Like picking up a girl at the bar you think you may have a shot with, fantasy football is also all about playing the matchups and exploiting the mismatches—and not to mention, taking chances.
It’s what makes the game so much fun and exciting, and with the bye weeks causing havoc, you have to sometimes take a chance on some fringe-level replacements (I’ll refrain from any last-call joke analogies).
In this exercise, I am not going to merely suggest players to start (although in some cases I do), but rather pointing you toward some matchups you might want to exploit (i.e., wide receivers going up against the weak pass defense of Philadelphia).
Giants’ skill-position players are advisable starts against Philadelphia
Philadelphia has a comically bad defense.
Thus far on the season, the Eagles have allowed 325 passing yards (31st in the NFL) and 121.8 rushing yards (26th in the NFL) per game. While Chip Kelly has bolstered the value of his offensive players, the defense is still lagging way behind.
So, you should start all your fringe Giants players this week, which should include Eli Manning (if he can’t do it this week, when can he?) David Wilson (this is the week he gets going), Hakeem Nicks and perhaps even Rueben Randle and Brandon Myers.
Yeah, start your Jaguar receivers
You know Jacksonville is bad; I don’t think I have to explain that to you, as they appear headed toward locking up the No.1 pick in April’s NFL Draft.
But you see, this week they are playing the St. Louis Rams, and in a game where the Jags will likely be playing catch-up—again—their garbage time receivers (in this case both Cecil Shorts and the recently reinstated Justin Blackmon) make for good starts.
Sam Bradford and the Rams receivers could also be a good play this week
And how will the Rams get out to that big lead, you may ask?
Well, St. Louis’ running game has been atrocious (47.3 rushing yards per game—last in the NFL) thus far, and they will likely rely once again on Sam Bradford for their offense. Among their litany of problems, the Jags have trouble stopping the pass, yielding nine touchdowns through the air (tied for third-worst in the NFL).
While the Rams may want to jumpstart their pathetic run game, they will ultimately go to Bradford to get the job done, and that makes Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Tavon Austin all solid selections this week.
Whoever is starting at running back for the Raiders could be a nice flex-play
At the moment, it appears that Darren McFadden is likely out (yeah I know, real shocker) and that may pave the way for Rashad Jennings to start at running back. The Raiders have a matchup that may be conducive for Jennings to do well.
The Chargers (the Raiders' Week 5 opponent) are allowing 120.5 rushing yards per game (26th in the NFL), and Jennings, while not the most polished rusher, may find some running room to work with.
After a solid outing last week against an equally bad Redskins rush defense, where he ran for 45 yards (on 14 carries) and better yet reeled in eight receptions for 71 yards, Jennings could provide great bang for the buck this week.
Terrance Williams could be a stealth deep-league sleeper
With Denver and Dallas likely headed for a shootout, all skill-position players in this game should be useful, including Williams.
The Broncos have a vulnerable secondary and can be beat through the air. Denver is allowing an unhealthy 316.3 passing yards per game (30th in the NFL). While Dez Bryant is a no-brainer selection, don’t be hesitant to gamble on Williams.
Although he did fumble in a critical situation last week, Williams also had a solid outing against the Chargers (seven receptions for 71 yards). Considering that Miles Austin is doubtful to play, Williams should get plenty of looks since the Broncos will probably double-team Bryant.
As with most teams playing the Broncos, expect the Cowboys to be playing catch-up too, and Williams just might pile up some garbage-time statistics in the process.
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