START: Russell Wilson ($7800) – In a week where we have six teams on bye and two usable quarterbacks playing on Thursday night, you’ll notice that I’ve avoided the last couple of high-level quarterbacks. It’s obviously not because of production, but has more to do with pricing. In a week where so many players are off the board, finding the best bang for your buck is important. Wilson at $7800 is probably the highest I’ll go as far as spending for a quarterback this week. He plays the Raiders which is arguably one of the worst teams in the NFL. They’re allowing opposing quarterbacks 16.1 fantasy points per game and have given up at least one touchdown in every game. Russell is having a good month of October. He’s rushed for over 100 yards in two of four games and has combined for more than 300 total yards twice. He has also managed to at least one touchdown in each game. The last time the Seahawks played in Seattle, the team didn’t play up to par. I’m expecting a big game from this Seahawks team. Wilson should get the job done through the air and on the ground.
I’d start him over: Philip Rivers $8300, Tony Romo $7500, and Eli Manning $7300
SIT: Michael Vick ($6600) – Vick is getting his first start of the season and some may be tempted to fire him into their lineups. Before doing that, here are some things to consider. Vick hasn’t started an NFL game since 10/27/2013. The last four games he started in he threw for 584 yards (146ypg), one touchdown, and three picks. This week, he’s taking on a top five pass defense. The Chiefs are giving up just 13.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. They have yet to allow a 300 yards passer, and they’ve faced three of the best in the industry (Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady). Since the second week of the season, the Chiefs haven’t given up more than 14 fantasy points in a single game. In Arrowhead stadiums, quarterbacks are averaging just 12.3 fppg. Vick, in his prime, was one of the most versatile quarterbacks in the NFL, but it’s been a while since he’s performed at a high level. He’s priced much higher than several other quarterbacks that are playing well, which make it an easy decision for me to fade him this week.
I’d rather start: Carson Palmer $6800, Andy Dalton $6300, and Ryan Tannenhill $6300.
START: Colin Kaepernick ($7000) – This is a great price to get Kaepernick at this week, considering the limited amount of options that are available at the position. He is coming off of a bye week and should be well rested. In Week 6 he faced the Rams in St. Louis and threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns. It was an away game and he was priced at $7200, so this week’s price is much better and it’s in San Francisco. In the last three meetings against the Rams, he’s thrown six touchdowns and 785 yards. The Rams have allowed nine touchdowns in the last five games and are allowing 18.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. His only three touchdown game this season came against the Rams. Kaepernick is having a solid season all around, and one thing that makes him more valuable in daily leagues is that he gets you yards on the ground and can score a rushing touchdown any given week. He’s been successful against the Rams in recent history, so there’s no reason to think otherwise in this matchup. He has both a high ceiling and high floor this week.
I’d start him over: Michael Vick $6600, Robert Griffin III $6400, and Joe Flacco $6100.
SIT: Eli Manning ($7300) – Just like Kaepernick, Eli Manning is coming off of a bye week. In the month of October, Manning has been really efficient in all but one game. He’s thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Yes, you read that right, he hasn’t thrown a pick in the last three games. In fact, since week two he’s played really good football. He has thrown just one interception and two or more touchdowns in every game but one. So, why would you sit someone playing so well? Well, there are a few reasons: For one, his price is a tad too much in comparison to others in his tier. Another reason, I advise sitting Manning is that the matchup is just not that appealing. This week he’s facing a Colts defense that just got absolutely crushed by the Steelers in Week 8. However, prior to last week, the Colts had given up just five touchdowns in their last six games and quarterbacks were averaging just 12.6 fantasy points per game. I’m going to go ahead and chalk it up as a bad week for the Colts defense and expect them to get back on track this week. While Eli can most definitely have a decent game, I’m not willing to pay the $7300 to find out.
I’d rather start: Nick Foles $7700, Ben Roethlisberger $7500, Colin Kaepernick $7000.
SNEAKY START: Alex Smith ($5700) – Here’s a guy that might not appeal to most because of the lack of explosiveness, but he shouldn’t be overlooked this week. The Chiefs will host the Jets, which are absolutely terrible against the pass. They have allowed 22 passing touchdowns and are yielding 21.4 fantasy points per game. In the last four weeks they’ve allowed three or more passing touchdowns in each game. Smith averages 15.3 fantasy points per game this season, but has already scored more than 20 fantasy points in two games. The issue with Smith is that since Week 3, he hasn’t attempted more than 30 passes in a single game. On the bright side, he’s not one who will hurt you with turnovers as he has only thrown one pick in the last six games. The Jets are good against the run, which is why their opponents rely on their quarterbacks against them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same this week.
START: Marshawn Lynch ($6100) – Lynch has struggled in the last three games. He’s failed to find the end zone or rush for over 62 yards in the last three weeks. However, at this price he can’t be passed up. This week, he will take on the second worst run defense in the league. The Raiders are giving up 21 fantasy points per game to running backs. They’ve allowed nine total touchdowns to running backs and have surrendered more than 100 rushing yards in five of the team’s seven games. Not to mention, they have given up 20 or more fantasy points in five games. Prior to the last three weeks, Lynch was on fire. He scored a touchdown in four consecutive games and had six total touchdowns in that timeframe. There have been rumors that Lynch isn’t happy with the team, but the Seahawks would be silly to not use a talent like Lynch when they are a Super Bowl contender. Look for him to get back on track against a bad defense in Week 9. This could be the best ROI of the week.
I’d start him over: LeVeon Bell $7000, Giovanni Bernard $6600, and Branden Oliver $5700
SIT: DeMarco Murray ($9000) – Last time I attempted to have Murray as a sit, he made me look silly. Call me a sucker, but I’m doing it again. Of course in a yearly league there’s no chance that I would ever bench Murray, but as I’ve mentioned before, daily leagues are an entire different animal. Murray is the second highest salary amongst running backs this week. Granted he’s the NFL’s leading rusher, but this price is a bit too steep for my pocket. Not to mention this is a tough matchup for him. The Cardinals are the second best defense in the league against the run. They’re allowing just 10.6 fantasy points per game, they have yet to allow a 100 yard rusher this season, and have only given up four touchdowns to opposing backs this year. For a back like Murray, matchup is hardly ever a concern, but when you’re weighing in the price and the percentage from your salary cap it takes up, you have to consider all variables. He alone will be 18% of your available salary, with some of the good value this week, I’d rather keep him off my lineups.
I’d rather start: Jamal Charles $7100, Marshawn Lynch $6100, and Andre Ellington $5900.
START: Ahmad Bradshaw ($5800) – Bradshaw will have a shot at getting back at his former team. He plays the Giants that allow the fourth most fantasy points to opposing backs (20.6) and have allowed a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. They have given up 20 or more fantasy points to running backs since Week 4 and have yielded more than 100 rushing yards in the last two games. Bradshaw has scored at least one touchdown in all but two games this season and has a total of eight touchdowns for the year. He has scored more than 20 point in his two last games. Bradshaw isn’t one to get you a ton of yardage on a weekly basis, but he has a nose for the end zone. I’m expecting him to rush for the most yards he has this season against the Giants and based on his track record this year, there’s a good chance he scores a touchdown. He’s $100 cheaper than what he was last week and has a better matchup on paper. If you’re looking for a mid-level back with a great matchup and nice upside he’s a great option.
I’d start him over: Branden Oliver $5700, Justin Forsett $5300, and Darren McFadden $4800.
SIT: Jerick McKinnon ($4700) – McKinnon has had two solid weeks in a row and is at an affordable price. The major concern here is his matchup. The Redskins are ranked fifth against the run, allowing just 11.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They have only given up one rushing touchdown this season. McKinnon may get you some yardage, as he’s averaging over five yards per carry in the last two weeks. However, he’s failed to score a touchdown and is facing a defense that has kept Arian Foster, DeMarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch, and Andre Ellington from scoring a rushing touchdown. At this price level there’s a couple of guys at a cheaper price with better matchups and similar ceilings. You also have McCoy who is a bit more expensive, but can easily blow up any given week. I’d weigh out my other options and try to stay from McKinnon this week.
I’d rather start: LeSean McCoy $5200, Shane Vereen $4600, and Ben Tate $4300
SNEAKY START: Alfred Morris ($3900) – Morris is coming off his best game since Week 4, as he rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys in Week 8. This week he faces the Vikings which have been relatively generous against the run. They have allowed over 100 rushing yards in five of their eight games, and 99 yards in another. They’ve also surrendered six rushing touchdowns and are giving up 19 fantasy points per game to running backs. Robert Griffin III is expected to be back this week, which should also help Morris’ case. This will likely be the cheapest we see him going forward and with a great matchup. I’d plug him in as a cheap flier and risk a little of my salary for a possible decent reward.
START: Jeremy Maclin ($7600) – Maclin bounced back from a disappointing Week 7 with a 12 catch for 187 yards and two touchdowns performance last week against the Cardinals. Maclin now has six touchdowns in seven games. This was also his second 100+ yards receiving game of the season. Besides a fluky Week 7, Maclin has caught at least four passes in each game this season and has been targeted more than 10 times in five games. The Texans have allowed receivers to score at least one touchdown in every game since the season opener and in the last five weeks they’ve allowed two touchdowns to receivers in three games. The Texans allow the fifth most fantasy points to opposing receivers (24.6). This week, the prices on receivers have big gaps, if you’re not willing to pay top dollar for someone like Antonio Brown, Maclin is the next guy on the list as far as value. This is the highest price he’s had all season, but with a good matchup and coming off his best game, it understandable. Many people might consider fading Maclin because of his price, but I don’t have a problem paying for him this week.
I’d start him over: Mohamed Sanu $6400, Pierre Garcon, $6100, and Brandon LaFell $6000.
