Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 3 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to start…

Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- Torched the Chiefs for 333 yards and 5 TDs, plus 16 yards as a scrambler, without a turnover.
Andy Dalton, Bengals – Passed for 383 yards and 3 TDs, but turned the ball over twice.
Cam Newton, Panthers – Threw for 315 yards and 2 TDs, and added 33 rushing yards and another TD.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills – Racked up 277 yards and 3 TDs, plus 12 rushing yards, without a turnover.

Devonta Freeman, Falcons – Tevin who? Freeman’s 141-yard, 3-TD rushing performance, with 5 catches for 52 more yards, makes case for starting status.
Joseph Randle, Cowboys – Had a big first half with 87 yards and 3 TDs, plus 18 yards on 2 receptions.
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots – Bill Belichick did it to us again, giving Blount the bulk of the carries (18 for 78 yards and 3 TDs).
Adrian Peterson, Vikings – Welcome back, AD. Rumbled for 126 yards and 2 TDs.
Chris Johnson, Cardinals – Had his best game in forever, with 110 rushing yards and 2 TDs, plus a 40-yard reception.
Darren Sproles, Eagles – Ran for 17 yards and 1 TD, caught 4 balls for 19 yards and returned a punt for a second TD.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- Rushed for 49 yards and 3 TDs, and added 5 catches for 33 yards.
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – Returned with a splash, rushing for 62 yards and a TD and hauling in 7 passes for 70 yards.
Frank Gore, Colts – Finally showed up, rushing for 86 yards and 2 TDs.
Latavius Murray, Raiders – Rushed for 139 yards and a TD, plus a 10-yard catch.
Alfred Blue, Texans – Came out of nowhere to also run for 139 yards and a score.

A.J. Green, Bengals – Had a monster outing with 10 receptions for 227 yards and a pair of TDs.
Steve Smith, Ravens – Nearly kept up with Green with 13 catches for 186 yards and 2 TDs.
Randall Cobb, Packers -- Snared 7 passes for 91 yards and a TD trifecta.
James Jones, Packers -- He had 7 catches for 139 yards and 1 score.
Keenan Allen, Chargers – Caught a dozen balls for 133 yards and 2 TDs.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Pulled down 9 passes for 134 yards and 2 more TDs.
Julio Jones, Falcons – Scored twice on a dozen receptions for 164 yards.
Rishard Matthews, Dolphins – Hauled in 6 passes for 113 yards and a pair of TDs.
Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs -- Caught 8 passes for 141 yards and an actual TD for Kansas City.
Reuben Randle, Giants – Finally showed up with 7 receptions for 116 yards and a TD.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texas – Reeled in 8 passes for 101 yards and a score.

Greg Olsen, Panthers – Caught both of Cam’s 2 TDs, as well as 8 of his passes for 134 yards.

Cardinals – Collected 2 sacks, 4 INTs and a safety while scoring on 2 INT returns and holding the 49ers to 7 points.
Seahawks – Amassed 2 sacks and scored on a kickoff return while pitching a shutout against the hapless Chicago offense.

This was a great week to play against…

Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings – Only 121 passing yards, no TDs and an INT.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – Just 192 passing yards and an INT without a score before exiting with a knee injury.
Nick Foles, Rams – Limited to 197 passing yards and 10 rushing yards without a TD, plus an INT.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers – Just 67 passing yards, and his 46 rushing yards and a TD were offset by 4 INTs (including 2 pick-6s)

Chris Ivory, Jets – Was active, but no-showed against the Eagles.
Joique Bell, Lions – Gained 6 yards on the ground, but lost 2 on his only catch.
Matt Jones, Redskins – Last week’s shooting star fumbled and ran for just 38 yards, which was twice as much as starter Alfred Morris.
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks – Started late and left early with a bum hammy, amassing just 23 total yards in the process.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos – His time as a starter may be over, after his 27-combined-yard outing on Monday night.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals – Only 21 rushing yards on 12 attempts.
Justin Forsett, Ravens – Ran for 13 and caught 4 passes for 16. Disappointed…
Isaiah Crowell, Browns – Just 36 rushing yards.
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars – Ran for 33 yards and added just 9 yards on 2 catches.
Tre Mason, Rams – Totaled 31 combined yards. He won’t hold off Gurley for long.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers – Keeps finding ways to be mediocre, with just 46 yards and no production as a receiver.
Bishop Sankey, Titans – Just 10 as a rusher and 31 as a receiver.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers – Rushed for only 51 yards.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Limited to 52 rushing yards without a pass.
Carlos Hyde, 49ers – Ran for 51 yards and added a 10-yard reception.

