Felix Jones will be the sought after player this week in light of DeMarco Murray’s injury, because it appears Murray will be out for this week and maybe a few more. The matchup is a good one at home against Carolina, so Jones becomes a start. In addition, Philip Tanner, who should get some carries, becomes a desperation play with a short bench. The Panthers have given up 193 yards from scrimmage per game to backs this year. Split that up between Jones and Tanner, and you have a viable Top 15 start from Jones and Flex play (Top 25 or so) from Tanner.
Based on the price you will likely pay, Tanner’s going to be a value play. Jones will likely cost a fair amount. I haven’t projected all my matchups, but I would say Jones is a low end RB1 to high end RB2 this week, making him quite valuable in the short term.
Shallow: Carson Palmer in 69% of leagues? Well, if you are in a league where he is available, I suppose that has to be the pickup for this heavy bye week where Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and Philip Rivers are out.
Deep: Assuming that’s not the case, there are five matchup plays for this week among guys potentially available. I would go with the following, in order: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. TEN, Josh Freeman vs. NO, Mark Sanchez vs. NE, Matt Hasselbeck vs. BUF, Brandon Weeden vs. IND.
Shallow: LeGarrette Blount, available in just under half the leagues, is your matchup pick up for week 7 going against New Orleans. The Saints are allowing 196 yards and 1.4 touchdowns to opposing backs this year. Blount had 7 carries to Martin’s 13 last week, so a similar breakdown still makes Blount a flex play, especially on a week with 6 teams out.
William Powell was in a split with LaRod Stephens-Howling last week and got 13 carries, and ended up with 70 yards. The matchup isn’t great this week at Arizona, but he is a stash type guy to see if he continues to increase his role. I wouldn’t overbid but if you can add him for cheap, it’s worth a shot given the opportunity here.
Deep: Darryl Richardson may get opportunities late in the year. It’s pretty clear that Steven Jackson is not a Fisher guy and will be gone at season’s end. Richardson split carries on Sunday. Not a start this week, but a stash for November. David Wilson got 7 carries and is slowly coming out of the doghouse. He looks good when he doesn’t fumble. He’s an Ahmad Bradshaw injury from being a fantasy stud.
Felix Jones is this week’s injury beneficiary and should earn a moderate bid, especially if you have DeMarco Murray. Also look to Philip Tanner.
Deeper: Montario Hardesty got action last week because of the Trent Richardson injury. He’s a middling talent, but we saw how bad the Colts can be against the run. Richardson is day-to-day, and may play on Sunday, so Hardesty’s price might be cheap with the uncertainty there. Hardesty would still be a flex play if Richardson was limited but active, and a must start if the Browns play it safe, and Richardson is ruled out on Sunday.
If you miss out on the above guys and are needing a desperation start this week on the cheap, look to Mike Goodson. Darren McFadden is coming off a 30 touch game, and the Jaguars have given up over 180 yards from scrimmage to back. If Goodson gets 8-10 touches in this one, he could provide a big play.
Shallow: Darrius Heyward-Bey came back last week from his concussion and should be a good pickup going forward with the Raiders needing to throw frequently late. Kendall Wright has continued to see his role increase with Hasselbeck at QB, catching 6 passes last week. Definite matchup start against the Bills.
Deep: Donnie Avery has been targeted 21 times in the last two weeks, only catching 7. There’s two ways to look at that. He’s a few big plays away from having much bigger numbers though. Don’t expect a super star, but with Haden on Wayne, I would expect Avery to get continued looks for one more week. That, and a pretty attractive matchup against Tennessee, make him a valuable pickup for the next two weeks.
Domenik Hixon is still a deep matchup play on bye weeks, as he draws Washington, dead last in WR fantasy points allowed, and may get some opportunities as they focus on Cruz and Nicks.
Deeper: Josh Gordon is available in a high percentage of leagues. He’s produced 3 touchdowns, and could merit more targets soon. He’s likely to be a hit or miss guy from week to week, dependent on that one big play, but if you have bye weeks where you need upside, he’s your play. If you want the cheaper version of Gordon, though, go with Chris Givens, who has provided a deep threat and seen his targets go up the last two weeks with Amendola out. The matchup doesn’t scream must start this week, but next week, it’s against New England. Givens will get opportunities.
Jets receivers Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley are matchup starts this week because the Patriots have struggled with deep coverage.
Shallow: I’m going to mention Scott Chandler in case people start dropping him out of frustration. Great matchup play this week and if he becomes available, he should be starting over all but about six tight ends this week. In the same game, Jared Cook is a potential start this week.
Deep: Dustin Keller is kind of forgotten, but could play a key role against the Patriots this week. Don’t forget about him if you need someone.
Deeper: Desperation play because of how bad the offense is, but Marcedes Lewis against the Oakland defense is at least a favorable matchup.
Oakland against the Jacksonville Jaguars potent offense and Buffalo at home against Tennessee and Matt Hasselbeck are your two desperation defensive starts based on matchup this week.
[photo via US Presswire]