MIAMI DOLPHINS – Rishard Matthews is clearly going to be picked up in each and every league off of a 11 catch, 120 yard, two TD performance. The second year slot receiver from Nevada set career highs in every category and with Brandon Gibson done for the year, he could move right into a starting role for the next six weeks. Definitely should be on your radar if you have high waiver priority.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – Mike James suffered a fractured ankle and is out indefinitely. Brian Leonard, who played for coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers, will assume every down duties but isn’t a recommended fantasy option at this stage. In the passing game, everyone can be ignored except for Vincent Jackson who still commands a lot of attention on the outside.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS – Jordan Reed continues to be a viable option at tight end. He has 20 catches for almost 200 yards and a TD over the past three games and is clearly the number two target in the passing game behind Pierre Garcon. Alfred Morris has received 25 carries in each of his last two games and has rewarded owners with 100+ yard games in each, and a TD to boot. Continue to view him as a top 12 option moving forward.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – John Carlson stepped in admirably for the injured Kyle Rudolph at tight end, but don’t be fooled by his seven catch, 98 yard performance. Yes, he scored a TD as well but the Redskins are one of the worst defenses in the league and defending the tight end they are bottom five. Don’t even bother adding Carlson as the Vikings face tough sledding the next few weeks against the Seahawks and Packers, both away from home.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – With the return of Percy Harvin this week, expect the targets for players such as Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse to take a minor hit. All three had 75 yards and two of them had TD’s in the blowout win over the Falcons, but proceed with caution going forward and let this situation play out for a week or two before you start making any moves with these wideouts.
ATLANTA FALCONS – Roddy White returned over the weekend but was really a non factor with one catch for 20 yards. The Falcons are clearly out of the race and at 2-7 have no reason to have Roddy on a high snap count. In fact, this week against Tampa may be one of the last startable matchups he has the rest of the way. The running game is also a mess and I wouldn’t start anyone from here on out.
DETROIT LIONS – The Lions went about their business Sunday and got a win over the banged up Bears in Chicago and now have a one game lead in the NFC North. The next few games are really favorable matchups, starting with the Steelers and finishing the month with home games against Tampa Bay and Green Bay on Thanksgiving. Look for all the Lions regulars to light it up as we hit the home stretch in many fantasy seasons.
CHICAGO BEARS – Jay Cutler has been already ruled out this week but this doesn’t mean you should downgrade your Bears skill players like you should your Packers ones. Josh McCown has clearly shown the ability to move the offense down the field. He did so late to bring the Bears within two on Sunday before the two point conversion failed, and I believe will fill in adequately for a team on the precipice of the NFC playoff picture.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – Riley Cooper continues to assert himself as a must start with Nick Foles under center as the two clearly have a instant rapport. Cooper caught three balls for 102 yards including two long touchdowns in the win at Lambeau and can be inserted as a WR3/FLEX on a weekly basis.
GREEN BAY PACKERS – It’s clear Aaron Rodgers means more to the Packers than any player outside of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady mean to their respective teams. Without him they looked lost on offense and did not get back into the game until very late in the third quarter when Scott Tolzien took over for an injured Seneca Wallace under center. Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin have to be started each week but as far as anyone else in the passing game (including James Jones), I’d sit them until Rodgers returns.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Picking up their first win of the year, they did it mostly forcing turnovers (four to be exact) giving their offense great field position all day long. Chad Henne only completed 14 passes on Sunday and over the next four games they get Houston twice, Arizona and Cleveland. All of those games are terrible matchups for any member of the Jacksonville passing game, including Cecil Shorts who is in a lot of lineups. I’d look to deal him, but if you have to start him I would certainly downgrade expectations.
TENNESSEE TITANS – Jake Locker is out for the year but the good Ryan Fitzpatrick showed up Sunday almost leading his team back to a win over the previously winless Jaguars. He threw for two scores in the second half but the Titans spread out their targets in the passing game probably more than any team in the league. Five players had between five and nine targets on Sunday including Kendall Wright, the second year man from Baylor who had nine and is probably the most trustworthy start for Tennessee moving forward. Wright is a weekly start but everyone else can be benched for now.
ST. LOUIS RAMS – Tavon Austin? Now that’s more like it. The diminutive dynamo from West Virginia scored twice on offense and once on special teams Sunday in a surprising blowout win at Indianapolis. He may have been dropped in several leagues after some less than mediocre weeks but can be immediately scooped up in what was clearly his coming out party.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – A rare off game for Andrew Luck, throwing for over 350 yards but those three picks really cost him a decent fantasy performance and also their chances of winning the ballgame. TY Hilton is clearly the top target in the passing game and if an owner is willing to deal him, he would be my number one trade target at wideout moving forward. The Colts have a nice schedule moving forward including the Titans twice and the Texans at home.
OAKLAND RAIDERS – Rashad Jennings didn’t reach the end zone but did put up a nice fantasy day totaling over 100 yards rushing and receiving. He does face a few good matchups moving forward, notably the Cowboys sieve of a run defense on Thanksgiving, but in playoff weeks faces the Jets and Chiefs. I’d try and sell him before those matchups come about and lest we forget Darren McFadden could be back as soon as next week.
