If you were one of those fantasy owners who took a shot on Matthew Stafford in the second round of your draft this summer, it’s been a disappointing season. Last week, Stafford finally put together the type of numbers we would expect from a quarterback that threw for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns the year before.
Hopefully it’s the beginning of a big second half.
QB. Matthew Stafford @ Jaguars –
Of course, just when I finally sit Stafford down on the bench he goes off for a four touchdown performance against one of the better defenses in football. It was only a matter of time before Stafford figured out how to move the offense consistently without Calvin Johnson as the focal point.
Detroit has enough skill players in the passing game to help Stafford remain a weekly QB1 option, even if Johnson is struggling with a knee injury and defenses are attempting to take him out of the offense.
Let’s see if Stafford can put another quality performance up in Jacksonville, but I have a feeling he will be just fine now.
QB. Josh Freeman @ Raiders -
Teams have struggled of late to run the football against the Raiders, but Josh Freeman should have a good game through the air. Freeman is having a nice bounce-back season as Vincent Jackson’s presence in the offense has helped everyone else. Especially Mike Williams who now faces single coverage without having to face each teams top corner.
Add it all up and Freeman is a solid play going forward.
QB. Cam Newton @ Redskins -
Washington’s secondary has struggled this year, so expect Newton to have one of his better performances of the season. The second-year quarterback made mistakes against the Bears, but Chicago is having a terrific season on defense so we shouldn’t be too hard on Newton.
Let’s focus on the positive, Newton threw for over 300 yards on the day and I believe he can duplicate those yardage numbers this week with two or three touchdowns to go with it.
RB. Jonathan Stewart @ Redskins -
Stewart continues to outwork DeAngelo Williams in the offense and will be the top option going forward. Williams is on the outs and will likely be gone after this season, and Carolina knows Stewart was signed this offseason to be the future starter.
Look to Stewart as no less than a flex play option as long as he’s healthy the rest of the season.
RB. Joique Bell @ Jaguars -
This is a tricky one in standard leagues because we need to pay attention to the status of Mikel Leshoure in practice this week. While Coach Jim Schwartz told the press that Leshoure didn’t suffer an injury, his final touch in the game would suggest otherwise.
Bell is playing good football and is capable of handling the full load for at least a week or two if called upon. He was the main option in the running game after Leshoure went down, so if it appears Leshoure will be out, Bell makes for a good start in both standard and ppr leagues.
If Leshoure should play, Bell is only worth using as a flex option in ppr leagues because he will still be active in the passing game, with about eight carries in the running game.
RB. Alex Green @ Cardinals -
I know Green hasn’t run well in recent weeks, but hey, he’s playing a Cardinals defense that has been thrashed on the ground lately. Granted, the Cardinals have played the Bills, Vikings and 49ers in the past three weeks, but the second year back will have his opportunities in this game.
WR. Titus Young SR @ Jaguars -
Come on, admit it, it cracks you up to see Young have SR on his jersey, doesn’t it not? I get why he has SR on his jersey, but it just doesn’t seem right that a second-year player would need to have that on his jersey unless he wanted attention and to be different.
That’s Young, though, and his fantasy owners surely loved the production he put up a week ago. There are points to go around in the Lions' passing game and Young should benefit with another strong performance in Jacksonville.
WR. Josh Gordon vs Ravens -
Gordon’s touchdown streak ended last week but he should find the end zone against the Ravens in this matchup. Baltimore has its problems on defense and I’m not sure a week off will do much to help.
TE. Antonio Gates vs. Chiefs -
Outside of his performance a few weeks ago against the Broncos, Gates has done nothing to suggest he’s worthy of being in fantasy lineups this year. Very disappointing but from what I can see when watching him in games, he’s still a talented player.
The bottom line is your just not going to find many tight ends around the league that can do what Gates can do for your fantasy team in any given week. I’m sure some of you are tired of hearing that this deep into the season, but stick with him.
QB. Philip Rivers vs. Chiefs -
I’m sticking with Gates in my lineups, but that’s more because of his talent verse most options at the rest of his position. As for Rivers, the quarterback position has more talent than that of tight end and it’s safe to keep him on your bench or possibly cut him outright.
Norv Turner turned the offense into a run first, conservative offense after watching his offense transition in a turnover machine late in games against the Saints and Broncos. Rivers will still have decent numbers most weeks, but the defense is playing well enough that he won’t have to be in many shootouts this year.
QB. Joe Flacco vs. Browns -
We watched Rivers put up six points against the Browns defense and perhaps this secondary is starting to come together now that Joe Haden has been back from his suspension for three weeks. Expect the Browns to see a heavy helping of Ray Rice, a running back that kills this team every time he faces them.
Donald Brown @ Titans -
The Titans are one of the better run defenses in football and Donald Brown is one of the worst starting tailbacks in the game. That’s not a winning combination for fantasy owners and we need to look for other options in what should be a game where the Dolphins win in time of possession, pounding the football at home.
LaRod Stephens-Howling vs. Packers -
Not a horrible matchup, but the Packers have played well against the run in recent weeks. Arizona is searching for answers on offense and without respectable pass protection, they have a hard time putting together long drives throughout games.
Felix Jones @ Falcons -
Jones found the end zone last week but did little else to prove he’s worthy of trusting in fantasy lineups as more than a flex play in deeper ppr leagues. Phillip Tanner should see more work in the offense if DeMarco Murray is back so keep Jones on your bench. In fact, it’s safe to cut him in at least standard leagues.
Malcom Floyd vs. Chiefs -
This is a hard one to recommend because the Chiefs have struggled against No.1 receivers this year. I can respect your decision to roll the dice with him if you want, but Floyd really hasn’t done much this season and it appears he will continue to do so without Vincent Jackson drawing coverage away on the other side of the field.
Devery Henderson vs. Eagles -
With Jimmy Graham and Lance Moore both back in recent weeks, we are starting to see Henderson phased back to his normal, irrelevant self. It’s time to go with other options.
TE. Kyle Rudolph @ Seahawks -
Not dropping Rudolph from my rosters yet, but he’s done nothing in recent weeks to show he’s worthy of being trusted in fantasy lineups. I think the big problem for Rudolph is the regression of Christian Ponder in recent weeks and it feels like the second-year quarterback is looking to Percy Harvin on every play.
This should slow down for Ponder eventually, but for now Rudolph is clearly struggling as Ponder is in a slump.