Time flies when you’re having fun. Believe it or not, the fantasy football season is going to be half way over by the end of this week. Though we are just seven weeks into the regular, fantasy owners need to keep in mind playoffs normally start in week fourteen. However, if you are at the bottom of the barrel in your league you should not panic yet. You still have time to get a playoff spot. In my first year of playing fantasy football, back when 4000 passing yards was a big deal and RGIII was still learning long division, I started off 0-6. I got on the waiver wire, made some last minute trades, and started winning games. I made the playoffs as a 7-7 team and won the championship. The moral of the story is you still have time, but you need to start winning now. These are the players to build your playoff run around.
Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford has flown under the radar much of the season. He was good, but not the best. This past weekend, Stafford broke out for 248 passing yards and four touchdowns. His 1772 passing yards is fourth in the league and he has thrown 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The beginning of his season was pretty quiet because Reggie Bush and Joique Bell were running the ball so well. However, as the season progressed the two started to take a beating and the Lions must rely more on Stafford’s arm more to give them a rest. It also did not help having Calvin Johnson lagging a bit with a hamstring injury. It looks like Johnson is back in business so Matthew Stafford will get his best weapon back at full strength. The Lions have a tough matchup this weekend against the Bengals who rank ninth in passing. However, Cincinnati also has a top ten run defense. The Lions could find themselves in a lot of third and long situations early; which means Stafford will be forced to sling the ball around more giving him a better chance of putting up some good numbers.
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I never thought this would happen, but recently Aaron Rodgers just has not been putting up the stats we are used to seeing. Maybe it is because the Packers are running the ball more or because they have been forced to kick more field goals this season, but the past two weeks in a row Rodgers has only thrown for one touchdown. Now, one of his top receivers is out due to injury. Things are not looking up for last season’s top QB, but remember this is Aaron Rodgers we are talking about. He will find a way to make it work. He will bounce back and reclaim his rightful place as a top three quarterback. The Packers are hosting the Cleveland Browns this weekend. Make no mistake about it; the Browns’ defense is tough. Still, it is a home game so Rodgers will perform well. There is no way he will go three games in a row without at least two touchdown passes, so expect a multiple touchdown day.
This may surprise some people, but Philip Rivers has the third most passing yards in the league. The Chargers’ quarterback is making us remember why they parted with Drew Brees after his injury in favor of a young gun. Rivers had a bit of a down week last week. He only threw for 237 yards and one touchdown, but it might not be such a bad thing in the long run. Prior to last weekend’s contest, teams were very focused on stopping Philip Rivers. The Chargers simply decided to win the game on the ground. By showing the team can run the football it will keep opposing defenses on their toes. When the Chargers show run teams must respect their ability to pound the rock. This is make the play action pass much more effective. Good things are in store for Philip Rivers this weekend as San Diego takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Since throwing three interceptions within the first two weeks of the season, Drew Brees has been more cautious with the football. Brees has only five total picks on the season. This is exactly what fantasy owners wanted to see happen. He continues to produce a good amount of fantasy points every week and he is not losing any due to costly turnovers. If Peyton Manning was not having the season of a lifetime, his 1958 passing yards and 14 touchdowns would easily be enough to make him the number one quarterback. However, be looking on the waiver wire this weekend for a spot starter because the Saints have a bye week.
If it was anyone else, people would be praising the 295 passing yards and the touchdown Peyton Manning threw against the Jags. The problem is we expect so much from Manning that a decent day by most standards is considered a bad day for the Broncos future hall of famer. That is not a bad problem to have if you’re a Manning owner. This may have been his worst game of the season, but it will not happen again. He is still the best and there is no reason to doubt he will not continue to be the best. This weekend Manning is going up against his former team, the Indianapolis Colts. There has been a lot of talk about comments made by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay and Broncos’ coach John Fox regarding Peyton. Do not be surprised if John Fox has Peyton throwing all game long. Fox wants to show Irsay he should never say anything close to disrespectful about his quarterback.
Last weekend proved the Broncos will do anything they need to win the game. If Manning is not getting it done in the redzone, they will hand the ball off to Knowshon Moreno. Moreno has 373 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season, as well as 20 catches for 189 yards. He leads all runningbacks in touchdowns, but this is a bit misleading because most of them came in the last game. If he can continue to score he will maintain his position on the list. This weekend the Broncos are going to Indy. It is hard to tell if Moreno will have the same impact he had in week six because John Fox is going to want to highlight Peyton Manning against his old team. Still, Moreno should see a good number of carries and will more than likely increase his numbers in the passing game.
