Winning Fantasy Calls for Week 10
Lions at Bears, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Jay Cutler four turnovers did in the Bears in their earlier meeting at the Lions, a high-scoring affair. Cutler should be back after missing time with a groin injury and he'll test a Lions pass defense that has come undone over their last three games.
No-brainers: Matthew Stafford , Reggie Bush , Calvin Johnson ; Matt Forte , Brandon Marshall
, TE, Lions: My Projection: 6 FPTS
I projected Fauria for a touchdown because the Bears have started to bend against tight ends. Jimmy Graham had a monster game against them and then Jordan Reed did the same a couple of weeks later. The Lions could lean on two-tight end sets to keep Matthew Stafford protected and it could afford Fauria some targets. If you're desperate you could try going with Fauria again and hope he comes down with some catches and a score.
Bye-week TE Flow chart: Delanie Walker > Joseph Fauria > Brent Celek > Brandon Pettigrew
, QB, Bears: My Projection: 21 FPTS
Detroit's pass defense has begun to crack, allowing at least two passing touchdowns in each of its last three (eight overall) and at least 270 passing yards in five of its last six. Cutler had 317 yards and two touchdowns -- and four turnovers -- in the Bears' game at Detroit earlier this season. It wouldn't be surprising if he did about as well without nearly as many turnovers.
I'd start him over: Nick Foles , Eli Manning
, WR, Bears: My Projection: 11 FPTS
Jeffery is getting dangerously close to must-start status. He's posted 10-plus Fantasy points in four of his last five games. He has seven-plus targets in all but two games, catching at least five passes in five of them. At an average of 16.3 yards per, you could pencil him in for at least 90 yards. At Detroit this year he had over 100 yards and a score. The Lions have allowed multiple receivers to score in each of their last two and three of their last five.
I'd start him over: Vincent Jackson , Denarius Moore , Torrey Smith
, TE, Bears: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Not the best matchup for Bennett -- only one tight end has scored on the Lions this year and only one tight end has had more than 65 yards against them. Of course, Bennett was the tight end who had over 65 yards when he tallied 90 back in Week 4. I like that Bennett had eight targets last week from McCown but do not like his lack of massive stats since the start of the year. Only the matchup at the Lions produced more than six Fantasy points for Bennett in his last six.
Flow chart: Timothy Wright > Jordan Reed > Martellus Bennett > Heath Miller > Coby Fleener
Bills at Steelers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The Bills have hung tough all year but this could be a buzz saw for them. The Steelers' pass game finally got its stride last week playing from behind at New England and the Bills' pass defense only got it together statistically against the pass last week because the Chiefs didn't go nuts throwing downfield (a drop cost them at least one long score). You have to like the Steelers to rebound here, something they've done already once this year when they slammed the Jets after four straight losses.
, RB, Bills: My Projection: 13 FPTS
C.J. Spiller , RB, Bills: My Projection: 11 FPTS
The week off agreed with Spiller as he looked much improved against the Chiefs. Expect the Bills to give him the kind of workload he began the season with: A lot of run downs and some passing downs but on the sideline for the 2:00 drill and in goal-line situations. That should still leave enough carries for both guys against a Steelers defense that has uncharacteristically allowed 11 touchdowns (five in their last two games) on the season and 129.5 total yards per game to running backs.
I'd start them over: Le'Veon Bell , Giovani Bernard
, WR, Bills: My Projection: 7 FPTS
After injuries hit Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods , signs point to Johnson being the dominant pass catcher for Buffalo's passing game just in time for EJ Manuel return. The problem is that the Bills are playing at the Steelers, who struggled against the Patriots last week but have otherwise done a nice job against wideouts (only two had 10-plus Fantasy points before Week 9). If the Bills can't establish a deep threat it'll leave Johnson in a role where he'll get a lot of short- and mid-range targets but see a lot of coverage for all of them.
I'd rather start: Doug Baldwin , Kenny Stills
, QB, Steelers: My Projection: 19 FPTS
Three of the last four quarterbacks to pass against the Bills have scored three touchdowns. Seven of nine passers vs. Buffalo have thrown at least two scores. This should set up well for Roethlisberger to continue leaning on his receiving corps in an effort to get the offense rejuvenated for the second half of the season. Hopefully he controls his turnovers.
Bye-week QB Flow chart: Nick Foles > Andy Dalton > Ben Roethlisberger > Terrelle Pryor > Case Keenum
, RB, Steelers: My Projection: 10 FPTS
The Bills have gone four straight without allowing an opposing running back to score a rushing touchdown (one, Giovani Bernard , turned a catch into a touchdown) and still have allowed just one rush score on the season to a running back. But three of the last four starters have posted at least 90 total yards on the Bills. That should be a starting point for Bell, who had over 130 total yards last week against the Patriots and at least nine Fantasy points in four of five games.
I'd start him over: DeMarco Murray , Ray Rice , Steven Jackson
, WR, Steelers: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Emmanuel Sanders , WR, Steelers: My Projection: 9 FPTS
I'd expect a good effort from both receivers. The Bills have allowed at least two touchdowns per game to receivers in three of their last four and 15 total to the position in 2013. Non-No. 1 wideouts tend to score more often than No. 1 threats, something that could open the door for Sanders, who's delivered 9 to 14 Fantasy points in three of his last four. Brown is no slouch either -- he has given owners at least eight Fantasy points in five of his last six.
I'd start Brown over: Vincent Jackson , Jordy Nelson
I'd start Sanders over: Harry Douglas , Mike Wallace
, TE, Steelers: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Buffalo has allowed touchdowns to tight ends in two of its last three, a new weakness considering it gave up just one score to the position through the first six weeks of the year. Miller's targets, catches and yards have dipped over the last three games but he's still running a lot of routes. He's OK as a starting option.
Flow chart: Timothy Wright > Jordan Reed > Greg Olsen > Heath Miller > Coby Fleener
Bengals at Ravens, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Simply put, the Ravens have to get their run game going. Ray Rice hasn't looked good in weeks and the Baltimore offensive line continues to be a problem. The Bengals' run defense wasn't too hot last week even before defensive tackle Geno Atkins got hurt. Without him and linebacker Rey Maualuga you should expect Baltimore to test the Bengals' defensive front.