NEW YORK GIANTS – Welcome back, Andre Brown. Activated from the PUP list late last week, the Giants tailback was thrown into action Sunday against a Raiders defense that couldn’t stop me at this point. 30 carries, 115 yards and a touchdown later, he’s back on everyone’s fantasy radar. Brown has a great schedule the next three weeks, facing Green Bay and Dallas at home and going to Washington. Start him with confidence moving forward in that RB2 spot.
BUFFALO BILLS – Stevie Johnson suffered a groin injury Sunday which made sideline him for a few weeks, so keep an eye on that situation. The Bills didn’t do much on offense against a Steeler defense that had just allowed Brady to put up 55 on them, so they had something to prove as they returned home. It won’t get any easier this week, especially for Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, against a Jets defense that allows next to nothing on the ground. I’d sit them if I had better options this week, but after their bye they get Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville – three dream matchups. Things will get better for those two backs after a probable dud this week against the visiting Jets.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS – LeVeon Bell with his 96 combined yard performance did reach the end zone once and is considered now a must start in all leagues. That being said, if you are a Bell owner, this is as obvious of a sell high as you’re going to get. The next three weeks are against Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore which all possess good to elite run defenses. If I can get a similar player for Bell in terms of current value, I do it without blinking an eye.
CINCINATTI BENGALS – Giovani Bernard despite the tough matchup against the Ravens performed well, posting 95 yards and a TD on the day. Benjarvus Green Ellis, meanwhile, had just nine carries for 36 yards and was a non factor all game long. We knew the past few weeks the transition towards Bernard being more involved was happening and now it is in full flight. Green Ellis can be benched from here on out and start Bernard comfortably in a RB2/FLEX role.
BALTIMORE RAVENS – What to do with Ray Rice? This is a back drafted in the first round of almost every league on the planet and is averaging less than three yards a carry on the season. Mind boggling. It’s not all his fault as the offensive line is in shambles, but still his numbers are staggering. For the rest of the season, Rice and even his backup Bernard Pierce are matchup plays at best.
CAROLINA PANTHERS – Both teams came into that Panthers/Niners game averaging over 30 points the past month but both failed to generate much in terms of fantasy numbers over the weekend. For the Panthers, Jonathan Stewart actually had more carries than anyone with 13 but DeAngelo Williams got the glory with a score and 46 yards on eight carries. Both should find more running room Monday night against a Patriots team that ranks 30th in rushing yards against.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers – What a mess. Kaepernick has now gone from fantasy star to most benches after a dismal week 10 performance against the Panthers. The passing game is a mess as nobody, not even Anquan Boldin who turned in a few good performances early, can be trusted on a week to week basis. Vernon Davis got a concussion which has his value take a hit, and the only player to be started with confidence on this offense is Frank Gore, who continues to turn back the clock with another solid 100 total yard performance.
HOUSTON TEXANS – Ben Tate filled in admirably for Arian Foster, who is out for the year after undergoing back surgery. He’ll be the lead back going forward and can be started as a low end RB2/high end flex. Andre Johnson may have got the TD’s but DeAndre Hopkins is receiving just as many looks from Case Keenum as Andre is. Hopkins is a buy low candidate going forward.
ARIZONA CARDINALS – Rashard Mendenhall’s return has now resulted in what appears to be a 50/50 timeshare in the Cardinals backfield. Ellington got 11, Mendenhall 13 and neither reached the end zone. Some good matchups ahead against the Jaguars, Colts and Eagles so both are good flex options at least for the next few weeks.
DENVER BRONCOS – Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas had monster weeks for the Broncos in what seems like a cavalcade of fantasy stars week in and week out. One week it’s Knowshown Moreno with a hat trick of touchdowns, this week it’s Demaryius Thomas, maybe next week it’ll be Eric Decker. All I know is that Moreno, Decker, Wes Welker and both Thomas’ need to be started each and every week. Oh, and that Peyton guy too.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – Not much to take from this game other than the fact Antonio Gates continues to trend downward, not scoring since week 4 against Dallas. He is not a must start option anymore with Philip Rivers relying on his run game heavily as well as seeking out Keenan Allen, the rookie from California, as his top target.
DALLAS COWBOYS – Dez Bryant was double and triple covered all night as New Orleans refused to let the mercurial wideout beat them. In fact, Tony Romo completed only 10 passes all game. Don’t worry about your Dallas players, because the Cowboys face some divisional opponents in the coming weeks with a visit by Oakland on Thanksgiving squeezed in there, setting up to be a fantasy bonanza.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Marques Colston has returned to relevance with a seven catch, 107 yard performance including a touchdown. If you didn’t buy low on him, good luck acquiring him now. The Saints did whatever they wanted to the depleted Cowboys defense, racking up over 600 yards of offense in what was a total destruction. Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles all had monster days, but going forward I’d rank them Thomas, then Sproles, then Ingram for the rest of the season.