At this point in the season, certain players have turned positive trends into becoming dependent fantasy options every week. Others still haven’t seem to show up this year and are beginning to impact whether or not your team makes the playoffs. Here’s a few picks to help save your season.
Start: Phillip Rivers (SD) – The Ravens have given up the most points to opposing QBs, and Rivers has been on fire. He has about 400 more yards than anyone else in the NFL and is on a career pace for touchdowns too.
Matt Ryan (ATL) – Ryan has had a ton of success against the Buccaneers in his career, and this year should be no different. They gave up three TDs to Kirk Cousins last week, and gave up four to Blake Bortles the previous game. Ryan is much better than both of these guys, and might have his best fantasy day so far this year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ) – This is a good start if you have someone on a bye or out with injury. The Jets will likely have less success than they have had running the ball going against Khalil Mack and the rest of the Raiders defense. Expect a ton of short- to mid-range passes to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to stay away from veteran safety Charles Woodson.
Sit: Colin Kaepernick (SF) – Kaepernick followed up two really solid performances in Weeks 5 and 6 with a terrible one against the Seahawks. This week, he plays the Rams, who have given up the second fewest points to opposing QBs. Their skilled defensive line limits the rushing yards to quarterbacks and don’t allow too much time to throw the deep ball, which are Kaepernick’s two specialties.
Derek Carr (OAK) – Carr is coming along, and this pick has nothing to do with his ability going forward. Sitting him has everything to do with Darelle Revis and the rest of the Jets talented secondary. This game might be a disaster for the young Raiders.
Start: Chris Johnson (ARZ) – The Browns are still the worse rushing defense in the league, and CJ2K is still the main man in the Cardinals backfield. He should be an automatic start this week.
Ronnie Hillman (DEN) – Hillman has looked much better than C.J. Anderson, still one of the biggest busts of the year, the last three weeks. He is the only player to rush for 100 yards for the Broncos, and is more of a passing threat than Anderson. He goes against a decent Packers defense this week, but should get enough action to turn in a solid week 8.
Charles Sims (TB) – Doug Martin will still probably have another good game, and he is more of an obvious start at running back. However, Sims is used much more than Martin in the passing game, and no team has given up more receiving yard to RBs than the Falcons, Tampa’s week 8 match-up.
Sit: Latavius Murray (OAK) – The Jets have given up the fewest points to opposing RBs. That is enough reason to not start anyone who goes up against them. Murray has not been consistent at all this year, and this will be his toughest matchup yet.
Alfred Blue (HOU) – Blue is always a popular start when Arian Foster is out, but, more often than not, he fails to produce. Apart from his week 3 performance, which was mainly due to awful tackling by the Bucs defense, Blue has not found any success this year.
Darren McFadden (DAL) – This is an easy pick as the Cowboys play the Seahawks this week. McFadden should get more work than any other Dallas running back with Joseph Randle out. I’m glad that he’s getting this chance because he is exciting when healthy, but this should not be a good week for him.
Start: Stefon Diggs (MIN) – Diggs has only played 3 games this season but still has more fantasy points than any other receiver on the Vikings. He seems to make Teddy Bridgewater and the entire offense better when he is on the field, and he plays a terrible Bears defense this week.
Malcolm Floyd (SD) – Keenan Allen has taken so many targets away from other receivers this year, but this is simply because he is the best route-runner and has great hands. Floyd lines up on the other sideline and is always a deep threat. He showed be started as he goes against the cornerbacks of the Ravens who give up the most deep passes.
Jeremy Maclin (KC) – Maclin hasn’t seen the field in two weeks, but he was on a roll before suffering a concussion. He finally broke the no touchdowns to receivers streak and had three straight good all around games. Alex Smith should target it more this week to get him back into the offense against the Lions.
Sit: T.Y. Hilton (IND) – Apart from last week, Hilton has not had the fantasy season he had last year. He goes up against rising star Josh Norman of the Carolina Panthers, who have given up the least amount of yards and touchdowns to number one receivers, this week.
Brandin Cooks (NO) – Cooks has been almost as big a disappointment as C.J. Anderson this year, and should probably be abandoned in all leagues. While guys like Willie Snead and Benjamin Watson are improving, Cooks’ production will likely only go down.
Amari Cooper (OAK) – This pick goes right along with the decision to sit Derek Carr, as the two are used in a start/sit tandem week in and week out. Both are very young and likely will have many great years together, but youth and inexperience does not fare well against the Jets.
Start: Benjamin Watson (NO) – Watson is no Jimmy Graham, but Drew Brees is targeting him almost has much as he did Graham. He becomes more involved in the offense every week, and this week might be his best game so far. The Giants have given up the third most fantasy points to tight ends, and Watson gets the most red zone targets of any Saints player.
Tyler Eifert (CIN) – Eifert has shined this season as the first year of being a constantly healthy, number one tight end with Andy Dalton. Just to share a quick personal story, I met Tyler at a tailgate before a Notre Dame game a couple of years ago. He mentioned how he hated how much he had to block, as he was always a dominant pass-catcher at ND. Now that Jermaine Gresham is out of the picture, Eifert has become one of the best tight ends in the NFL.
Sit: Dwayne Allen (IND) – Allen looked to have better games with Andrew Luck coming back, but he hasn’t even separated himself from Coby Fleener. It doesn’t help that the Colts play the Panthers, who have been great against tight ends not named Jimmy Graham.