How many of you have looked at your fantasy roster(s) this week, and have thought, “Man, if I can salvage a win this week with this line-up, I’m golden”?

Well in three of my leagues I had that exact thought, piecing together a makeshift line-up with duct tape and super glue to hopefully sneak in a win.  With the most teams on bye we’ll have all season (Six teams – the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers), it effectively removes 19% of players.

In weeks like this, I always try to size up my competition.  If I’m playing a guy with terrible fill-ins, I want to keep my roster as consistent as possible.  Give me someone boring over a guy with upside.  But if I’m stuck with an opponent that didn’t get murdered by bye weeks, I’ll go with upside picks to try and steal the win.

Reflecting on last week’s picks, Sidney Rice had a great outing (on Sunday’s game against the Patriots – bonus points for a game-winner?) and LeGarrette Blount was correctly predicted to get a late 2nd half junk time TD.  However, Jacquizz Rodgers, Brent Celek, and Robert Meachem failed to deliver big games.  For my benchers, Dwayne Bowe was awful with Brady Quinn at QB (literally all I wrote for my explanation, and all I needed) and Brian Hartline put up a goose egg.  However, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Lloyd, and Matthew Stafford all had fantasy starter quality games.

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.

Possible Starters:

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo (30.4%, 25%) It’s easy to just forget about a guy after two straight bad weeks, but when you’re on the road against the 49ers and the Cardinals, it’s OK to have bad fantasy days.  Now Fitzpatrick is back at home with a terrible Titans’ defense across the line of scrimmage.  Also, while his stat line was unimpressive in the Bills win last week, he didn’t have a single turnover and only got sacked twice.  I’m excited to throw Fitzpatrick back in my line-up.

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay (17.3%, 27%) As I said on this week’s podcast, I don’t think Josh Freeman’s big game last week was just a blip on the radar, and more a sign of things to come.  He’s got two elite receivers to throw to with a solid running game behind him.  Oh, and he’s facing off against the terrible Saints’ defense.  I like Freeman to have a high-200 yard, 2-TD game, conservatively.

Felix Jones, RB, Dallas (34.8%, 56%) Jones’ percent start numbers have risen dramatically over the past few days, but while he is started in tons of leagues and isn’t exactly a sleeper pick, I think he needs to be started in ALL leagues.  I know he’s not an every down back and Phillip Tanner is going to get some action, but the Panthers run D is so abysmal that there’s not way Jones gets slowed down.  I also think this game stays fairly low scoring with the Cowboys D keeping the Panthers in check.  I see 20 touches for at least 90 yards and a score for Felix today.

Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis (17.6%, 23%) Sometimes a single catch can get you all excited, even if it’s not a big one for your fantasy team.  But just watch Gibson’s catch last week, if you missed it on Sportscenter. Quickly emerging as Bradford’s #1 target with Danny Amendola out, I like Gibson to have another solid game at home against the Packers.  With the dome keeping the passing game viable against a Packers team that is going to score a lot of points, the Rams are going to have to throw.  I like Gibson a lot as high as even a WR2 with all the byes.

Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee (9.4%, 29%) I’m also high on Kendall Wright as a WR play, as he’s become a focal point of the Titans offense and faces a poor Bills secondary.  Wright and QB Matt Hasselbeck have formed a nice rapport over the past few weeks, making Wright a very solid play, especially in PPR.  I can see him getting 80 yards and a score in this one.

Son Of A Bench:

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit (60.5%, 65%) I’ve officially hit my quota of Matthew Stafford bench calls.  But I’m saying bench him in this one for the last time this year, I promise.  The Bears are extremely stout against opposing QBs (well, they’ve been stout against all opposing offenses as well), and I don’t see Stafford finding any sort of comfort level in this one.  He hasn’t been what you drafted, and in such a tough divisional matchup like this game, I think you play both Fitzpatrick and Freeman over him.

Shonn Greene, RB, New York (56.4%, 58%) Coming off such an impressive game, it’s going to be very hard to bench Greene, but I think if you have solid options, he stays on your bench.  The Patriots have been solid against the run all year, mainly because they’ve had big leads, and I think the same formula is in play this week.  We’ve seen Greene yo-yo his whole career, and I think he falls right back down to disappointment level this week.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis (30.3%, 17%) While not started in the majority of fantasy leagues, I’m still surprised at just how many owners are trusting Ballard with a starting nod yet again this week.  I know the Browns run D hasn’t been spectacular, but they are coming off an impressive win to finally notch a W, and I think play hungry this week.  Ballard hasn’t had more than 8 carries or 25 rushing yards in a single game.  Given both those marks were set last week, but he was the #1 with Donald Brown out and was very uninspiring.  I’d go with a different fill-in option.

