*Teams on Bye*: Kansas City, New Orleans
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
TY Hilton and Reggie Wayne tied at 12 targets last week and that’s about what I expect going forward. They’re both WR2/Flex plays and would likely be ranked higher if not for Dwayne Allen (TE1), who seems to be the TD magnet for this team. The Colts decided to give Ahmad Bradshaw more carries than Trent Richardson, and if this happens again this week then Trent’s decline will be complete. Bradshaw is an RB2, and at this point if you’re holding onto Trent it’s solely for hope. Foster tore apart an average Cowboys run defense and I can’t see why he won’t do well against the Colts. He looks like he’s back, and that game against the Bills was a fluke. Andre Johnson is a Flex play until he finally scores a TD. DeAndre Hopkins is the only non-RB you can confidently start from now on. I like the Colts DST here, but I’d be wary using the Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
You aren’t starting anyone on the Jaguars unless you’re in a 16 team league. Until I’ve changed my mind, expect me to ignore this team. Jake Locker was having a pretty good day last week and then did what he usually does: get injured. His matchup this week is intriguing, and if he does get the start he’s my Sleeper Selection. Kendall Wright gets a Flex nod, and he’s the only other starter I can see on this team aside from Delanie Walker. Bishop Sankey isn’t being used enough to warrant a start, he should spend the week on your bench. Titans DST versus the Jags = Titans DST in your starting lineup.
Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Steve Smith finally had a bad week, doesn’t mean you should sit him here. He and Justin Forsett (RB2) are your best bets at finding fantasy value on the Ravens. The Ravens DST has done a good job keeping opposing teams in lower scores so they aren’t a bad start here. A bad start here is Doug Martin, who in my opinion just isn’t that good and happens to be going against a team only giving up 89 rushing yards a game. There isn’t even a guarantee Martin gets the goal line carries. I’m benching him. In fact, the only Bucs player that’s touching my lineup is Vincent Jackson. The Ravens aren’t doing very well against the pass and VJax should have a good time against them.
Denver Broncos at NY Jets
The Jets aren’t stopping anyone in the passing game, so as usual start your Broncos. With Montee Ball out the hype is on Ronnie Hillman, but I’d say look out for CJ Anderson. I doubt Hillman gets every carry for the Broncos and Anderson has done very well (11 for 55) in limited action. He’s my Sleeper Selection. For the Jets, Chris Ivory is a Flex and if Eric Decker plays he’s a Flex as well. Yeah, not much else to say here.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Megatron is injured, and Jim Caldwell is seriously thinking of keeping him out for a week (or 2). Jim, please sit Megatron before he makes his injuries worse. If Jim doesn’t sit Megatron, I think you should. He hasn’t done well the last 2 weeks and forcing it another week may not be worth the risk. Instead play Golden Tate, who is seriously playing with WR1 territory due to Megatron’s limited play. Reggie Bush may also sit with an ankle injury, so Joique Bell is an RB2 for me if he can pass his concussion tests this week. I’m sitting Cordarrelle Patterson. In fact, I dropped him in one league (for Brian Quick) because he just isn’t useful right now. Until Norv Turner gets Patterson the ball more, you shouldn’t risk a fantasy win by putting him in your lineup. Matt Asiata actually did pretty well outside of his fumble last week. He’s an RB2 for me, and I wouldn’t buy into the Jerrick McKinnon hype so much that I’d place him in my lineup.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Are the Patriots back? Is Tom Brady worth a spot on your roster again? He’s worth adding (surely for the Brees bye week), but I wouldn’t declare him back in top-10 fantasy QB status. If the Pats continue using Tim Wright in two tight end sets then both he and Brady have added value, but until that is proven I’d temper expectations for both. I do believe that Gronk’s performance was completely real, and his increased usage in this offense bodes well for Brady. Julian Edelman falls to a Flex, as these last two weeks just haven’t been good. Hopefully Brady can connect with him better as they’ve been off on a few throws, I definitely don’t think Edelman is worth benching. The Bills are very good against the run, so I’d hold off on throwing Ridley and Vereen back in your starting lineup. Is the Bills offense better with Kyle Orton? I’d say slightly, I mean the guy put up over 300 passing yards in his first game with the team. Watkins (Flex) would be a WR2 if it weren’t for his matchup against Darrelle Revis, who did a great job limiting AJ Green while he was covering him. Fred Jackson (RB2) is the player you want from the Bills. CJ Spiller (Flex) is certainly capable of breaking off a long run, but I’m not placing bets on it.
Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals
The Panthers have been horrible on offense other than last week, and I would imagine the Bengals will be angry after their embarrassing display last Sunday night. Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin gets starts, but I’m not so sure about Cam Newton. What made Newton so valuable fantasy wise was his running ability, and that just isn’t happening so far this year. I don’t expect that to change against the Bengals. I’d rather play Brady than Newton this week. AJ Green left practice Wednesday with a toe injury and since he’s expected to be out this doesn’t bode well for Andy Dalton, who I’d say to sit this week. Look for the Bengals to use Giovani Bernard (RB1) and Jeremy Hill (Flex) more. Mohamed Sanu is a WR2 for me this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
It’s the Steelers’ 2nd matchup against the Browns, and this was a great game for Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. I say they both score again here. This was also a very good game for Markus Wheaton (Flex), who hasn’t been as effective since, so hopefully this’ll get him back on track. For the Browns, I’d give up on Jordan Cameron. The concerns of his performance without Josh Gordon have been made valid in my opinion; he just hasn’t done a thing all year. If you want to start someone on the Browns it should be either Ben Tate (RB1) or Andrew Hawkins (WR2). The latter has 9+ targets every game this season and I think it’s about time he’s scored a TD.
