By John Stoeter
- Peyton Manning (vs KC): Manning scorched the Chiefs last year in Kansas City, throwing for 403 yards and 5 TDs. Kansas City allowed Jake Locker to put up 19 fantasy points last week, so look for Manning to extend his success from last week into another valuable fantasy performance.
- Aaron Rodgers (vs NYJ): Although Rodgers had a horrific fantasy performance last week in Seattle, he’s a must-start this week against the New York Jets. Aaron Rodgers gets the Jets defense at Lambeau Field coming off a terrible loss in which they got pummeled by the Seattle Seahawks. Expect Rodgers and the Packers to bounce back strongly and put on an offensive show. After all, rookie QB Derek Carr threw for 2 TDs against this defense last week; look for Rodgers to do that and more. A lot more.
- Andy Dalton (vs ATL): If you’re anything like me, you probably get a little skiddish when hearing that Dalton is a must-start. Surprisingly enough, he was a top-10 fantasy QB last season in a lot of leagues. Believe me, I would know. He rode my bench all season, and all season long he outperformed RG3. Dalton threw for 300+ yards last week, and now he gets to throw against a defense that allowed 300+ yards in the air last week. Then again, the QB who threw for 300+ yards was Drew Brees, but look for Dalton to have similar success against the Falcons at home this week.
- Andrew Luck (vs PHI): Luck put up 370 passing yards last week against the Denver Broncos. This week, he gets the Philadelphia Eagles, who allowed Chad Henne to throw for 266 yards last week. I expect Luck to have a pretty good game passing, somewhere in the ballpark of 300+ yards passing with a couple TDs to go a long with it.
- Jake Locker (vs DAL): Locker gets a Dallas team that should allow a fair share of fantasy points to the opposing QBs. He put up 266 yards in the air last week with 2 TDs. I expect Locker to put up slightly better numbers than last week. If you’re hurting for a QB, or you’re in a 2-QB league, Locker is definitely worth a look at starting.
- Robert Griffin (vs JAC) I know, I know. And again I know. Nothing scares me more than putting RG3 in the same topic as starting. But if you’re hurting for QBs or don’t like your matchup, RG3 should be worth a gander. Yet RG3 has been disappointing fantasy users for the over the past year so take this advice with caution. He gets Jacksonville this week, so hopefully that can be a site for sore eyes.
- Tony Romo (at TEN): Tony Romo just looked awful last week. If you have another option at QB I’d advise that you take that route over Tony Romo this week.
- Russell Wilson (at SD): On the road against a tough San Diego team, I have Wilson and the Seahawks losing in a low-scoring affair. The Chargers are a weird team, and this a game I see them winning.
- Phillip Rivers (vs SEA): For the same reasons I said not to start Wilson, you don’t start Rivers this week. Even at home, the legion of boom will make its presence felt in this low scoring affair.
- Cam Newton (vs DET): Coming off a rib injury, expect the Lions defensive line to bring constant pressure upon Newton as he struggles this week. As Newton said, he has a lot to prepare for this week as he focuses on Donkey Kong Suh and fellow former teammate Nick Fairley.
Start With Caution
- Matt Ryan (at CIN): Ryan had a career game last week, throwing for 448 yards and 3 TDs. This week he will be on the road against an above average Bengals defense. Matty Ice might just be ice cold this week, so don’t expect last weeks success against Cincinnati this week.
- Matt Stafford (at CAR): I expect this game to be a low-scoring affair as the Detroit offense struggles to create points against a tough Carolina defense.
- Ryan Tannehill (at BUF): The Dolphins always tend to struggle against the Bills especially at Buffalo. I expect this trend to continue this week as well.
- Colin Kaepernick (vs CHI): Kaepernick looked great last week, but a major part of that was Romo throwing the game away in the first half. He only threw for 201 yards and the 49ers’ offense struggled significantly in the second half. Kaepernick struggled the majority of preseason and I expect that trend to continue this week against Chicago.
- Adrian Peterson (vs NE): Peterson upset a lot of fantasy owners last week with his poor performance, but look for an breakout as he gets the Patriots this week. New England allowed Knowshon Moreno to run all over them for 134 yards last week, expect Peterson to have similar numbers this week.
- Frank Gore (vs CHI): The Chicago Bears’ rush defense between the tackles ranked worst in the NFL last season, and so far it’s following the same pattern. Look for Gore to have a good day running the football on them.
- Alfred Morris (vs JAC): Morris averaged 6.5 YPC last week against Houston, and now he is set up nicely to face Jacksonville’s defense who allowed 4.5 YPC last week. With the Washington offense struggling, they’ll turn to Morris for a big workload to keep the pressure off RG3.
- Giovani Bernard (vs ATL): Even after having little success rushing against the Ravens last week, Bernard still caught 6 receptions for 62 yards. Atlanta struggled containing the rush last week so look for Bernard to have a good game against this Atlanta defense.
