A.J. McCarron is out here talking about Tom Brady. Good for him. Also keep in mind that once the shock of Dalton’s injury wears off, McCarron is in a pretty good situation. We saw him go out and throw for 280 yards, 2 TD, and 2 INT against Pittsburgh in relief. It’s the same offensive unit that has allowed Andy Dalton to average over 8 yards a pass. One of the best offensive lines in the league, two good backs, and three good wide receivers make for a friendly entry into starting. We’ll see if Tyler Eifert is able to play as well.
There aren’t a lot of good matchups among the second and third tier starters. I think McCarron presents the best opportunity if you don’t have one of the elite quarterbacks, or an insanely good matchup, going into week 15. You won’t want to start him against Denver in week 16, but for this one week, I think he’s an option. And this time of year, it is survive and advance.
Shallow Leagues: the pickings are thin. Marcus Mariota (62%) doesn’t have a great matchup with how the New England defense is playing, but with his ability to get big rushing plays (or receiving ones) he’s got the best upside.
Average and Deep Leagues: If you don’t get McCarron, the next fallback is T.J. Yates (1%) against the Colts’ woeful defense. Brian Hoyer would have been a great start, and while I’m not quite as crazy with Yates, he can still put up solid numbers.
Shallow Leagues: Tim Hightower (56%) got 28 carries in place of the injured Mark Ingram, while C.J. Spiller was non-existent. Hightower becomes a top-10 start against the Lions, if you are in a league where you can still add him.
Average and Deep Leagues: Denard Robinson (9%) is likely to get the start for Jacksonville versus Atlanta with T.J. Yeldon’s injury. Atlanta is in the bottom quarter in fantasy points allowed to RB and Robinson would be a top 15 start this week.
It was just announced that LeGarrette Blount is done for the year. Brandon Bolden (20%) is the pick to fill his role within the offense, and would be a low end RB2/flex.
The Seattle situation is probably a committee, with DuJuan Harris (1%) getting the majority of work, but Fred Jackson (6%) in on all passing situations. [update: the Seahawks cut Harris and signed Bryce Brown. the same thought applies. It’s not as safe a situation as taking Bolden, Robinson, or Hightower this week].
The other one to watch is Jonathan Stewart. If he cannot go against the Giants, I expect a committee out of Mike Tolbert (7%) and Fozzy Whittaker (0%). They split carries pretty evenly, combining for 14 carries in the second half last week, rotating frequently. Whittaker got the only touchdown on a 16 yard run, but I would expect Tolbert to be favored in short yardage goal line, while Whittaker would project for a few more yards. Both are flex options … if Stewart is out.
Shallow Leagues: Pickings are slim this week. Last week’s recommended pick, Brian Hartline, went out and had over 100 yards but has now been placed on IR. If Ted Ginn (66%) is available, he’s the best starting bet against the Giants secondary.
Average Leagues: Russell Wilson is cooking, and two of his touchdowns went to Tyler Lockett (32%). Another great matchup against the Browns, and an uncertain backfield, makes Lockett a good play this week.
Nate Washington (45%) is the fallback plan against the Colts, because second WRs have torn up the Colts this year.
Deep Leagues: Malcom Floyd (26%) was targeted heavily but only had 3 catches last week. However, the Miami matchup is far more favorable than against the Chiefs.
Shallow Leagues: If either Zach Miller (57%) or Charles Clay (57%) is available, they are both starting options.
Average and Deep Leagues: Will Tye (22%) continues to produce for the Giants, scoring a touchdown last week. He’s the 2nd best receiving option for the Giants right now (a distance second, behind Odell). If you are waiting on Tyler Eifert, I think he’s worth a look.
- Tim Hightower, RB NO
- Denard Robinson, RB JAC
- Brandon Bolden, RB NE
- Ted Ginn, WR CAR
- A.J. McCarron, QB CIN
- Tyler Lockett, WR SEA
- Zach Miller, TE CHI
DuJuan Harris, RB SEABryce Brown, RB SEA
- Charles Clay, TE BUF
- Malcom Floyd, WR SD
- Will Tye, TE NYG
- Mike Tolbert, RB CAR
- Fozzy Whittaker, RB CAR
- Marcus Mariota, QB TEN
- T.J. Yates, QB HOU