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.
The Jets have, to everyone, including themselves, been having a very good season. Well, 3-2 isn’t necessarily very good, but by Jets standards, it’s pretty solid. The Jets are going to be having a divisional match-up against the Patriots, which are usually high intensity games, and the Patriots are not one of, but the worst defense in the league. While they performed serviceable against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, that’s not enough for me to believe they’ve turned it around.
What makes Elijah McGuire specifically appealing among options on the Jets is his availability. McGuire isn’t the Jets favorite running back, that would be either Matt Forte or Bilal Powell. But Forte’s turf toe has taken him out for several weeks now, and Powell is struggling with a calf injury. Even if Powell does play, McGuire is going to get a lot of touches against a weak defense. He’s likely available on the free agency, so stream him this week and START Elijah McGuire.
Mack was a big pick-up off the waivers this week after a solid outing, one where he outperformed veteran running back Frank Gore. Gore is someone known for his relatively high floor, but Mack has started to see increased target share and the question of whether their phasing out the veteran running back in favor of the younger player. I personally picked up Mack this week, because I like what I’ve seen from him and I think he’ll outpace Gore by the end of the season.
Having said that, I don’t think it’s going to happen instantly. Right now, Gore is the Colts go-to-guy, and while Mack had a big game, Gore is a good running back. There will be a point, where Mack will eclipse Gore, and we saw hints of that in Week 5, but I don’t think it’s going to happen as quickly as some people think. I want to hold off another week before risking the start, so we can see how the workload changes, and for that reason I advocate that you SIT Marlon Mack.
Tight ends have been a mess this year, and Reed is one of the biggest disappointments in that regard. He was seen as someone with Top 5 potential heading into the season, but he’s been struggling with injuries and is far, far away from the numbers of a TE1. On the ESPN rankings of points scored for every tight end in the league, Reed nets a terrible 36th placement.
All that said, Reed was considered great for a reason, he has the talent when he’s not in for bits and pieces. Coming off a bye week, Reed seems to have made it past the injuries that have been plaguing him, so the upside is definitely — and finally there for him. There’s a good chance you can buy him cheap or even pick him up off of waivers considering his performance and Washington’s bye, so if for whatever reason you got your hands on him START Jordan Reed.
The offense of the New York Giants was utterly decimated last week. Dwayne Harris, Brandon Marshall, and most notably, Odell Beckham Jr. were taken out for the season due to their injuries. This week, Sterling Shepard will not be playing, among many other injuries to lesser known players, so the target share to Engram should be there. If they have no weapons and Engram is ready to play, he should be a good tight end play.
The major issue; however, is that the Giants are playing against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have an elite defense, and a pass-catching tight end like Engram is likely to passed over for a greater ground game. And while this means good things for Wayne Gallman, Shane Vereen, and Orleans Darkwa, I don’t think it will materialize for Engram. On top of that, Engram for reasons unbeknownst to Giants fans only received four targets in the loss to the Chargers, netting a goose egg for the week. The offense for the Giants is a mess, and with the tough match-up, I can’t advocate starting him, so SIT Evan Engram.
- Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST
The Steelers have the third-ranked defense in the league, but this is not the week you should be utilizing them. Defenses always have a big match-up component, and playing against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs is not a good match-up for the Steelers defense. Between Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt, and Travis Kelce, who may not play after suffering a concussion last Sunday against the Houston Texans, I think the Steelers are going to be taking a beating, so SIT the Steelers D/ST.
- Atlanta Falcons D/ST
The Falcons are much more well-known for their elite offense compared to their mediocre defense, but like I said in the Steelers section, match-ups play a pivotal role. The Miami Dolphins have not been effectively using their weapons, and Jay Cutler doesn’t exactly have a great record when it comes to throwing picks. I like Falcons overwhelmingly in this match-up, and I like their defense just as much, so START the Falcons D/ST.
I don’t like to write about the same player in a similar capacity two weeks in a row, but I’m willing to make an exception for Will Fuller because of extenuating circumstances. After receiving two touchdowns with a mediocre amount of volume, I advised against starting Will Fuller last week. He proceeded to one-up himself, receiving two touchdowns with only three targets. The question regarding Will Fuller is whether, after DeAndre Hopkins, is he Deshaun Watson’s favorite end zone target?
I want to inject some sanity into this conversation. Yes, Fuller has flex value in the sense that he has a higher likelihood of scoring touchdowns than a wide receiver of his caliber. Yes, it is not an accident that he got those touchdowns. No, you should not expect this trend to continue. Fuller is the epitome of boom-or-bust, and unless you need a Hail Mary, banking on him scoring even one more touchdown this week is a gamble you should not be taking. I said it last week and was wrong, but I’ll say it again: SIT Will Fuller.
If you want to go with a safer boom-or-bust option, as little sense as those two phrases combined may make, Taylor Gabriel is a good bet. The Falcons will be playing against the Miami Dolphins, who are…not playing well, to put it lightly. It honestly surprises me that they’re even 2-2, but against an elite Falcons offense, I don’t expect them to make it even better. Especially after a bye week, which gave the players time to rest and prepare specifically for this match-up.
That’s why I feel better about Gabriel as a flex play. Gabriel gets good target share, and while his floor is rather low, that target share does in part come into play at the end zone. I think he’s much more likely than most wide receivers of his caliber to get that opportunity, and he’ll be playing with an elite offense against a week defense. If he is gonna boom, this is the type of match-up where it will happen, so START Taylor Gabriel.
Once again, I chose poorly regarding which quarterback would reign supreme last week, and I don’t think I’ll be advocating for Eli Manning anytime soon. Or I will, because I’m hopeless, but at the very least it won’t be this week. This week I want to talk about the Saints vs. Lions game, and which team I like more.
Drew Brees is one of those quarterbacks who is considered a must-start, he’s that elite level of quarterback. He has a lot of solid weapons on his offense, such as Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas, all of whom will be in peak condition following a bye week. Brees is positioned to go hard this game, and it should be easy points.
Having said that, I think it’s more of an interesting match-up than on the surface. The Lions have one of the best defenses in the league, second only to the Jaguars, and if any team is going to stop Brees after a bye week, it’ll be them. If the defense continues to perform like it has, than Brees may throw some interceptions, give the possession to the Lions, and ultimately get outshined by Stafford. It’s basically a question if you think an elite offense can beat an elite defense, the unstoppable force vs. the immovable wall.
But while I think this is a question more people should be considering, especially given Brees mediocre season up until this point, the phrase “start your studs” is around for a reason. It probably sounds like common sense, but for anyone else who likes to overthink these things as much as I do, you should START Drew Brees and SIT Matthew Stafford. Defense may win Super Bowls, but I don’t think it will win this match-up.
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