Who cares about bye weeks and injuries? You need to keep winning, right? Assets are limited in these middle weeks of a fantasy season, so you need to do whatever it takes. You may get lucky and be facing somehow who’s giving up the week because they have no other choice. If not, here’s my weekly advice to give you an edge on the competition.
As always, if you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Terrelle Pryor (QB – Oakland)
Three of the teams on the bye this week have fantasy starters at quarterback and two of the other three are usually replacements, so you might be looking long and hard for a QB option this week. There are a few to choose from and Pryor should be your first choice. He’s approaching low-level QB1 production anyway, notching at least 10 points in every game and Philly’s defense gives up 18 points per game. Jake Locker and Alex Smith are other alternatives in nice situations.
Ryan Mathews (RB – San Diego)
He may kind of suck (the Football Outsiders numbers seem to indicate that), but Mathews is the only running back who has rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games year. It’s crazy, but it’s true. Line him up for another big week since the Chargers head to Washington and the [Nickname] have given up the most points to fantasy RBs this season.
Mike Tolbert (RB – Carolina)
The RB situation is so bad right now that guys like Tolbert are useful. He’s slightly touchdown-dependent, but Carolina’s offense is moving so well right now that touchdowns are happening. Tolbert’s managed nine points or more in the last three games and has a true role in the Carolina offense. You could do a lot worse this week since Carolina should score plenty against Atlanta.
Kendall Wright (WR – Tennessee)
If you’re just looking for a guy to come in and lay a nice 6-10 points (a little more if ½ or full PPR is involved), then Wright is your guy. There are some good receivers on the bye this week and Wright has been really consistent this year. He’s put up at least five catches and 50 yards in six of seven games this year. The Rams don’t have a great secondary, so the Titans’ #1 WR might actually find the end zone this week ,too.
Denarius Moore (WR – Oakland)
Things were a little rough for Moore last week, but Ike Taylor has that effect on receivers. Now he gets to face one of the worst secondaries in the league. The Eagles won’t hold him down and you shouldn’t either.
Jared Cook (TE – St. Louis)
This is a pure hunch. Cook hated how little he was used when he played for Tennessee. Now he comes back and he’s probably mentioned to the offensive coordinator that he’d like a little love this week. If you need a risk-reward play, here’s your guy.
You Know Who Should Sit?
Tom Brady (QB – New England)
I really wanted to have Brady in this space last week, but I backed off. The reasons should be pretty obvious. Brady has less than 10 points in three of his last four games and the Steelers are the fourth-best defense at limiting fantasy quarterbacks. It doesn’t help that Gronk may or may not be nursing a hamstring injury. Brady’s quality just hasn’t been there all year and you need to move on for now.
Darren Sproles (RB – New Orleans)
Maybe I’m taking a slight risk here, but I’m tired of Sproles’ ineffectiveness. You can’t start a guy weekly who scores more than six points in only five of his seven games. That’s not acceptable. Maybe Sproles is being used as a decoy to some extent, but Pierre Thomas is also a factor on passing downs now. There’s just so much to spread around in New Orleans and the Jets defend RBs well.
Steven Jackson (RB – Atlanta)
Jackson didn’t look injured last week. He looked finished. He offered nothing against Arizona. Now he gets to face one of the best front sevens in the league. It’s not going to be pretty.
Torrey Smith (WR – Baltimore)
There are two key factors at play here: Joe Haden & the city of Cleveland. The Haden part may make sense, but you may be confused about the city of Cleveland part. Joe Flacco only averages 204.4 yards in 11 career games against Cleveland and Flacco has never been a good road QB. That doesn’t bode well when Smith is a part of those yards.
Dwayne Bowe (WR – Kansas City)
Honestly, you’re still starting this guy? I really hope not. The numbers tell the whole story.
Coby Fleener (TE - Indianapolis)
People have been hoping for Fleener to blow up all year and it hasn't happened at all. He's accumulated 38 or less receiving yards in five of his seven games and four of those five games resulted in one fantasy point or less. Reggie Wayne being out won't help Fleener take the leap because Wayne's an outside target. Look for someone with better upside at the tight end spot this week.