START: Ben Roethlisberger ($7500)-Big Ben is coming off of back-to-back, six touchdown games and is playing against the worst pass defense in the NFL. He is having an astonishing season thus far and has been on fire in the last two weeks. As of Week 9, his stat line is: 2,720 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, just three interceptions, and 22.6 fantasy points per game. Not to mention a 110.6 QB passer rating. Big Ben has thrown for over 250 yards in six games this season and has thrown two or more touchdown passes in five games. The Jets, are allowing 20.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. They have allowed two or more passing touchdowns in every game this season and have surrendered three or more passing touchdowns in four of their last five games. Some may be concerned about Big Ben’s road games struggles this year, but the Jets have been unable to stop any quarterback this season. In addition, his price remained the same from what it was last week, so the price is right. He’s the seventh cheapest quarterback and could finish much higher than that. I’m not expecting another six touchdown game from Big Ben, but at only 15 percent of my salary, I’ll put him in some of my lineups this week.
I’d start him over:Jay Cutler $7800, Tony Romo $7500, and Ryan Tannenhill $7400
SIT: Eli Manning ($6900)–Manning has been surprisingly solid over the last couple of games. Despite a poor effort in Week 6 against the Eagles, he’s had 13 touchdowns and just one interception since Week 3. He now heads to Seattle to take on the Seahawks on a short week, as he played on Monday night. That alone is a red flag. Manning is averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game, but has two games with fewer than 10 fantasy points on the road. In addition, the Seahawks have not allowed a quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards since Week 3 against the Broncos. In fact, Peyton Manning has been the only quarterback to throw for 300+ yards against the Seahawks. Their defense is giving up just 14.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Eli Manning threw for 359 yards and two touchdowns in Week 9, but a lot of that came after the team was trailing the Colts by multiple touchdowns. This is a defense that has held the last three quarterbacks they have faced under 200 passing yards and under 15 fantasy points. This is a tough road game for a quarterback who hasn’t done too well on the road this year. There’s better value in this price range than Manning.
I’d rather start:Colin Kaepernick $7300, Russell Wilson $7000, and Cam Newton $6600.
START: Matt Ryan ($6300)-Ryan is sitting at the lowest prices he’s been all season, and has a great matchup this week against the Bucs. He threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns in their last meeting and has a good recent history against them. In their last three meetings, he has thrown eight touchdowns and two interceptions. The Bucs are allowing the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (18.6) and are giving up the most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers (29.1). They have surrendered two or more passing touchdown in six of their eight games this year. Ryan is known to struggle on the road, but this is a bad pass defense, and one he is familiar with. The Falcons are also coming off a bye, which allowed him more time to prepare for the game and rest. He has failed to score over 20 points in his last four games, but scored 23.64 in Week 3 against the Bucs. Look for a bounce back game from Ryan and the Falcons offense this week, and take advantage of the discounted price he’s at.
I’d start him over:Kyle Orton $6700, Michael Vick $5900, and Alex Smith $5800
SIT: Tony Romo ($7500)-The Cowboys will be playing in London this week, and Romo is currently a game-time decision. Basically if he plays, he’ll be at less than 100 percent, and could aggravate his injury again during the game. That’s too much of a risk for a quarterback that I’d be paying $7400 for. Not to mention, the Jaguars defense have quietly been solid against quarterbacks in the last five games. No quarterback has been able to score more than 14 fantasy points in the past five weeks against the Jags. In the last five weeks they’ve allowed just three passing touchdowns and have not allowed a 300 yards passing game. This is by no means a shutdown defense, but they’ve improved as the year has progressed. Romo is averaging 17.5 fantasy points per game, but outside of the Cowboys’ stadium, hes averaging just 15 points. There’s too much value at the mid-level quarterback position to take a risk on one that has too many question marks heading into the week.
I’d rather start:Carson Palmer $7700, Colin Kaepernick $7300, and Matthew Stafford $7100.
SNEAKY START: Mark Sanchez ($5400)– In a GPP this guy is someone you can build around at this low price. Sanchez will get the start for the Eagles in place of injured Nick Foles. He came into the game last week when Foles suffered the injury and threw for 202 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. In his first start as an Eagle, he has a favorable matchup against the Panthers. They’re giving up 17.6 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and have allowed at least one passing touchdown in every game this season. On the road however, they have yielded two or more passing touchdowns in each game, and this week they will be in Philly. While Sanchez has been inconsistent throughout his career, this is a system that he could flourish in. At a low price and against a favorable opponent, he could be a good gamble this week. As they say on the poker table, you have pot odds to make the call.
START: Marshawn Lynch ($6700)-This is the second week in a row that Lynch is a must start in my book. Last week he rushed for 67 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 76 yards. At the end of the day, Lynch scored 31.3 fantasy points. This week he has another favorable matchup against the Giants defense that is giving up 19.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. The Giants have allowed a touchdown in every road game this season. Lynch has five rushing touchdowns this season and they have all been in Seattle. He is averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game for the season, but 23.7 fantasy points when he plays at home. He’s already scored over 25 fantasy points in three of four home games. Lynch is currently the sixth most expensive running back, but he is still below his expected value. He’s dealing with a calf injury, but it is not expected to keep him out this week. However, it’s something to monitor. Look for another big week from Lynch.
