The difference between a good start and a great start sometimes comes down to 1 yard. That's what happened to Andre Brown as the Start of the Week in Week 11 against Green Bay.
Brown lost out on a 1-yard touchdown plunge to Brandon Jacobs against the Packers. If he got that touchdown he would have finished with 14 Fantasy points, which would have made him a Top 12 running back in standard leagues. Instead, Brown finished with eight points, which was respectable and made him a Top 20 rusher for the scoring period. Still, it was frustrating watching Jacobs take away that production.
The rest of the column from Week 11 was mostly positive. We had three Top 10 quarterbacks as starting options (Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Nick Foles), three Top 20 running backs (Chris Ivory, Ryan Mathews and Ben Tate) and two Top 24 receivers (Josh Gordon and Torrey Smith). Our sleepers also came through in a big way with Ben Roethlisberger as the No. 1 quarterback for the week, Rashad Jennings and Donald Brown as Top 5 running backs, Harry Douglas as a Top 5 receiver and Delanie Walker and Coby Fleener as Top 10 tight ends.
The negatives were minor outside of one call. I said to sit Bobby Rainey and Brian Leonard with the explanation that, unless needed, you should see how Tampa Bay uses both running backs in their first game in place of the injured Mike James. I did say to go with Rainey over Leonard in standard leagues, but since it was under the sit listing we have to mention it here, especially since Rainey was the No. 1 running back for the week.
We'll see how Rainey does for an encore performance, but I'm expecting him to struggle in a tough matchup at Detroit.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Andre Brown, RB, Giants||12||8||83||20|
|Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins||25||26||80||4|
|Josh Gordon, WR, Browns||13||18||83||6|
|Chris Ivory, RB, Jets||12||15||52||9|
|Andrew Luck, QB, Colts||18||18||73||13|
|Steve Smith, WR, Panthers||7||6||49||41|
|T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts||10||4||96||52|
|Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins||12||3||52||53|
|Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals||11||1||73||57|
|Percy Harvin, WR, Seahawks||12||1||54||75|
|Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers||7||34||21||1|
|Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers||4||11||30||20|
|Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers||7||11||66||8|
Start of the Week: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, RBs, Patriots
I hope the Patriots roll out the same game plan they used against Carolina in Week 11 for this week's matchup against Denver. That would be great for Ridley and Vereen -- and the Fantasy owners relying on them.
The key for Ridley is obviously holding onto the ball because he missed out on a big game against the Panthers. He had 13 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown, but a second quarter fumble put him on the bench since it was his third fumble of the year. LeGarrette Blount came on and had 10 carries for 49 yards, and Ridley would have taken away some of that production if he stayed on the field.
We hope coach Bill Belichick doesn't punish Ridley further, and he's a great starting option on his own against the Broncos, who have allowed eight running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points with eight rushing touchdowns. Ridley has scored in five consecutive games with seven touchdowns over that span.
|Donald Brown||at ARI|
|Ray Rice||vs. NYJ|
|Darren Sproles||at ATL|
|Steven Jackson||vs. NO|
|Danny Woodhead||at KC|
As for Vereen, he returned in Week 11 after missing the previous eight games with a broken wrist. There was clearly some rust -- and some key drops -- but he finished with one carry for 7 yards and a team-high eight catches for 65 yards on 11 targets, which also led the team.
He's a must-start option in PPR leagues, but I expect both running backs to be successful in standard formats. Denver has allowed five running backs to score at least seven Fantasy points as receivers with five catching touchdowns, which obviously benefits Vereen.
This game should be an offensive bonanza, especially since Las Vegas has the over-under at 54.5 points, which is the highest for any game this week, and plenty of Fantasy options will benefit. We're counting on Ridley and Vereen to be significant contributors, so keep them in your starting lineups this week.
Ben Roethlisberger (at CLE): Let's hope that a few trends hold up here because Roethlisberger is looking like a solid starter not just this week, but the rest of the season. He was great in Week 11 against Detroit with 367 yards and four touchdowns, and he now has at least 34 Fantasy points in two of his past three games. The Browns have allowed 14 passing touchdowns over the past five games and an average of 25 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over that span. Roethlisberger also has a great history against the Browns, averaging 234 passing yards in his past five meetings with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. The only concerns for Roethlisberger would be weather and Joe Haden taking away Antonio Brown. Despite all that, we still expect great things from Roethlisberger this week.
