CHICAGO BEARS at Baltimore Ravens
In Jay Cutler’s absence, McCown has performed admirably, likely due in large part to Marc “the quarterback whisperer” Trestman. McCown is surrounded by talent and a much improved O-line compared to last season. This week, he is a viable spot start in place of an injured Aaron Rodgers, for example. He should have around 250 yards and 2 scores.
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The streak has beeen broken! Last week was Forte’s first game of the season with single digit fantasy points. This week, he goes against a Ravens defense giving up the fewest points to opposing RBs. In spite of that, he is still a strong RB1 play, and is as usual a good bet to have over 100 total yards and a score. He’s matchup-proof.
Like his running back teammate Forte, Marshall is matchup-proof. He hasn’t had any dropoff with McCown as his QB, and the Ravens are giving up plenty of points to opposing WRs, ranking in the top half of points allowed. He’s a top-5 option this week, and anything less than 100 yards would be a disappointment.
Since week 4, Jeffery has only had one game without either 100 yards, a TD, or both. He’s emerging as a legitimate superstar for the Bears, and should be in your lineup week in and week out. His streak will continue this week.
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Bennett is questionable for Sunday’s game, so keep an eye on his status. Even if he does play, his early season performance has tailed off to a worrying degree. If you can, look for an upside player like Rob Housler until Bennett regains his fitness and role in the offense.
DETROIT LIONS at Pittsburgh Steelers
On paper, the Steelers present a touch matchup against opposing QBs. In reality, they are prone to giving up big plays, and will potentially be missing their top corner in Ike Taylor. Stafford is primed for a big day. He should have over 300 yards and at least 2 scores.
No team has surrendered more TDs to running backs than the Steelers. Bush has a fantastic matchup against a defense that struggles with speed. Bush is a top-5 RB option this week, and is almost a lock to score, with over 100 total yards.
As hard as we try, we’re running out of superlatives for Megatron. He will have over 100 yards, he will score, and he almost definitely will be the top WR in fantasy again this week.
Durham has been surprisingly consistent since he became a full-time starter, though that consistency hasn’t yielded particularly great returns. He’s a lock for around 50 yards, and has a decent chance to score. He’s an acceptable desperation play.
Joe Fauria / Brandon Pettigrew
Pettigrew had his best game of the season last week, tallying 5 catches for 70 yards. But his useage is so inconsistent it makes him almost impossible to start this week. Fauria has disappointed since his 3 TD explosion in week 6, in spite of the Lions trying to incorporate him more into their gameplan. Neither is worth starting this week.
GREEN BAY PACKERS at New York Giants
It’s tempting to start the signal caller for Green Bay’s traditionally high octane offense. Please don’t. The Giants have been sneakily good on defense lately, giving up just one offensive touchdown in their last three games, per ESPN. He should have around 225 yards and maybe a score, but potentially multiple turnovers also.
The Giants are actually ranked in the top half in terms of points allowed to opposing RBs, though that may be because their secondary was so bad for the first half of the season that teams just passed on them continually. That shouldn’t be the case with Green Bay presumably leaning on the rush attack. It’s a reasonable argument that the Giants will focus on stopping Lacy and the run game, but that’s easier said than done. Lacy should record 80-90 rushing yards and has a good chance to score. He’s a low-end RB1 this week.
In essentially two full games with Tolzien, Nelson has scored eleven points total. He’s moved down from a bona fide WR1 to at best a lower end WR2. He’s the Packer most likely to score outside of Lacy, but it’s optimistic to hope for more than maybe 80 yards. You’ll likely roll with Nelson this week, but temper expectations.
Boykin and Tolzien actually showed some chemistry last week, perhaps as a result of spending time together on the practice squad. There’s a very real chance Boykin has a better fantasy week than Nelson this week, but it’s hard to play him as more than a WR3. Expect 70 yards, and anything else is a bonus.
Jones isn’t worth thinking about starting this week, and won’t be until he either shows some chemistry with Tolzien, or until Rodgers comes back. It’s dangerous enough to start a player whose value resides with long touchdowns, but it’s a different proposition when he’s missing the QB who makes those TDs possible.
Andrew Quarless / Brandon Bostick
If you HAVE to start one, start Bostick. But if you have to start Brandon Bostick, your season is likely finished. Bostick’s upside is higher as he’s more athletic, but it’s too soon to anoint him as Finley’s successor just yet.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS at Seattle Seahawks
Well, this won’t take long.
At the time of writing, Ponder’s status was uncertain. But it doesn’t matter if he or Matt Cassel gets the start, the Seahawks are giving up the second fewest points to opposing QBs. Don’t even think about starting either of them.
While it seems disingenuous, starting RBs against the traditionally ferocious Seattle D-line has been productive of late. Peterson will, as always, be the focal point of his team’s offense, and should easily eclipse 100 total yards and will likely score. As per usual, Peterson is a top-5 option at the position.
Is injured, facing Richard Sherman, and bad at football now. Avoid.
Was charged with a DUI and demoted from the starting lineup. Avoid.
Patterson is actually the player from this receiving corps we like most, and he has a chance to shine if he starts in place of Simpson. A realistic projection is under 50 yards, but there’s a (small) chance he has a much bigger game than that. He’s worth a start if you need to swing for the fences this week.
Bold prediction alert – John Carlson DOESN’T approach 100 yards and a TD this week. We think he might be quite heavily targeted, but his stat line should look closer to 5 catches for 60 yards and no scores this week.