elite especially on the road (Arian Foster tore them up last week) and they are currently 18th against the run. So if Arizona can hold DeAngelo to say 50-60 yards which seems likely, what is the chance he finally gets a td? Not good. Bench Williams unless you think 5-6 fantasy points in standard leagues is good enough.
Start ’em TE Greg Olsen: Not only has Olsen had a decent start to the season with 191 and a TD in 3 games, but the Cardinals have decent outside cover CB’s which should force QB Cam Newton to use the middle of the field. Olsen already leads the Panthers in receptions and yards, and in this one he should be a redzone threat as well.
Broncos at Cowboys
Sit ’em WR Eric Decker – Advising you to sit a Bronco in the passing game right now may have you looking at me through your screen cock-eyed. Well 1st, clean up your language missy. And 2nd let’s acknowledge that Decker is battling a shoulder injury, he’ll play – but will the Broncos push it with him if the game gets out of hand? Decker has had big games since being sort of left off of the opening weekend plan – but in this offense with all these other targets how easy would it be for Denver to make Decker more of a decoy or part time play? If you don’t have other options you can play him this week, but expect more Wr3 type of production than WR2.
Start’em RB Demarco Murray: Murray is not an elite talent, and he’s coming off a very “meh” 90 yard no score total yards effort in week 4. But the Cowboys are reasonable intent on featuring Murray for close to 20 touches a week, and in the new NFL 8-10 points in standard non-PPR formats for a RB is steady, if not great, production. The Broncos can score quickly putting you down, and have the league’s best run defense – which seem like very damning facts for Murray. But I believe the Cowboys will do their best not to get in a shootout early, and that means attempting to run and short passes. It’s possible that even if the game gets out of hand, Murray has gotten 60 yards and a TD by then. I wouldn’t shy away from playing him.
Texans at Niners
Start ’em TE Owen Daniels: For the record, because I like not to pick the obvious plays you’re also starting WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster here, no questions asked. Regardless of what the Niners did to the hopeless Rams last weekend, don’t let it cloud your judgement that these guys are anywhere near the ’85 bears, 2000 Ravens, the Niners of last season, or even potentially as good as the Texans D. San Fran can be scored on, and the ball can be moved on them easier than any time in last 3-4 seasons. Daniels is a redzone look with 3 scores in 4 games and worth a play.
Sit ’em QB Colin Kapernick: Obviously you can only do this with a capable backup option, but Kap is about to face a defense that held division rival (and commercial co-star) Russell Wilson to just 123 yards and an INT last week. The Texans have the #1 pass defense in football, and the #1 overall defense. Frank Gore won’t be as effective this week as he has been, which means even more pressure on the Niners passing game. To me this has low scoring written all over it, if you can bench Kap for guys like Jay Cutler or Alex Smith…and maybe even *gulp* Brian Hoyer. To be clear, I still love Kap’s talent but this is a bad matchup and currently the Niners are having major issues with playmakers in the passing game.
Chargers at Raiders
Start ’em Philip Rivers: And I’m putting this here, because unless you’re in a 2 QB start league or a very deep league – the odds are you drafted Rivers as your backup. Well the news is, he’s in the top 3-5 fantasy QB’s in most fantasy formats right now. And he has a great matchup this week…so it’s time to believe in him, and just as importantly his headcoach Mike McCoy. McCoy is the guy that made Tim Tebow viable for a time- and here he is rejuvenating Philip Rivers (and by extension Antonio Gates) it’s amazing to see. So if you have Andrew Luck, Russel Wilson or even Matt Ryan/Tony Romo as your “starter”, it’s time to think about turning things over to Rivers – especially this weekend.
Start ’em RB Rashad Jennings: Darren McFadden looks to be out this weekend, and RB/FB Marcel Reese looks to be out as well. Jennings will likely get a good size workload against a Chargers team 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. Jennings is an average talent, but the coaches were very happy with his fill-in effort last week when he came in for McFadden – so the job is his for this weekend no question. Then consider that QB Terrel Pryor will be back in action this weekend meaning that the offense won’t be stymied by Matt Flynn (man how terrible/fraud is Matt Flynn btw? ) and Jennings could have an all purpose day approaching 100 yards. He’s a no brainer flex pay, and a potential low end RB2 if you are dealing with injuries or bye weeks.
Jets at Falcons
Start ’em RB Bilal Powell: One of the stranger early season fantasy stories this year is that of Powell and his production. Even last week in a complete blowout (aka the behind the back butt fumble game) Powell found a way to combine his receiving and rushing #’s for over 10o yards. The Falcons are 6th against the run right now, but as Powell showed against the 11th ranked Titans this past week, he is capable of grinding and generating good days against good competition. If the Jets can keep it close early, Powell should be on track for 25 attempts, he makes a sneaky RB2 play.