Colin Kaepernick (at WAS): I'm nervous recommending Kaepernick as a start because the last time we did that was Week 10 against Carolina, and he had his worst game of the season with two Fantasy points. That was clearly a mistake on my part, and he rebounded somewhat last week with 17 points at New Orleans. He should continue to head in the right direction at Washington, especially if Michael Crabtree (Achilles) is able to return. The Redskins have allowed at least 18 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in each of the past four games, and Foles just had 47 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 11. Three quarterbacks have rushed for at least 33 yards against this defense, and we hope Kaepernick will use his legs in this matchup. If he runs and has moderate success passing he should finish as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback this week.
Eli Manning (vs. DAL): I must be crazy because we're actually backing Manning this week. The last time Manning had a good Fantasy outing was Week 5 against the Eagles, and he finished with just 19 points. The last time he topped 20 points was Week 1 at Dallas when he scored 36. He has just two games with multiple touchdowns, and he's faced some easy opponents in the Eagles twice, Minnesota and Green Bay over the past six games. But Manning has a great history against Dallas, which will struggle without standout middle linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring). He is averaging 320 passing yards in his past five meetings with the Cowboys with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. And in his past five games against Dallas at home he is averaging 264 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. The Cowboys have allowed seven quarterbacks to score at least 19 Fantasy points this season, including the past three in a row. This game has shootout written all over it, and we expect Manning (finally) to do his part.
Mike Glennon (at DET): Glennon is coming off his best game as a pro against the Falcons where he completed 87 percent of his passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He should carry that momentum into a favorable matchup against the Lions, who have allowed at least 20 Fantasy points to the opposing quarterback in their past five games, with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions over that span. The concern for Glennon has been his pass attempts falling from at least 43 in each of his first four starts to just 67 the past three outings. But the Lions should be able to score against the Bucs, leaving Glennon in catch-up mode, and contain Tampa Bay's running game. Glennon has at least 19 Fantasy points in four of seven starts, and this matchup should allow him another chance to shine.
Carson Palmer (vs. IND): Palmer had his best game of the season in Week 11 at Jacksonville with 419 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he's been on the verge of a big game for the past few weeks. He has multiple touchdowns in four of his past five games, including three in a row, and this is a favorable matchup against the Colts. Indianapolis has allowed an average of 275 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions over the past six games, with four quarterbacks scoring at least 19 Fantasy points. Rob Housler and Michael Floyd have emerged as viable weapons, and we're anxiously awaiting another monster game from Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer should be considered a low-end starting option in standard leagues and a great starter in two-quarterback formats.
|Case Keenum||(vs. JAC)||He won't get benched again vs. a JAC team abused by the past three QBs.|
|Josh McCown||(at STL)||STL has allowed six of 10 opposing QBs to throw multiple scores.|
|Scott Tolzien||(vs. MIN)||Eight of 10 QBs vs. MIN have scored at least 22 Fantasy points.|
Matt Ryan (vs. NO): I'd love to see Ryan play well in this matchup, and the opportunity is there for him to succeed. He's better at home than on the road, Roddy White might be getting healthy, the Saints are without defensive backs Jabari Greer (ACL) and potentially Kenny Vaccaro (concussion) and Ryan was great against New Orleans in Week 1 with 23 Fantasy points. But that seems like a long time ago when Julio Jones (foot) was healthy, and Ryan has struggled of late with five touchdowns and nine interceptions in his past four games. The Saints have only allowed Jay Cutler to top 20 Fantasy points since facing Ryan, including matchups with Tom Brady, Tony Romo and Kaepernick, and I don't trust Ryan enough to recommend him even when things could go his way.
