This Thursday will be a rematch of the (7-4) Green Bay Packers and the (4-7) Detroit Lions. In the last game between these division rivals, the Lions got the best of Green Bay in a close matchup which is destined to repeat itself. Since then, the Lions have gone on a roll, handedly beating the Eagles on Thanksgiving while Green Bay has wet the bed lately and has gone on a downward spiral. As the Lions fight for what earlier in the year seemed like an improbable playoff spot, Green Bay is hoping to get back on track after losing its first place position in the NFC North to the Vikings. Here are the players who should start and sit in this game:
Start – Matthew Stafford: Stafford seems to have gotten his mojo back since his sluggish start to the season. His 5 TD, 337 yard performance last week is a dream for any fantasy owner. With so many QBs not having great years, Stafford is a definite start for this week. He’s currently averaging a 90 QBR and 65% completion percentage. While indoors at home, Stafford is sure to light up the scoreboard in his attempt to will his team into playoff contention.
Start – Calvin Johnson: On Thanksgiving day, Calvin Johnson reminded people why he’s still considered the best wideout in the league. He pulled in 3 touchdowns on 95 yards. His connection with Stafford is great and should feature heavily in the indoor stadium in Detroit. Green Bay currently ranks 18th in passing defense, giving up 249 yards per game. Johnson and Stafford will be looking to surpass this statistic.
Sit – James Stark: Stark has only had one good game this season and that was against the Chargers in October. The Packers just don’t seem to be clicking lately. Against a Lions defense hungry for a victory, Starks shouldn’t start for fantasy owners, especially with Eddie Lacy taking a majority of the snaps.
Week 12 has huge playoff implications in the NFL. With the Lions beating the Eagles and Bears beating the Packers on Thanksgiving, for some teams there is still hope. For fantasy owners, this could mean huge points as players attempt to put their teams ahead in the race. Accordingly, here is a list of wide receivers who should start and sit for the week.
Start – Brandon LaFell With Danny Amendola scheduled to miss Sunday and Julian Edelman having a broke foot, LaFell has a great opportunity to make an impact for the Patriots. QB Tom Brady has always had a thing against Peyton Manning. And with the Pats taking on the Broncos this week (even if it is without Manning in the lineup), Brady is going to want to win this game. That means he’ll need options outside of Gronk to take on a good Denver defense. LaFell has been getting more yards as the weeks go on, and could have a repeat of his performance against the Redskins earlier where he pulled in 102 yards for the game.
Start – Martavis Bryant: With Big Ben back, Bryant should have a productive game. Although the Steelers are taking on the Legion of Boom in Seattle, the Seahawks have been anything but intimidating this season. In his last game against the Browns, Bryant racked up 178 yards and a touchdown. In an offense that lost its star running back LeVeon Bell, Martavis should be the go-to target for Roethlisberger to challenge Seattle’s secondary.
Start – Desean Jackson: Jackson hasn’t played much this season after tearing his hamstring, but is slowly working his way back into more plays in the Redskins offense. This week, Washington has a chance to go into first place in the NFC East by beating the Giants. QB Kirk Cousins will try to prove that he is the ultimate answer over RGIII by pulling his squad into the top spot in the division. He needs Jackson to do this. Last week, Desean had 87 yards on 5 receptions, but he was good for 56 yards on just one catch. His big play ability will work good against New York.
The Detroit Lions are taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in a showdown between two teams clawing for a chance to save their seasons. While the Eagles are only 1 game out of first place in the dismal NFC East, the Lions have all but eliminated themselves from postseason play with a 3-7 record. Despite the outlook on their respective seasons, this matchup should prove entertaining. For fantasy owners, here are a few players from these teams that should start and sit.
Start – Matthew Stafford: Stafford seems to be getting himself back on track after a terrible start to the season for his squad. Stafford hasn’t really had a horrible season. He’s averaging well over 200 yards on about 35 pass attempts a game. The problem is that he has had multiple games with multiple interceptions. But, a team winning doesn’t matter in fantasy, only a player’s production numbers. That is good for fantasy owners in a year where quarterback play is very unpredictable; just ask Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck owners. Look for Stafford to bring some holiday cheer to the Lions home crowd and put up some good numbers come Thursday.
