New York Jets at BALTIMORE RAVENS
All season, we’ve been reiterating the fact that Flacco has been playing at a QB2 level. This week, you’ll probably get our strongest recommendation that he’s a viable starter if you have Rodgers out or Wilson on bye, for example. The Jets have been bad against the pass all season, particularly so in the last few weeks. They’re also next to impossible to run on, so the Ravens will have little choice but to pass the ball. Expect in the region of 250 yards and 2 TDs.
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After last week’s explosion, many are proclaiming that Rice is “back”. After this week, it’s more than likely those same people will be lamenting their decision to draft him in the first round. The Jets have given up the second fewest points to opposing RBs, and Rice hasn’t exactly been matchup-proof this year. If you need to start him, it should be as a low-end flex at best, with a stat line of around 60-70 total yards.
We like Smith this week, quite a lot. He’s scored in back-to-back games, and he should extend that streak this week. Antonio Cromartie has been a shell of last season’s player, and there are no secondary players that the Jets have who can worry Smith. He’s a high-end WR2, and should post around 14 non-PPR points.
The early season excitement around Brown died away with his knee injury last week, and we don’t like him to make a fantasy impact this week if he does happen to dress for the game.
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Bold prediction alert – Jones takes a long one to the house this week. He’s as risky a play as there comes, though, so don’t rush out to start him. He’s worth monitoring though in case he finally has his breakout game of the season.
As we’ve been saying for a few weeks, Clark’s value is based solely on red zone useage, which is entirely unpredictable. It’s best to leave him alone this week.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS at CLEVELAND BROWNS
While Campbell turned in an absolutely abject performance last week, this Pittsburgh defense has been prone to giving up big plays all season. If he can connect with his budding superstar wideout on a long gainer or two, he could have a decent fantasy day. He’s still a low-end QB2, but a decent day isn’t as far from the realms of possibility as many think.
Hot streak alert! Over his last three games, Roethlisberger has averaged 324 yards per game and 3 TDs, to go with one INT on average. The Steelers’ offense is finally clicking, and Ben is in complete control. The Browns have been above average in terms of points allowed to opposing QBs, but Roethlisberger’s recent stretch has vaulted him into low-end QB1 / high-end QB2 status, and he retains that value this week. Expect around 270 yards and 2 TDs.
The Browns’ running game has been very unimpressive all season, but “Silent G” retains some flex value simply due to him being the main option in the backfield, and the fact that he’s involved in the pass attack. While the Steelers have been generous against the run for the most of the season, they have improved in recent weeks, including an impressive performance holding Reggie Bush and Joique Bell (both MUCH more talented backs than Ogbonnaya) to 151 TOTAL yards last week. Expect around 70 total yards.
Bell is a featured back. There aren’t that many of those in the NFL these days. There are people who say he isn’t talented, or that he’s a plodder. Those people are wrong:
Bell’s statistics haven’t been great this season, but he’s been more than solid. He’s a must-start RB2 every week, even against tough opposition. He should flirt with 100 total yards, and is 50/50 to score.
Gordon has shown that he doesn’t need a good QB in order to produce, with 18 non-PPR points last week. He has struggled in the two games he’s played against Pittsburgh in his short career, with 8 catches for 99 total yards and 0 TDs in two games. We think he’ll post around 80 yards this week, and is a toss-up to score. His potential means it’s impossible to sit him, however.
This should be one of the matchups of the week – Antonio Brown against Joe Haden. Brown had a monstorous game last week, and is now the 7th highest scoring WR for the season. He’s in a similar situation to Gordon above, where his talent is too enticing to sit him. But Haden should hold him in check to the tune of around 80-90 yards.
While most of the other WRs in this game are too inconsistent to mention, and Wheaton very definitely falls into that category, we have a feeling he finally shows something this week. The rookie wideout is exceptionally talented, and will show that before the season is out. When better than when Brown is shadowed by one of the best corners in the game? Another bold prediction – Wheaton has a score of over 50 yards.
Since week 5, Cameron has only one game of double digit fantasy points. If you can find an option like Rob Housler on the waiver wire, it’s worth your while to give yourself options. That being said, Cameron’s floor this week is around 60 yards.
Miller’s slump was broken last week with 8 catches. These only resulted in 67 yards, but he was finally able to get himself in positions where Roethlisberger could find him. If he can garner that kind of attention again, as well as finding the space, he’s a decent bet to score.