Although there are plenty of players capable of rising above a bad matchup, terms like “Revis Island” would not exist if it wasn’t at least somewhat true. Take T.Y. Hilton, for instance. After the loss of Reggie Wayne, Hilton has been an incredible asset for fantasy owners, but put him up against the Titans’ defense and suddenly he’s scoring less than 5 fantasy points. He should have a slightly easier time against Arizona this weekend, but I mean it when I say slightly. Cecil Shorts is a talented guy and he only managed 22 yards against Arizona last Sunday so start Hilton if you need him, but don’t expect WR1 production.
Speaking of Tennessee’s defense, they travel to Oakland this week and that makes the Raiders’ WRs unplayable. Rod Streater had a great outing this past weekend and Denarius Moore has been pretty consistent this weekend, but there are much better options this week.
Another consistent WR this year has been Antonio Brown, but this is definitely the week to sell high on him. Brown is still worth starting in many leagues. He hasn’t scored below six fantasy points in standard scoring leagues yet this season. However, Joe Haden is a special talent. If you were to rattle off a few receivers more talented than Antonio Brown, A.J. Green might be one of the people you list and Green was held to two catches for seven yards with Haden as his shadow. You never want to bench your best guys, but depending on your available options, you will want to consider it with Brown this week.
As for running backs, Ray Rice is someone you should consider selling high on as well. Rice had a nice game against Chicago in an otherwise messy outing, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s suddenly a RB1 again. Against an excellent Jets run defense, the Ravens will likely turn to the air for the majority of their production which leaves Rice hoping for a goal-line carry that may never come.
The same is true for Chris Ivory in that game. Ivory has been phenomenal in his previous two games, but the Baltimore defense is not an easy one to run on. They’ll do what they can to establish the run early, but as soon as Baltimore’s on the board, don’t be surprised if Ivory’s role diminishes substantially this Sunday.
The good news is there are plenty of great matchups this week. Ben Tate against Jacksonville, Zac Stacy against Chicago, Eddie Lacy against Minnesota, Andre Brown against Dallas, and Rashad Jennings against Tennessee should all produce excellent numbers this week worthy of RB1 status. Even Chris Ogbonnaya should have a pretty solid game assuming he’s your Flex play. Meanwhile, Vincent Jackson, Kendall Wright, Torrey Smith, and Dwayne Bowe are all in perfect situations for fantasy success this week and should be started in almost all leagues.
Quarterbacks and tight ends are always a little more difficult to judge based on matchups, but with a game against New Orleans on a short week, I would sit Matt Ryan this week unless you’re in a 2 QB league. If you’re looking for a plug in for him, both Case Keenum and Alex Smith are better plays. Even Scott Tolzien is worth a look over Ryan. Tolzien may have struggled against the Giants, but New York’s defense has been a lot better recently. Certainly better than Minnesota’s defense.
For tight ends, Coby Fleener is the biggest story this week. After career highs in catches and yards last week, Fleener now plays the worst defense in the league when it comes to tight ends. A lot of that stat has to do with games against Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis, but Fleener’s a hot hand and deserves to be started in most leagues this week.
My sleeper pick of the week? Marlon Brown. He warmed up prior to Sunday’s game in Chicago, but didn’t end up playing and a lot of that may have been because of the weather. With a game against the Jets who managed to make Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham look good this past weekend, expect big things from Brown this week.