No-brainers: A.J. Green
, QB, Bengals: My Projection: 19 FPTS
I wouldn't give up on Dalton after last week. He made a couple of bad throws that put him under the microscope but he also made a lot of great plays that are getting overlooked. Jason Campbell and the Browns posted 260 yards and three touchdowns on Baltimore with an assist from an over-aggressive defense and an underperforming cornerback in Lardarius Webb . I'd expect the Bengals to follow suit and utilize the athleticism of their top receivers to make plays, giving Dalton a chance to rebound. It is worth noting that Dalton has two total touchdowns in four career games against the Ravens.
Flow chart: Jay Cutler > Nick Foles > Andy Dalton > Ben Roethlisberger > Terrelle Pryor
, RB, Bengals: My Projection: 10 FPTS
BenJarvus Green-Ellis , RB, Bengals: My Projection: 4 FPTS
On paper this is a tough matchup as the Ravens have allowed just one touchdown and 111.4 total yards per game to running backs this season. Drill into Baltimore's last four games and they're giving up just 95.8 total yards per game to running backs with no touchdowns. While that does include Eddie Lacy grinding out 120 rush yards and Le'Veon Bell churning for 93 rush yards in Weeks 6 and 7, the problem is that there isn't a promised workload for either back. Obviously there's more potential with Bernard, who had to have earned more playing time after his excellent work last week against Miami.
I'd start Bernard over: Ray Rice , Steven Jackson
I'd rather start over Green-Ellis: Jacquizz Rodgers , Peyton Hillis and Andre Brown
, WR, Bengals: My Projection: 9 FPTS
While Jones' stats stunk last week I was impressed by his athleticism and speed after the catch. He can make plays, something teammate Mohamed Sanu didn't do last week. Sanu's drops could lead to even more playing time for Jones, who had 54 pct. of the snaps compared to Sanu's 63 pct. The Ravens secondary played poorly last week (two touchdowns to Davone Bess and 122 yards to Greg Little ? Really?!) and could be ultimately focused on containing Green, opening up the chance at Jones being effective.
Flow chart: Riley Cooper > Torrey Smith > Marvin Jones > Steve Smith > Falcons WRs
, QB, Ravens: My Projection: 14 FPTS
Flacco is surprisingly shaky at home this year -- he has one game with two touchdowns there versus three on the road. Playing the Bengals without Geno Atkins up front helps his cause. Cincinnati's pass defense has done well against mediocre quarterbacks lately, holding down Geno Smith and Ryan Tannehill to one rush TD and no passing scores. I find Flacco tough to trust outside of being a bye-week option.
I'd rather start: Carson Palmer , Ryan Tannehill
, RB, Ravens: My Projection: 9 FPTS
It looks to me like Rice is lacking explosion in part because of his hip injury, a strong offensive line and a playcaller willing to give him a big dose of work. All three might be connected -- the Ravens may not be willing to push Rice because of his health and because the blocking in front of him is sub par. I'd really dislike Rice if the Bengals were at full strength but the Dolphins' tandem ran roughshod over them last week even before Geno Atkins got hurt. The weirdest part is that Rice has been playing more over his last couple of weeks compared to the early portion of the season.
No. 2 RB Flow chart: Mike James > Lamar Miller > Ray Rice > Saints RBs > Cardinals RBs
, WR, Ravens: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Marlon Brown , WR, Ravens: My Projection: 8 FPTS
This will be a challenge for these receivers as the Bengals have played really well against wideouts. Only two have over 100 yards receiving, another three have posted between 80 and 99 yards. Only three receivers have hit double digits in Fantasy points against Cincinnati. So the matchup is bad. But Brown has seven-plus Fantasy points in five of seven games, a mark Smith has matched or exceeded in six of his eight games this season. I'd expect both to be efficient but not necessarily dominant.
I'd rather start: Alshon Jeffery , Riley Cooper , Denarius Moore , Marvin Jones
Eagles at Packers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The defense that gets in the opposing quarterback's face the most will win. Foles really hasn't been bothered by a pass rush in any of his starts -- that could change this week. And Wallace, even with a week of practice and with the Eagles' tepid blitz packages, still cannot be given the benefit of the doubt as a capable quarterback. If there's an edge it's that Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis used to work with Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers and could conceivably coach up the offense on what to expect.
No-brainers: LeSean McCoy , DeSean Jackson ; Eddie Lacy
, QB, Eagles: My Projection: 21 FPTS
Foles remains an enigma given his amazing performance last week, one in which he got a major assist by a sloppy Raiders defense. That might have partially been because the Eagles' fast-break offense was in full effect. They'll likely try to do that again but this could be the first time this season Foles sees a pass rush come after him. In his big games and in his clunker against Dallas, Foles had time to throw. He was just way off against the Cowboys and took a little while longer to make decisions. The Eagles made it clear they want him to just throw and not think -- the Packers will try to force him into some mistakes. Now, the Packers tried to do that last week vs. the Bears and they got burned, but it was just the second time in six games they allowed a quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns. I wouldn't take an unnecessary risk and start him over a reliable option but I would still take him over any quarterback you have some doubt about.
I'd start him over: Eli Manning , Robert Griffin III , Andy Dalton
, WR, Eagles: My Projection: 10 FPTS
While I'm not gung-ho on Foles, I am fine with Cooper as a good No. 2 Fantasy receiver and a great Flex choice. The numbers support it as much: In the three games Foles started this year Cooper has averaged 5.0 catches on 6.3 targets for 115.7 yards with four total touchdowns. Cooper didn't have more than two catches or 30 yards in any of the Eagles' other games. Of the nine touchdowns the Packers have allowed to receivers this year, only two have come in the last three weeks -- and they came against the Bears on Monday, the only offense they've faced since Week 4 that sported legit multiple receiving threats.
I'd start him over: Denarius Moore , Torrey Smith , Golden Tate
, QB, Packers: My Projection: 15 FPTS
I would expect a better game from Wallace than the one we saw on Monday but not necessarily one with a ton of stats. It helps that he has a great downfield target in Jordy Nelson and good short- and mid-range options in James Jones , Jarrett Boykin and his tight ends and running backs, but his arm isn't what I'd call very good. It's absolutely a couple of steps down from Aaron Rodgers in terms of strength and accuracy. A mostly vanilla game plan with a couple of deep shots are probably in the cards. He's not worth the risk, particularly against a pass defense that has allowed five passing touchdowns and picked off eight interceptions in their last five games.