Steve Smith, WR, Carolina (70.2%, 69%) As a Panthers fan, no one is hoping this pick is more wrong than me, but I just don’t see how Smith can be a confident start option on your squad.  Dwindling numbers since the beginning of the season, and a very tough Dallas secondary and pass rush is going to make it very difficult for Cam to find Smith deep.  Sure Cam can scramble and make a play, but it’s usually not to Smith.  Cam likes to use the pocket when finding his #1 receiver – the scrambles tend to be to the check down guys.  Smith is as explosive as it gets making him a tough bench with so many guys out, but if you have similar options, I’d go with them.

Fred Davis, TE, Washington (57.0%, 51%) I’m a little surprised owners haven’t jumped ship from Davis more frequently, as he’s been not a very reliable fantasy TE.  Still without a touchdown, he’s up against the Giants who have given up the 4th-least amount of fantasy points to TEs and haven’t given up a touchdown to them.  I would much rather go with a high-upside play from one of the multitude of TEs with fantasy-relevance these days.  And hey, even a guy like David Thomas with Jimmy Graham out has more appeal to me.

If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone today in week 7!

  1. Tommy says:
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    Need a flex call.
    Kendall Wright, Leshoure, Dwyer, or Powell
    Thanks.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Tommy, I’d go with Wright. Usually I like to go with the RBs and would choose Leshoure, but with the Lions up against that tough Bears D, I like Wright.

  2. Eddie says:
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    Michael Bush, Andre Brown or Daryl Richardson? Thank you!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Eddie, Yuck. Lol. Give me Richardson. I think he gets the most work this week of those backs.

  3. The Fridge says:
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    Desperate for a flex play – Phillip Tanner or Heath Miller?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @The Fridge, Hmmm, that’s an interesting one… Literally had to think for a full minute there. PPR = Miller, non = Tanner.

      • The Fridge says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin, And if I said it’s a 0.5 PPR?

        • JB Gilpin

          Jonathan Gilpin says:
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          @The Fridge, Dammit! Haha. Think Miller has a better shot at a score, I’d go with him. But super close, Tanner will get work today.

          • The Fridge says:
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            @Jonathan Gilpin, Ha – Thanks!

  4. Steve Stevenson says:
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    DHB, Blackmon or Givens, this week and ROS? Currently holding DHB, would you drop Ballard for one of the others?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Steve Stevenson, I wouldn’t drop Ballard just yet… Want to see what happens when Brown comes back/if he can stay healthy. I like Blackmon this week and ROS. Jags want him involved, coming off bye week, and Laurent Robinson out. Have a weird feeling Blackmon might have solid 2nd half.

  5. Chris says:
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    Need a rb and flex play from these 3. Felix Jones, Miles Austin & CJ2K. Also can’t decide who to start at qb. Cam or Luck. Thanks

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Chris, Jones and CJ. Love the piss poor run Ds they are going against. Sticking with Cam at QB. Much more upside. I know Browns D isn’t great, but with Haden blanketing Wayne, might be a tough day.

      • Chris says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin, thanks that’s how I had my lineup set just wanted a second opinion.

        • JB Gilpin

          Jonathan Gilpin says:
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          @Chris, Nice! Glad to help, bring in a W

  6. DP says:
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    Ridley or Martin for my flex? Both have great matchups. Leaning Ridley due to how potent that offense is.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @DP, Hmmmm, that’s a good one. I think I might go with Martin. Patriots have lost two games now with leads late, I think they try to run up the score. TB will want Brees off the field at all costs. Plus Martin has a better shot at more receiving yards.

      • DP says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin, Yea it’s a tough one. I’ve been flip-flopping all week. Thanks for the input.

        • JB Gilpin

          Jonathan Gilpin says:
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          @DP, No problem man, hope I’m right!

  7. Dan says:
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    PPR: Kendall Wright or Kenny Britt?

    Almost everywhere I look Britt is ranked higher but Wright is more consistent. Bye week and injuries forcing me to start Blount so I kinda need a homerun…coin flip?!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Dan, PPR I indeed go with Wright. I know you need the home run, but I don’t think Britt can have the huge game with Hasselbeck at QB and ailing knee. Think Wright actually may have more upside and be more consistent.

