I traded Doug Martin.
Yes, it was a free league, and I won my matchup last week regardless, but still, it’s the principle of the thing. When a player goes off and does something like…well…like that, you want to have a piece of the action. Fellow Orator/TJR Sporter Mike Maloney traded Martin in a money league, and I know he’s still feeling the sting on that one. Still, it was a fantasy performance for the ages, and I saw none of it, as I was on a plane to Dallas for a business trip on Sunday afternoon. It looked nice on the highlights though.
Bye weeks this week belong to the Redskins (Alfred Morris…sigh), Packers (Aaron Rodgers…double sigh), Cardinals, and Browns.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Comfortables: Andrew Luck, Vick Ballard (if Donald Brown is inactive), Rashad Jennings, Reggie Wayne, Cecil Shorts, Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Defense
Cautions: Blaine Gabbert, Donald Brown (if active), T.Y. Hilton, Donnie Avery, Jacksonville Defense
Casualties: Montell Owens, Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson, Mercedes Lewis
Sleeper: Delone Carter (if Brown is inactive)
Thursday night games usually favor the home team, as the road team has to travel on short rest, but I don’t think there’s any stopping the Colts right now, especially with Luck catching fire the way he has, and how bad the Jaguars are playing right now. The Jags D handed out rushing TDs like they were campaign buttons last week, so you have to like whoever is starting at RB for the Colts this week. It doesn’t look like Donald Brown is going to suit up, so Vick Ballard, you’re up! It’s also worth noting that the Colts seemed to be this year’s charmed team with head coach Chuck Pagano undergoing therapy for Leukemia. The Colts all shaved their heads in support of their coach. Honestly, it’s going to be tough to beat this team.
Prediction: Luck to Wayne all day, Colts win.
New York Giants vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Comfortables: Eli Manning, Andy Dalton, Ahmad Bradshaw, BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, AJ Green, Martellus Bennett, New York Giants Defense
Cautions: Andre Brown, Andrew Hawkins, Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Defense
Casualties: Cedric Peerman, Domenik Hixon, Reuben Randle, Armon Binns
Sleeper: David Wilson
The Bengals go from one Manning to another. Peyton dissected them last week, and I believe that Eli will do the same this week. All offensive options for the G-Men are good to go. I’m not too worried about Hakeem Nicks (possibly because the team I have him on is in last place and the season is pretty much over). As for the Bengals, I can’t really recommend any WR other than AJ Green, although the Giants are prone to giving up big plays to WR2s and WR3s, so Andrew Hawkins is certainly in play. The G-Men have been torched on the ground so I expect The Law Firm to grind out 100 yards on 30-something carries.
Prediction: The Giants exact revenge on the AFC North for their first AFC loss in more than 10 games, and whoop on Cincy.
Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins
Comfortables: Ryan Tannehill, Chris Johnson, Reggie Bush, Kenny Britt, Brian Hartline, Jared Cook, Anthony Fasano, Miami Defense
Cautions: Matt Hasslebeck (if starting), Daniel Thomas, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Davone Bess, Tennessee Defense
Casualties: Jamie Harper, Darius Reynaud, Damian Williams
Sleeper: Lamar Miller
Yeesh, the Titans were bad last week. They’re completely maddening as a team because they have shown at times that they can win games against good teams, but other times they look like…well, they look like they looked last week. As somebody who had to suffer the wrath of the Bears D in multiple money leagues last week, I’d like to say, thanks a bunch Tennessee. I don’t know if the Titans are planning on starting Jake Locker this week, and frankly, I don’t care. Miami’s been quietly decent, especially on defense, extra especially the run defense. But Chris Johnson has gashed great run Ds in the past couple weeks, albeit in garbage time. I think CJ1K could bust out another long run this week. Believe it or not, I like Ryan Tannehill this week as a solid bye-week plug in for Rodgers or RG3 (or Skelton either…I don’t know!). If Jay freakin’ Cutler can look like Dan Marino out there against the Titans, I’d like to see what an actual Dolphin QB can do this week. He and Hartline both get the Comfortable tag. I don’t know what’s up with Reggie Bush. He’s easily the most talented guy the Dolphins have, yet they don’t rely on him close to paydirt. Daniel Thomas is the TD vulture here.
Predictions: Tennessee lays another egg on the road, and Miami picks up a big win.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
Comfortables: Matthew Stafford, Mikel LeShoure, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Titus Young, Brandon Pettigrew, Kyle Rudolph, Detroit Defense
Cautions: Christian Ponder, Joique Bell, Ryan Broyles, Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Defense
Casualties: Kevin Smith, Toby Gerhart, Tony Scheffler
Sleeper: Michael Jenkins
It’s never cool to root for injury in fantasy football (this is just a game after all), but if Percy Harvin absolutely HAD to get injured and miss a game, why could it have been any of the games where I faced him? Harvin was on my target list for drafts, but not before the fourth round, and he was going in Round 3. And I’ve paid the price every time he was started by my opponent. It looks like Harvin will not be able to make this game, but his skill-set is so unique that it’s going to be impossible to plug a guy like Jerome Simpson or Michael Jenkins in his place and expect the same kind of production. What I do expect, though, is a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson, and hopefully the Lions recognize it and develop a gameplan to stop what’s seemingly been unstoppable.