- Arian Foster (at OAK): Foster rushed for 103 yards last week and this week he gets a defense that allowed over 160+ yards on the ground last week. With Fitzpatrick at QB, look for the Texans to keep pounding the run game.
- Matt Forte (at SF): DeMarco Murray tore up the San Francisco defense last week and that was with the Cowboys’ terrible offensive showing. I expect similar results from Forte this week.
- Jamaal Charles (at DEN): Even though Charles struggled last week against Tennessee, he’s not a guy you have riding the pine on your fantasy team. The Chiefs offense shouldn’t struggle as badly as it did last week. It’s also worth noting that Charles has historically done pretty well against Denver, so I expect the same results this week.
- Shonn Greene (vs DAL): Greene got the majority of the touches last week against Kansas City, and this week he faces a mediocre Dallas defense that allowed Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde to run all over them.
- Reggie Bush (at CAR): Bush was basically nonexistent rushing the ball last week as he carried it for only 15 yards on 9 tries. He was a big factor in the passing game but against a much tougher Carolina defense on the road, I don’t see Bush racking up too many points this week.
- Ryan Mathews (vs SEA): Mathews is set for a tough game as he is prepared to take on Seattle’s defense this week. Besides finding the end zone, he struggled last week against the Cardinals and I expect these struggles to continue.
- Trent Richardson (vs PHI): Even though Trent looked better than he did last season, I’m not sold on him being a top-tier fantasy RB this season. Bradshaw produced more fantasy points last week out of the two and I’m sure he’ll be stealing some carries this week as well.
- Maurice Jones-Drew (vs HOU): Jones-Drew had a terrible game rushing the ball last week and until he proves other wise I wouldn’t put too much stock into him fantasy wise. Especially with a rookie QB who is unproven in the pass game thus far.
Start With Caution
- Andre Ellington (at NYG): Although the Giants pass defense looked terrible last week, their rush defense performed admirably, as they held the Lions to 2.5 YPC. With Ellington still being hobbled by a foot injury he could struggle to perform this week.
- Darren Sproles (at IND): Sproles performed great last week, due in large part to a long TD run that accounted for the majority of his yardage. I expect Sproles to be a part of the passing game, but McCoy will receive the majority of the carries this week. I wouldn’t start Sproles solely based off one big rush he had last week.
- Toby Gerhart (at WAS): Gerhart will be a game-time decision with a sprained ankle, and coming off his performance last week I wouldn’t rely too heavily on him this week if you have alternative options.
- A.J. Green (vs ATL): Green had a monster game against the Ravens last week, and I expect the same results this week as he faces Atlanta. Atlanta allowed Colston to bring in 110 yards last week, as well as allowing rookie Brandin Cooks to gain 77 yards. Cincinnati gets Atlanta at home this week, so I expect some monster results out of Green.
- Jordy Nelson (vs NYJ): Nelson led the team in targets last week and although he didn’t find the end zone he still had a pretty productive game. I imagine Nelson will repeat on his success last week as he faces a much weaker defense in the New York Jets.
- Reggie Wayne (vs PHI): Reggie Wayne returned from injury last week by compiling 9 receptions for 98 yards while leading the team in targets with 13. He should be set for a very big day versus a secondary struggling against the pass.
- Kendall Wright (vs DAL): With a struggling Dallas defense, look for Wright to connect with Locker on multiple occasions as he led the team in targets last week.
- Randall Cobb (vs NYJ): Coming off a game in which he scored against the legion of boom, Cobb is set to have a big game against the New York Jets as well.
- Calvin Johnson (at CAR): Did you see last week’s game? You have to start Megatron. Even though the Panthers’ defense is a lot better than the Giants’, Johnson is a must start as he is Stafford’s favorite target. Regardless of the defensive attention, Johnson will produce this week.
- Vincent Jackson (vs STL): Jackson and the whole Buccaneers offense struggled last week. Look for an offensive explosion out of Jackson and the Bucs this week as they play the Rams.
- Brandin Cooks (at CLE): After showing off his explosiveness in his debut game as a rookie, look for Cooks to repeat off that success, as Colston will more than likely be covered by Joe Haden. That shold leave Cooks as the go-to guy after Jimmy Graham.
- DeSean Jackson (vs JAC): Having seen Maclin explode for a long bomb last week and Sproles run for a long one as well, I’m convinced this Jacksonville defense will allow another monster TD this week. With Jackson’s big play capability look for some shots down the field headed his way.
- Greg Jennings (vs NE): Jennings has proven to be Matt Cassel’s favorite target. With all the hype around Cordarrelle Patterson, people forget that Jennings was the most consistent receiver last week. Patterson only had 26 yards in the air last week, while Jennings had 58 yards to go along with a TD.
- Keenan Allen (vs SEA): After last week’s struggles against the Cardinals, the Chargers turn around to play the Seahawks this week. Things don’t look good for Allen this week either.
