By Grant Playter | Staff Writer
For anyone looking to decide, who to play and who to bench for this week in fantasy, you need look no further. We’ll take ten players, who could go either way and offer whether you should play or bench them.
Let the writers here at The Capital Sports Report make the tough decisions for you. And hey, if it doesn’t work out, don’t blame us because everyone has a bad game at some point.
- Wayne Gallman Jr. (New York Giants)
I wanted to open this article up with someone who’s been getting a lot of fantasy attention after a near come-back game from the New York Giants. As a result of the injuries to Orleans Darkwa and Paul Perkins, rookie running back Wayne Gallman Jr. entered the game part-way through the third quarter. And before this point in the game, the Giants were utterly unable to get anything started on the ground, Gallman Jr. actually had a pretty good game.
He had 11 carries for 42 yards as well as 2 receptions for 8 yards and a touchdown.
Gallman’s biggest obstacle is going to be being on the Giants, but I really liked what I saw from him on Sunday’s game. He passed the eye test with flying colors and was leagues ahead of what Perkins managed.
On top of that, he’s a running back, who can catch passes, which is great in PPR leagues and double so when he has red zone targets. It’s always risky to start a Giants running back, but I think Gallman Jr. ticks all the right boxes and has a favorable matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers weak running defense. START Wayne Gallman Jr.
2. Isaiah Crowell (Cleveland Browns)
Isaiah Crowell is a player, who has not been putting up numbers relative to his draft capital. He was a big name coming into this season, but the running game on the Cleveland Browns has been such a mess that he hasn’t been used effectively.
Because of that, he’s put up lackluster games after lackluster games. I see a lot of commentators saying that this is the week Crowell could have his break-out, but I’m tepid for a few reasons.
The New York Jets are currently ranked #28 at running defense, which means it’ll be hard to shut down the veteran and as such, he’s a worthy start based on the matchup in many eyes. But while this is true, the Browns don’t want to run the ball.
Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer passed for just 118 yards last game, which would make you think they’re reliant on the running game, but they actually made 34 attempts to pass. The Browns are never controlling the flow of the game and as such, they’re reliant on the pass game, so even though, it is a favorable match-up, I’m not bullish on Crowell breaking out. Having said that, I also wasn’t bullish on New Orleans Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara last week against the Miami Dolphins in London, and we all saw how that went. If you do still trust me, however, SIT Isaiah Crowell.
3. Hunter Henry (Los Angeles Chargers)
I do not think Hunter Henry is an excellent tight end. He’s had a very inconsistent record this season with one good game, one mediocre game, and two straight up terrible ones.
He isn’t helped by the team he’s on, the currently winless Los Angeles Chargers, but he isn’t a dominant offensive force in his own right. If this were a ranking of tight ends, I wouldn’t have Henry anywhere near the top.
Having said that, his match-up is really solid. Tight ends just keep scoring touchdowns against the Giants and I don’t think that trend is going to change this week. The Giants-Chargers game is likely to be a high–scoring shoot-off, if the Vegas betting odds are any indication, and I’d wager Henry is going to have at least some end zone targets. He’s a boom-or-bust player, but this week, I think he’ll boom. START Hunter Henry.
4. Tyler Kroft (Cincinnati Bengals)
Kroft had a breakout performance last week against the Browns, which is a bit like winning a fist fight, but noteworthy nonetheless. He had 6 receptions on 10 targets for 68 yards, which are decent stats, but the two touchdowns are what are really appetizing for fantasy owners. If you’re getting volume, and volume in the red zone, then you’re a great option.
The issue I have with Tyler Kroft is two-fold. First off, he’s playing the Buffalo Bills, who have shut down tight ends this season. But outside of the match-up not being ideal, there’s the problem that Kroft is working through injuries.
He’s been limited at practices, and while I think he’ll play because he’s in better condition than Tyler Eifert, he’s not gonna be at 100% and is less likely to deliver or even get targeted. He’s a good streaming option going forward, but for this week SIT Tyler Kroft.
