Together again, and it feels so good.
With a Thursday night game pitting two outstanding defenses against two top tier running backs, the Deuces needed to come a day earlier than normal this week. It just felt odd to put the Aces off until Friday, so we are back to basics, putting both sides together for your consumption.
And really, with a killer bye week looming large, there is a little comfort that comes in having additional perspectives early, especially if you know you are going to have to sweat out some sticky injury situations (Jimmy Graham, Adrian Peterson) until Sunday morning. So take some time and enjoy the Aces and Deuces now, and leave the worries for your Twitter trolling time before the weekend slate begins.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills (vs. Tennessee Titans) Besides his nasty penchant for bringing down his scores with a damn near equal touchdown to interception ratio (OK, it’s 12 to 8, but still…), Fitzpatrick is a lock for a huge game this week against Tennessee. The Titans have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score a total of 128.12 fantasy points this season, with their lowest yield coming in a Week 4 loss to Houston (Matt Schaub, 15.88 points). True, Fitzpatrick is only averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, but he throws about 30 passes each game and averages two touchdowns. Look for a volume-based shootout this week. Prediction: 252 yards passing + 3 TDs + 2 INTs = 18.08 fantasy points
WR Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans (@ Buffalo Bills) After many owners were hoping for a fantasy steal by taking a chance on him in the late rounds of their drafts, Britt has delivered little more than exasperation. The talent and potential are there, but an anemic offense that has had trouble moving the ball has left him with a mere 145 yards and a single touchdown to his name. That all changes this week against a Buffalo secondary that more closely resembles a doormat than a football team. The Bills are tied for the league lead in touchdowns allowed via the pass with 13, and that lucky number should move higher thanks to Britt on Sunday. He is gaining more red zone targets and more confidence, which means owners can finally cash in. Prediction: 105 yards receiving + 2 TDs = 22.5 fantasy points
WR Devery Henderson, New Orleans Saints (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers) When the bye week blues strike, hitting up a deep New Orleans receiver is usually a safe option for some points. In this case, I like Henderson against Tampa Bay’s 31st ranked passing defense. He has always shown flashes of brilliance and is Drew Brees’ lone deep threat this year. Coming off a bye and looking to establish the run in the beginning of the game, Henderson should receive some looks in the Saints’ patented play action game in the second quarter for some big gains. Prediction: 75 yards receiving + 1 TD = 13.5 fantasy points
RB Alex Green, Green Bay Packers (@ St. Louis Rams) The Rams have been pesky this season, hanging around late in games with a solid defensive front that gets after the passer, as well as tough corners who have been taking away the top names in the game. Their Kryptonite, though, has been the run. They don’t give up many big plays (only three runs of more than 20 yards), but do allow more than 100 yards and a touchdown per game. Green showed some promise last week against Houston, and Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy wants to feed him the rock. It all adds up to an eye-opening performance, as well as his first NFL touchdown. Prediction: 96 yards rushing + 15 yards receiving + 1 TD = 16.1 fantasy points
RB Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (@ Cincinnati Bengals) Prior to being hobbled in last week’s tilt with Tennessee, Mendenhall posted a 16.1 point effort against Philly in his return to the game after an ACL tear at the end of last season. While the back has had extra time to recover from last Thursday’s game, he did not practice yesterday and is still questionable for this weekend. If he is able to go, though, his matchup against Cincy’s porous run defense should yield another strong effort. Baron Batch may snake goal line duties, but look for Mendy to be the main man between the 20s as he works his way back into the mix. It’s a situation to monitor, but if he is active Sunday morning, the Steelers will use him and he should net close to the 16 touches he saw in the Philadelphia game. Prediction: 80 yards rushing + 12 yards receiving + 1 TD = 15.2 fantasy points
UPDATE: With Mendenhall being ruled out for Sunday’s game, the Pittsburgh backfield becomes an absolute mess and a fantasy avoid. However, if you are truly desperate and can only pick one of their backs, I like Baron Batch over Jonathan Dwyer due to the former’s goal line power that was displayed last week.
