Hello again Razzball readers! I really enjoy contributing to this website and I look forward to answering more questions and helping more fantasy teams. Asher Molk and I will be working as a team and editing each other’s columns so feel free to ask either of us any questions; we’d love to help! And check us out on Twitter at @AsherMolk and @BraudeM
Washington at Carolina
Washington’s QB play last week was downright embarrassing. Grossman threw for only 143 yards and 4 interceptions, one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. John Beck will get the start this week, but I don’t expect him to be much better. Leave him on the wavier wire. Ryan Torain had a chance to explode last week against the Eagles run defense but couldn’t capitalize. Due to falling behind early and two injuries to the Redskins line, Torain was consistently hit in the backfield. However he did gain 26 yards after contact and only 22 total, which shows he did a good job fighting for yards and I suspect Shanahan will stick with him for this reason. The Carolina run defense hasn’t looked good so far and with Beck, the Redskins will go run heavy; Torain’s a RB2 in this one. Shanahan has lost confidence in the mediocre talented Hightower, he belongs on your bench. With the erratic quarterback play and Carolina being much worse against the run, it’s tough to have a lot of confidence in any Redskins WRs. Santana Moss is usually reliable and should provide WR3 numbers, just don’t expect a huge performance. Jabar Gaffney and other Redskins WRs should be stapled to the bench or left as wavier wire fodder. Fred Davis had a nice performance last week and can be counted on for solid TE1 stats.
Coming off another tough loss this is a very winnable game for Carolina. Cam Newton is a full-blown QB1 even against a tough Redskins defense. It’s hard to imagine him not producing considering he’s Carolina’s goal-line back and has been involved in 13 of Carolina’s 15 offensive touchdowns. Expect more of the same committee attack in this tough matchup for the Panthers RBs. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are both talented but considering Newton gets the bulk of the rushing TDs and neither has broken 14 touches in a game this season, they are very hard to recommend. Start either as a flex if you must, with Stewart getting the nod in PPR leagues. Steve Smith has proven matchup-proof; you don’t need me to tell you to keep him locked in as a WR1. All the other Carolina WRs are not options in fantasy leagues this week. Greg Olsen was targeted a team-high 10 times last week and is the No. 8 ranked TE on the season; he should continue to produce low-end TE1 stats but won’t be able to move up the ranks with Jeremy Shockey’s presence. Shockey received 7 targets but should be left on benches if you have another option.
Seattle at Cleveland
This game has to have as little fantasy impact as any game this season. Tarvaris Jackson doesn’t look like he’s going to play this week, meaning Charlie Whitehurst will most likely draw the start. Whitehurst shouldn’t bring down the value of Seattle WRs, but is a poor QB2 bet in fantasy leagues against a surprisingly good Browns pass defense. I was a big proponent of selling Marshawn Lynch high after his big game; he has the look of a low-end RB2 in this low scoring affair. With Joe Haden status up in the air, Sidney Rice receives a boost if he’s inactive – Haden has been a lockdown corner so far this season – consider Rice a WR3 against him but a WR2 if he’s inactive. Doug Baldwin had a team-high 9 targets before the bye week and is proving to be a consistent threat. He is a intriguing WR3 – give him a boost if Haden is in the lineup. Big Mike Williams and Zach Miller are not options in fantasy leagues.
Colt McCoy has proven he’s not a special talent, if you’re starting him – you’re not in good shape. The Browns are hoping Peyton Hillis can return this week, but he didn’t practice Wednesday and his odds are not great. They may play him in limited capacity with Montario Hardesty – in that case, neither would be a worthwhile play. However if Hillis is out, you could do worse than Hardesty for a flex play. Greg Little bust onto the scene last week with a solid 6 for 72 and has the look of a dynamic talent. At 6’3’, 231lbs, he’s a bigger Hakeem Nicks – there is major upside here, especially in PPR leagues. Seeing 12 targets last week, he’s McCoy’s favorite target and a high-end WR3. Massaquoi is not an option; he hasn’t topped 46 receiving yards since Week 1. Ben Watson leads the team in targets but with Evan Moore involved, owners should look elsewhere for production.