Green Bay Packers at Miami Dolphins
Let’s see if Eddie Lacy can make it two straight great games in a row. I’m not throwing him back into top-10 RB status just yet, but if he can get the job done against the Dolphins he’ll be there. For this week Lacy is an RB2, along with Lamar Miller, who I assume will split some carries with a returning Knowshon Moreno. Miller looked great in Moreno’s absence, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Dolphins utilize both RBs. The Packers are horrible against the run, so it’s possible both RBs put up solid numbers. Mike Wallace (WR2) got a week to rest his hamstring, I expect him to come out strong versus the Packers.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Games like Sunday’s are why it’s hard not to start Antonio Gates. A person that I’m perfectly fine with not starting is Keenan Allen, who has been one of the most frustrating fantasy WRs this season. It’s hard to call Allen the #1 WR on the Chargers after looking at seeing Eddie Royal outplay him almost every week. I’m not ranking Allen higher than a Flex, and if he puts up a dud against the Raiders then he gets my vote for biggest WR bust of the first half of the season. The Raiders signed Kenbrell Thompkins, and I really don’t think that matters. The Raiders are just bad, which means have fun starting the Chargers DST.
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons
Leave the defenses at home, not like you were really going to start either of these anyway. Brandon Marshall has put up a couple of poor performances, but I can’t see why he’d extend that streak here. Matt Forte leading the team in receiving yards won’t be a recurring thing, so I expect great games from Marshall and Martellus Bennett. What you’ve seen from the Falcons is what you should expect at this point: a lot of passing yards from Matt Ryan, great games from Julio Jones, and on and off games from Roddy White (WR2) and Steven Jackson (Flex). Antone Smith has 4 TDs in 5 games. Antone Smith is my Sleeper Selection.
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
I’m honestly not too concerned starting Tony Romo here. The Seahawks are giving up about 255 passing yards per game, and other than Week 1 the Seahawks have given up some pretty solid fantasy numbers to opposing QBs. If you need Romo to fill in for Brees, give him the start. DeMarco is an every week starter, even against this strong run defense. I will say that Terrance Williams doesn’t look like a great play here. If Tony needs a big play I think he goes to Dez, and I expect his safety net Jason Witten to have a solid game. I think Russell Wilson can have a top-5 fantasy QB day here, and I also believe Marshawn Lynch will come up big. Wilson’s 3 attempts at getting Percy Harvin a TD were great to see, so roll Harvin out as a WR2 this week. The Seahawks DST isn’t a favorite of mine this week, although the Cowboys do tend to have their turnover issues.
Washington Football Franchise at Arizona Cardinals
Kirk Cousins surprisingly looked good against the Seahawks, but I’m not moving so fast to start him. The Cardinals have been pretty good outside of their matchup against Peyton Manning. Cousins is an emergency start. Pierre Garcon is up there with Keenan Allen for top WR fantasy busts so far, Cousins isn’t helping him out too much in the targets department over the last 2 games. I think he and DeSean Jackson are WR2s, and Andre Roberts is my Sleeper Selection as he’s scored in consecutive weeks. Niles Paul and Jordan Reed should be active this week, which creates an issue for me at TE. I think Paul would be the better of the two, but how many people can Cousins really feed the ball to? If Carson Palmer does play then he’s a QB1 for me. If he doesn’t play then I’m not sure if any Cardinals WR is worth starting. Should I have faith in Logan Thomas getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd? I’m not ready to make that leap. If Palmer plays then both are WR2s. Andre Ellington is an RB1 this week, regardless of who the QB is I think he has a good day.
NY Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eli has been a completely different QB than the player we saw the first 2 weeks. Against this horrible Eagles defense he’s a QB1. Yeah, don’t let the Eagles DST points these last couple weeks fool you, they can’t keep scoring special teams TDs like this. Andre Williams is immediately an RB1 with Rashad Jennings out, and Odell Beckham Jr did enough in his debut that he’s a Flex play for me. Larry Donnell didn’t do anything last week; don’t let that scare you away from starting him this week. LeSean McCoy is an RB2 until he looks like an elite RB. Blame whatever you want for his performance so far this year, regardless of whose fault it is, he just doesn’t look like a top-10 RB right now. Darren Sproles is a Flex play, and Jeremy Maclin (WR1) is the only Eagles WR I trust. I’m not a fan of Zach Ertz here. The Giants have done well preventing opposing TEs from scoring and I think Ertz is a TD dependent player.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams
The 49ers defense has done great in the last two weeks, so the Austin Davis heat streak may end this Monday. The 49ers would be smart to keep feeding Gore (RB1) the ball, and Michael Crabtree should maintain his WR1 status against the Rams. The latter is great against the pass, but if Kaepernick is going to throw to anyone it will be Crabtree. The only player I like for the Rams this week is Brian Quick (Flex). I don’t think his stats will too great, but if you’re in a PPR league it may be hard not to play him. Jared Cook has 19 targets in the last 2 weeks, so he’s my Sleeper Selection here. If he gets 6+ targets on Monday I think he’ll produce some solid TE stats. Zac Stacy is continuing to split carries with Benny Cunningham, and if he’s losing goal line carries then he’s nothing more than a Flex right now.
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