Wondering whether or not to start LeSean McCoy and Antonio Brown, or to bench Nick Foles and Andre Johnson? 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 14 of the 2015 season.
Watch ’em roll
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills at Eagles. Philly’s defense and special teams embarrassed the Patriots last week, but it wasn’t like they shut down Tom Brady. Taylor, meanwhile, racked up four TDs while basting the Texans secondary. He and Sammy Watkins should have another very productive outing on Sunday.
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Shaun Draughn, RB, 49ers at Browns. Out of nowhere, Draughn has become a true workhorse in the 49ers’ backfield. Granted, that’s not the most coveted RB job in the league, but Draughn has quietly become fantasy relevant thanks in large part to his heavy involvement in the passing game. Against the NFL’s 31st-ranked rush defense, Draughn offers solid starting value.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers vs. Falcons. Stewart is another workhorse whose primary competition for carries is his quarterback. There should be plenty to go around for both players against an Atlanta defense that has coughed up more rushing TDs – including a pair in each of the last two weeks – than any team outside of Detroit.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars vs. Colts. Hurns has cleared the concussion protocol and will rejoin Jacksonville’s potent passing attack at home against a Colts secondary that has become exceedingly generous to opposing receivers. Though he has been limited in practice this week due to a lingering back injury, Hurns is a safe bet to profit from all the attention paid to counterpart Allen Robinson.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks at Ravens. Russell Wilson is en fuego, and Baldwin is reaping the rewards. Seattle’s leading receiver has amassed 433 receiving yards and six TDs over the last four games, despite playing some decent pass defenses. Baltimore’s pass defense wishes it was decent.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Blake Bortles, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton; RBs Doug Martin, DeAngelo Williams, T.J. Yeldon, Lamar Miller, Matt Forte, Charcandrick West, Thomas Rawls, Javorius Allen; WRs Sammy Watkins, Golden Tate, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Alshon Jeffery, DeVonte Parker, Eric Decker, Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders, T.Y. Hilton, Jordan Matthews, Martavis Bryant, Danny Amendola, Jeremy Maclin, Dez Bryant, Anquan Boldin.
Roll ’em back
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers at Chiefs. In Week 11, Rivers managed just 178 passing yards with an interception but no TDs. And that was with a healthy Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman. Now Rivers will head to unfriendly Arrowhead Stadium with Antonio Gates and the Chargers’ JV receivers. No, thanks.
Chris Ivory, RB, Jets vs. Titans. Ivory found himself on the sidelines watching Bilal Powell soar late in last week’s game due to the Jets being forced to pass. He’s in for yet another obstacle this week when the Titans’ potent rush defense comes to town. If you have safer options, consider them strongly.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles vs. Bills. You’d think Chip Kelly would be eager to showcase his prized offseason acquisition during Shady McCoy’s much-hyped and bitter return to Philly. But Murray appears to be locked up tight in his coach’s doghouse. Meanwhile, Ryan Mathews (concussion) is expected to return to a very crowded backfield that also reserves plenty of touches for Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington at Bears. Kirk Cousins has had his moments at home, but he can’t be trusted on the road. Jackson, for his part, has been overly reliant on a single big play in each of the last three weeks for his fantasy production. Chicago’s pass defense has been surprisingly stingy over the last several weeks, making D-Jax a risky proposition in Soldier Field.
Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders at Broncos. The dazzling rookie has slowed down in the second half of the season, finding the end zone just once after Week 7. Cooper had just 47 yards on four receptions in his first shot at the Broncos, which sounds about right for his second chance on the road against the league’s most parsimonious defense to opposing receivers.
More thumbs down: QBs Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford, Derek Carr, Matt Schaub, Matt Hasselbeck, Brian Hoyer, Kirk Cousins, Blaine Gabbert; RBs Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Frank Gore, Tevin Coleman, Giovani Bernard, Antonio Andrews, Latavius Murray, James Starks, all Giants RBs; WRs Torrey Smith, Tavon Austin, Pierre Garcon, Malcom Floyd, Markus Wheaton, James Jones, Travis Benjamin, Ted Ginn, Roddy White, Dorial Green-Beckham, Brandon LaFell, Nate Washington.
TAKING A FLIER
Willie Snead, WR, Saints at Buccaneers. He missed last week with a calf injury but he’s expected to return to the field Sunday. Snead should be leaned on heavily with Brandin Cooks doubtful due to a concussion and Mark Ingram shelved for the season (see below). Ben Watson’s arrow likewise points up with Cooks out.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO… inserts C.J. Spiller in your starting lineup just because Ingram (shoulder) has been lost for the season. Spiller has been used sparingly of late, and Tim Hightower is arguably more suited for the between-the-tackles role that Ingram handled. Spiller has potential value as a receiver out of the backfield, so PPR leaguers should keep him at the ready. But you’re better off waiting to see how this week unfolds — against a salty Bucs run defense — before risking either back in your lineup.