Reporting Robbie Rosenhaus
NEW YORK GIANTS - Brandon Jacobs should be picked up and can be started in a flex position. He gets a nice match-up this week against the Vikings on Monday night and ran for 100 and two scores last week. With David Wilson ruled out for the next month and Da’Rel Scott out indefinitely, expect Jacobs to get the lion’s share of carries this week.
CHICAGO BEARS - Despite Alshon Jeffrey’s one catch last Thursday, expect that to be the exception to the rule. He has been a top five receiver over the past four weeks and will continue to serve as 1B to Brandon Marshall’s 1A the rest of the way.
CAROLINA PANTHERS - Brandon LaFell is an interesting pickup this week going for 107 yards on four catches. He got loose on a 79 yard TD in what was blown coverage by the Vikings secondary and ran up the sideline for his fourth score of the year. The former LSU star seems to be locked in as the #2 behind Steve Smith and can be started in place of some guys that were lost to injury (Amendola and Cobb come to mind) this past week.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Josh Freeman is expected to take their reins at QB as soon as this week, and as soon as that happens, expect the Vikings to get more vertical as the season goes on. Upgrade Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph as the Vikings passing attack certainly will get a boost with the addition of Freeman under center. How much of a boost? Time will tell, but they can go back into lineups this week against a terrible Giants defense.
CINCINNATI BENGALS - Giovani Bernard is someone you’re either lucky to have on your team or you hope to acquire in a trade at this point. The former UNC tailback totaled 100 yards and a TD last week and despite the timeshare with Benjarvus Green Ellis, he continues to find the end zone on what seems to be a weekly basis.
BUFFALO BILLS - Ignore all members of the Buffalo passing game until further notice. That includes whoever they have under center and all of the pass catchers. As for the running game, a split between CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson has resulted in both being downgraded to number two RB’s at best. Continue to start them but continue to temper expectations.
DETROIT LIONS - Everyone wants to know what’s up with Joseph Fauria this week after his three catch, three TD performance last week in Cleveland. Simply a red zone threat, players like this cannot be relied on as you go forward. He won’t be catching three scores a week, just like Kris Durham won’t be catching eight balls every week at wide-out for them. Calvin should be back to full health this week and should be back to receiving the bulk of the targets from Matthew Stafford.
OAKLAND RAIDERS - Darren McFadden was back to full health last week but against a tough Chiefs defense ran for just 52 yards on 16 carries. As the match-ups get easier, expect McFadden to build on those totals, barring another injury which always seems to be around the corner. Denarius Moore is a wide-out I’d target in a trade, catching five balls for 82 yards and a touchdown last week on a team high 10 targets.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - It’s hard to trust anyone on the Chiefs offense besides Jamaal Charles at this point, but with upcoming match-ups against Houston, Cleveland and Buffalo, the Chiefs defense is a dream start for the foreseeable future.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - Despite paltry totals from Trent Richardson last night, it appears he was running with more “gusto”, if you will, and should be a decent #2 RB going forward for your team. You can drop Coby Fleener and go with someone else at tight end. Three catches for 16 yards and several drops draw tons of red flags.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS - Keenan Allen was a guy on my targets list going into last week and he rewarded owners who picked up him and started him with a nine catch, 107 yard performance against the Colts Monday night. He is the defacto #1 Chargers wide-out and can be used each and every week going forward in your #3 spot or flex position.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Besides Antonio Brown, a guy I’d try and target on this offense is Heath Miller. People forget he was a top six tight end last year and just because he missed the first couple of weeks may mean he is forgotten in your league. Six catches for 84 yards including a beautiful 31 yard grab where he leapt over two Jet defenders to haul it in. He’s an every week #1 tight end for me going forward.
NEW YORK JETS - The bad Geno Smith came out last week, throwing for two interceptions and no touchdowns in what was a heck of a game by the Steelers defense off of their bye. Wouldn’t trust any Jet receivers going forward for the time being and as for the running game, Bilal Powell is a flex and nothing more.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - With Nick Foles under center until Michael Vick returns, Riley Cooper can be started in a WR3 spot or as a flex. He was targeted six times, caught four balls for 120 yards and reached the end zone once. He seems to be Foles’ #2 target behind Desean Jackson who scored twice and is firmly locked into a WR2 role for your fantasy team as he leads the high flying Philadelphia offense.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - Seems as though they have let Mike Glennon loose these past few weeks, resulting in increased production for guys like Vincent Jackson and when he returns this week from injury, Mike Williams. I’d recommend starting both these wide-outs this week against an Atlanta team that can’t seem to stop anyone right now.
GREEN BAY PACKERS - With the loss of Randall Cobb for four to six weeks and the injury concerns surrounding James Jones, Jermichael Finley has moved himself back into must start status at tight end. Eddie Lacy had a great day against a formidable Ravens defense and with match-ups upcoming against the Bears, Vikings and several teams from the NFC East, he can be started in a RB2 role.
BALTIMORE RAVENS - Calm down, Ray Rice owners. It can’t get much worse after a 14 carry, 34 yard performance against the Packers last week. The Ravens know he isn’t fully healthy, and after sitting out a game a few weeks ago, he has been eased back into action the past couple of games and will continue to be eased back until he gets up to full speed. He is a buy low candidate in a trade.
ST. LOUIS RAMS - Was that an anomaly last week in Houston? The Texans are a hot mess right now, so can we really trust some the Ram defense going forward? They scored on offense, defense AND special teams, so take the final score with a grain of salt. Sam Bradford only threw for 117 yards, but Zac Stacy is a back who intrigues me. 79 yards on 18 carries and has firmly entrenched himself as the lead back in the Rams backfield. He is a solid flex play going forward.
HOUSTON TEXANS - I guess you have to start Andre Johnson and Arian Foster going forward, but everyone else – Garret Graham, DeAndre Hopkins, Matt Schaub – can be benched until the Texans get their act together. Their defense which was a top five unit coming into the year and now can be dropped like a bad habit.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Justin Blackmon has burst onto the scene with an injury to Cecil Shorts as the go to guy in the Jaguars offense. 14 catches for 190 yards is an eye opener for a wideout who was suspended the first four games of the season. He should be in your lineup every week if you are lucky enough to own him. Maurice Jones Drew is a back to trade off of his best performance of the year. He won’t top 100 yards in a game this year, and you can put that down in ink.
DENVER BRONCOS – Sun comes up. Sun goes down. The machine keeps rolling. Start all your Broncos on a weekly basis.
TENNESSEE TITANS – Seems to me Kendall Wright is the most reliable of the targets that Ryan Fitzpatrick possesses and is a nice flex option if you have injury or bye week issues. Chris Johnson can be traded for 20 cents on the dollar after another dismal performance this past week. He doesn’t even get carries inside the five which makes his situation even worse.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - With the pending return of Percy Harvin at some point in the next few weeks, downgrade all your Seattle receivers as he immediately steps in as the #1 option for Russell Wilson in the passing game. Speaking of Russell Wilson, he is a absolute sit for me this week against an improving Cardinals defense.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Looks like Jimmy Graham will be able to go after the bye week which is good news for his owners who saw him get the big goose egg last week in New England. Marques Colston is a buy low candidate with his sub-par performances the past few weeks. Try to low ball his owner in your league and see if you can steal him. He should pay dividends the rest of the way.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Danny Amendola is hurt again, this time with a member of the Saint secondary striking a Peter Quillin style Kid Chocolate knockout on the sidelines resulting in a concussion. Google it if you’re not a boxing fan. His absence means increased targets for wide-outs like Aaron Dobson who had a nice week with six catches on 10 targets for 63 yards and Julian Edelman who had five catches on 11 targets for 57 yards. Bump those guys up if Amendola is out for an extended period of time. Oh, and welcome back to relevance Stevan Ridley. He should be returned to your lineup this week, even if it is the Jets defense he’ll be going against.
ARIZONA CARDINALS - Is Andre Ellington a must start running back going forward? In a flex position, he’s certainly entering the conversation. 92 yards combined and a touchdown last week against a tough Niners defense has made a believer out of me. As far as the passing game goes, Larry Fitzgerald is the only wide receiver to be trusted on a weekly basis. Michael Floyd is a match-up play only at this point.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - Vernon Davis obviously exploded last week to the tune of eight catches and 180 yards scoring twice (killing off my chances to win in several leagues). Not that he already wasn’t but he is obviously a TE1 going forward and seems to be Kaepernick’s favorite target. Anquan Boldin may be a buy low candidate off of a few mediocre weeks in a row, so try and grab him if you can.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS - It’s a fall from grace for RGIII who has hit hard times in his second year, and last week’s game off the bye was not one for the memory banks. 246 yards passing and one interception compared to no TD’s outweighs the fact he had 77 yards rushing. He is no longer an every week starter at the QB position, and beware his targets as well. Pierre Garcon can be started but as far as everyone else (Jordan Reed, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson), bench until RGIII can figure things out, if he can at all.
DALLAS COWBOYS - DeMarco Murray may go this week, he may not, so stay tuned for updates on his status as the Cowboys really didn’t need his services last week with their defense playing lights out for most of the win over the Redskins. Any other member of the backfield, whether it be Joseph Randle or Philip Tanner, can be ignore until we know the short and long term status of the aforementioned Murray. As for the receivers, Dez Bryant is certainly a buy low candidate coming off of a five catch, 36 yard performance and as I said last week, keep a close eye on Terrence Williams who is developing into the Cowboys #2 wide-out. As Dallas faces off against more divisional opponents who are defensively challenged, and as they take on weaker secondaries like the Bears and the Vikings, expect the Dallas passing game to really get on track.