I couldn't wait for the Eagles-Raiders game in Week 9. There was a quarterback I was rooting for given how much we hyped him up prior to Sunday.
Pryor was our Start of the Week for Week 9, but he didn't play up to expectations. Instead it was Foles who tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes and scored 59 Fantasy points, which was the second-best total for the season behind Peyton Manning's 60 in Week 1. To make matters worse, Foles was on our sit list.
I missed big on a few key guys in Week 9, like saying to start Pryor, Jake Locker and Robert Griffin III over Foles, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. I also suggested starting Ray Rice, who was terrible, and sitting Danny Amendola, who was awesome. And three of my four sit tight ends all scored touchdowns in Jared Cook, Timothy Wright and Kyle Rudolph.
The good news is we hit on plenty of correct calls as well, and sometimes batting .500 is part of this job. The highlights included recommending to start the No. 1 running back in Chris Johnson, the No. 3 receiver in T.Y. Hilton and other Top 10 options at their respective positions in Russell Wilson, Giovani Bernard and Keenan Allen.
And as always, we had some sleepers come through in a big way with Case Keenum and Josh McCown as Top 10 quarterbacks, Chris Ivory and James Starks as Top 20 running backs and Marlon Brown as a Top 10 receiver. This week, we'll try to get more right than wrong, and hopefully our advice leads you to a victory.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Terrelle Pryor, QB, Raiders||21||16||57||16|
|T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts||16||30||91||3|
|Chris Johnson, RB, Titans||15||29||90||1|
|Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks||21||25||71||7|
|Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens||8||7||75||31|
|Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons||8||6||63||31|
|Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons||18||8||63||23|
|Jake Locker, QB, Titans||20||10||57||21|
|Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals||21||6||68||24|
|Ray Rice, RB, Ravens||13||3||93||38|
|Nick Foles, QB, Eagles||16||59||17||1|
|Tom Brady, QB, Patriots||19||41||55||2|
|Mike James, RB, Buccaneers||6||21||26||9|
Start of the Week: Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers
Sometimes you have to look at a difficult matchup and throw it out the window when it comes to an exceptional player. Brady taught us that lesson in Week 9 with his performance against the Steelers, and Kaepernick will follow suit this week against Carolina.
The Panthers are No. 1 in Fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. They have given up just seven passing touchdowns with 12 interceptions, no quarterback has scored multiple touchdowns against them and Wilson in Week 1 is the lone passer to throw for more than 300 yards.
|Cam Newton||at SF|
|Robert Griffin III||at MIN|
|Andy Dalton||at BAL|
|Terrelle Pryor||at NYG|
|Jake Locker||vs. JAC|
Now, they haven't exactly faced a gauntlet of tough quarterbacks. Wilson is likely their toughest opponent since Eli Manning has struggled all year and Matt Ryan was missing all his weapons. Still, give credit where it's earned, and the Panthers have been dominant.
At this point you're obviously asking why starting Kaepernick makes sense, but I like what I've seen of late. He has at least 19 Fantasy points in his past three games against Arizona, Tennessee and Jacksonville, and the Titans and Cardinals have been solid against opposing quarterbacks for the most part as well. He's also running more with 18 carries for 122 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games, and when he runs he's awesome.
I also like Kaepernick coming off a bye at home. He had two bye weeks last season with the playoffs, and he torched Green Bay (444 total yards, four touchdowns and an interception) in the second round and Baltimore (364 total yards, two touchdowns and one interception) in the Super Bowl. Now, it's clearly not the same scenario, but Kaepernick and coach Jim Harbaugh obviously know how to put together a solid game plan when given extra time to prepare.
Like always, it's up to you to buy into our argument, but I have a strong feeling Kaepernick will come through with a stellar performance, even against this tough defense.
Russell Wilson (at ATL): Let's hope Wilson breaks his pattern of scoring at least 25 Fantasy points on odd weeks, which he's done four times since Week 3, and then 18 points or less during even weeks. He had 25 points last week against Tampa Bay, but this should be the week the trend stops. Atlanta has allowed five quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points, including all four home opponents in Sam Bradford, Brady, Geno Smith and Mike Glennon. Every quarterback to face the Falcons this season has scored at least two touchdowns, and Bradford, Smith and Cam Newton each rushed for 20-plus yards against this defense. It's a perfect matchup for Wilson to succeed and remain a 20-plus point scorer this week.
