By Anthony Stampone
The week that will decide your playoff position, or if you are done for the season. Here is some must use input you will want to use to help you this week!
For the remainder of this week’s games, here are your Start’ems, Sit’ems, and highly suggested plays or “Sleepers” in my weekly piece.
Position by position Start’em, Sit’em, and Sleeper look at fantasy Hashtag Style
Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben is having a great season when he can stay healthy, and all of his WO are healthy and ready to push for a Wild Card spot in the AFC. This week Big Ben and the Steelers face the Colts, this couldn’t be a better match up for the Steelers and their talented passing game. Big Ben is going to make a big push for the playoffs and this is going to be a great start, he is going to pick this group apart. Play him with confidence.
Tom Brady: Even with a completely depleted receiving corps, Brady draws the Eagles passing defense this week that is absolutely terrible. Brady as much as it pains me to admit it, is a master of making something out of nothing and that includes who is catching passes from him. He does have a few weapons, which is all he needs in a match up like this. Brady is going to tear this secondary apart. One thing Philly does well is play the run, with that said that will just led to Brady throwing more which is going to benefit all his owners. Play him and don’t question it.
Russell Wilson: After having a career day last week against the Steelers, the Seahawks have a much tougher challenge facing the Vikings this weekend, which is a young, upcoming, and talented defense. Wilson is going to struggle to get his passing game going this week against this defense. Sit him for your other QB.
Matt Schaub: No top receiving options, no start running back, and the master of throwing pick 6’s. Enough said, pretty much ANYONE is a better option.
Sleepers: Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Blake Bortles
Darren McFadden: The Cowboys are in lost at this point, but would love to play spoiler to a hated rival still in the chase. McFadden is the key to this potential scenario. The Redskins front seven aren’t that impressive anymore (they were at the start of the season but aren’t playing well of late), and can be run against. The Cowboys are going to want to get McFadden going early and often to keep from falling far behind and having to rely on Cassel to lose them another game.
Jonathan Stewart: The Panthers are on a complete role and playing the Saints is just going to help keep the good times rolling for them. The Saints can’t stop a 5 year old from stealing a candy bar right now let alone an undefeated team whether it’s a run or a pass. With the Panthers being run heavy and dedicated to it, Stewart is going to see a lot of touches this week. The Panthers are going to take an early lead in this game and use their great D to keep the Saints in check. Stewart will do the rest on the ground.
Lamar Miller: Unless you are in a PPR league, it would be a great idea to bench Miller this week as he faces a beat up but still strong Ravens front seven. The Dolphins are a train wreck and even with firing their OC that didn’t run enough are still going to struggle to run the ball this week. Miller will more than likely see more carries this week to take the load off Tannehill’s arm, but it won’t matter. Sit him unless he is in a PPR setting as he does catch a lot of passes for the Dolphins.
Melvin Gordon: Even though Gordon has been getting around 15 attempts and around 20 total touches per game for the Charges he has yet to make any kind of impact whatsoever. He doesn’t have a TD yet, he hasn’t had a 100 yard performance yet, and the Chargers are so bad on defense that the offense never really gets a chance to keep feeding Gordon to make these accomplishments. With Denver coming to town with their #1 defense, it is going to be the same story different day for Gordon this week. Bench him!
Sleepers: LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, David Johnson
DeSean Jackson: Dallas’ defense is beat up and they are prone to giving up big plays in the passing game and Jackson is just the man to exploit the match ups the Cowboys will throw at him. His elite speed and ability to get open off the line is going to be a big problem for the Cowboys this weekend. Jackson will take advantage of anyone the Cowboys attempt to throw at him.
Brandon LaFell: With Amendola more than likely on the bench one more week, and Gronk down for a few more also, LaFell more than likely becomes Brady’s #1. Expect LaFell to get targeted early and often as the Eagles CB’s aren’t stopping anyone.
Sammy Watkins: Sammy needs to be put on your bench, and it’s not his fault. It blows my mind as to how the Bills can let Sammy have the half like he did vs the Chiefs last week and put up the numbers he did and then just ignore him and make excuses why they don’t find ways to get him the ball. Every other team with a WO with Sammy’s skills, their team finds anyway possible to get them the ball, Buffalo doesn’t. It is for this reason and how talented the Texans defense is that I say sit him.
Stephen Diggs: The Seahawks are coming to town for a game with big playoff implications for both teams. With that said, yes the Hawks have been getting picked apart lately, but that has been by some good to great passing teams. This is something the Vikings aren’t. If Minnesota wants to win this game they are going to have to ride AP, leaving Diggs and the rest of the Vikings passing game wanting for every little scrap they can get. Bench him!
Sleepers: Brandon Marshal, DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper
Jordan Reed: Reed is still Cousins’ favorite target and he has been playing outstanding since his return from injury. He gets a lot of good passes thrown his way and has been a great chain mover all season. The Redskins are 5-0 at home this season and don’t exactly face the toughest challenge playing the Cowboys this week. Several catches, 70 yards and a TD isn’t a stretch for Reed this week.
Travis Kelce: He appears to be back to full health, or close to it and outside of him and Maclin the passing game for the Chiefs is weak. Kelce will have a big game against the Raiders, who do struggle to stop the pass. They will dedicate coverage to Maclin to help avoid being beat deep, which will leave Kelce open for more passes and a big day.
Antonio Gates: With Philip Rivers completely devoid of really any weapons on the outside, he has been doing a great job of getting his talented TEs the ball early and often. With that said the Broncos are coming to town and bring their #1 ranked defense with them. Since the Chargers don’t have much if any real threats on the outside that will leave the extremely talented CB duo of Talib and Harris to take turns shutting down Gates. Sit Gates because he is going to be blanketed all game.
Heath Miller: Even though Roethlisberger is able to play this week I predict that the Steelers will keep Miller in more often than not to help block for him considering how beat up Big Ben has been all season. The Steelers have enough weapons already on the outside that Miller going out for passes isn’t going to be needed and he can stay in and help keep his QB upright and healthy.
Sleepers: Gary Barnidge, Greg Olsen, Martellus Bennett
Denver Broncos: After performing well against the Patriots, the Broncos face an extremely banged up offense in facing the Chargers. Missing starting OL, WOs, and no semblance of a running game, this should be a big day for the Broncos even with Rivers playing out of his mind considering what he has to work with. Denver will get to Rivers, sack him, rattle him, move him off his spot, and make him throw when he doesn’t want to, which is going to force a few turnovers.
Arizona Cardinals: After being surprisingly upset earlier in the season but the Rams, the Cardinals come in red-hot and do not look to be slowing down anytime soon. On an absolute role following back to back divisional wins the Cardinals will look to avenge their loss earlier this season and make it 3 straight against their division at home against the Rams. The Rams can’t pass the ball at all and everyone knows it including the Cardinals and their 3rd ranked defense. Gurley is going to get stuffed and Foles isn’t good enough to make up for that. Play the Cardinals with confidence in their ability to get to Foles and stuff the run.
Philadelphia Eagles: They play the Patriots and have given up 90 points in the last 2 games. Does anymore need to be said?
Cleveland Browns: Charged with the task of attempting to slow down a dominate force is not fair to a team like the Browns and their defense, but that is what they have to attempt to do this week playing the Bengals. Good luck! Dalton is on fire, the running game is dangerous and is a legitimate two headed monster attack. The best Cleveland can do on defense is hope the Bengals trip over themselves (which isn’t impossible) and cough the ball up or make stupid mistakes. Other than this unlikely event sit the Browns, the Bengals are going to run through this defense, literally and figuratively.
Sleepers: Washington Redskins, New England, Carolina Panthers