For fantasy football purposes, while several players will be highlighted below that could have good games this week for owners, some of these players may not be able to be used in fantasy due to injury, their game status being questionable. As this is the Sunday afternoon games, Sunday night game, and Monday night games, fantasy footballers may not want to start a player that could become inactive by these games’ kickoffs without that player’s back-up on the roster or without another player who has a 4:25 p.m. game, the Sunday Night game, or the Monday Night games to insert into your active line-up.
The goal in “Fantasy Football Choices” is to provide you, the fantasy football player, with enough information to make sensible and reasonable choices in setting your line-up this week by reviewing the weekly match-ups and identifying which players are “On the Gridiron,” a “Coach’s Decision,” or “On the Pine.” For many of you, the information provided simply provides affirmation to the decisions you have already made. If you like, skip the fluff, and find your player’s match-up for analysis. We also provide a down & dirtly listing of players listed in each category within the Quick Hits (see links above; coming out by Wednesday). If you are looking for a waiver wire pick-up, then look for those players still on your waiver wire, and you can read that analysis too. Also, Consider using The Fantasy Greek’s “Fantasy Points Allowed” tool in identifying favorable and unfavorable match-ups and in making your weekly choices for the offensive positions (QB, RB, WR, TE) and for defenses/special teams and kickers.
ON THE GRIDIRON: Identifies players you should play because of their match-up or because of their role on their team’s offense.
COACH’S DECISION: Identifies players who you normally would play but whose match-up this week is not very good; identifies players who you normally would not play but whose match-up this week is good; or identifies players who are injured that you, the fantasy coach, will need to make the call on whether or not to play.
ON THE PINE: Identifies players who you should likely avoid unless there is no one else on your roster or on the waiver wire that can help your team win.
4:05 p.m. EST
JETS (3-5) v. SEAHAWKS (5-4)
The Jets world hasn’t fallen apart like many thought it would after being stricken by a slew of injuries and after a few terrible, awful games. Surprisingly, the Jets and Seahawks are almost even in terms of scoring, 19 touchdowns to 18 touchdowns, respectively. But, the Seahawks have the better defensive unit giving up only three points to every Jets four. The Seahawks are undefeated at home. The Fantasy Greek is calling this a Seahawks win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: After being sidelined most of the week with back/wrist issues, Seahawks RB Marhsawn Lynch looks good-to-go against a Jets rush defense allowing the ninth most fantasy points to the RB position. The Seahawks defense/special teams hasn’t “wowed” anyone in any particular category of their defensive play except for points allowed, where they are top-ten in the least allowed. The Seahawks DST makes for a plus start against a Jets team allowing the sixth most fantasy points to DSTs.
COACH’S DECISION: After a rough start to the season (217 yards, 1 TD), Jets running back Shonn Greene has been, for the most part, effective in the past three weeks of play (292 yards, 4 TDs). For the Jets to have a chance of winning this game, Greene will need performances more like the past three weeks against fantasy football’s No. 7 rush defense. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley has been a pleasant surprise playing much better than many expected, in at least three games so far. This is a week to pass on Kerley against fantasy football’s No. 5 pass defense against the wide receiver position. With every passing week, Seahawks tight-end Zach Miller seems more involved in the team’s offense. While Miller hasn’t hit a real fantasy football home-run yet in any of his games except for one, when he scored a touchdown two weeks ago, the Jets do allow the fourth most fantasy points to the position making the opportunity for another score ripe.
ON THE PINE: The Seahawks and Jets are top-ten against the quarterback position, and the Jets No. 1 against the wide receiver position. Keep the Jets Mark Sanchez and the Seahawks Russell Wilson, Sidney Rice, and Golden Tate on fantasy pines this week. Tight-end Dustin Keller and the Jets DST are not bad options this week against a middle-of-the-road Seahawks team, but it’s likely you have better options. With the Seahawks expected to go run-heavy, back-up RB Robert Turbin could do something this week. However, in nine weeks of play, Turbin has yet to rush for more than fifty yards in any one game.
