What a great week 10. Tavon Austin reminding us of the early days of Randy Moss, and the Jaguars getting their first win. What surprises will week 11 bring? Well if this week is like last week, then there will be a lot of surprise performances like Rishard Matthews, but also feature complete disappointments (Ray Rice) as we go down the stretch to the fantasy playoffs. This listed is aimed at suggesting more players that may be available on your wire for bye weeks, or for plug-in plays down the stretch, but also alerts you to some players to watch, as they may be drop worthy soon. Oh, and by the way, Ray Rice doesn’t appear on this post, but now in a carry-split in Baltimore, he may very well find himself benched by me if he doesn’t do anything this week.
Jason Campbell – Don’t look now, but his past two starts, he has 5 TD to 0 INTs. While that ratio will not likely continue for long, it is worth noting the Browns pass game has improved this season. A depleted Bengals defense could still pose some problems, but his two starts have been against KC and the Ravens. If you are in need of a spot start this week, consider rolling the dice here. Is it risky? Yes, but it may pay off.
Andre Brown – Brown broke out in a big way against Oakland last week (30 carries, 115 yards, 1 TD), and seemed to be rounding into 2012 form (5.3 yards/carry 8 TDs last season). With the lackluster running game by Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis since David Wilson went down, Brown definitely should have a long leash, and is a solid play against a weak run defense in Green Bay.
Kenny Stills – I remember promoting Stills a few weeks back before ESPN had him as a sleeper, and now I truly wish I had added this guy in more leagues (owned in 41.7% of leagues). Arguably one of the best deep receivers already in the game, it is always a plus having Brees throw you the rock. The 49ers defense figure to present more of a challenge than the Cowboys did on Monday night, but Stills will still get his share.
Tyler Eifert – Eifert has posted consistent, yet unspectacular results the past few weeks, and is becoming the TE1 in a TE-friendly Cincinnati offense. The problem is Eifert has only 1 score this year. While he may not be a de facto start any week, if you don’t have one of the elite options, or if your TE play is declining, Eifert could be worth a flier (especially should Gresham be ruled out this week).
DeAndre Levy (LB) – Levy may not have a sack this season, but he has 5 INTs ( for a score) and 68 tackles as Detroit’s weak side linebacker, so he is contributing from the LB spot in a most pleasant manner. Keep starting him.
Terrelle Pryor – We all know the guy has the legs to run and is a very mobile QB. It remains to be seen what type of passer he will be, and the results have been mixed this season. With nary a passing TD the past three weeks, but five INTs, Pryor is best left on the bench. Let him improve his passing, or get more comfortable in Oakland before committing to him full-time.
Joique Bell – Bell is quickly finding himself on the bench or the waiver wire in a lot of leagues, and with a seasoned veteran RB and reliable pass catcher in Reggie Bush now healthy, Bell may only find himself in short yardage or garbage time situations. Worthy handcuff to Bush, but wait to see more before starting him week in, week out.
Julian Edelman – Edelman was supposed to be the de facto WR2 behind Amendola this season, but due to injuries, and the rookie Dobson picking up some of the slack, Edelman’s looks have diminished. While there’s always the possibility of a score from him given Brady, he seems to be falling out of favor for the rookies.
Brandon Pettigrew – He’s clearly overtaken Joseph Fauria as the Lions top tight end. He is very inconsistent, however, and only has 1 TD to his name this season. At one time he looked like a breakout player out of Illinois. Now he’s better reserved for bye weeks, when you can start 2 tight ends. Even then, he’s hard to start.
Jairus Byrd – Entering the season as one of the elite safeties, Byrd has not done much. This likely has to do with the Bills wanting to keep him healthy, so they can get a good deal for him in a trade (which he wants), but at the same time, if you don’t play, teams can’t really assess how you’ve been playing this season. He is a ball hawk when committed and on the field, but will Byrd be convinced to play the rest of the way to earn a trade he wants? Let’s hope, as we all need his interception skills going down the stretch.
Scott Tolzien – I’ll stick my neck out here, and recommend you consider Tolzien if you need a bye week filler. He had two picks last week against the Eagles in his first career start, but also showed some promise by throwing for 280 yards. You could argue he’s hard to trust against an all of a sudden good Giants defense, but remember who he has at receiver.