Start – Theo Riddick: Riddick hasn’t played much of the season. He is the Lions’ third string running back and yet he has managed to become the leading pass catcher of all running backs in the league. Last week against the Raiders, Riddick pulled in 66 yards in the fourth quarter alone. Riddick wont get much in the running attack, but he’s averaging 8.9 yards per carry. And on a team that has players like Calvin Johnson who are often double teamed, Riddick should be wide open for Stafford to rely on.
Sit – Joique Bell: Bell shouldn’t start in any league this season…ever. He’s averaging 2.8 yards per carry on the season. For the entire season to date, he only has 138 yards total in the rushing category. Those numbers wont due for a running back in the NFL and certainly wont cut if for fantasy owners. His Lions teammate Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are much more productive and are the ones who owners should start, not Bell.
OUT – Ryan Mathews: Mathews was inactive last game due to a concussion and will NOT play today against the Lions. Philadelphia’s high-tempo offense also fares better for the passing game than the ground attack. Mathews is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, but he has many games this year where he was held to under 20 yards total.
Start – Charcandrick West: 2nd year back Charcandrick West has been posting superb fantasy numbers since Jamaal Charles went down with a season ending injury. Last week, West totaled 69 yards on the ground and pulled in 92 yards though the air (including an 80 yard reception and a touchdown). If Kansas city wants to throw all their balls underneath to the running back, all the better for fantasy owners. West should continue to thrive this week against a 2-7 Chargers squad that is unable to slow down opposing running backs of any caliber.
Start – Danny Woodhead: This veteran running back has emerged as the number one option for San Diego. The Chargers number one draft pick. Melvin Gordon, is plagued with ball security issues which has given Woodhead plenty of opportunities. Woodhead is averaging 4 yards per carry, but is also pulling in more than 11 yards per reception. Woodhead would serve well as a flex option in a tough matchup against a the Chiefs.
Start – James Starks: The longtime Packers backup is getting another shot at the starting role this week in place of Eddie Lacy. Even with Lacy set to play, Green Bay decided to go with Starks. Earlier this season, Starks managed 112 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers, but faces a much tougher matchup this week against the Vikings.
Sit – Melvin Gordon: Danny Woodhead’s emergence as a better option for the Chargers has hurt Gordon’s stock. The rookie back is averaging 3.6 yards per carry and only managed 31 yards in his last game against the Bears. Kansas City’s defense is stingy against the run, and wont allow Gordon to break free. Unlike Woodhead, Gordon, whose averaging just 5.6 yards per reception, doesn’t really help QB Phillip Rivers by getting open for a reception when defenses load the box.
Week 10 is a chance for some fantasy owners to start making a last push for playoff spots. A majority of NFL players have already defined their season as either a breakthrough or a dud. But, there are also some players who are questionable from week to week. Here are a few tips on starting or sitting those wide receivers who keep fantasy owners scratching their heads.
Start – Brandon LaFell: This week will be LaFell’s fourth week playing and he keeps getting better with each game. If defenses keep their eyes on Gronkowski, Amendola and Edelman, as they should, LaFell should be free for Tom Brady to make a play. He’s averaging 15 yards a reception. This should translate against a New York Giants team that finds a way let opponents drive down the field on them.
Start – Cole Beasley: Beasley, like the Cowboys, haven’t produced on offense like they should. Mainly due to the loss of QB Tony Romo, Dallas hasn’t had much big plays this season. That seems to have changed with the return of star wideout Dez Bryant. Dez as a threat draws most double teams, which leaves Jason Witten, Terrance Williams, and Beasley open. Beasley’s small size makes him virtually undetectable at times. Last week he pulled in 112 yards and 2 touchdowns against a pretty good Philly defense. He should be a good security blanket for Matt Cassel as they take on Tampa Bay.
Sit – Jeremy Maclin: This is not the same Maclin that put up more than 1800 yards last season with Philly. Last week against a dismal Detroit, Maclin had 35 yards. That won’t cut it for one of the team’s best weapons. Kansas City doesn’t focus on increasing its receivers stats and neither should fantasy owners.
Sit – James Jones: Jones was a steal early in the season. Now, he’s been more of a letdown, especially with Davante Adams back in the lineup. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been his best at times, so that could be the reason Jones only had 57 yards last game. Jones is also questionable this week. Green Bay is playing its desperate rival Detroit, so I’d only start Jones as a last resort.
