At this point I feel like I can just copy and paste the intro paragraph from last week’s column when it comes to my weekly picks. “Well, last week didn’t quite go the way I had hoped, but this week I feel like it’s about to turn around!” This week, however, I actually do feel real good about my best bets, so at least there’s that. And while the picks were umm, not the best shall we say last week, my fantasy takes were actually pretty spot on.
This week I’m going to give you one player in each game that should outperform expectations and that I’d recommend you start, especially if you are having bye week problems. It should go without saying, but I’m not going to tell you to start your stud players. I’m looking at mid-range kind of guys here. I’d say “sleepers” but there’s no such thing in fantasy these days. Let’s get started..
Bills +4 @ Browns – Ok, not the start I was looking for, but in fairness to me if I knew Jeff Tuel was going to be playing a big role in this game, I would have taken the Browns…and quite frankly, I would have taken a lot of college teams as well. Jeff Tuel is a disgrace.
- Fantasy Alert: Bengals Defense (Week 6) – If Jeff Tuel is really going to be the Bills starter going forward, then my advice is to pick up every defense they play. He is unquestionably the worst starting QB in the NFL and will give you a ton of points. I’d pick up the Bengals defense right now if I were you. The only people this could possibly be good for are those that have CJ SPiller and Fred Jackson in PPR leagues. They should rack up a ton of catches because the running backs appear to be the only players that Tuel can actually reach on the field.
Bears PK vs. Saints – The Saints are coming off a destruction of the Dolphins at home on Monday night, but they’re a much different team outdoors. They should have lost in Tampa and Tampa is not nearly as rough of a place to play as Chicago is. Bears win this one, as much as I’d like to pick the Saints simply because I laugh every time I see Rob Ryan on the sidelines.
- Fantasy Alert: Martellus Bennett – Rob Ryan’s Saints defense is going to be all over Brandon Marshall and that will free up Bennett in the middle of the field. I expect a few catches and a TD from him this week and I’d start him confidently.
Patriots +1 @ Bengals – This one is tricky, because it seems like a good spot for Cincinnati to pull one out, but I’m not buying it. The Packers should have won by double digits a few weeks ago in Cincy but couldn’t seal the deal against this overrated Bengals team. I don’t see the Patriots making those same kind of mistakes to blow the game here. And can someone explain to me why a team coached by Marvin Lewis and quarterbacked by Andy Dalton is getting so much respect?
- Fantasy Alert: Kembrell Thompkins – Amendola may return this week, but I’d still expect big things from Thompkins in this game against the Bengals banged up secondary. Plus the Pats may have to actually start LeGarrette Blount in this game (no, seriously, it’s true. Yes, I know it’s hilarious… yes, I’m serious) so Tom Brady will be passing a ton. And Stevan Ridley’s ridiculously bad season makes me feel smart for predicting him to be a major bust. See, I told you my fantasy advice wasn’t so bad. The picks on the other hand…
Packers -7 vs. Lions – Detroit is another dome team that struggles outdoors, and Lambeau Field is about as outdoors as it gets. Throw in the fact the Packers are coming off a bye and have Eddie Lacy returning, and I think this is a 10-14 point game.
- Fantasy Alert: Eddie Lacy – Yeah Lacy is probably a bit more than a “mid-range” player like I was going for here, but I just want to express how much I love him this week and for the rest of the season. If I could choose one guy to buy low on, it would be Eddie Lacy right now. 100 yards and a TD this week. (So now that I said that, I’d suggest you pick up Johnathan Franklin in your league)
Titans +3 vs. Chiefs - This one is tough. Andy Reid has been great throughout his career when given extra time to prepare for a game, and this time he gets to face Ryan Fitzpatrick. But this Titans team is tough at home, and even though KC is 4-0, I question how good they actually are. I’m taking the points with the Titans. But just know I don’t feel great about it.
- Fantasy Alert: You know what else I don’t feel great about? Fantasy players in this game other than Jamaal Charles. I wouldn’t be happy starting any of them, especially Chris Johnson, who is fantasy football kryptonite at this point.
Colts +2.5 vs. Seahawks – As everyone knows, the Seahawks are amazing at home. But on the road? Not so much. Last week they would have lost in Houston if Matt Schaub wasn’t a moron, and this week I think they do get their first loss of the season in Indy. I think this has “Andrew Luck Statement Game” written all over it.
- Fantasy Alert: Coby Fleener & T.Y. Hilton – Hard to pick just one of these two because I think both are going to have big days for Mr. Luck. Reggie Wayne is going to get most of the attention from Richard Sherman and the Seattle D and either one of these guys can go off. Both are candidates for a score, and I think Hilton is good for at least one real big play.
Jaguars +11.5 @ Rams – I don’t care how bad the Jaguars are. I’m not laying 11.5 points with the Sam Bradford / Brian Schottenheimer duo. Never. Also, I think I’ve figured out why people think Jeff Fisher is a good Head Coach despite having just 6 winning seasons in 17+ years. It’s the mustache. Gotta be the mustache.
