START: Aaron Rodgers ($9400)-Many people build their lineups around their quarterbacks, and if you’re considering paying for a high-level quarterback, Aaron Rodgers is the guy. In Lambeau Field he is averaging 28.7 fantasy points per game and has thrown 15 touchdowns with no picks. In every home game this season, he’s thrown three or more touchdowns. This week he has a favorable matchup against the Eagles who are allowing the fourth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (18.4). The Eagles have given up two or more passing touchdowns in all but one game, and have allowed a total of 19 passing touchdowns. Of those 19, nine have been on the road. They have also given up over 300 passing yards in three of their last five games. Rodgers should have no trouble putting up big numbers again this week. Despite a six touchdown game last week against Chicago, Rodgers’ price remained the same. He’s the fourth most expensive quarterback, but could easily finish as the No. 1 quarterback this week. This would be a good week to dish out some cash on Rodgers.
I’d start him over: All quarterbacks.
SIT: Russell Wilson ($7800)-Wilson had a solid game in Week 10 against the Giants, but most of his points came from his ground game. He rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown. Through the air he was only able to get 172 yards and threw two picks. This week, he faces a stingy Chiefs defense. The Chiefs have yet to allow a 300 yards passer this season. They are giving up just 13.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and have not allowed any quarterback to rush for a touchdown. In the last five games, Wilson has scored under 20 fantasy points, three times. He’s rushed for over 100 yards three times this season, but the Chiefs have allowed just 64 rushing yards to quarterbacks this season. Since their bye week, the Chiefs have allowed just one passing touchdown per game at home. They’ve been playing some pretty good defense in recent weeks. Wilson is the sixth most expensive quarterback this week and has one of the toughest matchups. He’s $800 more expensive than last week and is a bit too pricey for my pocket. I rather pay less for some of the other quarterbacks with better matchups and higher ceilings.
I’d rather start: Jay Cutler $7700, Matthew Stafford $7400, and Philip Rivers $6800
START: Philip Rivers ($6800)-This right here, is a good deal. Rivers was playing great football right until Week 9 in Miami. In that game, he threw for 138 yards, three interceptions, and no touchdowns. Despite his poor performance prior to the bye week, Rivers has thrown for two or more touchdowns in all but two games this season. The Chargers are playing the Raiders this week, the team they last got a win against in Week 6. The last time Rivers played against them, he threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns. Since returning from their bye week, the Raiders have given up 11 touchdowns in five games. Mind you, they’ve only given up 17 for the year. Not to mention, Rivers has a good history against the Raiders. Look for him to continue his success against them this week. The Chargers are coming off of a much needed bye week, and should be well rested and prepared to face off their division rivals. Look for Rivers to get back on track this week.
I’d start him over: Ben Roethlisberger $7200, Cam Newton $6700, Josh McCown $6500,
SIT: Eli Manning ($6200)-Manning and the Giants are set to face the 49ers this week. The Niners defense is allowing just 13.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. In their last six games, they have only given up more than two passing touchdowns in two games. That was against Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Let’s be honest, Eli is not in that tier. Eli was on a four game streak with no picks, but threw one in his last game. The Niners have intercepted the ball 11 times this year. They have only allowed one 300+ yards passer and have only allowed two quarterbacks to score over 20 fantasy points against them. Eli has only scored over 20 fantasy points in three of his nine games. He is also due for a blowup game where he throws multiple interceptions. This is a tough matchup for a quarterback with a low ceiling, and the price isn’t worth it if you compare all the variables to some of the other quarterbacks in his price range.
I’d rather start: Matt Ryan $6400, Colin Kaepernick $6400, Mark Sanchez $5800
SNEAKY START: Robert Griffin III ($6300)-Griffin returned to action in Week 9 against the Vikings after missing six games. He threw for 251 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. This week, he has a favorable matchup against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. The Bucs are giving up the fifth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (18.1). They have allowed five 300 or more passing yard games this season. In fact, in all road games this season the Bucs have given up 300 or more yards. In four road games they have allowed 10 passing touchdowns. If Griffin is going to have a break out game this season, this would most likely be his best chance to do so. The Bucs have been torched often this year and Griffin should be able to take full advantage of them.
START: Mark Ingram ($6200)-Ingram has now rushed for over 100 yards in three consecutive games. Every time he receives over 20 carries, he goes over the century mark in rushing yards. Volume is something that is important when considering a player, and that’s something Ingram sees plenty of. In the last three games he’s carried the ball 24 or more times in each game. Despite missing three games, he has six touchdowns this year. The Saints will face a very vulnerable run defense; the Bengals are giving up 21.6 fantasy points per game to opposing backs and have allowed the second most rushing touchdowns (11). They have surrendered at least one touchdown in all but one game this season. In their last five games they’ve yielded over 90 rushing yards in four games. This defense clearly struggles against the run and is now set to face a hot running back. Ingram should have no issue continuing to find success on the ground against the Bengals, and should be active in all formats.