Atlanta at Detroit
This game should be fun to watch – a ball-control offense vs. a fast-paced vertical offense. Matt Ryan was predicted as a big breakout candidate before the season with the addition of Julio Jones but recently the Falcons have moved their focus back to the ground attack. After not topping 200 passing yards the last two weeks, Ryan has the look of a low-end QB1 against this strong Lions defense. Ryan owners have to hope the Lions start hot and the Falcons fall behind early – otherwise we’ll likely see a heavy dose of Michael Turner. Turner is coming off a huge performance against Carolina, but the Lions are much better against the run than the Panthers. Despite this Turner will have a heavy workload, which makes him a low-end RB1. It’s only a matter of time till Roddy White recovers. He had two chances for scores that were taken away by penalties, and as evidenced by last year he can produce even if the Falcons stick to a run-heavy game plan. Keep him in your lineups as a low-end WR1 this week, he should get a lot of targets with Julio Jones likely out and this game has the potential to turn into a shootout. Tony Gonzalez looks like he’s fading, only receiving 3 targets last week but still has low-end TE1 value as the second option in the passing game and is a solid weekly bet to score.
As usual, I expect the Lions to come out throwing in this one – even a little more than usual with Jahvid Best likely out. Stafford should be in fantasy lineups and is a solid QB1 as he and Calvin Johnson form an unstoppable duo that will be forced to pick up the slack this week coming off a tough loss. Maurice Morris will pick up most of Best’s touches but is only a low-end RB2/flex play for many reasons: Keiland Williams will be taking away some touches and Morris isn’t a special talent. While he may be able to rack up some yards and maybe a score, he doesn’t possess the receiving skills or the breakaway speed of Best. Temper your expectations – this is ideally a wait and see kind of week. Calvin Johnson is averaging 94 yards and 1.5 TDs a game – he’s an elite WR1 play as always. Burleson received 10 targets last week, which is promising, but with Titus Young also involved – he’s not a great play, only use him as a bye week plug-in if you must. Brandon Pettigrew has shown he’s the second-option in this offense and received a season high 14 targets last week – there’s no reason to expect this to stop – keep him rolling as a TE1.
Denver at Miami
This game marks the first start for fan favorite Tim Tebow. While Tebow isn’t exactly a prototypical QB, he has gotten the job done in fantasy leagues to say the least: over his string of three starts last year, no one averaged more per week than Tebow. Although he isn’t the best passer, Tebow is one of the few running QBs in the league. The other two are Newton and Vick – and if you notice the trend, running QBs typically equal QB1 value and Tebow, like Newton, is his team’s goal-line back. If you have an elite starter this week, then feel free to wait and see, but if Tebow’s your best starter – you should have no qualms about trotting him out there in this plus matchup as he’s proven he can produce. Miami has been much better against the run than the pass so I expect John Fox to give Tebow some leeway. Although I’m not a huge fan of Willis McGahee’s abilities (mainly considering his age), he is getting all the touches and has the look of a solid RB2 in this one. After trading Brandon Lloyd, Eric Decker moves into the Bronco’s WR1 role as Tebow’s main target. As my colleague Asher Molk wrote he is a great buy-low this week. Coming off a two-catch -4 yard performance, there won’t be a better time to buy low on a guy that should have borderline WR2 value the rest of the year. I don’t expect Tebow to negatively affect his numbers even though I do believe Orton is a better passer – this is because Tebow did a good job of feeding Lloyd the ball last year. Decker has the look of a low-end WR2 in this one. There are no other Denver pass-catchers worth playing this week but keep an eye on whether the Broncos attempt to get either Demaryius Thomas or Eddie Royal particularly involved.