Philip Rivers (at KC): It appears like Rivers has turned into a pumpkin. He now has one game with 20-plus Fantasy points in his past five outings, and the Chargers are thriving running the ball. We doubt Rivers will snap out of his recent funk at Kansas City after the Chiefs just lost their first game of the season at Denver. They held Peyton Manning to 16 Fantasy points, and only Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jason Campbell have scored more than 17 points against Kansas City this year. Rivers has five games this season with 20-plus Fantasy points, but three of them came against terrible defenses in Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington (the other two were Oakland and Houston). Kansas City is in a different class than those opponents, especially at home, and Rivers is not worth the risk this week.
Alex Smith (vs. SD): Smith was great last week at Denver from a Fantasy perspective with 26 points, but to expect that again is unrealistic. This was just the second game with 20-plus points in his past six outings, and the Chiefs don't want to rely on Smith to win games. The Chargers have also improved of late in stopping opposing quarterbacks with only Peyton Manning going over 20-plus Fantasy points in their past five games, including matchups with Andrew Luck and Griffin. Smith could always surprise us, but I'd be hesitant to even start him in two-quarterback leagues, especially with guys like Glennon, Palmer, Scott Tolzien and Josh McCown possibly available on the waiver wire.
Ryan Tannehill (vs. CAR): We doubt that Tannehill will be the first quarterback to solve this Panthers defense, making him a risky option in two-quarterback leagues. He has yet to score more than 19 Fantasy points despite throwing multiple touchdowns in three of his past five games. And even though Carolina will likely be without standout pass rusher Charles Johnson (knee), the Dolphins offensive line is in obvious shambles with Richie Incognito (suspended), Jonathan Martin (personal) and Mike Pouncey (illness) out. Tannehill has a lot to prove to close this season for Fantasy owners, especially in keeper and dynasty leagues, and we hope he finishes strong. But this isn't one of those weeks where you should expect a quality performance.
Joe Flacco (vs. NYJ): Flacco could benefit this week with Marlon Brown (knee) coming back, and the Jets have allowed the past three opposing quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points in Andy Dalton, Drew Brees and EJ Manuel. But Flacco is an underwhelming Fantasy option, even in two-quarterback leagues. He has just three games with 20-plus Fantasy points and only one at home. You also can't guarantee which Jets defense will show up since they've held Brady twice and Roethlisberger to 17 Fantasy points or less. Like we said about Smith, you'd be better off starting Glennon, Palmer, Tolzien or McCown this week in two-quarterback formats.
Bust alert: Robert Griffin III (vs. SF): Griffin has posted the kind of stats the past two weeks you wanted to see all season with at least 26 Fantasy points against the Vikings and Eagles. Those were two amazing matchups, but things will get tougher this week against the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed just two quarterbacks to score more than 20 Fantasy points this season with Aaron Rodgers and Jake Locker, including matchups with Wilson, Luck, Cam Newton and Brees. Griffin could be without two of his top targets in Jordan Reed (concussion) and Leonard Hankerson (knee), and we'd only start Griffin in two-quarterback leagues this week.
Ben Tate (vs. JAC): Tate scored double digits in Fantasy points for the first time this season in Week 11 against Oakland, and he continued his career trend of scoring at least eight Fantasy points when he's touched the ball at least 20 times, which he's now done six times. The Jaguars haven't let a running back reach double digits in Fantasy points in the past two games, including matchups with Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, but seven rushers have hit that mark this year. Jacksonville has allowed 11 rushing touchdowns to running backs, and Tate is looking for his first score since Week 6. We like his chances in this matchup at home.
Chris Ivory (at BAL): The key for Ivory could be the health of Baltimore defensive lineman Haloti Ngata (knee), who missed Week 11 at Chicago. The Ravens run defense isn't the same with Ngata out, and Ivory has been a beast of late with double digits in Fantasy points in three of the past four games. He needs work to be successful since all three of those games he got at least 15 carries, and we hope that continues in this matchup. Baltimore has allowed double digits in Fantasy points to Giovani Bernard and Matt Forte in consecutive weeks, and we hope Ivory will add his name to that list. He's a good No. 2 running back in standard leagues, but keep an eye on Ngata leading up to Sunday.
