QB: Andrew Luck at JAC – Coming off an insane 433-yard effort against the Dolphins underrated defense, Andrew Luck has the look of a solid start this week. In his favor, the Jaguars will likely be without their top corner Rashean Mathis and safety Dwight Lowery. Just one 300-passing yard performance away from the most by a rookie ever, Luck has improved each week and should provide owners with a solid start this week.
RB: Stevan Ridley vs. BUF – Despite playing less than half of the Patriots offensive snaps in Week 8, Stevan Ridley managed to churn out 127 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries. Owners are often concerned about his playing time but that shouldn’t be a concern considering the Patriots are facing one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Ridley faced the Bills in Week 4 and exploded for 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Considering he’s a top-5 running back this week, he can’t be benched.
Michael Turner at NO – Although I’m not a fan of Turner’s plodding tendencies, he has the best matchup out of any running back this week. Allowing 176.5 rushing yards per game – good for dead last in the NFL, the Saints are dreadful against the run. With Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez distracting the Saints defense deep, Turner should have wide lanes to run through.
C.J. Spiller at NE – Arguably the most efficient and dangerous back in the league, C.J. Spiller has been held back by Fred Jackson. Spiller is running for 7.2 yards per carry and averaging 9.8 yards per catch. Jackson, on the other hand, is running for 3.7 yards per carry and 6.7 yards per catch. After last week’s loss, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and coach Chan Gailey agreed “we’ve got to get” Spiller more touches. With his incredible efficiency, Spiller doesn’t need a plethora of touches to produce.
Vick Ballard at JAC – With Donald Brown shaping up as a legit game-time decision, Vick Ballard is likely to receive a heavy workload against the Jaguars. Still not the most efficient back, Ballard’s involvement in the passing game will help stabilize his value. Just 27th in the league against the run, the Jags are hardly an imposing force.
WR: Brandon Lloyd vs. BUF – Despite being a disappointment to fantasy owners for the majority of this season, Brandon Lloyd has a dream matchup against the Bills this weekend. Only San Diego and Atlanta have better matchups, against the Bucs and Saints respectively. When the Patriots faced the Bills earlier this season, Lloyd had just three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. This week there’s a good chance the Bills will focus on stopping Welker, Gronkowski, and Ridley – giving Lloyd plenty of chances for his first big game of the season.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. KC – With Antonio Brown sitting out against the Chiefs, Emmanuel Sanders will draw the start. Sanders will start in two-receiver sets opposite Mike Wallace and has shown plenty of talent throughout his first two seasons as a pro. With defenses focusing mainly on taking Wallace and Heath Miller out of the Steelers’ passing attack, Sanders has a good chance at being a solid spot-start.
Torrey Smith vs. OAK – Yet to top 50 yards since Week 4, Torrey Smith is someone owners are surely ready to bench. Don’t forget he was coming off his ankle injury in Week 5, faced the Cowboys shutdown secondary in Week 6, faced Houston’s shutdown corner Jonathan Joseph in Week 7 and had a bye in Week 8. Even last week Smith faced off against Joe Haden’s smothering man coverage. Going up against the Raiders’ below-average secondary this week, Smith should have a nice game.
Brian Hartline vs. TEN – Coming off an 8 catch, 107-yard performance against the Colts last week, Brian Hartline has a nice matchup against the Titans’ burnable secondary. Still leading the Dolphins with 8.9 targets per game, Hartline will have plenty of chances to ‘get his’.
TE: Vernon Davis vs. STL – Vernon Davis has been struggling recently with just five catches for 71 yards in his last three games. This is due to increased defensive attention and lead to breakout games for Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree against the Cardinals. Defenses are likely to realize soon that they can’t sell out to stop Davis because the 49ers are versatile enough to score in other ways. With Rob Gronkowski going off for 8 catches, 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams in their last game, I have a hunch that his breakout game is coming this week.
QB: Michael Vick vs. DAL – I have lost all faith in Michael Vick. Considering he was unable to take advantage of the Saints porous defense, there’s a good chance he’s going to struggle mightily with the Cowboys’ superior pass-defense. Coming in as the 5th best pass defense, there’s little reason to believe Vick can generate fantasy points against Rob Ryan’s unit.
RB: Steven Jackson at SF – Yet to top 80 rushing yards in any game this season, Steven Jackson has been an enormous disappointment. The emergence of Daryl Richardson has certainly made a negative impact as Jackson received just nine touches in his last game. With a matchup against the stout 49ers defense looming, Jackson must be stapled to benches.
Jonathan Stewart vs. DEN – Despite being heavily hyped by many fantasy football organizations, Jonathan Stewart must be relegated back to mere flex value. Not being used in the workhorse capacity that his coach led on, Stewart received just 11 touches against the Redskins. Although he’s efficient, 11 touches won’t be enough for anyone against a Broncos defense that is playing at a very high level.
Shonn Greene at SEA – With Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell possibly returning this week, Shonn Greene isn’t a great option. With the exception of Adrian Peterson’s explosion last week and Frank Gore on Thursday Night Football, the Seahawks have been very good against the run. I don’t expect the Jets to move the ball with regularity, making it very tough for Greene to have a productive day.
WR: Dwayne Bowe at PIT – Stuck in Kansas City’s fantasy wasteland, Dwayne Bowe actually played well last week, catching eight passes for 79 yards. This week, however, he’ll draw a much tougher matchup against the Steelers. Facing off against top corner Ike Taylor, Bowe would be better suited on fantasy benches.
Jeremy Kerley at SEA – After a promising game against the Patriots dreadful secondary, Kerley struggled against the Dolphins. This week he’ll face his kryptonite – Seattle’s tall, physical corners. It doesn’t help that Sanchez will likely be running for his life because of the Seahawks ferocious pass rush.
Sidney Rice vs. NYJ – With three touchdowns in his last four games, Sidney Rice is looking like Russell Wilson’s favorite target. That’s good news going forward but this week he faces off against shutdown corner Antonio Cromartie. With no cornerback in the league playing at a higher level, I’d feel confident in benching Rice.
TE: Dustin Keller at SEA – Despite having back to back solid games since returning from injury, I wouldn’t feel confident starting Dustin Keller against the Seahawks. The Jets aren’t likely to generate many yards or touchdowns, leaving little chances for a big game.
Thanks for reading! Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!