Roddy White, Falcons – Shut out by the Cowboys.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys – Atlanta returned the favor with him.
Torrey Smith, 49ers – Never touched the ball against the Cards.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals – Just a wall flower in this contest, accounting for a 12-yard reception.
Devin Funchess, Panthers – Caught a 14-yarder.
Anquan Boldin, 49ers – Just 16 yards on 2 receptions.
Sammy Watkins, Bills – At least his only reception went for 39 yards before he left with a calf injury.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers – Only 2 catches for 40 yards.

Tyler Eifert, Bengals – Blanked in the dramatic victory over Baltimore.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings – Only 14 yards on 2 receptions.
Jordan Cameron, Dolphins – Limited to 16 yards on 3 passes.
Martellus Bennett, Bears – His 4 receptions were the most for a Chicago receiver, though he had just 15 yards.

Pay attention: The landscape is shifting

Three weeks into the 2015 season, count yourself lucky if your starting quarterback is still intact.

With Mike Vick taking the helm in Pittsburgh, Antonio Brown’s owners should be nervous. There’s a reason Vick is no longer an Eagle or a Jet – he’s just not very reliable anymore, not to mention he’s been brittle. Given the complexity of the Steelers’ offensive scheme, and Vick’s inexperience running it, Big Ben’s backup is bound to struggle. And though Brown is too valuable to trade, he’ll likely lose his fantasy superpowers in the weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned a few other things during the young NFL season.

Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Frank Gore aren’t done yet, but Jonathan Stewart might be. Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald have found their fountains of youth, while Roddy White and Andre Johnson are assembling a lovely collection of goose eggs.

And a new generation of quarterbacks is making a strong case for fantasy relevance in the most unexpected of places: Buffalo, Tennessee and Oakland. Shockingly, I can only name nine healthy passers whose season-long prospects appear more promising than Tyrod Taylor’s, Marcus Mariota’s and Derek Carr’s.

That’s a fairly seismic shift in the fantasy landscape, and it’s happening right before our eyes. It will be fun to watch as it unfolds further in the weeks to come.

Catch ‘em while you can

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders – The second-year passer just posted his second consecutive 300-plus-yard game, racking up five TDs versus just one interception during that span. Carr appreciates the talent at his disposal in rookie Amari Cooper, and you have to love both of their chances against the Bears in Week 4.

Lance Dunbar, RB, Cowboys – PPR-leaguers looking for a reliable flex play should give Dunbar a hard look. He’s filling a Darren Sproles-like role in the Cowboys’ dink-and-duck offense (with Brandon Weeden under center) though he is rarely used as a runner. Look for similar stat lines to Sunday’s 10-target, 10-reception, 100-yard performance – with the occasional TD, either receiving or returning kicks – mixed in.

Rishard Matthews, WR, Dolphins – Despite the signing of free agents Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings, and the first-round investment in DeVante Parker, Matthews has stepped up and seized the No. 2 receiver role in Miami. In fact, he has more receiving yards (262) and TDs (3) than Jarvis Landry. He shouldn’t be overlooked any longer.

Pat O’Donnell, P, Bears. I once played in a league that included offensive linemen and, yes, even punters. I imagine O’Donnell was the MVP of that league this week.

Don’t be fooled

Karlos Williams, RB, Bills – Unless you own LeSean McCoy and are keeping him as a handcuff, don’t go rushing out to acquire Williams. He got the bulk of his carries, including a 41-yard TD run, after Sunday’s game was well in-hand and the Bills chose to let McCoy rest his bum hamstring.