Rashad Jennings (vs. TEN): Jennings is reminding us of Michael Bush circa 2011 when he took over for the injured Darren McFadden and became a quality Fantasy option. Well, McFadden (shocker) is hurt again with a hamstring injury, and Jennings has taken full advantage the past three weeks. He has 53 Fantasy points over that span with 340 rushing yards and two touchdowns and 11 catches for 91 yards. He has a great matchup this week against the Titans, who have allowed eight running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points this season, including seven in a row. We were hesitant to buy into Jennings as a must-start Fantasy option, but he's proven us wrong, which we hope continues this week.
Andre Brown (vs. DAL): Brown was good, not great, last week with eight Fantasy points, and he lost a goal-line touchdown to Brandon Jacobs. We hope that doesn't continue, and Brown should thrive against the Cowboys. It's ridiculous what running backs have done against Dallas this season with 11 reaching double digits in Fantasy points and eight scoring touchdowns. A good portion of that came in the Cowboys' last game at New Orleans when Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles all scored at least 18 Fantasy points. That's significant because it was the game where Lee got hurt. Brown should get back on track this week, and we expect him to continue to batter this weakened run defense with Lee out.
Pierre Thomas (at ATL): The Falcons run defense has been crushed lately with three running backs reaching at least 21 Fantasy points in three of the past four games and four scoring touchdowns over that span. Ellington, Marshawn Lynch and Bobby Rainey have each had at least 145 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Falcons, and we expect Thomas to remain productive. He has at least 80 total yards in each of the past six games with four touchdowns over that span, and owners in PPR leagues should note he has at least five receptions in three consecutive games. Sproles is struggling and battling an ankle injury, and Ingram can be considered a sleeper in this game. But Thomas has become a quality starting option in all leagues, especially in this matchup.
|Ryan Mathews||(at KC)||He has 100 rushing yards or a TD in four of his past five games.|
|Maurice Jones-Drew||(at HOU)||He has 100 total yards or a TD in in four of his past five games.|
|Steven Jackson||(vs. NO)||Jackson's best game of the season was Week 1 at NO with 11 Fantasy points.|
|Mike Tolbert||(at MIA)||MIA has allowed 12 TDs to rushers, and Tolbert has best chance to score.|
|Chris Ogbonnaya||(vs. PIT)||PPR flex option with at least five catches in three of his past five games.|
Ray Rice (vs. NYJ): Rice was great last week in a tremendous matchup against the Bears. He had 25 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 17 yards. It was his first game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 5 and just the third time he has hit that mark all season. We're expecting a letdown this week since the Jets are a much tougher opponent than the Bears. Only four running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against the Jets all season, and no running back has more than 75 yards on the ground. Rice will likely have to score to finish with a quality stat line, and he's only done that four times over three games. We'd avoid Rice this week if possible outside of a flex option in deeper leagues.
Lamar Miller (vs. CAR): Things have gone from bad to worse for Miller, and my colleague Dave Richard said he'd drop Miller this week. He has three Fantasy points combined in his past two games against Tampa Bay and San Diego, and he's falling behind Daniel Thomas in terms of production. The offensive line is a mess, and the Panthers are a tough opponent with only five running backs reaching double digits in Fantasy points against them this season. The key for Miller all season has been his workload, and he's scored double digits in Fantasy points the four times he's had at least 11 carries. He has 11 carries combined the past two games, so it's hard to count on him when he's not touching the ball. He's not even worth consideration as a flex.
Andre Ellington (vs. IND): At some point we're going to hopefully get what we want, which is Ellington having more touches than Rashard Mendenhall. But since that's not happening at the moment the best thing you can do is keep Ellington reserved in the majority of leagues. The reality is Ellington has one great game this season, which was Week 8 against Atlanta. Mendenhall missed that game with a toe injury, and in the past two outings he has 10 Fantasy points compared to seven for Ellington. He's also played more than Ellington with 64 snaps to 60 over that span. The Colts have a solid run defense despite Zac Stacy and Chris Johnson getting double digits in Fantasy points against them the past two weeks, and it just feels risky to start Ellington until he proves reliable on a consistent basis.
