By Ethan Cox, Brad Henning, and Zach Thomas
Hello all once again with the second straight installment of WIDB.net’s cohesive fantasy football article. We are more than happy each week to bring you who we think is worth a start and who is worth a sit on your fantasy football team. These picks will not include the Thursday Night Football game (as Tyler Eifert had 3 touchdowns) and will not include fantasy standouts like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Devonta Freeman, Adrian Peterson, Rob Gronkowski, etc…Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Ben Roethlisberger vs. OAK: Big Ben struggled during his return from injury last week, throwing three interceptions and only one touchdown. This week, he gets a more than favorable matchup to rebound against in a Raiders defense that has given up back-to-back 300-yard passers.
Eli Manning @ TB: Manning was on fire last week, tossing six touchdowns against a middling Saints defense. The going gets sweeter for Eli as he takes on a bottom-dwelling Bucs pass D that has allowed more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns through the air the last three games.
Matt Ryan @ SF: Are you really not playing anyone against the tanking 49ers this year? I didn’t think so. San Francisco’s only advantage is that they are playing at home this week…which hasn’t made much of a difference this season. Not to mention, Matt Ryan may finally be feeling it again after throwing for almost 400 yards last week.
Doug Martin vs. NYG: The man formerly known as “The Muscle Hamster” saw his streak of 100+ rushing yards snapped after three games. Fear not as Jameis Winston is no Drew Brees and we should see plenty of running against the G-Men, who give up over 102 yards per game on the ground.
Chris Ivory vs. JAX: It may be too early to think about benching Ivory after he ran for a total of 58 yards over the Jets’ two-game skid. However, the Jaguars are giving up over 117 rushing yards a game on the road this season along with six touchdowns. Start Ivory with confidence.
Ronnie Hillman/CJ Anderson @ IND: We may have seen a sign of things to come in Denver a week ago as the Broncos’ running backs combined for 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns. With Manning’s arm not quite what it used to be, Denver could force the run more and more as the season rolls on. Indianapolis is a favorable test of this theory, as they allow at least 102 yards per game on the ground this year.
Mike Evans vs. NYG: Evans has been up and down this year and fantasy owners just don’t know what to make of him. Luckily, he has a generous matchup this week against a Giants’ defense that gave up five touchdowns to receivers last Sunday. If Vincent Jackson does sit with an injury, Evans will be Winston’s biggest, and probably best, target.
Malcolm Floyd/Stevie Johnson vs. CHI: Phillip Rivers loves to throw the football. Without Keenan Allen, the other San Diego receivers will have to step up in his absence and handle the numerous targets Allen got each week. Their first challenge: a Bears defense that has allowed 12 touchdowns to receivers so far this season. San Diego’s passing game shouldn’t skip a beat.
Michael Crabtree @ PIT: Crabtree’s role in the Raiders’ offense has expanded since the bye, as he has 13 catches for 165 yards and two scores their past two outings. Believe it or not, Crabtree has almost the same amount of fantasy points as teammate rookie standout Amari Cooper in standard PPR formats. The Texas Tech alum and his Oakland squad will take on a depleted Pittsburgh secondary this week. Expect the Raiders to keep airing it out.
Ben Watson vs. TEN: Watson has been a real treat for owners who nabbed him off waivers when he started seeing more looks in the offense. He has a touchdown in three of his last four games and has two 100+ yard receiving efforts over that span as well. He is red hot right now and should be started in all leagues.
Vernon Davis @ IND: This pick may be more wishful thinking than anything else. If you’re struggling in the tight end department and VD is available on your waiver wire, make your move now to grab him as his move to the Broncos sets him up for the best opportunity to make a playoff run in the latter half of his career. Not to mention, Denver has been desperate for some consistency at the tight end position. It’s a high-risk, moderately high-reward play to put Vernon Davis in your lineups this week.
Heath Miller vs. OAK: The Pittsburgh-Oakland game is oozing with fantasy potential and Heath Miller’s ceiling has never been higher as he takes on a Raiders defense that is worst in the league against tight ends, allowing eight touchdowns to the position this season. If you can’t decide on a tight end this week, it’s Miller time.
Falcons D @ SF: This again goes back to the argument of whether you are even questioning not playing any Falcons player against the struggling 49ers. Blaine Gabbert has 24 interceptions in 27 career starts so all systems go for all Falcons players this week.
Jets D vs. JAX: The Jets have been in a funk lately, not being able to stop the passing attacks of both the Patriots and Raiders the past two weeks. This week, they play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars who are prone to one or two game-changing turnovers a game. Don’t give up on the Jets D yet as Ryan Fitzpatrick may be able to keep the Jets ahead on the scoreboard.