Reuben Randle, WR, Giants – Randle finally showed up on Thursday night, but what took so long? He’s playing opposite double-covered Odell Beckham, Jr., and Victor Cruz has yet to take the field in 2015. Randle’s four receptions for 28 total yards over the first two games are more telling than his stellar output against the Redskins. Let someone else take the bait.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday morning updates -- Week 3

Good morning, Fools. I'm posting very early today because I've got an 8:15 tee time. Hope to be done in time to tweet the inactives, but it's gonna be close. So pay attention out there.

Here's what we know, or think we know, so far:

Luke McCown will put the premise of his witty Verizon spots to the test today filling in for the bruised and battered Drew Brees. Personally, I wouldn't start anyone in the Saints offense today, with the possible exception of Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks, and then only if I didn't have a good alternative.

Beast Mode will be a game-time decision, though I'd be shocked if he doesn't suit up. Nevertheless, if Fred Jackson is still available in your league (he is in nearly 80% of ESPN leagues), grab him before Lynch's owner does. He'd be a great start if Marshawn sits, and is valuable insurance regardless.

Andre Ellington is also labeled a GTD, but "sources" are saying he won't play. The Johnson & Johnson backfield should be just fine without him against the 49ers.

Several other players have already been declared out, including Jay Cutler, Arian Foster, Tevin Coleman, Reggie Bush, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Allen, Victor Cruz
and Julius Thomas.

DeMarco Murray is expected to play after getting in a full practice on Friday, but he could have another long, unproductive day against the Jets' run D.

Could this be the day Todd Gurley makes his debut as a Ram? Let's hope so, because I can't wait for him to get some reps and hits in, so the team (and I) can unleash him in Week 4 or 5.

Whether or not Lamar Miller (ankle) can go today, he should be on your bench against the Bills.  And I'm not crazy about Jordan Cameron's prospects either, given his groin injury and the fact that he's still building rapport with Ryan Tannehill. I like Jarvis Landry (obviously) and the newly emerging Rishard Matthews in this contest.

Mike Evans should be worked into the action more today, after being a bit player last week. Presumably he has now met Jameis Winston and the rookie understands that Evans is a red-zone beast.

In somewhat surprising news, DeAndre Hopkins has progressed quickly through the league's concussion protocol and is fully expected to play today.

Ladarius Green, on the other hand, not so much...

Ironman Jason Witten, who has two sprained ankles and a sprained knee, considers them but flesh wounds and will surely joust against the Falcons. How many of Brandon Weeden's passes reach him is another story entirely.

Delanie Walker is expected to return to action, giving Marcus Mariota a reliable target against the Colts.

Prospects are looking a little better for both Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams playing Monday night, but you'd better have a backup plan (e.g., James Starks, James Jones) if you're counting on them.

That's it for now. Gotta run. Good luck today, Fools.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Week 3 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Tom Brady and Julio Jones, or to bench Jimmy Clausen and Justin Hunter? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 3 of the 2015 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins vs. Bills. He’s no Brady, but Tannehill is talented enough to exploit a Buffalo secondary that has surrendered nearly 700 passing yards and five TDs in its first two contests. Tannehill has an embarrassment of riches at receiver, even if TE Jordan Cameron (groin) is sidelined.

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders at Browns. Nobody surrenders more rushing yardage than Cleveland, and Murray is the undisputed workhorse in Oakland’s backfield. He has been just so-so so far, but Murray has a great chance to have his best day as a pro since his coming-out party last season against the Chiefs.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers vs. Saints. J-Stew has not yet taken full advantage of his new workhorse role, with only 140 combined yards and zero TDs to his credit after two games. Look for your reward against New Orleans’ moribund defense. Stewart has been slowed by a knee injury, but it doesn’t appear it will keep him off the field on Sunday.

Travis Benjamin, WR, Browns vs. Raiders. I’d feel even better if Johnny Manziel was starting (he isn’t), since Benjamin’s success thus far has come at the other end of his passes. But Josh McCown has surely taken notice of Benjamin’s game-breaking skills, too. And you can’t beat the match-up against the defense that just made Joe Flacco look like a superstar.