Donald Brown (at ARI): Brown is separating himself as the running back to own for the Colts over Trent Richardson, and the last two games were the biggest indication with 33 Fantasy points against St. Louis and Tennessee compared to eight for Richardson. While that's great if you're comparing Brown and Richardson, it doesn't mean you have to start Brown this week in a tough matchup against the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed just two running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points this season with Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch. Last week, Maurice Jones-Drew became just the third running back to score against the Cardinals this season, but he was held to nine Fantasy points on 14 carries for 23 yards. Brown is a dual threat, and he will challenge Arizona in the passing game. But since he's not the full-time rusher in a matchup with a tough defense, we would view Brown as just a flex option this week.
Darren Sproles (at ATL): I'm nervous saying to sit Sproles because it's a great matchup, and he's a dynamic player. But he's dealing with an ankle injury on a short week, and the Saints can get away from him easily with Thomas and Ingram carrying the load on the ground, as well as plenty of options in the passing game. For what it's worth, Sproles has struggled away from home this season with a combined 16 Fantasy points in four home games. He is obviously better indoors, but in his past two games at Atlanta he's combined for two carries for 1 yard and nine catches for 49 yards and no touchdowns. We hope Sproles is OK after getting hurt against the 49ers, and the Saints need him for the playoff run. But Fantasy owners can get away from him in standard leagues this week, and he should only be started in PPR formats as a flex until he proves he's back to 100 percent.
Bust alert: Bobby Rainey (at DET): Rainey could end up being one of the top free agent pickups of the season if he continues to play like he did the past two weeks when he replaced Mike James (ankle), who was starting for the injured Doug Martin (shoulder). Rainey has 45 Fantasy points the past two games, including 34 as a starter in Week 11 against Atlanta with 30 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns and two catches for 4 yards and a touchdown. But he could hit a speed bump this week against the Lions, who have been stellar in run defense the past four games. No running back has scored more than five Fantasy points against Detroit, including matchups with Bernard, Forte and Le'Veon Bell. The Lions have allowed six running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points this season, but no one has run for 100 yards against them. You should definitely stash Rainey on your roster, and he could emerge as a viable flex option. But be cautious with Rainey this week based on the matchup on the road.
Marques Colston (at ATL): You have to like the way Colston has played the past two games, and he looks like the receiver we drafted in the preseason. He has 12 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown against Dallas and San Francisco on 15 targets, and this is a favorable matchup against the Falcons. Atlanta has allowed 13 receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points with 14 touchdowns, including Colston in Week 1 when he had five catches for 68 yards and a score. Colston has a good history against the Falcons with either 100 receiving yards or a touchdown in four of his past five meetings. He also has a touchdown or 100 receiving yards in three of his past five games in Atlanta. Let's hope this is the start of a great stretch run for Colston.
Danny Amendola (vs. DEN): Amendola is obviously a quality starting option in PPR leagues, but I like him as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues as well. The Broncos are hurting in their secondary with Rahim Moore (leg) out and Champ Bailey (foot) not expected to play. Denver has allowed 10 receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points and 10 touchdowns, and Amendola could be featured in the first game for former slot receiver Wes Welker coming back to New England. It's a little risky to trust Amendola in standard leagues since he has just two games with double digits in Fantasy points, but the matchup suggests he could succeed. We also like Aaron Dobson as a sleeper this week.
Kendall Wright (at OAK): I hope at this point Wright is being started in all PPR leagues because he's having a solid season. He has at least five catches in eight of 10 games and at least 50 receiving yards in nine outings. In his past two games against Jacksonville and Indianapolis he has combined for 16 catches and 158 yards on 21 targets. The problem is the lack of touchdowns with only one, but Oakland has allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing receivers with 13 scoring at least nine Fantasy points. It's clear Wright is the go-to receiver for the Titans, and we expect at least 14 points in a PPR league and no less than eight in a standard format. He's worth starting as a No. 2 receiver in this matchup.