After watching Matt Moore against the Jets on Monday Night, it’s easy to see he’s not an NFL-caliber option under center. He didn’t make reads on guys that were running unguarded routes – even the commentators mentioned the Jets multiple blown coverage’s. Leave him on the wavier wire… Daniel Thomas managed only 59 yards on 16 touches against the Jets but should recover against the weak Broncos run defense. I expect the Dolphins will come out run heavy with Moore at QB, giving Thomas solid RB2 value. Reggie Bush missed practice on Wednesday but looks like a good bet to play next week – even after a solid showing last week, Bush has only 6 receptions in his last 4 games, he shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups. Brandon Marshall had a solid game last week while being targeted a season-high 13 times, but had many chances to make it a great performance. He sat out practice Wednesday but looks like a high-end WR2 play against Champ Bailey and the Broncos. After Henne’s injury, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess probably aren’t even worth rostering in your league… same with Anthony Fasano.
San Diego at N.Y. Jets
Coming off a bye week, San Diego looks to continue its hot start. The Jets defense has been very good against the pass but has struggled against the run. Last week they stopped the Dolphins from running, but they were able to do that by selling out on the pass. With Philip Rivers at the helm, it won’t be that easy for the Jets. Rivers is match-up proof and worth starting as a QB1. This is an exciting matchup for Ryan Mathews’ owners, he should be refreshed coming off the bye and has the look of a RB1. Tolbert is a decent bye week plug-in at RB2/flex, he is second on the Chargers in targets and can always get a cheap score but temper your expectations as Mathews will get the bulk of the work. Vincent Jackson was limited in practice on Wednesday but is likely to square off with Darrelle Revis this weekend. After a dud before the bye-week and with Gates returning, he’s only a WR2 this week. Because of Revis, Floyd should be more involved this week. Rivers has never had a problem throwing his way and I expect him to provide solid WR3 value. The long anticipated return of Antonio Gates looks to be happening this weekend. He may be a little rusty but is always one of the best when he’s in the lineup – he’s a TE1.
The last two weeks the Jets have shifted to a run-first offensive attack. Mark Sanchez hasn’t played well but this game has the look of a shootout. The Jets will be forced to keep up with the Chargers and that could easily lead to solid plug-in stats for Sanchez; consider him a high-end QB2. Shonn Greene has received 21 carries each of the last two weeks but has averaged an unimpressive 78.5 yards and has averaged only 3.4 YPC on the year. He’s still worth the start but keep your expectations low, he’s not a special talent and if you get the chance, sell high. But he should produce low-end RB2 stats in this one. LaDainian Tomlinson isn’t worth a play – he’s not receiving enough touches to maintain any consistent value. I’m worried about Santonio Holmes; he is far and away the Jets most talented offensive player, but Sanchez isn’t targeting him enough for him to continue his current TD streak. He’s producing currently but I want to say he’s a sell high based on that and the run-first offensive attack. He only had 4 targets last week but is a low-end WR2 in this one. Look for the Jets to fall behind and be forced to throw. This change in offensive game planning has had the biggest impact on Dustin Keller, who started hot but has struggled recently. This week they’re going to have to pass – making him startable. Plaxico Burress is not and will not be an option – he looks slow and hasn’t shown anything but being a big target in the red zone.
Chicago at Tampa Bay
Chicago is coming off a dominant win against the Vikings. Jay Cutler is a fine bye week plug-in but don’t expect anything great – he’s going against a Bucs pass defense that intercepted Brees three times last week. Matt Forte is averaging a whopping 151.3 yards per game – don’t ever think about benching him, even with Marion Barber stealing a few goal-line carries. The Bears WRs are hard to recommend, the line usually doesn’t hold their blocks long enough for Cutler to throw down field – we can re-evaluate next week but I’m chalking Devin Hester’s performance up as a fluke and sitting all Bears WRs and TEs this week.
