Ben Roethlisberger threw six more touchdowns last weekend and my friend had him benched for the second straight week in favor of Peyton Manning. Understandable, but because of it he has lost two weeks in a row. Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice… And don’t start doubting Big Ben now when so much is on the line in your fantasy league setting up for the playoffs.
That and another primetime debacle by the Bengals might just have you doubting yourself this week, or you’re already behind because you played A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, or (heaven forbid) Andy Dalton. Ouch. But week 10 is finally here in force, so what do you do about it?
It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT. Am I expecting him to throw another six touchdowns? Sure am. I mean, why not? He gets the Jets, who are reeling right now on both sides of the ball, he has a new weapon in Martavis Bryant, and Antonio Brown is Antonio Brown. He might even get seven if he doesn’t start feeling sorry for Le’Veon Bell and that running game. Yes, ma’am, I would play him over Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers at this point.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA. We all know that game against Detroit is going to be a shootout, don’t we? Seriously, though, not many quarterbacks have been hotter than Tannehill the past few games, and if the offensive line can get him some time he has proven he will make the right decision. Besides, I like the defense against that Detroit offense, which means Tannehill will have more time on the field than a little. I like him a lot in that scenario.
Blake Bortles, JAC. Bortles is a tough competitor, a fearless gunslinger the likes of Brett Favre, and I have to like him in this matchup against a suddenly vulnerable Cowboys defense in London. I think there will be a lot of points on the board and Bortles will hold his own against a depleted Dallas defense that is finally playing to expectations.
Colin Kaepernick, SF. If you can’t trust Kaep now with virtually the season on the line, when can you trust him? This is a must-win game against a Saints team playing at home, and Harbaugh has been looking at tape all week to determine what went wrong last week. They will get the run game going, which is the only way they have a chance against the Saints, and Kaep will be a large part of that running game. Look for him to help your fantasy team just as much with his feet as he does with his arm.
AVOID: Cam Newton, CAR. He just has not been quite himself this year, and it starts with the amount of protection he isn’t afforded. Philadelphia is aggressive at the line and takes advantages of mistakes, which is why they’re a top-5 defensive/special teams fantasy unit. Newton will be trying to play catchup in this one, which is when he struggles. Keep him on the bench.
Denard Robinson, JAC. Remember what I said about Bortles above? The same applies to Robinson because the Jags will utilize the run to set up the pass, and Robinson has been scintillating lately. I think he keeps it going in London against a vulnerable Cowboys defense. Get him active.
Bobby Rainey, TB. He’s the top back now in Tampa Bay, and I think he would be even if Doug Martin weren’t injured, and he’s facing a horrible run defense in Atlanta. I don’t think it even matters who plays quarterback here — McCown or Glennon — Rainey will get the ball and often.
Justin Forsett, BAL. I don’t expect Flacco to throw the ball all over the yard in this tilt versus the Titans because they won’t need to. Instead, I can see a healthy dose of Forsett, Taliaferro, and that running game as they should be playing with the lead from the outset. Forsett has proven he can be a reliable workhorse back. Count on him for over 100 yards and a score.
Lance Dunbar, DAL. The Cowboys have shown a propensity for running the football this season (duh), but they haven’t seemed willing to get Murray over-involved in the passing game. For many passing downs they utilize Dunbar, and with an ailing Romo I think they turn to Dunbar even more in this game.
AVOID: Darren McFadden, OAK. The recipe for beating Denver is not keeping things on the ground, as New England showed last week. If the Raiders are going to have a shot it will be through the air, which limits McFadden’s viability as a strong fantasy option for this game. Leave him out of the action this week.
Wes Welker, DEN. To this point Wes Welker has been an also-ran in Denver, doing more blocking than actually catching passes from Manning, but his quarterback likes to keep everyone happy, and in Oakland he should spread the ball around more. Welker should benefit most from it and have a big day. Plus, he’s available on many waiver wires.
Martavis Bryant, PIT. Bryant is playing better than Kobe right now, and yet he’s available on still too many waiver wires right now, but that won’t continue too much longer while Big Ben is on fire. I like his size advantage in this game against the Jets, and I say he scores at least one touchdown to go along with good yardage.
Jordan Matthews, PHI. I’m all in on Mark Sanchez on Monday night, and with Jeremy Maclin playing so great that guys like Matthews and Cooper will get open looks their way. Look for them to expose that Panthers defense and help out your fantasy team in the process.
Michael Crabtree, SF. By all accounts this has been a disappointing season for “Crab,” who was expected to shoulder a huge part of that offensive load in San Francisco, and if they are to even get to the playoffs they need him to step up here in New Orleans. I believe in Kaepernick this week, and I think he will find Crabtree for the huge game we have been waiting for.
AVOID: Vincent Jackson, TB. Jackson has become a ghost in Tampa Bay, which is surprising considering the rapport he had with Mike Glennon last season. But that hasn’t been the case, and I don’t see anything changing this week against Atlanta. He’s also been banged up, which doesn’t help even against a defense as abysmal as the Falcons have.
Mychal Rivera, OAK. Remember what I said about trying to hang with Denver? It starts with getting the ball down the field, and how many Oakland receivers can you name? Add to that the monster game Rivera had last week, combined with Denver not defending the tight end well, and you can see why I’m high on Rivera this week.
Travis Kelce, KC. Once the Chiefs realize they need to give Kelce the ball more, watch out. And I think this week is the week they let him loose against a Buffalo defense that is dynamic against stopping the run. Alex Smith will need to find his tight end early and often in what has the potential to turn into a defensive struggle otherwise.
Julius Thomas, DEN. After three poor games in a row you might be tempted to roll the dice with another tight end in this matchup, but don’t be dissuaded against Thomas. Yes, he’s had a mark on his back since his fast start, but Manning hasn’t forgotten about him. He will get it going again in Oakland, and you don’t want him to do that on your bench.
Charles Clay, MIA. With all this talk about Detroit’s defense, what gets lost is that in Tannehill’s stretch of quality play he has done well against quality defenses, and I like him and his tight end in this match. I think both Tannehill and Clay will have good games on Sunday and expose some holes in that vaunted Lions defense.
AVOID: Matt Spaeth, PIT. There aren’t many people in that Pittsburgh lineup that I don’t like this week against the Jets, but Spaeth is one of them. He’s not the primary tight end; even though he scored last week he doesn’t have many opportunities to get into the end zone, so leave him on the waiver wire despite last week.
3 BEST BETS
Kickers – Steven Hauschka, Dan Bailey, Greg Zuerlein
D/STs – Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia
Good luck setting your lineups.
The Fantasy Ace