This is a big week for me in Fantasy Football. Sitting at 6-1 in two of my leagues and being in first or second in points in both, a victory unofficially locks up the last seed playoff spot. It would mean that over the next five weeks, I would only have to worry about one win to guarantee a good playoff spot. You can bet I am focused on the right picks this week.
HOW’D WE DO LAST WEEK?
Saucy T was one pick away from his second consecutive perfect week. Stefon Diggs crushed it and now has to be considered as a reliable weekly play. He told you to sit Joseph Randle and Christine Michael, which was the right call because Darren McFadden stole the show… and maybe the starting role. He also told you to sit LeGarrette Blount, which was a great call considering Tom Brady was the Pats leading rusher. He missed on Landry Jones, but hey, he didn’t play that bad of a game.
The Wayniac brought you a lot of hits. I told you Ryan Tannehill, Rishard Matthews and Jarvis Landry would shred the Texans secondary and they went beyond that. Fee not only agreed with me in making Jarvis Landry a Start of the Week, but we also agreed on Todd Gurley. I didn’t just say to start him, but that it would be his best game as a pro, and it was. I told you that the Bucs would be a good sneaky bye week start, and though they had a terrible second half, they did find the end zone, just like my wide receiver start of the week Martavis Bryant.
Other great plays around the Nation were Dunton’s call on Teddy Bridgewater, the Wifeyiac’s guarantee of Mark Ingram finding the end zone, and Teddy Ballgame telling you on Thursday that whether or not Antonio Gates suited up, Ladarius Green was the play at TE. Several experts picked John Brown, and now that he is healthy and back in the lineup, he looks like a weekly play. Teddy Ballgame and Fee both agreed that Sam Bradford and Jordan Matthews were sits, and man were they right. They were so right that it may be time for the Eagles to actually listen to them. SANCHIZE BABY!
So with the Eagles, Bills, Redskins and Jaguars on a bye, most of your top starts should be available. But you will still need to do some thinking as the playoff picture starts to develop. Let us help you out!
(Note to the reader: These picks are made by a collection of experts (I have put the name of each expert ahead of their respective picks). I don’t necessarily agree with all of theirs, and they certainly don’t agree with all of mine. This week, my picks are in the leadoff spot as I am mixing up the batting order so to speak. Keep in mind as you read, that these are not always consensus picks, and should you find as the season goes on that you feel more comfortable with one of our experts starts, by all means, make he or she your go-to expert.)
Starts of the Week:
QB: 13:3. You know what that ratio is? It is the TD:INT ratio that the Baltimore Ravens have allowed this year. Normally I would not advise starting Philip Rivers on the east coast, but he is in a zone right now. Last week he looked like a dud and had a sick fourth quarter, you can bet he will shred the Ravens 28th ranked pass offense.
Chris Johnson rolls into Cleveland off of his third 100-yard performance of the season and second in the past two weeks. Cleveland boasts a rush offense so bad, it actually may become the stuff legend is made of. Start Johnson with confidence against the leagues worst rush defense.
WR: I shared some thoughts on Rishard Matthews yesterday and while he is not my Start of the Week, he is someone to consider. My Start of the Week however is Marvin Jones. Check out this stat courtesy of Rotoworld:
Antwone Blake graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 108th-ranked cover corner out of 109 qualifiers and surrendered the second-most catches (37) among all cornerbacks.
Blake will likely be on Jones as the Steelers focus the rest of their secondary on A.J. Green. Jones can feast off a weak DB.
TE: At this point, until I see something to prove otherwise, you should start any offensive weapon with any minimal skill set against the Texans. I have always said Delanie Walker is the best bye week/injury replacement TE in football, but this week he is a starter.
DEF: I like the Lions this week. Their weakness is against the pass, and Alex Smith doesn’t provide a lot to worry about. Their No. 9 rush defense, even if West dominates them, should keep them in this game, and maybe force Smith into a few rare turnovers.
Sits of the Week:
QB: Russell Wilson. I just don’t believe in him right now. He always sneaks in a decent fantasy start with a 50-yard scramble, but putting up less than 20 points against that 49ers defense was atrocious.
RB: RB Alfred Blue feasts against lesser rush defenses (i.e. the Bucs), but the Titans are a solid defense. The Texans are a three-headed backfield, and in an important division game, they will use any and every weapon to win. Blue is renowned for not being a very good cutter, and if he can’t get outside against this No. 4-ranked Titans rush defense, he will give way to Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk.
WR: I am over the WR Willie Snead experiment. The Giants secondary is dreadful, but the Saints have suddenly become a rushing team. Snead could return to that decent option against the Giants, but I don’t see it. Even if he does, it could very well be a mirage.
TE: I am amid my own TE Jimmy Graham conundrum. Russell Wilson has made Graham a sit, which is what makes it so hard. Graham is as good as he has ever been, but Wilson, well, I just don’t know if he is an NFL QB. I am starting him this week, but if he fails to surpass five targets yet again (four of his seven games he has seen five or less), he will ride the pine.
DEF: Keep an eye on the situation in Pittsburgh. The Bengals have been nothing short of fantastic this season, but if Big Ben returns on his home turf with his full array of weapons at his disposal, they could be in for a long day. I’m not saying the Bengals would lose, but a 42-35 shootout wouldn’t be out of the questions, and that never bodes well for a fantasy defense.