Nick Foles (at GB): The last time we were in this spot with Foles was Week 7 against Dallas. He was riding high from 35 Fantasy points at Tampa Bay in Week 6, but he struggled against the Cowboys when he was started in 64 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com with five points. Well, Foles just scored 59 Fantasy points at Oakland in Week 9, and his start percentage should be high again. Will he deliver? We think so. The Packers have allowed four quarterbacks to score at least 23 Fantasy points, including two in Lambeau Field with Robert Griffin III and McCown. Foles has yet to throw an interception in 118 attempts, and he's developing targets in Riley Cooper and Zach Ertz to go with DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek. Even though we were all burned by Foles before, I'd gamble on him again this time around. Hopefully he'll come through.
Philip Rivers (vs. DEN): This should be a fun game to watch with Rivers, who is coached by former Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, going against Peyton Manning. Rivers passed for at least 241 yards and two touchdowns in both meetings with the Broncos last season, but unfortunately he had six interceptions over that span. This year, Rivers is playing great with at least 22 Fantasy points in five games, and Denver has allowed four quarterbacks to score at least 20 points this season. We're expecting a shootout, with Rivers and the Chargers likely chasing points. Based on how Rivers has done this season, he should hold his own against Manning -- if he can limit the turnovers.
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. BUF): Roethlisberger finally had a breakthrough game in Week 9 at New England when he passed for 400 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions for a season-high 34 Fantasy points. We're not expecting a similar performance because the Steelers shouldn't be down by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter -- barring an unexpected collapse. But a third game this season with at least 20 Fantasy points is possible since the Bills have allowed the most passing touchdowns this season with 20, and six quarterbacks have scored at least 19 Fantasy points. Roethlisberger has attempted 30 passes in all but one game this season, and we think if he hits that number he'll end up with a quality stat line against Buffalo at home.
Andrew Luck (vs. STL): I had Luck as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback last week because I wasn't worried about his matchup at Houston or his first game without Reggie Wayne (ACL). He thrived with 30 Fantasy points on 271 passing yards and three touchdowns -- all to Hilton -- who is the new No. 1 receiver. Luck now has at least 30 Fantasy points in consecutive games, and he could easily make it three in a row playing at home. In four home games this season against Oakland, Miami, Seattle and Denver, Luck has at least 19 Fantasy points with 10 total touchdowns and one interception. The Rams have allowed three quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points this season, but none since Week 3. Still, with Luck playing at a high level now, along with his track record at home, we expect him to have another big performance this week.
|Eli Manning||(vs. OAK)||He won't be Foles-good, but he should beat up the OAK pass D.|
|Andy Dalton||(at BAL)||Jason Campbell just torched BAL, and Dalton will get hot again.|
|Jay Cutler||(vs. DET)||He had 20 Fantasy points vs. DET in Week 4 and should do well again.|
Terrelle Pryor (at NYG): I had high expectations for Pryor in Week 9 against the Eagles, and he did OK with 288 passing yards and two interceptions and 10 carries for 94 yards. But 16 Fantasy points was a disappointment, as was a late knee injury, which could hinder him this week. He has now gone three games in a row with 16 points or less and two games in a row without a passing touchdown. He's also facing a Giants defense that hasn't allowed a passing touchdown in two consecutive games, albeit to backup quarterbacks in Josh Freeman and Matt Barkley (Michael Vick was injured in that game). If Pryor is limited with his rushing ability because of his knee then his Fantasy value is likely shot. It's not a terrible matchup because the Giants have allowed five quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points this year, but we just can't trust Pryor in this matchup if he's less than 100 percent.
Mike Glennon (vs. MIA): Glennon has been remarkable since taking over for Freeman since he has at least 19 Fantasy points in three of his past four games. He has just one interception over that span, and the Buccaneers are letting him sling it with at least 43 pass attempts in his first four NFL starts. But the Dolphins have been surprisingly great against opposing quarterbacks. Aside from Drew Brees in New Orleans, the Dolphins have held every other quarterback, including Luck, Ryan (with Julio Jones), Brady and Andy Dalton, to 19 Fantasy points or less. Brees and Ryan are the only quarterbacks with multiple touchdowns against Miami, and Thad Lewis, Joe Flacco and Dalton combined for no touchdowns and five interceptions. Glennon is just a low-end option in two-quarterback leagues.