I'd rather start: Jake Locker , Ryan Tannehill
, RB, Packers: My Projection: 4 FPTS
The Packers should aim to lean on their ground game for a while since Rodgers is out and that should benefit Starks since Eddie Lacy can't handle all of the reps beyond what he's already giving them. This could mean as many as 10 touches per week for Starks -- he's scored on long runs each of the last two weeks, which could either be construed as a sign of a breakout or a sign of a fluke. The Eagles have allowed a rushing score to a running back in two of their last three but just 3.8 yards per carry to opposing rushers in that span.
I'd rather start: Donald Brown , Jonathan Stewart
, WR, Packers: My Projection: 10 FPTS
James Jones , WR, Packers: My Projection: 5 FPTS
Jarrett Boykin , WR, Packers: My Projection: 4 FPTS
I'd expect Nelson to remain the most explosive of the Packers receivers but considering the quarterback I'd revise expectations. The Packers might try to run their way to a victory, capping the amount of times Wallace would throw. By comparison, Rodgers averaged 35.6 pass attempts per game, a number Wallace might have a hard time reaching. Eleven receivers have posted 10-plus Fantasy points on Philadelphia this season with another four getting eight or nine Fantasy points, so they could allow some numbers.
I'd start Nelson over: Marvin Jones , Dolphins WRs, Steve Smith
I'd rather start over Jones and Boykin: Jermaine Kearse , Chris Givens
Seahawks at Falcons, Sun., 1 p.m. ETAtlanta will focus on putting Matt Ryan in a position to not turn the ball over. Seattle will try to make the opposite happen with aggressive play. The Seahawks can win by pressuring Ryan, a formula that worked for the Cardinals two weeks ago. But Ryan even struggled last week without a ton of pressure in his face. Though the Seahawks defense has allowed some points and yards in recent games I'd still expect them to chase down Ryan.
No-brainer: Marshawn Lynch
, QB, Seahawks: My Projection: 21 FPTS
The Falcons were one passing yard shy of allowing another 20-point quarterback last week. It would have been the sixth in eight games. Every single quarterback they've faced has posted at least two touchdowns but only one of the last four has gotten to 250 yards through the air. The Falcons have also picked off three passes in their last two. Wilson has totaled at least two scores in four of his last five, adding some decent rushing numbers along the way. Though the offensive line is a concern for him the matchup is good enough for Wilson to be considered a safe starting option.
I'd start him over: Nick Foles , Robert Griffin III , Eli Manning
, WR, Seahawks: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Doug Baldwin , WR, Seahawks: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Baldwin got the chance to play a bunch last week, just as much as Tate to be exact (87 pct. of the snaps). Baldwin's numbers were way better but that might have been because of how the Bucs chose to defend the receivers. The Falcons' secondary is leaky, giving up 11 passing touchdowns on the year including four in their last three games (none last week to Carolina). If the Falcons put up any kind of a fight then expect these two to get some decent numbers to help pace your Fantasy team.
I'd start Tate over: Michael Floyd , Cecil Shorts
Low-end WR Flow chart: Marlon Brown > Doug Baldwin > Mike Brown > Lance Moore
, QB, Falcons: My Projection: 17 FPTS
Though Ryan is back at home, where he's played many great games, I don't see this matchup working out well for him even if Roddy White is back. Each of the last four quarterbacks to play the Seahawks have posted 19 Fantasy points or less, three getting under 15 Fantasy points. The Seahawks have allowed two quarterbacks (Matt Schaub, Andrew Luck to score multiple touchdowns and post over 20 Fantasy points against them. Ryan's play has been scattershot and the Falcons might try to continue pushing a balanced offense like they did last week.
I'd rather start: Eli Manning , Ben Roethlisberger
, RB, Falcons: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Jacquizz Rodgers , RB, Falcons: My Projection: 5 FPTS
The stats say this will be a good matchup for the Falcons run game. The Seahawks have allowed an average of 175.5 rush yards per game against rookie running backs in their last two games! Jackson's no rookie and isn't the dominator he was in the past but was able to bring a physical rushing style last week against the Panthers. He ran well on the edges and even had a 2-yard touchdown that was called back by a penalty. I'd expect another decent dose of work for S-Jax with Quizz picking up the rest.
Flow chart: Giovani Bernard > Steven Jackson > Ben Tate > Darren Sproles > Jacquizz Rodgers > Rashad Jennings
, WR, Falcons: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Roddy White , WR, Falcons: My Projection: 7 FPTS
With White in, the responsibilities for the Seahawks defense become more difficult and in turn could improve the fortunes for both receivers. We don't have a good idea of just how effective White will be but if the Falcons put him on the field after letting him struggle earlier this year then he must be close to ready. One problem: Vincent Jackson , Larry Fitzgerald , Reggie Wayne and your pick among the receivers in Tennessee and St. Louis all have posted ugly stats against the Seahawks over the team's last six games. On average the Seahawks are allowing 117.1 yards per game to receivers.
Flow chart: Emmanuel Sanders > Harry Douglas > Brian Hartline > Roddy White > DeAndre Hopkins
, TE, Falcons: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Two of the three passing touchdowns allowed by the Seahawks last week went to tight ends, though one was on a surprise jump pass. Those two pushed the Seahawks' total scores to tight ends to three, meaning they allowed just one in their first eight games. Only two tight ends have posted 10-plus Fantasy points against them. Gonzalez came up with a score last week on a sharp pass from Ryan from 17 yards out. Benching Gonzalez is darn near impossible but you should expect to see him blanketed more often than not, especially in the red zone.
I'd start him over: Timothy Wright , Jordan Reed , Antonio Gates
Rams at Colts, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The contributions the Rams have gotten from Zac Stacy and their defense over the last two weeks has kept them in games no one (including me) gave them a chance to win. That combined with the Colts' nature to either play from behind or play in close games leads me to believe the Rams will play strong but fall short.
