Wondering whether or not to start Matt Stafford and Demaryius Thomas, or to bench Geno Smith and Trent Richardson? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 12 of the 2013 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers at Redskins. He hasn’t given us much to pin our hopes on lately, but Kaepernick offers significant upside in this juicy matchup. Washington has been overly generous to opposing QBs, even at home. And the Monday night factor should work in favor of Kaep, who relishes the spotlight.
Andre Brown, RB, Giants vs. Cowboys. No defense has surrendered more fantasy points to opposing backs than Dallas’. Now all Brown has to do is fend off Brandon Jacobs at the goal line. No worries. There’s a good chance Brown will break loose on a long run or two and render the short-yardage carries moot.
Zac Stacy, RB, Rams vs. Bears. Remember how we thought Ray Rice was all washed up just a week ago? Chicago’s run defense made him look like a first-round stud again. Stacy has been tearing up much better squads than this, and his young legs are coming off a week of rest. Roll with him.
Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals vs. Colts. I’m not ready to sound the trumpets for Carson Palmer just because he torched the lowly Jaguars, but Floyd’s breakout game was worth noting. He’ll face another imploding secondary when the Colts come to town. He’s an excellent bye-week sub.
Jarrett Boykin, WR, Packers vs. Vikings. Just when you thought James Jones’ return and Aaron Rodgers’ exit would doom Boykin’s prospects, he and Scott Tolzien have developed quite a bond. Boykin has 14 receptions for 203 yards over the last two weeks, and he will benefit from facing yet another sieve-like secondary on Sunday.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Case Keenum; RBs Ben Tate, Eddie Lacy, Frank Gore, Reggie Bush, Knowshon Moreno, Alfred Morris, Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, DeAngelo Williams; WRs Jordy Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald, Torrey Smith, Pierre Garcon, Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Terrance Williams, Eric Decker, Danny Amendola, T.Y. Hilton, Anquan Boldin.
Roll ‘em back
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers at Chiefs. Kansas City has something to prove in the wake of its first loss of the season. They’ll take out their frustrations on Rivers, who has posted just one solid outing in his last five. With Keenan Allen hobbling (but expected to play) on a sore knee, and a relentless pass rush in his face all day, Rivers can’t be trusted.
Bobby Rainey, RB, Bucs at Lions. I know you’re excited about deploying your shiny new weapon, but don’t be too quick to lock him into a starting role. Detroit’s front seven has been stifling opposing rushers lately, while surrendering big yardage through the air. Rainey is a decent play only in PPR leagues.
Ray Rice, RB, Ravens vs. Jets. With so many premium backs on bye this week, you probably have no choice but to start Rice. Just don’t expect to be pleased with this week’s results, as the Jets sport the stingiest run defense in the league. The Ravens will find much more success through the air, which is the best hope Rice has of contributing in this one.
Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins vs. Panthers. His disappointing tenure in Miami is likely to continue with arguably the stingiest defense he’s faced all year coming to town. Wallace is doing little to stretch the field for the Dolphins’ passing attack, and Ryan Tannehill will be under such intense pressure from the Panthers’ pass rush that quick passes may be the order of the day.
Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders vs. Titans. While Matt McGloin was making a name for himself against the woeful Texans, Moore was an afterthought. He salvaged his outing with a short TD reception, but his owners may not be so lucky this week. A shoulder injury is keeping Moore out of practice, costing him valuable reps with his young QB. That, plus the prospect of Alterraun Verner being glued to his hip all day, spells trouble.
More thumbs down: QBs Ryan Tannehill; RBs Chris Ivory, Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Donald Brown, Ryan Mathews; WRs Miles Austin, Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, Rod Streater, all Jets WRs.
TAKING A FLIER
Marlon Brown, WR, Ravens vs. Jets. Coming off a week in which the Bengals held him to a 10-yard reception, Brown is anything but a safe bet. But this week’s opponents have coughed up serious production to secondary receivers over the last several games. The Jets put Marvin Jones on the fantasy map in Week 8. Brown and Torrey Smith should have a field day.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…puts your team’s fate in the hands of undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. Indeed, he shocked everyone last week with a bravura performance against the hapless Texans defense. But the competition gets stiffer when the Titans come to town, and they’ve now had a chance to study tape on the little-known gunslinger. Let someone else take the bait.
Ladd Biro was named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010, 2011). Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).