I did it this week. I made the mistake of waiting until the week of my players bye to make adjustments. When the bye weeks began back in Week 4, I thought I had enough time to make changes in order to fill holes. The Week 7 bye week snuck up on me and I was left scrambling to plug in players into the spots I needed. Last week, I dropped Tyrod Taylor to pick up Marcus Mariota and both got hurt. I almost went back to get Taylor and I’m glad I didn’t, because he was ruled out after my waiver period which would have left me without a quarterback this week as I have Andy Dalton on a bye. Even the best of us can let roster management slip which might cost us a game. Make sure to always check the upcoming bye weeks and try to pick up your guys a week ahead as there will be several owners looking to do the same. You could always adjust the week of your game if you want to swap out the player you picked up.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Devonta Freeman– 13 carries for 100 yards and 1 touchdown, 8 receptions for 56 yards and 1. Freeman tops the list once again and is the fantasy MVP for the first half of the season. In the last 4 games he has averaged 40.3 fantasy points per game with 2 touchdowns per game. Freeman doesn’t face a top-10 run defense for the rest of the season.
DeAndre Hopkins– 10 receptions for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hopkins can be thrown into the MVP conversation along with Freeman as he has been on fire with four straight 100-yard games while averaging 9.5 receptions. Hopkins is on pace to reach 140 receptions which would come close to Marvin Harrison’s record of 143 back in 2002.
Matthew Stafford– 405 passing yards for 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Stafford is back from the dead and avoids being benched after posting his first 400-yard game since Week 8 back in 2013. The 4 touchdowns match his totals from the past 4 games combined. We will see how he plays in another divisional game this week at home against the Vikings.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Eddie Lacy– 4 carries for 3 yards. Is there anyone else in fantasy this season as frustrating as Lacy? He is starting to remind me of Darren McFadden when he was in Oakland. Lacy is always banged up and when he has a prime matchup, he lays a dud. Lacy has not rushed for 100 yards yet this season and has been scoreless since Week 1. He’s off this week so let’s see if the time off can help.
Charcandrick West– 9 carries for 33 yards. The top waiver wire pickup for Week 6 struggled in his first start. Until he establishes himself in the offense you should keep West on the bench. Especially this week against the Steelers who are 7th against the run.
Randall Cobb– 2 receptions for 38 yards. Since his monster game on Monday night football back in Week 3, Cobb has posted 3 straight single-digit fantasy point games. His catches and targets have declined every week which should be a concern that his shoulder injury is really hindering his production.
Colts Special Teams- They ran the worst play you will ever see in your lifetime.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Carson Palmer against the Ravens. Palmer enters this week as the 5th best quarterback in scoring averaging at 20.5 fantasy points per game. He faces a Baltimore defense that is giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 21.5 per game. The Ravens are 27th in pass defense allowing 286.2 passing yards per game with 11 touchdowns allowed. I like all the Cardinals this week in the passing game for a big Monday night performance.
Andrew Luck against the Saints. Luck hasn’t lived up to his draft spot as the first overall quarterback taken in fantasy but last week’s performance has to give you hope that he will turn it around as he put up 27 fantasy points behind 312 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. This week he faces the Saints who have been bad on defense allowing 271.5 passing yards per game (24th) with 11 touchdowns. They are behind the Ravens in fantasy points allowed giving up 20.5 per game. After the Colts made the most embarrassing play in NFL history, they will look to save face and come out swinging in this game.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Blake Bortles against the Bills. Last year, Bortles was a joke of a quarterback and wasn’t fantasy relevant for most of the season. This season, it seems like he’s got his act together and has good weapons at his disposal. He is 6th among quarterbacks in scoring and is averaging 20.5 fantasy points per game. He faces a depleted Bills team that will struggle to move the ball and might provide short fields with turnovers. You will have to get up early to watch this one, but Bortles has over 300 yards passing in back-to-back games with 7 touchdowns thrown in those games. The Bills defense is ranked 23rd in the NFL allowing 268.8 with 13 touchdowns allowed.
Good running back matchups this week:
Latavius Murray against the Chargers. Murray hasn’t run well the last two games averaging just 44 yards with no scores. This week is going to be a big spot for him as the Chargers are giving up a ton of fantasy points to running backs. They are allowing 24.3 fantasy points per game and have given up 100 yards or more on the ground in 5 straight games. They are 29th in run defense allowing 132.5 yards per game with 6 touchdowns.
Adrian Peterson against the Lions. Last week, Peterson was average as he rushed 26 times for 60 yards. He hasn’t been involved much in the passing game which has limited additional points. This is the week Peterson runs wild facing a bad Lions defense allowing 124.8 rushing yards per game (26th) with a league high 10 touchdowns on the ground. Just two weeks ago they allowed 191 rushing yards to the Cardinals.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Todd Gurley against the Browns. Gurley has played well since getting a full work load the last two games averaging 152.5 rushing yards. He has yet to score this season so this is the week to have him punch it in. He faces the Browns who rank dead last in run defense allowing 149.8 yards per game with 6 touchdowns allowed. In 4 games this season, the Brown have allowed 152 yards or more.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Tom Brady against the Jets. Will the Jets hand the Patriots their first loss of the season? Brady is pretty much matchup-proof but the Jets have limited fantasy quarterbacks to just 8.6 fantasy points. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for over 200 yards in 3 straight games and have given up more than 1 touchdown in a game just once. They are 2nd in the NFL allowing 186.6 passing yards per game with just 6 touchdowns.
Sam Bradford against the Panthers. The Panthers remain undefeated and this is due to their defense. They are allowing just 13.2 fantasy points to quarterbacks. They are giving up a league average 241.4 passing yards per game (15th) and are tied with the Broncos for least TDs allowed with 5. Bradford did not play well against the Giants defense last week as he was picked off 3 times.
Matt Ryan against the Titans. The Titans have been a surprise defense this season and are #1 in the NFL allowing 184 passing yards per game with 9 touchdowns given up. They are allowing 15.8 fantasy points to quarterbacks. Check the status of Julio Jones as his health is always in question. Surprisingly, Ryan has played better on the road than he has at home but I’m avoiding him this week.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Melvin Gordon against the Raiders. Gordon posted just 3 fantasy points last week and has turned the ball over in back-to-back weeks. Owners have been waiting for a big week from him but it has not yet happened. This week, he will be limited by the Raiders who rank 3rd in the NFL allowing 83.2 rushing yards per game with only 3 touchdowns given up. He is also dealing with an ankle issue.
Le’Veon Bell against the Chiefs. Its hard to think of Bell as a bad matchup against any team as he is a stud, but the quarterback situation isn’t ideal as the Chiefs will look to force the Steelers to throw. The Chiefs have been tough against the run allowing 96.2 rushing yards per game with 4 touchdowns allowed all in 1 game against the Bengals. Bell will get carries, just don’t expect a monster game.
Chris Johnson against the Ravens. Chris Johnson is still the lead runner in Arizona but David Johnson and Andre Ellington will start to limit his touches. Johnson was held to just 40 yards last week against the Steelers and faces a Ravens defense that gives up so much through the air that teams don’t have to run much on them. The Ravens are allowing just 94.5 rushing yards per game with 4 touchdowns given up.