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“Around the Ben”: The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Horrible – Week 13

So, last week I made some ballsy suggestions, and some paid off. It is safe to say that was likely the last time I doubt Philip Rivers, as he had his way with a suddenly suspect Chiefs defense (no, losing Hali and Houston doesn’t help either). On the positive side, hopefully you did not start Cotchery last week, as he had 0 catches. This week, with the Turkey Day match-ups done, hopefully I can help you guys make the playoff push, solidify a spot in the playoffs, or knock another team out of the playoffs. This list contains players that seem poised to produce down the stretch, and most should be available in some leagues

5 Up

Carson Palmer – Apparently Palmer’s drink from the fountain of youth extended into last week as he threw all over the Colts to the tune of 314 yards and 2 scores. This week the Eagles shouldn’t provide much more resistance, but Palmer will still have to be wary of ball hawk Brandon Boykin who has 4 interceptions this season. Continue to ride Palmer as he continues to drink from the fountain of youth.

E.J. Manuel – While his stats may not look that impressive, Manuel does have an 8:4 TD:IN ratio this season, in seven games. While it may not be top-tier production, if you extrapolate his numbers over a full 16 games, he’d be on pace for more than 3,000 passing yards. With top receiver Steve Johnson and rookie Robert Woods both back and healthy, Manuel should be in for a solid day against a very suspect Falcons defense.

Montee Ball – It may have taken a while, but Ball finally seems to be starting to be rounding in to the running back the Broncos thought they were getting when they drafted him. A divisional showdown with the Chiefs could be an enticing play, as Moreno is a bit nicked up (still likely to play), and Ball receives a healthy chunk of the goal line carries. Going forward, a running back by committee could be in line between Moreno and Ball, but if Ball is getting the ball at the goal line, he has flex value.

Josh Gordon – Gordon has officially put his name in the borderline elite class, after running all over the Steelers last week. The Browns have many issues on offense, but with Gordon the only reliable wide receiver on the Browns, there should be plenty more targets going to him. Continue to start Gordon as you have been, as he is sure to put up another 100+ yard receiving day against the Jaguars.

Charles Clay – The Dolphins anemic run game sets up nicely for Clay this week, as Tannehill is at his best on short passes. Clay is a consistent play, as Tannehill still has deep ball accuracy issues, and Clay seems to be his safety net. Look for the Dolphins to throw early and often against a generous defense this week.

5 Down

Robert Griffin III – What the heck was that last week? Griffin looked so bad, it makes one wonder whether or not RGIII is truly recovered from his off-season knee surgery. He is holding the ball too long, and looks tentative when hitting open holes. The Giants are not as nasty as the 49ers, but the Giants are still stingy on defense. With RGIII’s inconsistency week to week, best leave him benched.

Mike Glennon –  Glennon had a nice week last week (247 pass yards, 2 TDs), but this week he gets the Panthers, who are very nasty up front with Kuechly and Davis manning the linebacker corps. Bench Glennon this week as he may be doing more scrambling than passing this week against a disciplined, elite Panthers defense that leads the league in points against versus opposing quarterbacks.

Chris Ivory – Ivory is dealing with a bad ankle, and even with the horrendous play at QB by Geno Smith, and a bad Miami run defense, do not start him. Miami will load the box against Ivory, making it hard for him to get it going on the ground. Add in a tweaked ankle, and it could be a dry week for him.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Don’t be surprised if the Bengals turn to rookie Gio Bernard more on the earlier downs down the stretch. The Law Firm seems to be starting a slow decline in fantasy production as Bernard is becoming more consistent. If you still have him starting (22.8% of leagues), take him out of your lineups, as it appears his fantasy relevancy has dried up.

Roddy White – Yes, he missed 3 weeks of the season, and yes Julio Jones is out for the season, but just 6 receptions for 80 yards the past 3 weeks? Bahh hummmm-buggg. White has been a major disappointment this season, and with a matchup against a stingy Bills defense, temper your expectations. It pains me as a Falcon fan to say, “Bench White.”



Ryan Fitzpatrick – With 806 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, and just 1 fumble the past 3 weeks, Fitzpatrick is a good play against a Colts defense that just got schooled by Carson Palmer. Fitz may not have any elite receivers, but with PPR beast Kendall Wright, and solid play from tight end Delanie Walker, Fitz keeps on producing quality numbers.


Nick Foles – The bottom line here is the Cardinals have a nasty pass defense, and with ball hawks in the secondary, interceptions are bound to happen. The Cardinals have 15 picks and 72 passes defensed this season, making them very hard to pass against. Foles will get his yards and  touchdown passes, but also be picked off. Careful when playing him this week, despite Foles absurd touchdown pace.


Geno Smith – No offense to Jets fans, but if you still have Geno on your roster, it’s time to drop him (outside of dynasty leagues), as he’s been worse than Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez the past 4 games (0 TD passes, 7 INTs). The Dolphins may not be the most solid defense, but they at least know Geno’s play contributes to a run heavy offense in New York.