I’d start him over: Marshawn Lynch $8200, Andre Ellington $6400, and LeSean McCoy $6400
SIT: Marshawn Lynch ($8200)-Lynch is the third most expensive running back this week. However, he has the toughest matchups of the top priced backs. So, is he worth paying up for? My answer would be no. Yes, Lynch has scored over 30 fantasy points in his last two games, but let’s not forget the three consecutive weeks he scored fewer than 10 fantasy points. He’s averaging just 13.9 fantasy points one the road. Not to mention, he will face the only defense in the NFL that has not allowed a rushing touchdown. The Chiefs have kept all running backs they have faced out of the end zone both on the ground and through the air. They are giving up just 12.1 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. I wouldn’t suggest sitting Lynch in yearly leagues because he’s a great back, but this is daily, and you have other options at a cheaper price, with better matchups and just as high of a ceiling. I had him as a start in my previous two weeks, but will be fading him in just about all my lineups.
I’d rather start: LeVeon Bell $7200, Jamal Charles $7100, and Eddie Lacy $6800
START: Ahmad Bradshaw ($5700)-Bradshaw has been very consistent this season. He has yet to score under 10 fantasy points in any game. For the most part, Bradshaw will not get you a ton of yardage, but he sure knows how to get in the end zone. He has eight touchdowns this year, but has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game, just to give you some perspective. This week’s matchup is a really good one for Bradshaw. If you look at the rushing numbers against the Patriots defense, you may think it’s a good matchup. They have only allowed a total of five rushing touchdowns in nine games. However, Bradshaw’s strength goes hand in hand with the Patriots defense. They have allowed six receiving touchdowns by opposing backs (6), which is the most of any team in the NFL. Bradshaw has score 20+ points in two of his last three games and has a favorable matchup. At this mid-level price, there’s not much to dislike about him this week. Another double digit fantasy point day is almost inevitable for Bradshaw.
I’d start him over: Branden Oliver $5200, C.J. Anderson $4800, and Rashad Jennings $4700
SIT: Joique Bell ($3900)-This is the second lowest price that Bell has been at this season, some might think that this would be a good time to start him. As tempting as it may be, I’m avoiding him at all costs. Bell hasn’t lived up to expectations this season. He’s failed to reach 100 total yards in a single game. He hasn’t caught more than two passes in a game since Week 2, and only has three touchdowns for the season. I’m also taking into account that this week’s matchup is not one that I’d be looking forward to as a running back. The Cardinals are giving up the second fewest fantasy points to opposing backs. They have yet allowed a 100 yard rusher this season and have only given up five touchdowns. The Lions have split the workload at the running back position between Bell, Reggie Bush, and now Theo Riddick. This also hurts his value because of the volume concept. There are just too many red flags to take a shot at Bell this week, despite the low price.
I’d rather start: Jeremy Hill $4500, Terrence West $4400, Bishop Sankey $4100
SNEAKY START: Jonathan Stewart ($3400)-Stewart had a solid outing in Week 10 against the Eagles. He totaled 59 yards and scored a touchdown. He also caught four passes. This week he has a terrific matchup against the Falcons defense that is allowing 23 fantasy points per game to running backs and has already surrendered 99 or more rushing yards in six games this year. Stewart has fared well against them. He is averaging 5.15 yards per carry in his 10 career games against the Falcons. In all but one game where he’s received more than 10 carries, he’s score over 12 fantasy points. This is an uber low price for Stewart and it’s also a great matchup. He should get a couple of shots to punch one in.
START: Jordy Nelson ($7700)-This price could be steep for some, but this is where I’m investing this week. Let’s be honest, Nelson has been superb this season, even more so in Lambeau Field where this matchup will take place. In four home games he’s caught 20 passes for 507 yards and five touchdowns. He’s scored in every game in Green Bay this season. He’s averaging 26.68 fantasy points per game at home. He just finished torching the Bears last week in Lambeau. He caught six passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. This week’s matchup is even easier than last week’s. The Eagles are giving up the third most fantasy points per game (25.2) and have allowed the second most touchdowns to opposing receivers (13). Surprisingly, Nelson is the sixth most expensive receiver and he could very well finish as the best receiver this week as far as fantasy points are concerned. There’s really not much reason to keep him out of your lineups this week.
I’d start him over: Jeremy Maclin $8200, T.Y. Hilton $7900, and Golden Tate $7500
SIT: Jeremy Maclin ($8200)-Maclin is coming off of one of his worst games of the season. He caught three passes for 38 yards against the Panthers. He received seven targets and saw fellow teammate Jordan Mathews get nine looks. Could this be signs of things to come for Maclin? I don’t think so, but I’m not willing to pay $8200 to find out. The Packers have been fairly decent against receivers, especially in Green Bay. They’ve allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing receivers this year, only four of those came in Lambeau field. Only one group of receivers have gone of 200 receiving yards against the Packers, keep in mind that many teams are playing catchup when they play the Packers. This is a tougher matchup on the road than what he had last week and his price tag is just too high for my budget. If you look at some of the receivers I listed below, it’s almost a no-brainer to skip on Maclin.