James Jones, WR, Packers vs. Chiefs. Davante Adams is in jeopardy of sitting out the Monday nighter with an ankle injury. Even if he suits up, I love Jones’ prospects against the Chiefs’ suspect secondary. Jones is a TD machine, and Aaron Rodgers is making him into a fantasy star again.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Tyrod Taylor, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton; RBs Dion Lewis, Justin Forsett, LeSean McCoy, Isaiah Crowell, T.J. Yeldon, Melvin Gordon; WRs Jarvis Landry, Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald, Jordan Matthews, Rishard Matthews, Terrance Williams, Allen Robinson, Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Donte Moncrief, Jeremy Maclin, Keenan Allen, Anquan Boldin.

Roll ‘em back

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions vs. Broncos. Stafford is dealing with a painful rib injury, but he’ll have even bigger problems on Sunday night facing the Broncos’ mighty pass defense. A less-than-100-percent Stafford, without the support of a consistent running game, will likely be forced into several miscues. Anyone not named Megatron should be rested in this matchup.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles at Jets. It’s too early for Philly, and his fantasy owners, to give up on Murray. But with a sore hamstring, and New York’s stingy rush defense on tap, his upside is not high enough to warrant a starting assignment. If Murray sits and Ryan Mathews starts in his place, bench him too.

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins vs. Bills. He left last week’s loss with an ankle injury, but Miller is on track to play on Sunday. That said, his outlook against Buffalo’s ferocious run defenders is pretty bleak. He might squeak in for a short TD plunge, but his yardage total is sure to disappoint.

Brandon Coleman, WR, Saints at Panthers. The rookie was widely started in Week 2 after he scored in his debut outing. But with Drew Brees either sidelined or playing through a rotator cuff bruise on Sunday, all bets are off for New Orleans’ out-of-sync passing game. Brandin Cooks (ankle) is a risky play, too; but probably offers too much upside to bench.

Roddy White, WR, Falcons at Cowboys. White may finally be showing his age, while Leonard Hankerson is making his case for the No. 2 role in Atlanta’s passing attack. Dallas is playing over their heads defensively, which makes White an even shakier start this weekend.

More thumbs down: QBs Sam Bradford, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco; RBs Jeremy Hill, Frank Gore, Joique Bell, Alfred Blue, DeAngelo Williams, LeGarrette Blount, C.J. Spiller, Tre Mason, Devonta Freeman; WRs Eric Decker, Kendall Wright, Andre Johnson, Michael Crabtree, Golden Tate, Nelson Agholor, Markus Wheaton.


Lance Dunbar, RB, Cowboys vs. Falcons. Dunbar is essentially a glorified receiver out of the backfield, which should make him an invaluable safety valve for Brandon Weeden. He’s also an elusive and speedy downfield threat. In PPR leagues especially, Dunbar can rack up the points against Atlanta’s soft pass defense, just like Darren Sproles and Shane Vereen before him.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…keeps Eddie Lacy in your starting lineup without having James Starks as a backup option. Since the Packers play Monday night, and Lacy very easily could be held out with his bum ankle, you’re risking a goose egg otherwise. Better to play a safer option on Sunday if you don’t have Starks in reserve.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 2 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to start…

Tom Brady, Patriots – Handled the vaunted Bills D with ease, passing for 466 yards and a TD hat trick, though he lost a fumble.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Passed for 185 yards and 4 TDs plus an INT.
Andy Dalton, Bengals – Racked up 3 TD passes and 214 yards without a turnover.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills – Coughed up 4 turnovers, but also scored 4 TDs with 242 passing and 43 rushing yards.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – Put up 369 passing yards and 3 TDs without a turnover.
Derek Carr, Raiders – Blitzed the Ravens with 351 yards and 3 TDs, plus 23 rushing yards and an INT.

