I was thinking this week about how fast our opinions change as to who the top players are in fantasy football. For example, the top ten running backs by average draft position at the start of the season were:
The top ten running backs after the first five weeks of the season are:
I find it very interesting that six of the top ten current running backs weren’t drafted in the top 10. Now some were drafted close to the top ten like Trent Richardson, Marshawn Lynch, and Willis McGahee, but guys like Stevan Ridley and Alfred Morris came from very late rounds. It’s amazing to me how much just five weeks of play can change how we view who the top running backs of fantasy football are. This is just something to think about when you’re drafting next year. Now on to the calls for the week.
Someone you should definitely be starting this week is Andy Dalton. Dalton is going against the Cleveland Browns who are ranked 29th against quarterbacks. Four out of five of the quarterbacks that have faced the Browns have thrown for over 300 yards and/or three touchdowns (including himself in Week 2). Now the Browns do get Joe Haden back this week, but that shouldn’t slow down Dalton. He has plenty of weapons around him and should have no problem being a ‘good call’ to be in your starting lineup.
I recommended you start Christian Ponder last week and I’m doing it again this week. His matchup with the Washington Redskins just seems ripe for the picking. The Redskins are allowing an average of 324 passing yards, and 2.5 touchdowns per game to the quarterbacks they face. With the simple, short passing game the Vikings are running right now, Ponder should be able to move the ball down the field and rack up points for your starting lineup.
Andrew Luck is appearing to be everything he was advertised coming into the season. With three out of four games over 300 yards passing and seven touchdowns on the season, he’s looking like a stud in the making. This week, however, I’m saying he’s a ‘bad call’ for you to start. Luck is going against the New York Jets defense that has held three out of five of the quarterbacks they’ve faced less than 200 yards passing. They’ve also allowed just six passing touchdowns in five games. If I’ve got another quarterback that has a decent matchup this week, I’m sitting Luck and waiting for next week’s Cleveland matchup for him to get back in my starting lineup.
Any game in the huge Dallas Cowboys stadium can be intimidating, and for Joe Flacco this week that won’t help him at all against a Cowboys defense that is ranked 2nd against quarterbacks. The Cowboys are holding quarterbacks to an average of under 200 yards passing on the season. While the Cowboys haven’t faced any elite quarterbacks to really tear apart their defense, Flacco isn’t an elite quarterback himself. In Flacco’s two road game this year he’s thrown for 419 yards total and just one touchdown, total. This just doesn’t look like a good matchup for Flacco.
Ryan Mathews looked like he was back to his old self last week racking up 139 total yards and a touchdown. Now, if Norv Tuner would just give him more carries he could return to stud status. Mathews gets to play Denver this week. Denver’s defense is ranked in the middle of the NFL, but the game is in San Diego, and Denver has allowed guys like Michael Turner, Arian Foster, and Stevan Ridley to put up helpful fantasy points in three of the last four weeks. Mathews should have no problem putting up some good points and would be a ‘good call’ to be in your lineup this week.
Mikel Leshoure is another guy I think should be in your lineup this week. He’s coming off of a bye week, and he’s the outright number one running back in Detroit. No one is challenging him for carries at all. His matchup this week is tough with a trip to Philadelphia on the schedule, but the Eagles turn the ball over a lot. If Detroit gets up early, like I think they will, Leshoure will get a ton of carries in the second half. Teams know that the one way to beat the Eagles it to keep Michael Vick off the field and I think Detroit does that by running the ball with Leshoure, and running a lot.
A guy who’s a ‘bad call’ this week is Stevan Ridley. The Patriots have to play at Seattle, which is always a tough place. I don’t know what it is about games in Seattle, but the visiting team’s players never seem to have huge games in that stadium. This year the Seattle run defense is tough. They allow just 3.2 yard per carry, 67 rushing yards per game, and have only allowed two rushing touchdowns all season. I think this game is going to be won on short passes through the air for the Patriots, and not on the rushing abilities of Stevan Ridley. Sorry Ridley owners, you’re going to want to sit him this week.
Did you know that C.J. Spiller has never gotten 20 or more carries in a game in his NFL career? For a guy who doesn’t touch the ball much he seems to get a lot of attention. Attention is definitely what he’ll be getting when he travels to Arizona to play the 6th ranked Cardinals rush defense. The Cards have only allowed one rushing touchdown, and all of team’s number one running backs have failed to get more than 85 rushing yards against them (Marshawn Lynch, Stevan Ridley, LeSean McCoy, Reggie Bush, and Steven Jackson). A lot of those guys are pass catching backs like Spiller and if they didn’t do well against Arizona with a full load, that makes Spiller and his limited roll a ‘bad call’ for me this week.