Another six teams are on bye this week, making some fantasy owners’ lineup decisions a bit more difficult. Let’s check the matchups to make sure.
WR Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons: In the two weeks before Atlanta’s bye, White caught 14 passes for 166 yards and a score. He was inactive for the Falcons’ Week 3 thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but should join the fun this time. Don’t fear Matt Ryan’s road performance. This should be a near-repeat against the most advantageous fantasy matchup for wide receivers in standard scoring leagues, and the third-best in point-per-reception formats.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has seen 6-plus targets in six of his eight games. In the last two, he has 16 targets and 12 catches. Quarterback Carson Palmer is clicking, and the St. Louis Rams are one of the softest fantasy opponents for wideouts.
RB Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals: With Giovani Bernard inactive last week, Hill churned out 156 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. His momentum will carry over in the short week, assuming Bernard will have to sit again.
TE Larry Donnell, New York Giants: Donnell’s involvement has been a violent roller coaster, but the Giants offense has weathered the absence of Victor Cruz. The surprisingly flawed Seattle Seahawks have been a top-10 doormat against tight ends all year. Expect New York to exploit that weakness.
QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: Newton has thrown for 2-plus touchdowns only twice this year. But the Philadelphia Eagles, yielding the second most fantasy points to this position, have allowed at least two touchdowns in every game except Week 6. Mobile quarterbacks also have taken advantage. This could be Newton’s signature 2014 game.
RB Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints: Ingram registered 100 yards and 2 touchdowns against the flimsy Carolina Panthers last Thursday, but he needed 30 carries to do it. The biggest damage to the San Francisco 49ers’ otherwise stout rushing defense came from DeMarco Murray, Jamaal Charles and Ronnie Hillman. Ingram doesn’t profile similarly to these elusive pass-catchers. He’s in for a long day.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants: Beckham has scored 3 touchdowns in his first four NFL games, and Monday night he caught 8 of 11 targets for 156 yards. He’s the Giants’ No. 1 receiver right now. But Seattle has not allowed a touchdown to a wide receiver since Week 5, instead showing more cracks against tight ends. Expect Beckham and Eli Manning to be clamped down more than usual.
WR Golden Tate, Detroit Lions: Consider this a warning about unrealistic expectations. Coming off the bye, Detroit is probably welcoming back injured players Calvin Johnson (ankle) and Reggie Bush (ankle), which means Tate’s average of 11.8 targets per game since Week 3 is bound to go down. The Miami Dolphins have been tough against quarterbacks and wideouts of late. That makes Tate more of a second fantasy wideout than a first.
QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Sure, Romo’s flight didn’t appear to make his back problems worse, and he’s expected to play. But it’s still another country in which he has to play through a physical ailment. Dallas has Murray to lean on against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has folded against competent ground teams.
QB Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles: TChip Kelly’s offense helps quarterbacks, and stepping in for Nick Foles (collarbone), Sanchez has ample weapons. The Carolina Panthers are a defensive corpse compared to last year and have yielded the sixth most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
RB Bryce Brown, Buffalo Bills: Kansas City hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown to this position all year, but have you seen the list of bye-week RBs? Take a chance on Brown, who had his recent bye week to digest his increasing role. The Chiefs have been pestered by quicker, pass-catching running backs of late, including, of all people, Chris Johnson in Week 9. The more talented Brown at least should come closer to matching Anthony Dixon’s snap total, especially if Buffalo is forced to throw more often. