*Teams on Bye*: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay
NY Jets at New England Patriots
The Patriots defense has played well in consecutive weeks and the Jets have been generous to opposing defenses so feel good about starting the Pats here. Yes the loss of Mayo hurts, but Geno Smith is still Geno Smith. Chris Ivory and Eric Decker are Flex plays, and for the Pats I like Brady (back at QB1 status), Edelman (WR2) and Vereen (RB2). I didn’t forget Gronk, but he’s an every week starter from now on so I shouldn’t need to mention him. I doubt Tim Wright gets a TD for a 3rd week in a row, but let’s see if he gets utilized this week. He’s a Sleeper Selection.
New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions
Jimmy Graham is Questionable, so there’s an expected drop in Brees’ production for this week. The Detroit Lions are currently the best defense in the league so I understand the concerns about Brees’ play, but I’m not going to tell you to sit him. With Megatron expected to miss this game, I’d certainly pick Brees over Stafford, as the latter hasn’t looked good the last two weeks. A player I love this week is Joique Bell, who could be a top-10 RB if Reggie Bush can’t make it. If Bush does play then I think Bell is an RB2 and Bush is a Flex. A lack of Megatron should yield more production for Golden Tate (WR2) and I’ll note Eric Ebron as my Sleeper Selection. He’s probably un-owned in your league, so if you’re hurting at TE you could pick him up and take the gamble this week. Mark Ingram should be back, but I can’t see him or anyone in the Saints backfield doing too much against the Lions. Brandin Cooks (Flex), Marques Colston (Flex), and Pierre Thomas (PPR Flex) are the Saints worth using other than Brees.
Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens
Matt Ryan wasn’t able to get much done against a poor Bears defense, and the Ravens giving up many passing TDs, so I’m low on Ryan this week. He and Roddy White (Flex) are people I would avoid if possible. I’m not quite ready to believe in Torrey Smith yet, but against the Falcons I’ll give him a Flex nod. I’ll also give Joe Flacco some love this week, who I think will outscore Ryan since he’s playing against the Falcons’ horrible defense. Justin Forsett (RB1) is the definitive starter, and would’ve received more carries if last week wasn’t such a blowout. Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro belong on the bench for now. I’d sit Owen Daniels, just for those of you keeping him in your lineups.
Tennessee Titans at Washington Football Franchise
Delanie Walker is the only Titan I trust. If Jake Locker isn’t back then I’m not starting Kendall Wright or Justin Hunter. If Locker surprisingly is back in the lineup then I’ll give Wright a Flex nod. This would be a nice matchup for the Titans offense, but they just haven’t had much of an offense to put hopes on. Kirk Cousins should be decent here for those of you looking to replace Nick Foles for the week. DeSean Jackson is the better fantasy play for now, but I have both he and Garcon ranked at WR2, Jackson the higher of the two. I expect Washington to have the lead throughout the game, so Alfred Morris (RB2) should get plenty of carries. Jordan Reed came and immediately took his spot back. If you’re going to play a Washington TE, it has to be Reed.
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
The Seahawks don’t typically play great on the road, but I don’t see the Rams rattling this team. Expect them to feed the ball to Lynch since the Rams are so bad against the run. Russell Wilson had an unexpectedly off week, but after seeing what Colin Kaepernick was able to do I can’t imagine Wilson struggling much here. The Seahawks WRs are hard to choose any given week, and I honestly don’t feel comfortable starting any here. Percy Harvin makes you want to start him due to how dynamic he is, but there’s plenty of WR depth in this league. Don’t risk it until we see some consistent play. By the way, I’d stay away from the Rams this week.
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars
Against the Jaguars Ben Tate (RB1) and Jordan Cameron (TE1) get love from me. I expect the Browns to have a lead and keep it by running the ball, similar to last week. Isaiah Crowell is the backup so he’s a sneaky Flex play if you anticipate a blowout, and seeing how this team has scored lately I think it just may be one. Cecil Shorts III and Allen Robinson are Flex plays for me, but if I had to pick a Jags WR I’d go with Shorts. My Sleeper Selection here is Storm Johnson. Being the starting RB against a team giving up 149 rushing yards per game has to mean something right?
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
The Bengals DST have negative points in consecutive weeks, you should bench them here. I can’t see them doing much to stop Luck if they couldn’t stop Cam Newton and the Panthers’ questionable offense last week. With AJ Green out and Marvin Jones gone for the year, Mohamed Sanu is a top-15 WR this week, and Jermaine Gresham might even be a respectable TE. Is TY Hilton a top-10 WR? I wouldn’t say so, but he’s definitely an 11-15 play this week. Before last week Reggie Wayne (WR2) was the best WR on the team, but Hilton’s last 3 games have been putting smiles on his fantasy owners’ faces. Trent had more touches than Bradshaw last week, but Trent still isn’t much more than a Flex play in most leagues. Coby Fleener may have scored last week, but Dwayne Allen (TE1) is the Colts TE you want.
Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills
I’ve seen Cordarrelle Patterson get dropped in a few leagues (I’ve dropped him myself) and I think it’s the right move if you see someone in Free Agency that you think can make an immediate impact for your team. As much as the Vikings say they need to get him the ball, they aren’t doing it. Jerick McKinnon got the start last week and it may be his job to keep now. Unfortunately the Bills run defense is legit, so I’m sitting McKinnon here. In fact, I’m not starting anyone on the Vikings this game. The only players I think that are worth using here are Fred Jackson (RB2) and Sammy Watkins (Flex). I won’t punish Sammy for playing poorly while matched up against Darrelle Revis, and neither should you. I’m not reading much into Scott Chandler, I think Orton just needed someone else to focus on with Sammy covered.
Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears
With Knowshon Moreno out for the season, the backfield is all Lamar Miller’s. I think he’s an RB2, simply because the Bears run defense has been respectable thus far. Mike Wallace (WR1) should have a good game, but that’s it for the Dolphins. This leads to my Sleeper Selection,the Bears DST. The Bears are getting turnovers, and I don’t believe the Dolphins are a good enough offense to put up a huge amount of points. You should love the rest of your Bears as well this week. I think Forte and Marshall are your best bets at success. Alshon may have been playing better, but don’t forget Marshall is going against his old team.
Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers
Kelvin Benjamin is dealing with a concussion and is questionable to play Sunday. If he does play he’s a borderline WR1 due to his high usage. Outside of him, Greg Olsen (TE1) and Cam Newton (QB1), I’d leave the Panthers alone. Why is Cam back to QB1 status so quickly? Well I think Ron Rivera realized that he needs to let Cam run in order for this offense to succeed, and the Packers have the worst run defense in the league. Not much to say about the Packers. Eddie Lacy is a Flex play for me, but he looks horrible.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
The Chargers defense didn’t play well against Derek Carr, but I think they can contain the Chiefs outside of Jamaal Charles. I like the Chargers DST this week along with Philip Rivers (QB1), Branden Oliver (RB1) and Antonio Gates (TE1). Eddie Royal suffered an injury, but as of now looks likely to play so I think he’s a Flex. I’m benching Keenan Allen. In fact I’m trading him for anyone of remote value. I’ve given up on him this year. Sleeper Selection here is Malcom Floyd, who has scored at least 7 fantasy points every game he’s played.
Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders
Carson Palmer made his return and I was very happy with the results. He didn’t light up the box score, but he did get the ball (and a TD) to both Larry Fitzgerald (WR2) and Michael Floyd (WR2). I do think Palmer is worth a start for you Foles owners, as the Raiders defense has given up at least 270 passing yards and 2 TDs in consecutive games. The Cardinals pass defense isn’t limiting opposing QBs as well as I thought they would, so James Jones and Andre Holmes get Flex consideration from me. I want to believe in Derek Carr, but I can’t just yet.
NY Giants at Dallas Cowboys
With Victor Cruz out for the year, I think Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr are must add players (100% owned). I don’t expect either to do great against the Cowboys, who lately have surprisingly played extremely well defensively. Both WRs are Flex plays this week, and I think Larry Donnell will get back to a respectable level of fantasy performance. Andre Williams didn’t get much done last week, so I have a hard time he plays better than a Flex here. I can’t see why you’d be afraid to start your Cowboys here; I think the DST might even have a solid game. Jason Witten isn’t a TE1, but he has had at least 5 targets every game this season.
San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
I’ll admit I’ve been ignoring Anquan Boldin lately. The targets have been there, and he’s played better than Crabtree in recent weeks. Boldin and Crabtree are WR2s for me this week, and I think Vernon Davis will work his way into a more productive game. I don’t like Frank Gore (Flex) for this matchup looking at the Broncos run defense and the utilization of Carlos Hyde. Another RB I don’t like in this game is Ronnie Hillman, who is going to be against a tough 49ers run defense. Wes Welker had 9 targets in his first two games, but only 1 last week. I’m not sure what the reason was for that, but Welker to me is the least valuable of the Broncos passing options. I’d bench him this week.
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Here are a few predictions for Monday Night’s game: I think DeAndre Hopkins has 100+ receiving yards, Andre Johnson scores his 2nd TD of the year, Arian Foster is held to under 100 rushing yards, but scores twice for the 3rd week in a row, Antonio Brown goes for a 10 reception, 100+ yard, 1 TD game, Le’Veon Bell finally punches in a goal line TD, and the Texans DST has a decent night.
Thanks for reading, and follow me @CLNS_Marc for further coverage.