After six byes last time around, we only have two teams “needing rest” this week because the jetlag from flying back from London is just too tough. That’s great for you and me because options are plentiful to fill the roster and a lot of good players (think players from the Broncos, Seahawks, and Bengals for three) are back for the rest of the season. It’s game on in the driveway.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Ben Roethlisberger (QB – Pittsburgh)
With only Miami and Oakland on the bye this week, every viable starting fantasy quarterback is available for your lineup. You might, however, be dealing with Tom Brady’s ineptitude or Cam Newton’s lack of full health. Hopefully you have a capable backup along the lines of Roethlisberger to throw in this week. Big Ben faces the most porous fantasy defense for quarterbacks, the Jaguars, and has a defense that can’t stop anyone either. Pittsburgh needs to score to win and no one scores in the hallway of a Jacksonville bar like Ben Roethlisberger. He’ll be good on the field too.
Bishop Sankey (RB – TEN)
You probably had one guy in your fantasy draft go big on Bishop Sankey. One of my friends went high on Sankey in both our leagues and he’s been crying himself to sleep about it since. Sankey killed it at Washington last year and the only thing stopping him from success this year is Shonn Greene. Usually that’s not much of a barrier to entry, so confidence was high…until coach Ken Winsenhunt peed all over Sankey’s opportunity. The claim was that Sankey wasn’t ready or his footwork needed improvement. I guess they’re finally realizing 5.1 yards per carry is plenty good enough because Wisenhunt says Sankey will finally see a lot more of the field this weekend. His potential is worth the shot. Enjoy those dancing feet.
Ben Tate (RB – Cleveland)
On the other side of the field, the Browns’ starter is back after spraining his knee. Tate will likely still give up some carries to the emerging Isaiah Crowell, but he’ll attack the second-worst defense against fantasy running backs. Welcome back, Ben!
Brian Quick (WR – St. Louis)
You may’ve forgotten about Quick since he was on the rag last week, but don’t overlook him when creating lineups this week. He’s posted at least 60 yards in every game this season and reeled in 7 catches in two of them, with a touchdown in the other game. There’s a good possibility that the Eagles get out to an early lead here and Quick mops things up as the Rams play catch-up.
Reuben Randle (WR – N.Y. Giants)
It took “Roob” and the Giants’ offense a few weeks to get going, but now they look to be firing at all cylinders. Atlanta surely won’t stop that as they got cut up by the not so high-powered Vikings last week. Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t fully up to speed yet where he’d impact Randle’s targets, of which he had 10 in each of the last two games. He came so close to two touchdowns last week and should see more red zone looks with Larry Donnell now getting more attention.
Heath Miller (TE – Pittsburgh)
Miller went off against Tampa’s defense last week, reminding owners that his recent ACL tear is long in the rearview mirror. He sees the secon- most targets for the Steelers and will see plenty this week as the Jaguars give up the third-most points to fantasy tight ends.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Tony Romo (QB – Dallas)
Tony Romo has everything going his way right now. He’s got the looks, he’s got the hot wife, and he’s got America off his back after a 3-1 start to the year. Fantasy owners have been happy that Romo has improved in every game this season, capped off by last week’s three touchdown effort against New Orleans. But Dallas’ m.o. is obvious this year. They’re running the ball as much as possible because the offensive line is strong, their quarterback is coming off back surgery, and their defense isn’t much good. Add in the Texans, who are allowing the sixth least amount of points to fantasy quarterbacks and it’s a good week to leave Romo on the sidelines.
Donald Brown (RB– San Diego)
The backfield was cleared out for Brown with the injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, but he couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity last week against Jacksonville. This isn’t the ’85 Bears defense we’re talking about here. It’s Jacksonville. Now the big, bad Jets come to town having allowed the second fewest rushing yards and no rushing or receiving touchdowns to RBs. So when does Ryan Mathews come back?? (Words no one ever thought they’d say…)
Montee Ball (RB – Denver)
Sometimes you need to think big in this space. Arizona lost three players from last year’s dominant run defense to injury and free agency, but they’re still bringing the heat. The only team better than the Jets at stopping the run? Your Arizona Cardinals. Ball might get a TD, but he won’t get much else as Peyton Manning had two weeks to game plan against an overrated secondary.
Sammy Watkins (WR – Buffalo)
The Lions aren’t known for having a dominating secondary, but look at what they’ve done to wide receivers this year. The highest total yards put up by an opposing team’s receiving core all season was 154 yards in Week 2. Watkins seems to be happy that Kyle Orton gets the ball out faster than E.J. Manuel, but I’m about to break some bad news to Mr. Watkins. Kyle Orton is still Kyle Orton. If Eli Manning, Cam Newton, and even Aaron Rodgers didn’t light up the Lions, Orton surely won’t either and Watkins will unfortunately see his performance limited.
Andre Johnson (WR – Houston)
Times are changing in Houston. Andre 3000 has only managed a high of 74 yards in any game this season and still hasn’t found the end zone. A new coach and an emerging Deandre Hopkins in Houston mean that Johnson is no longer being fed the football like he used to. It’s no surprise given that he’s old an all. Brandon Carr has done a good job at limiting opposing WRs this year, so look elsewhere for value if you have a deep bench. The lack of bye weeks should help your cause.
Travis Kelce (TE – Kansas City)
The kid is a beast and should be started every week going forward…except this one. Chances are you have another tight end on your roster since Kelce didn’t come into his own until recently. This is the last week you start that other tight end. Then you trade him for the best offer you can and ride Kelce the rest of the way. The 49ers have very athletic linebackers, who are good at limiting tight ends. Kelce’s time has come, but just cool the jets for one more week.