4:25 p.m. EST
COWBOYS (3-5) v. EAGLES (3-5)
This is obviously an important game for both the Cowboys and the Eagles who are in a tie for second place in the NFC East. In addition, both teams are riding a losing streak, four for the Eagles and two for the Cowboys. Yet, it should be a dandy of a game as both the Cowboys and the Eagles are almost even in terms of scoring and points allowed. The slight edge, however, belongs to the Cowboys. The Cowboys should win on the road this week.
ON THE GRIDIRON: Wide receiver Miles Austin has emerged as the No. 1 receiver for the Cowboys this season, as well as a borderline WR1 in fantasy football. With the Eagles having their share of problems defending the position, Austin should be on fantasy gridirons this week. The Eagles continue to have problems protecting their quarterback and the ball. The Cowboys DST is a starting option against a team allowing the second most fantasy points to defenses/special teams. As usual, RB LeSean McCoy remains a must start against a Cowboys rush defense ranked in the middle of all teams.
COACH’S DECISION: This week, Cowboys QB Tony Romo doesn’t make for the best of starts, but not the worst of starts either. Consider him with your other options this week, if you have any. Wide receiver Dez Bryant has been a bit of a disappointment this season, to say the least. Yet, he can also be on fantasy gridirons more as a WR3 given the match-up. Cowboys RB Felix Jones hasn’t wowed anyone while filling in for the injured DeMarco Murray. As the Eagles allow a decent amount of fantasy scoring to the running back position, consider Jones more of a low-end RB2 or flex-play in fantasy football. While the Eagles are top-ten in fantasy against the TE-position, TE Jason Witten remains a good option. Considering the Cowboys record, their defense is one of the better ones in the league, even though maybe not in fantasy. Against the pass, the Cowboys are No. 3 against the quarterback position and No. 6 against the wide receiver position. So, while you may have no choice but to play QB Michael Vick, WR Jeremy Maclin, and WR DeSean Jackson, this should not be a very good passing game given the Cowboys top cover corners. Indeed, TE Brent Celek should find a tough go of it against a Cowboys defense allowing the seventh least fantasy points to the position. If anything, the Eagles DST makes for a decent play against a Cowboys team top-five in most fantasy points allowed.
ON THE PINE: While Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray is working out again, he is not prepared to return to the gridiron just yet. No other player on either team is worth fantasy consideration except that it will be interesting to see if WR Kevin Ogletree remains a significant part of the offense.
RAMS (3-5) v. FORTY-NINERS (6-2)
The Rams are such a better team than they were last season, and The Fantasy Greek has paid props to the noticeable turnaround the team has had this season under Jeff Fischer. But, it’s hard not to see that the Forty-Niners as the favored team, with the Forty-Niners holding a 50-plus point offensive advantage and a 80-plus point defensive advantage over the Rams. Forty-Niners win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: This week, Forty-Niners Frank Gore is a must start against a fourteenth ranked fantasy rush defense. If you have been disappointed by Forty-Niners Vernon Davis the past three weeks, Davis should get back on track against a Rams team giving up the eighth most fantasy points to the position and which gave up 146 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns to Patriots Rob Gronkowski two weeks ago. As usual, the 49ers DST remains an every week must start especially against a Rams team that is top-ten in most fantasy points allowed.
COACH’S DECISION: Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola returns from injury this week but faces the top pass defense in fantasy. While The Fantasy Greek expects the talented Amendola to have a substantial role in the offense this week, this is a week to consider him with your other options. Putting to the side the last two games against the Patriots and the Packers, the Rams pass defense has allowed on average, slightly better than 200 yarsd passing per game. In four of their first six games, the Rams held opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards passing. Given that, Forty-Niners QB Alex Smith is a quarterback to avoid this week in fantasy.
ON THE PINE: As the Forty-Niners boast the No. 1 rush defense and No. 2 pass defense in fantasy football, for among other reasons, Rams QB Sam Bradford and RB Steven Jackson should be avoided this week. With the return of Danny Amendola to the line-up, the other Rams wide receivers should be on fantasy pines. No other player is worth fantasy consideration at this time.