Matt Ryan (vs. SEA): Ryan could get Roddy White (hamstring/ankle) back this week, which would obviously improve his outlook. And he's been much better at home with at least 22 Fantasy points in all four games, including Week 7 against Tampa Bay, which was his first without Jones. Since then, Ryan has two touchdowns and seven interceptions at Arizona and Carolina, and he could have his first poor game in front of his home crowd this year. The Seahawks have allowed Luck and Matt Schaub to score at least 21 Fantasy points on the road, but Seattle also has 13 interceptions compared to eight touchdowns allowed. It would be easy to see Seattle building a lead in this game and then forcing Atlanta to be one-dimensional, which could lead to a turnover or two for Ryan.
Case Keenum (at ARI): You have to like the way Keenum played in Week 9 against the Colts with 350 passing yards and three touchdowns, and he even did a nice job in Week 7 at Kansas City with 271 passing yards and one touchdown. He's averaging 24.5 Fantasy points in two starts, and he's maximizing his weapons with Andre Johnson scoring for the first time this season against Indianapolis with three touchdowns. But I'm a little nervous about Keenum in this matchup on the road. The Cardinals have done a much better job against opposing quarterbacks of late, with Wilson the only one to score more than 19 Fantasy points since Week 3, including matchups with Glennon, Newton, Kaepernick and Ryan. We'll also find out if the situation with coach Gary Kubiak's health has an impact on the second-year passer, but he's only worth starting in two-quarterback leagues this week.
Carson Palmer (vs. HOU): The last time we saw Palmer was Week 8 when he had a dream matchup against Atlanta at home. He threw two touchdowns in that matchup but finished with just 16 Fantasy points, since he attempted only 18 passes. We expect him to be more involved this week, but he has only one 20-point game for the season, which was Week 1 at St. Louis. He only has three games with multiple touchdowns, and the Texans have allowed the fewest passing yards this season. Now, four quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdowns against Houston, including Luck in Week 9, but Palmer's track record is an indication he could be limited, even at home. We'd consider him an option in two-quarterback leagues, but it's difficult to trust him, especially since he could be under duress from Houston's pass rush.
Bust alert: Jake Locker (vs. JAC): Everything about the matchup screams to start Locker, and we wouldn't be surprised if he played well this week. He's better at home than on the road with all three of his 24-plus Fantasy point outings in Tennessee compared to three games with 18 points or less while traveling. There have been five quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points against the Jaguars, and Locker could become the eighth quarterback with multiple touchdowns against this defense. But what we saw last week could easily be the norm for the Titans moving forward as they ran all over St. Louis with 32 carries from their running backs compared to 22 pass attempts for Locker. I expect Locker's stats to be limited unless you get Fantasy points for handcuffs, and I'm nervous to start him even with a favorable matchup on the docket.
Zac Stacy (at IND): Stacy showed that his ankle injury heading into Week 9 against Tennessee wasn't even close to being an issue with a career-high 27 carries for 127 yards and his first two rushing touchdowns. He now has 56 Fantasy points in his past three games, and he's done it against some tough opponents in Carolina and Seattle before facing the Titans. The Colts have allowed six running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points with Marshawn Lynch and Ryan Mathews rushing for 100 yards and four other running backs scoring touchdowns. Stacy is showing he can do it all with 11 catches in his past three games, and he's averaging 4.6 yards per carry as a starter. He should keep his streak of double digits in Fantasy points alive at four after this game.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller (at PIT): There have already been three times this season where you could have started both Jackson and Spiller and gotten at least nine Fantasy points from both, which was Week 2 against Carolina, Week 5 at Cleveland and Week 9 at Kansas City. There's a good chance it could happen again this week. Jackson has been the rock of this backfield with at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in all but one game. And Spiller ran against the Chiefs like his ankle injury is a thing of the past with 12 carries for 116 yards and two catches for 39 yards. We hope this is a sign of things to come, and the Steelers are a good matchup because six running backs have already scored double digits in Fantasy points against their defense, including both Patriots running backs last week with Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount. Look for Jackson and Spiller to have similar results, and both are worth starting this week.
