By Sal Leto (@letosal)
When last we spoke Zeke was suspended. Then, magically, he was back again. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the weekly surprises of this NFL season. This week’s twist was ejections and the non-ejection of Mike Evans, leading to a one game suspension. At least we have only four teams on a bye this week which is far more reasonable.
Eli Manning vs. San Francisco 49ers
The rumors swirled that another quarterback could see touches in the Giants’ offense for the first time in 14 seasons. I don’t believe it. The coaching staff needs wins to save their jobs and aren’t turning to Geno Smith to do that for them. A trip to San Francisco should do the trick. We don’t need to dive too deep into how bad it is in San Francisco. The bottom line here is, regardless of records, the Giants are a better team with better players.
There is seemingly a lot of quarterbacks that it just makes sense to not start this week. Roll out your regulars but if you have been streaming or relying on someone who was a fill in player there’s a lot to be avoided.
Philip Rivers @ Jags (#1 ranked pass defense 6.7 points per game)
Jacoby Brissett vs Steelers (10.9 points per game)
Brett Hundley @ Bears (12.6 points per game, 9 PPG last 5 weeks)
Matt Forte/Bilal Powell @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s simple. Whichever one I own, I’m playing him. In three out of the last four games the Bucs have given up 25 or more PPR points to a single running back. If I had to pick one, I’d take Forte, but the Jets use both a good amount. I can easily see both backs posting double digit games.
Orleans Darkwa vs San Francisco 49ers
If ever there was a week to roll out your Giants, here it is. Orleans Darkwa has lead running backs in snap percentage over the last three games. He has also put together a nice 5.1 yards per carry on the season. The Niners give up 30 plus fantasy points on average to the position, leaving little to argue about when setting your lineup this week.
Ameer Abdullah vs. Cleveland Browns
It looked like Abdullah was hitting his stride during the Monday night game this week but he finished the night with only 48 yards on 21 carries. His second straight game of 2.5 yards per carry or less and third time this season with a per carry average in the twos. But, it’s the Browns. Shouldn’t we start all our players against the Browns? Cleveland actually checks in as the seventh best defense against running backs in PPR fantasy points. Cleveland is holding teams to under 75 running back rush yards each game and have only given up one rushing TD since week three. They have been vulnerable to receiving backs and we saw Riddick back flourishing in that role Monday night. That means expect more Riddick and less Abdullah in this one too.
Doug Martin vs. New York Jets
Martin owners rejoiced when he returned in week five and gave them a 15.2 and 13.4 point totals in his first two starts. But it’s been a steady drop off in each of his five games crashing down to 0.7 this past week. Jameis Winston is out and the Jets know all too well just how little Ryan Fitzpatrick can do. Holding Shady McCoy, Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman and Jay Ajayi to no touchdowns and below average stats in three straight weeks the Jets are defending the run well. That should continue this week in shutting down Martin.
Desean Jackson vs New York Jets
Let’s be clear, I don’t love Ryan Fitzpatrick this week. But if there’s one way to get to the Jets defense, it’s with the wide receivers. Mike Evans, as I pointed out earlier, is suspended for this game. As I also pointed out above, I expect the running game to struggle, leading to shots down the field. That’s made to order for DJax. It might only be a three catch game but one of them is going long for a touchdown.
Marquise Goodwin vs. New York Giants
I know. I’m asking you to trust that Beathard can get him the ball. But Goodwin has gotten deep a few times and we have seen, as recently as last week, the Giants are vulnerable to big plays. This is definitely a deep dive but, what the hell, let’s take the plunge.
Adam Thielen @ Washington Redskins
Before last week's outburst from Doug Baldwin (7-108-1) no other WR had more than 66 yards against Washington since week one. Only one had five receptions (Garçon week six). Washington has done a good job limiting the big play from wide receivers and Thielen doesn’t have Russell Wilson throwing him the ball.
Keenan Allen @ Jacksonville Jaguars
I was this close (holds his thumb and index finger an inch apart) to putting AJ Green on the sink list a week ago when facing these Jags. I never thought he’d be inspired by George St. Pierre winning the UFC title on Saturday to try and get Jalen Ramsey to tap in a rear naked choke. I did feel he’d be held in check against a team you just can’t pass on though. Ok, Antonio Brown went off for 10 receptions and 157 yards in week five but he was targeted 19 times. So, in a week where I’m taking chances, I’m saying Allen is just another on a growing list to find himself fighting to keep his head above water.
Kyle Rudolph @ Washington Redskins
Seeing as though Washington has done so well stopping wide receivers, they’ve allowed themselves to be vulnerable to the tight end position. Coming in at fourth worst on the season, I expect Keenum to lean on Rudolph as he finds Thielen and Diggs struggling to get open.
Jack Doyle vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Doyle has been as reliable as they come in recent weeks. He’s posted four straight double digit outputs, including a 30.1 total two weeks ago. So why is he here? All good things come to an end. This game has the feel of a Steelers beat down. I’m not expecting solid numbers from any Colts player this week.