Even though there are only four teams on bye rather than six this week, a lot of very fantasy relevant players are out. It’s a crucial turning point in the season for those looking to push for the playoffs. Here are our starts and sits for the week:
Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington – Many people are down on Crowder this week, but I think he has plenty of upside this week even in a tough matchup. He’s a guy that should be trusted as a flex play this week and has WR2 potential in PPR. Crowder has put up back to back 100 yard receiving performances over his last two games on an average of eight receptions. He’s become Kirk Cousins’s second favorite target in the passing game behind Jordan Reed.
There’s been a theme against the Minnesota Vikings’ defense the past two weeks: the top receiver and the top tight end have carried the passing game. I expect Crowder to once again be the lead receiver for Washington this week. Golden Tate put up 11 receptions against this elite passing defense last week. Crowder has huge potential in PPR, and solid potential in standard this week.
Ty Montgomery, RB/WR, Green Bay – Green Bay’s swiss army knife should be fine, despite a returning James Starks. The Packers like Starks, and he will take away from some of Montgomery’s workload, but all anyone needs to do is look at the numbers to see who is going to be the guy to own in Green Bay. Starks is averaging 1.75 yards per rush this season. He was horrible before his injury. Montgomery is averaging a ridiculous 6.25 yards per rush and had 10 receptions in his first two games in the backfield before his snap-count game last week. Starks may cut into his carries a bit, but the Packers are going to find ways to get Montgomery the ball.
Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia – The 5’6, 33-year-old situational running back has somehow managed to find fantasy relevance yet again over the past few weeks. Sproles has become the starting running back in Philadelphia and has averaged 14 carries over the past two weeks. He still gets enough looks in the passing game to boost his performance in PPR formats. Sproles isn’t putting up eye popping numbers, but he’s been a solid performer in his two weeks as the starter and has a nice matchup against Atlanta this week. He’s got plenty of RB2 value.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas – Is there cause for concern regarding Bryant right now? Absolutely. Something is off between him and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. In his return game in Week 8, Bryant saw 14 targets but only hauled in four of them. Last week against the dismal Cleveland Browns, he only had one reception on four targets. But Bryant is too talented of a player to give up on so quickly, and the Cowboys are too good of a team right now to not make this work. It’s too early to bench Bryant.
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia – My streaming quarterback of the week. Wentz hasn’t been great in recent weeks, but he has a win-win situation for fantasy owners against a weak Atlanta defense. He’ll either have a great bounce back game and have the Eagles in position for an upset, or play awful and find himself getting those garbage time points late in the game. Owners who have quarterback issues this week should look to Wentz as an option.
Game Time Decision
Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay – Barber is somebody to keep an eye on this week. If Doug Martin misses his seventh straight game, Barber makes for a very solid RB2. The Bucs have had plenty of success running the ball no matter who’s playing this season. He’s going to get fed if Martin doesn’t suit up, and with so many running backs on bye this week, that’s about all we can ask for.
However, should Martin return to the field, his value takes a big hit. Martin will likely be on a snap count which means that Barber should still have a role in the offense. He’s a desperation flex play if Martin suits up.
Christine Michael, RB, Seattle – Christine Michael has had a tough fall from grace in recent weeks, culminating in a 1-yard rushing performance in Week 9. Michael has found the end zone the past two weeks, which has helped cover up his poor performances. He’s become touchdown dependent and is losing faith from the coaching staff with CJ Prosise on the rise and Thomas Rawls eyeing a Week 11 return. He’s not an ideal start this week, although some owners may have to with so many players on bye.
Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants – Rashad Jennings has been nothing short of horrible this season. He’s averaging 2.02 yards per carry in his last four games and has just one touchdown. Even the struggling Rams offense has been able to push Gurley to 3 yards per carry this year. Don’t be fooled by his relatively high projections every week. Unless you literally have no other options, keep Jennings far away from your lineup.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans – Cooks has seen his production fall as rookie sensation Michael Thomas has been the lead receiver for the Saints the past few weeks. Cooks is going to be fine since there is enough to go around in this elite passing offense. But the Saints have a brutal matchup against Denver this week, and I’d be skeptical to trust any of the Saints receivers. If I were going to play one, it would be Michael Thomas and not Brandin Cooks.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco – Don’t drink the Kaepernick kool-aid just yet. He managed to put up 400 total yards last week and owners who streamed him should be ecstatic. But the 49ers were in a blowout loss against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The blowout thing may happen again, but I can’t imagine Kaepernick putting up 400 yards again against an Arizona defense that’s desperate for a win. I wouldn’t consider him as a streaming option this week.