Are you struggling with match-up decisions or dealing with an injury-depleted roster? Here are my sleeper picks worthy of starting for your team this week.
Chargers vs Broncos: Montee Ball; Knowshon Moreno’s tired and the Broncos are playing on a short week at home; they NEED to preserve Moreno for the postseason. The timeshare has become increasingly steady and Ball has been productive with his touches, scoring in double-digits in 3 of the last 4 weeks, and playing against a no-longer stout Chargers run defense that’s allowed 442 yards and 5 TDs to RBs over the last four weeks. Even if you own Moreno, he’s worth playing as a FLEX.
Bills vs Jaguars: Jordan Todman; With Maurice Jones-Drew’s status likely hazy until late in the week, Todman could assume the starting role in Jacksonville. Even with a cushy match-up against a Bills run defense that’s allowed 540 yards and 6 TDs over their last 4 games, note that Todman could be a risky play even if MJD doesn’t play as an RB who’s never seen a full workload.
Bears vs Browns: Chris Ogbonnaya; Ogbonnaya should see more touches after Willis McGahee suffered a concussion late last week and the Bears run defense has been horrendous all year; his pass catching abilities also serve him well in a game where the Browns figure to be playing from behind. However, keep in mind that the last time Ogbonnaya had a full RB workload was back in 2011 over a 4-game stretch.
Texans vs Colts: Colts D/ST; Should I got out on a limb and believe Indy’s terrible defense since the bye week doesn’t allow the now terrible Case Keenum to burn them again?
Patriots vs Dolphins: Daniel Thomas; The Patriots should begin relying more on Stevan Ridley and the backfield now with the loss of the Rob Gronkowski and the season beginning to wind down, but Miami’s run defense has been better of late, having only given up 256 yards and no TDs in the last 3 games compared to 589 yards and 5 TDs in Weeks 8-11, including their last match-up against New England. Coming off his best game of the season and going up against the Patriots’ susceptible run defense, and Lamar Miller possibly sidelined with a concussion, Thomas is good streaming option if you’re in RB trouble.
Eagles vs Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson; Toby Gerhart? Nah. If you want a boom-or-bust WR option against the league’s worst pass defense still, roll the dice on Patterson.
Seahawks vs Giants: Brandon Myers; Is this another under-the-radar push by Myers, who’s scored 3 TDS in the last three games? Don’t expect a lot of yards, but that seems perfect given a matchup against Seattle who have allowed TDs to Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis the last two games.
49ers vs Buccaneers: Bobby Rainey; Even with the 49ers defense coming into elite shape, I remain convinced that running against San Francisco is the best way to beat them, and considering how little Mike Glennon throws and how much Rainey runs (successfully), I’ll take him as an RB2 even with the tough matchup.
Redskins vs Falcons: Kirk Cousins; To an extent, it certainly helps RGIII’s value for next year who, barring an injury to Cousins, could certainly use the time to get healthy and is likely done for the year. That being said, Cousins is playing for a starting job elsewhere and should put up competent QB2 numbers against the woeful Falcons. First good decision made in Washington in awhile!
Jets vs Panthers: Panthers D/ST; Embarrassed on national TV and playing against Bad Geno at home? Yeah, I’ll take those odds.
Chiefs vs Raiders: Rod Streater; Denarius Moore may return but Streater has established himself as Matt McGloin’s primary receiver, averaging at least 8 targets a game. Is it too much to ask for a long TD to Streater against a Chiefs secondary that’s allowed 10 TDs on deep passes?
Packers vs Cowboys: Matt Flynn; After watching Josh McCown light up the Cowboys, even with a slight deficit of offensive talent, who’s to say Flynn himself couldn’t have another Flynn-like performance against the defense that allows the most fantasy points to opposing QBs?
Saints vs Rams: Rams D/ST; Not the best match-up for the Rams, but they do play much better at home and the Saints play worse on the road, even if they’re still in a dome. I’m definitely reaching here.
Cardinals vs Titans: Delanie Walker; Even with Jared Cook’s less-than-stellar performance last week, insert TE playing against the Cardinals (here).
Bengals vs Steelers: Emmanuel Sanders; Few QBs have been hotter lately than Ben Roethlisberger and Sanders has definitely benefited from that stretch, averaging 50 yards, 8 targets, and scoring 3 TDs over the past 3 games. With Terence Newman out for 1-3 weeks and coverage tuned towards Antonio Brown, Sanders should be a worthy WR3 option in the Steelers pass-happy offense.
Ravens vs Lions: Joe Flacco; Dennis Pitta’s return bodes better for Flacco than himself, freeing up his WRs downfield against a burnable Lions secondary in a game that should provide substantially better weather conditions for both teams.
Always remember: Start your studs, play the match-ups, and don’t be afraid to make the trade!