5. Seattle Seahawks D/ST
The Seattle Seahawks defense had a dominating performance last week, tying with the Houston Texans to lead the league at 22 points. But more than any other position, defensive scoring is based on match-ups and the Seahawks are going to be facing the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams have Todd Gurley, an elite running back, which is going to limit their pass attempts and ability to intercept. On top of the Rams being a strong team with a record of 3-1, there’s no upside to starting this defense barring some miraculous plays. BENCH the Seattle Seahawks D/ST.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST
The Steelers have a very match-up dependent defense. Two weeks, they’ve done very well, including last week, and two weeks, they’ve performed mediocre if not outright bad.
This week, I think they’re trending upwards facing Blake Bortles and a weak Jacksonville Jaguars offense. I think this is going to be a low scoring game all around given that the Jaguars have a very good defense, but I think Roethlisberger is less likely to throw interceptions than Blake Bortles.
I think that’s more important as far as scoring goes compared to limiting yardage, so I say START the Steelers D/ST.
7. Will Fuller V (Houston Texans)
Fuller enjoyed his breakout performance with the Texans this week in their absolutely crushing victory over the Tennessee Titans. He carried 4 of 6 targets for 35 yards and two touchdowns, and while the volume isn’t ideal, I like that he was targeted when the team was in the red zone.
Seeing volume in that specific area of play really gives boom-or-bust flex play to otherwise unremarkable players.
Having said that, before this game, Fuller saw no action and the Texans are going to be playing against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. I think when they’re going to have high–scoring games, Fuller’s score will explode, but in games that are either tightly–contested or a rout of the Texans, Fuller’s fantasy prospects will be practically non-existent.
I think other weapons like DeAndre Hopkins are gonna be utilized in a tight match-up, so this week I think you should SIT Will Fuller.
8. Jaron Brown (Arizona Cardinals)
Getting a read on the Cardinals depth chart is like staring into the eyes of madness. Between John Brown, J.J. Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Jaron Brown, it’s hard to get a read on, who will receive the lion’s share of the targets. Going into last week’s return, I was high on John Brown’s position in the depth chart, but he ultimately ended up receiving less target share than Jaron.
While I ultimately think John will supersede Jaron in the order, for now I think he’s still trying to work through the injury that took him out to begin with. With that in mind, I think Jaron is likely to lead the targets once more, and his past statistics definitely hold up. It’s a bit of a risky call given that the Philadelphia Eagles are no slouches when it comes to defense, but I think you can definitely get one more good week out of Jaron before he starts losing value, so START Jaron Brown.
QB Face-Off: Eli Manning (New York Giants) vs. Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers)
Boy did I choose wrong last week in the Titans v. Texans match-up. Hopefully my take on the “0-4 Bowl” will be a little more on the mark than choosing the biggest loser over the biggest winner for last week.
I can recognize where the Giants flaws and strengths lie. Their offensive line has gotten better, but it’s still not great, especially with a weak left tackle in Ereck Flowers. This presents an issue because the Giants biggest strength lies in the versatility of the receivers like Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, and Evan Engram.
If Eli Manning doesn’t have the time to give them long bombs, they won’t be able to work to their fullest. Having said that, a short pass-catching strategy proved effective for them in Week 3, and if they can utilize that against a weaker defense, Manning will be able to slowly build up a lot of passing yards.
Conversely, the Chargers have a great running game. Against a mediocre Giants defense, they’ll be able to make long strides via Melvin Gordon, but most of the pass attempts will likely come up in the endzone. And while that’s fine, because it means Philip Rivers will have passing touchdowns, his passing yardage will be limited and if he does rely on the ground game in the red zone he’ll pretty much be a bust.
I think it’ll come down to Hunter Henry and Keenan Allen’s performances, since I have next to no confidence in the abilities of Tyrell Williams.
The difference maker, as silly as it sounds, is rookie running back Wayne Gallman Jr., who I talked about earlier. He’s a weapon the Giants can use, who is a relative unknown, and who can present an alternative option to short passes.
While this might limit Manning’s short-passing strategy to an extent, it also opens up his options if he does as well as he did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making the offense harder to read and giving him time that his mediocre offensive line has cost him. On top of that, Gallman Jr. can receive catches, not just run the ball, which should boost Manning’s stats even more.
I like where Manning has been trending lately and Gallman makes it even better, so I say START Eli Manning and BENCH Philip Rivers.