Only four teams on a bye this week (Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota) and this is also the last week before Thursday games begin which will last through Week 16. Enjoy these last extra couple of days to contemplate your lineup decisions as your decision-making time will be reduced for the stretch run.
I utilize statistical analysis combined with over 15 years of fantasy football experience to give you an inside look of how players will perform on a week-to-week basis. The Studs list will be updated on a regular basis as players emerge and injuries occur, but be patient with those players listed early in the season. They were ranked and selected high in your draft for a reason.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at San Diego
Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
Tom Brady, New England vs. N.Y. Giants
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore
Michael Vick, Philadelphia vs. Chicago
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants at New England
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Green Bay
Matt Ryan, Atlanta at Indianapolis: Matty Ice had an extra week to recover from an ankle injury suffered in week eight against the Lions when he threw for 218 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. Ryan has struggled with the interceptions this season throwing two in a game three times including twice in the last three weeks, but he’ll have more successes than failures this week against a Colts defense that has lost by at least 10 points in each of the past three weeks and has allowed a season-high 15 passing TDs. Look for Ryan to have success moving the ball in the air as he posts his best game in over a month.
Matt Cassel, Kansas City vs. Miami: Despite the 2 INTs Cassel threw on Monday night against the Chargers, he played a solid game. The Chargers have allowed the 4th fewest passing yards in the NFL this season and Cassel was able to post 261 yards and a TD without much of a running game. This week, Cassel has a much easier test against the Dolphins who are trying to find new ways to lose games in the 4th quarter. This week, I’ll predict a late 4th quarter fumble by Reggie Bush, a pass interference call on the next play bringing the Chiefs out from their 5-yard line into Dolphins’ territory, followed by a 40-yard TD strike from Cassel to Dwayne Bowe as the clock expires and the Chiefs win 21-17. Don’t make me say, “I told you so” on Sunday.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo vs. N.Y. Jets: After dipping below 200 yards passing in both week four and week five, Fitzpatrick returned with back-to-back solid performances the last two games averaging 253 yards passing with two TDs in each game. This week, he’ll face his toughest test since week four when he faced the Bengals and threw for just 199 yards with no TDs. The Jets defense will be well-rested and ready to contain the Bills’ potent offense. Don’t expect much from Fitzpatrick this week as Buffalo relies on Fred Jackson to lead the offense and minimize the mistakes.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Flacco has had a weird season this year. Here are his averages in games 1, 3, 5, 7: 313.5 passing yards, with a total of 6 TDs and 2 INTs. Here are his averages in games 2, 4, 6: 165.7 passing yards, with a total of 2 TDs and 4 INTs. Since this is his eighth game, run for zee hills! This isn’t just fun with numbers, Flacco’s matchups in even numbered games have been tough (Tennessee, Jets, Jaguars). With the Steelers next up on the schedule, you can expect this pattern to continue as Flacco won’t be able to reproduce the 224 yards and 3 TDs he posted against the Steelers in week one as this one will be in Pittsburgh which makes a HUGE difference in this rivalry.