- Allen Hurns (at WAS): Despite Hurns’ debut breakout in which he took the fantasy world by a storm, he was a non-factor after the first quarter of last week. I don’t expect last week’s success to carry over into this week against Washington.
- Golden Tate (at CAR): Golden Tate had a great debut for the Lions last week, as he almost cracked a 100 yards receiving. He’s a great weapon alongside Calvin Johnson, but most of the targets this week will go Johnson’s way as Stafford and the Lion’s offense will struggle.
- Kelvin Benjamin (vs DET): Benjamin had a great fantasy performance last week, but I expect him to struggle as Cam Newton shakes off the rust after coming back from his rib injury. My prediction is Newton and Benjamin won’t be on the same page as they struggle with chemistry.
- Cordarrelle Patterson (vs NE): Minus one huge run Patterson played very inefficiently fantasy-wise last week. I don’t expect the same breakout play this week, and the majority of the targets will go Greg Jennings’ way.
Start With Caution
- Donnie Avery (at DEN): Avery was the go-to guy last week as Dwayne Bowe was suspended. With Bowe back in the mix, I don’t expect the same big week from Avery.
- Percy Harvin (at SD): Having never really seen Percy Harvin in many games in a Seahakws uniform, it’s hard to pinpoint his exact role on the team. If the Chargers choose to solely lock in and focus on Harvin, he could struggle this week.
- Mike Wallace (at BUF): As I stated before, the Dolphins traditionally struggle in Buffalo, and I expect the same results this week. If the Bills’ defense provides enough pressure on Tannehill, Wallace’s fantasy production could take a hit.
- Dez Bryant (at TEN): You have to start Dez Bryant if he’s on your team. However, if you have a flex league and you’re receiver heavy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bench him until Tony Romo finds his rhythm again.
- DeAndre Hopkins (at OAK): Hopkins had a great game last week, making 4 catches for 89 yards and a TD. But so far in his short career, Hopkins has had trouble producing back-to-back successful fantasy games. He could struggle this week as Andre Johnson will probably get the majority of the targets.
- Julius Thomas (vs KC): With his big performance last week and Wes Welker still out, Thomas is a must-start this week, and a must-start all year long.
- Jimmy Graham (at CLE): Graham didn’t score a TD last week, but I’d bet he does this week. Even after being held scoreless he still caught 8 receptions for 82 yards. I’m sure Graham finds his way into the endzone against Cleveland.
- Rob Gronkowski (at MIN): Just like the other two of the this “Big 3” tight end group, Gronkowski is a must-start.
- Delanie Walker (vs DAL): I expect Walker to tear up the Dallas defense just as Vernon Davis did last week.
- Greg Olsen (vs DET): With the Lions defense focusing in on rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin and the weak receiving core of the Panthers, look for Newton to trust ol’ reliable—Greg Olsen. I expect Olsen to lead the team in targets, especially in the red zone.
- Zach Miller (at SD): With the Seahawks on the road where they historically play worse, look for Wilson to look for Miller in goal-line situations.
- Charles Clay (at BUF): Being held scoreless last week against New England, look for Clay to try to make his return to the endzone this week against Buffalo.
- Ladarius Green (vs SEA): If the Seahawks choose to key in on Gates, Green could be a major target in the Chargers offensive scheme this week. It’s worth a gander in a deeper league, or a two-TE league.
- Zach Ertz (at IND): Having seen the field day Julius Thomas had last week, Zach Ertz could be in store for a big day as well against Indianapolis.
- Jared Cook (at TB): I don’t know if I trust QB Austin Davis to get Cook the ball enough to make him a viable fantasy option this week.
- Jermaine Gresham (vs ATL): Atlanta held Jimmy Graham scoreless last week, so it could be a tough day for Jermaine Gresham. However, they double-teamed Graham the majority of the game. I don’t see Gresham receiving the same treatment, but I don’t see him having a big fantasy game either.
- Brandon Pettigrew/Eric Ebron (at CAR): Ebron was a non-factor last week and Pettigrew only hauled in 1 reception for 9 yards. With an even tougher defense in store, I don’t see either one of these guys being a factor this week.
Start With Caution
- Antonio Gates (vs SEA): Gates has his hands full with the Seattle Seahawks defense this week. The Seahawks could choose to key in on Gates and create a rough day for him and his fantasy owners.
- Vernon Davis (vs CHI): Kaepernick struggled throughout the preseason, and the Bears could choose to take away his favorite target in Davis. I expect the Bears to make Kaepernick hit his wideouts over Davis. Not to mention the Bears defense held Scott Chandler in check last week, and he couldn’t catch a cold.
- Scott Chandler (vs MIA): Chandler scored as many fantasy points as I did last week: zero. Although Miami has a history of allowing fantasy points to TEs, I don’t believe Chandler will have that successful of a game against them.
John Stoeter is a creator of Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter @Stoeter850.