, RB, Rams: My Projection: 13 FPTS
We're approaching must-start status with Stacy, and why not? The guy has chewed up the Panthers, Seahawks and Titans for double-digit Fantasy points in consecutive weeks and takes on a Colts defense that allowed 125.3 total yards per game to running backs. Of the four backs with at least 20 touches against the Colts this season, three have posted at least 10 Fantasy points (seven total rushers have hit the 10-point mark). Stacy has at least 20 touches in each of his last four. Count on him.
I'd start him over: Bills RBs, Frank Gore , DeMarco Murray
, WR, Rams: My Projection: 6 FPTS
The Colts have not done well with highly-targeted receivers. All but one of the seven receivers with 10-plus targets have posted at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league and 15 points in a PPR. So who's that guy for the Chris Givens leads the way with 13 targets in the two games Kellen Clemens has started, no one else has even 10.
I'd rather start: Titans WRs, Jerricho Cotchery
, TE, Rams: My Projection: 4 FPTS
Like Givens, Cook is also getting a lot of targets from Clemens, picking up 13 over the last two weeks. He's turned them into six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown, which for Cook isn't bad. But save for two tight ends, one being Julius Thomas , the Colts have been fantastic against the position, holding all but one to under 50 yards receiving with just one touchdown through eight games. The only way Cook delivers is if he scores and I don't like his chances to do so.
I'd rather start: Garrett Graham , Brandon Pettigrew
Andrew Luck , QB, Colts: My Projection: 21 FPTS
The Rams have gotten their act together against opposing quarterbacks,
quietly holding each of the last six they've faced to 18 Fantasy points
or less. Of those six, four had a run game to supplement the offense.
Indianapolis hasn't found its stride on the ground just yet so it could
mean more work for Luck, who has three passing touchdowns in each of his
last two and at least two passing touchdowns (and at least 21 Fantasy
points) in four of his last five.
I'd start him over: Cam Newton , Jay Cutler , Nick Foles
, RB, Colts: My Projection: 5 FPTS
Trent Richardson , RB, Colts: My Projection: 5 FPTS
The Colts spoke this week of utilizing Richardson as a receiver more and continuing to work with him on his runs. I want to see it before I believe it. It's too bad because the Rams have allowed four rushing touchdowns and a 4.1 yards per carry average over their last three games. Donald Brown is the safer play; he's produced more Fantasy points than Richardson in two of the Colts' last four games, coming within one point of T-Rich last week. It feels like Richardson's only saving grace is a goal-line job.
I'd rather start: Andre Ellington , Shonn Greene
, WR, Colts: My Projection: 13 FPTS
In the Rams' last four games they've held every receiver to 93 yards or less with three scores allowed. It suggests the unit has turned the corner against receivers, but they've struggled with speedy, big-play wideouts like Golden Tate and others. Hilton fits that mold and has to be considered a starter after the 12-target, three-score performance he had last week.
I'd start him over: Pierre Garcon , Hakeem Nicks , Antonio Brown
, TE, Colts: My Projection: 6 FPTS
The Rams continue to play well against tight ends -- only one has scored on them this year and none have had even nine Fantasy points. Fleener continues to play inconsistent football in part because of his opportunities. How he gets only five targets last week when Luck attempted 40 passes is a mystery to me.
I'd rather start: Timothy Wright , Greg Olsen , Heath Miller
Jaguars at Titans, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Expect both teams to get their run games going. You might expect that from the Titans given the success they had last week (and lack of success passing) but believe it or not the Jaguars have had some success running the football. Justin Blackmon gone and a week off to re-tool the offense and potential coach up the inexperienced O-line, the Jaguars could find themselves making progress against the Titans' suspect run defense.
No-brainers: Chris Johnson
, RB, Jaguars: My Projection: 11 FPTS
The numbers suggest a killer matchup for MJD, but it comes with a caveat. Over their last four games the Titans have allowed starting rushers seven touchdowns and an average of 145.5 total yards per game. This is to one guy in each game including multiple touchdowns to three straight starters! The caveat? Tennessee has taken on Jamaal Charles , Marshawn Lynch , Frank Gore and Zac Stacy , four very reputable runners. Jones-Drew hasn't been quite as good as those guys but had over 110 total yards in his last game against the tough 49ers defense and has seen 19-plus touches in three of his last four. Expect the Jaguars to lean on him.
I'd start him over: Le'Veon Bell , DeMarco Murray
, WR, Jaguars: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Mike Brown , WR, Jaguars: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Expect to see these two play the most for the Jaguars with Brown taking over for the suspended Justin Blackmon . While the targets should be plentiful -- Shorts has had at least 10 in every game he's finished this year -- the Titans have been terrific against opposing receivers. Only two have scored on them, only one has had over 100 yards and none in their last three games have had more than seven Fantasy points (12 in a PPR).
I'd rather start: Marlon Brown , Doug Baldwin
, QB, Titans: My Projection: 15 FPTS
The momentum Locker built up over four weeks came to a halt in St. Louis last week, scaring Fantasy owners from using him again. The Jaguars have gotten a little bit better against the pass (just two passing touchdowns allowed over their last two games) but it's been because they've struggled against the run and quarterbacks haven't had to pass against them. That's the feeling here -- the Titans will reel in Locker and keep him limited much like they did last week, giving him mediocre numbers.
I'd rather start: Case Keenum , Carson Palmer
, WR, Titans: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Nate Washington , WR, Titans: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Jacksonville hasn't yielded big numbers to receivers in part because it hasn't been challenged much. Only two wideouts have scored on the Jags through their last three games with none getting more than 78 yards. This includes the Broncos' studs. I wouldn't count on either Titans wideout if I could help it.
I'd rather start: Roddy White , Mike Brown
Raiders at Giants, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
This has the makings of the Giants extending their win streak to three games. Oakland comes across the country expected to be without Darren McFadden and with a defense that was outclassed by Philadelphia a week before. I'd count on the Giants working out some kinks in their offense during their bye and testing the Raiders' shaky secondary.
