2014 fantasy Football: Start 'Em/Sit 'Em WEEK 8
2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL: START ‘EM or SIT ‘EM WEEK 8
A helpful look into who should be in your line up or riding your bench this week.
Always remember one of our biggest rules here at FFChamps.com:
Commandment #10: Thou shall ALWAYS start thy Studs
Every major fantasy football site gives you a start 'em or sit 'em article every week to try and help you with you line up selection. Unfortunately we can't always get it right. Some calls looks genius, and others not so much. Each week I will review the past week of my start and sit selections to let you know how well it went. I (like every else in this industry) won't always get every call right every week, and I will share all the results with you so you know where I was right and where I was wrong. Here is the criteria I will use to say when the players from the previous week were a GOOD CALL or a BAD CALL.
For the Start 'Em:
QB - Any quarterback who finished in the top 16 will be a Good Call.
Any quarterback outside the top 16 will be a Bad Call.
RB - Any running back who finished in the top 36 will be a Good Call.
Any running back outside the top 36 will be a Bad Call.
WR - Any wide receiver who finished in the top 48 will be a Good Call.
Any wide receiver outside the top 48 will be a Bad Call.
TE - Any tight end who finished in the top 16 will be a Good Call.
Any tight end outside the top 16 will be a Bad Call.
For the Sit 'Em:
QB - Any quarterback who finished out of the top 16 will be a Good Call.
Any quarterback in the top 16 will be a Bad Call.
RB - Any running back who finished out of the top 36 will be a Good Call.
Any running back in the top 36 will be a Bad Call.
WR - Any wide receiver who finished out of the top 48 will be a Good Call.
Any wide receiver in the top 48 will be a Bad Call.
TE - Any tight end who finished out of the top 16 will be a Good Call.
Any tight end in the top 16 will be a Bad Call.
WEEK 7 RESULTS: (YTD)
Good Calls: 13 (105)
Bad Calls: 10 (67)
Peyton Manning Denver Broncos vs San Diego Chargers (Thursday Night)
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints vs Green Bay Packers (Sunday Night)
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints (Sunday Night)
Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos (Thursday Night): Even though he a down day for Philip Rivers this past week vs the Chiefs (just 14 points), Rivers is still having an outstanding season. A top 3 quarterback in virtually every format, this past week was his worst outing of the season and the first time he failed to compile at least 20 fantasy points in a game since week 1 when he scored 16. Now a Thursday night tilt with the Denver Broncos. First Denver is coming off a very emotional game in which Peyton Manning broke the all-time touchdown record (Congratulations to him!). The Chargers also coming off a hard fought AFC West showdown, which the Chiefs won on a field goal in the closing minute of play. While that may faze some teams and quarterbacks, it won’t slow down Rivers. He’s a wily vet who will regroup fast and be ready to take on the Broncos. Rivers may have been the only guy who knew how to play Denver last year during their torrid pace of blowing out every opponent. He may have scored just 14.3 per game against the Broncos last year but he didn’t throw a single pick in those 3 games (playoffs included) while keeping each game extremely competitive. He had at least 200 yards, or multiple touchdowns in each game too. Yeah it’s Thursday but these 2 AFC West rivals will definitely put on a great show that will light up the scoreboard.
Carson Palmer Arizona Cardinals vs Philadelphia Eagles: Obviously with the nerve damage that cause Palmer to miss a 4 week stretch, he doesn’t have the same sample size as most other quarterbacks in the league, but hes been looking good when he has played. In 3 games this season Palmer has scored no less than 16 fantasy points in a game while averaging 270 yards with 2 touchdowns per game. He’s thrown just 1 pick in those 3 contests. The Eagles have played poorly in Arizona recently, dropping their last 3 in the desert giving up 29 points/game while scoring just 17. They allowed both Josh McCown and Kevin Kolb to hang 17 fantasy points on them (both threw for over 200 yards and 2 TDs a piece), and that 3rd game saw Kurt Warner post a completion percentage of 75% with 279 yards and 4 touchdowns without a turnover. Philadelphia is still a bottom 5 team at stopping the quarterback in 2014, allowing 24 points/game and having a terrible 13:3 touchdown to interception ratio through 6 games played. Carson Palmer may not be Kurt Warner, but he is definitely light-years better than McCown and Kolb.
Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins (Monday Night): After starting the season with 3 weeks of frustration for his fantasy owners, Romo has rewards those of us who have stuck with him, averaging 23 points/game with at least 20 in each of his last 4 games. After a big NFC East win over the Giants on Sunday, Romo leads the division-leading Cowboys up against another NFC East opponent in Big D, the Washington Redskins. Romo’s 24 touchdown passes in his career against Washington is the 2nd most versus any team (the Giants are 1st with now 37 TD tosses allowed to Tony). Romo is putting up 267 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 pick in his last 6 games when taking on the Skins. Washington is a mess this year on both sides of the ball. They can score points (when they know who their quarterback is), but the defense is so shabby. They are allowing a league-high 25 points/game to quarterbacks. Their 15 total touchdowns allowed is 2nd most in the NFL to the position and 2 of their 3 worst games came against NFC east opponents when the let Foles and Eli Manning average 33 points while combining for 625 passing yards, 8 total touchdowns and just 1 turnover. Expect Romo to set off fireworks in AT&T Stadium Monday night.
Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: A.J. Green being gone is definitely hurting Dalton’s stock. Green is one of the league best wide receivers and when a team is missing such a crucial piece, it makes defenses light up in anticipation when taking on that team. Last week the Bengals got shutout in Indianapolis while putting up a grand total of 135 yards. That’s not a mistake, 135 TOTAL YARDS OF OFFENSE! Russell Wilson nearly outrushed the entire Bengals offensive output with his 106 on the ground. That’s pathetic. If Green gets the chance to return this week then Dalton’s stock will go up slightly but not a whole lot. The Ravens are a stout defense overall but damn solid at stopping quarterbacks. Already this year they’ve played Dalton and held him to 19 fantasy points, and that was with A.J. Green. The Ravens have also allowed just 2 quarterbacks to go for 20+ points on them. One was Andrew Luck, and he does that to everyone so no shock there. The other was Mike Glennon who was down over 40 points and just chucked the ball up basically every play. Cincinnati’s defense is much better than Tampa’s so Dalton won’t be throwing all day like Glennon, and Andy definitely is nowhere in the same conversation as Andrew. In his last 3 games versus Baltimore played in Cincinnati, Dalton is throwing for less than 200 yards per game (197) with a 3:4 touchdown to interception ration, and he had A.J. Green on the field in all those games.
Geno Smith New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills: Smith has definitely shown great improvement this season compared to his rookie year in 2013. He seems to be a little smarter with the ball, and the addition of Eric Decker really did help. This week is no week to start Geno though. Many will think because of Percy Harvin that this Jets offense will be a lot better, and yes in time it could be, but it won’t be in a week’s worth of practice. Harvin will open up some things (especially for Decker) in the passing game, and gives Smith another legitimate receiving threat. But he’s a super diva and until he forms some sort of chemistry with the team, in my mind he’s just there till years end. Plus the Jets are coming off a heartbreaking loss to their biggest rival in New England and now turn around to face another AFC east foe in the Bills. The only quarterbacks to post 20+ points on the Bills this year are Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady. Mostly elite quarterbacks (maybe not Cutler) on high-powered offenses that don’t stop scoring. The Jets aren’t that kind of offense, and honestly the Jets don’t have the talent or team spirit to rally and make big things happen.
