There are only six or seven weeks left until the Fantasy Playoffs depending on when your league starts them up, but either way the time is soon approaching. If you are sitting there at 3-4 or 2-5, I wouldn’t give up hope yet. There is still enough time to right the ship and get into the postseason. For some owners you can not afford to wait for Cam Newton or Darren McFadden to get it going, you need solutions now! Waiting for these players to get back to Fantasy relevance again while you continue to rack up losses can destroy your team. At some point you might have to start playing matchups with lesser named players. For example, this week, Cam Newton faces the Bears on the road, while Sam Bradford takes on the Patriots. Nuts to start Bradford? I don’t think so. Even Brandon Weeden seems almost more attractive than Cam as he goes up against the Chargers. Cam Newton and the Panthers are a mess right now and if you have Cam on you fantasy squads your team is most likely suffering as a result.
So my advice to you is don’t give up, keep grinding, and don’t be afraid to play a good matchup over a high draft pick that just isn’t producing. Stay on that waiver wire, look to make a trade to shake things up and try your best to get your squads back into gear. As always if you guys have any questions, you are more than welcome to shoot me an email at SteveDeAngelo@gmail.com or @FantasySavvy on twitter.
You won’t see the obvious names on here, that would be pointless. Maybe occasionally to give you a reminder, but rather we are looking to identify some guys that you may be on the fence with and encourage you to either start or sit them. Matchups will be broken down, stats will be used, some projections will be provided and some “gut” feeling will be mixed in. But when it comes down to the come down, it’s your “gut” you need to roll with.
*Players listed in order of projected effectiveness in the start ‘em category and ineffectiveness in the sit ‘em category.
Ben Roethlisberger vs Washington
The Skins have allowed at least two passing TD’s to every QB this season except for Josh Freeman and Eli Manning . They also have allowed every QB they have faced to go over 300 yards passing with the exception of Freeman who threw for 299! The Steelers will move the ball and Ben has a great opportunity for a nice day here. Look for close to 300 yards passing with at least two TD’s.
Andrew Luck @ Tennessee
Although Luck ran for two TD’s last week, he does not have a passing TD in two weeks. Expect that to change Sunday against the Titans who are allowing the 6th most points to Fantasy QB’s. Reggie Wayne faced off against Antonio Cromartie and Joe Haden the last two weeks, but the Titans have nobody who can cover him. Look for Luck to find his best target often and for Luck to get back on track throwing the football.
Sam Bradford vs New England (Game in London)
Like last season the Patriots secondary is once again one of the worst in the NFL. Only New Orleans is allowing more fantasy points to QB’s. In their last five games the Patriots have allowed 13 touchdowns and four 300-yard passers. Normally I wouldn’t touch Sam Bradford with a ten foot cheesestick, but even he can take advantage of this matchup.
Josh Freeman @ Minnesota
I am not buying Josh Freeman just yet. He tore up New Orleans last week, but everybody does. The week before he succeeded against Kansas City, but they have been putrid overall as well. Freeman has also struggled in his two road games this year averaging just 175 yards while throwing just 3 TD’s with 3 Int’s. I think Minnesota will get pressure on Freeman and force him into a rough game. Also these Thursday Night games have been low scoring all year as they are averaging eight points less than Sunday games. If Freeman gets it done this week, I MIGHT start to believe in him, but I doubt he does.
Matt Stafford vs Seattle
What is going on with this Detroit passing game that saw Stafford throw for 41 TD’s and and over 5,000 yards last season? First, Stafford isn’t getting much protection, second teams are now coming up with new gameplans to take away Calvin Johnson and third Stafford’s mechanics have been poor. I think eventually the Lions will pick up the pace, but it’s hard to expect it to start this week. Seattle is allowing an average of just 14 fantasy points per game to QB’s.
Cam Newton @ Chicago
Last time I put Cam on this list, he proved me wrong against Atlanta, but I feel pretty secure in saying that he will struggle vs the Bears. Cam isn’t playing well, but at the same time he has faced Seattle and Dallas in his last two games, two teams who are top-five in pass defense. After this week, it may be time to buy-low on Cam as he goes onto face Washington, Denver and Tampa Bay in his next three games. His playoff schedule also looks good going against Atlanta, San Diego and Oakland in Weeks 14, 15 and 16. After facing the Bears this week Cam will have endured three of the roughest matchups a Fantasy QB can face, but the road gets much easier from there on out and I expect him to turn things around. Just think about sitting him this week.
Chris Johnson vs Indianapolis
Johnson exploded last week against the Bills for 195 yards with two TD’s and has been showing signs of life. The Bills defense was a swiss cheese matchup, but Johnson also excelled against the Texans and Steelers defenses respectively. The Titans will be in this game and Johnson should get plenty of touches. The Colts rush D played well last week, but that was against a banged up Trent Richardson. The week before Shonn Greene gashed them and they have struggled most of the season so expect CJ to keep up his good play in Week eight.
Willis McGahee vs New Orleans
The Saints vs. Broncos game is going to be filled with a ton of points and all your players on these teams should be in your lineups. McGahee is no exception. Manning will be utilizing Willis often and I expect him to find the endzone this week. The Saints have been the worst at defending Fantasy RB’s allowing 34 points per game so get Willis in those lineups.
Doug Martin @ Minnesota
Martin ran fairly well last week against New Orleans and even though that was a dream matchup, he got the job done running for 86 yards and a score. The Vikings just allowed waiver wire Hall of Famer LaRod Stephens-Howling go over 100 yards on them and with a short week and little time to rest, facing Martin won’t be a easy task. LeGarrette Blount might of also played himself out of goal line carries after being stuffed three straight times on the goal line against the Saints. Blount ran with no attitude whatsoever and Martin will now most likely be called upon in all goal line situations in this game.
