The title this week comes fromt he current song on during my AXP study hours session. Wiz Khalifa never fails to get me in a better mood, and pumped for football (The man loves the Steelers. Automatic win.) Last week, I saw my blog reach a higher level of followers, and I like to think I had something to do with Brian Hartline’s rise to 91 % owned in ESPN Leagues. The same undeserved praise lies in Rashard Mendenhall’s situation, where he has reached almost 100% owned as of the afternoon after his 80+ yard, 1 TD Sunday performance. Owen Daniels made me look extravagant, notching his third straight week with a score, and Josh Gordon made me look foolish by proving a Cleveland Browns player can score more than one touchdown and not be Trent Richardson. Joe Peterson also pointed out to me, and made me look like a professional, by projecting the Vikings as a starting defense this past week. Maybe being a fan can help being an analyst.
That being said, while last week had an overstock of fantasy waiver-wire players, this week is bone dry. So much so, in fact, that I had to utalize every ESPN stat available to find enough players to warrant a post this week. So consider this the “Bad News Bears” or “Replacements” (excellent movie) fantasy team.
PLAYERS I LIKE
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
If you are like me (on one of my seven teams) and have Drew Brees as your starting quarterback, you need a filler this week. Of course, knowing my luck (No pun intended, it was actually an accident), Luck is the best quarterback readily available in many leagues. People started listening to me when I said pick Andy Dalton, so he isn’t a plug-and-play presence anymore. Luck showed he can get a win or two in superstar fashion even this young, and without Darelle Revis to face him, Luck should score some points against the Jets.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
I know he is owned in all 100% of leagues, but he plays arguably the worst secondary in the league this week in Tennessee. The weeks that follow: a weakened by injury Cincy D and Washington’s underperforming secondary. And believe it or nt, Big Ben has been playing some of his best football ever this season. I can’t remember the last time he was in the bottom half ofthe league in interceptions!
Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh
I am going to get ripped for putting my favorite team’s quarterback and running back int he preferred column. But they warrant the picks. Mendenhall may not be available much anymore, but in the leagues he is available, dump anyone and everyone not starting for an NFL team to get him. Mendenhall consistantly gets either 50 yards or so and a score, or 100+ yards and no score. Either way, he’s a safe bet to play whenever called upon. If he has a bad week (I don’t know how anyone can have a bad week against Tennessee this year), look for anyone foolish enough to cut him. Your gain, their idiocy.
Michael Turner, Atlanta
Turner has been on a streak that, each week, everyone expects to end. Frankly, if the match-up wasn’t good, I would join them this week. Turner can’t keep his legs going this well this long, except Oakland is allowing 22 and a half fantasy points to running backs per week. Expect The Quiz (Rodgers) to snipe a few, but even if he poaches a touchdown, Turner still scores 14-15, more than most running backs hit per week. Play him while it’s good though – Turner has a bye followed by a good Eagles rush D after this Oakland game.
Alex Green, Green Bay
I post him simply because I feel obligated to put someone who’s available in many leagues at each position. Green is far from a sure add; add him only if the most desperate need arise. Green is not even guaranteed to start for the injured Cedric Benson in Green Bay this week, and there are two other, more proven backs to compete with. He for right now has the projected start though, so hey, go for it if you really want to.
Kendall Wright, Tennessee
Wright lead Tennessee receivers with eleven targets last week, and has scored two touchdowns so far in the absense of Kenny Britt. Britt is playing against Pittsburgh, but if the Steelers do anything well, it’s shut down the obvious threats while letting smaller ones slip through. Britt should be stopped, and so too should CJ2K. Wright is set to explode because of that. Maybe not this week, but there’s far worse fantasy risk out there in the bye.
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis
Gibson manages to worm his way onto fantasy radar at least once every season, and he is set-up to make it another waste of time yet again. With Danny Amendola out, St. Louis needs another top target for what little passes as their, well, passing game. Gibson is that guy… for now. He’s a risk this week.
Jermaine Kerley, New York Jets
Kerley’s immediate prognosis is grim. The Jets are not a good passing team, and Kerley is yet to prove himself as a starter. In three weeks though, Kerley gets the tantilizing New England and Miami defenses back-to-back That hsould make a two week advance investment worthwhile.