Jarrett Boykin (vs. MIN): If Randall Cobb (leg) was healthy, he would be started in all leagues. And that's essentially what Boykin has become. He is averaging six catches and 82 yards in his five starts in place of Cobb with one total touchdown. Cobb averaged six catches and 81 yards in four starts with two total touchdowns. The biggest difference was Cobb had 41 targets in his four games, and he had a healthy Rodgers. Boykin has 38 targets in his five starts, and he's gone from Rodgers to Seneca Wallace to Tolzien. Boykin has a great matchup this week against the Vikings, who have 11 allowed touchdowns to opposing receivers and eight to reach double digits in Fantasy points. He is a quality No. 2 Fantasy option in all formats.
Harry Douglas (vs. NO): Douglas has thrived since taking over for Jones, and he has at least eight Fantasy points in four of the five games he's started. He has three games with at least 121 receiving yards over that span with two touchdowns, and he did well against the Saints when he was the third receiver in Week 1 with four catches for 93 yards. White is back at close to 100 percent, and he will take away production from Douglas. But Douglas has been targeted at least seven times in four of the past five games. The Saints secondary is beat up with Greer out, and that should only help Douglas and White, with Douglas still the better option Thursday night.
|Nate Burleson||(vs. TB)||Secondary WRs have five TDs vs. TB in the past three games.|
|Michael Floyd||(vs. IND)||He has three TDs in his past five games and could be poised to breakout.|
|Miles Austin||(at NYG)||He's back and faces a NYG team he had 10 catches against in Week 1.|
|Jerricho Cotchery||(at CLE)||Secondary WRs do well vs. CLE, and Cotchery has scored in three straight.|
|Rueben Randle||(vs. DAL)||He's scored in two straight, and DAL has allowed 10 scores to WRs this year.|
Cecil Shorts (at HOU): You have to like that Shorts complained that it was "dumb" for him to have so few targets in Week 11 against Arizona, and his workload has decreased each of the past two weeks. After getting double digits in targets in seven of the first eight games, he had nine targets combined against Tennessee and Arizona, and he finished with four catches for 64 yards over that span. But even if Shorts does see his targets rise it still doesn't guarantee production. He has just two games this season with double digits in Fantasy points and only one touchdown. The Texans can now expect Shorts to be heavily involved, and they should be ready for it. Houston also has allowed just five receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and No. 1 receivers like Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Dwayne Bowe, Fitzgerald and Denarius Moore have been held to nine points or less against this secondary. I like Shorts as a No. 3 receiver in standard leagues and a No. 2 option in PPR formats, but he needs to start making more plays before he can be considered a starting receiver across the board.
Steve Smith (at MIA): It was amazing to watch Smith catch a 43-yard pass in the first half against New England on Monday night and still finish under 70 receiving yards for the game. He has yet to hit 70 receiving yards this season, and he's only reached double digits in Fantasy points twice. The Dolphins should be able to contain Smith since Miami leads the NFL with only one touchdown allowed to opposing receivers this year, and Smith will likely do battle with Brent Grimes. It shouldn't be anywhere near as contentious as what Smith dealt with facing Aqib Talib for New England, but the result should be the same -- about six Fantasy points.
Mike Wallace (vs. CAR): Wallace struggled in a good matchup in Week 11 against San Diego with just four catches for 39 yards, and things continue to look bleak. He has four Fantasy points in his past two games with eight catches for 54 yards, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2. That's been his only score this season, and he's reached double digits in Fantasy points just twice. The Panthers haven't allowed a receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points since Week 2, and they have allowed just two touchdowns to opposing receivers this year. It shapes up as a bad combination with how bad Wallace has played plus a difficult matchup. He is worth benching in all leagues, and some owners in 10-team leagues are ready to drop Wallace because of his inconsistent play.
Denarius Moore (vs. TEN): Moore is dealing with a shoulder injury and a string of poor performances, and it's time for Fantasy owners to move on. He has combined for 22 Fantasy points in his past four games, and he hasn't topped eight points in any outing, including scoring a touchdown last week at Houston. He also had six targets compared to eight for Rod Streater in Matthew McGloin's first start, which could be a sign of the new quarterback favoring a different receiver. In any case, Moore is hurt and struggling, and he's facing a brutal matchup against the Titans. They haven't allowed a receiver to score or reach double digits in Fantasy points since Week 2, and we'd be shocked if Moore broke through Tennessee's secondary this week.