Sit – Ted Ginn: Carolina is rolling. Ted Ginn Jr is not. Last week, the receiver only had one reception for 20 yards. He’s currently averaging 17 yards per reception, which is great. But, he’s also averaging 2-3 receptions per game. Unless he plans on breaking one of those catches off for a 60+ yard touchdown (which is doubtful), those stats won’t cut it for week 10.
Question Mark – Willie Snead: In his first year with the Saints, Snead has had flashes of brilliance. But, Drew Brees might be looking to Brandin Cooks as an option over Snead. New Orleans is playing Washington this week. If the Redskins put on the same show they displayed against the Patriots, Snead might be worth a start. It all depends on if you trust Washington’s defense to fail and let Brees run wild like he did against New York.
Any game that features coach Rex Ryan is expected to be entertaining and this tonight is no different. Ryan and his Buffalo Bills are heading to the Meadowlands to take on his former team, the New York Jets. These division rivals meet for the first time this season as both are pushing for playoff spots. The Bills (4-4) are looking to even up the standings with the Jets (5-3)as the two teams could easily grab both wildcard spots in a close AFC. Here is a list of players in this matchup who should start or start for your team.
Start – Ryan Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatrick has had a pretty good year and with unpredictable quarterback play around the league, that translates into a great year for some fantasy owners. Even against the Patriots this year, Fitzpatrick almost led the Jets to the upset of the year. The former Harvard grad has a 89.3 QBR for the year. He has 7 interceptions on the year, but has posted none in the last three games. Fitzpatrick is nursing a thumb injury, but that doesn’t seem to be bothering his throwing motion one bit.
Start – Brandon Marshall: Marshall only had 44 yards against the Jaguars last week, but he did average 11 yards per reception and pulled in a touchdown. Not counting that game, Marshall has had an amazing season with Jets. He’s easily the offense’s number one option and his ability to make incredible catches in the clutch is always a problem for defenses. In what could be a close game against two teams trying to kill one another, Marshall should factor heavily in New York’s game plan. Look for Marshall to get back on track against the Bills.
Sit – Chris Ivory: Ivory was once looked upon as a go-to guy for some fantasy owners. Now, his lackluster performances have many jumping off the bandwagon. Ivory has 6 touchdowns on the year, but only averaged 1.1 yards per carry in the last two games. Ivory had two good games this season, but those came against an uninspired Dolphins team and a confused Redskins squad. Rex Ryan’s Bills will not be so easy on the running game. Ivory’s lack of quality performances is making the Jets, and fantasy owners, wish they put more faith in Chris Johnson.
Statewide bragging rights are on the line this Thursday as the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Cleveland Browns. This clash of AFC North rivals should be a battle as the Browns look to spoil the Bengals’ perfect season so far. With many teams, including the Browns going through major roster changes this week, here is a look at the players who should start and ride the bench for this game.
Start – Marvin Jones: Marvin Jones is looking for a big bounce back game after getting shut down by the Steelers last week. Jones only managed to secure two of five targets for 12 yards as the Steelers put the clamps on Andy Dalton. The Browns offer a much more welcoming pass defense to help the Bengals get back on track. Jones has a nose for the end zone and should be able to find it against a Browns team that has a problem shutting down the pass.
Start – Duke Johnson: Johnson should not be a starter if you only count rushing statistics. The rookie had accumulated 179 yards for the entire year, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. But, Johnson is also one of Cleveland’s best receiving threats. The back is known for the occasional big play, including a 52 yards catch last week against the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson should see more touches against Cincy in what will certainly be a close game.
Sit – Jeremy Hill: Just as the Browns have only lost half their games by one score, the Bengals have won more than half their games by one score or less. In order for Cincinnati to pull away in this game, their going to need their best players to show up. Don’t expect Jeremy Hill to be one of those players. Hill has only 292 yards on 89 carries. He has managed 5 TDs for the year, but those came from only 2 games. The Bengals aren’t particularly known for their running attack, so don’t expect them to change their formula this week and use Hill more than before.
