1. Malcomb Floyd’s return helps V. Jackson, and Gates
Vincent Jackson has been a yo-yo all year long when it comes to producing fantasy points. In weeks 9-12, his receiving yardage went the following: 141, 22, 165, 25. With Malcomb Floyd back in the lineup, Philip Rivers finally has the depth that he has been searching for all season. Teams are no longer going to be able to double team Jackson or Gates, because Floyd’s speed will cause single coverage nightmares all day long. With a consistency finally established, feel free to deploy Gates and Vincent Jackson with no worries of a setback.
2. Say Goodbye to Michael Bush
He might get one more week without Darren McFadden in the lineup, but after the atrocious performance he put up against Miami, it is safe to say that Bush is all but done in terms of fantasy relevancy. He had a good run during weeks 9-12 as the starter in Oakland, but with his last starting gig a road game against the Packers, it is going to be tough for him to produce big numbers. If your playoffs start next week, and you have already locked up a playoff spot, try and trade him for someone who will help you throughout weeks 15-17 like C.J. Spiller or even Marion Barber.
3. No Heart in Desean
One of the most dynamic players in the NFL has just had a terrible year for fantasy owners who drafted him as a top 10, and some even a top 5 receiver. With the Eagles now at 4-8, thus mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, it is hard to imagine Desean Jackson doing anything outstanding. His heart doesn’t seem to be in it, and even though Vick is going to return to the lineup this week… there isn’t much hope.
4. The Hot Commodity: Marion Barber
With Matt Forte going to be sidelined due to a sprained MCL, the Bears offense is going to have to get big things out of Marion Barber if they have a shot at making the playoffs. Barber has already established himself as the first candidate for the goal line carries, and he shouldn’t have trouble touching the ball 20-25 times a game considering he did that in Dallas for years. He might not be worth a start this week, but he is definitely worth picking up to see how Chicago uses him.
5. Flip a coin: Heads start Mendenhall, Tails don’t
Pittsburgh has completely established themselves as a pass first offense, which is really awkward when it comes to the Steelers tradition of hard knock football. Mendenhall has only had more than 70 yards rushing in a game once this season, but he has been stellar in the red zone. It is a huge gamble, but when he scores he is a great guy to have in the lineup. It is just impossible to guess when that is going to happen.
6. Jacob Tamme with Deja Vu
When Dallas Clark went down last season with an injury, Jacob Tamme stepped up and became a top ten fantasy tight end. Now I know that Curtis Painter is not even on the same planet as Peyton Manning, but he is a pretty solid replacement. He has 13 catches in the last 3 games, and he will eventually find the endzone.
7. Chris Johnson is Back
If you drafted him, I hope you didn’t trade him. Chris Johnson has been the most distributed player throughout ESPN fantasy leagues, and whoever ended up with him is ecstatic now. CJ has had 100 yards rushing in three of his last four games, and there is no reason to believe he will stop any time soon. The most important statistic is that he is finally getting his touches, he’s averaging just over 21 carries over his last four games.
8. Ryan Matthews is Finally Relevant
Ever since coming into the NFL, there were high hopes that Ryan Matthews was going to be a huge force in the world of fantasy football. He has failed to deliver thus far, but the past two weeks he is showing great strides. He has rushed for over 100 yards in the last two games, and he now faces a Bills defense that has been horrendous against the run. Expect big things from him this week.
9. Andre Johnson is Done
If you have him, just drop him and let him be someone elses problem. He has been a fantasy nightmare this year. After 25 catches through his first 4 games, he missed 6 straight weeks due to injury, and now his hamstring is bothering him again and chances are he sits this week as well. Even if he comes back during your playoffs, T.J. Yates is still his quarterback, and he is way too risky to start.
10. Trade Steven Jackson
He is averaging under three yards a carry in the past three weeks, and look at who he plays in weeks 15 and 16: Cincinnati, and at Pittsburgh. Good luck. Both are two of the best run defenses in the NFL and if Jackson can only put up 42 yards on 15 carries against Seattle… I’m not seeing much hope here. Once again, try and find someone who NEEDS him this week, and give yourself somebody that is going to help you in the playoffs.