I’d rather start: Antonio Brown $7800, Randall Cobb $7500, and Emmanuel Sanders $7400
START: Julio Jones ($7000)-This is a great price for Julio, especially when there’s a decent amount of inflation in some of the prices this week. This is second lowest price that Jones has had this season. Granted, he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3 against the Bucs. However, he’s still managed to get double digit fantasy points in all but one game. Last week, he went over 100 receiving yards for the first time since Week 5. This week, the Falcons head to Carolina to take on the Panthers who are giving up 24 fantasy points to opposing receivers and have allowed the most touchdowns (14). The Panthers have allowed over 20 fantasy points to receivers in 50 percent of their games. I’m not huge on picking Falcons receivers on the road because of Matt Ryan’s struggles, but if there’s a week that they can get it done on the road, it would be this one. This could be the week Jones scores his fourth touchdown of the season.
I’d start him over: Mike Evans $6800, Larry Fitzgerald $6300, and Julian Edelman $6300
SIT: Larry Fitzgerald ($6300)-This is a bit of a tricky situation because Fitzgerald has been playing well in the last three weeks. However, this is the most expensive he’s been since Week 1, will be catching passes from Drew Stanton, and is playing the league’s best pass defense. The Lions are allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers (15.6). They have only allowed four touchdowns to receivers and have kept them under 20 fantasy points in seven of their nine games. Of the four touchdowns allowed only two have been on the road. Something worth noting is that the Lions kept the Packers receivers out of the end zone in Week 3 and the Falcons receivers in Week 8. Stanton likes to sling the ball, which would benefit Michael Floyd. I’m more comfortable paying less for some of the receivers mentioned below. I’ll wait until the price goes down some on Fitzgerald and he has a better matchup before plugging him in.
I’d rather start: A.J. Green $6000, Odell Beckham Jr. $6000, and Alshon Jeffery $5900
SNEAKY START: Pierre Garcon ($4000)-Here’s a receiver that had a 100+ reception season last year, but only has 42 throughout this season. He’s been a disappointment in yearly leagues, and I’m sure he’s caused some bad Sundays to some of the daily players. With that said, this is the lowest price he’s been all season, and will likely be the lowest you’ll see him at moving forward. This is $1000 cheaper than his previous low. If you take that and his great matchup into consideration, the outcome will most likely be to get him into your lineups. The Bucs allow the most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers and are tied with the Panthers for most touchdowns allowed (14). The Redskins are fresh out of a bye and Robert Griffin is back to action. If there’s any week that Garcon is pops off and has a big game, it would be this one. The great thing about it is that you’re investing little to find out.
START: Jimmy Graham ($7000)-Since returning from injury in Week 8, Graham has been on a tear. He has scored four touchdowns in the last three games and has scored more than 15 fantasy points in each of those games. The Bengals have actually given up the eight most fantasy points to tight ends (9.7) and have allowed four touchdowns by tight ends. One thing I noticed is that whenever the Bengals played a good tight end, they surrendered more than 10 fantasy points. Against the Patriots, they allowed two touchdowns and 185 yards, against the Colts they gave up 136 yards and a touchdown, and against Carolina they allowed 78 yards and a touchdown. They struggle against good tight ends, and Graham is arguably the best in the business. Fire him up and watch him make it four consecutive games with a score after all is said and done with on Sunday.
I’d start him over: All tight ends.
SIT: Martellus Bennett ($5600)-Bennett started off the season on fire. He scored over 15 fantasy points in the first four games, but then cooled off. It’s something that’s becoming a pattern for Bennett. Since Week 5, Bennett has only scored over 15 points once. Things don’t get easier this week as the Bears host the Vikings. The Vikings defense is allowing the third fewest fantasy points per games to opposing tight ends. They have only yielded one 100+ receiving yard game to tight ends this season, and that of course was against the Saints. The Vikings have only given up two touchdowns to tight ends. Bennett is currently the fourth most expensive tight end on the market. With guys like Greg Olsen or Travis Kelce at a cheaper price, there’s no need to pay this amount for Bennett. He’s not the same he was earlier in the season and has a tough matchup. No thanks!
I’d rather start: Greg Olsen $5100, Dwayne Allen $4200, Travis Kelce $4000
SNEAKY START: Mychal Rivera ($3100)-Many times a young quarterback will rely on his tight end as his security blanket, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in Oakland in recent weeks. Rivera has six or more receptions in the last three games. He has scored three touchdowns in that span and has scored over 15 fantasy points in each of those games. At this low price, you’re risking a little for a player that gets plenty of targets. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, volume is the name of the game, and if you have a player getting tons of looks at this low of a price, it’s a good deal. The Raiders will also likely be chasing points this weekend which means more throwing for the offense.
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.