Welcome back to Fantasy Sports Island, my frequent fantasy fanatics! On this week’s trip, I hope to help all of you with the struggle known as Injury, which spreads like a plague amongst NFL players every year. This year in particular has been one of the worst, especially with the vast amount of severe injuries over just three weeks. This may have had the biggest effect on QBs and RBs so far, such as Romo, Big Ben, Lynch and Ivory, so let’s dive right into the guys ready to replace them.
Hot Off the Wire — QBs and RBs
Derek Carr, QB Raiders (34 percent owned on ESPN platform)
This guy right here makes me want to start talking in my best Jon Gruden impersonation on how I wish I could see this guy run the Spider 2 Y Banana. The fact of the matter for Carr is that I’m selling him to you, not as a replacement for those injured QBs out there, but as a regular replacement for your current QB. This man has single-handedly turned Oakland into a fruitful land of undiscovered fantasy gold from the wasteland it was the past five years. All those great receivers can’t do much without someone to throw to them. I can keep blabbing about how much I love this young quarterback, but his numbers speak volumes compared to my praise. 665 yards, five TDs, and just one pick over his last two starts. I’m adding him in my league just so nobody can use him against me. Give the kid a chance.
Brandon Weeden (4 percent) or Matt Cassel (0.7 percent) Dallas QBs
I can’t lie when I say I’m not surprised that these two aren’t even owned in five percent of leagues combined, mainly because most people assume there won’t be any passing without Dez Bryant in the lineup. Although I don’t blame them, they are unfortunately mistaken. Although the passing game wasn’t effective in scoring, Weeden did a fantastic job of accurately completing very short passes and allowing for the run game behind their pro-bowl line. It’s not fun to watch but it gets the job done. He went 7/7 when he subbed in for the injured Romo vs Philadelphia, and went 22/26 with a pick against Atlanta, helping them score 28 in the first half of play.
Overall, that’s a fantastic percentage, and it’s just the yards and TDs he is lacking. His main threat is the incoming Trojan, Matt Cassel. A starter has not been named amongst these two, but after a valiant effort from Weeden last week, I feel they will give him another crack before throwing the always shaky Cassel under center. Overall, I would stay away from these two if you need immediate help, but don’t forget, Dez is set to come back after the week six Bye.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills QB (Still only 65 percent)
For the few of you who both play fantasy and actually watch the NFL, I shouldn’t have to tell you about Tyrod Taylor. This is the man to have if you had Romo or are too impatient to wait on Luck, who I’m sure you sadly selected in the first round. Currently this Bills QB is tied for fifth with Carson Palmer for most fantasy points amongst QBs so far this season. Just doing some basic math here — that makes him better than the other 26 starters, fantasy-wise, and yet he still is owned in just over half of the leagues. Go figure. The man put up his biggest game in week two, scoring roughly 26 points in standard scoring leagues, and he threw three interceptions that day. With those being the only picks he’s thrown this season, his QBR sits around 95.3, which is the highest from any Bills passer since 2006! Nuff Said!
Karlos Williams, Bills RB (56 percent)
Not to bring my work home with me, but I laugh in the faces of those who say that my Eagles messed up in shipping away LeSean McCoy for Murray, who hasn’t had many rush yards due to the fact that Chip Kelly doesn’t hand the ball off much. In retrospect, the only person who has been less beneficial to their team is LeSean McCoy, who may not even play this week vs New York. However, who has been effective for them is Karlos Williams. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t even call the backup at this point. 7.75 yards per carry so far this season and he has found his way to the end zone in all three games! The only other rushers who can say that are … oh yeah, NOBODY! The man had 110 yards off of just 12 carries; turning to our math experts again, that’s almost 10 yards per carry. Add this man.
Side note: I have never told people to add two Bills players in one article in my career. Definitely not in the same week as I preach for a Raider as well. Times are changing!
Bilal Powell, Jets RB (23 percent)
Lots of New Yorkers today. The situation going on in the Jets backfield is quite peculiar at this point. Chris Ivory was active last Sunday vs Philadelphia but didn’t receive a single handoff. Instead, Powell did a majority of the work, but still didn’t flaunt the desirable numbers since Fitzpatrick threw 58 times in an attempt to exploit the Eagles’ poor pass defense. That is likely to change this week vs Miami, but Ivory should be active as he was last week. Keep an eye out for this man, because as of now he only presents real value in deeper leagues.
Sit and Start
DeAngelo Williams, Steelers RB (Start)
Yeah, Yeah, I know — I’m completely insane since Le’Veon is back and Williams only had one carry last week. But things are different this week for one important reason: Big Ben is out. You can’t tell me that this week won’t be spent a little more on the running and short passing game, which of course Bell excels at, but he can’t play every down. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both on the field back with Mike Vick, so he has a quick out with pressure or a back to act as a blocker. Bottom line is, I don’t know if he will get the carries or receptions you need, but he will be on the field. Don’t forget, the man led the AFC in rushing through the first few weeks.
Alfred Blue, Texans RB (Sit)
He had a tremendous game this past week and it’s still not certain whether or not Arian Foster will be back in pads this Sunday. Despite all of that, Blue really only had the success he did when playing with the lead. The lead probably won’t be in their favor vs Atlanta which will turn Houston into a pass-happy team real early.
Andre Johnson, Colts WR (Sit)
Only seven receptions this year on 18 targets. Luck hasn’t been able to look even half as good as the one we saw last year and still his eyes lock on T.Y. Hilton and his talented TEs. The once unstoppable Texan looks to be just another over-the-hill wipeout. Yes, I know they’re playing the Jags and I could care less.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals RB (Start)
This is definitely a shot of faith, as he has been awful all year in the fantasy outlet. Don’t give up on the man just yet as his failure to succeed just may be exactly what he needs to fly under the Chiefs radar this week. The man can still run the ball, I promise you that. He just needs one good day to get it started, and that will happen against one of the best rush defenses out there.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons RB (Start)
Okay, enough bold predictions for me this week — instead I’ll give you a no-brainer. The Falcons play Houston this week and Devonta is coming off of the best game of his career. The Texans will have their hands full in the pass game, so Mr. Freeman will have all the openings he needs to do what he does best. Also, Coleman may still be out, so more value to the man we’re talking about here.
Matthew Stafford, Lions QB (Sit)
This is the second straight week this guy is on my naughty list. He just can’t quite seem to get things together so far this year to a point where he is bringing Megatron’s value down a bit. Anyone can throw to that massive man, except for Stafford apparently. This week, the Lions visit the Seahawks, who just got Kam back to further solidify their outstanding secondary. Big Matt may be leaving that game unhappy.
Mike Vick, Steelers QB (Sit)
It’s just been a little too long for this former stud to be ready for a great week against a Ravens team in dire need of some success. With their main man Big Ben out, the game will rely heavily on their ability to run the ball. Ten years ago that would include Vick, but not in 2015.
Thank you all for joining me again on Fantasy Sports Island! As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you have!