Man, I didn’t have my best week last week. I guess it kind of evened things out from a few weeks ago when I seemingly couldn’t miss. Oh well, even LeBron James has his off nights, right? You know, like the game in Portland where I bought tickets as soon as possible to see the “King” play. I’m not bitter or anything, promise. Anyway, sorry if the advice didn’t work out last week, but remember as always, I’m not the one who hits submit on your lineup.
What happened to the Atlanta Falcons’ offense that we all thought we knew and thought we loved? The offensive line and the fact that Matt Ryan can’t get anything going outdoors — despite playing at Boston college — has been frustrating all year. Thankfully, the Falcons return home this week to play the Cleveland Browns. I want more than anything to trust Julio Jones indoors, but over the next few weeks — this week included — Jones faces Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson and the Green Bay buzz saw in Lambeau Field. While Haden should shut down Jones this week — or at least keep him in check — Roddy White should have an early Thanksgiving feast this week. Coming off of a 8-75-1 performance against the Panthers, White faces Buster Skrin and Justin Gilbert opposite of the Jones and Haden match up. While White may not post Mike Evans numbers this week, he still gets the nod as our start of the week in a favorable matchup.
Josh McCown, Tampa Bay — As the biggest Mike Glennon fan outside of his relatives, it hurts me to type McCown’s name. However, he’s been on quite a roll lately, thanks to Mr. Evans. The matchup is more than favorable, as the Bears have surrendered 14 touchdown passes over their past four games. McCown is a good fill in for Cam Newton or Ben Roethlisberger, and he cracks my top eight passers this week.
Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland — Thank god Ben Tate is gone, as it clears up the former three-headed mess in the Browns’ backfield. All year, fantasy enthusiasts have been waiting for Crowell to finally take over the job, as he’s the most talented back in Cleveland. It looks like that time is now, and while Terrance West will still get some of the run, Crowell should lead the way for the Browns. It’s especially encouraging that they went back to him last week against Tampa Bay despite his fumble — which is his ultimate issue so far in his career. In a plus matchup, feel confident in running Crowell out as a RB2 this week.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis — If Dwayne Allen is out — my hunch as of Thursday morning (time of press) is that he will be — Fleener becomes a top three option this week at the position. He’s been on a tear lately, and he secured seven-of-seven targets last week in the Colts’ loss to the Patriots. This week, the Colts get Jacksonville, who have struggled against tight ends all season.
Philip Rivers, San Diego — Remember when Philip Rivers was in the MVP talks? Fun times, right? Rivers has been lousy his past few games after a terrific start, and expect those struggles to continue this week as he takes on a much-improved St. Louis Rams’ defense who made Peyton Manning look like Cooper Manning. Rivers supposedly has a ribs injury, and with the pressure that the Rams’ front-seven gets, expect him to be under a lot of pressure early and often.
Jonas Gray, New England — Bench someone after four touchdowns? You bet. In one call I actually got right last week — not the extent, obviously — Gray had a good game running between the tackles. This week against Detroit should be a Shane Vereen game given the interior line of the Lions. Add to the fact that the Patriots just signed LeGarrette Bount, and Gray’s value gets a little cloudy going forward.
Golden Tate, Detroit — You’re probably not going to bench Golden Tate this week, but if the reports are true that Tate will be shadowed by Darrelle Revis, you can’t feel too comfortable starting him. He was open many, many times last week, but Matthew Stafford has eyes for Calvin Johnson only, apparently. Tate should still be an OK receiver, but he’d be a WR2 against the bigger Brandon Browner. If Revis watches him, he slips to a WR3/flex-type receiver for the week.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco — Please just drop him. It really doesn’t matter for who at this point. He’s in the same position that Marques Colston was last week at this time. He has a name, but that’s it.