, QB, Raiders: My Projection: 19 FPTS
After giving up multiple touchdowns to six straight quarterbacks to begin the season the Giants have been fantastic against the pass in their last two. Granted, they've corralled the likes of Josh Freeman , a hobbled Michael Vick and rookie Matt Barkley in those games, but Pryor hasn't been a great passer by any stretch. He has one game this year with two total touchdowns and has had 16 Fantasy points or less in three straight.
I'd rather start: Eli Manning , Andy Dalton
, RB, Raiders: My Projection: 5 FPTS
There are two reasons why I won't start Jennings with confidence: His track record and his opponent. In eight of his last nine starting opportunities he's had less than 10 Fantasy points including once already this year. It's as if Jennings comes up big when you least expect it and comes up small when you need him. But it won't matter anyway because the Giants' run defense has radically improved. Since Week 4 the Giants have allowed one rushing touchdown, one receiving touchdown and two 100-total-yard games to running backs. In that span they've allowed just 2.5 yards per carry. They're tough.
I'd rather start: Andre Ellington , Ben Tate
, WR, Raiders: My Projection: 9 FPTS
If the Raiders fall behind, Moore is the one with the best chance to scoop up some numbers. But it's been slow for him lately -- he hasn't scored in two straight and his chemistry with Pryor is being questioned. To be fair, he's still had only one real rotten game with Pryor. The Giants have allowed eight touchdowns to receivers but none in their last two games though poor quarterback play was a factor in both.
I'd start him over: Emmanuel Sanders , Steve Smith
, QB, Giants: My Projection: 20 FPTS
The Giants say they're not buying the Raiders to be as bad as the Eagles made them look last week but it wouldn't be a surprise if they tried to do some of the same things. Expect to see Manning take some shots downfield and potentially run some no-huddle offense. There will be big bull's-eye targets on Raiders corner D.J. Hayden and safety Brandian Ross , but it's worth noting the Raiders haven't allowed back-to-back 20-point Fantasy games to quarterbacks this season.
Bye-week QB Flow chart: Nick Foles > Eli Manning > Andy Dalton > Ben Roethlisberger
, RB, Giants: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Andre Brown , RB, Giants: My Projection: 6 FPTS
How the Giants use both backs will be tough to predict but here's a scenario: Because Brown is coming back from a broken leg and isn't quite in game shape, he'll be limited to certain plays while Hillis remains the starter. It's not ideal and it won't last that way for the rest of the season but it's a fair expectation against a Raiders run defense that has allowed a rusher to get at least 10 Fantasy points in each of their last six games.
Flow chart: Ray Rice > Peyton Hillis > Pierre Thomas > Andre Brown > Darren Sproles
, WR, Giants: My Projection: 13 FPTS
Hakeem Nicks , WR, Giants: My Projection: 12 FPTS
Rueben Randle , WR, Giants: My Projection: 7 FPTS
I'd be worried if the Giants receivers can't get fired up here. Six of the 10 touchdowns the Raiders have allowed to receivers have come in their last four games including four last week against the Eagles. The Raiders have also allowed 203.0 yards per game to receivers, a huge amount over the course of the season. We've seen Cruz and Nicks come close to scoring touchdowns lately -- this is the right opponent to get over the hump against.
I'd start Cruz and Nicks over: Alshon Jeffery , Antonio Brown , Jordy Nelson
I'd rather start over Randle: Cecil Shorts , Marlon Brown
Panthers at 49ers, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET
I wouldn't necessarily expect a low-scoring game here as both offenses have been darn good lately. The Panthers have averaged 32.5 points per game over their last four while the Niners have averaged 34.8 points per game over a five-game winning streak. While the Panthers have masked defensive issues, the Niners still remain suspect against the run, something Carolina is sure to try and exploit.
No-brainers: Frank Gore , Vernon Davis
, QB, Panthers: My Projection: 21 FPTS
Newton's been throwing the ball real well lately and will step up against a Niners pass defense that has allowed two or more scores to quarterbacks in two of their last three games. Cam has totaled two scores in three of his last four and has posted a ridiculous 72.3 completion percentage in those four games with two interceptions. Keeping Newton in the pocket will be a goal of the Niners but they also have to contain receivers' yardage after the catch -- two of the last four scores they've allowed have been long catch-and-runs.
I'd start him over: Jay Cutler , Nick Foles , Robert Griffin III
, RB, Panthers: My Projection: 6 FPTS
DeAngelo Williams , RB, Panthers: My Projection: 4 FPTS
Mike Tolbert , RB, Panthers: My Projection: 4 FPTS
Here's a breakdown from last week: Tolbert played 56 pct. of snaps to Williams' 39 pct. and Stewart's 24 pct. But Williams led the way in touches with 15, Stewart had 13 and Tolbert had nine. Stewart had the most total yards with 65 to Williams' 54 and Tolbert's 37, but Tolbert scored for the sixth time in six games. After a tough start to the season the Niners run defense has allowed just two touchdowns to running backs over its last five games (one receiving), giving up an average of 116.0 total yards per game in that time. The Niners have allowed four rushing touchdowns from inside the 5 but none since Week 3. Factoring these numbers among three players makes for three Fantasy problems.
I'd rather start: Ben Tate , Shonn Greene
, WR, Panthers: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Smith will still get the occasional deep-ball target but he's used more
underneath than in the past. Receivers like him have put up modest
numbers against the Niners this season including
San Fran's last two games. I wouldn't expect a huge game from him -- the
Niners have allowed 149.8 yards to receivers over their last four games
-- but Smith should be serviceable as a low-end No. 2 candidate.
Flow chart: Marvin Jones > Torrey Smith > Steve Smith > Mike Wallace > Lance Moore
, TE, Panthers: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Olsen's come alive over his last two games, scoring in both and posting a minimum of eight Fantasy points. But the 49ers have allowed just 39.8 yards per game to tight ends this season with three scoring. Olsen has twice scored in three straight games in his career, once as a Panther. Even with a difficult matchup it's hard to call him a 'sit.'