I’m not a big Josh Freeman fan – he’s consistent for his team but never provides big fantasy numbers. Last week, he had his best game of the season thus far but has only thrown for 300+ yards once and has a 5:6 TD-to-INT ratio. Sell high if you can, if not hopefully you have a better option – do your best to keep him on your bench. LeGarrette Blount is expected to miss at least another week… this means keep Earnest Graham going. He was impressive last week with 131 yards on 19 touches, the Bears are tough against the run but keep him going as a RB2 – he deserves it after the solid showing against the Saints. Mike Williams has been a bust this year – he’s struggling to create separation against defenses keying in on him and hasn’t gotten much help from the other pass-catchers – he’s only a WR3 until he breaks 100 yards. It will be interesting to see if Arrelious Benn can continue to produce – he doesn’t receive a lot of attention from opposing defenses and has shown some talent – but right now he belongs on benches. Kellen Winslow has lost his playmaking ability and simply looks slow out there. Yet to top 60 yards since Week 1, don’t expect him to suddenly start producing.
Houston at Tennessee
First off, I would like to note it’s upsetting that Andre Johnson is likely out – Andre and Cortland Finnegan squaring off has turned into an annual event. Houston struggled last week against an overpowering Ravens team but should return to normal production this week. Matt Schaub was ineffective last week but should be better this week – just temper your expectations, without Andre this is a run-first offense… He’s a low-end QB1/high-end QB2. The Texans will place their offense on the shoulders of Arian Foster – even though the Titans have been strong against the run, he’s a RB1 this week. The Texans rely heavily on one back so don’t expect any production from Ben Tate. Kevin Walter isn’t a sexy play but does provide WR3 value after a solid two-week stretch. Jacoby Jones has struggled to step up in Andre’s absence many times – last week he finally did, however I don’t believe he should be starting. He’s not a terrible WR3/flex play but most teams can do better. I fully expect Schaub’s favorite remaining target, Owen Daniels to recover from last week’s blunder – he’s a TE1.
Tennessee is coming off a bye and against a tough Texans secondary Matt Hasselbeck is only a QB2. The Titans should come out of the gates with a heavy dose of Chris Johnson; the Titans spent their bye-week trying to fix their rushing attack. He has averaged 4.8 YPC over his career and is averaging only 3.01 this year, meaning he should start producing the RB1 numbers owners are looking for soon. Hasselbeck’s favorite target Nate Washington is squaring off against Jonathon Joseph, who has been tough this year; still, he should get enough targets to provide high-end WR3 value. Damien Williams is an interesting flier in fantasy leagues – but currently it’s time to wait and see if he’s going to produce, keep him on fantasy benches. Jared Cook is an exciting TE that has run after the catch ability and earned 9 targets in Week 5, however he can’t be relied on as anything but a bye week plug-in until he proves he’s ready to take the next step.
Pittsburgh at Arizona
After disappointing last week, Ben Roethlisberger has a date with the Arizona secondary this weekend. He can be counted on for QB1 production against this porous defensive unit. Rashard Mendenhall broke out in a big way last week and the signing of Max Starks has fixed the rushing attack for two straight weeks. Enjoy Mendenhall as a RB1 play this week against the Cardinals. Mike Wallace missed practice Wednesday and is a must-start if active but his status is in question. If he misses the game, good luck guessing who will step up from Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, and Brown. Brown is second on the team in targets but I believe Sanders is the most talented. Ward is old but he knows the offense the best so he could easily lead in snaps and/or targets. If you need a bye week plug-in, any of these guys could have a solid performance – the problem is predicting which one. Heath Miller is almost never worth playing but playing against the Cardinals without FS Kerry Rhodes – you could do worse for a desperate bye-week filler.
Kevin Kolb looked terrible against the Vikings before the bye and still belongs on fantasy benches. Beanie Wells has been very productive with 6 TDs and 95.3 rush yards per game, he’s a low-end RB1 in this tough matchup. Larry Fitzgerald has been somewhat of a disappointment this year as Kolb hasn’t been able to get him going. He’s still averaging 85 YPG and is a solid weekly bet for a TD, start Fitz as a WR1. After receiving 16 targets in Week 5, Early Doucet looks like the Cardinals second option. Until he strings together a few solid performances, he’s a WR4/5. Don’t worry about Todd Heap, he’s offer the fantasy radar.
Kansas City at Oakland
I don’t believe Matt Cassel is a special talent by any means and I believe you could even make an argument he’s not an NFL-caliber talent – either way, he has a good matchup this week and looks to have QB2 value, you could do worse as a bye week fill. Jackie Battle jumped onto the scene for the Chiefs in Week 5; sadly for him the Colts are much softer against the run than the Raiders. Still, his 20 touches should provide low-end RB2 value. Thomas Jones is barely worth owning, as he has very little upside and has been outplayed by Battle. Dexter McCluster was only on the field for 12 snaps last week and shouldn’t leave fantasy benches. There’s no denying Dwayne Bowe as a WR1, he’s produced every week since Week 1 – don’t bench him now. Steve Breaston’s performance last week was a fluke – those were his first and second TDs since September of 2010.
The newly acquired Carson Palmer looks on pace to start this week. He’s not an option in fantasy leagues because he won’t get the attempts to produce and isn’t NFL-ready – I don’t believe he’ll provide any value as a starter this season but the coming weeks will let us know. Darren McFadden continues to produce and should have elite production in this plus matchup… Darrius Heyward-Bey has averaged 5.6 catches for 98.6 yards over the past three weeks and is starting to look like the real deal but I expect the Raiders to go run-heavy this week; he’s a WR3. Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford cannot be trusted right now – especially in Palmer’s first start.
St. Louis at Dallas
Sam Bradford is a little banged-up but looks like he will suit up. Last week he had one of his better passing efforts and should be a solid bye-week starter this week. Going against the Cowboys number one ranked run defense, Bradford will see a lot of attempts and the addition of Brandon Lloyd should help. Steven Jackson looked fully recovered from his quad injury on his way to a solid performance against the Packers. Don’t expect huge numbers against Rob Ryan’s unit but he’s locked in as a solid RB2. Lloyd immediately gets a boost to WR2 value, but give him a few weeks to get comfortable and he should produce solidly. Danario Alexander had a nice game last week and has the talent to produce but with the addition of Lloyd and Greg Salas seeing a lot of targets in the slot, he’s currently a WR4. Salas is an interesting bye-week fill in PPR leagues but I would prefer to wait and see how consistent his targets are with Lloyd in the lineup.
Tony Romo is a QB1 in a plus matchup against a poor Rams pass defense; this should be one of his best games of the season. With Felix Jones out, DeMarco Murray will draw the start at RB. He has a plus matchup but in his small sample size he hasn’t been able to show any production. He’s averaging only 3 YPC on the year and should be able to produce low-end RB2 number with just the number of touches he’ll receive and Dallas being able to move the ball. Don’t be surprised if Tashard Choice gets involved – I’m not telling you to play him but he’s proven himself when given the opportunity… unlike Murray. This is the week for Dallas’ passing offense to break out. With Jones out, look for loads of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, both are elite WR1 plays. Jason Witten will also have a big role in the offense – keep him rolling as a TE1.