LaRod Stephens-Howling vs San Francisco
Howling was one of the top pickups this week, but don’t expect to him to produce against the 49ers. Keep him benched. Kind of sucks when you pick a guy up and then really can’t start him huh? You could be cutting him after this week!
Michael Turner @ Philadelphia
The defense wasn’t the problem in Philly so not sure why Andy Reid felt he had to fire Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo. Maybe he’s just looking for a scapegoat or maybe he really didn’t get along with the guy. Anyway, Turner always seems to struggle in tough matchups and the Eagles have been stingy against the run this season ranked 8th best in fantasy points allowed to RB’s. I see a very slow week for Turner, it could be one of those 16 carry, 40-yard, scoreless games.
Steven Jackson vs New England
Still have this guy? I told you to trade him six weeks ago! This is the last time he will be on this list. Daryl Richardson is now cutting heavily into his touches and will remain a factor. The Pats can’t stop the pass, but they have only allowed one 100-yard rusher all year and Jackson sure as schnikes won’t be the second!
Jeremy Kerley vs Miami
Kerley had the best game of his career against the Pats going over 100 yards receiving and I feel safe using Kerley against Miami who have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to WR’s. Kerley is a good route-runner and Sanchez‘ play has picked up the past few weeks. Look for Kerley to produce again for your fantasy teams.
Josh Gordon vs San Diego
With 22 targets and 4 TD’s in his last three games, Gordon has to be in your lineups until proven otherwise. Weeden has the arm to get the speedster the ball deep and Gordon continues to get open. The matchup is also favorable as San Diego is allowing the the 6th most fantasy points to WR’s.
Kenny Britt vs Indianapolis
Britt failed in a good matchup against Buffalo last week, but let’s throw him out there again in another nice matchup. This week at home I say he gets the job done. As noted many times, Indy’s defense is not good!
Steve Smith @ Chicago
Smith continues to underwhelm each week and as Cam goes he will go. With the Bears and Charles “Peanut” Tillman coming up, Smith needs to be on benches if you can afford to do so. Like with Cam, Smith is another good buy-low candidate.
Dwayne Bowe vs Oakland
Matt Cassel is healthy coming back from his concussion, but Romeo Crennel has chosen to go with Brady Quinn. I own Bowe in the FP911 staff league and I am going to bench him for Denarius Moore. I just don’t trust Brady Quinn, how can you, the guy has done nothing to earn our trust. Hopefully he doesn’t sap Jamaal Charles‘ value as well. Bowe and Cassel have had a nice chemistry, but we need to wait and see if Quinn can get him the rock. I am scared about the Chiefs altogether right now. Hopefully Quinn can be decent.
Hakeem Nicks vs Dallas
Nicks is finally feeling healthy and looks to be almost past his injuries, but I would be cautious about starting him against Dallas. The Cowboys are 5th best against Fantasy WR’s and contained Nicks in their Week 1 matchup holding him to just 38 yards on four catches.
Heath Miller vs Washington
Gotta stick with big Heath once again this week as he looks to keep it rolling against the Skins. Good chance for him to do so because the Skins are allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to TE’s.
Dustin Keller vs Miami
I have a “gut” feeling that Keller is going to finish the year very strong. If he’s still available in your league go snatch him up. I know it was against the Pats and they can’t stop anything, butI just liked the way Keller looked. He has always been one of the more athletic Tight Ends in the league and I believe Sporano is going to involve him heavily into the gameplan. I expect another quality game against Miami.
Joel Dreessen vs New Orleans
Suprisingly, New Orleans has been good against Tight Ends, ranked 4th best, but I like this spot for Joel. Again I am starting everybody I possibly can in this matchup betweeen these two teams. I even like Jacob Tamme, but of the two, I believe Dreessen will be the one to find the endzone and be the better play.
Jared Cook vs Indianapolis
The Colts are having a tough time stopping any other position, but they are the best against Tight Ends allowing an average of just six points per game. Cook isn’t as good as advertised anyway, so don’t be hesitant to drop him.
Jermichael Finley vs Jacksonville
If I hear “Finley has all the talent in the world” one more time, I am going to blackout! No, the guy doesn’t have all the talent in the world. He has hands of stone and is vastly overrated. It’s almost time to give up on this guy. He’s droppable at this point. Finley does have some talent, but the Packers are just stacked with options and he will remain inconsistent.
Vernon Davis @ Arizona
Back to back horrid weeks for Davis and he wasn’t even targeted last week. Unfortunately we saw these types of performances last year from Davis. It’s not his fault, blame the offensive coordinator and Alex Smith. The 49ers will start getting the ball in their best receivers hands again eventually, but they may find it tough against Arizona who are allowing just eight points a game to Tight Ends. With Smith’s recent play and Arizona’s tough D on TE’s, consider sitting Davis in Week eight.
Aldon Smith @ Arizona
This is a great spot to start Smith who has 5.5 sacks on the year thus far. The Cardinals have allowed the most sacks in the league and Smith is a QB hunter. Get him in your lineups.
Mark Barron @ Minnesota
Barron has had a solid rookie campaign with 34 solo tackles and seven pass deflections. Expect Barron to rack up the tackles in this matchup as the Vikings pound the run.
DeAngelo Hall @ Pittsburgh
As I’ve stated before, Hall struggles against quality QB’s and WR’s. He won’t do much against Big Ben, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown.
Cortland Finnegan vs St. Louis
Finnegan is most likely going to defend Wes Welker in this matchup and I don’t think he fares well. He may get a few tackles, but the interceptions and deflections opportunities will be limited. Keep him benched for one more week.