By Ladd Biro
Wondering whether or not to start Drew Brees and Jordy Nelson, or to bench Maurice Jones-Drew and Brandon Lloyd? 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 10 of the 2014 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers at Eagles. In a week when three star QBs are idle, Newton offers hope. Though he hasn’t had a TD strike since Week 7, he ran one in last week; and he’ll be facing a very hospitable Philly defense. Newton is hard to trust, but he always manages to rebound. Why not under the Monday night lights?
Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens vs. Titans. Forsett leads Baltimore’s two- or three-headed (depending on the whims of his coaches) backfield committee into a sweet matchup with one of the league’s weakest rush defenses. Unlike last week, the Ravens won’t be trying to keep pace with a red-hot QB, so look for plenty of touches for Forsett as both a runner and receiver.
Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers vs. Falcons. Assuming Atlanta doesn’t get off to another 35-0 lead by halftime, as they did in Week 3, Rainey should have success against the NFL’s most generous run defense (13 rushing TDs surrendered already). Though rookie Charles Sims is expected to see his first NFL action, Doug Martin’s likely absence should leave the lion’s share of the touches to Rainey.
Roddy White, WR, Falcons at Buccaneers. A lot has changed since that fateful Thursday night blitzkrieg in September, but not the state of the Bucs’ secondary. It’s still awful. Matt Ryan has looked White’s way far more often than any other receiver recently, so the veteran wideout’s ceiling is very high this week.
Martavis Bryant, RB, Steelers at Jets. Ben Roethlisberger is going to cool off eventually, but it would be a big surprise if it happened against the secondary that has allowed a league-worst 24 passing TDs this season. Bryant has five scores over the last three weeks. Yeah, I’d say the rookie is a good bet for more.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer, Russell Wilson; RBs Ronnie Hillman, Andre Ellington, Denard Robinson, Mark Ingram; WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Maclin, Doug Baldwin, Odell Beckham, Jr., Steve Smith.
Roll ‘em back
Matt Stafford, QB, Lions vs. Dolphins. Even with the expected return of Calvin Johnson, Stafford is in for a tough outing against the NFL’s second-ranked pass defense. An active Megatron could be eased back in primarily as a decoy – as they’ve done before – making the Dolphins’ job less demanding.
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins at Lions. The surprisingly effective Miller has been limited in practice this week due to a shoulder injury sustained against the Chargers. Though expected to tough it out, he’ll do so against one of the league’s stingiest run defenses. Give him a rest if you can.
Tre Mason, RB, Rams at Cardinals. Though we finally have some clarity in St. Louis’ backfield – Mason is the lead – that’s not likely to be worth much against the Cardinals’ rock-solid defensive front. A week after holding the league’s rushing leader to just 79 yards, Arizona should have little trouble containing the rookie.
Marques Colston, WR, Saints vs. 49ers. Now that Jimmy Graham is back in action, Colston has reverted to the shadows. He’s had just eight targets over the last two games, and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 3. Facing a solid 49ers secondary, Colston’s prospects are dim.
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers vs. Falcons. A popular waiver-wire pickup this week, Evans’ arrow is certainly pointing up. But despite the favorable matchup, the rookie will need to adjust to a quarterback, Josh McCown, that he hasn’t seen since Week 3. Just as Mike Glennon was turning Evans into a star.
More thumbs down: QBs Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton, Ryan Tannehill, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Austin Davis, Joe Flacco, Michael Vick; RBs Reggie Bush, Frank Gore, Andre Williams, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Bishop Sankey, Chris Johnson, Anthony Dixon, Darren McFadden; WRs Terrance Williams, Wes Welker, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Dwayne Bowe, Eric Decker, Cecil Shorts, Sammy Watkins.
TAKING A FLIER
Justin Hunter, WR, Titans at Ravens. While it’s too early to trust Zach Mettenberger, hope abounds that his development will jumpstart the Titans’ pathetic passing attack. Hunter was targeted 10 times last week and notched his second TD in the last four games. Facing Baltimore’s injury-riddled secondary, he’ll have a good opportunity for more.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…lets Ryan Mathews linger on the waiver wire any longer, especially if you are RB-starved or counting on Branden Oliver. Given Oliver’s weak showing over the last two games, Mathews should have no trouble getting his starting gig back when he returns from his knee injury after the Chargers’ bye.
Ladd Biro was named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010, 2011). He was a finalist again in 2013. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).