Sit – Dwayne Bowe: Bowe is self explanatory. Fantasy owners, like the Browns, are waiting for Bowe to do something, anything this season. In the beginning off the season, Biwe was projected to put up at least 800 yards this year. Cleveland paid $9 million for the veteran, who has accounted for a total of ZERO catches on the year. At this rate, he’ll have to get at least 100 yards a game just to reach the status of having a decent year. Even if Bowe manages to get some production this game, Manziel will try to limit his mistakes by searching for reliable targets in order to keep his starting job.
Toss Up – Tyler Eifert: With quarterback Andy Dalton an obvious starter for this game, the only question that bugs fantasy owners is whether or not to put their faith in Eifert for the week. Normally, the tight end position is one of the most consistent in terms of generating fantasy points in years past. Not so much this year with multiple injuries and poor play of notable QBs around the league. Eifert had two great games against Oakland and Seattle this season with 194 yards and 4 touchdowns for those outings. But, he has also only racked up 69 yards in the last two games. With A.J. Green expected to catch the attention of the Browns’ defense, Eifert should get more chances this week. Hopefully he can capitalize on them.
The NFL season is reaching its halfway point where teams are either in the hunt for a playoff spot or already cutting their losses. There are some intriguing fantasy matchups this week that will have everybody watching. Here are the wide receivers who deserve a starting spot and those who should be left on the bench.
Start – Tyler Lockett: Lockett could be a blessing in disguise for some fantasy owners scrambling for a reliever this late in the season. He accumulated 79 yards and a TD against the 49ers, but Lockett can also have games where he won’t get a catch. This week, Seattle plays the Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas defensive front including Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, Demarcus Lawrence, Sean Lee, and Tyron Crawford will be pushing back against Seattle’s run game with Lynch. With Jimmy Graham gaining a majority of the defense’s attention, Russell Wilson could have open guys down the field, mainly Lockett. Lockett should be a good plugin for the flex position.
Start – Kendall Wright: Wright doesn’t have the best numbers coming into this week’s game against the Houston Texans, but numbers can be deceiving. Wright managed to pull in only 46 yards last week, but he did score a touchdown, which saved him. The biggest change for Wright this week will be the return of his starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. With Mariota at the helm, look for the Baylor product to shine against a desperate Texans squad.
Start – Stefan Diggs: Diggs has made a name for himself in the past few weeks. His production value is through the roof. He’s averaging just over 17 yards a catch in each of his outings. But, Diggs may not be as big a name for most fantasy owners who will make the mistake of starting a more seasoned veteran over the Minnesota receiver. If given the chance to start Diggs or another popular wideout (I.e. Dez Bryant or Odell Beckham Jr.) start Diggs. It’s the best bet.
Sit – Tavon Austin: Austin is a hit or miss kind of guy. One day he’ll have -2 yards and the next he’ll run back a 100 yard kickoff return. St. Louis also has its best performer in running back Todd Gurley, who they’ll feed for a majority of the game. Austin managed only 6 yards against a Redskins team not particularly known for its defensive prowess. He is playing the 49ers this week, but that bodes well for Gurley, rather than Austin.
Sit – Steve Smith: Smith is looking to go into retirement with a bang. His numbers have been moderately consistent and he’s a top target for QB Joe Flacco. This week poses a problem for Smith. He has missed practice with an apparent knee injury and is also nursing micro fractures in his back. If any of these injuries flare up against San Diego, he could miss parts of the game, which would kill the score for fantasy owners.Sit – Tavon Austin: Austin is a hit or miss kind of guy. One day he’ll have -2 yards and the next he’ll run back a 100yr kickoff return. St. Louis also has its best performer in running back Todd Gurley, who they’ll feed for a majority of the game. Austin managed only 6 yards against a Redskins team not particularly known for its defensive prowess. He is playing the 49ers this week, but that bodes well for Gurley rather than Austin.
Sit – Marvin Jones: Cincinnati has surprised a lot of people this year. That doesn’t mean that fantasy owners should put their faith in Jones to produce points for them. Jones has decent numbers for the year, but is plagued with a crowded wide receiver core that can leave him stranded at times. Jones is suffering from the same problem as Roddy White with Julio Jones in Atlanta. When a team has a go-to guy like A.J. Green, they tend not to look to other options. With the Steelers getting Roethlisberger back, they should be a rejuvenated bunch set on giving their division rival their first loss on the season.