Another week, another five game late slate of games. This week’s player pool is light on elite running backs, well stocked in elite WR – though many of them with tough matchups. This might be the most balanced late player pool of the season, which should make for some interesting teams this week. Here are the guys I like this week:
Tom Brady, New England, $8,400 – Nothing against Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, but Brady is playing well, is considerably cheaper than both, and has a more favorable matchup than either Luck or Manning this week too. Another 37.2 fantasy point game is probably expecting a little much, but Denver struggles against opposing quarterbacks and the Denver/New England game is likely to be a shootout.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco, $7,000 — You never quite know what you will get when you start Kaepernick, but most of the time it will be, at worst, a solid fantasy game. In St. Louis in week six, Kaepernick put up 32.42 fantasy points, this time Kaepernick is at home, the Rams defense is not playing as well and San Francisco is coming off of their bye week. If you are looking to save money and still want the potential for a big game at QB this week, Colin is your guy.
Marshawn Lynch , Seattle, $6,100 – There is nothing that quite gets a struggling running back on track than a game against the Oakland rushing defense. Oakland ranks 28th against opposing running backs this season, and you have to imagine that Seattle wants to start feeding Lynch the ball – if for no other reason than to keep Russell Wilson from taking so many hits.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis, $5,800 – No matter how you determine your running back each week, I think that Bradshaw will fit your selection criteria. You go by the matchup? The Giants ranks 29th against running backs this season. You like the hot hand? Bradshaw has 22.8 and 21.7 fantasy points the last two games. You like guys in “revenge games”? Bradshaw did spend six seasons with the Giants.
Shane Vereen, New England, $4,600 – Denver has been tough against opposing running backs this season, but I do not think that matters in the case of Vereen. Much of Vereen’s value comes from his pass-catching, and I expect him to see a good number of targets this week. Denver is going to try and contain Rob Gronkowski, by doing that, they will allow Vereen to have as many four to six yard receptions as he can handle. Vereen is not a sure thing but for $4,600, I think he is a nice value this week.
Frank Gore, San Francisco $3,800 – Both my economy backs are price selections. Gore is coming off of two bad fantasy game – 3.8 points against St. Louis in week six, 2.0 points against Denver in week seven. St. Louis has also been slightly above average against running backs. So why do I like Gore? He is coming off a bye week, the game is in San Francisco, and I am a sucker for starting running backs priced under $4,000.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh, $9,100 – I think the only thing I do not love about Brown is his price. His matchup is good – Baltimore ranks 27th against opposing wide receivers – he is coming off a monster game, he has been great at home – 30.6 fantasy points per game – he has not had a bad game this season – his worst game was 13.4 fantasy points and has only had two games with less than 20 fantasy points. Oh, and his monster game came against the team that entered week eight as the number one against opposing wide receivers. In other words, I think Brown is well worth his lofty price this week.
T. Y. Hilton, Indianapolis, $8,100 – You would think that a guy who plays his home games indoors would be better at home than on the road, that is not the case with Hilton. Hilton is averaging 23.2 fantasy points per game on the road compared to 17.8 per game at home. He is on the road against the Giants this week; while the Giants are the 9th best team against opposing wide receivers this season, I am skeptical of the Giants secondary so the “bad” matchup does not worry me.
Rueben Randle, New York Giants, $5,400 – Volume pays off eventually. While Randle has not been all that productive this season he continues to see a lot of targets – 48 in his last five games with at least nine in each contest. Indianapolis is going to score points so the Giants will need to throw a lot in an attempt to keep up. I expect above average receiver production from Randle for a slightly below average price this week.
Julian Edelman, New England $4,100 – This price is just too low for me to refuse. I know Edelman has not been all that good the last few weeks; I also know that seems to be the time when New England decides to go back with a guy. When the Patriots line was struggling, Edelman was seeing a lot of targets; I expect that Denver’s pass rush will force Brady to use his guys who run shallower routes – Edelman and Vereen – a good deal this week. Perhaps I am just trying to validate a gut call here, but I do like Edelman this week.
Elite Tight End
Rob Gronkowski, New England, $7,600 -Finally, we finally got to see Gronkowski as the monster tight end we remembered. Gronkowski exploded for 44.9 fantasy points against the Bears in week eight. You name it, Gronkowski did it on Sunday: three touchdowns, nine receptions, 149 yards, treating defenders like rag-dolls. He probably will not have 40+ points against Denver this week, but Denver does rank 24th against TE this season so Gronkowski’s matchup is favorable. Gronkowski is expensive, but I think the price is reasonable.
Bargain Tight End
Mychal Rivera, Oakland, $3,200 – Despite shutting down Greg Olsen last week, Seattle has struggled against tight ends this season. It is likely that the Seahawks built their game plan around stopping Olsen last week, there is little chance they will be planning around Rivera. All Rivera did in week eight was score 15.3 fantasy points against the Browns, I would not be shocked if he put up similar numbers this week.
Seattle, $3,300 – Against Cleveland in week eight, Oakland committed three turnovers, allowed three quarterback sacks and scored only 13 points. Seattle’s defense held Carolina to only 266 total yards last week. Perhaps Seattle’s D is not what it was last year; what it is, is plenty good enough to have a good game against Oakland.
St. Louis, $2,800 – If you absolutely have to find some extra money for help elsewhere this week, then the St. Louis defense is the way to go. No, I do not like them at all, but I hate them less than the Giants D against Indianapolis.
Good luck to you this week; you can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.