Santonio Holmes (at BAL): We're glad Holmes is back following a five-game absence from a hamstring injury, and he played OK against Buffalo in Week 11 with two catches for 71 yards on eight targets. He's worth adding if you need a receiver since he's clearly the No. 1 option for the Jets, but you don't have to start him this week even in three-receiver formats. The Ravens have allowed eight receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but it's hard to trust the Jets passing attack now after Geno Smith completed only 16 passes in his past two games for 218 yards. Keep an eye on how Holmes does in this matchup, and if he plays well he could be a potential starter in Week 14 against Oakland, which is his next favorable matchup.
Bust alert: Antonio Brown (at CLE): Brown is coming off a monster performance in Week 11 against Detroit with seven catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and he's reached double digits in Fantasy points in three consecutive games. But he's about to face an elite cornerback in Haden, and this is a matchup to avoid if possible. Brown has a good history against the Browns with 90 receiving yards or a touchdown in three of four career meetings, but he was the No. 2 option behind Wallace for most of those matchups, meaning he avoided Haden. So far this season, Haden has helped limit Wallace, Torrey Smith twice, A.J. Green twice, Steve Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Bowe to eight Fantasy points or less. Jordy Nelson is the only No. 1 receiver to score a touchdown on Haden, and he finished with just 10 Fantasy points. Brown should still be considered a starting option in PPR leagues, but based on how Haden has played against elite receivers we'd use caution when starting Brown this week. He could struggle in a difficult matchup.
Coby Fleener (at ARI): I liked Fleener heading into Week 11 at Tennessee based on the matchup and the way he was playing, and he did well with eight catches for 107 yards on 10 targets. It was his second game in a row with 10 targets, and he now has at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games. This is another great matchup against the Cardinals, who have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends, including Ryan Griffin and Danny Noble scoring against them the past two weeks. The Colts need Fleener to continue playing at a high level with Reggie Wayne (knee) out, and so far so good, which is great for Fantasy owners.
Delanie Walker (at OAK): Walker is looking like one of the best offseason acquisitions with his play in the past four games, and the Titans have to be excited they replaced Jared Cook with him as a free agent from the 49ers. Walker has reached double digits in Fantasy points in three of the past four games with three touchdowns over that span. His best outing was last week against the Colts when he caught all 10 of his targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. He has a great matchup this week against the Raiders, who have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends in the past three games, including Garrett Graham going for seven catches, 136 yards and a score last week. Walker is the No. 2 receiving option for the Titans behind Wright, and we expect him to continue playing well down the stretch.
Greg Olsen (at MIA): Olsen became just the second tight end to score against the Patriots last week, and he now has a touchdown in three of his past four games. He has the chance to remain productive with a great matchup against the Dolphins, who are third behind Arizona and Jacksonville for the most Fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Just last week Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green combined for eight catches, 133 yards and a touchdown at Miami, and we expect Olsen to follow suit. It also helps that he starred at the University of Miami, and I'm partial to players in this situation, especially when the matchup is right.
|Garrett Graham||(vs. JAC)||He had eight catches for 82 yards and two TDs vs. JAC last year.|
|Rob Housler||(vs. IND)||He's playing well of late with 18 Fantasy points in his past two games.|
|Heath Miller||(at CLE)||CLE has allowed six TDs to tight ends in the past five games.|
Martellus Bennett (at STL): Bennett has been in a tailspin with his production, and he hasn't scored double digits in Fantasy points since Week 2. He does have one touchdown since then, which was Week 7, but he's combined for nine Fantasy points in his past three outings. Things aren't expected to improve this week against the Rams, who have not allowed a tight end to score double digits in Fantasy points even with Gavin Escobar scoring in Week 3 and Vernon Davis scoring in Week 4. The Rams have held Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten and Olsen to a combined 13 Fantasy points, and the only tight end to score double digits in Fantasy points against St. Louis since Jeff Fisher took over in 2012 was Rob Gronkowski.