I'd start him over: Heath Miller , Martellus Bennett
, QB, 49ers: My projection: 22 FPTS
The metrics suggest sitting Kaepernick because the Panthers have held every single passer they've faced to 17 Fantasy points or less, a list that includes Russell Wilson ... and really that's about it. Others like Eli Manning and Matt Ryan (without his top receivers) are among the group but it's not like they've faced a slew of dynamic athletes like Kap. To start him is to count on him keeping up his rushing workload -- he's beasted for 12 and 17 Fantasy points just on his rushing prowess in his last two games, bringing back an element of his game that makes the Niners offense more dangerous. The more pressure the Panthers put on Kap, the more likely he takes off for some positive gains. He also will test the Panthers secondary, which has looked great all year but, again, they haven't played a lot of top-shelf talent. I'm buying into Kaepernick coming out of the bye with no rust and with an uptick in passing numbers on top of his rushing yardage thanks to the return of veteran Mario Manningham .
I'd start him over: Russell Wilson , Cam Newton
, WR, 49ers: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Boldin's lack of numbers lately along with the Panthers' ability to contain receivers of his ability make him an easy player to get away from. The Panthers did a great job capping Vincent Jackson to 79 yards and that's actually the third-highest amount of receiving yards the Panthers have allowed in their last six games. Boldin has been under that amount without a score in four straight.
I'd rather start: DeAndre Hopkins , Jerricho Cotchery
Texans at Cardinals, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
Bruce Arians' familiarity with the Texans defense could go a long way in keeping the Cardinals in the game. As the offensive coordinator with the Colts last year, Arians directed his run game to positive results in both games with a deep pass for a score in each. That kind of experience is going to help Carson Palmer get some decent numbers.
, QB, Texans: My Projection: 18 FPTS
I'm impressed with Keenum's willingness to throw deep, something that definitely props up his 10.5 yards per attempt average. It also looks like the Texans will trust him and not coddle him like they might have with T.J. Yates. Keenum will even run a little bit -- everything helps. The Cardinals pass defense in much improved after a three-week skid to begin the year, holding all but one of the last five passers they've faced to 19 Fantasy points or less. Keenum might fall short of even than number but still be serviceable. I like his next three games -- all at home against the Raiders, Jaguars and Patriots -- better than this game.
I'd rather start: Ben Roethlisberger , Terrelle Pryor
, RB, Texans: My Projection: 7 FPTS
On the year the Cardinals are allowing 3.2 yards per carry to running backs with only two touchdowns allowed to the position, but a lot of teams didn't have a back get the chance to have even 15 carries against them. In fact, four running backs have had 20 carries vs. the Cardinals and the rest have had 12 or fewer. But the four with 20 or more carries averaged -- surprise, surprise -- 3.2 yards per carry, though two did quite well and two stunk. Tate's banged up and might only have a chance to get around 15 carries given the Texans might not have a lead to cling to.
Flow chart: Steven Jackson > Andre Ellington > Ben Tate > Shonn Greene > Rashad Jennings
, WR, Texans: My Projection: 14 FPTS
DeAndre Hopkins , WR, Texans: My Projection: 6 FPTS
The Cardinals pass defense has started to crack, allowing two touchdowns and 199.0 receiving yards per game to wideouts. That's huge for Andre Johnson outlook and it could even be a factor for DeAndre Hopkins if the Texans can't move the chains on the ground.
I'd start Johnson over: DeSean Jackson , Giants WRs
I'd start Hopkins over: James Jones , Jarrett Boykin
, TE, Texans: My Projection: 5 FPTS
There's been talk about Graham being a potential start this week because of the matchup. Arizona has allowed eight touchdowns to tight ends this season. That's darn near impossible to overlook but Graham hasn't been great since becoming the primary tight end for the Texans (no games with even 50 yards). Over the last two games Graham has caught seven of 14 targets from Keenum for 84 yards and no touchdown. He nearly had a touchdown on a long catch at Kansas City but has otherwise not even had a single red-zone target with Keenum. I think he's a risky choice.
I'd rather start: Coby Fleener , Brent Celek
, QB, Cardinals: My Projection: 18 FPTS
Don't look now but the Texans have allowed a pair of three-touchdown passers in their last three games. It's cause for concern as is the three measly interceptions they have on the season. Palmer might add to that total but the combination of the Cardinals' improved play from their receivers and Bruce Arians' familiarity with the Texans defense could open the door for Palmer to be a decent bye-week Fantasy quarterback.
Bye-week QB Flow chart: Andy Dalton > Case Keenum > Carson Palmer > Matt Ryan > Ryan Tannehill
, RB, Cardinals: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Rashard Mendenhall , RB, Cardinals: My Projection: 4 FPTS
The Cardinals would be foolish to lean on Mendenhall more than Ellington after the rookie pummeled the Falcons two weeks ago but the veteran will see a good dose of playing time. Over their last four games the Texans have allowed three touchdowns and 128.5 total yards to running backs. That's enough to expect some good numbers from Ellington with Mendenhall vulturing away maybe half of the snaps in the game.
Ellington flow chart: Peyton Hillis > Pierre Thomas > Andre Ellington > Andre Brown
I'd rather start over Mendenhall: Colts RBs, Jacquizz Rodgers
, WR, Cardinals: My Projection: 13 FPTS
Michael Floyd , WR, Cardinals: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Look for both receivers to get some opportunities to put up big stats. The Texans allowed three passing touchdowns to T.Y. Hilton last week and four total to receivers over their last three games. In that span the Texans have allowed 127.0 yards per game to wideouts, which isn't a ton, but the Cardinals should test that number after seeing how Hilton was able to beat the Texans secondary in a number of ways.
I'd start Fitzgerald over: T.Y. Hilton , Eric Decker
I'd start Floyd over: Roddy White , Kenny Stills
Broncos at Chargers, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
This should be a high-scoring fiesta, but it could be closer than you might think. Denver's secondary remains under duress and even if Von Miller attacks the Chargers' offensive line, Philip Rivers has become awesome at getting rid of the football. Also don't forget that Chargers head coach Mike McCoy was the Broncos' offensive coordinator for four years and knows that personnel well really well. This might not only be a close game, but an AFC West upset.
