With so many fantasy starters sitting on the bench this week due to byes, owners are scrambling to find replacements on the waiver wire, their own bench, or via a trade. We turn to our fantasy guru, James Morris, to help you set your lineup for this weekend.
Week 7 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” by James Morris
I’ve answered more questions this week about potential trades than any other week thus far, and will reiterate that most managers will only do a trade if they think they are clearly winning in the deal.
One of the best pieces of advice that I can give you is to a technique I learned in the Army, the K.I.S.S. method. Keep It Simple Stupid. If you are sure you should do the deal, then you probably shouldn’t. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Rarely is a deal a 50-50 win.
Ben Roethlisberger – QB Steelers: Big Ben and the Steelers match up with the Bengals in a division rivalry game, but it is the Bengals 20.4 fantasy PPG allowed to opposing QBs that makes him such a sexy play this week. He has the weapons in Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller to put up solid QB1 stats this weekend.
Josh Freeman – QB Buccaneers: Freeman has thrown for 627 yards and 4 TDs in his last two games, and faces a Saints defense that gives up 24.5 PPG to QBs, 5th worst in the NFL. I would play Freeman over a starter like Jay Cutler this week, but I would also cut him after this week if your regular QB has already had his bye.
Stevan Ridley – RB Patriots: Ridley is being overlooked by all the big box websites because the Seahawks held him to just 34 yards on 16 carries last week. Do you know: the Seahawks held DeMarco Murray to 44 yards on 12 carries back in week 2. I am not worried about Ridley this week and I even played him over Marshawn Lynch in my Dolphins NFL.com league.
C.J. Spiller – RB Bills: Spiller is going to rotate with Fred Jackson every other series, and he is currently averaging 7.6 YPC this season. Obviously that is a number that will come down as he sees more touches. Spiller has proven he is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball, and the Bills are committed to getting him involved in the offense going forward.
Kenny Britt – WR Titans: Britt is coming fresh off an 11-target outing last week, and the Bills are sporting the #29 ranked pass defense in the NFL. Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t have the arm strength to go far down field, so expect a lot of short passes for modest gains. Those in PPR leagues should end up with WR1 numbers.
Donnie Avery – WR Colts: With Joe Haden focusing on stopping Reggie Wayne, Avery is going to get a shot at repeating last week’s performance of 60 yards on 12 targets. There is no guarantee that Avery scores, but the targets will lead to catches, which will lead to yards, which could lead to touchdowns.
Scott Chandler – TE Bills: Chandler is someone that I personally do not own in fantasy leagues because he is only worth using two or three time a season. And, lucky for you, this week happens to be one of them. The Titans allow a league worst 15.2 PPG to TEs, which is 2.7 points higher than the next worst team (Redskins). He may not kill it with yardage or receptions, but he should find the endzone on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers defense: The Packers are owned in a startling 89.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet they rank out as the #19 fantasy defense thus far. That being said, The Packers face the one team whose offense is your best defense, the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have scored the 8th fewest points in the NFL this season with 110, and now they are without their #1 WR in Danny Amendola. This could get ugly quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Matthew Stafford – QB Lions: The one great thing Stafford has going for him this weekend is Calvin Johnson. Outside of that, he has an underperforming TE in Brandon Pettigrew, and two obviously weaker WR options in Nate Burleson and Titus Young. Then you have the Bears defense, which is #1 in PPG to QBs (12.7 PPG), #1 in INT’s (13), and #1 in points allowed (71). He could have a fluke good game this week, but I’m not starting him in my NFL.com league.
Christian Ponder – QB Vikings: Ponder has really come on in his last two games, throwing for 610 yards and 4 TDs. But, this week he faces a Cardinals defense that is #2 in PPG to QBs (14.2). I still think Percy Harvin does his damage, but I have a feeling the Vikings will utilize Adrian Peterson to grind it out against the Cardinals 14th ranked fantasy run defense (15.3 PPG).
Rashard Mendenhall – RB Steelers: Mendenhall is iffy to play on Sunday, but even if he does take the field you have to wonder at what percentage of health he is at. No matter how good he feels, you can rest assure that the Steelers will use a heavy rotation of Issac Redman should Mendenhall take the field.
Shonn Greene – RB Jets: The Patriots have been pretty good against the run thus far, allowing just a single rushing TD and 408 yards on the ground. Greene had his career day last week as he sliced the Colts defense up for 161 yards on the ground and 3 TDs. I am betting he returns to his norm of 40 yards and no touchdown dances.
Steve Smith – WR Panthers: Smith isn’t someone most people can outright bench because of how high you drafted him. But, the Cowboys have the #1 ranked defense in points fantasy points allowed to WRs (25.8 PPG). Smith has been on a steady yardage decline since starting the season off with a 106 receiving yard game, and he has failed to score this season. Smith is starting to resemble one of the more overrated fantasy WRs in 2012.
Brandon Lloyd – WR Patriots: I was a big proponent of Lloyd heading into the fantasy draft, but I have since changed direction due to a lack of production. Lloyd is averaging 66.8 YPG and has scored just once this season. Did you know that Lloyd is tied for 5th in the NFL with 57 targets, but ranks 18th with 401 receiving yards? The looks are there, just not the numbers we need in fantasy football.
Jermichael Finley – TE Packers: Finley is tied for 3rd in targets (35) on the Packers with reserve WR Randall Cobb. The reality is that Finley has been unreliable and there is a chemistry problem between Aaron Rodgers and Finley. I wouldn’t cut him because the talent is there, but I would bench him until further notice and find you a waiver wire TE like Chandler to fill in this week.
Baltimore Ravens defense: The Ravens are without their future Hall of Fame LB in Ray Lewis, their best CB in Lardarius Webb, there are conflicting reports on the availability of OLB Terrell Suggs, and DB Ed Reed is playing with a torn labrum. Given all the problems this defense has right now, and how well the Texans’ offense is clicking right now, I would sit the Ravens and consider cutting them outright if there is something on the waiver wire that catches your eye. Sometimes it is better to let a bad fantasy player become someone else’s problem, rather than sitting on your bench and taking up a roster spot.
Be sure to check back here on Sunday morning for late-breaking fantasy injuries.
Also, for more fantasy guidance, you can follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.