As pointed out on the Van Pelt & Russillo radio show today, you’re only watching tonight’s game between Indianapolis and Jacksonville if you gamble, like Andrew Luck, or play fantasy football. There are some intriguing fantasy plays tonight like Vick Ballard (if Donald Brown doesn’t play) or Dwayne Allen (since Coby Fleener is out), so maybe there’s something in it for you as well.
Otherwise, here are some guys I’m highlighting for fantasy lineup decisions this week. If you’re curious about players 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?
Joe Flacco (QB - Baltimore)
Despite being in the league for five years now, Flacco still hasn't found a way to be as productive on the road as he is at home. Thankfully for his owners, he's back at home this week against a Raiders defense who has struggled in all defensive phases this year. Look for Flacco to connect on a couple big plays and regain some confidence after struggling the last four games.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB - Cincinnati)
The Giants have been getting absolutely gashed by fantasy running backs in recent week, so this situation sets up pretty nicely for "The Law Firm." He hasn't reached 100 yards in any game this year, but the Giants have given up 100 yard rushing efforts to RBs in two of the last three weeks. Their pass defense has had holes as well and they won't stack the box because of A.J. Green on the outside, so there should be running lanes for Cincinnati.
Pierre Thomas (RB - New Orleans)
Thomas was in line for a major work load last week, but the Saints took a big early lead and decided to use Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory to keep Thomas fresh. This week's game should be a little more competitive, so look for Thomas to get a majority of the work.
Torrey Smith (WR - Baltimore)
As mentioned above, I see Baltimore's passing offense being at their best on Sunday. That should mean a lot of looks for Smith since Oakland doesn't have a lock-down corner to get in Smith's way. Smith hasn't had a 100-yard receiving game since Week 3, but I see him getting back to that this week.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR - Pittsburgh)
Antonio Brown's ankle injury opens the door for a very capable Sanders to start against one of the league's worst defense. The Chiefs' best defensive player is cornerback Brandon Flowers, but they have been searching for someone to pair with him after the Stanford Routt signing didn't work out. Sanders will be working against inferior players all game long and should find plenty of points.
Brandon Myers (TE - Oakland)
Oakland's missing their two best running backs, so they'll be focused on throwing the ball this weekend. The Ravens have given up an average of 7.67 catches a game since Ray Lewis got injured, so all signs point to Myers being productive for owners in need of a tight end this week.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Matt Schaub (QB - Houston)
I haven't been high on Schaub in many games this year because of the offense's focus on the run and the strong defense preventing many shootouts. He's had back to back games with two touchdowns, but those games were against battered pass defenses. The Bears are the best in the league at creating turnovers and are holding quarterbacks to under 10 points a game.
Steven Jackson (RB - St. Louis)
The Niners defense is good enough to keep any RB in check, let alone one who's fading in talent and currently splitting carries. You're better off taking a shot with a running back on your bench with higher upside (like Pierre Thomas), then going with an old faithful who doesn't really put out anymore.
Shonn Greene (RB - N.Y. Jets)
The Jets always talk about ground and pound, but Greene's rushed for 100 yards in only one game this year. His season has been pretty poor if you look at five of his eight games. The Seahawks got pounded by Adrian Peterson last week, but Greene is no Peterson. Look for the Seahawks to return to their usual defensive form against the run and keep Greene bottled up.
Sidney Rice (WR - Seattle)
After a poor start to the season, Rice has found his form in recent weeks. He's reached double digits in three of the last four games and is performing well as Russell Wilson becomes more confident. Cromartie Island, however, has been shutting receivers down all season and Rice is the latest victim. Since Rice is a fringe WR3 to begin with, it's worth looking elsewhere this week.
Jeremy Kerley (WR - Seattle)
With our third player mentioned from game between the Seahawks and the Jets, you're probably ready to take the under this week. I don't see Mark Sanchez faring well in the very unfriendly confines of CenturyLink Field, which doesn't bode well for his receivers. Like Rice, Kerley is a borderline starter during bye weeks, so look for alternatives.
Tony Gonzalez (TE - Atlanta)
Maybe it's the wear and tear of the football season or maybe it's defenses focusing more heavily on him, but Gonzalez has not shown up for his fantasy owners in the last three weeks. He's put up a combined nine points in those three games, which isn't gonna cut it. The Saints limit fantasy TEs to an average of five points a week, so look for another option if you have one.