Sit ’em RB Jacquizz Rodgers: I might as well put this up every week. I know he had over 80 total yards last week, but watch the guy actually play….it’s not pretty. The Jets are a solid defense, and 5th best against the run – my prediction is that the Falcons will either abandon the run early, or try to wear them out with the bigger/better Jason Snelling. Rodgers will factor in the passing game like he always does, but if he combines for only 50 or 60 total yards and no scores instead of 80 – can your lineup live with that?
Seattle at Indianapolis
Start ‘em TE Colby Fleener – The Houston TE’s really did a number on the Seahawks D last week. That was mostly due to the first half when they played zone and got shoved around. I don’t expect Seattle’s D to have that terrible of a game, but I do think Fleener has the ability to cause issues for Seattle. TE’s seem to be problematic at times for them. Remember, Fleener rhymes with wiener.
Sit ‘em Seattle WR’s – They are too inconsistent to count on week from week. Heck, I am a Seahawks fan and I have no idea who to start on a week-to-week basis. But in reality, the issue here is not with Russell Wilson or the WR’s themselves. The O-line is decimated with Pro-Bowlers Unger and Okung out and then throw in RT Giacomini and it’s not pretty Paul McQuistan is a turnstile at LT.
New Orleans at Chicago
Start ‘em Darren Sproles – you see what Reggie bush did the Bears? OK. I think Sproles effectiveness will come through the pass, but Sproles will have another good day. The Bears LB’s won’t be able to cover him.
Sit ‘em Bears D – The Lions gouged them last week. I know that was in a dome and this is in Chicago, but the Saints are playing very well on Offense and the Saints match up well against the Bears. This isn’t the same Bears team of yesteryear. Its just not wise to start Defenses against the Saints.
New England at Cincinnati
Start ’em RB Giovanni Bernard – Green-Ellis is the past. Bernard is the future. Aside from A.J. Green, he is the Bengals best offensive weapon. The offense as a whole has been struggling and feeding Bernard the ball will help that. I think he puts up some nice numbers this week.
Sit ‘em Pats Running backs – Ridley has not had a good year. Blount has looked good, but never gets more than 8 carries a game. Brandon Bolden? Beats me. Going against a fairly stout run D doesn’t help this situation. I say lean on another RB, unless bye weeks and injuries dictate otherwise.
Detroit at Green Bay
Start ‘em RB Reggie Bush – I know he is becoming a must start, but I really like him this week. Green Bay doesn’t have anyone to cover him. If he doesn’t get you running, he will get you in the pass game. Bush’s fit in Detroit is working out better than anyone (save Mike: editor’s note – Mike edited this!) expected thus far.
Sit ‘em TE Jermichael Finley – The Lions have given up only 4 passing TD’s all year. He should get looks, but is also coming off a concussion that was so bad his kid asked him if he could maybe considering retiring. Yowsa. Even when healthy, he produces in an inconsistent manner. Play him if you have to, but I can’t recommend him as a good play this week.
Baltimore at Miami
Sit ‘em WR Mike Wallace – Listen I know you drafted him highly, but he simply isn’t producing. If you have a productive WR or flex that isn’t getting time, this might be the time to make a switch until he starts playing well. 46 yards on 5 catches the past 2 games is not starter material.
Start ‘em RB Ray Rice – The Ravens abandoned the run game last week. 11 carries for the team. Insane. As a result, Flacco throws 50 times and throws 5 picks. They should try and pound the ball more this week. I also think they get Ray Ray involved in the passing game some as well.
Philadelphia at NY Giants
Sit ‘em all NYG players except for Eli and Cruz – anyone else is a crapshoot. The offense has scored 7 points in two weeks, while the defense has given up 69 points. The team is in a funk. While the offense has the talent to break out at some point, the defense has a lot of issues – which in turn puts a lot of pressure on a struggling offensive line to pass protect for so much of the games. I don’t love Eli this week, but the Eagles have a poor defense. I know bye weeks present depth issues and the Giants are back at home, but just don’t expect a lot from Wilson, Nicks et al.
Start ‘em WR Desean Jackson – As mentioned above, I don’t like the way the Giants are playing defense. I think Jackson gets the ball in space and makes the plays. He is a playmaker with the ball in his hands and I think the Eagles feed him the ball. Jackson also leads the NFL in YAC. He adds to that lead this week.
-Ron and Mike