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns: As far as rookie quarterbacks in the fantasy football world go, Carr is having a decent season. Most rookie QBs don’t really contribute fantasy wise, but after his outstanding performance 2 weeks ago against the Chargers when he put up 282 yards and 4 touchdowns (good for 25 points) I know some people went out and grabbed him thinking he could be useful. Slow down people, he isn’t. At least not yet, and especially not on the road. In his games in Oakland, Carr averages 16 per game (even with a stinker this past week). In his road action Carr has put up just 9 per game. The Browns may not be the scariest defense in the NFL but they are proficient in the Dawg Pound. In 3 home games this season, Cleveland is allowing quarterbacks to average 17 points/game on them with no more than 237 yards or 2 touchdowns in each game while forcing at least 1 turnover. Oh and the 3 quarterbacks they’ve faced in Ohio this year? Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, and Ben Roethlisberger. Also the Browns forced Blake Bortles, another rookie QB, to throw 3 picks last week in Jacksonville. Yeah, good luck young gun.
LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals
Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs vs St. Louis Rams
Matt Forte Chicago Bears @ New England Patriots
Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
Joique Bell Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons: With the poor performances Reggie Bush has put up of late, coupled with his ankle injury, Bell is going to be the man in the Lions backfield moving forward for the near future if not longer. Bell has 4 games this season (of his 6 played) with at least 9 points and 3 of those he hit double-digits. Bush, who has also played 6 games, has just 1 game with 9+ points in that stretch. I make mention of this game a little later in the article, but being played in London at 9:30am EST is going to make for some sloppy play for sure. The Falcons are still the worst at stopping running backs, allowing over 28 points/game. The second worst team, Oakland, is allowing 3 less points per week (25.0). That 3 point disparity between worst and second worst at stopping running backs is the largest gap for one position from 1st to 2nd. Last week in Baltimore is the first time the Falcons held the lead back, in this case Justin Forsett, to single-digits for the game (he still gained 95 yards). Anytime I think the game could be sloppy I tend to favor running backs. A 7-hour flight, huge time change, and abnormal starting time will all factor in. Joique Bell may be primed to have the best fantasy day on the field over in jolly old England this Sunday bright and early.
Lamar Miller Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Maybe the signing this offseason of Knnowshon Moreno lit a fire under Miller, maybe all us experts were just a year premature on the Lamar love, or maybe Miller just found something different this year that's been working for him. Jacksonville may have shown some signs of slight improvement against the run (they haven't allowed a running back to post double-digit fantasy points on them since Le'Veon Bell did it almost 3 weeks ago), but the loss of Paul Posluszny is going to hurt a lot. He was their best player on the defensive side of the ball and that kind of nose for the ball. Posluszny posted 100+ tackles the last 2 years in Jacksonville and has averaged 97/season since he signed with the Jags in 2011. Miller is far more talented than any of the Titans backs, and at least on par if not better than the backfield in Cleveland. Lamar has been the best thing you can be in fantasy football: consistent. He failed to post double-digits just one time this year, have at least 1 touchdown in 4 of 6 games, and failed to top 70 total yards just twice (and once he made up for it with 2 touchdowns). Consistency wins championships in fantasy football. If you have Lamar Miller, use him this week, and more-than-likely every week. If you don't have him, try and steal him away from his owner, it will payoff in the long run.
Ben Tate Cleveland Browns vs Oakland Raiders: After a hot start coming off injury, Tate put up 2 solid performances against the Titans and Steelers combining for 211 rush yards and 2 touchdowns. So last week I, along with anyone else on the planet who plays fantasy football, thought he'd keep the good times rolling against the lowly Jaguars. Well Jacksonville made the Browns look foolish en route to their first win of 2014. Now the Browns return to Cleveland and are going to be out for blood against the Raiders at the Dawg Pound. The Raiders are horrible against running backs, being just 1 of 2 teams who give up 25+ points a game to running backs. They have given up 8 total touchdowns (6 on the ground) in 6 games this year, and have given up HUGE games to opposing backs. Listen to some of these stat lines Oakland has allowed; Chris Ivory 102 total yards and a TD, Arian Foster 150 total yards and a TD, Lamar Miller 67 total yards and 2 TDs, Brandon Oliver 124 total yards and 1 TD, and last week both Cardinals backs put up big numbers too with Andre Ellington totaling 160 yards while Stepfan Taylor scored twice with 59 total yards. Last year in his only appearance against the Raiders in his career, Tate had 19 rushes and 4 catches for a total of 117 yards. Expect Tate to go off like he did a few weeks ago, as that Jags game was more the exception than the rule for him. And hey if you have Isaiah Crowell use him too!
