So, you’re facing an uphill battle in your fantasy league, and you’re missing quite a few guys who are on bye this week. What do you do? There are so many guys whose names you didn’t even know at draft time who might provide a lift for you (and hopefully also a weekly win). Is it time to jettison your dead weight (Doug Martin) and grab Denard Robinson? What should you do about Tony Romo (don’t play him), and is Jeremy Hill worth starting this week?
It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…
Joe Flacco, BAL. Flacco is probably the most inconsistent quarterback in terms of fantasy performance, but his ceiling is incredibly high and his floor is relatively steady as well. Sure, he will have clunkers like last week on the road against Cincinnati, but he will also throw 5 touchdowns sometimes. But he has a good recent history against Pittsburgh, even on the road, and I trust him to thrive in this one against a poor pass defense.
Robert Griffin III / Colt McCoy, WAS. I don’t care who’s starting in Washington. Whoever it is, you should get him active, but I like it even more if it’s RGIII. That’s because Griffin has the tools to completely dominate a Minnesota defense that is worn thin. But I liked what I saw from McCoy in that victory against Dallas last week, and he too could take advantage of the Vikings defense. I like either to thrive on Sunday and help get the Redskins to a third straight victory.
Carson Palmer, ARI. Colt McCoy just beat Dallas. I think that’s all I have to say. Much has been said about how much better they’ve played of late, and I hear it, but I’m still not convinced. They still give up chunks of yardage, and Palmer has been a yardage machine. That’s a recipe for success for the Cardinals quarterback in this one.
Brian Hoyer, CLE. Hoyer is also inconsistent like Flacco, except that his ceiling is a bit lower, but I like his matchup, and I like the way he played last week. With the running game floundering lately Hoyer has stepped up, and he will do it again in this one. It helps, too, that he’s facing the inept Tampa Bay defense that gives up the big play. I like Andrew Hawkins a lot in this one too, for precisely the same reason.
AVOID: Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU. Facing that Philadelphia defense, you’d think he would be a good play, especially at home, but that’s the same Philadelphia defense that is good at causing turnovers. And it’s still Fitzpatrick, who is good at causing turnovers himself, and not the good kind. That’s not a good combination. Add to it that you can run on the Eagles, and you can see why you should leave Fitzy on your bench, or, better yet, on the waiver wire.
Knile Davis, KC. Sure, you’re playing Jamaal Charles anyway, but this game is a perfect one for Davis to shine as well. KC should be playing with a big lead, and they like to rest Charles in the fourth quarter of those kinds of games. I like Davis to get some major garbage time yards, and at least one touchdown.
Jeremy Hill, CIN. He’s the top back in Cincinnati this week with Giovani Bernard officially ruled out, so look for him to get a slew of touches. He’s proven when given the touches that he can produce, and I think he has a monster game in this one against the Jaguars. Grab him off the waiver wire and get him active right away, even if you’re not a Gio Bernard owner. I picked him up in two leagues and inserted him right away.
Ronnie Hillman, DEN. I’m surprised that there are still some leagues where Hillman is unowned, but that’s good for you if it’s your league. He’s been dynamic since given the starting role in Montee Ball’s absence, and he should be amazing again this week against a New England defense that has given up yardage to running backs this season.
Darren Sproles, PHI. If he comes back in this game as expected, you should get him active. Philadelphia plays best when he gets the ball out in space as a complementary role to LeSean McCoy, and against a Houston team that hasn’t played great against running backs catching the ball that also bodes well for Sproles. Get him active.
AVOID: Jonas Gray, NE. Denver has been great against running backs this season, so even if you’re tempted to start Gray after his good effort last week, the New England running back to have active in this one is Shane Vereen, who will get most of his points through the air.
Brandon LaFell, NE. While Denver is great against the run, they aren’t so much against the pass, and LaFell had an excellent game last week. His run of success should continue at home since Brady has been looking his way more so lately, and I expect him to get at least 75 yards and a touchdown in the contest.
Riley Cooper, PHI. Cooper has gotten more involved in the offensive scheme in the past two games, and it’s payed dividends for him and his fantasy value. He’s still available in a lot of leagues, however, and the matchup with Houston is a tasty one for him. With Jeremy Maclin stretching the field and getting a lot of defensive attention, Cooper has the chance to shine. He will come through and have his first big game of the season. But it won’t be his last.
Mike Evans, TB. Vincent Jackson will be active for this game, but he was active for the past two as well and did close to nothing. Evans is the “it guy” in Tampa Bay right now, and Mike Glennon will feed him the ball in this one, especially with Jackson still being banged up.
Terrance Williams, DAL. I think Brandon Weeden starts this game, and he’s shown a good rapport (albeit in limited time) with Williams, who matches up well against Arizona. They give up lots of yardage to receivers and Dez Bryant can’t be everywhere on the field at once. Get Williams active in this matchup, regardless of his quarterback.
AVOID: Eric Decker, NYJ. This pretty much goes for every Jets player save for Chris Ivory. It’s a huge mismatch — this offense against that Kansas City defense, especially in Kansas City. While Decker has good history against the Chiefs, that was with the Broncos, and he now has Vick throwing him the ball. Not a solid play.
Coby Fleener, IND. Let’s face it — the Giants just aren’t good against tight ends, especially in the red zone and around the goal line. They were reeling on defense before the bye, and they won’t be improved in that area even with the bye. I like them to try and contain Dwayne Allen, which leaves room especially at the goal line for Fleener.
Jason Witten, DAL. Every quarterback needs a security blanket, and Brandon Weeden has a great one this week in Jason Witten. He should get a ton of yardage, and is an especially good play in PPR leagues because he’ll keep the chains moving.
Lance Kendricks, STL. In their last meeting, the St. Louis tight ends performed well against San Francisco. I don’t expect any of that to change in this one as Austin Davis continues to target his tight ends more than any of the other receivers on the team. This is particularly true with Brian Quick now done for the season. Kendricks will shine.
Chase Ford, MIN. Did you see what Jason Witten did against that Washington defense on Monday night? I did, and I can see Chase Ford having similar success this week. He has developed a good connection with Teddy Bridgewater and gets good looks down the field. You could do a lot worse for a bye week replacement than Ford.
AVOID: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB. He was the darling off the waiver wire a few weeks ago, but he hasn’t produced since. Worse yet he has a tendency to commit turnovers, which doesn’t quite help his fantasy value. Glennon will have to throw in this one, but you can’t honestly count on Seferian-Jenkins to catch the ball, and you certainly can’t count on him to hold on to it.
3 BEST BETS
Kickers – Cairo Santos, Billy Cundiff, Justin Tucker
D/STs – Kansas City, Cleveland, Cincinnati
Good luck setting your lineups.
The Fantasy Ace