When a starting quarterback goes down for a team, it’s usually catastrophic. Sure, you’ll have your Kurt Warner/Trent Green and Tom Brady/Drew Bledsoe stories, but more often than naught, it means a big blow to the team. That’s not the case for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sure, no one wants to see anyone get hurt, but this is fantasy, baby. It happens, and you look for the new shiny toy to come in and lead you on a run to the championship.
This week, that new toy is Mark Sanchez. Yes, that Mark Sanchez. The butt-fumbling, hot dog eating, former quarterback of the New York Jets. With a fractured collarbone, Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles is expected to miss quite a bit of time. For fantasy and real life purposes, that’s perfectly fine.
Believe it or not, I’m of the belief that Sanchez will actually be an upgrade at the position over Foles. Foles isn’t a good quarterback, folks. In 2013, Foles threw for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. He became a fantasy savior off of the waiver wire. That wasn’t the real Foles. No, that Foles was a lucky quarterback, who didn’t pay for his bad decisions.
This year’s Foles, 1,699, six touchdowns and five interceptions is the “real” Foles. He’s an average quarterback, who struggles to make decisions at times. Sounds sort of familiar to Sanchez, no? Truth be told, Sanchez looked better than Foles in the offseason, and in relief on Sunday, Sanchez played good football. He instantly took a shot down the field to Jeremy Maclin on his first series of the game, and he displayed perfect touch on a touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews.
Like Foles, Sanchez isn’t a top-tier quarterback, but he’s an above-average quarterback who will excel in the system he’s in.
The Eagles will take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football, and Sanchez isn’t only a must-add off of the waiver wire, but given the situation, system and matchup this week, he’s our start of the week.
Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay: Last time Tampa Bay faced Atlanta, they were slaughtered on Thursday night football when that was still a trend. Leading up to that game, Rainey was getting the hype with Doug Martin hurt (shocker!). With Martin hurt again, Rainey will have the majority of the touches against a pour Atlanta front. As long as Rainey doesn’t fumble twice again like he did in the first game between the two teams, expect him to excel once again with the opportunity, even if Charles Sims gets some run in his first game of the season.
Percy Harvin, New York Jets: This goes for Eric Decker, too. Two fantasy relevant wide receivers for the Jets feels weird, doesn’t it? Harvin may not be the best teammate in the world, but the Jets sure are trying their hardest to get him involved in the offense. Harvin had 13 targets last week against Kansas City, and he caught 11 of them for 129 yards. Plus, it helps that the Jets have a major upgrade at quarterback in Michael Vick (says a lot about Geno Smith, doesn’t it?) throwing him the ball. The Steelers will be without Troy Polamalu and Ryan Shazier in this game, so expect Harvin to get a lot of action within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
Larry Donnell, New York Giants: For as good as the Seahawks defense is supposed to be, they’ve struggled this year (please return, Bobby Wagner), especially against tight ends. The Giants’ offense will struggle this weekend, but along with Odell Beckham, Larry Donnell should be a bright spot. In their slim victory over the Raiders last week, the Seahawks made Mychal Rivera shine. Donnell has disappeared at times this year, but in all but one game where the Giants have been without Victor Cruz or Beckham, Donnell has showed up to play in a big way. Feel comfortable about starting him again this week.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit: Coming off the bye, Stafford gets Calvin Johnson back, and he should return to being the top five quarterback that we envisioned as the season started. However, the Detroit welcomes an underrated Miami team into town. I had Rivers as a sit last week because of how tough Miami has been against opposing quarterbacks. Stafford should have a better game than Rivers, Jay Cutler and Tom Brady had against the Dolphins, but it won’t be pretty. If you have a better option, don’t be afraid to roll them out this week.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans: It’s going to be very hard to bench Ingram with how thin running back is. However, the Saints seem to have a trend going this year. When they are at home, they throw. When they are on the road outdoors, they run. The San Francisco defense isn’t what we are used to with the injuries, but it’s still a tough defense to run against. Ingram should get the bulk of the work on rushing downs with Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas unlikely to play, but don’t expect him to come close to matching his stat line from a week ago. This has the makings to be a Brandin Cooks, Travaris Cadet game.
Rueben Randle, New York Giants: It’s soooooo frustrating owning Randle this year. The targets have been there, but he’s not converting on them. Going against Seattle this week, my guess is that Randle will get a ton of Sherman. After all, they didn’t move him around on Vontae Davis on Monday Night Football, despite the reports that they were going to. Hope isn’t lost for Randle this year, though. When he struggles this week, bye low on him. The targets and scoring opportunities are there for him.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco: Yes, I know the names that are on bye. No, I do not care. Any of the tight ends that are listed above in the Start ‘Em section should be in your lineup over Davis. He’s nothing more than a name right now, and if you can get one cent on the dollar for him in a trade, do it. Sixteen receptions and two touchdowns on the year for Davis. That’s it. Aside from his name, there’s no reason he should be on your team, let alone in your starting lineup.