By: Kevin Lewis
New England Patriots vs St. Louis Rams
–Aaron Hernandez is out. Plan accordingly.
– Mark Sanchez just finished throwing for 300+ yards on 70% completions on the Patriots. Par for the course as everyone throws on them. Sam Bradford is a decent play this week if your QB is on a bye, or if you might have shaken confidence in your QB (see: Vick, Michael and Romo, Tony)
– Don’t bother with either Rams RB. The Patriots are good at stopping the run and Steven Jackson just doesn’t look the same. You MIGHT steal a cheap TD out of Jackson but it’s not worth starting him to find out.
-If you’re desperate, give Brandon Gibson a start against that Patriots secondary. He seems to be the beneficiary of Danny Ammendola’s absence as he’s been the most targeted Rams WR since the trade. I already alluded to the Patriots terrible secondary, so if you’re in need of a jolt from an unexpected source, give Gibson a look.
-If you have an alternative, give Brandon Lloyd a break this week. Lloyd and Tom Brady still aren’t fully in sync yet, and the Rams don’t give up many big plays through the air. If you don’t have someone you’re comfortable with, DON’T do it. I’m not saying to bench him for anyone, but I don’t expect much production from him this week.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
-Miami’s run defense is a significant strength of their team. Do not read anything into Shonn Greene’s last two fluky weeks. Do NOT put your stock in Shonn Greene. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a touchdown this week, but his performance the last two weeks is the anomaly (especially his SIX catches last week, when he had THREE the previous SIX games combined).
-If you need to take a flier on a WR this week, start Davone Bess (PPR). Although the numbers didn’t do it proper justice (a couple bubble screens went for big yardage), Isaiah Trufant did a great job on Welker last week. Who knows if he’ll be assigned on Bess this week but I don’t think he will perform that well two weeks in a row. I’d expect a 7-9 catch effort for Bess.
-Start Jeremy Kerley with confidence. To me, he is an every week flex. He’s become one of the lone bright spots on the Jets as he’s played well all year. The impact of Keller’s presence on the field can only do wonders for him as far as having more space to operate.
-Speaking of Keller, he had his first impact of the season last week. The Jets are going to have to throw the ball to succeed, and Keller is Sanchez’ favorite target. He’s a midlevel starting tight end this week. Start him accordingly.
Seattle @ Detroit
-Start Mikel Leshoure with confidence. With all the soft fronts that he sees as a result of Calvin Johnson’s presence on the field, Leshoure should have a nice day. Hopefully Detroit can avoid shooting themselves in the foot in the redzone, then Leshoure might get a TD.
-If you can pick up a Sam Bradford type, then sit Matt Stafford. I know he’s either your first or second round pick but he hasn’t hacked it so far this season. He’s been bad and Seattle’s pass defense is unrelenting and unfriendly to fantasy QBs. If you can get another guy or have a guy on your bench you feel comfortable with, go with them.
-Maybe this is just hopefulness, but I feel like you should keep an eye on Titus Young. Nate Burleson is hurt and SOMEONE has to step up opposite Calvin Johnson right? ANYONE? Right? I’m not saying to start him this week but I’m saying that taking a flier on him makes a lot of sense.
Redskins at Steelers
-Firstly, if you aren’t a fan of these two teams and you watch, I feel bad for your eyes having to deal with those uniforms the Steelers are wearing Sunday.
–Antonio Brown has been relatively solid but we’re looking for that breakout game. This may be it. Washington’s pass defense is brutally bad, the Steelers have a banged up backfield, and there will be a lot of points. Brown doesn’t find the endzone much but he should have plenty of opportunities to make his name felt otherwise.
– Santana Moss always seems to do well against the Giants, and overall is a solid WR. That being said, do not be duped into starting him this week. He’ll revert back to the normal this week.
-Start Jonathan Dwyer this Sunday if you MUST start one of those backs. He did come off a 100+ yard performance and he seems to be the only healthy and productive back out of them.
Jaguars @ Packers
-With MJD out, go ahead and start Rashad Jennings with confidence. He’s showed good things when he’s had the chance to start and someone has to move the ball.
–Randall Cobb had 8 catches and two TDs last week. And the Rodgers/Cobb combination has combined for an 85% completion percentage which is the best of any QB/WR combo in the league. With Jennings out, Cobb’s role continues to increase. Expect good things from him.
-At this point just drop Jermichael Finley or trade him for a pack of now and laters. He isn’t worth the headache anymore.
-Monitor Jordy Nelson’s injury situation carefully.