Andre Roberts, Arizona
Buffalo is allowing the most points to opposing quarterbacks, and fourth-most to receivers. Kevin Kolb isn’t a good QB, but Arizona has no running game, so they throw. A lot. Larry Fitzgerald will get most, but after the first three touchdowns, Buffalo will throw every defender on his back. Roberts can step in and usurp a touchdown like he’s become known to do. A decent play if needed this week.
Percy Harvin & Dwayne Bowe, Minnesota and Knsas City (respectively)
Both are owned in every league. However, if you own them, you should be hesitant to start them each week. This week, don’t be. Harvin is playing the worst team at defending receivers (Washington), and he is Christian Ponder’s most reliable target. Bowe is in almost an identical situation. Tampa Bay (third worst) needs help at defending receivers, but in Bowe’s case, he is the most reliable target for a fill-in quarterback, the never-fails-to-disappoint Brady Quinn. Both men will get their points; just hope you have them.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh
Yes, my third Steeler on the “preferred” list. Tennessee’s defense is REALLY bad this year though. They allow far and away the most points to tight ends, and Pittsburgh finds Heath even when he’s tightly covered. They’ll find him even more now.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota
Rudolph never gets many yards, but he gets his scores. Still available in a decent portion of leagues, Rudolph plays the second-worst defense vs. tight ends. Add him if you need him or want him.
The Rams give around ten points per week to opposing defenses. If you trust what the paper says, and have a bye defense or one who plays a good offensive team like Green Bay, Miami should be available, assuming everyone else in your league has a decent head on their shoulders.
They play a turnover-prone team in Kansas City. They will not be a ten point defense like Miami is set to be this week, but Tampa should get a turnover or two to offset a Dwayne Bowe touchdown and Jamaal Charles running onslaught. Add if there is no better option available.
PLAYERS I DO NOT LIKE
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
The Jets couldn’t pass with Santonio Holmes at receiver. Sanchez wasn’t worth the top ten pick he received, the extension he received, or the starting job he still somehow has. He is officially on my “Avoid Until Further Notice” list.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit
This is only for the biggest of speculators (and to add someone else to the fantasy haters). Interesting stat: Stafford, though he may be one of the best options at fantasy quarterback, the next three weeks, Stafford plays the 4th, 2nd, and 3rd best defenses against the quarterback. Add a back-up if you have a real messed up definition of fate… and maybe coincidence.
Alfred Morris, Washington
Morris plays the always stout Minnesota run defense. Yet whenever Morris plays a tough defense, he always manages to break one long run to help his fantasy value and make me look stupid. I could see that happening this week. Listen to me if you dare.
Brandon Bolden, New England
Another instance of one good week and overhyping making a player skyrocket in value. Not only does New England play a good Seattle defense, but he seems to be in a revolving back-up role with Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead. Bolden got two weeks ago, Woodhead got last week. I pick Vereen, not Bolden, this week.
James Jones, Green Bay
One of those players that’s aggravating to own, Jones may be the lucky guy this week to break the one long play against Houston in their game. If you like the risk, and a maximum (and unlikely) ten point performance, play him.
Denarius Moore, Oakland
Oakland’s passing game may be the only squad as overrated as the New York Jets. The Falcons hold GOOD squads of receivers to fourteen combined points per week. Imagine the havoc they will wreck on Moore and the misery known as the Raiders pass attack.
Anquan Bolden, Baltimore
I am aware that he is the starter, and has a reputation as dependable and a star. Bolden has only broken double-digit fantasy points twice in five weeks though. He also plays a top-3 team against opposing receivers. Things do not look good.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
Graham is a stud. I just needed someone’s name to write here. New Orleans is on a bye, so Graham doesn’t play anyway. Do not be the moron who dumps him just because I made a joke and you read at a second grade level.
New England displayed how long it takes for them to break fifty points in a game: one quarter. Seattle may be better than Buffalo at stopping the Pats on offense, but I do not think I’d feel safe trusting them to score me fantasy points. Find a better alternative (see above).
Those would be the fantasy picks for the week. Things may not be so black-and-white as in recent weeks, but that’s just what makes this game fun!
Good Luck and God Bless!