Tre Mason St. Louis Rams @ Kansas City Chiefs: Mason looked great last week against the Seahawks. He was given 18 carries to just 2 for Benny Cunningham and 0 for Zac Stacy. Mason is going to be the man going forward unless he has a total meltdown, and he is a guy you definitely should have snatched up off waivers this week. However, I would keep him benched for this weekend's tilt in KC with the Chiefs. First off, just 1 game is an extremely small sample size and I can't trust putting a guy into my line up until i see at least 2 straight games with consistency. The Chiefs are also good if not great at stopping the run. They are the 5th best team in terms of fantasy points/game given up at just a touch over 13 per contest. The only 2 games in which Kansas City gave up double-digit fantasy points came against Lamar Miller (who is playing as good as any running back not named DeMarco or Le'Veon) and Frank Gore (who is just an O.G. at the running back position these days). Both men topped 100 rushing yards, but did not score. In fact not a single running back has found the end zone against the Chiefs this season. That's correct, NOT A SINGLE TOUCHDOWN ALLOWED BY THE CHIEFS this year to a running back, either by land or through the air. I can't see Mason being the guy to break that trend, and if the Chiefs gain a sizable lead, which isn't unrealistic, expect to see more Benny Cunningham who is in for passing downs and better in pass protection. Love Mason going forward this year, just not this week.
Chris Ivory New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills: Last season Chris Ivory got his first taste against a Bills defense. In those 2 games Ivory combined for 103 yards on the ground with a touchdown as well as 1 catch for another 6 yards. That's an OK line, but the game that took place in the Meadowlands Ivory gained a grand total of 5 yards. Yes just 5 yards. This weekend's game is in the Jets home stadium ... collective groaning from Ivory owners. I know he wasn't the main man during that game, but still he wasn't the main man for games this year and outperformed his backfield partner Chris Johnson virtually every single week this year to date. In 2014 the Bills are the best at keeping running backs from racking up fantasy points this year. They are just 1 of 2 teams to have not allowed a single touchdown to running backs and are allowing just 11 points/game to running backs while being the 5th best team giving up just 490 rush yards this season. The Jets are also coming off an emotional game, are not in the playoff hunt like the Bills, and need to find a way to work in the newly acquired Percy Harvin. One more note; Ivory was given 21 rush attempts last week in New England. In his career he's had 5 games with 18+ rush attempts. His total rush attempts in the following week after those contests? 7, 8, 15, 11, 5. Odds point to limited carries for Ivory this week.
Jeremy Hill Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: Hill is looking to be slowing down the past few weeks, as the Bengals offense as a whole has since A.J. Green has been sidelined with his toe issue. Last week in Indianapolis the Bengals laid an egg with 0 points while Hill himself managed just 15 yards on 4 carries. That was his worst game this year. His second worst? 4 attempts for 19 yards week 1 when the Bengals took on the Ravens. The AFC north rival Ravens are playing just as well on defense since that opening game, if not better. They've given up just 2 total touchdowns this year to backs (3rd best in the league), both coming to Browns backs in week 3. The Ravens haven't allowed more than 68 rushing yards in a game this season, and have let just 2 backs gain over 100 total yards (Giovani Bernard week 1 compiled 110 while the Steelers Le'Veon Bell totaled 107 the following week). Don't forget that Gio also had an extremely slow day last week (gaining just 17 yards on the ground on 7 carries) so the Bengals priority will be getting Bernard going. If Gio gets hot, he will stay in the game, but if he doesn't then I can't see Hill taking over and getting hot either at that point. Hill had a few weeks where he was worth of a flex play, and will see a lot of flex spots with big bye weeks coming next week and the following, but with just the Giants and 49ers off this weekend, there are plenty of options to plus in over Hill.
Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos vs San Diego Chargers (Thursday Night)
Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins (Monday Night)
Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons (Questionable)
Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears @ New England Patriots
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens (Questionable_
Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons vs Detroit Lions
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts
Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints (Sunday Night)
Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints (Sunday Night): Tell me this match up doesn't scream offense! Saints and Packers. Primetime. In the Superdome. This is going to be fun! Cobb is 2nd in the NFL with 8 receiving touchdowns, and whom should he thank for that? How about the dude lined up across the way in Jordy Nelson. Seems like every week Nelson gets an early, long touchdown catch and it just opens up everything for Cobb (as well as LAcy out of the backfield and emerging rookie wide out Davante Adams). Cobb would have been on the start list even if he faced the top defense in the league, but he's not. He's facing a Saints secondary that has underperformed all year before losing safety Jairus Byrd for the year. The Saints are just 1 of 4 teams to be letting wide receivers post 28+ points per game on them. They've let 9 touchdowns go past their secondary (4th most in the NFL), and they are also in the bottom 10 in receptions (6th with 89) and yards (8th with 1,191). Fun fact: in the 6 games the Saints and Packers have squared off in since 2002 they average 64 total points per contest. There will be points, oh yes, there will be points.
Andre Holmes Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns: Holmes is on his way to career numbers in 2014 in receptions (current high: 25, on pace for 48), yards (current high: 431, on pace for 808), and is already at a career high in touchdowns with 3 currently and on pace for 8. He's been getting worked into the offense as the season progresses going from a combined 6 catches on 9 targets for 74 yards and no touchdowns in the Raiders first 3 games this year, to 12 catches on 25 targets with 229 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in his last 3 games. That means 2 positive things in my mind. One: He's currently on a solid streak. Not a streak of some insane numbers, but a steady, can contribute weekly kind of pace. Two: he's developing a nice connection with rookie quarterback Derek Carr which means good things to come as the 2014 season closes and for the upcoming 2015 year should their chemistry continue to develop. Now Oakland is heading to Cleveland for an old school AFL battle. Odds are the Browns come out pissed after being smoked by the win less Jags last week, which sucks if you're a Raiders fan, but should make you smile if you're a Holmes owner in fantasy. A beating on the scoreboard means more throwing for Carr, which means more opportunity for Holmes to keep producing as a WR3/Flex type player.
Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets: SAMMY! SAMMY! SAMMY! I can hear the chants in northern New York right now. Watkins went out of his mind this past week against the Vikings catching 9 balls for 122 yards and 2 scores, including the game winner. This is what Buffalo expected when they gave up two 1st round picks for the best receiver in last years draft. While Watkins hasn't put together 2 straight games with monster numbers that could all change this weekend at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are coming off a physically and emotionally draining game in New England last week, only to come home and have another AFC east opponent waiting for them. A Bills team that seems to be playing really good football right now. Not having CJ Spiller or Fred Jackson this week will cause the Jets to drop into more coverage but will it really matter? The Jets would have stopped the run anyway. The Jets suck against the pass. Kyle Orton will be trying to feed Watkins the ball all day. Don't be shocked to see Sammy get 15+ targets this week, and more targets equals more fantasy points.
Roddy White Atlanta Falcons vs Detroit Lions: White had a really nice game last week against a tough Baltimore secondary scoring the Falcons only touchdown while also reeling in 9 balls for 100 yards. The task this week is tougher for White and the Falcons passing attack. Not only will the face the Lions, who are a top tier team in controlling the passing game in front of them, but also the game begins at 930am EST! They will across the pond in London so it's a normal kick off over there, but still with less than a week to get their body's acclimated to the time change, we could be in for a sloppy game. White is the second option Matt Ryan looks for in the passing game. Here are the fantasy totals posted by #2 wide outs against the Lions this season: 2, 4, 2, 0, 3, 3, and 16. Last week Kenny Stills got free and scored on them (also just the 3rd touchdown the Lions have allowed to a wide receiver), but outside of Drew Brees trying to mount a comeback, the Lions shut down people in the pass game. White has not put together back-to-back weeks with double-digit fantasy points since weeks 16-17 last year (and that was his first time since weeks 11-12 in 2012). White still has talent but he isn't the Roddy White of 2010. He's putting up respectable games, but this Lions team is by far and away the best defense he has seen thus far in 2014. Let White get some rest this week on your bench.
