Red Zone

Fantasy football picks to click: Andy Dalton, David Johnson and more

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief. The Associated Press

Wondering whether or not to start Tom Brady and Odell Beckham, Jr., or to bench Matt Cassel and C.J. Spiller? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 13 of the 2015 season.

Watch ’em roll

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals at Browns. Dalton tossed three TDs with no interceptions when these teams faced off in Week 9, and was nearly as sharp last week against a solid Rams secondary. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s pass defense is one of the softest in the league. Time to load the Red Rifle.

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens at Dolphins. Allen got his feet wet as a starter on Monday night and acquitted himself well. Now he’ll be rewarded with a day of running wild against the NFL’s worst rush defense. Enjoy.

David Johnson, RB, Cardinals at Rams. The rookie has been waiting for this moment. Equally adept as a runner and receiver, Johnson will be the workhorse in this prolific offense now that Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington are banged up. The Rams’ rush defense is fairly soft, so his first start should be a gem.

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts at Steelers. Matt Hasselbeck is looking sharp and he has targeted his playmaking young wideout 17 times over the last two weeks. The duo will be facing a Steelers secondary that has coughed up more fantasy points to opposing QBs and WRs over the last four weeks than any other defense. Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton should have a very productive Sunday evening.

Kamar Aiken, WR, Ravens at Dolphins. Matt Schaub is still Matt Schaub, but there’s no denying that he took an immediate shine to Aiken in his first start. Aiken’s 10 targets were twice that of any other receiver on Monday night, and he’ll face another generous secondary in Miami on Sunday.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Blake Bortles, Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill; RBs Matt Forte, Jonathan Stewart, LeGarrette Blount, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray, DeAngelo Williams, C.J. Anderson, Thomas Rawls, Darren McFadden, Chris Ivory, Devonta Freeman; WRs Danny Amendola, Marvin Jones, Allen Robinson, Eric Decker, Alshon Jeffery, Emmanuel Sanders, Martavis Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Jeremy Maclin, Jarvis Landry, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, DeSean Jackson, John Brown.

Roll ’em back

Drew Brees, QB, Saints vs. Panthers. Brees had his 45-game TD streak broken last week by the Texans, while the Panthers picked off Tony Romo three times – including two pick-sixes – before they knocked him out for the duration. Brees draws his toughest opponent of the season on Sunday, and it could get ugly. I’m benching him in two leagues.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks at Vikings. You hate to sit Wilson on the heels of his career day against the Steelers, but he faces a much more formidable foe this week. Minnesota has given up just 14 TD passes all year, and they are playing with a new level of confidence. Look for Wilson to finish with his ninth one-TD game of the season.

Frank Gore, RB, Colts at Steelers. Gore is feeling his age, having taken a beating all year long. Don’t be surprised if the veteran is spelled frequently by Dan Herron in this tough rushing matchup. Gore’s floor is very low and his ceiling is, too.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers vs. Falcons. Atlanta boasts one of the stingiest secondaries in the league, so temper your expectations for Jameis Winston & Co. Mike Evans is too explosive to bench, but Jackson comes with more risk, thanks in part to a balky knee that has limited his practice time.

Stevie Johnson, WR, Chargers vs. Broncos. Johnson has become the de facto No. 1 wideout in San Diego, and he’s coming off his best outing since early 2013. But the mighty Broncos defense is coming to town, and they won’t be polite guests. Johnson and his quarterback should struggle in this contest.

More thumbs down: QBs Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, Tyrod Taylor; RBs Mark Ingram, Latavius Murray, Lamar Miller, Rashad Jennings, Duke Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Melvin Gordon, Alfred Morris, Antonio Andrews, Danny Woodhead; WRs Stefon Diggs, Markus Wheaton, Terrance Williams, Pierre Garcon, Torrey Smith, Sammy Watkins, Dontrelle Inman, Jermaine Kearse, Jordan Matthews, Willie Snead, Andre Johnson, Travis Benjamin, Roddy White.


DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins vs. Ravens. Miami’s season is essentially over, so what better time to see what they have in their prized first-round draft pick? Parker is finally healthy and he had a stellar debut last week with 80 receiving yards, including a 33-yard TD, on 10 targets in trash time against the Jets. With Rishard Matthews out nursing broken ribs, Parker will start in his place and should have plenty of opportunities to go the distance on Sunday.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…tanks his last game because he’s out of the playoff picture. For the integrity of your league – if not for your own pride – keep competing. Play spoiler, even. Playoff seeding shouldn’t be arbitrarily altered because someone in the league stops paying attention.