Seven weeks down, seven weeks to go in the fantasy season for most people. (Some who have only six weeks left because of six- or eight-man playoffs are shaking if they’re under .500) There are some big bye weeks starting next week, so this is a very important time. You need to do your best work when a majority of your players are playing.
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?
Tom Brady (QB – New England)
It’s safe to say Brady’s back. Whatever happened over the first four games of the season, which ended with the epic failure in Kansas City, is in the rearview mirror at this point. Brady’s averaging 304.7 yards, three touchdowns, and a 64.2 percent completion percentage in his last three games. Chicago comes to town this week and that shouldn’t hurt Brady’s numbers at all. Chicago has given up 248 passing yards or more in every game from Week 2 on. They’ve also allowed nine passing touchdowns in the last four games.
Joique Bell (RB – Detroit)
No team has given up more fantasy points to running backs than the Falcons, who Bell faces this week. Reggie Bush was downgraded to not practicing on Thursday, so it’s Bell’s backfield to run with again. (Although Theo Riddick will pitch in as well.) Bell will be riding the double-decker buses in London on Sunday night while celebrating his big game.
Darren McFadden (RB – Oakland)
Before injuries ruined his career, McFadden was a really good running back. His biggest problem was staying healthy and eventually the Raiders gave up on him as their feature back. A funny thing happened (Maurice Jones-Drew turned out to be as bad as we thought he was coming into the year) and now McFadden is back in a leading role. McFadden has been very serviceable in his last three games, putting together 7, 8, and 10 points. He has the potential to go off this week since this is the same Browns’ defense that gave up a huge game to virtual unknown Denard Robinson and is the fourth-worst defense against fantasy running backs this year.
Doug Baldwin (WR – Seattle)
It’s Doug Baldwin’s time to shine now that Percy Harvin is back in town. Baldwin was featured heavily out of the slot last week and came through with 123 yards and a touchdown. Carolina’s defense is fantasy gold for wide receivers, giving up the most touchdowns and fourth-most fantasy points. Baldwin should continue to produce against them this weekend.
DaVante Adams (WR – Green Bay)
This is a higher risk play, but sometimes you’ll need to shoot big. The over/under for Green Bay’s game against New Orleans is 51, making it the highest projected scoring game of the week. Green Bay has gotten big leads in the last two games and been able to coast to a win, but that’s not projected to happen this weekend. Adams has been running as the third receiving option for the Packers, but there should be plenty to go around this weekend in the high scoring affair.
Charles Clay (TE – Miami)
We all know the Jaguars are bad against tight ends, so we were very disappointed that the Browns were unable to get Jordan Cameron going last week. Clay should be fine this week as we target the Jaguars again. Clay was involved last week to the tune of 58 yards and a touchdown. Look for something similar here.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Matt Ryan (QB – Atlanta)
This may be more of a public service announcement for the rest of the season than a specific note for this week, but Ryan can’t be started right now. His offensive line is in such shambles that he can’t go deep with the ball like he’s done in the past. Going deep is mostly what made Ryan a successful fantasy quarterback. Things don’t look better when you add in a Lions’ defense that has a tremendous defensive line and is allowing the least amount of points per game to fantasy quarterbacks.
Chris Ivory (RB – N.Y. Jets)
Ivory has been a steady force this year when seeing at least 10 touches a game. His best game was last week when he had 100 yards and a touchdown for the second time this season, but he’s in for a rude awakening. The Bills have not only not given up any rushing touchdowns this year, but they’re also limiting running backs to under 10 points a game. There should be better alternatives to Ivory this week.
Alfred Morris (RB – Washington)
Look at Morris’ numbers and you’ll realize he’s having a terrible season. He’s averaged less than four yards per carry in five of his seven games after putting up 4.8 and 4.6 yards per carry in the previous two seasons respectively. The system is different for him now that there’s a new offensive coordinator and the team is running less spread option runs with their quarterback. The Cowboys have only given up three rushing touchdowns in seven games and could turn this game into a shootout against the poor Washington defense. Shootouts mean Roy Helu instead of Morris, so tread lightly on Monday night.
Roddy White (WR – Atlanta)
You got excited with White’s performance last week after his slow start to the season, but it’s time to hit the brakes. Last week’s 100 yards and a touchdown down will be a pipe dream against the best passing defense in the league as we detailed above when talking about Ryan.
Keenan Allen (WR – San Diego)
I love Allen as a buy low candidate, especially if you’re buying next week. This week, however, is going to be rough. Rivers spreads the ball around to begin with and he’ll likely avoid Allen more often than not this week. For starters, an article surfaced this week releasing information that San Diego realizes Allen’s getting a lot more attention this year. Rivers has no problem making the open receiver the best receiving option. #1 WRs have been shut down by Denver this year with Decker’s 6-54-1 line being the best and that was in a revenge game. Chris Harris and Aquib Talib have been doing work, so Allen likely won’t be doing on Thursday night.
Jason Witten (TE – Dallas)
Most tight ends have good matchups this week, so we’ll focus on Witten because of his production this season. He hasn’t exceeded 61 yards in any game this year and only has one touchdown. Younger Gavin Escobar is getting a decent amount of work and is taking some of the routes Witten used to run down the field. Since Witten’s peak point total this season is eight, there’s no reason to start him in a game til he hits double digits.