Maurice Jones-Drew (at TEN): Jones-Drew quietly has at least 85 total yards or a touchdown in three of his past four games, and he was finally used as a receiver in Week 8 against San Francisco with a season-high six catches. If that part of his game returns on a consistent basis you can count on him gaining 100 total yards, and this is a good matchup for him. The Titans have allowed six running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points with nine rushing touchdowns, including seven in the past four games. Jones-Drew has either 120 total yards or a touchdown against Tennessee in four of the past five meetings with four touchdowns over that span. In his past three trips to Tennessee, Jones-Drew has combined for 63 carries, 466 yards and three touchdowns, and we feel safe trusting him as a starter this week.
Lamar Miller (at TB): We hope Miller doesn't suffer as a result of the locker room issues in Miami between offensive lineman Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin because losing two starters isn't a recipe for success. Still, Miller is finally getting the chance to showcase his skills. He has at least 16 carries in each of the past two games against New England and Cincinnati with seven catches over that span, and he's rewarded Fantasy owners with back to back outings with 10 Fantasy points. Daniel Thomas is still a factor, but he has just 23 touches the past two games compared to 41 for Miller. The Buccaneers have allowed a running back to score double digits in Fantasy points in each of the past four games with four touchdowns over that span, and we're expecting Miller to remain hot if he gets the workload. In the four games this season where he's gotten at least 11 carries he's scored a touchdown or reached 100 total yards.
Pierre Thomas (vs. DAL): Thomas has taken over this backfield, and his role shouldn't be impacted even with Darren Sproles (concussion) expected to play. Thomas has at least eight Fantasy points in consecutive games and two of his past three, and he's been the better receiver than Sproles this season with 39 catches to 37. The Cowboys have allowed eight running backs to score in double digits, but that's not my favorite stat for this matchup. Dallas has allowed seven running backs to catch at least five passes and 10 to gain at least 30 receiving yards. Thomas has at least five catches in four of his past six games, and he's had more than 30 receiving yards four times. He's a must-start in PPR leagues and a solid flex in standard formats, and we expect Thomas to play well in this potential shootout.
|Andre Brown||(vs. OAK)||Peyton Hillis will start, but Brown still has a chance to score.|
|Mike James||(vs. MIA)||Seven running backs have scored double digits in Fantasy points vs. MIA.|
|Shonn Greene||(vs. JAC)||He scored last week vs. STL, and he could do the same this week.|
|Andre Ellington||(vs. HOU)||The only thing holding him back is the expected return of Rashard Mendenhall (toe).|
|Montee Ball||(at SD)||The best is yet to come for Ball, who scored in his last game in Week 8.|
DeAngelo Williams (at SF): Williams appears to be done as a starting Fantasy option with the return of Jonathan Stewart in Week 9 against Atlanta. Williams still led the backfield in carries with 13, but he finished with 42 yards. Stewart, meanwhile, had nine carries for 43 yards, and Mike Tolbert again scored a touchdown. You can still use Tolbert as a flex option based on his potential to score (five touchdowns in his past five games), but Williams and Stewart will likely negate each other from being effective. It doesn't help that Williams has just one touchdown on the season, and in the four games this year where he's gotten eight or more Fantasy points he's needed 17 or more carries three times. It's hard to imagine him getting 17-plus carries against the 49ers this week.
Ryan Mathews (vs. DEN): The two best games for Mathews this season were in Week 6 against Indianapolis and Week 7 at Jacksonville, because the Chargers were able to sit on a lead and give him the ball. He had consecutive games with 100-plus rushing yards, but we saw in Week 9 at Washington what happens when San Diego gets behind. Mathews was limited to seven carries for 34 yards, and the Chargers went back to the Danny Woodhead show. Well, this week, we expect San Diego to be chasing points, which should limit Mathews' workload. The way for running backs to score Fantasy points against Denver is touchdowns (11 allowed to running backs), and Mathews has just two on the season (one rushing). Woodhead should be great in this matchup, but Mathews should struggle. He's nothing more than a flex option in most formats.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at BAL): Green-Ellis was serviceable in Week 9 at Miami with 21 carries for 72 yards, but this isn't a good week to trust him. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 5, and he hasn't caught a pass since Week 2. The Ravens have only allowed one touchdown to an opposing running back all season, which was Fred Jackson in Week 3, and Eddie Lacy and Le'Veon Bell are the only running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Giovani Bernard is still worth starting based on his receiving potential, but you can bench Green-Ellis in the majority of leagues this week. He did great at Baltimore last season with 18 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown, but with his recent lack of production and the emergence of Bernard, he's not likely to score double digits in Fantasy points this week.
