QB: Ben Roethlisberger at TEN – With 10 touchdowns and just one interception, Ben Roethlisberger is approaching his best matchup of the season. Giving up a league worst 36.2 points per game, the Tennessee Titans have allowed at least 30 points in every game they’ve played this season. Although Big Ben struggled to an extent against the Eagles last week, it wasn’t due to a lack of pass attempts. Todd Haley loves airing it out and will give Roethlisberger plenty of chances against the Titans sub-par secondary.
RB: Rashard Mendenhall at TEN – Coming off a promising debut against a stout Eagles defense, Mendenhall owners couldn’t be happier. Mendenhall looked fresh, showing no ill effects from his torn ACL. This week Mendenhall has a juicy matchup against the Titans, who have allowed 144.2 rushing yards per game. I also expect Mendenhall’s workload to increase weekly, as he gets healthier.
Michael Turner vs. OAK – If you’re a frequent reader of my columns, you know I’m not a big fan of Michael Turner’s plodding tendencies. Still, Turner has four touchdowns in his last four games and will have plenty lanes to run through with Oakland’s leaky secondary doing whatever it can to keep Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez in check.
Vick Ballard at NYJ – This start is focused towards deep-leaguers looking for a spot-start. Vick Ballard drew a lot of preseason hype due to the inability of Colts running backs Delone Carter and Donald Brown. With Brown out at least two weeks, Ballard will get his chance to carry the load. Expect 14-18 carries against the Jets second to last ranked run defense, allowing 172.4 yards per game on the ground.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis at CLE – I’m certainly not a fan of the Law firm but hear me out; Green-Ellis was completely outplayed by Bernard Scott last week, only to have Scott tear his ACL before the end of the game. Green-Ellis is a high volume back that needs a lot of carries to have an impact. He’ll have little competition for carries this week and faces a lowly Browns defense that allows the seventh most rushing yards per game. If Green-Ellis proves to be successful this week, trade him as soon as possible before next week’s games.
WR: Andre Johnson vs. GB – Although I’m a little concerned about Andre Johnson, I do believe that he’ll produce this week. Throughout his career Johnson has averaged 78.3 receiving yards per game, this year he’s averaging just 56.6. While this is in part due to the emergence of the Texans running game, Johnson is likely to produce more than he has thus far. Facing the fiercest competitor they’ve seen this season, the Texans will be more likely to air it out this week. It also doesn’t hurt that coach Kubiak admitted this week that he wants to get Johnson more involved on offense. Start Johnson with confidence this week.
Dwayne Bowe at TB – Despite an injury to quarterback Matt Cassell, Bowe remains a must-start. Coming in dead last in the league, allowing 345.2 pass yards per game and an alarming 9.0 yards per attempt, Bowe must be in fantasy lineups for this juicy matchup against the Buccaneers.
James Jones at HOU – With four touchdowns in his last four games, James Jones is coming in hot. Rodgers has shown plenty of trust in Jones and he looks like a solid play with Jordy Nelson likely matching up against shutdown corner Jonathan Joseph. With Cedric Benson out, the Packers will need to rely on Rodgers even more than usual. Expect Jones to get in on the action.
Jeremy Kerley vs. IND – I’m certainly intrigued by Jeremy Kerley’s playing making ability. Unlike other young playmakers, Randall Cobb and David Wilson, he’ll have plenty of opportunities as the Jets best healthy playmaker. If you need a deep league spot-start, don’t be afraid to go with Kerley.
TE: Antonio Gates at DEN – There’s no way around it, Gates has been extremely disappointing this season. He’s averaging just 35.8 receiving yards per game with no touchdowns, compared to a career average of 58.3 receiving yards per game and at least seven touchdowns every season since his rookie year. Gates had a few unlucky penalties last week and should get going this week.
QB: Andrew Luck at NYJ – I’m a big fan of Andrew Luck but I don’t love this matchup for him. Luck has been extremely successful going to Reggie Wayne, who will square off with Antonio Cromartie this week. Cromartie has been playing at a very high level this season and shut down Andre Johnson last week. While Luck should be able to put up solid production, I wouldn’t expect a big game.
RB: CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson at AZ – While I’m a big fan of their abilities, Spiller and Jackson can’t be started as more than a flex this week. Squaring off against a Cardinals defense that has fared well against opposing offenses this season, allowing a fifth best 15.6 points per game. Sadly until one of these two gets injured, or they have an extremely favorable matchup, Spiller and Jackson will both be no more than flex plays.
Steven Jackson at MIA – No one has been better against the run than the Miami Dolphins. Allowing just 61.4 rushing yards per game and an incredibly low 2.7 yards per carry, I wouldn’t advise playing S-Jax. Yet to get into a groove this season, Jackson did have his best game of the season last week against the Cardinals. Sadly, his best game has been just 76 total yards.
Ahmad Bradshaw at SF – Coming off a career week in which he had 229 total yards and a touchdown, there isn’t a better time to trade Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw has had just two productive games in five weeks and the emergence of David Wilson isn’t going to help. The 49ers are allowing a league low 13.6 points per game and giving up just 3.5 yards per carry. Temper your expectations against the league’s best defense.
WR: Anquan Boldin vs. DAL – Despite being productive consecutively over the past two weeks, I’m not sold on playing Boldin against the Cowboys. Boldin’s productive games have come against the Browns and the Chiefs, both serving as low quality defenses. The Cowboys, on the other hand, are ranked first in the league against the pass. Boldin fared much worse against the Patriots and Eagles quality defense, finishing with six catches for 55 yards in two games. Leave him on the bench.
Reuben Randle and Domenik Hixon at SF – Both Randle and Hixon are guys that we can consider playing when the Giants play against a bad team, there’s reason to believe that the Giants will explode offensively against the 49ers. The Giants offense isn’t likely to score a lot of touchdowns, play someone who has a better chance of scoring.
Malcom Floyd vs. DEN – I like Malcom Floyd as a WR3 but the Broncos aren’t the best matchup for him. He’s likely to draw coverage for Champ Bailey who is still playing at a very high level. If you don’t have other options, he could still have a productive day, but I believe Rivers will look elsewhere instead of forcing it in to Floyd.
TE: Jacob Tamme at SD – Averaging just 35 yards per game with one touchdown on the season, there are better plays this week than Jacob Tamme. Don’t be fooled by his productive game last week, he doesn’t play enough snaps to be a TE1.
Thanks for reading! Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!