C.J. Spiller – At what point do owners just say “to hell with him” and give him a permanent seat on the fantasy bench? If they haven’t already, this should be the last straw. After six chances we’re no longer looking for signs of progress or optimistic feelings. We’re looking for results or it’s time to turn elsewhere for production. Chances are if you selected Spiller, your win-loss record reflects it. If you want to stay competitive through the meat of the season you can’t afford to wave a white flag week-in and week-out at RB1. This is it for Spiller. Put up or sit down.
Justin Blackmon – After sitting out the first four weeks of the season, Blackmon burst back onto the fantasy scene with 100-plus yards and a score. Adding to the explosiveness of Blackmon is the fact that Blaine Gabbert could find himself on the bench for the rest of the year if Chad Henne can find success. Henne is an upgrade over Gabbert in every aspect of quarterbacking, most importantly, in arm strength. Blackmon finds himself now ranked amongst the top-10 at the wide receiver. If he can put up another strong game he could find himself holding onto that ranking for the rest of the season.
Matt Schaub – The Houston quarterback is a stones throw away from following in Eli Manning’s footsteps. In fact, unlike Manning, he could actually face the threat of being replaced. Manning has the luxury of being as awful as he would like without the threat of being benched. Schaub, however, is backed up by a fan favorite in T.J. Yates, who has stepped in for Schaub in previous years while playing better than most would have expected. He’s certainly not the second coming, but with how good the Texans defense is supposed to be, the offense could work more around a game-manager at quarterback and less of a game-winning quarterback. Schaub has to avoid turnovers, particularly pick-sixes, in order to remain a starter and hold onto his already diminished fantasy value.
Wes Welker – Given how amazing the play of Peyton Manning has been to start the year, it’s not surprising to see Welker’s performance lost in the background. It’s not surprising, but it is unfortunate, given that he’s already blown away the touchdown totals that most would have projected for him to begin the year. Now he has a chance to not only make people look silly but he has the opportunity to make them look flat out stupid. If Welker stays on this pace, there is no denying he’ll lead the league in receiving touchdowns. His play here and for the rest of 2013 could force him into a top-five ranking for 2014. With wide receivers like Roddy White battling injuries and Julio Jones being done for the year, there is room for Welker to work his way into the top echelon.
Matthew Stafford – Does all of Stafford’s value lay in the literal hands of Calvin Johnson? Last week with Johnson sidelined, Stafford looked like a fantasy QB3 at best. While it isn’t all Stafford’s fault given the injury to Nate Burleson, the ineffectiveness of Brandon Pettigrew, and lackluster offensive line, it still all affects Stafford’s output. Johnson seems as though he’ll likely give it a go at less than 100 percent but he could end up just as invisible as last week given the coverage applied by cornerback Joe Haden. With Johnson facing elite coverage while hobbled, Stafford will need to find other receivers. Do such receivers reside on the roster? Is Stafford able to find success with anyone not wearing an ’81’ jersey? This week will offer the answer to whether Stafford’s fantasy value hinges completely on his star receiver.