Pierre Garcon Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys (Monday Night): Garcon caught new starting quarterback Colt McCoy's first pass last week for a 70 yard touchdown so he must be back, right? Eh not so fast. Outside of that huge play last week, Garcon has been another big disappointment this season. That 70-yard TD catch gave Garcon 13 fantasy points in starters scoring leagues. Pierre has scored a grand total of 57 point this year. That means that one play gave Garcon 23% of his fantasy points through 7 weeks. Ouch. What about that Dallas defense? The defense that was supposed to be potentially the worst in the history of the NFL has been playing great through the first 7 weeks of the year. They are just 1 of 5 teams to allow 17 points or fewer to opposing wide outs, and that's not per receiver, that's for an entire teams unit of wide receivers per game. They have given up just 4 touchdowns to receivers this year (2nd best in the league), just Anquan Boldin week 1 managed over 70 yards (he had 99), and just 2 receivers managed double-digit points on the Cowboys (Brian Quick had 12 while Odell Beckham Jr. scored 16). Under the Monday night lights Garcon doesn't tend to shine either, averaging just 64 yards per game and scoring in every other.
Kelvin Benjamin Carolina Panthers vs Seattle Seahawks: Cam Newton has two major targets to throw to, Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen. The Seahawks are near dead last at stopping tight ends, while Richard Sherman and his Legion of Boom are allowing just 6 points/game to wide outs while just 3 receivers, Randall Cobb, Emmanuel Sanders, and DeSean Jackson have scored double-digit fantasy points on them. Seahawks defensive backs have allowed just 3 touchdowns to wide receivers while opposing tight ends have reached pay dirt 8 times. Love Olsen this week (more on him later), and am definitely down on Benjamin for this match up.
Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints vs Green Bay Packers (Sunday Night) (Questionable)
Julius Thomas Denver Broncos vs San Diego Chargers (Thursday Night)
Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots vs Chicago Bears
Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers vs Seattle Seahawks: Olsen remains one of the few bright spots on a Panthers offense that is less than potent. The run game has be non-existent all season, and until the last few weeks, Cam Newton hasn't done a whole lot to put the Carolina squad on his back. Rookie Kelvin Benjamin has obviously panned out much better than most expected too, but Olsen is the lone spot of hope on the offense that is not the quarterback. Olsen had a tough match up in Green Bay last week and I really thought he'd falter. He did still mange to put up 10 points (105 yards on 8 catches) so a productive day on an otherwise unproductive offense. Now Olsen can get back to his touchdown-scoring self this week against the Seattle Seahawks. Last year you'd question playing any player, any position when Seattle came up on the schedule. Now it’s not a big deal, and for tight ends it's a juicy match up. Seattle is still in the bottom 5 at stopping tight ends. They don't even stop tight ends; they just hope to slow them down. They are allowing just less than 13 points/game to tight ends while Olsen is averaging just fewer than 12 per contest. He's even better at home gaining a full point per game averaging 13 in Charlotte. Olsen will continue to be a major cog in this offense until a team finds out how to stop him, and it isn't going to be the Seahawks on Sunday.
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys (Monday Night): We said it here at FFchamps before the season began; Reed is going to be a stud. Then he went down and missed more than a quarter of the season from the jump. But after 2 games of full participation, Reed looks like he is proving us right. While he hasn't scored a touchdown yet this year, in his 2 full games played he caught 13 of 17 targets for 146 yards. He gets to take on the Cowboys under the lights this Monday night. A Cowboys team that is letting a tight end to score on them each week. A Cowboys team that has allowed 4 of 7 tight ends to reach 75 or more yards. A Cowboys team that won't start stopping tight ends this week, especially with a talent like Reed coming to town. I expect big things from Jordan this weekend, and his first trip to the end zone is one of them.
