Here’s what we found in the mailbag this week:
1. Are there any running back committees worth playing?
Sure! But they might not be the same one each week. Look for two-man committees over three-man committees and never trust Seattle, no matter what Pete Carroll says. If roles are defined, look for matchups that might cause one role to get more usage than the other. For instance, if a team is a heavy underdog, play the pass receiving back. Committees that split time and roles evenly, like the Jets, can’t be trusted.
This week, I like CJ Anderson in Denver’s committee and Orleans Darkwa in the Giants’ split backfield. Play Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara every week. No Jets or Seahawks are worth a play.
2. Is Kelvin Benjamin worth playing right away?
Benjamin’s first game with Buffalo could be a bad-weather event. New Orleans has a top-flight pass defense over the last few weeks. Tyrod Taylor will look for his new option early to settle him in. But Buffalo’s short-pass and run game, especially in bad weather, could limit Benjamin’s value. Watch the Buffalo weather carefully. If it takes a turn for the better, Kelvin Benjamin is a good play, but probably not great. In bad weather, look for a safer option.
3. Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen, and DeSean Jackson- I need one opposite Julio Jones.
Keenan Allen is out because he faces the Jaguars’ top passing defense. Thielen faces the Redskins’ 6th-ranked NFL fantasy defense against wide receivers. DeSean Jackson will be the lead receiver for Ryan Fitzpatrick in a revenge game against his former team. Jackson is the easy choice.
4. Marcus Mariota or Ben Roethlisberger?
Big Ben has been doing alright since his five-interception meltdown in Week 5, but just alright. Le’Veon Bell provides the bulk of the Steelers’ offense. Mariota hasn’t been great, but he had an efficient game this past week. Mariota would get my nod most weeks because of Corey Davis. I really think Davis’ presence immediately improves the play of Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker. But…
Indianapolis plays the Steelers this week. They are a top-five fantasy defense against both quarterbacks and wide receivers. Roethlisberger gets to throw against the Colts’ fifth-worst fantasy defense against quarterbacks. So, based on the matchup, Roethlisberger is the choice this week.
5. Golden Tate, Ted Ginn, Rishard Matthews, and Robert Wood and does the third offer a better flex than Dion Lewis?
Ginn and Matthews sit because of matchups this week. Ginn also has a warm-weather quarterback dealing with cold and rain in Buffalo. Golden Tate gets the good matchup with Cleveland and Robert Wood gets an equal matchup with Houston. Dion Lewis should be your flex.
6. No matter what tight end I stream, I get nothing, only to see them have big weeks later. How do you pick a good tight end?
Once you get past the top three of Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz, every tight end is touchdown-dependent. 100-yard games like Jared Cook are extremely rare. Cameron Brate is the TE-4 and averages eight points per game. By the time you get to the TE-12, six points are what to expect. It is a coin-flip, but there are a few automatics. The Giants, Browns, Broncos, and Redskins give up over ten points per game to tight ends. Stream their opponents. Recently, the Rams have let tight ends score touchdowns. The Giants’ Evan Engram is coming on as a weekly play, mainly because he is used as a wide receiver. That’s how I decide.
7. Is Martavis Bryant worth starting this week?
The word from Pittsburgh is that Martavis Bryant has been sufficiently humbled and will be welcomed back into the fold when the Steelers return from their bye. Even after his scolding immediately after Bryant’s rant, I expect Ben Roethlisberger to look for Bryant deep and early to show opponents they still need to worry about his third receiver. Yes, Bryant is worth playing this week, especially against the Colts.
8. Is Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree the best Raider receiver to play?
Almost half of Amari Cooper’s 2017 yardage total and two of his three touchdowns came in one game. With that game, he is barely hanging on to a top-30 ranking. Without it, he would be outside the top 60. Crabtree is a top-ten receiver because of his consistency. Cooper has great talent and is always a threat to go off for another 200 yards and two touchdowns. But Crabtree is the consistent fantasy value with a superior floor and a ceiling just as high as Cooper.
There you go. If you would like to see a question answered in next week’s NFL Fantasy Mailbag, send it to us at [email protected]
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