Rashad Jennings (at NYG): Jennings was awesome last week against the Eagles filling in for the injured Darren McFadden (hamstring) with 15 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 74 yards. He will likely start for McFadden this week, which will be his second start in place of McFadden this season. The last time was Week 5 against San Diego, and Jennings had 10 carries for 41 yards and no catches, which is a stat line he could easily replicate this time around. This is also a tough matchup based on how the Giants have played since Jon Beason took over at middle linebacker. In their past two games, the Giants have held Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy to a combined 28 carries for 76 yards and no touchdowns. It's worth adding Jennings in all leagues, especially if you lost McFadden, but you don't have to start him in this matchup at New York.
Ben Tate (at ARI): Tate should start this week with Arian Foster (back/hamstring) banged up, but you should expect a similar stat line for Tate like he had last week against the Colts. Playing with four broken ribs, he had 22 carries for 81 yards and one catch for minus-2 yards. Tate said it hurt to "breathe and laugh," so you have to wonder what his pain tolerance level is after a heavy workload. Also, the Cardinals have done well against opposing running backs this season with only Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch scoring double digits in Fantasy points, and those are the only two running backs to rush for more than 50 yards against this defense. I'd still consider Tate a flex option in most leagues, but don't expect him to be dominant just because Foster is out.
Bust alert: Ray Rice (vs. CIN): This should be a great matchup for Rice. The Bengals just lost standout defensive lineman Geno Atkins (ACL), and Miller ran for 105 yards against Cincinnati in Week 9. But Rice is struggling coming into Week 10, and he looks too risky to trust. He could still be bothered by the hip injury that has nagged him this season, or the offensive line woes could be holding him back. He has 13 Fantasy points combined in his past three games, and he's averaging just 2.7 yards per carry for the season. He hasn't scored since Week 5, and the Bengals have only allowed two rushing touchdowns this year to Matt Forte in Week 1 and Johnathan Franklin in Week 3. We hope Rice can turn things around soon, but right now he's costing Fantasy owners plenty of production with his poor play. It's tough to bench Rice in the majority of leagues, but he should just be considered a flex option at best based on his current level of play.
Torrey Smith (vs. CIN): Smith is due for a big game after scoring just 14 Fantasy points in his past three games against Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. He's done well against the Bengals at home with eight catches for 222 yards and a touchdown in his two previous meetings in Baltimore. And the Bengals have allowed at least eight Fantasy points to a receiver in each of the past three games with three touchdowns over that span. Marlon Brown should be considered a sleeper this week, but we're counting on Smith to get back on track in this matchup.
Alshon Jeffery (vs. DET): Jeffery had one of his better games this season against the Lions in Week 4 with five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, one carry for 27 yards and a two-point conversion. That was his first game with double digits in Fantasy points this season, which is something he's done four times over the past five outings. The Lions have allowed nine receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points, including eight since facing the Bears. And Jeffery showed he could still post quality stats without Jay Cutler (groin) when he caught a touchdown from McCown in Week 9 at Green Bay with five catches for 60 yards on nine targets. Cutler is expected to get the start for Chicago, which only boosts Jeffery's value for Week 10.
Lance Moore (vs. DAL): Moore has re-emerged as a viable weapon for Brees the past two games with his performance against the Bills and Jets. He scored in Week 8 against Buffalo with three catches for 34 yards, and then in Week 9 at the Jets he had six catches for 70 yards while leading the Saints receivers in targets with 10, which were two behind tight end Jimmy Graham. Marques Colston (knee) missed the Jets game, and he could be out again this week in a favorable matchup. The Cowboys have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, and we know Moore likes playing indoors. You can also consider Kenny Stills a sleeper this week as the Saints attack this Dallas secondary at home.
