So, in that league where I was 1-4 and desperately had to win I took care of business. Sometimes desperation has its merits. My reward: getting to face the #2 team in the league (fresh off a win that made it three in a row for them). Lucky me. But sometimes these things can be opportunities. Because the byes for Cincinnati and Denver took a lot of my primary starters I’ve been experimenting with some “alternative” names that could pay huge dividends if I can topple the giant in Week 7.
There is a huge difference between 3-4 and 2-5, and I don’t want to see the latter. At all. So I’m spending a lot of personal time looking at my own options. It’s also time for you to look at yours regardless of if you’re perfect on the season or winless. You never know what could happen from here on out, so take it one week at a time. In that league, by the way, I was able to snag Martavis Bryant off the waiver wire, and I’m plugging him in immediately against a Chiefs team that has done poorly against #2 receivers.
Remember that Setting Your Lineup isn’t for those slam dunk decisions like whether or not to play Tom Brady, or Brandon Marshall, or Adrian Peterson. You’re playing them. This is for those decisions that could make or break your game for the week, like which one to go with: Danny Woodhead or Theo Riddick (the answer is Riddick this week, people — or both if you’ve currently got Darren Sproles sitting in your flex spot).
Here’s to Setting Your Lineup…
QBs to PLAY
MATTHEW STAFFORD vs. Minnesota – From being benched a week earlier to an all-world effort last week, which Stafford will show up this week at home against the divisional rival Vikings? I think someone in-between the two extremes, which is what you would have expected from him before the season began. Keep him active.
DEREK CARR @ San Diego – That Chargers defense can give up a ton of yards, and the Raiders are rested from their bye last week. While they will get it going on the ground, they will need Cooper and Crabtree to score through the air as well, and Carr will get them the ball early and often.
BLAKE BORTLES vs. Buffalo – I like Bortles a lot the past few weeks, and I think he gets it going here too. He’s a fantasy producer, even if his team doesn’t have the wins to show for it. As long as he keeps getting the Allens in play, and now that Julius Thomas is back it adds to his allure, he’ll be just fine, even in London.
QB to AVOID
JOE FLACCO @ Arizona – When Flacco is throwing the ball as much as he has been lately it’s not a good thing because it increases the chance of turnovers. Against an opportunistic Cardinals defense on Monday night, that will be even more of a problem. Keep Flacco on the bench this week.
RBs to PLAY
LeGARRETTE BLOUNT vs. NY Jets – Conventional knowledge says that this should be a Dion Lewis game, but with Lewis questionable I can see the Patriots leaning on the ground and pound game against a Jets defense that is stout against the pass. Blount should have two solid games in a row, and he should be active in all leagues.
LATAVIUS MURRAY @ San Diego – Murray hasn’t quite had the breakout game but against this porous Chargers run defense that just got shredded by James Starks (James Starks!) he will enjoy immense success. Just as I’m sold on Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree, I’m all in on Murray this week to shine against the Chargers.
CHARCANDRICK WEST vs. Pittsburgh – While I’m not sold on the Chiefs in this one, the only way they can really keep this one close is by running the football, and running it well. Yes, West and Davis had poor outings last week, but this is not the formidable Pittsburgh run defense is used to be, and they can exploit the holes in it. I think they get it going this week when both players will be sitting on most fantasy benches.
RB to AVOID
ALFRED MORRIS vs. Tampa Bay – While I think the Redskins should have success running the ball against Tampa Bay, with Matt Jones probable to go, and with Chris Thompson stealing touches from both, you’d have to have a crystal ball to figure out which one to play at this point. Avoid all three unless you do have that crystal ball.
WRs to PLAY
MICHAEL FLOYD vs. Baltimore – I don’t like the hamstring issues that have forced John Brown to miss practices this week, so even if he does play I don’t trust him to be 100% healthy. That opens the door for Floyd to have a monster game against a Baltimore secondary that doesn’t scare anyone at this point. Besides, Floyd is available on most waiver wires.
JARVIS LANDRY vs. Houston – Miami should beat Houston for the first time ever on Sunday, and helping them accomplish the feat will be an aerial show featuring Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, and Rishard Matthews (get Matthews active in the FLEX spot this week). Landry has been impressive this season, and it continues here.
TRAVIS BENJAMIN @ St. Louis – Everyone keeps waiting for Benjamin to cool off, but McCown keeps finding ways to keep him heavily involved in the offense. Denver slowed them down, but the Rams are a couple of steps down defensively, and Benjamin can spread the field with his speed. Look for him to get the train rolling again.
WR to AVOID
TERRANCE WILLIAMS @ NY Giants – You might be tempted, with the change of quarterback, to roll with Williams this week as a desperation play, but there are better desperation plays out there (think Hurns, Garcon, and Randle). Williams may well have a good week, but it’s a classic case of who do you trust? And right now I still don’t trust that Cowboys offense until I finally see something from them.
TEs to PLAY
GARY BARNIDGE @ St. Louis – Okay, so I guess he’s made me a believer. Any tight end who can score twice against an upper-tier Broncos defense deserves my respect, even if his last name is Barnidge. So even though he’s once again facing a defense that is also solid against tight ends, I’m promoting him across the board this week.
JORDAN CAMERON vs. Houston – Remember how I said I like the Miami weapons in this one? Cameron is one of those, and he will also have a solid game against that Texans defense. Tannehill has been looking his way more lately, and he matches up well against Houston with his physical presence.
LADARIUS GREEN vs. Oakland – Rivers relies on his tight ends as safety valves (along with Danny Woodhead) when he gets pressured or needs some short yardage. Green has been solid all season, but with Antonio Gates back he has seen a decrease in his usage. I don’t think Gates plays this game, so I’m confident Green will be heavily involved in the offense once again.
TE to AVOID
COBY FLEENER vs. New Orleans – With Dwayne Allen also active it’s tough to figure out who is going to get involved from game to game. Fleener has more potential, but it may not matter in a game that will be competitive, yet probably won’t feature one or the other tight end for the Colts.
FLEX to PLAY
CHARLES SIMS @ Washington – While Sims isn’t the workhorse that Doug Martin is, because he has a rookie quarterback who believes in the checkdown he’s very useful in fantasy. He racks up points, especially in PPR leagues, in the third down role, and Tampa Bay ends up with a lot of third downs. Get Sims active.
DONTE MONCRIEF vs. New Orleans – Believe it or not, Moncrief leads the Colts in both targets and receptions through their first six games of the season, and it won’t stop in this one. He has become a reliable target with sure hands for Andrew Luck, a consistent producer in an offense of hit-or-miss guys. Sure, Andre Johnson had his big revenge game, but Moncrief is the man in Indy.
WILLIE SNEAD @ Indianapolis – On the other side of the ball, in the same game, Snead has had consistent usage also as the short yardage guy for Drew Brees. If you can count on one thing it’s on Snead having a solid number of catches per game, and the potential to score as the biggest red zone target for one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
FLEX to AVOID
JONATHAN STEWART vs. Philadelphia – The Eagles have actually been pretty good against the run of late, and Stewart hasn’t had a great campaign to start this season, which is not a good combination if you’re Stewart. With Newton running so well he hasn’t even been needed, and that continues at home in Week 7.
K to PLAY
JOSH LAMBO vs. Oakland
GREG ZUERLEIN vs. Cleveland
DUSTIN HOPKINS vs. Tampa Bay
K to AVOID
ADAM VINATIERI vs. New Orleans
D/ST to PLAY
WASHINGTON vs. Tampa Bay
DETROIT vs. Minnesota
MIAMI vs. Houston
D/ST to AVOID
CAROLINA vs. Philadelphia