TE Dustin Keller, New York Jets (@ New England Patriots) This is the deep sleeper of the week, to be sure. After four weeks of battling hamstring issues, Keller returned last week to only one reception on one target in a robust New York offensive showing. So why choose him this week? This New England-New York matchup is always like two bickering brothers who want to knock the snot out of each other, with Mark Sanchez playing the role of little brother to Tom Brady’s older jock with cool friends. In this case, Sanchez is going to need to rally all of his nerdy crew together, “Little Giants” style, and a key part of that will be returning to Keller, who Sanchez had great chemistry with last season. More looks against a Pats defense that has allowed 15 passing touchdowns are in order. Prediction: 55 yards receiving + 1 TD = 11.5 fantasy points
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (@ San Francisco 49ers) As previously stated, tonight’s game features two top defenses that have been stellar at putting the lid on their opponents’ running game. However, with the 49ers yielding their first 100-yard rusher of the season last week (Ahmad Bradshaw) and Lynch being the only back to eclipse that mark last season, it would seem that owners should be ready to hand out the Skittles a couple weeks early, right? Not likely. The fancy stat being touted this week is that, since Lord Harbaugh took the reins, San Francisco has yielded a total of 11 points in four games following a loss. Plus, the Niners have still only surrendered two touchdowns on the ground and will be fired up to avenge last week’s slaying at the hands of the Giants. Beast Mode is taking a week off. Prediction: 55 yards rushing + 7 yards receiving = 6.2 fantasy points
RB Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Seattle Seahawks) Many preseason pundits (this one included, if I am so bold as to actually refer to myself as a pundit) saw Frank Gore as a liability on fantasy rosters. “He’s old” was the main argument, with “Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James are more explosive” being used as support. But six weeks into the season, Gore averages a healthy 12.45 fantasy points per game and is ranked 10th in scoring among running backs. Seattle, though, is even stingier than San Francisco, with their second ranked rush defense giving up 70 yards per game and forcing four fumbles. A much younger Stevan Ridley took the train to Nowheresville last week against the ‘Hawks, and Gore will do the same as Seattle makes Alex Smith beat them through the air. Prediction: 54 yards rushing + 2 yards receiving + 1 fumble = 3.6 fantasy points
WR James Jones, Green Bay Packers (@ St. Louis Rams) Jones has been one of the most valuable waiver adds of the season so far, filling in admirably for Greg Jennings with three consecutive two-touchdown games. In fact, his seven touchdowns and 270 yards receiving have vaulted him to seventh overall among wide receivers in standard scoring systems. However, taking on a St. Louis defense that has limited numerous number ones to meager weeks (I’m looking at you, Hartline), Jones will not make it a fourth straight week with a pair of end zone splashes. Prediction: 22 yards receiving + 1 TD = 8.2 fantasy points
QB Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (@ New York Giants) Nothing statistically about the New York defense suggests that RGIII won’t have his way with the Giants this weekend. Indeed, they are ranked 16th against the rush and 21st against the pass, which would seem to make this a favorable matchup for this season’s Cam Newton. But the physicality the Giants displayed against San Francisco last week – on the road – will only be intensified against a divisional rival on their home turf. Look for Jason Pierre-Paul to take Griffin to Subway (and by Subway, I mean drive him underground, while also referring to RGIII’s sponsorship…aw, forget it). Prediction: 185 yards passing + 34 yards rushing + 1 passing TD = 14.8 fantasy points
WR Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots (vs. New York Jets) Even without Darelle Revis, the Jets are shutting wide receivers down, allowing:
- 47 yards to Mario Manningham in Week 4
- 15 yards to Andre Johnson in Week 5
- 87 yards to Reggie Wayne in Week 6, with a fumble for good measure
With plenty of other weapons to spread the ball to, plus a healthier Aaron Hernandez and a punishing running game, Lloyd will be the fantasy casualty for the Pats this weekend. Prediction: 47 yards receiving = 4.7 fantasy points