Jordan Cameron (vs. PIT): Cameron still has the chance to turn his season around, but he's been miserable since Jason Campbell took over as the starting quarterback. In three starts with Campbell, Cameron has combined for 10 Fantasy points. He had at least six targets in his first seven games with Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer, but he has just 16 targets combined in the three starts with Campbell. The Steelers have allowed just Gronkowski to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and Cameron also has only one touchdown in his past six games overall. It's time to consider other starting options until Cameron and Campbell start to connect on a consistent basis.
Timothy Wright (at DET): I wouldn't be surprised if Wright snapped out of his two-game funk this week against the Lions. The Bucs might be throwing a lot, and Wright has done most of his damage in garbage-time situations. In the last two games against Miami and Atlanta the Bucs were ahead, which kept Wright limited. Still, it's hard to trust him with just two catches for 32 yards on three targets against the Dolphins and Falcons, and Glennon focuses so much attention on Vincent Jackson, rightfully so. Wright should only be started in deeper leagues, and hopefully he'll turn things around soon. Until he does, you should find another option in most standard formats.
Bust alert: Antonio Gates (at KC): The Chiefs have done a good job defending tight ends this season because the play of safety Eric Berry, and he should be able to contain Gates this week. Julius Thomas is the lone tight end to score against Kansas City, but he had just three catches for 43 yards. And Cameron is the only tight end with more than 50 receiving yards, including a matchup with Witten in Week 2. Gates scored against the Dolphins last week in a favorable matchup, but prior to that he went five games in a row with seven Fantasy points or less, averaging 4.6 points over that span. It's hard to bench Gates in the majority of leagues, but guys like Fleener, Walker and Garrett Graham are better options this week based on the matchups.
Ravens (vs. NYJ): The Ravens DST is coming off a down game in Week 11 at Chicago in miserable weather when they had just two sacks and no turnovers for a season-low four Fantasy points. But this unit is much better at home where they have scored at least 11 Fantasy points in a standard league in all four games. The Jets have allowed some big games to opposing DSTs with seven scoring at least 12 Fantasy points, including the Bills with 24 points in Week 11. Geno Smith has completed just 16 passes in his past two games and has eight touchdowns compared to 16 interceptions on the season. On the road, Smith has four touchdowns and 10 interceptions in five games. The Ravens DST should be considered a must-start Fantasy option this week.
Broncos (at NE): The Broncos DST has done a nice job this season with five games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, but their best performances are typically at home. Only one of their double digit games was on the road, which was Week 2 at the Giants. The Patriots have also been stingy to opposing DST units with just two games with double digits in Fantasy points in their past five outings. It took Brady's late interception to get an elite DST like the Panthers to 10 points, and the Broncos DST should struggle in this potential shootout.
|Rian Lindell||at DET|
|Justin Tucker||vs. NYJ|
|Robbie Gould||at STL|
Graham Gano (at MIA): The Dolphins have been among the most generous teams to opposing kickers over the past five weeks with 12 field goals and 10 extra points allowed over that span to Dan Carpenter, Stephen Gostkowski, Mike Nugent, Rian Lindell and Nick Novak. All five have scored at least eight Fantasy points, and four kickers for the season have reached double digits in points. Gano has just four games with double digits in Fantasy points this season, but the Panthers should continue to give him chances to shine at Miami. Only two kickers this year have failed to make multiple field goals against the Dolphins, which were Billy Cundiff in Week 1 and Garrett Hartley in Week 4, and we expect Gano to get his shots at scoring plenty of points.
Sebastian Janikowski (vs. TEN): Janikowski has been a disappointment this season, and the Raiders aren't giving him the chances for multiple field goal opportunities. He only has five games this season with multiple field goal attempts, including just two since Week 5. He only has three games this season with double digits in Fantasy points, and the last time he did it was his last home game against the Eagles in Week 9. His best three games have been at home, but he also has two home games with three points or less. The Titans have allowed five kickers to make multiple field goals this season, but only Ryan Succop and Adam Vinatieri have scored double digits in Fantasy points. Janikowski just isn't worth the risk at this point in the year with his lack of quality production to date.
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.