With fantasy owners jockeying for a playoff spot, or trying to lock up a top seed, it’s all about decisions, decisions, decisions. If you are out of the playoff picture, don’t give up. Try to wreck the playoff chances of somebody else by defeating your opponent. Also, for those out of the playoffs, look for young players on the waiver wire, or players who had a down year that another owner dropped. It’s called building through being competitive. That essentially is the definition of fantasy sports. You try to out-smart your opponent by making the better decisions each week. Now, back to the rankings. As always, feel free to tell me how wrong I am on a certain player, your stance on certain players, or just general comments.
Joe Flacco – The Ravens play a Jets defense that is very prone through the air. Flacco may not have thrown for over 162 yards the past 2 weeks, but this week look for Flacco to light up the Jets for 2 scores and around 245 yards.
Cam Newton – The maturity of Cam under center, and his comfort-ability in the offense has resulted in a complete turn around for him and the Panthers this season. He looked as if he hit his stride against the Patriots on Monday night, and now he gets the Dolphins. The 16:8 TD:INT ratio is no fluke. Start with confidence.
Chris Ivory – The erratic Geno Smith and the revolving door of injuries to Jets receivers works in Ivory’s favor, as he is the lone reliable Jets player to produce week-to-week. The Ravens have a stout defense, but Ivory should still have a solid day.
Chris Ogbonnaya – If you are scouring the waiver wire looking for a starting running back, consider Ogbonnaya. He may not be a solid play every week, but his usage in the pass game and his lead back role should keep him relevant as a flex play in 12 team leagues or deeper. With an aging Steelers defense on tap, Ogbonnaya could be a sneaky solid start this week.
Kendall Wright – Those in PPR leagues need to consider Wright. He may only have one score this season, but also 59 receptions and 680 yards, keeping him as a solid flex option most weeks. Owned in only 38.1% of leagues, he is a someone you should go grab right now.
Andrew Luck – Luck has been pretty good as a fantasy starter this season, but find another option this week, as the Cardinals have the 4th best pass defense. Luck will get his two touchdowns, but the Cardinals are also likely to pick off a pass or two.
Robert Griffin III – This has bad matchup written all over. The 49ers have the 8th ranked pass defense. With the lack of a solid second receiver opposite Pierre Garçon, RGIII could be in for a long day, and likely limited to under 200 yards passing this week. If you have to start him, the good news is the 49ers are also 20th ranked against the run, giving a glimmer of hope for RGIII.
Reggie Bush – Bush only had 31 yards rushing last week against the Steelers, and if you’re looking for a rebound this week, don’t count on it. The Bucs are top 10 against the run, and have kept both Marshawn Lynch and LeSean McCoy out of the end zone. He may have some value in the pass game this week, but the running could get hard, especially since he’s been injured at times this season.
Aaron Dobson – Keep Dobson on your bench, even with a showdown with Denver looming this week. The return of Shane Vereen pushes Dobson to only start-worthy in deep or large leagues. If you take away his 130 yard game against the Steelers, his season high is 63 yards. He seems to be no better than 5th option on the patriots as of right now.
Jordan Cameron – The going is getting tough for Cameron these days, and with the Browns looking to run the ball more, Cameron’s usage may continue to dip. Face it, Campbell is not the QB you want throwing the ball to receivers on your fantasy team. Of course there’s always the possibility that Cameron jumps over a corner or safety to get his 1st touchdown since week 7, but remember, it’s Campbell under center.
Mike Glennon – Glennon is a solid play this week against a bottom 5 Detroit Lions pass defense. His developed chemistry with Vincent Jackson and 10:2 TD:INT ratio since week 5 makes him a solid option this week. He may not get you more than 250 passing yards, but should this turn into a shootout, the reward could be substantial this week.
Philip Rivers – The Chiefs just limited Peyton Manning to one passing score last week. While Rivers has been the biggest bounce back player this season, his top receiver Keenan Allen is going through freshman bumps (7 catches, 86 yards the past 2 weeks). The Chiefs playmaker’s will be ready for Rivers this week. Rivers will get 300 passing yards, but don’t be shocked if he finishes with 1 TD and 2 picks this week. Curb your expectations when starting him.