Hakeem Nicks (vs. OAK): This is the week Nicks breaks his 11-game scoring streak with a touchdown against the Raiders, and you can start him and Victor Cruz with confidence. Rueben Randle is more of a desperation No. 3 receiver, but we like Nicks and Cruz a lot. Nicks is the one to discuss because the last time he scored a touchdown was Week 14 in 2012. He's on the verge of scoring with eight red-zone targets this season, and he's had 42 targets the past four games. He's done better at home with at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in two of three games. And the Raiders have allowed nine receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points with 10 touchdowns, including four last week from Cooper and DeSean Jackson.
Riley Cooper (at GB): Foles has helped Cooper turn into a star. In the three games Foles has started against Tampa Bay, Dallas and Oakland, Foles has 58 Fantasy points with at least eight points in each outing. He has at least six targets in all three games and has combined for 15 catches, 347 yards and four touchdowns. The Packers just gave up 28 Fantasy points to Brandon Marshall and Jeffery last week, and Green Bay has allowed nine touchdowns to opposing receivers this season with seven scoring double digits in Fantasy points. At some point Cooper is going to slow down, and he won't score three touchdowns like he did against the Raiders in Week 9. But you can set eight Fantasy points as the floor, and hopefully he'll reach double digits again in this matchup.
|Golden Tate||(at ATL)||He escapes Revis Island this week, and he and Baldwin could shine.|
|Emmanuel Sanders||(vs. BUF)||He has 90 receiving yards or a score in three of his past four games.|
|Michael Floyd||(vs. HOU)||He has a touchdown in two of his past three and could be heating up.|
|Kendall Wright||(vs. JAC)||Don't give up on the PPR standout even after down game last week.|
|Marvin Jones||(at BAL)||He should have scored last week and will continue to impress.|
Cecil Shorts (at TEN): I'm interested in how the Jaguars will do with Justin Blackmon (suspended) now out for the season, and Shorts is back as the No. 1 option with Mike Brown at No. 2 and Stephen Burton at No. 3. Keep an eye on the latter two, but Shorts has a tough matchup this week when it comes to his value. The Titans have only allowed two touchdowns to opposing receivers and none since Week 2. DeAndre Hopkins is the lone receiver to gain 100 yards, and Shorts could post similar stats to his previous two games, which was eight Fantasy points against San Diego and seven points against San Francisco. He had 15 catches in those games, and he remains a must-start option in PPR leagues. But in standard leagues consider him a No. 3 receiver since he has just one touchdown on the year.
Harry Douglas (vs. SEA): Douglas has been awesome filling in for Jones and White with 22 catches, 352 yards and a touchdown on 33 targets the past three games, but his time as the No. 1 option could be up if White returns this week. Along with that, the Falcons face a Seahawks defense that has allowed just four receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points with five touchdowns allowed. If White doesn't play then Douglas could see time against standout cornerback Richard Sherman, which is a difficult matchup. Keep an eye on what happens with White, and if he's in then keep Douglas on your bench in all formats. If White is out then Douglas can be a No. 3 receiver, especially in PPR leagues.
James Jones (vs. PHI): It's going to be hard to trust Jones and Jarrett Boykin with Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) out, and only Jordy Nelson should be considered a starting option until we see how Seneca Wallace does. Jones returned from a two-game absence with a knee injury in Week 9 against Chicago and finished with one catch for 17 yards on three targets. His production will increase even with Wallace under center, but I'd be cautious starting him even in a good matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed 11 receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points. We hope Wallace steps in for Rodgers and keeps the Green Bay passing attack humming along, but let's see what develops first before starting Jones unless you're desperate for receiver help this week.
Mike Wallace (at TB): The Buccaneers finally decided to let Darrelle Revis be Darrelle Revis, and the results the past two weeks have been great. He helped limit Steve Smith to four catches for 42 yards in Week 8, and Golden Tate was held to three catches for 29 yards in Week 9. Revis should line up across from Wallace this week, and Wallace should struggle. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2, and although he has at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games, he's only reached double digits in points once over that span. Wallace also has just six Fantasy points in his past two road games at New Orleans and New England, and he should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best for this matchup.