Matt Ryan – The train has officially wrecked for the Falcons and Matty Ice. He’s still a viable starter in most formats, but with 7 picks his past three games, he can be hard to fathom. It’s not all his fault, as he hasn’t had Roddy White for a good chunk of the season, who came back last week, and has Julio Jones on the shelf for the season. You could do worse at the QB position this week, but at the same time, you probably want more consistency going down the stretch into the playoffs for your squad.
Eli Manning – Last week might very well have been the final nail in the coffin for Eli’s fantasy worth. He only managed 140 passing yards against the Raiders, and with a [11:16] TD:INT ratio, and 2 lost fumbles on the season, it may be time to put the younger Manning brother on the pine for good.
Stevan Ridley – Since starting the season with 0 touchdowns through the first four weeks (nagging injuries at play), Ridley has quietly posted 6 rushing scores the past four weeks. Continue to start him as you normally would, as he seems to be rounding into shape.
Darren McFadden – The emergence of Rashad Jennings while McFadden has battled various nagging injuries this season, does not bode well for McFadden when he returns. Jennings seems to get better and better with each passing week McFadden is out, and even when he does return, Jennings may still see the bulk of the workload.
Lamar Miller – Seven carries for two yards. Yeah, that’s what he gave fantasy owners last week, and nearly cost me a match up in the process (won by 0.9 points). Personally, the team averaging 5.0 yards/carry does no good for me, as Miller is so inconsistent and hasn’t scored since Week 4 at New Orleans. This week’s opponent, the Chargers, have only given up 1 rushing touchdown this season, so best to steer clear here. The only thing going for him is Daniel Thomas isn’t any better it seems (3.3 yards/carry).
DeAndre Hopkins – While Hopkins hasn’t scored since week 7 at Kansas City, he figures to be targeted more in a Texans offense sans Foster. Andre Johnson will still get a majority of the looks, but there will be ample opportunity for Hopkins as well. Time to insert him back in your lineups.
Eric Decker – As WR3 against arguably the top ranked pass defense, it will be hard to start Decker, especially considering he has 94 receiving yards the past two weeks. Sure, Peyton Manning will play in this Clash of the Titans match with the Chiefs, just don’t expect Decker to get a score.
Brian Hartline – Fellow receiver, Rishard Matthews, had a break out game last week against the Bucs (11 recs/120 yes/2 TDs). With that, and the struggles of QB Ryan Tannehill, Hartline’s value may soon flatline. With no pay dirt since week 3, it’s getting hard to start him.
Rob Gronkowski – Roses are red, violets are blue, I don’t care about Gronk’s questionable label, and neither should you. Whenever Gronkowski takes the field, he usually scores. This week against a stout Panthers defense is no exception. Start with confidence.
Martellus Bennett – The production is declining, and as is the case, so is his value. He might be the most physical offensive player in the end zone, but with other tall and athletic receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, there may not be enough TDs to go around in Chicago with Josh McCown at the helm.
John Carlson – Owners seem to be enthralled with Carlson after last week’s performance. I don’t get it, especially since the Seahawks are very good at limiting opposing tight ends. If I had to put my money somewhere in this match, it’d be on Carlson not scoring. There are better options on the wire in your league, I’m sure.
Karlos Dansby – Those leagues that count passes defensed (PDs), go grab Dansby. With 12 passes defensed, 3 sacks, 75 solo tackles, and 1 forced and recovered fumble apiece, Dansby is an absolute fantasy IDP monster, and owned in only 48.9% of leagues.
J.J. Watt – This beast only has 6.5 sacks through 9 games? Fire him immediately. Just joking. Seriously, we fantasy owners were expecting more out of J.J. Watt this season, but maybe defenses have wised up and know what this guy will do. He does have 3 sacks in his past 3 games, so maybe he’s rekindling the inner Beast Mode for the rest of the season. Oh, and he’s still somehow the top DE this season. That just goes to prove that his ranking here is by his standards, not ours.
Brandon Flowers – I had high hopes for Flowers coming into this season opposite Dunta Robinson, but even with playing opposite a shutdown corner, Flowers hasn’t really done much to warrant fantasy consideration. This week may change things, but don’t hold your breath.
Once again fantasy junkies, don’t forget to ask any questions you have about weekly lineups, or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @MetalhammerBen. Good luck this week, and thanks for subscribing to the blog!