No-brainers: Peyton Manning , Knowshon Moreno , Demaryius Thomas , Wes Welker , Julius Thomas ; Keenan Allen
, WR, Broncos: My Projection: 12 FPTS
I won't tell you to steer clear of Decker this week, especially considering the matchup, but he hasn't gone consecutive games with a touchdown yet this year. He also hasn't posted over 100 yards in consecutive games ever in his pro career. But what he has done is caught at least five passes in all but two games. Not only are they allowing 213.4 yards per game this year to receivers but of the 15 receivers to catch at least five passes against the Bolts this year nine have had at least eight Fantasy points. Finally, one streak worth noting: Decker has scored in three straight against the Chargers.
I'd start him over: Hakeem Nicks , Alshon Jeffery
, QB, Chargers: My Projection: 22 FPTS
Rivers has done poorly in games where he hasn't been needed to throw and outstanding in pretty much every other matchup. I don't think the Chargers can afford to run the ball a ton, so count on Rivers this week. The Broncos have held two of the last three quarterbacks they've faced to single-digit Fantasy points but those were Chad Henne and Robert Griffin III . Five other quarterbacks have topped 20 Fantasy points against them. With help from coach Mike McCoy, Rivers figures to have a solid battle plan against the division rival.
I'd start him over: Colin Kaepernick , Cam Newton
, RB, Chargers: My Projection: 11 FPTS
Ryan Mathews , RB, Chargers: My Projection: 5 FPTS
Typically teams end up not being able to run on the Broncos because of the score -- only three backs have had over 15 carries against them this year. That should point to a productive week for Woodhead, who doesn't typically get a lot of carries but does get plenty of catches. Only two running backs have had at least four catches against the Broncos this season but both found their way to at least 10 Fantasy points (Ray Rice, Marcel Reece . Woodhead has at least four catches and 75 total yards in each of his last six games. The Broncos are allowing 9.1 yards per catch to running backs this year with four receiving touchdowns. Mathews won't get the workload needed to be a good Fantasy option -- I am benching him in my 14-team league where I can start three running backs but I'll look for him next week at Miami.
I'd start Woodhead over: Maurice Jones-Drew , Mike James
I'd rather start over Mathews: Jonathan Stewart , Donald Brown
, TE, Chargers: My Projection: 8 FPTS
There's no doubting the matchup for Gates -- the Broncos have allowed four tight ends in eight games to hit the eight-point Fantasy mark and Gates has scored in two of his last three against the Broncos. But there is doubting Gates, who looks slower than ever when running routes. The targets have been there for him -- an average of 8.1 per game and at least eight in four of his last five. But in those five games Gates has been better than eight Fantasy points once and it was back in Week 4. That means he's been under that eight-point mark in four straight. He's not the best tight end you can get this week.
Flow chart: Timothy Wright > Jordan Reed > Antonio Gates > Martellus Bennett > Greg Olsen
Cowboys at Saints, Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET
Maybe Rob Ryan can make up for losing to his brother by beating his former employer. Ryan will obviously have familiarity with the Cowboys personnel and the basics of their scheme but the Cowboys' brass will have a much better knowledge of what to expect from Ryan, whose defense has begun to slump in recent weeks.
No-brainers: Tony Romo , Dez Bryant ; Drew Brees , Jimmy Graham
, RB, Cowboys: My Projection: 10 FPTS
I don't know how the Cowboys can manage to give Murray just four carries last week but they should strongly reconsider making amends this week. That's because the Saints have allowed 125 rushing yards per game and four touchdowns (at least one per game) to running backs over their last three. It appears three AFC East teams have found the weakness of Ryan's defense. Murray's track record when he gets a lot of carries is well known and it would make a lot of sense for the Cowboys to lean on him to try and get an early lead on the Saints at their place. Last week was disappointing but coach Jason Garrett has already said the team will "strive" for balance this week.
I'd start him over: Mike James , Lamar Miller , Giovani Bernard
, WR, Cowboys: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Something weird happened last week: Williams didn't score a touchdown. OK, maybe it's not weird that he didn't come up with a score in what would have been a fifth straight game but chances are he can get back on the board this week. The Saints have allowed six touchdowns to receivers this year but four have come in their last four games. The Saints are also giving up 172.0 yards per game to receivers, a number the Cowboys might aim to top given the matchup and the need to put up some points.
I'd start him over: Jordy Nelson , Marvin Jones
, TE, Cowboys: My Projection: 11 FPTS
I whiffed badly on Witten last week because I didn't think the Cowboys would need him. In the first half he was nearly invisible, catching two passes for 13 yards as the Cowboys were down 10-6. Then Romo found Witten on back to back plays for 52 yards and a touchdown to pull ahead. Point is, when Romo needed to move the chains and put up points, he found his trusted tight end. This matchup against the Saints suggests he'll need him again. The Saints haven't allowed a tight end to score since Week 4, though the only "name" tight end in that group was Martellus Bennett .
I'd start him over: Timothy Wright , Jordan Reed
, RB, Saints: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Darren Sproles , RB, Saints: My Projection: 6 FPTS
The Cowboys run defense has been brutalized of late, allowing 116.6 rush yards, 54.6 receiving yards and five rushing touchdowns over their last five games. A normal play caller might see those numbers and attack with a huge dose of the run but Sean Payton has Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham at his disposal, so there will be a lot of passing. On the year Saints running backs are averaging 19 carries per game but also 10.6 catches per game, so they'll get a lot of use. How it will be split between them and also Mark Ingram might drive Fantasy owners nuts.
Flow chart: Steven Jackson > Pierre Thomas > Ben Tate > Darren Sproles > Panthers RBs
, WR, Saints: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Lance Moore , WR, Saints: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Dallas' defense has yielded 192.7 receiving yards per game to receivers this season, a number that fits right into the Saints agenda. The problem is that Jimmy Graham will eat into those stats some because he's more receiver than tight end. What helps these guys is playing at home: Stills has averaged 63.3 yards per game with two touchdowns in the Superdome while Moore has long been a more appealing Fantasy choice. If Marques Colston plays then both guys take a further hit since he should, in theory, take targets away from both.
Flow chart: Cecil Shorts > Kenny Stills > Rueben Randle > Lance Moore > Titans WRs
Dolphins at Buccaneers, Mon., 8:40 p.m. ET
The Bucs nearly won last week with a big dose of the run game and sharp play by quarterback Mike Glennon . They can do the same thing this week against a weaker defense and potentially pull off the first win of the season. I would expect a staunch effort from the Dolphins after dealing with off-field distractions all week, so it won't be easy for the Bucs.