Steve Johnson (at PIT): Johnson should get EJ Manuel (knee) back this week, and the two were successful early in the season with at least nine Fantasy points in their first three starts. Johnson has one game with double digits in Fantasy points since then, which came in Week 8 at New Orleans with Lewis starting. This week, Johnson should face a tough secondary led by Ike Taylor, who has helped limit nearly every No. 1 outside receiver Pittsburgh has faced this season. The Vikings (Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson) and Patriots (Aaron Dobson and Danny Amendola) both had a pair of receivers score touchdowns and reach double digits in Fantasy points against the Steelers, but Taylor has helped contain A.J. Green, Marshall, Torrey Smith and Denarius Moore to six Fantasy points or less in each matchup. We expect Johnson to fall in a similar range this week.
Bust alert: Steve Smith (at SF): Smith has been a disappointment for the most part this season. He only has three touchdowns this year and just two games with double digits in Fantasy points. He hasn't reached 70 yards receiving in a game, and he's only had double digits in targets three times. The 49ers have allowed five receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points with five touchdowns, but those were some elite options in Nelson, Randall Cobb and Larry Fitzgerald in that group. Newton is spreading the ball around with Greg Olsen the leader in receiving yards (426) for the Panthers, and Smith (387 yards), Ted Ginn (367) and Brandon LaFell (352) all within 35 yards of each other. Consider Smith just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week, and hopefully he will score a touchdown if you're forced to start him in this matchup.
Jordan Reed (at MIN): Reed struggled in Week 9 against San Diego with just four catches for 37 yards on five targets. It was the fewest targets and yards he's had since Week 2, but we're counting on a rebound performance. He's been good on the road this year with a touchdown or 90 receiving yards in two of three games, and the Vikings have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends with four reaching at least eight Fantasy points.
Timothy Wright (vs. MIA): Wright has been spectacular since getting an increased role starting in Week 4. He has at least nine Fantasy points in three of his past four games, and he comes into Week 10 with a touchdown in consecutive games. The Dolphins have already allowed six touchdowns to opposing tight ends, and it would have been seven in Week 8 with Rob Gronkowski having a touchdown negated on a holding penalty. With Mike Williams (hamstring) out for the season, Wright will remain the No. 2 target for Glennon behind Vincent Jackson, and we're expecting him to finish the year strong as a potential Top 10 option at his position.
Garrett Graham (at ARI): Graham has been a disappointment since taking over as the starter for the injured Owen Daniels (leg), and he comes into this game with 10 Fantasy points combined in his past four games. He was actually better when Daniels was active since he had at least eight Fantasy points in three of his first four outings. But since Keenum took over for Matt Schaub (ankle), Graham has seen an increase in targets with 14 in his past two games. He has just seven catches for 84 yards over that span, but he gets a great matchup this week since the Cardinals have been miserable against tight ends all year. There have been four tight ends to score double digits in Fantasy points against Arizona with eight touchdowns allowed. If you need a tight end for this week, take a chance on Graham in a favorable matchup.
|Zach Ertz||(at GB)||He's outplaying Brent Celek and scored his first touchdown in Week 9.|
|Brandon Myers||(vs. OAK)||He gets to face his former team a week after OAK was abused by tight ends.|
|Tyler Eifert||(at BAL)||If Jermaine Gresham (groin) is out then Eifert could have a big game.|
Heath Miller (vs. BUF): Miller's stats have diminished of late as Emmanuel Sanders and Bell have stepped up their roles in the passing game along with Antonio Brown. Miller has 10 Fantasy points in his past three games, and that includes scoring a touchdown in Week 7 against Baltimore. He has 14 targets over that span, and he hasn't had more than 45 receiving yards during this three-game stretch. The Bills have only allowed three tight ends to score this season, which was Greg Olsen in Week 2, Charles Clay in Week 7 and Jimmy Graham in Week 8, but Olsen is the only tight end all season to gain more than 45 yards against Buffalo. Miller could easily score in this matchup, but we're expecting his Fantasy production to be minimal.