Green Bay at Minnesota
For the second straight week, Green Bay will most likely find themselves cruising to an easy win. Going up against a Vikings team that surrendered 39 points to a pretty ordinary Bears team, this offensive juggernaut is likely to post a similar score. Simply put, there is no player playing better football than Aaron Rodgers, and it’s not all that close. He has proven to be the premier fantasy quarterback play, and that doesn’t change here. As for James Starks, it figures to be more of the same. Starks clearly has more ability than his backfield partner Ryan Grant, but has failed to take charge of this backfield despite pretty ample opportunities. Starks will get enough touches in this probable blowout to be a decent flex option, but his upside is capped as usual by Grant, who is an even lower-upside desperation flex play. Before the season, it was thought that Greg Jennings would revert to his early 2010 inconsistency with Jermichael Finley returning. This assumption has been proven dead wrong – the only game he had less than 82 receiving yards, he still scored a touchdown. He should continue to be a remarkably consistent WR1. Speaking of Finley, the only explanation for his cold streak is relatively simple: people set out to stop him, so Rodgers just throws to the other weapons in his arsenal. Finley makes for a very fine ‘buy low’, and is still a TE1 – he’s just too talented and in too good a situation to continue his mediocre production. Jordy Nelson and James Jones have been the biggest beneficiaries of defenses’ attention to Finley. Nelson has been a slightly inconsistent from game to game, but has 10 more targets than the next Packer behind him and only 4 less than Finley. He’s a very good WR3. As for James Jones, he’s a decent bye-week fill in as he’s scored a touchdown in his last three games. But the inconsistency will return – he has been held to 1 catch in half of the games so far, and has seen 6+ targets only twice this year. Even last week, his 35-yard touchdown was his only target. Donald Driver and Randall Cobb remain virtually unrosterable.
Minnesota’s pathetic offense was on full display on Sunday night versus Chicago. Percy Harvin continues to suffer from nagging injuries and the coaching staff’s completely unjustified faith in Bernard Berrian and Michael Jenkins, neither of whom deserve roster spots on any fantasy team. With the quarterback change, Harvin figures to be even less effective this week than he was on Sunday, where he played under 30 offensive snaps. He’s still a WR3 because of his special talent and game-breaking ability but there’s going to be inconsistency. Poor Adrian Peterson is running as hard as ever, but teams have been and will continue to stack the box against him. Green Bay will continue to do the same, but even though they are giving up the 4th least amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs you have to keep starting the most talented pure runner in the league. He is always a good bet for at least a score and with Christian Ponder taking the reins, they will lean heavily on the run. On the subject of Ponder, this is a wait-and-see game for him. Deep 2QB leaguers may want to take note, but don’t expect much of anything from a guy who many teams considered a second or third day prospect. Kyle Rudolph and Visanthe Shiancoe still cancel each other out, but Rudolph clearly has more ability. If he ever takes the job completely, it will become a situation to monitor. But just like last week, any Viking not named Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin doesn’t even belong on your roster, let alone your starting lineup.
Indianapolis at New Orleans
The Indianapolis Colts are not far behind Miami for the number one overall pick, and their standing the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes will improve after a loss to a Saints team coming off of a defeat at the hands of their division rivals. Curtis Painter has surprised a few people by not completely falling on his face, passing for nearly 250 YPG and sporting a 5:1 TD to INT ratio since being named the starter. But don’t get carried away – he is still a middling QB2 until proven otherwise. By far the biggest beneficiary of Painter’s emergence has been Pierre Garcon. In the 3 games Painter has started, Garcon has caught 15 balls for 323 years and 4 scores. Garcon clearly has a connection with the new QB, and is gaining steam as a high-end WR3… Reggie Wayne hasn’t topped 77 yards or scored since the first game of the season. He’s a lock for about 50 yards or so, but that’s it. Play him if you must, but expect next to nothing. Austin Collie has caught 13 balls the whole season, and has only surpassed 29 yards once this year. He isn’t rosterable. Before this last game, Dallas Clark hadn’t caught more than 4 balls or received more than 46 yards. Like Collie, he is pretty much droppable at this point. The backfield is yet another low upside collection of unimpressive players. With Joseph Addai sitting out last week, Delone Carter got the rock 14 times, but could only manage 45 yards. He is only a bye-week flex play in very deep leagues. The same goes for first round bust Donald Brown, who is more effective than Carter, but still a mere low upside flex play. Addai is looking like he’s going to be inactive again. It is simply amazing what an injury to Peyton Manning has done to these Colts.