  8. Dave the Barber says:
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    Knowledge me real quick dun. SJAX looks like a half way crook. How much longer should I ride with him? I got Leshoure, M.Bush, and D. Richardson on my bench? Should I sit the shook one? My mobb is deep.
    One

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Dave the Barber, Hmmm, ya know I think you stick with Jackson there. Hate Leshoure’s matchup and I know SJAX is disappearing, but I gut it out with him one more time. Hope to get maybe 50 yards receiving as well.

      • Dave the Barber says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin, Word up son word. F#$% it.

  9. mark danger says:
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    Ppr yuck situation….ballard, d Wilson, dwyer, peerman…..thanks puke

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @mark danger, Haha definitely not ideal indeed. I might roll the dice on Dwyer. Bengals are struggling right now, I know Dwyer hasn’t been special when he’s gotten the rock, but he’ll be the main guy. I know Batch is there too (Baron not Charlie haha), but Dwyer could have a sneaky 90 total yards game.

  10. Tim says:
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    non ppr:
    Pick one: Mike Williams, Kenny Britt, Hixon, or Kerley

    And which NY TE: Bennett or Keller

    Looking to thoroughly crush my opponent

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Tim, Definitely Mike Williams. Almost had him in my article today, but he’s started in a lot of leagues this week with the byes. Love him vs. NO. Probably go with Keller. Jets will need yards through air. Most upside with those two guys too, so crushing should indeed occur!

  11. Dirtyd says:
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    Pick two in 1ppr:

    Jermichael Finley
    Vick Ballard
    Deangelo Williams

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Dirtyd, Leaving out Finley. The Packers game plan has been leaving him out, I’d leave him out.

  12. Curt says:
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    Mike Wallace or Mike Williams?…..(1/2 ppr)

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Curt, Ohhhh thats a saucy one, I love the Williams Mike W so much, but I’m sticking with Wallace Mike W. Bengals giving up big plays through air as well, has been an elite guy for a while now.

  13. Dave the Barber says:
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    Oh yeah one more … Doug Martin or Felix (Glass) Jones?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Dave the Barber, Haha, I like Martin. TB to run to keep Brees off the field, NO run D atrocious as well as my Panthers run D.

  14. Chillmodious says:
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    Good morning,

    With this lineup currently set to be deployed due to BYEs and injuries, would you make any changes in consideration of the limited bench options?:

    QB – Tom Brady
    RB – Doug Martin
    RB – Fred Jackson
    Flex – William Powell
    WR – Percy Harvin
    WR – Randall Cobb
    TE – A Hernandez
    DST – Packers
    K – Gostkowski

    Bench – LeGarrette Blount
    Bench – Jacquizz

    ———————

    I’m thinking I’m set, but could maybe see playing Blount over Powell. I’m hesitant because I’m already starting Doug Martin. Would love your thoughts.

    Thanks!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Chillmodious, Yea I think I’d play Blount over Powell as well. Don’t love Powell’s matchup vs. tough Vikes and think both Blount and Martin get work. Like them both and then if Blount vultures a goal line carry youre set.

  15. Murph says:
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    @JB need some help,

    TE: Pettigrew or Bennette

    Flex: Ballard or Miles Austin (non PPR)

    My thinking is Bennette and Austin because both are having starting RB injury issues so both teams will be passing let me know your thoughts. Also if Bryant continues to hang issues with the groin injury Austin becomes the #1 target.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Murph, I like Pettigrew. Not sold Bennett will have much work. Def like Austin a lot more for your flex. So I’m 50% with ya haha.

      • Murph says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin,

        50% seems to be the standard in this game haha. Thanks and good luck to your Panthers as I will be watching the game from Wilmington NC

        • JB Gilpin

          Jonathan Gilpin says:
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          @Murph, I went to UNCW! Sweet. Live in Raleigh now. Miss Wilm though!

          • Murph says:
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            @Jonathan Gilpin,

            No way!!! Go Seahawks haha I grew up there went to hoggard hs and then to NC state. but now I’m in San Diego as nice as Southern California is I really do miss NC sometimes.

            • Murph says:
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              And Wilmington native Connor Barth is now as must add to all your fantasy rosters!!! Good luck this week thanks again.

  16. Adam says:
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    10 team +.5 PPR, 4 pts bonus for TDs over 40 YDs….