Jared Cook (at IND): I should have given Cook more credit in Week 9 against Tennessee since he was facing his former team, and he scored for the first time since Week 1. We wish he was more consistent, but two good games and seven bad ones shows he's just not that good of a Fantasy option. He's also facing a Colts defense that has allowed just one receiving touchdown to an opposing tight end, which was Julius Thomas in Week 7. Clay had over 100 receiving yards and a rushing touchdown in Week 2, but we're not expecting Cook to take any handoffs this week. Kudos to the 29 percent of you who started him against the Titans, but we're not expecting a touchdown streak to occur here. He will likely end up disappointing you again if you start him this week.
Charles Clay (at TB): Clay has tailed off of late following a hot start with only 12 Fantasy points combined in his past three games and one touchdown over that span. He also has just 14 targets in those outings, but he had at least six targets in each of his first five games. Tampa Bay has allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends, but only one since Week 2, including matchups with Tony Gonzalez and Olsen. Clay could easily rebound with a strong performance this week, but you might consider starting his counterpart in Wright just based on who has more upside in the same game.
Bust alert: Coby Fleener (vs. STL): The Rams have been tough against opposing tight ends in the Jeff Fisher era. So far this season no tight end has scored double digits in Fantasy points against St. Louis even with Gavin Escobar scoring in Week 3 and Vernon Davis scoring in Week 4. The Rams have held Gonzalez, Jason Witten and Olsen to a combined 13 Fantasy points, and in 2012 only Rob Gronkowski scored double digits in Fantasy points against this defense. Fleener played well in Week 9 at Houston with three catches for 64 yards and a two-point conversion, and he has at least eight Fantasy points in his past two games. But the Rams should frustrate him this week, and he's just outside the Top 12 in my rankings.
Giants (vs. OAK): The Giants have surprisingly been a Top 10 Fantasy DST in their past two games against Philadelphia in Week 8 and Minnesota in Week 7 with three interceptions, five sacks and only 14 points allowed over that span. The key for the Giants in those two games was the play of Beason and facing backup quarterbacks in Freeman and Barkley (Vick was hurt in that game). Pryor is expected to play, but he's banged up after hurting his knee last week, which should only enhance the value for the Giants since McFadden is also likely out. The Raiders have given up seven interceptions, one fumble and 14 sacks over the past three games, and the Giants should be able to contain Oakland's struggling offense at home.
Cowboys (at NO): The Cowboys DST has been up and down this season with double digits in Fantasy points in five games and nine points or less in four others. Three of the games in single digits came on the road, and the Saints have scored at least 31 points in three of four home games. Only the Buccaneers DST in Week 2 and the Jets DST in Week 9 have scored double digits in Fantasy points against the Saints, and New Orleans has just nine turnovers (seven interceptions and two fumbles) on the season. Dallas could get standout pass rusher DeMarcus Ware (quad) back for this game, but facing the Saints in New Orleans is a daunting task for most defenses. We'd look for another alternative for your Fantasy team this week.
|David Akers||at CHI|
|Caleb Sturgis||at TB|
|Mike Nugent||at BAL|
Robbie Gould (vs. DET): Gould already faced the Lions in Week 4 at Detroit, and he made all three of his field goals with one extra point for 10 Fantasy points. He has a solid history against the Lions with multiple field goals in four of his past five meetings, and he's made 11 of 13 field goals over that span with 10 extra points. He has at least nine points in five of his past six games overall, and the Lions have allowed four of their past five opponents and five total kickers to score at least 10 points. Gould also is coming off his best performance at home with two field goals and three extra points in Week 6 against the Giants, and he should build off that showing in this game.
Matt Bryant (vs. SEA): Bryant has clearly suffered with the Falcons inability to score of late, and he comes into this game mired in a four-game slump. The last time he scored double digits in Fantasy points was Week 4 against New England, and he has multiple field goals just once since then in Week 8 at Carolina. For the season, Bryant has only the Patriots game with double digits in Fantasy points at home in four tries, and the Seahawks have allowed just Jay Feely in Week 7 to score double digits in points. Things could change for the Falcons and Bryant if White plays this week, and the Seahawks defense has been exposed of late, but we'll play the numbers here and bench Bryant in this matchup.
Disclaimer ... Please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you with the tough decisions.