It’s another barn burner of a Thursday night affair with as limited fantasy football options as you had in last week’s tie between Indianapolis and Jacksonville. Let this serve as a reminder not to just start someone because they’re playing on national TV. It’s great to have something to root for, but it’s not worth sacrificing your lineup. C.J. Spiller owners are happy the backfield has been cleared for him to get a dominant workload this week, but you shouldn’t be starting Donald Jones or Davone Bess over the soon-to-be mentioned Brandon Lloyd just because you need a receiver. Just remember that offense in these Thursday night games are always down from regular games. Teams don’t have as much time to prepare and the players haven’t had as much time to recover from the beating they take every week.
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?
Andrew Luck (QB - Indianapolis)
Luck has proven to be a valuable starter in multiple spots this season, but he was likely drafted as a backup quarterback. If you haven't ditched your starter yet or you're dealing with injuries to Michael Vick or Ben Roethlisberger, hopefully you have Luck on your bench for this week. His opponent, the Patriots, have given up 244 or more passing yards and a touchdown in all but one game this year. (That game was against Arizona's anemic offense, so it doesn't really count.) If Ryan Fitzpatrick can carve them up for 18 fantasy points, there's no reason to think Luck shouldn't do the same.
LaRod Stephens-Howling (RB - Arizona)
The other running back with a hyphen is likely looking at his last starting opportunity of the season. Beanie Wells will return next week, but LSH should find success this week. The Falcons are giving up the seventh most points to fantasy running backs and LSH will be involved in the passing game once the Cardinals likely fall behind by double digits.
Felix Jones (RB - Dallas)
Like LSH, this is likely Jones' last stand. He hasn't been spectacular filling in for DeMarco Murray, but he's averaged 10.6 fantasy points per week in his absence. The Browns are giving up 17.6 points per game to fantasy RBs and the Cowboys are likely to have a lead, so starting Jones shapes up nicely.
Danny Amendola (WR - St. Louis)
Cromartie Island has been shutting down receivers all season, but the island won't be an issue for Amendola. He'll work out of the slot against Kyle Wilson as opposed to Cromartie, who can't stick with quicker receivers who work over the middle of the field. Amendola showed last week that he's back to full health.
Donnie Avery (WR - Indianapolis)
With Luck comes Avery. We all know Reggie Wayne will be productive because he's productive every week. But look at how Donald Jones, the Bills' #2 receiver, carved up the Patriots last week. There's plenty of yardage to go around.
Brent Celek (TE - Philadelphia)
Celek hasn't exactly produced this season, but times could change with a rookie QB who will be checking down a lot more. The Redskins allow the second most points to fantasy TEs, so the timing is perfect to insert Celek into your lineup this week.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Joe Flacco (QB - Baltimore)
The home and road splits of Joe Flacco have been discussed many a time in this space. In quick review: he blows on the road. The Steelers are also limiting fantasy QBs to the third fewest points, so you better have an alternative for Flacco this week.
Rashad Jennings (RB - Jacksonville)
Houston will likely run away early and hide in this contest. Not that Jennings would have much success on the ground to begin with since the Texans are only second to the Bears against fantasy RBs.
Jonathan Stewart (RB - Carolina)
The Panthers haven't exactly lived up to their promise of force feeding Stewart the football. While he is a factor in the passing game, he's only received a total of 18 carries over the last two games. Stewart hasn't found the end zone all season and the Buccaneers are pretty good against the run.
Brandon Lloyd (WR - New England)
It's time to officially remove Lloyd from the every week start category. He's only had one 100 -yard receiving game this year. He's had five or less catches in five of the last six games. If not for a somewhat lucky two catch, two touchdown game in London, he would be under double digit points in his last five games. There might be a better alternative for you elsewhere in a match-up play.
Torrey Smith (WR - Baltimore)
With Flacco comes Smith. Flacco's struggles on the road have obviously impacted his top receiver. Smith only has one touchdown in road games this year to go along with a 3.25 catch and 44 receiving yard average in those road contests. That's not the production you're looking for out of your starting receiver. Like with Lloyd, you might want to find alternatives.
Owen Daniels (TE - Houston)
Daniels didn't play last week although the word is that he was pretty close to playing. He returns to the lineup with an unfavorable match-up against the Jaguars, who limit tight ends to 3.8 points a game. Daniels produced 47 yards in their first encounter, but didn't find the end zone. Given that he might be a little beat up and a little rusty, the Jaguars will likely hold him down again this week.