T.Y. Hilton at Atlanta
Sometimes in life, you are nothing more than a simple victim of circumstance. Thus is the fantasy life of Hilton. First, he got dinged up early in the season in what looked to be a potential long-lasting knee injury. After dodging that bullet, Hilton saw his quarterback suffer multiple injuries, ultimately resulting in a prolonged period of missed time. After ultimately losing his top-end quarterback, Hilton now finds himself again running routes for 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck. The icing on the cake is that Hilton will now have to square off against Atlanta’s underrated shutdown man, Desmond Trufant. Hilton is fighting for his 2016 value as he can’t afford another letdown game, regardless of who is under center. Hilton has gone from a top 10 wide receiver to outside the top 20. If he wants to retain top 15 positioning for 2016, he’ll have to do something above average and out of the majority expectations this week.
Kirk Cousins at Carolina
Last week made sense. Cousins had the best matchup 2015 had to offer given he faced New Orleans and his weapons were finally returning to full health. This week, people seem to be chasing Week 10’s numbers as people are actually counting on Cousins to come through again. That seems like a Stretch Armstrong kind of yoga move given that Cousins isn’t facing a quarterback-friendly defense this week. Carolina should offer far more resistance this week and yet, people are still clamoring for Cousins as a bye week filler and daily play. Risers And Fallers isn’t sold on such a concept and they themselves used Cousins last week against New Orleans. These kinds of quarterbacks are best saved for matchups like Oakland, New Orleans, Miami, etc. This gives Cousins the opportunity to prove that he is more than just a daily matchup-based play. Cousins could sneak into top 15 conversation with another top-end payout, especially given the opposition. Cousins’ long-term fantasy value depends heavily on Week 11’s outcome as many people are beginning to “Like that.”
Brock Osweiler at Chicago
This game could very well be the end of one era and the beginning of another. This could be the kind of situation similar to when Tom Brady filled in for Drew Bledsoe or when Aaron Rodgers finally took over for Brett Favre. This could also be like the time where Jay Fiedler took over for Dan Marino or when Alex Smith replaced Jeff Garcia. There is only one of two ways that this goes. Either Osweiler goes off and begins to get that passing attack clicking or he becomes the reason as to why Denver loses the game and puts Peyton Manning back into the equation. At the end of the day, Denver has only lost two games with Manning looking the way he’s looked. Only one of those losses can be specifically pointed to Manning as the culprit. All of this means that Osweiler’s fantasy life depends heavily on this week’s outcome. If he tosses three interceptions and looks about the same as Manning, then Manning will find himself back in the lineup within the next few games. However, if Osweiler looks promising and wins not only this game, but goes on a nice run, Manning may find himself to be a salary cap sacrifice next season and truly open the flood gates into the Osweiler era. Years of value for both players lay in the balance of this week’s performance.
Tony Romo at Miami
There is no more time to wait on Romo. If you have him, you have to roll him out this week. Chances are, you’ve gotten by on a collection of waiver moves and single week starts including the likes of Jay Cutler, Tyrod Taylor and Sam Bradford. Now, you’ve finally got your QB1 back and his matchup is one of the best of the season on paper. These are the kinds of games where Romo will have to make up for all of his missed time. He needs to show immediate payoff in order for fantasy owners to be able to rely on him during the money rounds. If Romo comes out crisp and finds Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Darren McFadden without any issues, then he’ll be an unquestioned top 10 option for us to utilize for the remainder of the season. If Romo comes out looking rusty and weak on his fastball, the combination of collarbone and back issues may force us to find more reliable options for the playoff rounds. Romo’s immediate and 2016 draft status hang heavily in the balance here.
Mark Sanchez vs. Tampa Bay
Risers And Fallers has been crying for the opportunity for Sanchez to play since it became obvious that Sam Bradford wasn’t coach Chip Kelly’s answer at quarterback. So, for roughly 10 weeks now, Risers And Fallers has been looking forward to this moment. Sanchez isn’t a life-saving quarterback who we as owners can target and ride to a championship. He is the kind of quarterback though that can instantly improve the value of Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews. Bradford was OK in this lineup but Sanchez is more experienced and more likely to take risks. A lot of those risks will result in mistakes but the others could result in huge numbers for his receivers. The odds of Sanchez being worse than Bradford in regards to keeping his receivers productive is quite slim. Look for Sanchez to immediately lift the value of the options around him while also remaining as a mediocre option at best. If he can get Matthews and at least one other player involved en route to a win, Sanchez could hold onto this job until the first round of draft day next season.