- Fantasy Alert: Justin Blackmon – You’d have to be awfully desperate to throw him in there this week off his suspension, but I think Blackmon could make some noise the next few weeks in fantasy leagues, especially in PPR leagues.
Ravens +3 @ Dolphins – Quite possibly my favorite pick of the week (so fade accordingly). The Dolphins are getting a ton of respect here and everyone is down on the Ravens after a pretty crappy and underwhelming start to the season. This week they’re going to get Ray Rice back involved in the offense, and I think this is where the Ravens get their season on the right track. They win this one outright.
- Fantasy Alert: Marlon Brown – The Dolphins defense is banged up. Flacco will have time to throw and Brown is a good bet for a score. As I said above, I think the real star of this game will be Ray Rice, but if you have him you already know to start him. Or at least I would hope so…
Giants -2 vs. Eagles - Uggghhhhhhh. I can’t believe I’m picking a team that seriously thinks using Brandon Jacobs a lot is a good idea. It may be time to send Old Man Coughlin off to the retirement home if that is his big idea to save their season. In fact, he’s coming dangerously close to turning into Old Man Clemens from Billy Madison. I could see David Wilson and his buddies dropping off flaming bags of poop on his doorstep if this keeps up.
- Fantasy Alert: David Wilson – This is it. This is the week you’ll finally need your second hand to count the amount of fantasy points he gets you! What else are the Giants going to do, give Jacobs more carries instead? Actually, don’t answer that…
Cardinals +2 vs. Panthers – I think the Panthers are a better team, and they’re coming off a bye, but I’m still taking Arizona at home getting the points. I mean is having an extra week to prepare really a good thing when Ron Rivera is your coach? I say no.
- Fantasy Alert: Panthers Defense – While I do think Arizona will pull out a win, I expect the rested Panthers defense to rack up a few sacks and Carson Palmer is good for a few mistakes every week.
Broncos -7.5 @ Cowboys – The Broncos have a lot of ’07 Patriots in them right now. Their offense is basically unstoppable and they don’t seem to mind running up scores. Any time you can get Peyton Manning against one of these crap NFC East teams, you lay the points. And just to be safe, this is a prime teaser team this week.
- Fantasy Alert: Terrance Wiliams – You already know to start all your Broncos, but Dallas is going to have to pass a ton to keep up with the Peyton Express and it can’t all go to Dez Bryant. I’d expect Williams to pick up 5-6 catches and a good chunk of yardage. You could do worse for a bye week flex.
Texans +7 @ 49ers – I don’t feel good about taking Matt Schaub, I’ll tell you that much. Not after he hosed me last week and turned an easy win into a push. God I hate that guy. Anyway, I think the Texans will keep this one close enough that they can rope their fans into thinking they’re ready to break out and then crush all of their hopes and dreams with a terrible ending.
- Fantasy Alert: DeAndre Hopkins -This game should be fairly high scoring and Hopkins will rack up some solid yardage while the 49ers focus on Andre Johnson. He’s not a bad WR3 this week. I also think we’ll see a big game from Arian Foster this week, but again, you shouldn’t be thinking about benching him.
Raiders +4.5 vs. Chargers - Since nobody is actually going to be watching this game, I won’t waste words talking about it.
- Fantasy Alert: Danny Woodhead – Yes, the Woodhead Hype is real. Ryan Mathews is a perennial disappointment and the coaching staff loves what Woodhead offers, especially in the passing game. He’s a legit RB2 in PPR leagues this week.
Jets +10 @ Falcons - As I said in my Stock Watch this week, I think this is a poor matchup for the Jets and it could get ugly. But the more I think about it, the more I think the Falcons are just incapable of blowing out the Jets with their defense. Rex is going to come up with something and keep this one close. As long as Geno doesn’t give the Falcons any points (which is a distinct possibility), the Jets will cover the number.
- Fantasy Alert: Kellen Winslow – The Jets are down both their starting receivers, and Winslow has clearly earned the trust of Geno Smith. He’s probably the Jets best bet for a receiving score and in a PPR league he will get your 5 or 6 catches. If the Jets fall behind, look for him to rack up the yardage as well while they try to play catch-up.
Best Bets: Bears PK, Patriots +1, Ravens +3, Packers -7, Broncos -7.5
Teasers of the Week: (1) 2 Team / 7 Point – Packers PK, Broncos -0.5 & (2) 3 Team / 10 Point – Ravens +13, Patriots +11, Colts +12.5
Last Week: 6-8-1 Total , 2-2-1 Best Bets
Overall: 26-35-2 Total, 7-12-1 Best Bets
And as always, we would love to hear your best bets or fantasy football thoughts here in the comments or on Twitter. Good luck to everyone this week. Unless of course you’re against me…