QB: Colin Kaepernick at NO – Coming off a stunning rookie debut, Colin Kaepernick is a solid start this week. Facing a Saints defense that is giving up the 2nd most points to opposing quarterbacks, Kaepernick couldn’t ask for a better matchup. Allowing 305 passing yards per game and a league worst 21 passing touchdowns, Kaepernick should have little trouble attacking the Saints. Unlike last week, there’s a good chance Brees keeps Kaepernick passing for all four quarters.
RB: Frank Gore at NO – Another player who gets to exploit the Saints porous defense is 49ers running back Frank Gore. Coming off a 78-yard performance against the Bears, Gore goes from facing one of the best defenses in the league to facing one of the worst. Allowing the most points to opposing running backs, Gore is a must-start against the Saints.
Stevan Ridley at NYJ – Stevan Ridley saved his fantasy day against the Colts with a late game touchdown and faces the Jets’ overrated defense this week. Owners are unhappy about his consistency and constantly worry about backups Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead. Yes, Ridley often doesn’t even play in half of the Patriots’ snaps but that doesn’t matter for these reasons – he is 5th in the league in rushing attempts, 7th in rushing yards, and tied for 2nd in rushing touchdowns. Considering the Jets are ranked 30th against the run – allowing 141.9 rushing yards per game, I’d feel confident about starting Ridley.
Marcel Reece at CIN – Continuing to prove an admirable fill-in for the injured Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece has topped 100 total yards in both of his starts at running back. As long as McFadden is out, Reece is a must-start. Heavily involved in the pass game as well as the ground attack, Reece should have little problem gobbling up yards against the Bengals.
Bryce Brown vs. CAR – Filling in for LeSean McCoy, owners should feel confident starting rookie Bryce Brown. Averaging 4.4 yards per carry so far this season, Brown has shown the ability to make tacklers miss. He’ll see plenty of touches serving as the Eagles every-down back and has a good chance to serve as a productive fill-in.
WR: Jordy Nelson at NYG – Unsurprisingly in his first game back from injury, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson struggled with timing. Still, owners must stay the course. In a game that has the look of a shootout, Jordy Nelson should be started confidently as the 2nd option in the Packers lethal passing attack. Aaron Rodgers is good enough to support productive fantasy games for both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson.
Hakeem Nicks vs. GB – Another undervalued player is Hakeem Nicks. Over his last five games, Nicks has topped 53 yards just once and hasn’t caught a touchdown. I certainly understand owners’ frustration but Nicks has finally turned a corner with his healthy and believes his injuries feel “as good as they have all season.” His talent certainly isn’t in question as the last time Nicks faced the Packers he almost single-handedly knocked them out of the playoffs – catching seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Start him confidently.
Torrey Smith at SD – The Steelers did a great job of scheming to take Torrey Smith out of the Ravens passing game last week. Keep in mind the Steelers are the No. 1 ranked pass defense. Discount his dud and start him in a much easier matchup against the Chargers 18th ranked pass defense. Still receiving a healthy dose of targets, Smith has a great chance at bouncing back this week.
Cecil Shorts vs. TEN – Despite playing on one of the league’s worst passing teams, Cecil Shorts deserves some respect. Even with Justin Blackmon’s breakout game, I still believe he’s the Jaguars’ most talented receiver. Averaging a weekly line of 4.8/87.4/0.6 over the past five games, he even managed to have a productive game against the Texans last week. This week he draws a Titans defense that is allowing a league-worst 31.1 points per game – start him.
TE: Dustin Keller at NE – No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the New England Patriots. The Patriots linebackers have consistently struggled to guard opposing tight ends and the Patriots offense will force the Jets to pass early and often. Keller serves as a solid fill-in for owners still reeling from Gronkowski’s broken forearm.
QB: Joe Flacco at SD – If you take out Flacco’s Week 10 explosion against the Raiders, he’s averaged just 177 passing yards in his last five games. In those five games, Flacco has a 3:3 TD-to-INT ratio. Showing thus far that he can only exploit great matchups, I would sit Flacco against the Chargers defense.
RB: Reggie Bush vs. SEA – With just 24 carries over the his past three games, Reggie Bush hasn’t received significant enough workloads to have successful fantasy games. Throw in the fact that he faces a stout Seattle defense that is ranked 3rd against the run and you have every reason you could ever possibly need to bench him.
Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram vs. SF – With Darren Sproles returning there will be even fewer touches to go around in the already crowded Saints backfield. Sproles will take over passing downs, meaning Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, and Mark Ingram will be left splitting the rest. Without significant touches, I wouldn’t feel comfortable trusting either of these running backs.
Shonn Greene vs. NE – Despite Shonn Greene’s midseason resurgence, coach Rex Ryan plans to go forward using a committee approach for the Jets’ backfield. Billal Powell will certainly receive the 3rd down work and appears to have stolen the goal-line carries as well. Against the Patriots’ 10th ranked run defense, I would sit Shonn Greene.
WR: Lance Moore vs. SF – Seeing fewer targets with Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles healthy, it’s tough to expect his high level of production to continue. In the four games since Jimmy Graham has returned to the Saints’ lineup, Moore is averaging just five targets per game. Now Darren Sproles is returning and the Saints face a hot 49ers defense, leave Moore on the bench.
Jeremy Maclin vs. CAR – Coming off a zero catch effort against the Redskins porous secondary, Maclin must be stapled to benches until further notice. Nick Foles doesn’t look ready to support any consistent fantasy value for either Eagles receiver – at least behind that offensive line.
Julian Edelman at NYJ – Despite moving into two receiver sets, ahead of Brandon Lloyd, Edelman doesn’t have a big enough role to be counted on for consistent production. Topping 50 yards for the first time all year, Edelman is behind Welker, Hernandez, and likely still Lloyd for targets. I wouldn’t trust him until we see for consistent production.
TE: Heath Miller at CLE – Although he’s consistently produced thus far, Heath Miller will be exceedingly difficult to trust until Big Ben returns. With this offense consistently stalling, he’s not going to have many chances to capitalize on his red-zone prowess.
Thanks for reading! Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!