Both Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green are in tough matchups this week, but you’re going to play them anyway. Why? They’re just too talented to bench. Baltimore is incredibly good at protecting against the run, but that won’t stop you from starting Matt Forte will it? Probably not. There are just some players you have to start regardless of their matchup, but that list is pretty short, so here are some players that aren’t on that list.
Steven Jackson has so much potential! After a decent performance in New Orleans week 1, Jackson has been a huge disappointment ever since, thanks to his injury. There are better scenarios ahead, but against a surprisingly decent Tampa Bay run defense, you shouldn’t expect much from him this week. Consider him a low end flex play until next week…when the Saints come marching in.
Unlike Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Stevan Ridley have been solid fantasy performers recently, but with Jones-Drew playing the Cardinals and Ridley facing the Panthers along with the possible return of Shane Vereen, it’s not looking good for either of them this week.
The matchup is equally bad for Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. The Jets have been one of the best run defenses all year which makes both running backs risky and every touch one of them gets is one the other one does not. In short, if you have other options available to you, use them. If they’re both on your fantasy team, well…better luck in two weeks after their bye.
On the other hand, Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall may be splitting carries, but their matchup against Jacksonville is a juicy one. Mendenhall is the starter, but he also lost a pretty huge fumble last week so they’re both about equal in potential value.
The same can be said for Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews. Against a Miami defense that has surrendered more fantasy points to running backs than any other team, it’s hard not to feel confident in their abilities this week. Don’t expect a huge breakout performance, but 12-15 fantasy points each is certainly in the realm of possibility.
While Miami is getting beat up on the ground, they’ll be able to do some damage of their own through the air, which makes Mike Wallace a strong play at receiver. Wallace has been relatively quiet this year, but don’t let his two fantasy points while on Revis Island fool you, he’s still a reliable option.
Victor Cruz remains a reliable option as well this week. Green Bay has given up plenty of fantasy points to wide receivers this year and although Eli Manning has had some trouble with his accuracy, he’s still targeting Cruz a lot. Look at Cruz as a fantastic buy low candidate this week.
The reverse is true of T.Y. Hilton. Hilton has been fantastic the past few weeks and has had occasionally massive weeks scattered across 2013, but against a relatively stingy Tennessee defense, Hilton’s value is limited. He’s still the top option in Indianapolis without Reggie Wayne, but think of him as no more than a mid-range WR2 this week.
Looking for a sleeper pick this week? How about Tiquan Underwood? Tampa Bay struggled to get the passing game going against Miami, but Underwood led the team in receiving and has some major upside this week against an Atlanta defense that will be focusing on Vincent Jackson.