Zach Ertz Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals: A few down weeks for Ertz and then he finds his way into the end zone again before his Eagles had their bye last week. Some look at it and think it is a momentum killer having the bye right there. I think it's the beginning of the Eagles finally looking like the Eagles of 2013. The offense at least. Chip Kelly is already an offensive genius so having an extra week to prepare for a team is only a huge plus for Philadelphia. When the Eagles do land in Arizona this weekend, Ertz will be licking his chops at the match up he has. The Cardinals are still one of the worst against tight ends in 2014 after being the absolute worst in 2013. Speaking of 2013, Ertz had his best game in his NFL career last year against the Cards catching 5 of his 6 targets for 68 yards and 2 scores. While the Eagles offense may not be clicking on all cylinders like that currently, Ertz should still manage a fair amount of targets with at least 50 yards and a touchdown, if not more.
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs vs St. Louis Rams: Kelce has been one of the best waiver wire pick-ups this season overall, and possibly the best in the tight end position. He being in the sits is similar to my Olsen selection last weekend. Kelce will still get looks and targets, but temper expectations against the Rams. With the Rams coming off that emotional win versus the Seahawks last week, I think the Chiefs have no problems winning this game, but the Rams are actually pretty good at slowing down tight ends. As I’ve stated before, after Charles and Davis in the backfield, Kelce is option #1 and the Rams will work on shutting him down first and foremost in the pass game. Outside of last week’s touchdown the Rams allowed to no-name Cooper Helfet, St. Louis’ only other TD given up to a tight end came week 1 to Kyle Rudolph (who also only had 16 total yards on 2 catches). The Rams have also allowed just Helfet last week to reach more than 50 receiving yards this season (he had 61), and no tight end has more than 4 catches against the Rams in 2014. Again, Kelce will get looks, but don’t be shocked if this ends up being one of his worse games come the end of 2014.
Jace Amaro New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills: Amaro has been a nice play the last couple weeks, especially in PPR leagues. Racking up 13 catches on 17 targets for 90 yards and a touchdown. This week he has a few things going against him. First off is the acquisition of Percy Harvin. I think Eric Decker is the biggest benefactor of the Harvin addition, followed by Geno Smith, then the run game. Amaro will go from the 3rd look to maybe the 5th,not a good sign. Secondly this week the division rival Buffalo Bills come to town on a mission to keep pace with the Patriots and stay in the playoff hunt. The Bills are allowing less than 7 points/game to tight ends (6.6 to be exact), and the 2 TDs they’ve let by them are 3rd best in the NFL right now. They have allowed just 1 tight end to score double-digit fantasy points on them, Martellus Bennett week 1 in Chicago. In fact, away from Buffalo, the Bills are giving up and average of just 3 points to opposing tight ends (and that included Bennett’s 13 points we just talked about). Maybe you got luck riding Amaro to some points the last few weeks, but it’s safe to say the Amaro experiment should be over. Back on the bench or even back to free agency he should go.
Jordan Cameron Cleveland Browns vs Oakland Raiders: While it looked like Cameron would finally start being fantasy relevant again just 2 short weeks ago, against a horrendous Jaguars team last week he came up super short with just 1 catch for 5 yards. Now who’s to blame for that is debatable. Yeah quarterback Brian Hoyer had a 39% completion rate missing on 25 of his 41 pass attempts, but Cameron only caught 1 of his 6 targets. Who came first the chicken or the egg? We can debate all day, but one thing is not debatable and that’s the fact that the Raiders are actually OK at stopping tight ends. They are middle-of-the-pack giving up 8 points/game while allowing 3 touchdowns this year. Those 3 scores came at the hands of Gronkowski, Gates, and Dion Simms of Miami. Oakland has also allowed just 1 end to surpass the 50-yard mark and that was Ladarius Green who had 60 a few weeks ago. Outside of Gronk no tight end has put up over 8 points, and the Raiders rush defense is putrid so expect heavy doses of Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell this Sunday in Cleveland. Leave the Cameron (on the bench), take the cannoli.