LeSean McCoy leads the league in rushing yards, so why is he not number one. Despite 630 yards on the ground and 241 through the air, McCoy has only scored three times. Two of those scores came in the first two weeks of the season. If he could find the endzone more often he would be a no brainer for the top spot on the list, but every time the Eagles get in the redzone they either throw or have whichever quarterback they are starting run it in. Still, McCoy is very consistent. Due to the amount of yards McCoy amasses, he has never been a bust this season. Fantasy owners who have McCoy are lucky because they have the option of starting a second runningback who is higher risk, but could potentially give higher rewards. This is because he will always put up double digit points for your team. This means you will always have at least one runningback perform well. McCoy will have another big game this weekend against the Cowboys. America’s Team is 30th against the pass and the front seven is heavily banged up.
After the tragic death of his two year old son two days before game day, Adrian Peterson once again showed he is one of the toughest players out there. His 62 rushing yards and 21 receiving yards were not what people had hoped for, but it was not terrible considering football was probably not the most important thing on his mind. For this reason, we will let the below average performance slip this once and put him ahead of McCoy. Peterson will bounce back and put up better numbers this week. Last season, most of his 2000 plus rushing yards came in the second half of the season. More than likely, A.P. will be the top runningback next week. He plays the Giants this weekend, which means he has a great shot at topping 100 rushing yards and scoring once or twice.
Marshawn Lynch is starting to heat up. The beginning of the season was pretty inconsistent for the Seahawks star runningback, but things are starting to really come together for him. Lynch has 487 rushing yards, 174 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns. Over the last two weeks, Lynch has really turned on his Beast Mode. Do not think he is going to slow down either. This weekend, Seattle has a Thursday night game against the Cardinals. The Cards have a very strong run defense, but Lynch can still do great things. He may not break a long run this weekend, but he will definitely be used to wear down the defense.
Jamaal Charles is playing lights out football week in and week out. What is most amazing is he is finally getting over the little hamstring issue he has been having. Despite his injury, Charles has amassed 775 total yards for scrimmage, seven touchdowns, and he is also tied with Matt Forte for the most receptions out of the backfield. Jamaal Charles is the center piece of a run first, ball protection oriented offense and is turning out to be the best runningback option this season. He will have a huge game this weekend against a Texans Defense that ranks 23rd in the league.
Brandon Marshall leads the league in receptions with 40 catches. He has posted 465 receiving yards and five touchdowns this season. After his big performances in the first two games of the season, he quieted down a little bit due to the emergence of Alshon Jeffery. Now, defenses are seeing Jeffery is a threat as well. This opened things up for Marshall last week and will continue to make defenses think twice about double covering him. Aside from that, Jay Cutler is playing better than he ever has, which will translate into a lot of fantasy points down the stretch for Brandon Marshall. Expect Marshall to catch another eight to ten balls this weekend against the Redskins.
After his big week five performance, Dez Bryant relapsed to a miniscule 36 receiving yards on five catches in week six. Despite this poor outing, Bryant still has 459 receiving yards and six touchdowns this season. He is Tony Romo’s best option in the passing game and will continue to be an extremely valuable fantasy asset for the rest of the season. He will bounce back to week five figure in his upcoming match up against the Eagles’ pass defense which has not been able to stop anybody this season.
Demaryius Thomas owners should start to be a bit concerned. His number of receptions has started to decrease from week to week. Last weekend, Thomas only caught three balls for 78 yards. It has also been a little while since he has reached the endzone. Thomas was so consistent at the beginning of the season, so hopefully this is just a small dry spell and his performance will pick up very soon. It very well could happen this weekend in Indianapolis as Manning will be trying to put up some “Star Wars numbers” against Jim Irsay.
Wes Welker might just be the best slot receiver the game has ever seen. He does not put up the most yards in the world, but he catches a lot of passes and can score at any moment. This season Welker has found the endzone a league leading eight times and will continue to be Manning’s favorite target in the redzone. The best part is if you drafted him, you more than likely took him as your second wide receiver. He will definitely be a factor against the Colts this weekend.
DeSean Jackson is having the best season of his career. His comeback season could have been had at a great price in the draft if you were willing to spend a sixth or seventh round pick on him. Jackson was considered too risky and too injury prone coming into the season. If you were willing to take a shot on him you were given the steal of the draft. Jackson leads the league with 589 receiving yards and has five touchdowns on 34 receptions. As long as he can stay healthy, he will continue to produce at a very high level all season long. DeSean Jackson should be able to torch Dallas’ poor pass protection in week seven.