Saucy T: The RB Special
Starts of the Week:
RB Darren McFadden – Last week I mentioned staying away from the Cowboys backfield duo of Randle and C-Mike because nobody knew how they would split carries, and after Joseph Randle aggravated a preseason oblique injury, it was Darren McFadden who stepped up, not the much hyped Christine Michael. McFadden was already handling the passing downs and now looks to be a rare 3 down back running behind a great offensive line. Seattle is still a tough matchup, but they are no longer the fantasy kryptonite to RBs that they were in years past. McFadden may not reach the 160 total yards he had last week, but I expect 100 total yards and a score which means he should be in your starting lineup.
RB Start Charles Sims – The Atlanta Falcons run defense currently ranks No. 2 in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game, which means the Dougernaut (Previously known as the Muscle Hamster) will be in store for a tough fantasy day. As good as the Falcons have been against the run, they have been terrible at covering running backs in the passing game. In seven games they have given up 64 receptions and 514 receiving yards to opposing RBs. Doug Martin does catch passes, but Charles Sims is clearly the passing downs back in Tampa, and if Atlanta gets up big early, I expect a heavy workload for Sims who should have a better day than his rejuvenated battery mate Martin.
Sits of the Week:
RB Lamar Miller – Telling you to start Miller coming off a bye week with a new head coach two weeks ago may not have been very bold, but this is. Miller has been the top scoring RB over the last two weeks, but he’s also had two GREAT matchups against a terrible Titans defense, and a Texans team that appears to have quit on their season (Sorry Wayniac). This week Miller faces a Patriots team giving up the 5th fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs, and his Dolphins will probably be playing catchup against the NFL’s highest scoring offense. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for fantasy success to me, and if you’d like to avoid the crash back to reality Dolphins’ fans will be experiencing this week, you should leave Miller on your bench.
RB Latavius Murray – This week Murray faces off against the New York Jets who own the leagues best run defense. Most will look at Murray’s 85 yards and a touchdown last week and think he’s gotten healthy coming off the week 6 bye, but Murray was only on the field for a little over 50% of the Raiders snaps against the Chargers in week 7. I believe Murray is clearly the most talented back in Oakland, but for some reason (lack of trust or injury) coach Jack Del Rio doesn’t want him to be the workhorse I believe he can be. Murray only has one game with over 15 carries this season, and 15 carries against the Jets stout front seven won’t be enough to keep Latavius in the top 20 RBs in fantasy scoring this week.
Starts of the Week: WR Stefon Diggs has 19 catches 334 yards in first three games. He’s the real deal and has Teddy Bridgewater’s trust going up against the Bears. That being said, start QB Teddy Bridgewater against the Bears Mo. 27 pass defense. Belichick has been using WR Danny Amendola and after six drops by Brandon LaFell aka Stonehands, not much should change against Miami.
Sits of the Week: The aforementioned LaFell is a must, because we know how easy it is to get into Belichick’s doghouse. QB Eli Manning, well, I’m angry with him. He’s supposed to be my sleeper… Looked great the first few weeks but last two weeks I blame my fantasy losses on him. You can’t start someone with 13 points total in two weeks. QB Matt Ryan is too hard to trust anymore. Something is wrong. This sit really depends what you have on your team but if you’re like me and have Rivers… You sit him.
Start of the Week: RB Charcandrick West– The Chiefs made it clear whom they prefer to take Jamal Charles’ job, and it’s not Knile Davis. Looks like West is in line to be a top-10 back for the rest of the year.
Sit of the Week: WR John Brown– Joe Haden is back for Cleveland and I think Haden should be matched up against Brown. Fitz and Floyd could be huge while Brown should have mediocre numbers.
Starts of the Week: I’m with J.D. I like this kid Charcandrick West and it seems like Andy Reid does, too. Unfortunately I think he has a good day against my Lions in London. I also really like WR Stevie Johnson as a good flex start in the slot without Antonio Gates against Baltimore abysmal pass defense.
Sits of the Week: I would sit RB Carlos Hyde against the Rams D . They will be able to load the box with Kaepernick playing so badly. I would also sit RB Latavius Murray like Saucy T against the new look Jets. They are still a tough defense and they score points now so he will probably give way to Roy Hulu and Reece in the passing game.
Starts of the Week: I am on board with The Wayniac this week. RB Chris Johnson seems like a really good play. He had a great game Monday night, and was a shoestring tackle away from an amazing 65-yard TD run. This week he goes against the worst rushing defense in the league when the Cards fly to Cleveland. The Browns have given up over 1000 yards rushing and eight rushing TDs already this year. CJ2K could have a big day and reward his owners for their loyalty.
WR Marvin Jones. Yes he is second or possibly third fiddle to AJ Green depending on the formation but with all the attention the Steelers are going to give AJ I am expecting Marvin to see his fair share of targets. He can make the most of these, especially a deep ball or two. The Steelers are ranked 28th in the league in receiving defense.
Sits of the Week:
I have two big time sits coming from the Mile High City. Back in week 2 I told you to sit QB Peyton Manning, that was an admittedly bad call. This week Peyton is playing an aggressive Packers defense that could cause problems for the arm that used to be Peyton’s. Can he throw an accurate pass further than 20 yards these days? 15? I don’t see it. He has thrown more interceptions (7) than TD’s (6) so far this year. Ha-Ha and the rest of the secondary could have the last laugh Sunday night. RB Eddie Lacy. He was the number one pick in two of my leagues, he was a top 10 in most leagues, and yet he has let you down. Trust me I know, I have watched every Packer game this year (my 9-year old daughter is a huge fan and don’t mind watching with her). This week Lacy is going against a stellar Broncos defensive line. I don’t see this week being the week Lacy redeems himself in your league(s).