It was easily my worst week of the season last week. Andy Dalton, Vincent Jackson, Thomas Rawls and Charles Clay were in multiple lineups and all got hurt. Let’s see if we can get back on track this week. Who’s with me?
Tom Brady, New England Patriots ($7,800): Brady’s salary is actually quite a bit lower than it was earlier this year, despite him throwing at least a touchdown in every game and having multiple touchdowns in every game but one. Brady now has Gronk back and seems to have found some chemistry with James White. Even Julian Edelman has been practicing this week. Playing against the 21st ranked pass defense according to Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency, Brady should have a vintage game.
Bang for Your Buck
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($6,100): Stafford has thrown multiple touchdowns in his last three games and in four of his last five games, having found his groove with new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Moreover, Stafford gets to face the gift of the New Orleans Saints defense who are comfortably last in defensive efficiency against the pass and are on pace to set an NFL record for passing touchdowns allowed. I love Stafford at this price against the Saints.
Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos ($5,100): The Steelers have been playing great ball recently, but that makes me like Osweiler even more this week. This game has sneaky shootout potential and Osweiler will have to throw the ball in order to keep up with the dynamic Steelers offense. Moreover, while the Steelers are a great team, they have allowed the 2nd most passing yards in the NFL this season. Osweiler is a good play at a low price.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings ($7,100): Peterson has had a slow couple of weeks by his standards, though he still does lead the league in rushing. Look for him to break out this week as he plays against the Bears who allow the 3rd most yards per attempt at 4.7. Peterson went over 100 yards against Chicago the last time they played. I think he does even better this week and goes for 150 yards and a score.
LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills ($6,300): M Coy has been heating up, having gone over 100 total yards in his last seven games. He has moved up all the way to 7th among rushing leaders this year. The Redskins allow the 4th most yards per attempt in the league at 4.6 and allow the 9th most rushing yards over all. McCoy should continue his run of solid play.
Bang for your Buck
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins ($6,300): The Dolphins offense is so frustrating. Miller had dominating play in the first half scoring two quick touchdowns, but somehow the Dolphins abandoned the run shortly thereafter. Hopefully they stick with it a bit longer because Lamar Miller is 3rd in the NFL in yards per attempt at 5.1 among running backs that have 150 or more rushes. Miller plays the Chargers this week who are a terrible 31st in defensive efficiency against the run. If the Dolphins give him the ball, he should be great.
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,000): With Andy Dalton going down, look for the Bengals to feature Jeremy Hill quite a bit more against the 49ers. While Hill has disappointed in his sophomore year, the 49ers are 3rd worst in defensive efficiency versus the run and Hill should have room to roam. I think he will go for over 100 yards and a score in his return to fantasy relevance.
Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots ($3,200): LeGarette Blount is out for the season and someone is going to have to carry the rock for the Patriots. Bolden and James White are the only running backs on the active roster, and White does not have the body type to be the bellcow. That means that Bolden will get reps and goal line chances in the Patriots explosive offense. 60-70 total yards and a score is realistic and would be a good return at this price.
Fozzy Whitaker, Carolina Panthers ($3,000): Jonathan Stewart is hurt and is extremely doubtful for this week. The Panthers are always a run heavy squad and the Giants’ rush defense is average at best. Whitaker will likely get 15+ touches in the highest scoring offense in the NFL. That could mean a very substantial fantasy day.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($8,500): Jones is now down to the 3rd highest salaried wide receiver on DraftKings despite leading the league in targets, catches and yards. He also faces the Jaguars defense who are ranked only 24th in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers. I like Julio to be worth his price this week.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans ($8,500): Hopkins was essentially shut out by the Patriots defense last week, but the Colts defense is not the Patriots defense. Indianapolis has allowed the 4th most passing yards in the NFL this season and likely have no answer for Hopkins. Don’t shy away from DeAndre just because TJ Yates is playing QB for the Texans. This will still be a nice game.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,900): San Francisco allows the 5th most yards per passing attempt in the league at 8.1, which should allow A.J. Green to get open downfield. While he will be catching balls from quarterback A.J. McCarron this week, I still think the Green will get his. I think this game will be a lot of Jeremy Hill and play action to Green. 90+ yards and a touchdown could be in order.
Bang for your Buck
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions ($6,900): I would love this price for Calvin Johnson against anyone, but against the Saints, this is almost criminal. While Calvin has cooled some since his huge game on Thanksgiving, the Saints allow the most yards per attempt in the league at 8.6 and have also allowed a whopping 36 touchdown passes this year. I like Megatron for a Mega game on Monday.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos ($6,800): This is a nice cheap price for Thomas who is still 7th in catches, 9th in receiving yards and 4th in targets in the league. He gets a pretty good matchup against Pittsburgh who are only 27th in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers and, as I stated earlier, allow the 2nd most passing yards in the league. Demaryius could be in line for a nice game.
Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs ($5,500): Maclin has 6+ catches and 60+ yards in his last 3 games and has 3 touchdowns in that span. He also faces the Baltimore Ravens who are ranked a terrible 30th in defensive efficiency versus the pass. With Maclin’s recent run of good play plus the Ravens’ stinky defense, this could be a nice day.
Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints ($4,600): Snead got fully re-integrated into the Saints’ offense last week, going for 7 catches and 122 yards. More importantly, the Lions struggle against #2 wide receivers, only ranking 19th in defensive efficiency against them. I am feeling the need for Snead.
Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals ($4,400): Floyd’s price has been going up, but it is not nearly high enough for a receiver who has gone over 100 yards in four of his past five games and has scored six touchdown in his last seven games. Quite simply, Floyd is one of the best receivers in the league, and he is priced like a journeyman. On top of that, the Eagles are the 26th ranked team in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers. And while Larry Fitzgerald is the #1 target for the Cardinals, he is their slot receiver, so Floyd will match up with the #1 corner. Could be another big day.
Jeremy Butler, Baltimore Ravens ($3,700): Butler is starting to get more and more targets for the Ravens, who are running out of warm bodies. Last week he had seven catches for 72 yards on a team high 10 targets. I expect the Chiefs to take it to the Ravens this week and I think there will be an opportunity for some garbage time scoring.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots ($7,700): He’s back! The Gronk had 88 yards and a score in his return to action last week and now gets to face off against the team ranked 26th against the tight end in Tennessee. This is a week to pay up for the best tight end in the game.
Bang for your Buck
Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,700): Thomas has been playing good ball for the Jaguars having scored a touchdown in his last four games. The Falcons have been awful and the Jaguars should be able to get into the red zone again this weekend. Look for another score from formerly Orange Julius.
Ryan Griffin, Houston Texans ($2,500): Griffin has 5+ targets in his last three games and has scored touchdowns in two of those three games. He is a minimum priced guy facing off against the Colts who are ranked 20th against the tight end. Definitely worth a flyer.
Bang for your buck
Kansas City Chiefs ($3,700) vs. Ravens: The Ravens are a mess on offense and really can’t move the ball with either Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen. The Chiefs should be able to score some good points on defense.
Tampa Bay Bucs ($2,600) vs. Rams: The Rams are a hot mess on offense. The Bucs may not be world beaters on defense, but they should be able to force a few turnovers.
Houston Texans ($2,500) vs. Colts: Who is playing QB for the Colts? Might be Charlie Whitehurst! I like JJ and the gang for a big game at a low price.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil