By Anthony Stampone
If you're still going at this point in the season you are likely in the playoffs, congratulations! I am in the playoffs in all three of my leagues! I finished 3rdin my PPR league, 1st in my standard league, and 4th in some weird I cannot even begin to explain how the scoring works league that I will never do again. I wish you all good luck and hope you read this article and it helps!
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
Ryan Fitzpatrick: A guy that may be still sitting on your leagues waiver wire is a great play this week! Fitz has the benefit of playing a terrible Titans secondary with his full complement of weapons. There is no reason to believe Fitz won’t have at least 250 yards and two TD passes to the his monsters on the outside and with Bilal Powell showing up big last week in the receiving game as well out of the backfield, it is going to make things even harder on an already struggling Titans defense. Fitz may even be a better start this week than your usual starter. I picked him up and I am starting him in one of my leagues over Matt Stafford.
Eli Manning: This choice was another easy decision considering who his opponent is. Playing the Dolphins and the train wreck that they are should make for a rather easy day for Manning and his passing attack. The Dolphins have struggled to live up to their hype all year on the defensive side of the ball and have been getting knocked around on almost a weekly basis. Things went from bad to worse when Cameron Wake went down for the season. They can’t get after the QB, their LBs are terrible, and there secondary which was decent last season has been getting burned. OBJ and crew are in for a big day and so is Manning!
Matt Schaub: The master of throwing pick 6’s is back at it again and he isn’t disappointing the other team’s defense. Schaub has to face Seattle this week that has been playing like the secondary we have known them to be over the last three or more seasons. Schaub is in for a long day; he going to get hit a lot, sacked, and yes he is more than likely to continue his impressive ability to give the opposition free touchdowns.
Marcus Mariota: As impressive as he has been so far this year as a rookie, he is in for a rough day. Facing a healthy Jets defense that is welcoming Darrell Revisback with open arms, bad news for Mariota. The Jets have an outstanding front seven and now are completely healthy in the secondary which is a scary proposition for pretty much any QB let alone a rookie that is missing one of his weapons in Kendall Hunter. This is not a defense to mess around with let alone a rookie still finding his way, don’t expect much out of Mariota this week.
Sleepers: Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, JameisWinston
LeSean McCoy: Total homer pick I know! On a serious note there is no reason not to play McCoy this week and if healthy, the rest of the season. McCoy since getting over his hamstring injury has been ripping it up. He has had at least 100 yards (rushing + receiving) in six straight games and will make it seven this weekend. The Eagles are horrendous on defense and the Bills seem to hitting their stride on offense, especially in the running game. McCoy is still McCoy and can make a Grizzly bear miss in a phone booth. I am not one that is for all this “Grudge Match” junk and I don’t buy it; most of the time. This time I am and I think McCoy is ready and going to carve up this Eagles defense both running the ball and catching it out of the backfield. Play him and enjoy the stats!
Doug Martin: This may be news to many of you but Doug Martin is 2nd in the NFL in rushing this year and that is with having a “game in hand” being played this weekend against the lowly Saints. Don’t be surprised if Martin grabs hold of that lead over Peterson this weekend and in the process has a huge day, I mean seriously let’s face it, who doesn’t against this Saints defense that seems to have actually gotten worse since Rob Ryan left. Martin is the clear cut #1 in Tampa and will not only get the majority of carries but he will also see passes out of the backfield. Big day coming for Martin coming, enjoy it with him in your lineup.
Davonta Freeman: Unless you have Davonta in a PPR league this is a great week to play someone else or play him as a flex at best. Freeman and the Falcons are in a free fall which doesn’t have much to do with Freeman’s production however, with facing the Panthers this weekend and those insane LBs that hit and wreck pretty much anything that moves. The Falcons haven’t been able to stop the bleeding on either side of the ball and Freeman isn’t getting as many touches this week unless they are passes, and even then that may not make a difference.
Frank Gore: Gore is officially over the hill, let’s just get that out of the way. Gore came into this season with high aspirations that he would finally get a Colts rushing attack going that hasn’t been there since Manning was still their QB. Gore is admittedly beat up and their offensive line is still struggling to block anyone whether it’s in the running or passing game. Facing a Jags defense this weekend that is actually decent against the run which doesn’t look good for an already weak rushing team. Sit Gore; for the rest of the year!
Sleepers: Darren McFadden, Lamar Miller, Thomas Rawls
Travis Benjamin: Benjamin is a must play this week for one reason and one reason only; Manziel. Say what you want about the kid and his issues, one thing he can do and did it well this season is push the ball down field to a speedster like Benjamin. Go back and look at Benjamin’s best games, most of them came with Manziel under center. Playing the 49ers this week, who aren’t very good against the past and will have trouble keeping up with a guy like Benjamin and his amazing speed and underrated route running ability.
Brandon Marshall: Clearly in midseason form at this point, Marshall is tearing it up and has become Fitzpatrick’s safety net. In the last two games Marshall has caught 21 passes for 262 yards, and 3 TDs. With facing the Titans this week there is plenty of reason to believe and trust he will come away with another 100+ yard performance and at least one TD.
Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry: I realize that these two aren’t on the same team (anymore anyway), but this is going to be a fun in game competition to watch. If for nothing else you should watch the Giants and Dolphins game on MNF just to see which ex-LSU Tiger out duals the other. Both players are their teams best WO and are extremely talented. Both of these guys have the ability to change the game in the favor of their team on the offensive side of the ball. If you have either or both of these WOs play them, they will be worth it!
Roddy White: With age comes a drop in production, but I do not believe anyone say this much of a drop in production coming from Roddy in the matter of one season. The questions about the system and the OC can be asked as they also seem to have caused Matt Ryan to look like Matt Schaub, but regardless Roddy isn’t a good play this week. Between playing the Panthers, their scheme, and his lack of production all season there is no reason to play White for the rest of the year.
Amari Cooper: The rookie is having an impressive first season and if it wasn’t for the two rookie QBs playing well Cooper would be a legitimate candidate for ROY. With that said this isn’t going to be a good weekend to play Cooper. Facing the Broncos this weekend and their outstanding defense (still ranked #1 DVOA overall and against the pass), and having outstanding cover corners Harris and Talib to contend with, it makes for a long day for even some of the best WOs in the league let alone a rookie. DeMarcus Ware is also back this week which should crank up the pass rush that didn’t lose much of a step without him, but with him back it changes things up and it will make for a long day for Derek Carr and his passing game. Bench Cooper this week.
Sleepers: Sammy Watkins, Allen Hurns, Jeremy Maclin
Travis Kelce: From all the reports about injuries, Kelce’s ankle seems to be back fully healthy and his play in the last few weeks is starting to show it again. Facing the banged up Chargers this week that doesn’t really have anyone that can cover in their secondary healthy right now except Weddle. With Alex Smith recently finding his ability to spread the field over the last few weeks, Weddle can only handle one guy whether it’s Maclin or Kelce and I do not see him focusing on one guy all game long. Kelce will get his catches and will rack up plenty of YAC to play him this week.
Julius Thomas: Julius has finally entered the building ladies and gentlemen! Thomas has been slowly working his way back this season and seems to have really found his stride in recent weeks. Scoring TDs in the last three straight games Thomas is a must play this week facing the Colts. Indy doesn’t have LBs that can cover Thomas and with Hurns and Robinson working the outside routes, there should be plenty of room for Thomas to work the middle of the field and have even just an OK day but with another TD.
Eric Ebron: Besides catching a TD last week, Ebronhasn’t been much of a threat since he entered the league. Nothing has changed and Tate, Johnson, and Reddick still remain Stafford’s go to guys in the passing game. Ebron doesn’t even see the field as often as he should be that is largely due to the fact that he still can’t really block. Sit Ebron, and if you can replace him with someone else.
Ben Watson: Although the Saints picked up the passing game in a big way last week, Watson wasn’t a big part of it with the exception of his TD which brings him to a total of four for the year. Watson started this season off on fire and was for a while Brees’ go to guy when he needed a 1st down or a TD, but that production has dropped off in a big way recently and it isn’t going to be any better facing off against the Bucs. LavontaDavid is one of the best in the game when it comes to covering TEs and Backs as a LB and is going to give Watson fits all game while he isn’t making plays elsewhere on the field. Sit Watson for someone else.
Sleepers: Gary Barnidge, Charles Clay, Scott Chandler
Detroit Lions: The Lions have seemingly found their balance on defense even after the off-season losses and the loss of stud LB Levy. Even with all the lost personnel, the Lions have been playing great defense minus one play (Do I really have to say the play?). Playing a Rams offense this week that has become so bad and so predictable that I feel the WOs on the Rams are just there to jog laps on the field. No one is afraid of the Rams passing on them and they have caught on to stopping rookie Todd Gurley. The Lions will do those exact things and may even keep the Rams out of the end zone this week.
New York Jets: Completely healthy, playing well, and still amongst the most talented groups in the league face-off against a rookie QB this week. With the lack of weapons to compliment the skill set of their rookie QB, the Titans are in for a long day this weekend and the Jets are going to have some fun on both sides of the ball. Several sacks and a takeaway or two isn’t out of the question and might even be expected, play them!
New Orleans: At this point in the season if you have been starting the Saints defense you need to do two things right now;
1. Thank god the rest of your team is saving your butt!
2. Slap yourself in the face for being so dirt-eating-silly! DUMP THEM FOR ANYONE ELSE!
New York Giants and Miami Dolphins: Based on the fact that I am listing the same two defenses that are facing each other says a lot. This is going to be an offensive game and barring either Manning or Tannehill or both just completely breaking down and throwing repeated INTs this is going to be a face paced high scoring game with neither team able to really stop the other. If you have either of these defenses, bench them or drop them for another team. There should be plenty of better other options out there still.
Sleepers: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, KC