Carson Palmer – It seems like Black Friday on the waiver wire already after his performance last week (419 yards, 2 TDs). The Colts will surely smack him back to his senses this week and remind him he’s still a [14:15] TD:INT QB this season. The Colts may have been cold against opposing passers the past 6 weeks (12 TDs), but the Cardinals should prove a team to get back on track against.
Bobby Rainey – No, he is not likely to run all over the Lions like he did the Falcons last week, but another 95 rushing yards and 1 score day should be attainable this week. The Bucs are a good running team, and Rainey is the man to own at running back in Tampa Bay. Remember the days when he was a backup in Cleveland? Oops, let one slip away.
Ryan Mathews – No, I’m not against ESPN promoting him, as he is top back again in San Diego. The issue is the Chiefs are stingy against the run as well, and with Rivers finding it hard to throw on the Chiefs, the run game will suffer. Mathews should approach 50 yards rushing, but if you must start one of their running backs this week, gamble with Woodhead again for his use in the pass game.
Lamar Miller – His fantasy value has officially evaporated. After only managing 17 yards against the 32nd ranked Chargers run defense last week, he certainly is waiver wire material against the Panthers defense (3rd ranked run D). It is safe to drop him in all formats outside of 20 team, or 5 flex spot leagues.
Dwayne Bowe – After all my warnings against him, I am promoting him against the Chargers. This season the Chargers are the worst against both the pass and the run. His “game-managing QB” Alex Smith may limit his upside, but there is still enough here for 90 yards receiving and a score. Get him in your lineups.
Dez Bryant – Antics on the field aside, Bryant is not a solid start this week (yet due to name recognition you will likely start him). Bryant only has 108 receiving yards the past two weeks. Add in the white-hot Giants, and this could be another dry day for Bryant. When the Cowboys are in the red zone, money says Romo will go to Witten NOT Dez. However, is it likely Dez gets some yardage this week? Yes.
Jerricho Cotchery – Warning: Cotchery will come back down to earth this week. This could be a bad week for all Pittsburgh receivers against a Bengals defense that just limited AJ Green to 2 receptions for 7 yards. If there are any passing scores to be had this week it will be a la Antonio Brown. Don’t expect more than 30 yards receiving from Cotchery this week.
Anthony Fasano – If you need a flier on a tight end for this week, look at Fasano. He may not get a ton of yards, but could be a sneaky option this week. Clearly having passed McGrath on the tight end depth chart, after Bowe, Fasano is likely 2nd in line for red zone looks.
Jason Witten – Look at the home/road splits, and then tell me if you honestly feel Witten is a worthy start on the road. I’ll tell you. Witten has exactly 16 receptions for 145 yards and 0 scores (5 games). Could that trend flip on its head given the pedigree of Witten? Absolutely. It just isn’t likely this week, even in a rivalry match.
Rob Housler – He’s being increasingly used in the pass game, to the tune of 10 catches, 127 yards, and a score the past two weeks, but look for him to slow down this week. The Colts can be stingy, and Palmer is, well Palmer. If you have him, find a better option for this week, but definitely don’t drop him, as he has some deep league value.
Colin McCarthy (LB) – McCarthy is rounding into shape, and fast the past couple of weeks. Over the last 2 weeks he has 19 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. With the Raiders injured (down Pryor and D. Moore), they will look to hand the ball off to R. Jennings and commit to the run game. Look for McCarthy to continue his hot streak against a shaky Raiders offensive line.
Adrian Clayborn (DE) – Clayborn started off the season hot (two sacks and a forced fumble in the first three games), but has considerably cooled off since (0 sacks, 10 tackles in the last three games). In a game that will feature a high passing offense, and the best receiver in the game, don’t expect Clayborn to be much of a factor in this one either.
Ed Reed (S) – Since returning from injury, Reed has done almost nothing. After being cut by the Texans, and signed by the Jets, Reed will square off against his old team, the Ravens, this week. This should be an interesting matchup, but due to the limited snaps Reed has played, it is difficult to forsee him making his mark on this game. Strange things can happen when a player faces a former team.
Finally, don’t forget to give me all your lineup questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or @MetalhammerBen