, QB, Dolphins: My Projection: 17 FPTS
Tannehill is still looking for his first game of the season with 20-plus Fantasy points. He'll look for it against a Bucs defense that has allowed at least 25 Fantasy points to four straight quarterbacks. The catch is that those quarterbacks have all been prominent names, the least known being Nick Foles . Additionally, three of those four have rushed for a touchdown to help push their stats north. It's possible Tannehill runs for a score for a second straight week and he has thrown for multiple touchdowns in three of his last six but turnovers and the basic fact that he hasn't done it yet this year make him a risk.
Bye-week QB Flow chart: Case Keenum > Carson Palmer > Ryan Tannehill > Jake Locker > Mike Glennon
, RB, Dolphins: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Over the last two weeks Miller has had at least 16 carries and three catches per game with good yardage averages. The coaching staff has finally seen what we've seen and has dedicated the run game to him. At least it seems that way. Please let it stay that way. The Bucs' run defense has allowed 10-plus Fantasy points to five running backs in their last four games, proof positive that the Dolphins can get some good production out of Miller assuming they give him the workload.
I'd start him over: Ray Rice , Peyton Hillis
, WR, Dolphins: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Mike Wallace , WR, Dolphins: My Projection: 8 FPTS
The Bucs started using Darrelle Revis against opposing No. 1 receivers two weeks ago. In that time those wideouts have been slammed for under 50 yards per game with no touchdowns. But last week it was supporting receivers to score on the Seahawks and post 10-plus Fantasy points. That could make Hartline a sneaky sleeper this week while Wallace, who has 10 Fantasy points or less in six straight, might spend Monday on some sort of island.
I'd rather start: Emmanuel Sanders , Golden Tate
, TE, Dolphins: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Clay has been under 10 Fantasy points for three straight weeks, scoring once in that span. Worse yet, he has just 66 yards on nine catches in those last three contests. The Bucs have allowed just one touchdown in their last six games to a tight end, holding down the likes of Tony Gonzalez and Greg Olsen to under 50 receiving yards each. Clay will need to find the end zone to be a beneficial Fantasy option.
I'd rather start: Heath Miller , Coby Fleener
, QB, Buccaneers: My Projection: 14 FPTS
Glennon's been great -- over his last four games he's totaled seven touchdowns versus one interception with an average of 243 yards per game. He's hit the 19-point mark in three of four. But the Dolphins' cornerbacks have played very well all year and will make things tough on Glennon. This could be a tough game for the rookie.
I'd rather start: Carson Palmer , Matt Ryan
, RB, Buccaneers: My Projection: 10 FPTS
James was very impressive last week, romping the Seahawks in Seattle for 158 yards on 28 carries. That game should instill some confidence in the coaching staff to lean on James in this game against a Dolphins defense that has had a hard time wrapping up running backs. Miami has allowed 13-plus Fantasy points to running backs in each of their last seven games! It would be a shocker if he had fewer than 15 carries and also struggled.
I'd start him over: Lamar Miller , Giovani Bernard
, WR, Buccaneers: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Jackson's due for a good game after struggling for two weeks in a row but it might have to wait until Week 12 vs. the Falcons. That's because the Dolphins have been incredible vs. receivers: Only one has caught a touchdown and only four have gone over 100 yards (A.J. Green did it last week). If Glennon goes back to targeting Jackson over and over then he could be the fifth receiver to hit the century mark but it'll be a challenge for him to score.
I'd rather start: Alshon Jeffery , Antonio Brown
, TE, Buccaneers: My Projection: 9 FPTS
I'm looking for a big game from Wright. The Dolphins have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends on the season. A lot of that has come from early in the year but Wright has basically played the role of Tony Gonzalez or Greg Olsen the past few weeks. He's the No. 2 receiver for the Bucs and should see a good amount of targets.
I'd start him over: Antonio Gates , Martellus Bennett
Redskins at Vikings, Thu., 8:25 p.m. ET
I'd expect a lot of rushing from both teams. The Vikings got Adrian Peterson back into his usual workload last week and will aim to keep him going to stay competitive. The Redskins have the talent to attack either way and while their passing game is superior, they will test the Vikings' front seven and probably use play-action after establishing the run.
No-brainers: Alfred Morris , Pierre Garcon ; Adrian Peterson
Robert Griffin III
, QB, Redskins: My Projection: 20 FPTS
I didn't like that last week Griffin attempted one pass and one rush inside the opponent's 10-yard line over 11 plays. I also don't like that his rushing production has dwindled back to early-season levels, which isn't good. It could be because he got banged up in games against the Bears and Broncos and the Redskins just want to keep him upright. The Vikings have allowed multiple passing touchdowns and thus 20-plus Fantasy points to 6 of 8 quarterbacks this season, something Griffin's done just once in his last six games. Turnovers might not be an issue for him -- the Vikings secondary has just three of the team's eight interceptions on the year, two by injured safety Harrison Smith .
Flow chart: Nick Foles > Eli Manning > Robert Griffin III > Andy Dalton > Ben Roethlisberger
, TE, Redskins: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Last week was the first time in five games and second time all season that Reed didn't pick up six-plus targets. Worse yet he had three targets on the Skins' first drive and then was barely heard from again. He definitely saw a lot of action (75 pct. of the snaps) so it wasn't an injury or anything else. Hopefully he gets more work against a Vikings defense that allowed a huge game to Jason Witten last week and at least seven Fantasy points to every tight end that's had eight-plus targets. All of the other tight ends to face Minnesota have had four or less. Reed seems like a good Fantasy option.
I'd start him over: Antonio Gates , Martellus Bennett
, WR, Vikings: My Projection: 6 FPTS
All but three of the No. 1 receivers to play Washington this year have posted 10-plus Fantasy points so far. But a lot of those guys were sneaky and/or dominant. Jennings is neither. Take away Jennings' wild game against the Steelers in London back in Week 4 and he's not only had eight points or less in every game but five points or less in all except for two total. He's just not the same receiver he once was and even with a fair matchup there's just not much confidence in him.
I'd rather start: Steve Johnson , Lance Moore