Well, I’ve made a bit of a comeback in one of my fantasy leagues, winning two in a row to get my record back to even, and that’s a wonderful thing, not that I would have thought it at the beginning of this season, but ideas of success change. Especially in fantasy football. And in that same vein, my favorite fantasy football team is in the midst of a two-game losing streak. Both of these streaks, while modest, point out one of the things I’ve talked about here on the Fantasy Ace. You have to keep working with your team to keep them working at their optimal best, but sometimes people still don’t live up to projections. For example, Andy Dalton had been playing lights out and he was facing a Miami defense that wasn’t playing well. Of course he throws three interceptions, loses a fumble, and takes a safety in overtime. That’s why projections are good to have, but they hardly ever tell the whole story.
Now that we’re over the hump and heading into the second half of the real season, that means the fantasy regular season is nearly 2/3rds of the way finished. Does your team still have what it takes to get to the fantasy playoffs, and if you do get there, can you go the distance and win the whole thing? For some of you sitting at 1-7 that is going to be an impossibility, but if you’re like my 4-4 team, or even like a 3-5 team, there are possibilities if you make those right choices this week to keep or gain some momentum. Let’s look at ways to do that. It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…
Chris Johnson or Stevan Ridley
Ridley has been performing more and more like the back you thought he would be at the beginning of the season. Perhaps the time off the field has served him well, or maybe Tom Brady and the passing offense’s struggles is doing him a wealth of good, but he’s a viable option once again. Chris Johnson seems to be picking up the pace as well, catching more out of the backfield, but he still hasn’t gone over the 100 yard mark all season; however, this is the week to roll with him against that Minnesota defense. For your money, Johnson will pay you back with dividends. I say go with Johnson over Ridley, and I predict over 100 total yards and a touchdown from him.
Jarrett Boykin or T.Y. Hilton
Many people are jumping on the Hilton bandwagon as the de facto WR1 now in Indianapolis with the injury to Reggie Wayne, but I’m not buying it. He did well in his role as the WR2 because he had Wayne to take some of that coverage. Without Wayne, Hilton gets that coverage, and he isn’t Reggie Wayne. He has potential, but he’s not going to play like a WR1 this week right out of the blocks against that Houston defense in Houston. On the flipside, Boykin is just getting started. The only issue is that Aaron Rodgers likes to go to many receivers, but Boykin has shown he has big play ability, the wild card that could always decide your fantasy contest. I say he gets a long touchdown and at least 50 receiving yards while Hilton struggles.
What to Expect From
Alex Smith – Kansas City Quarterback
Smith has been a wonderful game manager this season, right? And a lot of attention has been given to the fact that Buffalo might be able to steal this game. But I don’t buy either of those assumptions. Smith has been good this season, and he finds ways to win football games. The Chiefs haven’t had to score big numbers to win so far, but I think they could have. They may have to do that against a strong Buffalo running game, with Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice. I think Alex Smith throws the ball more in this game, but he also gets in a few runs, one for a touchdown. I expect three total touchdowns from him, two passing and one rushing, and over 250 yards throwing the ball. I would take him over a lot of quarterbacks this week, even Andrew Luck.
Tight End Roulette
Martellus Bennett @ Green Bay – Backup QBs need safety blankets. Bennett will be that blanket. Count on him for 14+ fantasy points.
Dallas Clark @ Cleveland – Don’t look now but he’s been on fire. It continues here. Clark is good for 12+ fantasy points.
Greg Olsen against Atlanta – Olsen has been as good or better at home than most other tight ends. Count on him for 10+ fantasy points.