SIT: Larry Fitzgerald ($5700) – Fitzgerald is coming off of, by far, the biggest game of the season, and he’s priced accordingly. The last time that Fitzgerald cost more the $5400 was in Week 2. Last week against the Eagles, he caught seven passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. That included an 80 yard bomb for a touchdown. However, prior to last week, Fitzgerald hadn’t hit the century mark in any game and had only scored one touchdown. In fact he was averaging fewer than four catches per game. This week he faces the Cowboys defense that has been surprisingly solid. The Cowboys have kept receivers out of the end zone in six of their eight games this season and have surrendered just four touchdowns this season. They are giving up the fourth fewest fantasy points per game to receivers (15.8). I’m not going to let last game fool me, I’ll pass up on this mark up and look elsewhere for a receiver.
I’d rather start: Andre Johnson $5500, DeAndre Hopkins $5400, and Mike Wallace $5200
START: Michael Crabtree ($4500) – I can understand why Crabtree’s price is this low. He’s been a disappointment this season and hasn’t lived up to expectations. Not to mention he’s in his contract year. Even with all that, we can’t ignore the talent. Crabtree is a very talented receiver and has a tremendous amount of upside. He showed in Week 2 and 3 that he can get the job done. This week, the Niners take on their division rivals, the Rams. The last time these teams faced each other was in Week 6. In that game, Crabtree caught three passes for 49 yards and scored a touchdown. The Rams are allowing 23.6 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers and have allowed nine touchdowns. They’ve also allowed 100 or more receiving yards in six of the team’s seven games, including two 200+ yard games. I’m going to put aside the ups and downs for Crabtree this week and take advantage of the price and the matchup. If he scores against them once he can do it again.
I’d start him over: Allen Robinson $4900, Cordarrelle Patterson $4800, and Eric Decker $4700,
SIT: Andre Holmes ($4800) – Holmes has had himself a solid month of October. He has 12 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns in the last three games. This week he heads to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. Granted, this is not the shutdown defense that we saw last season, but it’s in Seattle, and a rookie quarterback is starting for the Raiders. This is a tough, if not the toughest, place to play at in the NFL. Also, despite their defensive struggles, the Seahawks have still been impressive against receivers. They’ve allowed just three touchdowns to receivers this season, only one at home, and that was to Randall Cobb in the first game of the season. They have not surrendered a touchdown to any receiver since Week 5. There are many receivers on bye this week, which may make it tempting to start Holmes, and the price may also reel you in, but snap out of it and keep searching because there are several receivers with a better matchup and price.
I’d rather start: Andrew Hawkins $4900, Dwayne Bowe $4500, and Julian Edelman $4100
SNEAKY START: Michael Floyd ($3800) – After what appeared to be a promising week for Floyd in Week 7, he laid his second goose egg of the season. Zero catches, zero yards, zero everything. That however, doesn’t scare me away, in fact, I’m going to take advantage of this price. Floyd actually dropped a potential touchdown from Palmer. The fact remains that in three of four games with Palmer under center, Floyd has scored over 13 fantasy points. That includes a 100+ receiving yard game and two games with touchdowns. The matchup isn’t all that appealing, but this is a price I can’t pass up on with a player like Floyd.
START: Rob Gronkowski ($7600) – Gronk is back! He’s coming off a monster performance last week against the Bears. He caught nine passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He now has seven touchdowns in eight games. In the last four games, he has caught five or more passes and has scored more than 11 fantasy points. The Broncos are allowing 8.6 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends and have surrendered three touchdowns in the last three games. Weather can play a factor in this game, but putting that aside, when the Patriots are in the red zone, Gronk is clearly their biggest threat. Look for him to continue his success this week against the Broncos.
I’d start him over: All tight ends.
SIT: Heath Miller ($4300) – Despite Miller coming off his biggest game of the season, he finds himself on my sit list. Why, you ask? It’s quite simple, the Ravens are the fourth best at defending tight ends. They allow just 4.5 fantasy points per game and have surrendered just one touchdown to tight ends this season. Prior to last week, Miller’s best game was 85 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 against the Bucs. However, if you look at the rest of his numbers, he didn’t have more than 51 yards in any other week. He’s inconsistent, and is not one of Big Ben’s top options anymore. There are several tight ends at a better price and with much better matchups. Jump on one of those, and let Miller be another owner’s problem.
I’d rather start: Travis Kelce $4100, Dwayne Allen $4100, and Vernon Davis $3700
SNEAKY START: Jason Witten ($3200) – I’m not drinking the Witten Kool-Aid, but we can’t ignore the numbers. Witten has scored a touchdown in two of the last three games. This week he faces the Cardinals defense that has been vulnerable on the road against tight ends. In three road games they’ve allowed tight ends to score three touchdowns. Witten is not the tight end he once was, but at this price and with a good matchup, it could be worth the risk. Only those who are looking to pay dirt cheap for a tight end should be considering Witten.
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.