Welcome back to another week of Fantasy Sports Island! It’s always a paradise here, but it pains me to say that we are already in week 7 of the NFL season. That kind of information hits me harder than Peyton Manning throwing his 39-year-old, 6’5” frame out for a pancake block on a respected defender…
With that being said, there are still 10 more weeks in the season, which will be crucial for all of you as it will be almost necessary for you to be hovering around eight or more wins to make the playoffs in the end. None of us can afford to get stuck where we are now, which is why the mid-season is the most important! Time to tune up that roster and make sure you have the right guys ready to go this week.
Hot Off the Wire
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars (55.4 percent owned on ESPN Format)
Despite the poor record of his team, Bortles has found his niche in the Jags organization and has had four multi-touchdown games so far this season. He had four TDs and just one pick with 303 yards two weeks ago and added another 300+ yard outing to follow. Buffalo will not be a walk in the park for this struggling team, but Bortles has had enough success as of late to be on your roster and challenge your starter for a spot in week’s to come.
James Starks, RB, Packers (38.3 percent)
This is an unfortunate time to pick him up since he is on his bye week now, but the bright side is that he will be good to go for the rest of the year. Starks has been somewhat subpar playing behind Eddie Lacy, but with the starter beginning to decline, Starks has gotten a chance. He was efficient getting 112 yards and a score last week off of just 10 carries, but the carries themselves could be his downfall as 10 is his season high so far. Lacy will get a bye week to rest up, but I still believe Starks will get his carries here and there. He is a great add in deeper leagues.
Denard Robinson & Toby Gerhart, RBs, Jaguars (13.2 percent & 5.9 percent)
Lots of Jags this week. At the moment, TJ Yeldon is questionable to play in this week’s matchup with Buffalo. If Yeldon does not get the start, you could get a nice week of production out of the rest of the Jaguars’ backfield, who took over in last week’s game. Toby Gerhart notched nine carries and three receptions in his outing and Denard Robinson saw seven carries and three receptions so the workload was very much split. I would really only look to these guys in much deeper leagues or if you are in need of a Yeldon replacement. Don’t forget he could still play this week, which takes the value from his two teammates.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots (26.8 percent)
Now don’t jump on this guy just yet, but definitely add him to your watchlist. LaFell practiced with the Patriots for the first time yesterday which could mean his return is around the corner. He was the No. 2 wideout for Tom Brady last year and he could easily fit right back into place.
Stefon Diggs, WR Vikings (24 percent)
This young receiver is looking to feast on the numbers that have been left on the field from Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace this year. He has tacked on 13 receptions in his last two games, which are his only two of the season. In a PPR league, this guy is a must have at this point, and with over 100 yards a game so far he presents value in standard leagues as well. The Vikings are capable of having a good offense and with Diggs picking up some of the slack from the wideouts, Teddy Bridgewater and AP will have some help moving down the field.
Start ’em, Sit ’em
Always know when to sit your guys and when to start them! In Fantasy Football, timing is everything, just ask Jamie Collins.
John Brown, WR, Cardinals (Start)
This kid has been an absolute stud for a very good Arizona team. He is a huge downfield threat for Carson Palmer, who has been red hot, and he puts the team in a position to score often. Last week he hit a season high in receptions with 10 and yards with 196. He will be facing the Ravens who have been struggling on the defensive end all year long. Larry Fitzgerald will prosper from this as well.
Matthew Stafford, QB Lions (Sit)
I’m just throwing him in my blog every week for fun! Last week was the only time I didn’t talk about him and he went off for 400 and 4 TDs against a sad Chicago Bears team. So if you got caught up in his heroics last week, let me remind you again: Do not start this guy! You will have a bad time because this week is different. This week he takes on an underrated Vikings Defense that will pick him apart. This guy should be on the waiver wire but I’m sure his season-best game, last week, will unfortunately prevent that.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans (Sit)
I really liked the way he was looking to start the season on a team in need of some help, but the last two weeks since the team’s bye have been tough for the former Heisman. Against pretty good defenses in Buffalo and Miami, the rookie has turned the ball over five times while throwing for just one touchdown. Now he faces Atlanta, who doesn’t have the best defense in the league, but their offense will dictate the game over a struggling Titans team. Oh yeah, and on top of that, he also injured his knee last week so we may not see him at all.
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers (Start)
A big shot from last season as a part of that outstanding rookie class, that has lost steam in his second year. He is coming off of two straight games with just three receptions and less than 50 yards, but the bye week was surely a time to get this shaky offense figured out. I like him in the lineup purely because I like Jameis Winston’s chances of picking apart the Redskins this weekend. If that takes place, it will be a great day for Mike Evans.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles (Sit)
Another guy from last year’s impressive rookie wideout class that has busted up to this point. With Chip Kelly’s offense more so involving the backfield than hitting receivers downfield, really all of the Eagles’ receivers have been putting up low numbers on the year. With that being said, Carolina’s Josh Norman will probably recognize Matthews as the team’s No. 1 receiver still and will stick him for the majority of the game. Advantage: Norman. Throw someone else in the lineup.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens (Sit)
For some reason this man can’t figure out how to play on the road and heading into the Cardinal’s stadium this week probably won’t be where he gets his much needed epiphany. In only one game this season has Flacco not turned the ball over and has just one more touchdown (eight) than interceptions (seven). He has had a couple of good games with yards but when playing against good pass defenses, like Arizona has, he has been held under 200 yards.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams (Start)
After wrecking Arizona for 146 yards, the rookie was given 30 carries on Green Bay and made the most of them posting an even more impressive 159 yards. These are really the only two games that Gurley has played in and in those he has not disappointed. If he can figure out a way to start finding the endzone on top of this, he will be a fantastic back to have starting. I believe that will happen this week when the Rams take on the Browns, now that the Rams have had a week to rest as well.
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins (Start)
Somewhat seemed like a bust up until last week where he tore apart the Titans for 113 yards and a score. Now that this Miami team has broken their skid and have a brand new head coach, it seems as if Lamar will be getting more attention in the upcoming weeks. Look for him to be finding the end zone at least once and again going for another 100 yards against Houston. Great flex and even a good RB2 at this point.
Thank you all once again for joining me this week on the Island! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you have or any advice you need!
**All statistics and ownership percentage official as of Oct. 21**