DeAngelo Williams, Steelers – Ran for 77 yards and 3 short TDs, plus 15 yards on 4 catches.
Matt Jones, Redskins – Made a statement with 123 yards and 2 TDs rushing, plus 3 receptions for 23 yards, though he lost a fumble.
David Johnson, Cardinals – Scored while rushing for 42 yards and took a kickoff return to the house.
Dion Lewis, Patriots – Despite losing a fumble, rushed for 40 yards and a TD and caught 6 passes for 98 yards.

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Had a TD trifecta to go with his 8 receptions for 112 yards.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars – Torched Miami with 6 catches for 155 yards and 2 TDs.
Julio Jones, Falcons – Scored twice on 9 receptions for 141 yards.
Travis Benjamin, Browns – Mr. Big Play made the most of his 3 catches, with 115 yards and 2 TDs, plus a 78-yard punt return.
Julian Edelman, Patriots – Pulled down 11 passes for 97 yards and 2 TDs, plus 12 rushing yards.
Antonio Brown, Steelers – Reeled in 9 passes for 195 yards and a TD.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos – Caught 2 TDs on his 8 receptions for 87 yards.
Odell Beckham, Jr, Giants – Took 7 passes 146 yards, with a TD.
Michael Crabtree, Raiders – Grabbed 9 passes for 111 yards and his first TD as a Raider.
Amari Cooper, Raiders – Nearly matched his counterpart with 7 catches for 109 yards and a score.
Brandon Marshall, Jets – Also had 7 receptions, and produced 101 yards and a TD with them.
Donte Moncrief, Colts – He generated 122 yards and a TD with his 7 catches.
Calvin Johnson, Lions – Got on track in PPR leagues with 10 receptions for 83 yards and a score.
Steve Smith, Ravens – Golden in PPR leagues with 10 grabs for 150 yards.

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – Dominated again with 113 yards and a TD on 7 receptions.
Crockett Gilmore, Ravens – Seized the spotlight with 5 catches for 88 yards and 2 TDs.

Broncos – Racked up 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries and the winning TD on a fumble return.
Cardinals – Collected 2 sacks and 2 INTs while scoring on an INT return and Johnson’s kickoff return.

This was a great week to play against…

Alex Smith, Chiefs – Passed for just 191 yards without a TD, plus 2 INTs.
Andrew Luck, Colts – Came up flat again with 250 yards and a TD ruined by 3 INTs and a fumble.
Tony Romo, Cowboys – Held to 195 yards without a score before getting knocked out with a broken collarbone.
Sam Bradford, Eagles – Looked dreadful while passing for 224 yards and a TD, with 2 INTs and a fumble.

Eddie Lacy, Packers – Exited with an ankle injury after gaining just 9 yards.
Ameer Abdullah, Lions – Practically invisible with 9 yards both rushing and receiving, which matched Joique Bell’s 18 combined yards.
Alfred Blue, Texans – Marginalized with 10 combined yards.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos – Another disappointing effort with 27 rushing yards and a 2-yard reception.
Rashad Jennings, Giants – Posted 12 yards both rushing and receiving.
Tre Mason, Rams – Just 26 rushing yards to go with 4 receiving yards.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals – Out-performed by Gio Bernard, with just 39 rushing yards and a 2-yard catch, before being benched after two fumbles.
Bishop Sankey, Titans – Just 42 rushing yards on the day.
Lamar Miller, Dolphins – Limited to 14 rushing and 28 receiving yards on 5 catches before leaving with an ankle injury.
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks – 41 rushing and 21 receiving yards is not what you expect from your first-round pick.
Chris Ivory, Jets – Just 57 rushing and 3 receiving yards in a big MNF win.
Frank Gore, Colts – He also had only 57 points, but he fumbled.

Roddy White, Falcons – Blanked by the Giants.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers – Rewarded those who counted on him with a goose egg.
Charles Johnson, Vikings – Only 10 yards on his 3 receptions.
Keenan Allen, Chargers – A week after hauling in 15 passes, had just 2 for 16 yards, with a fumble.
Andre Johnson, Colts – Another disappointing night with 27 yards on 3 receptions.
Kendall Wright, Titans – Just 34 yards on 2 catches.
Mike Wallace, Vikings – Just 3 catches for 38 yards.
Davante Adams, Packers – Managed only 33 yards on 5 receptions.
Greg Olsen, Panthers – Managed just an 11-yarder.
Owen Daniels, Broncos – No Julius Thomas here, with 3 for 19 yards.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bucs – The waiver-wire darling nabbed just 2 passes for 29 yards.