I’d start him over:Andre Ellington $7300, LeVeon Bell $7000, and Eddie Lacy $6900.
SIT: Mark Ingram ($5900)-The Saints have been heavily relying on Ingram in the last couple of weeks because of injuries to Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas. Ingram has done really well with his opportunity and has posted big numbers in consecutive weeks, but that’ll be hard to repeat again this week. In his last two games he’s rushed 54 times for 272 yards, has scored three touchdowns, and is averaging 27.25 fantasy points. The volume is there, but this is a tough matchup for Ingram. The 49ers defense is allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (12.8). In four of their eight games, they have kept running backs out of the end zone and have held the to 10 or less fantasy points. If you look at some of the other backs at this price range, you’ll find some better matchups. I understand it’s tough to ignore his recent production, but the Niners are much more vulnerable against the pass than they are against the run, so it’s likely that the Saints will attack this defense through the air. You’re hoping for a touchdown if you start Ingram, and that may be hard to come by this week.
I’d rather start: Jamal Charles $6400, Ronnie Hillman $6100, and LeSean McCoy $5600
START: Bobby Rainey ($4400)-This is a talented running back. After watching him play a couple of times, I’m surprised he hasn’t been the starter since day one. On 81 carries, Rainey is averaging 4.6 yards per carries. In home games, he is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He played the Falcons in Week 3, and despite the Bucs being blown out that week, Rainey managed to score 15.5 fantasy points. Not to mention he had two lost fumbles in that meeting. He has proven that he can both get it done on the ground and through the air. In the last four weeks he has scored 12 or more fantasy points three times. The Falcons are the worst run defense in the NFL. They are surrendering 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns, seven of which were on the road. They have also given up 99 or more rushing yards in six of their eight games played. This is as good of a matchup as Rainey will have all season. He is expected to get the start once again for the Bucs. He has a high ceiling and high floor this week, and can be one of the best bargains of the week. Consider this a low-risk, high-reward play.
I’d start him over: Joique Bell $4500, Darren McFadden $4400, and Chris Ivory $4300.
SIT: Lamar Miller ($5700)-He has been one of the more consistent backs this season. He’s not a back that gets you 30 fantasy points in a game, but he’s scored more than 12 fantasy points in every game except for one this season. He is averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game and has six touchdowns this season. However, Miller suffered a shoulder in last week’s win against the Chargers, but is expected to play this week. The problem is not only that he is playing banged up, but this is a tough matchup. The Lions haven’t allowed a touchdown in Detroit since Week 1. They are giving up just 13.9 fantasy points per game to running backs and have only allowed one 100+ rushing yard game. In addition, the Lions are coming off of a bye week and will be well rested. On the other hand, Miller will be playing at less than 100 percent. This is a steep price to pay when considering all the variables.
I’d rather start: Denard Robinson $5100, Justin Forsett $5000, and Steven Jackson $4300.
SNEAKY START: Reggie Bush ($4200)-Am I thrilled about Bush this week? Not really. However his price is intriguing, and if you look at some of his strengths versus some of the Dolphins weaknesses against running backs, plugging him in can definitely pay off. The Dolphins have allowed three receiving touchdowns by running backs, which is tied for third most in the NFL. If you look at some of the running backs they’ve allowed touchdowns too; Matt Forte, Shane Vereen, and Knile Davis, they all have one thing in common, and that’s that they are good pass catching backs. Bush is expected to make his first appearance since Week 7 barring setbacks. He should continue to be a big part of the Lions’ passing attack, and should be able to exploit some of the soft spots in Miami’s defense.
START: Jordy Nelson ($7600)-The Packers are coming off a bye so they are well rested. Prior to the bye week, Nelson actually had his worst game of the season with just three catches for 25 yards. In that game he scored 5.5 fantasy points, that was the first time all season he scored below double digits in fantasy points. This week he will play the Bears, a team that he is very familiar with. The Packers and the Bears played earlier in the season, and Nelson torched their defense with 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second best performance of the season. Nelson has scored 10 or more fantasy points in the last five meetings against the Bears. Within those games he has three 100+ yards games and two games where he scored multiple times. The Bears have already struggled against this Packers offense, and they haven’t improved against the pass much. I’m expecting a fresh and well-prepared Packers team to put on another show, this time in Lambeau Field.
I’d start him over: Jeremy Maclin $8300, Golden Tate $7000, Dez Bryant $6400
SIT: Dez Bryant ($6400)-It’s tough to sit a talented receiver such as Bryant, but the Cowboys will likely rely heavily on the run game this week. Tony Romo isn’t 100 percent healthy, you have the NFL’s leading rusher on your team, and the Jaguars defense struggles more against the run than they do the pass. There’s a chance Bryant finds the end zone this week, but his overall production is what’s concerning. This has clearly become a run first offense, and there’s no need to abandon the run if it’s working. In the last two games, Bryant’s numbers have been saved by the two touchdowns he scored. Besides that he has five catches for 45 yards in both games combined. Prior to last week that they gave up two touchdowns, the Jaguars defense had only allowed one touchdown to opposing receivers in the previous four games. I’m not expecting the offense to be chucking the ball often, especially with a quarterback that’s playing hurt. There’s too much good value within this price range than to settle for Bryant in a rough week for him.