8:20 p.m. EST
TEXANS (7-1) v. BEARS (7-1)
This could be the best Sunday night football game ever! Two number one teams going head-to-head and each boasting one of the best defenses in the league. Offensively, the Texans and Bears are evenly matched. Defensively, however, the Bears have the edge on points allowed by almost three touchdowns. The Bears also hold the edge over the Texans in terms of defensive touchdowns scored (8 to 4) and interceptions (17 to 9). The things people don’t expect defenses to do, the Bears do by being opportunistic, aggressive, and relentless. The Fantasy Greek is calling this a Bears win at home in what should be a fantastic game to watch!
ON THE GRIDIRON: Even though the Bears boast the No. 2 fantasy rushing defense, RB Arian Foster remains a must-start. Certainly, this will be Foster’s greatest challenge this season and likely not his best game. But his performance should be good enough that he is still worth of a fantasy start. Even though the Texans sport a fierce pass rush, their pass defense still allows a decent amount of fantasy points to wide receivers such that Bears WR Brandon Marshall should remain on fantasy gridirons. Both the Texans DST and the Bears DST are must starts this week.
COACH’S DECISION: More than likely, if you have Texans WR Andre Johnson on your roster, you should play him. While he may not get into the end-zone, Johnson has an opportunity to post some decent (not great) yardage. Against six of the top wide receivers in the league, the Bears allowed 86 yards receiving on average, with the low being 34 yards (Calvin Johnson) and the high being 135 yards (Reggie Wayne). Among those receivers, only one of them has scored on the Bears (Miles Austin). This makes Johnson more of a WR2 or WR3 play this week. Tight-end Owen Daniels has been banged up and could even miss the game. That said, the Bears allow the eleventh least fantasy points to the tight-end position. If you have Bears RB Matt Forte on your roster, you are still likely going to play him even against the third best rush defense in fantasy.
ON THE PINE: This is a week to avoid both Matt Schaub and Jay Cutler if at all possible. If you had to pick between the two, Cutler is the slightly better play against a Texans defense ranked ninth against the position in least fantasy points allowed as opposed to the Bears defense ranked No. 1 in least fantasy points allowed. No other Texans or Bears player is worth fantasy consideration this weekend.
Monday, November 12, 2012
CHIEFS (1-7) v. STEELERS (5-3)
This week’s Monday night game is expected to be a one-sided blowout favoring the Steelers. There is good reason for this. The Chiefs are allowing the fifth most points to their opponents, and have only scored twelve touchdowns so far this season, tying them for second least in the league. The Steelers defense, on the other hand, has been improving over the course of the season and is now top-ten in terms of least points allowed. Moreover, the Steelers offense has been steady, their rushing game consistent. The Steelers should eventually pull away for the win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: Because the Chiefs pass defense has struggled (especially against quarterbacks), both Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and number one wide-out Mike Wallace should be on fantasy football gridirons. This week, the Steelers DST plays a Chiefs team allowing the most fantasy points to opposing defenses/special teams.
COACH’S DECISION: Besides the fact that Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles has not been getting significant touches, the Steelers rush defense has been getting better as the season has progressed. The Steelers are top-three against wide receivers in fantasy, which makes WR Dwayne Bowe a candidate for the pine. This week, it is unclear who between running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will get the start and the majority of touches this week. Right now, indications from the Steelers are that the running back with the “hot hand” will get the work. As such, The Fantasy Greek expects Isaac Redman, who is coming off a 151 all-purpose yards, 1 TD performance, to draw the start. Yet, the Fantasy Greek can also envision Jonathan Dwyer getting some decent to substantial touches. Both are worth a fantasy play, Redman as a low-end RB2 and Dwyer as a flex-play. With Antonio Brown out this week, WR Emmanuel Sanders draws the start and makes for a WR3 play. While fantasy players may have no choice but to play TE Heath Miller, tight-ends don’t seem to post many fantasy points against the Chiefs as they are ranked fourteenth in least fantasy points allowed.
ON THE PINE: Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall is doubtful but is expected back in the near future. Antonio Brown (ankle) is out this week. For the Chiefs, players like Matt Cassel, Peyton Hillis, Steve Breaston, Dexter McCluster, and Jonathan Baldwin should all be on fantasy pines. No other players on either team should be considered in fantasy this