A majority of fantasy owners are plagued with short memories. It’s a fine thing, especially when a player has been less than stellar. One solid performance and you can move from the “Sit ‘Em” list to the “Sleeper List” to the “Start ‘Em” list in a matter of a week! As the bye weeks are upon us, it is even more paramount to take advantage of matchup and take a chance on an under-performing commodity to step up and pull up through.
Let’s take a look at a few players flying under the “Start ‘Em” radar who just mind come through for you this weekend.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers – Newton’s production has been up and down this season, a maddening attribute that fantasy owners have been dealing with thus far. This week Newton and the Panthers are on the road against Minnesota and there is reason for fantasy optimism for sure. The Vikings have allowed an absurd 326 passing yards per game this season and after last week’s no-touchdown performance against the Arizona Cardinals, look for Cam to put it in gear this Sunday.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals – We are looking at a player most definitely flirting with fantasy irrelevancy as the 2013 season moves along. However, unlike Falcons QB Matt Ryan, Dalton still has his top weapon downfield in WR A.J. Green and both should have their way against the Buffalo Bills this weekend.
Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars - As good as the Denver Broncos have been offensively, they have been a sieve on defense, especially against the pass. So far this season, Denver is allowing almost 350 passing yards per game. In a contest that you can guarantee that the Jaguars will be playing from behind, Henne, filling in for an injured and ineffective QB Blaine Gabbert, should be passing until his arm falls off. Then again he still might be better than Gabbert. For bye-week fill in purposes, Henne could be a solid option this week.
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans – Somewhere along the line, his confidence was shattered to its core. So much so, he’s been mired in a funk that is pretty much inexplicable in real and fantasy circles. That said, this could be the matchup where Schaub gets his mojo back. The Rams are in a funk of their own and with a challenged secondary to match up against, Schaub just might make things right. And to the moron that felt the need to harass the guy at his home – IT’S A GAME – GET A LIFE.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots – All signs point to Ridley returning this week, and coupled with the return of TE Rob Gronkowski, things just might be looking up in New England. Ridley is by far the Patriots best backfield option and while the Saints are improved on defense, they are still allowing over 100 yards per game on the ground. With earned respect being paid to QB Tom Brady, Ridley and the Pats will get theirs on the ground.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets – It is no secret that the Jets backfield recently got a bit more confusing over the last week or so with the return of RB Mike Goodson and the pending return of RB Chris Ivory. While I understand these factors, I am taking them with a grain of salt. Ivory while talented, lacks the ability to stay healthy, and Goodson is no Curtis Martin. Powell knows the time is now to dig himself in and show the Jets who the best option at the position is for the team. Motivation is vastly underrated.
Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams – The matchup is slightly more difficult than last week against the Jaguars, but Stacy hit the hole hard and until he got injured was well on his way to eclipsing the century mark on the ground. His injury subsided, Stacy gets another start for the Rams against a frustrated Texans squad who is surrendering over 125 rushing yards per game.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs – It is always interesting when a well-known, top-tiered receiver makes it onto the sleeper list. Well when he is been as much of a disappointment as Bowe has been this season and in many cases languishing on fantasy benches around the country, it is understandable. Firstly the Chiefs are playing at home where they are historically tough. Second, they are hosting an Oakland Raiders team giving up almost 270 yards passing per contest. Lastly, the Chiefs could very well be without WR Donnie Avery who is battling a shoulder injury. All signs point to having a solid afternoon.
Cecil Shorts III, Jacksonville Jaguars – If you recall reading above, the mighty Denver Broncos tend to give it up defensively through the air. With recently-returned WR Justin Blackmon back from suspension and drawing the lion’s share of the attention downfield, I think Shorts has a big day.
Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens – Earlier in the season Brown was a waiver wire darling and steady performer. Recently he has fallen off a bit dealing with injuries and the ups and downs of being an NFL rookie thrust into a starting role. However, this week I think he settles in quite nicely and has a solid game against the Green Bay Packers.
Garrett Graham, Houston Texans – With his teammate TE Owen Daniels out 4-6 weeks with a fracture in his fibula, Graham becomes the sole viable option at the position for the Texans. Given his quarterback’s issues over the past month or so, Graham should be a heavily featured option in the Houston passing attack. He’s already been a serviceable option, but now becomes a rock solid one week in and week out starting this week against the Rams.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins – A full participant in practice and fresh off the bye week, look for Reed to make more and more of an impact as the Redskins look to their future as opposed to the short term, often injured option in TE Fred Davis. Look for Reed to be utilized regularly this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys.
Good luck this week! I’m here all season, also on Google+ FP911 #FFCentral Weekly hangouts, and on Sunday mornings with the FP911 crew to help you just prior to game time! Drop me a line on Twitter – @djleason
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