By: Jonathan Goad
It was another mixed week of results for me last week. Demaryius Thomas scored two TDs, but that’s about all he did. LeGarrette Blount had a surprisingly good day against the Bears. Mark Ingram didn’t perform as expected, but the rest of my picks were solid.
I was a little hit and miss. Let me try to make up for that with this week’s picks.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
This one all depends on if Melvin Gordon plays. If Gordon sits, get Ekeler in your lineup. If Gordon plays, Ekeler is merely a flex play. Ekeler is better suited for catching passes out of the backfield, but he’s shown some potential carrying the football as well. The Chargers play the Steelers this week. It’s a huge matchup. Both teams need to win. If L.A. is smart, they’ll use Ekeler a lot and in both the running game and passing game. Monitor Gordon’s health, and start Ekeler if Gordon can’t go.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
Miller has topped 100 rushing yards in three of his last five games. Recently, he’s looked like the back we thought he would be a few years ago. He also sees a lot of volume in the Texans’ offense. He’s coming off a huge performance against Tennessee (12-162-1). The Texans face the Browns this week. Miller should see plenty of touches once again. Roll with Miller this week.
Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
I’ve become a believer. I never thought it would happen. Amari looks like a totally different guy in Dallas. He is seeing a consistent amount of targets and is proving he was worth a first round pick. He torched Washington’s secondary last week to the tune of eight catches for 180 yards and two scores. The Boys play the Saints this week who aren’t great against the pass. Expect another big performance from Cooper especially because the Cowboys will likely be playing from behind.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns
Three catches for 30 yards. Two catches for 22 yards. Six catches for 50 yards. Those are the last three games for Landry. He’s seen a total of 17 targets in those games. That’s not production I want out of a WR at this point in the fantasy season. Some leagues start their playoffs this week. You need guys who are going to produce. It’s hard to trust Landry at this point. He saw at least ten targets in seven of the Browns first eight games. Those days appear to be over. Now is not a time to take risks. Bench Landry.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
Robinson has only topped 100 yards once this season. He’s also only scored in three games (4 TDs). He also only has 36 receptions this season. The Bears play the Giants who are decent against receivers. For those reasons, I’m out on Robinson. Taylor Gabriel is the wide out to start if you need a Bears receiver. Stay away from Robinson.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
You may be asking yourself why Hyde would even be included. Well, Leonard Fournette got himself suspended for this week’s matchup with the Colts. That means T.J. Yeldon and Hyde will split RB duties. Yeldon is likely the one you’d want to start out of the two. Jacksonville will most likely trail meaning they’re going to pass. Yeldon is the receiving back. That means limited work for Hyde. The Colts give up more to receiving backs than traditional running backs. Again, that’s better news for Yeldon owners.
A.J. Green/Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
It feels really strange to include A.J. Green in any of these lists. He’s a no brainer start in 99.9% of weeks. What’s concerning is that Jeff Driskel is the one throwing him the ball. I’m not confident in his ability to get A.J. or Boyd the ball consistently. Green is also coming off a toe injury. It wouldn’t take too much to reinjure that. Boyd hasn’t really taken advantage of Green’s absence. However, he had some nice games while sharing the field with Green. Those games were with Andy Dalton, not Jeff Driskel. Lower expectations for both of these guys.
Josh Gordon, WR, New England Patriots
This choice is all about the matchup. The Pats play the Vikings. That means Gordon could see a heavy dose of Xavier Rhodes. Gordon has done fairly well with the Pats, but don’t expect too much this week. Now if this turns into a shootout, then Gordon could see a lot of targets. I’d look elsewhere if possible, though.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
As of Wednesday, Mack is still in concussion protocol. Even if he plays, I’d alter expectations. In the last meeting between the Colts and Jags, Mack only totaled 38 yards. As bad as the Jags are this season, their defense is still solid. He’s a flex at best this week.
Take it or leave it. Now’s not the time to take chance though. Start the guys who will produce. Bench the gambles.