I hit on this point last week, but a lot of times a career game from a mid-level fantasy player will cloud owners into thinking their player is all the sudden an elite fantasy option. This is virtually never the case – the career game an outlier more than a shift in offensive output.
But even for bigger-name players, a career game is often followed by disappointment. Take a look at these two games:
Week 9: 30 Rushes 296 Yards 3 TDs
Week 10: 11 Rushes 45 Yards 0 TDs
That was Adrian Peterson in his 2007 rookie season, as I’m sure a few of you know – the NFL single game rushing record. Given Peterson sprained his ankle in the third quarter in that Week 10 game, but it’s not like he went crazy before going down.
My point is that huge games are often followed by disappointments. I’m sure you could find a bajillion exceptions to this, but I’m sticking with my gut that told me Brian Hartline was a bench last week and telling you to bench Ahmad Bradshaw. Terrible matchup for a mid-tier NFL RB, and there’s no reason to expect even half the game he had last week. But more on that below.
Looking at last weeks picks, Kendall Hunter had a solid day if you had to use him, Andrew Hawkins was usable in PPR, but Jon Baldwin, Jackie Battle, and Greg Olsen didn’t hit on their sleeper potential. Olsen I chalk up to Cam Newton playing horrifically.
For my benchers, Brian Hartline had a slow game as mentioned above, and Fred Jackson and Martellus Bennett both had quiet days. Willis McGahee had a tough game on the ground, but with 51 yards receiving ended up having 102 total yards, so was pretty solid, and mother F James Jones just had to score two TDs even though he had otherwise a bad game. Jones is now my nemesis – I still don’t trust him in the least, but I’m not going to say bench him again because he’ll just score 3 TDs on 4 catches for 7 yards or something ridiculous. Sorry again about James Jones everyone, grill me if it caused you an L.
Here’s five guys not started in enough leagues and five guys started in too many leagues that should be benched, along with their % started in ESPN leagues and Yahoo leagues, respectively. And remember, these picks are not always suggestions for direct 1-for-1 swaps if you own players in both sections, but merely picks for guys not started enough and started too often.
Sidney Rice (21.8%, 30%) With two consecutive decent weeks the past two Sundays, Sidney Rice is finally fitting in as Russell Wilson’s #1 target. Now of course the Seahawks passing offense is anemic, but they play in the toughest division of defenses in football, and the passing game hasn’t been relied on too often. However, with the Patriots coming into town, Pete Carroll is going to have to open up the playbook a bit. I think the Patriots roll in this one, not allowing another NFC West team to embarrass them like the Cardinals did in week 2. The Seahawks are going to have to throw, plus I think there’s some good junk time in the 2nd half. I like Rice to have his biggest game of the year.
Jacquizz Rodgers (3.3%, 13%) I thought Rodgers would have a bigger game last week, but give credit to the Redskins who hung tough with the Falcons and almost got the upset victory. I figured some junk time would benefit Rodgers in that one, but this time I know it to be true. Michael Turner is still the #1, but he wasn’t great last week, salvaging his day with his longest run of 13 yards being a score and game-winner with just over 2 minutes to go. With the Raiders traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast for a 1:00 PM EST kickoff, I think the Falcons throttle it in this one. Matt Ryan didn’t look sharp last week, but at home in the dome, I think the Falcons get up huge early. I see Rodgers getting 12-13 touches and about 70 yards in this one – not bad if you’re absolutely strapped for a RB this week.
LeGarrette Blount (3.0%, 4%) With Doug Martin ineffective two weeks ago before the bye, and with reports coming out that Blount is impressing in practice, I think we see something closer to a time share with the Bucs backs against the Chiefs. And hey, the Chiefs are starting Brady Quinn. I see a lot of punts from Kansas City, plus a few turnovers giving the Bucs a good lead and letting Blount get some work. Plus it looks like he’s the goal-line back. I like Blount to get 15 carries, 80-ish yards and a TD in a bye-week fill-in play.
Robert Meachem (16.8%, 21%) Meachem finally emerged with two touchdowns last Sunday Night, and I think he has another solid game this week at home against the Broncos. Peyton Manning is going to look to light up the scoreboard after a tough loss to the Pats last week, and I think this one gets into pass-heavy mode early. With Malcolm Floyd questionable (although all reports indicate he’ll be playing), I think Meachem gets an uptick in work with Floyd’s groin ailing. Definitely a high-risk, high-reward play, but I think Meachem gets a score this week as well.
Brent Celek (33.9%, 53%) Somehow buried in the percentage started amongst TEs, Celek is having a fantastic season. Sure last week was a dud, but the Steelers kept Vick from getting comfortable, something I think the Lions will have a tougher time doing. The Lions give up the 3rd most points to opposing TEs, and I see Celek being a primary target in this one. Start with strong confidence.
Son of a Bench
Ahmad Bradshaw (84.4%, 74%) As I teased above, I honestly think a lot of teams should be benching Ahmad Bradshaw this week. You probably think I’m crazy, but last week was a fluke against a bad, bad run defense. This week the Giants are at San Francisco and that extremely tough run-D giving up the least fantasy points to opposing RBs. Sure it’s tough benching a guy coming off a two hundo (30 carries for 200 yards and a TD), but his entire season prior to that was 35 carries for 134 yards and 1 TD. If you have no other decent options, of course you’re still playing him, but Bradshaw wasn’t exactly a top-tier pick and you could have a lot of other options I’d rather play. Definitely assess your line-up, but know not to expect much if you have to roll with him.
Matthew Stafford (62.4%, 58%) I’ve been down on Matthew Stafford as early as the beginning of summer. If you don’t believe me, check out the Mock Draft in Lindy’s Fantasy Football Magazine where I state Stafford in the 2nd round was the reach of the draft in our experts’ mock. He’s a good QB, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not all he was cracked up to be in fantasy. The Eagles defense is also a formidable front line, and I think Stafford has a tough game in this one as well. As it has been the whole season, I think the yards will be there, but only a single touchdown at most. He’s a bench for me.
Dwayne Bowe (87.0%, 85%) Brady Quinn is not a good QB.
Brandon Lloyd (74.5%, 73%) Coming off of his worst output on the season, I think Lloyd has another slow game this week at Seattle. There has been way too much coverage on Wes Welker’s comments after his big game last week directed at Bill Belichick, with some assumptions out there that Lloyd will be getting a ton of work. I don’t buy it. Welker and Gronk are going to dink and dunk all day yet again, and a defense like Seattle isn’t going to let a big play get by them by Lloyd. I’d go with other WR options.
Brian Hartline (58.4%, 45%) I’m sticking with Hartline again this week as a bench play, mainly due to the vastly improved Rams defense who I think are going to get after Tannehill and keep the Dolphins passing game from getting in rhythm. The Rams give up the 7th least amount of points to opposing WRs, and I think this game stays low scoring with minimal offense. Another WR I would look to replace.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone today in week 6!