Saints D vs. TEN: This is another desperation move if you need a defense to stream this week as they take on one of the worst offenses in the league in the Tennessee Titans. Mariota may not be 100% ready from his injury and the sudden change in head coaches could set up for a rough transitional period for the Titans. New Orleans is a great streaming option this weekend.
Blair Walsh vs. STL
Nick Folk vs. JAX
Josh Lambo vs. CHI
Andrew Luck vs. DEN: As the league leader in interceptions, no one thought Andrew Luck’s Colts would be 3-5 at this point in the season. Luck struggled against a Panthers defense a week ago and will be in for another rough outing against a Broncos defense that is tops in the league against the pass.
Teddy Bridgewater vs. STL: If you’re having bye week struggles at quarterback, pass up Bridgewater as a potential suitor completely. Teddy has one game this season of two or more passing touchdowns and has turned the ball over in every game except one. Not to mention, he takes on a St. Louis Rams squad that has been elite against quarterbacks this season.
Sam Bradford @ DAL: Bradford has had one week of complete fantasy dominance this season where he piled up 270 passing yards and tossed three TDs week four against Washington. The Philadelphia offense has been a mess this year and it’s a question mark each week as to who will get the most looks. This week, the Eagles get a Dallas defense that has yet to allow three touchdowns to quarterback any week. If Bradford has been on your bench, keep him there.
Latavius Murray vs. PIT: The Pittsburgh run defense has been a “Steel Curtain” so far this year, only allowing one rushing touchdown and two games of 100 or more rushing yards. Murray has gotten back into a rhythm since Oakland’s bye, but this matchup does not bode well for the ground game. If you have a better option, think about sitting Murray this week.
TJ Yeldon @ NYJ: Yeldon has progressed as a running back as the season has moved on. He has three straight games of either 100+ yards rushing and/or a touchdown. This week he faces a stout Jets front seven that has been dominant against runners this season, only allowing one touchdown so far and only two weeks of 100 or more yards. Yeldon is looking better and better each game, but this may not be the game to test his effectiveness for your fantasy team.
Darren McFadden vs. PHI: McFadden has been looking more and more like an asset in fantasy leagues, providing owners with one 100+ yard rushing performance and two games where he was prominent in the passing game. DMC may struggle this week in a matchup against an Eagles team that has allowed just one touchdown to running backs this season. If the Cowboys can’t get it done on the ground, they will have an even tougher time through the air with Matt Cassel under center.
TY Hilton vs. DEN: Along with Luck, Hilton has been a major disappointment this season for fantasy owners, having only one game of 100+ receiving yards to go along with three touchdowns. Battling an injury, Hilton’s status for week nine is up in the air. Not to mention that he goes up against Aqib Talib and the Denver defense IF he’s healthy. Don’t hold high hopes for Hilton, if he plays, this week.
Torrey Smith vs. ATL: Anquan Boldin is more than likely sitting this week with a hamstring injury, pushing Torrey Smith into the number one receiver role in San Francisco, which isn’t saying much. With Blaine Gabbert under center this week, you could do much better than Smith for a wide receiver bye week filler.
Jordan Matthews @ DAL: The Philadelphia passing attack has been an absolute mess so far this season and Matthews has not helped their cause with drops aplenty. With less than 60 yards receiving the past four weeks, Matthews is beginning to look more and more droppable and should stay on your bench for the time being.
Jason Witten vs. PHI: Jason Witten has not benefitted from Matt Cassel starting as quarterback, as he only gather 8 catches on 89 yards the past two weeks. In addition, Witten faces a Philly defense that has only allowed one touchdown t the position this year and Witten hasn’t scored since week one. There are better plays than Witten this week if you have one.
Coby Fleener vs. DEN: Fleener had his second best game of the season against a tough Panthers defense a week ago, posting his second score on the year. However, with the up-and-down play from Fleener this year and a rocky matchup against Denver, Fleener does not warrant a start this week.
Jordan Reed vs. NE: Reed was impressive a week ago in his return from injury, hauling in 11 passes, two of which for touchdowns. The Redskins may rely on the short game this week against a tough New England squad. However, if Kirk Cousins isn’t able to stay upright or hang onto the ball, we could see very little from the Washington offense. A risky play, but it could pay off…but we aren’t holding out hope.
Panthers D vs. GB: A defense that has maintained fantasy relevance throughout the season, the Panthers will face their toughest challenge in Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. They could do what they did to Luck a week ago, but Green Bay is one of the best teams in the league at not turning the ball over. The Carolina defense is too risky to play this week.
Redskins D @ NE: Taking on Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots will warrant a sit no matter how good your run defense is.
Steelers D vs. OAK: Oakland’s offense has been red hot the past two weeks while the Steelers have been inconsistent. A good run defense may not be enough to stop Derek Carr and the Raiders, who has seven touchdowns the past two weeks.