    Pick 2 for FLEX

    Doug Martin vs NO, Fred Jackson vs TEN, Alex Green @ STL, Kenny Britt @ BUF, Brandon Gibson vs GB, Lance Moore @ TB….

    I keep flip-flopping, I just can’t decide.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Adam, I think I stick with your top two options. I know the WRs have better shots at 40-yard TDs, but I like the workload the top two will get. Green would be interesting in a diff mathcup, but I like Rams D.

  17. Chris says:
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    Start 2: Trent Richardson, CJ2k, A Bradshaw
    Thank you

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Chris, Leaving out Bradshaw. Great matchups for all 3, Bradshaw a little banged up tho, think Giants will pass the most.

      • Chris says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin, THANK YOU SIR

  18. Adam says:
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    Also…

    Never thought I’d ask this but would you go with a healthy Rudolph vs ARI or banged up Gronk vs NYJ?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Adam, Sticking with Gronk. He’s been playing with the injuries a while, so doubt they will factor in. Gotta roll with your stud.

  19. rak says:
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    Cam Newton or Roethlisberger?

    Jimmy Graham or Mike WIlliams or James Jones (.5 PPR)?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @rak, Probably go with Big Ben. Beat up RB corp means lots of passing. I like Mike Williams as your other play. Great matchup, has been big, don’t trust James Jones. Graham is out btw.

  20. Oilcan Giuseppe says:
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    pts league,non ppr….Kendall Wright or Ridley?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Oilcan Giuseppe, Gotta go with Ridley, still a big part of that team’s offense. I like Wright too, but he’s not on the level S-Rid is.

  21. Oilcan Giuseppe says:
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    Cobb or Wright in ppr AND non ppr?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Oilcan Giuseppe, Wright PPR, Cobb non.

  22. Oilcan Giuseppe says:
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    one more….Sproles or Bradshaw .5 ppr?

    thnks.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Oilcan Giuseppe, Hmmm… Might go Bradshaw there.

  23. Bill_Buckner says:
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    In a pickle for my flex spot in a .75 PPR.

    Deangelo Williams, L Blount, W Powell, or M Hardesty?

    Thanks in advance!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Bill_Buckner, Pickle indeed… Probably Blount, great matchup vs. bad NO run D. Dont trust D Will or other guys as much. Blount to get at least 10 carries and best shot at score.

  24. dsimon says:
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    Alex Green or Daryl Richardson? 0.5pt PPR.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @dsimon, Alex Green. Bigger role.

  25. Jaybird says:
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    bye week train wreck. Ballard or Leshoure. Ballard has the better match up but I saw the bears d has some injury issues and I’m trying to confirm. 1 PPR league.

    Appreciated!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Jaybird, I’m less worried about how good/injured Bears D is and more worried about how bad Ballard is. I go Leshoure.

  26. BroncoFeld says:
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    Stafford or Ponder? One Qb league. Same league and am already in a hole cause I started Vernon over Rudolph….Pick 2 RBs Alex Green, Michael Bush, LeShoure.

    Different league Givens or Gordon?

    Thank you.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @BroncoFeld, Stafford for me. While I am down on him, I don’t like Ponder vs. Cardinals. Ugh, sucks about Vernon, but tough to bench him. I like Green and Leshoure. More assured roles. I think I’d roll with Josh Gordon in your other league. Both with big play ability in games with a lot of passes, but Gordon with a few big games in a row, I like his upside better.

  27. bobbo says:
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    Pierre Thomas or Jonathon Dwyer as my flex? Bad bye week and I have Bradshaw and Fred Jackson starting. PPR league

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @bobbo, Dwyer. Don’t like NO RBs not named Sproles.

      • bobbo says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin, Thanks! My thoughts exactly… tough spot with McCoy and Mathews on the bench

  28. Guru from Kzoo says:
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    Great article.

    What do you think about this trade offer. I’m in a 6 point per td league PPR.

    QB – Romo
    RB – Rice
    RB – McFadden
    WR – Fitz
    WR – Nicks
    TE – Rudolph
    QB/RB/WR/TE – Deshawn Jackson

    Bench: Spiller, M. Floyd, alex green, Felix Jones, L. Howling

    I have been offered Peyton Manning and Steve Smith (Car) for Romo, Nicks and Spiller. What do you think? Romo has been terrible and eventhough Nicks is a special talent I am 3-4 and can’t wait on him or Romo to get their $hit together. Spiller is on my bench and won’t get much action due to my other starters.

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