It’s ‘next man up’ in Fantasyland

That moaning sound you hear is the world’s most depressing victory celebration in Dallas. The angst is shared across Fantasyland as Tony Romo’s owners now must shift to Plan B, which hopefully doesn’t stand for Bradford.

Romo’s broken collarbone – coupled with last weekend’s loss of Dez Bryant – will almost certainly have a negative domino effect on every other member of the Cowboys’ offense. Sorry, but Brandon Weeden’s “perfect” showing in relief of Romo on Sunday is about as relevant as Sam Bradford’s outstanding preseason.

I suppose developments like these are what fuel much of the interest in weekly fantasy games. But those of us old schoolers who remember a simpler time before 24x7 DraftKings commercials can’t just start over with a whole new team this week any more than Jerry Jones can.

And dagnabbit, that’s the way we like it!

So we’ll take our lumps, turn to our bench for the “next man up” and play them one game at a time. Then we’ll scour the waiver wire for a young buck or two to buttress our lineup while our starters mend their wounds.

We don’t yet know how many games, if any, will be missed by Eddie Lacy (ankle), Lamar Miller (ankle), Tevin Coleman (ribs) or Jordan Cameron (groin), or if Jeremy Hill’s benching is permanent. No one can predict with certainty when DeMarco Murray will celebrate his first double-digit rushing performance in Philly. Heck, we don’t even know who Crockett Gillmore is, period.

But we’ll move forward, uphill, barefooted, in the snow, like real fantasy football players, all the way to the playoffs. And we’ll do it with the core group of men we drafted during the preseason. Because that’s what Vince Lombardi would want us to do.


To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills. It’s hard not to be impressed by how resilient the athletic quarterback has been in his first two starts in Buffalo. Though Taylor coughed up the ball four times and was sacked eight times by New England, he also amassed four TDs, including one on the ground. Just as important, he got Sammy Watkins involved this week. The Bills’ schedule is favorable moving forward so Taylor is worth a backup spot on your roster if you’re in need of QB help.

Matt Jones, RB, Redskins. Those banking on Alfred Morris should be very concerned, as the third-round draft pick significantly out-performed the starter against a very stout Rams defense. With 146 combined yards and two TDs on Sunday, Jones just had his coming-out party. Could the rookie be the new leading man in Washington?

James Starks, RB, Packers. Eddie Lacy’s owners should already have Starks handcuffed for times like this. The veteran is fully capable of carrying the rushing load as long as Lacy’s ankle injury keeps him out.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. If Tevin Coleman’s rib injury forces him to miss games, Freeman will become Atlanta’s workhorse by default. The committee system has kept both backs’ value in check thus far, but Freeman’s stock will rise sharply if the rookie can’t go.

Travis Benjamin, WR, Browns. The knock on Benjamin is that he sees so few targets in Cleveland’s lackluster pass offense. But he sure knows how to make the most of them! With three long receiving scores and a punt return TD in the first two weeks of 2015, it’s time to give Mr. Big Play his due.

Don’t be fooled

Brandon Weeden, QB, Cowboys. He looked awful last season when pressed into action as the Cowboys’ starter, and that was with Dez Bryant on the field. Look elsewhere (like Buffalo, or even Oakland) for help if Romo was your guy.

Alfred Blue, RB, Texans. Blue has been marginalized in Houston’s backfield rotation, touching the ball just six times on Sunday. With Arian Foster (groin) on pace to return soon, you can safely unload the underachieving backup.

Owen Daniels, TE, Broncos. With just five receptions for 24 yards over his first two games as a Bronco, there’s scant evidence that Daniels will be the next Julius Thomas. Feel free to drop him. Virgil Green scored on a short pass on Sunday, but he, too, is a bit player in Denver’s retooled passing attack.