Welcome to another week of fantasy football where everything’s made up, but the points actually matter. Matchups are the name of the game this week, as I’m sure just about everyone is scouring the waiver wire with so much talent on bye. That’d be said, look no further than the Packers who square off against an embarrassing Colts defense. Rodgers is going to toss touchdowns galore in this one, so be ready for quite a few Lambo Leaps. I’m not sure the Colts’ strategy of letting the opposing offenses score as quickly as possible so Andrew Luck can have the ball back is logical, but hey, I’m no defensive coordinator. If it’s too late to snatch up Packers, don’t worry, there’s plenty more juicy matchups to exploit on the docket. And as a bonus because I’m such a good guy, I also have a few secret stashes for those looking to deepen their benches. Let’s get to it!
Davante Adams – Pick a Packer, any Packer (isn’t alliteration fun). Wide receiver or running back since, you know, their running backs are just receivers too. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Devante Adams, and hell even Ty Montgomery should all do well this week. You guys all saw the clinic Aaron Rodgers put on against Atlanta’s “defense”, and now they get the even worse Colts on tap. Expect a slight dip from Adams’ torrid pace from the past few weeks, but start every Packer you have on your roster with confidence and look forward to a nice fantasy output.
Colin Kaepernick – One thing I’ll say right off the bat is regardless of how you feel about him kneeling pre-game, you’ll never have to worry about him doing it at the end of the game. Their single win against Los Angeles could easily be their last of the year, so victory formation probably isn’t even in the 49ers playbook at this point. Now that I’ve gotten how bad the 49ers are out of the way, I now am going to try to persuade you to start Kaepernick this week. New Orleans’ defense is as comically bad as they come, and Kaepernick could easily have his best statistical day as a passer this year. Granted he hasn’t topped 200 yards in either of his games, so it’s not like that’d be much of a feat. Really, you’re just starting him for his legs, and it’s unfortunate he’ll never be granted running back eligibility. His points say running back but his eligibility says quarterback, and you’re starting him all the same as a decent QB1 play.
Lance Kendricks – I’m sure a bunch of you guys are looking for some streaming options with a few of the elite TEs on bye this week, so here’s one. In a streamer you’re really just looking for target share and an opportunity to score, which creates a livable floor with at least some upside. Kendricks isn’t a house hold name by any means, but he’s gotten nearly as many targets as the bottom end TE1s (Colby Fleener, Delanie Walker) and is catching just as many of them. As for opportunity to score, the Rams play the Panthers who have given up a staggering 6 touchdowns to opposing tight ends, good for second worse in the league. He’s a plug and play back end TE1 this week.
Theo Riddick – I know plenty of teams this year have been plagued with injuries, but man is Detroit getting burnt at running back. It’s gotten so bad that I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me an evil Oprah Winfrey is at all their games and shouting, “You get an injury! And you get an injury!” As unfortunate as injuries are though, it’s always nice when a player heals up and comes back to action. Riddick has been dreadful rushing when he’s played this year to put it mildly, but his receiving prowess and lack of competition make him Detroit’s go to guy. If he’s on your roster you’re starting him this week as a back end RB2, but he’s got enough touchdown upside get you a bit more.
Darren Sproles – I want to say I’m surprised the 33 year old scat back took the starting job away from Ryan Matthews, but I’m really not. Matthews has been nothing more than an unproductive fumble machine that breaks down far too often, and he’s solely reliant on touchdowns. Unfortunately for Sproles, getting touchdowns is the only thing Matthews is good at, so that takes away a decent bit of value from him there. Still though, Sproles is a back end RB2 going forward and has much greater appeal as a weekly start in PPR leagues. As far as Matthews, he’s good to hang on to incase something happens to Sproles, but not really worth a start unless that happens.
J.J. Nelson – Yeah, he’s on bye, but he’s worth bringing up as stash for next week since he’s the new starter over Michael Floyd. Coach Arians seems to be pretty tired of all of Floyd’s dropped balls, but he’s apparently hoping he can at least drop his ass on the bench correctly. Nelson’s got the tools to keep the starting spot with blazing speed and solid hands; think of him as a Ted Ginn that’ll actually hang on to that 60 yard bomb. Nelson’s on a team that’s said they’d like to start chucking the ball downfield again, and I think that puts him the WR3 category with some upside. Go snag him now if you’re looking for some wide receiver help down the road.
Jamison Crowder – Sorry for bringing up yet another bye week player, but he’s available in about half of all leagues and shouldn’t be. You may be under the impression that DeSean Jackson is Washington’s No. 1 receiver, but you’d be mistaken. The target distribution is almost identical between all their receivers, but Crowder leads the way in catches, yards, touchdowns, and most importantly, fantasy points. Go grab Crowder now, before he gets added next Wednesday.
Corey Coleman – Finally, you’re thinking, a stash that isn’t on bye this week. Technically you’re right, he isn’t on bye this week, but he’s not just a stash to me, he’s a starter. I’ve been burned before by rookie wide receivers (see Sterling Shepherd and Tajae Sharpe), but both of the players I’ve been wrong about have too many other options on their teams. On the Browns, there’s a complete void of talent behind Terelle Pryor and no run game whatsoever to speak of. Dallas’ beatable defense will now be missing Morris Claiborne and Barry Church this week, setting up a big day for Coleman. I won’t be surprised when Coleman puts up high end WR2 numbers.
Thomas Rawls – Pete Carroll is always a pain when it comes to talking about injuries, as he’s just so darn optimistic when there’s little reason to be. He got way too many people’s hopes up that Rawls would be back within a month, and now it looks like he’ll be out for about another month. If you have him stashed and you’re in a shallow league, I think it’s time to cut bait and pick up one the guys I’ve written about. His injury history suggests he’ll be used minimally when he gets back, and Christine Michael and C.J. Prosise look plenty capable. It’s always tough to move on from a early round pick, but just like when you’re ex nearly filed a restraining order against you, it’s time to move on. Sorry if that got a little too real.
Dion Lewis – Everybody seems to be on the Dion train, and I’m happy to jump on and drink the Kool-Aid too. Lewis is a head-over-heels better talent than James White, and if he’s healthy enough will easily move him back to the bench. He also proved he’s not just a receiving back last year when he averaged over 4.5 yard per carry before going down with a knee injury. I know LeGarrette Blount is 250lbs and can take a beating, but his nearly 30 year old body has just as many carries as it had all of last year; the Patriots know that’s a problem. Give Lewis a couple weeks to get used to game action, but he’ll start stealing quite a bit of both running and receiving work soon enough. He’s going to be a dangerous play come fantasy playoff time.