Prediction: Harvin’s loss hurts, and the Lions stack the box against AP and manage to stop the bleeding as Stafford hits Megatron for a score and the Lions win on the road.
Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens
Comfortables: All Starting Ravens (including defense)
Cautions: Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden (if active), Mike Goodson (if active and McFadden is inactive), Taiwan Jones (if McFadden and Goodson are inactive), Denarius Moore, Darius Heyward-Bey, Brandon Myers, Oakland Defense
Casualties: Bernard Pierce, Rod Streater, Jacoby Jones
Sleeper: Marcel Reese
Heaven help you if you have to play against somebody who’s starting Ray Rice. Doug Martin has been called a Ray Rice clone, and look at what he did against that Raider D. Can you only imagine what the real thing will do? It’s doubtful he’ll produce the same stat line Martin did, but it’s safe to pencil Ray-Ray in for 100+ yards from scrimmage and a TD. Start all your Ravens, including Anquan Boldin. I don’t like any Raider offensive option against Baltimore at home, but I might be talking myself into starting Taiwan Jones as I have Alfred Morris on a bye and no better options.
Prediction: Baltimore runs roughshod over an exhausted Raider team.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Comfortables: Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Michael Turner, Pierre Thomas (if Sproles is inactive), Julio Jones, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham
Cautions: Jacquizz Rodgers, Darren Sproles (if active), Mark Ingram (if Sproles is inactive), Lance Moore, Atlanta Defense, New Orleans Defense
Casualties: Harry Douglas, Devery Henderson, David Thomas
Sleeper: Chris Ivory (if Sproles is inactive)
Forget Dallas/Philly…THIS is the marquee matchup that should have gotten the prime spot at 4 PM. The undefeated Falcons facing the rejuvenated Saints in the Superdome. To date, this will be Atlanta’s biggest test of their undefeated streak. They’re away, so you know Julio Jones is going to get his stats inexplicably. I like all offensive options on both teams, and stay away from the defenses if you can. Darren Sproles was a shocking inactive, and I panicked amongst the rumors of him being out six weeks (essentially ending his fantasy season) and dropped him, only to find out that he’ll be out 1-2 weeks. I got LeShoure for him, so I’m not kicking myself.
Prediction: Atlanta wins a shootout.
Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers
Comfortables: Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Willis McGahee, Eric Decker, Demariyus Thomas (if active), Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Denver Defense
Cautions: Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Brandon LaFell (if active), Joel Dreessen, Carolina Defense
Casualties: Randall Hallman, Lance Ball, Knowshown Moreno, Mike Tolbert, Louis Murphy, Jacob Tamme
Sleeper: Brandon Stokley (if D. Thomas is inactive)
Cam Newton better pay attention when his defense is out there, because he can look at how a true leader does business from the quarterback position. Frankly, I was debating demoting Newton to a Caution but they’re at home and home field matters in the NFL (ask the Seahawks). Decker’s been a beast lately, and with Thomas injured, Peyton will look his way more often. Of course Salad Dreessen scores after I drop him. I like him over Tamme. If Thomas is somehow inactive, Stokley becomes an interesting start. I don’t care if Jonathan Stewart is the de-facto starter in Carolina…this is still a backfield by committee and no option can be trusted to start.
Prediction: Peyton picks apart Carolina’s secondary and the Broncos get a big road win.
San Diego Chargers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Comfortables: Josh Freeman, Ryan Matthews, Doug Martin, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Antonio Gates, Tampa Bay Defense
Cautions: Philip Rivers, Ronnie Brown, Robert Meachem (if active), San Diego Defense
Casualties: Jackie Battle, Chris Brinkley, LeGarrette Blount, Eddie Royal (if active), Taiquan Underwood, Dallas Clark
Sleeper: Danario Alexander
Can the Muscle Hamster do it again against another woeful AFC West team? Doubtful, but Martin’s absolutely must-start material. Notice that a brand name is no longer must-start material…unless it’s the Bad Quarterback League. Philip Rivers…what the heck happened? I really don’t like the Chargers having to go east and play a hot Bucs team. I’m worried about Ryan Matthews, especially with Ronnie Brown’s increased involvement in the passing game. Malcom Floyd is a Comfortable, but expectations should be tempered.
Prediction: Tampa Bay continues its hot streak and beats an exhausted Chargers team.
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
Comfortables: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Brady, Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller, Stevan Ridley, Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez
Cautions: Scott Chandler, New England Defense
Casualties: Tashard Choice, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Donald Jones, Deon Branch, Julian Edelman, Buffalo Defense
Sleeper: Brandon Bolden (if active)
Tom Brady owns the Bills. I’m excited because I’m starting him in a must-win league, but I’m also playing John Canton who has him in another must win league. I hope he does well enough to win my matchup, but not well enough for John to win his. Against John, I’m plugging in Fitzpatrick for Aaron Rodgers, so I’m hoping that he gets some garbage time scores. Buffalo apparently wants CJ Spiller to be the man, but Fred Jackson is still serviceable. I list both as comfortables, recognizing that only one will go off. Brandon Bolden’s missed the past couple of games, but if active, he could be an interesting plug-in for teams who need a replacement for Alfred Morris or Trent Richardson this week.