Id rather start:Julio Jones $6600, Alshon Jeffery $6000, and Brandon Marshall $5600
START: Kelvin Benjamin ($4200)-The last time he was at this price was in Week 1, his NFL debut. Since then, Benjamin hasn’t dropped below $4800. That right there spells out, bargain! Benjamin had a good matchup last week, but came up short. This week, he has another favorable matchup and in a good position to have a bounce back game. In each game this season where he’s failed to score over 10 fantasy points in PPR formats, he’s bounced back with a big game and each time, he’s scored a touchdown. There’s no doubt that he’s been one of the more impressive rookies this year. He has 40 catches for 589 yards and five touchdowns. Benjamin leads the team in targets with 78. The Eagles are allowing 25. 6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers and have allowed 30 or more fantasy points in four games this year. I’m expecting for Newton to be looking at Benjamin often against the Eagles, and capitalize on this vulnerable secondary. Don’t let last week’s performance put a doubt in your mind. If history repeats itself, he should find the end zone this week.
I’d start him over: Eric Decker $4900, Doug Baldwin $4800, and Mike Wallace $4700
SIT: Reuben Randle ($4800)-Randle had a rough Week 9 against the Colts. He caught four of his 11 targets. Some were bad throws, the others were dropped passes. The going gets tougher this week as the Giants travel to Seattle to play in one of the most hostile football stadiums, CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks have not allowed an opposing receiver to score a touchdown in the last four games and have only yielded one touchdown at home this season, and that was in Week 1 to Randall Cobb. Receivers are averaging just 10.5 fantasy points in the last four weeks against this defense .The “12th“man continues to be effective apparently. Randle hasn’t done a whole lot with his opportunity as the team’s go-to receiver. He has just one touchdown in the last six games, and has yet to reach 100 receiving yards in a single game this season. Randle has taken a back seat to rookie receiver Odell Beckham who has been very good over the last four weeks. Despite a fair price for Randle, the matchup alone makes it an easy decision to keep him out of your lineups.
I’d rather start: Roddy White $5100, Michael Crabtree $5000, and Brandin Cooks $4300
SNEAKY START: Justin Hunter ($4000)-This isn’t the first time I’ve had Hunter in this category, and it’s possible it won’t be the last. Heading into the season, Hunter was on everyone’s sleeper lists and radars. It got to the point where he was no longer considered a sleeper. Well, that blew up in everyone’s face early on in the season. However, in recent weeks, his numbers have improved. In the last four games, Hunter has scored two touchdowns and has scored double digit fantasy points in three of those games. The Ravens are pretty passive against receivers. They give up 26.3 fantasy points per game to wide outs. They have allowed seven touchdowns in the last four games. Bottom line is that they’re not that good at containing receivers. If you’re looking for a boom or bust play at a low price with a high ceiling this week, Hunter is your guy.
START: Julius Thomas ($4900)-When I initially looked through the tight ends this week; I thought that Thomas had accidentally been left out of the player pool. Then I look down a couple spot and there he was at just $4900. I get it, his numbers haven’t been that great in the last three weeks, but it’s Julius Thomas and he’s playing the Raiders. Despite his recent struggles, Thomas still has 10 touchdowns for the season and is still the top tight end in one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Last year he caught eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown in two games against the Raiders. The two best tight ends that the Raiders have played against this season, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Gates, have both found the end zone. There’s no reason why Thomas can’t do the same.
I’d start him over: All tight ends.
SIT: Delanie Walker ($4400)-After a great start to the season in the first four weeks, Walker has been inconsistent since Week 5. In his last game, he scored for the first time since Week 4. The Titans head to Baltimore to play the Ravens, a defense that bodes pretty well against tight ends. The Ravens defense has only given up two touchdowns to tight ends. They’re allowing just 5.3 fantasy points per game and have not given up a 100 yards game to a tight end yet. In fact, they have held tight ends to seven or less points in seven of their nine games. Let’s face it, Walker was much more reliable when Jake Locker was the quarterback and that is no longer the case. He could draw some attention in a future week, but not this week and not at this price.
I’d rather start: Greg Olsen $5000, Mychal Rivera $3800, and Owen Daniels $3300
SNEAKY START: Jared Cook ($3000)-Cook is another tight end that has had difficulty to produce in recent weeks. He went from catching at least four passes in each game the first five games, to catching just six in the last three games. This week, he’s at the cheapest a tight end can be, and has a good matchup. The Cardinals have allowed more than 55 receiving yards to tight ends in all but two games this year. They have also given up three touchdowns. Last season, Cook played well against the Cardinals. He caught 10 passes for 190 yards and scored two touchdowns. If Cook is going to get back to the reliable tight end he was earlier this year, he could start as early as this week.
I’ve provided you with low-risk, high-reward players for each position. If you’re drafting a lineup that’s top heavy in salaries and need to find some inexpensive players to plug in, then my sneaky starts can be useful.