Steven Jackson – If you want to play a Falcons offensive player this week, consider Jackson, as the Bills are prone to the run the past couple weeks. With Matt Ryan at the helm, the Bills cannot exactly stack the box, leading to opportunities for Jackson this week. Don’t be surprised to see a solid running day from Jackson, despite the Falcons injuries and woes this season on offense and defense.


Frank Gore – With 161 yards rushing and 0 scores the past 3 weeks, Gore is hard to trust these days, even with a very generous Rams run defense on tap. Kaepernick and the 49ers should be a more pass heavy offense with Crabtree due back any week, taking away from Gore’s touches. Of course, fantasy owners, start Gore. Just temper your expectations to around 75 rushing yards, and nary a score.


Stevan Ridley – Despite a 4.27 yards per carry rate this season, Ridley has also fumbled the ball 4 times, leading the Patriots to hand RB1 duties to Brandon Bolden. With the added presence of Shane Vereen catching passes out of the backfield, Ridley’s fantasy well is drying up quickly. Even with a favorable matchup against the Texans, don’t start Ridley.



Michael Floyd – A big reason why Palmer has enjoyed success the past 2 weeks is because of Floyd, NOT Fitzgerald. Of course, Fitzgerald is the de facto top receiver in Arizona, but if you look at the stats the past 2 weeks, Floyd has out-produced Fitzgerald 297 to 133 in receiving yards on just 2 more receptions. Floyd may regress some this week, but don’t expect a total regression, as the Eagles secondary can be shaky.


Mike Wallace – It’s easy to look at the match-up against the Jets and think Wallace will be in for a big day, but he’s had big games before, only to follow them up with goose eggs. It’s true that Tannehill is slightly better than last season, but with consistency issues, Wallace is once again a home run or strike out play. When Tannehill and Wallace are more on the same page, we can start believing. Until then, scale back your expectations for this flex play.


Julian Edelman – Every time a Patriots receiver has a breakout game, owners flood the wire to grab him. Don’t do it with Edelman. Despite their woes this season, the Texans are very stout against the pass, allowing only 99 receptions. Too many mouths to feed in this offense for Edelman to be relevant.



Jared Cook – Don’t be scared off by the 49ers defense looming. Clemens is going to be forced into a lot of dump offs and short passes, where Cook thrives. Given his size/speed combo, Cook will always be a threat to find pay dirt, but possibly not this week.  Start him as you normally would, as he’ll get you a nice amount of receptions and yards, but no guarantee on the score.


Garrett Graham – Due to the Texans propensity for using the end position, Graham will continue to see targets come his way. Here’s the issue, Graham’s fantasy production is there one week, and evaporated the next. The Patriots may have allowed scores to tight ends in back to back weeks, but don’t buy it this week. Bench Graham if possible.


Brandon Myers – Myers’s score last week was of the same caliber as the Auburn Tigers win over the Georgia Bulldogs:  Pure luck. Myers caught the ball, fell to the turf, and was just lucky no Cowboys defender touched him as he scampered into the end zone. Back to the waiver wire Myers should go this week.



Robert Quinn (DE) – Let the stats speak for themselves:  13 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 1 recovered fumble, 1 defensive score, and 8 stuffs. The only thing I don’t understand is how he’s available in 35% of leagues.


Aqib Talib – Going down the stretch, it may be time to cut ties with Talib. Albeit 12 passes defensed and 4 interceptions this season, his lack of tackles most weeks means his value is strictly tied to defending against the pass. A date with Andre Johnson this week is not appetizing for Talib.


Manti Te’o – Hopefully you listened to me when I ranked the top 100 linebackers and stated not to draft Te’o, but let someone else gamble on him. Well, seems as if I was right on Te’o. With just 39 tackles to date, Te’o should not be near any starting lineups. Dynasty formats should bench him.

That’s a wrap for this week’s edition. Tune in next week for the beginning of the Playoff Edition Fantasy Football MLFS style. As always, feel free to comment, like, dislike, bash, or other for this article. Hope all you guys had a great Thanksgiving and watched some Turkey Ball on Thursday. I’m honestly not sure what happened to the Packers, but they need Aaron Rodgers back, and NOW not LATER!

I am a recent college graduate from a small liberal arts school in Atlanta, GA. I'm a sports junkie and a diehard Atlanta sports fan.



  1. bsowles

    December 2, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Nice synopsis, Ben. While I don’t always agree with every projection you put out there (who does), :-), who do a nice job of stating your opinions and backing them up with some sort of supporting substance and relevance. All in all, well done!

    • Ben W

      December 2, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Thanks for the compliment, BSowles. Projecting players is an imperfect science, and at the end of the day it’s all intuition based upon past performances, match ups, streaks of the players, and gut feelings. No one is ever going to be all right or all wrong. It is also human nature to disagree on players. I look forward to reading the pieces you will be putting out coming into and during baseball season as they always provide great insight to how the present sport of baseball differs from it in your day.

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