Prediction: It’s Brady and it’s against Buffalo, so the Pats have this one.
New York Jets vs. Seattle Seahawks
Comfortables: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Seattle Defense
Cautions: All Starting Jets (including Defense), Golden Tate
Casualties: All Jets Backups, Robert Turbin, Doug Baldwin, Braylon Edwards, Anthony McCoy
Sleeper: Zack Miller
Here’s what I said last week, when the Seahwaks hosted the Vikings:
Seattle is winning this, don’t even think twice about any other outcome. The Seahawks are just a different team at home, and the Vikings are pretty bad on the road. So I like all Seattle’s top offensive and defensive options, especially Sidney Rice as this is his first game against his old team (remember the rule…it’s been working like clockwork all season long). The only Viking options worth starting are AP, Percy Harvin, and Kyle Rudolph.
So let me modify it for this week (changes in bold):
Seattle is winning this, don’t even think twice about any other outcome. The Seahawks are just a different team at home, and the Jets are pretty bad in general. So I like all Seattle’s top offensive and defensive options, especially Marshawn Lynch as the Jets run defense isn’t the terror it used to be. The only Jets options worth starting are nobody!
Writing is easy.
Prediction: It’s in Seattle, so it’s the Seahawks.
St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
Comfortables: Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, San Francisco Defense
Cautions: Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Daryl Richardson, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Gibson, Mario Manningham, St. Louis Defense
Casualties: LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Brandon Jacobs, Steve Smith, Randy Moss, Lance Kendricks
Sleeper: Danny Amendola (if active)
I think St. Louis really got exposed in London as to what would happen when they play really great teams. San Fran is one of them. All your starting 49ers are in play, and none of your Rams should be, with the possible exception of Danny Amendola if he starts. Bradford will be down and have to throw, and Amendola is his security blanket. Assuming the Niners D doesn’t knock him out of the game, he should be extremely serviceable, especially in PPR leagues.
Prediction: The Niners roll at home.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Comfortables: Michael Vick, Tony Romo, LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray (if active), DeSean Jackson, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Brent Celek, Jason Witten
Cautions: Felix Jones (if Murray is inactive), Jeremy Maclin, Kevin Ogletree, Philadelphia Defense, Dallas Defense
Casualties: Bryce Brown, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper
Sleeper: Philip Tanner (if Murray is inactive)
I was in Dallas Monday and Tuesday and they had an entire radio channel dedicated to talking about the Cowboys. Wow, I thought the New York market was bad, but I’ve heard callers and hosts want pretty much everybody gone at one point or another. They were even talking about trading DeMarcus Ware! I’m sure if I spent those two days in Philly, I’d be hearing the same thing. This game is interesting in that it’s a must win, because the loser may figuratively hang itself. I don’t expect much defense, unless Vick turns the ball over at the goal line again. That was fun. The Eagles could only hang 13 points on the NFL’s worst defense last week, but I think they right the ship around and actually get Shady McCoy some more touches.
Prediction: The Cowboys win at home, and Nick Foles starts warming up.
Houston Texans vs. Chicago Bears
Comfortables: Arian Foster, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Owen Daniels, Houston Defense, Chicago Defense
Cautions: Matt Schaub, Jay Cutler, Michael Bush, Andre Johnson
Casualties: Ben Tate (if active), Khalil Bell, Kevin Walter, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Kellen Davis
Sleeper: Justin Forsett (if Ben Tate is inactive)
This is a tough one to gauge, because these are two elite defenses, but they also are two elite offenses (at least the Texans are). I’m bearish on Andre Johnson and believe he can be sat if you have three better options. I do like Owen Daniels though. On Chicago’s side, I only like Forte and Brandon Marshall. Both Cutler and Schaub will throw interceptions. There won’t be many scoring opportunities on either side. I think it’ll come down to field goals.
Prediction: Chicago eeks by Houston.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Comfortables: Ben Roethlisberger, Jonathan Dwyer (if active and Mendenhall is inactive), Isaac Redman (if Mendenhall and Dwyer are inactive), Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Defense
Cautions: Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Antonio Brown (if active), Emmanuel Sanders (if Brown is inactive)
Casualties: Any Chief not named Charles or Bowe (including defense), Chris Rainey
Sleeper: Baron Batch
I’m going to have to get cute regarding Jamaal Charles. Not only is he not a lock to play (and it’s a Monday night game), but the Chiefs offense is so inept that they downright refuse to give him the ball and do something with it. I don’t even like Dwayne Bowe here either. Best to just stay away from all Chiefs. Whoever decides to start for the Steelers at RB should warrant starting. Baron Batch will back them up, and might get some garbage time play once the game gets out of hand.
Prediction: Destruction, terror and mayhem. All Steelers.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull, and good luck in Week 10!