On the opposite side of the fantasy landscape sits the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees has thrown for under 351 yards just once this year, and even in that game had 270 passing yards. Against the small and unphysical defensive backs of the Colts, he should have a field day. Elite QB1 is his ranking, as usual. Darren Sproles continues to be an RB2/flex option in PPR leagues, and that doesn’t figure to change here. His carries are falling (as evidenced by his lone carry for 16 yards last Sunday) which limits his non-PPR upside, but he is always involved in the passing game. Mark Ingram has scored in 3 of his last 4 contests, and is going to be seeing a Colts defense giving up over 136 rushing yards per game. After falling behind early last week, Ingram only got 9 carries. With the Saints seeing a much worse opponent this week, they are almost sure to be playing with a lead, which bodes well for his fantasy value. Get him in lineups. Pierre Thomas’s biggest asset – his per play efficiency – has been eluding him as of late. He is 3rd in the RB pecking order and belongs on benches. Jimmy Graham is producing like a WR1 thus far. In his last 4 games, he averaging over 7 catches for 125 yards per game with 2 scores mixed in. As Drew Brees’ true number 1 target, you’re never sitting him – he is the best TE in fantasy football. Marques Colston is back on the radar as a WR2 after his breakout performance – he looked like his old self. Keep him going. With Colston, Sproles, and Graham receiving 11 targets each last week, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, and Lance Moore saw 2, 2, and 3 targets, respectively. One of them may put up some numbers each week, but it is literally impossible to guess who they may be. They are desperation plays only.
Baltimore at Jacksonville
Similar to the previous two games, this contest pits a very talented and well-coached team headed for the playoffs against one that will struggle to win 5 games. There won’t be too many surprises coming when Baltimore has the football – it starts and ends with Ray Rice. Averaging 140 total yards per game with 4 scores in 5 games, it’ll be business as usual for this top 5 RB against a very average Jacksonville defense. Joe Flacco has alternated fantastic performances with complete blow-up games. This is precisely the reason he isn’t a bonafide QB1 yet – he has proven he cannot be consistent week to week. But if your starting QB is on bye, Flacco is a more than fine fill-in. He has shown he can put up some big numbers, but there’s always a chance you get Mr. Hyde instead of Dr. Jekyll. Flacco will be throwing against an unimpressive secondary, which is pretty good news for Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. Although Boldin has looked as slow as molasses, he still put up very good stats against a strong Texans secondary. But keep in mind that was his first performance where he put up more than 74 yards, and hasn’t scored since the season opener. Unless you are in a very shallow league, you’ll probably end up using him. More than likely, he’ll put up serviceable WR3 numbers, but keep in mind he left most of his after the catch ability in Arizona. Smith has seen 19 targets his last three games, and is the quintessential boom-or-bust play. He has the potential to put up a 4-136-1 line or a 1-19-0 line. Use him at your own risk. Here’s a stat you probably didn’t see coming: Ed Dickson has 3 more targets on the year than Ray Rice. His upside is capped by the presence of Dennis Pitta (who is not a fantasy option), but there are worse TE fill-ins out there. Lee Evans is unrosterable at this point, and has yet to play since week two.
There is no sugarcoating it: the Jags only have two players worth having on your roster, and only one should ever sniff the starting lineup. It’s hard to say enough about what Maurice Jones-Drew has done this year. Without any prayer of a passing game, he has yet to dip below 84 rushing yards in a game and is averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. With two scores on the year, he is the diamond in the rough in Jacksonville. In a similar situation to Adrian Peterson, you need to trot him out there, even against a stellar Ravens defense that’s giving up the 2nd least amount of fantasy points per game against RBs. Mike Thomas has been good for about 50 yards per game or so, but his talent goes to waste with Blaine Gabbert at the helm. He’s a very low upside play as a fill-in WR. I’ll keep it simple the rest of the way: starting Jason Hill would just be chasing fluky stats, and Marcedes Lewis and Gabbert are complete non-factors in fantasy. Stay far away from them.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to ask questions here or hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM. Good luck – may we all avoid the injury bug this weekend!