I’m filling in for fantasy football guru Tony DelSignore Jr for the next few weeks while he travels the world and I sit at home and eat Bagel Bites.
And I gotta say, I have begun to loathe fantasy football. This is the worst way to write a fantasy article since Matthew Berry’s dreadful Draft Kings promo at the start of the year. It’s not that I hate the sport itself. I just have become frustrated with its higher importance than the game itself. You’ve probably heard the phrase before.
“Dude, it sucks we lost but hey, at least “Player X” did well on my fantasy team.”
It always starts with “dude.” Grr.
Of course, I’m a hypocrite. I still play in two leagues and will intently watch if Larry Donnell can get me three points on Monday Night Football like the rest of you. I also am in a long-running 20 team league, which means we hold onto Brett Favre in the desperate hope he returns so we’ll have a quarterback for when Matthew Stafford gets hurt/throws 800 interceptions.
If you are comfortable getting advice from someone who is far too comfortable with driving with his service engine light on (that’s a factory standard, right?), then I’m comfortable with dishing it out.
*These projections are for standard scoring leagues.
I must say it is difficult for me to be optimistic about the Steelers’ fantasy prospects this week. With Mike Vick at QB and an aggressive Arizona Cardinals’ unit, the chances of big days for the skill players are slim. Le’Veon Bell will still do well but I think it’ll be one of his lower fantasy outputs of the season. You’re starting him no matter what, but anticipate him to be in the range of 13-15 points than the 18-20 he’s been hitting to start his season.
As crazy as it sounds, you might have to sit Antonio Brown. If you can afford it. Unless he breaks free for a big play, he’s just not going to be able to rack up the targets and catches fantasy owners are so accustomed too. Getting 6-8 points out of him this week would be considered a good week. Sacrifice a lamb in the hopes Ben Roethlisberger returns next week.
Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton are boom-or-bust types. Bryant stronger than Wheaton, of course, but six of Wheaton’s nine catches this season have gone for 18+ yards. Bryant will certainly see 2-3 vertical shots and is a flex play, albeit a risky one, in most leagues.
The Steelers’ defense has played well but the Cardinals’ offense can beat you in so many ways. Even in special teams with dangerous return men David Johnson and Patrick Peterson. If they take one to the house, it’s the defense that loses points.
If you need a QB, try Blake Bortles. It’s unlikely he’ll throw another four touchdowns like he did last week, but he’s scored 18+ in three of his last four games. The Houston Texans have allowed at least two passing touchdowns in three of five games on the season, letting Andre Johnson and Matt Hasselbeck beat them last week. Bortles is still available in 55% of ESPN leagues.
Go scoop up Jay Cutler if he’s out there, as he is in over 35% of leagues. He’s thrown four touchdowns in the last two games and gets to face a Detroit Lions’ team that just feels done for. Alshon Jeffrey seems likely to come back this week, too.
Even against a stingy Denver Broncos’ defense, trot out Duke Johnson Jr. Even in non-PPR leagues, his ability out of the backfield is bound to get you at least 3-5 points. If the Browns get behind, and there’s nothing downfield for Josh McCown, Johnson is going to see a lot of looks. Isaiah Crowell is questionable this week with a toe.
For deep leagues. If you’re desperate, snatch up Antonio Andrews. The Tennessee Titans’ backfield is a hot mess, but they are getting back Chance Warmack versus a Miami Dolphins’ sub-par run defense. Andrews has found the end zone each of his last two games. When you’re gambling, sometimes that’s all you can hope for.
Don’t yell at me, Steelers’ fans. But the Cardinals’ John Brown is a solid play last week. He finally rewarded patient fantasy owners last week, with his first TD since Week One and his best output of the season (13 points). He’s the fastest man on the field. Robert Golden is, uh, not. Could get over the top on a Bruce Arians’ team that loves to air it out. He’s only available in less than 3/4 of leagues, but if he’s out there, don’t hesitate to grab him.
Like most tight ends, the Packers’ Richard Rodgers is touchdown dependent. But Aaron Rodgers has looked his way quite a bit lately. He’s caught 11 passes over the last two weeks.
The Cincinnati Bengals’ defense is a worthy enough streaming option. With Tyrod Taylor questionable, and limited athletically even if he suits up, the Bengals’ pass rush could get after him. They have nine sacks over the last two games while picking off one pass in all but one game this year. Cincy’s offense can score points quickly, forcing the Bills to throw and catch up. Prime opportunity for points. They’re available in over 55% of ESPN leagues.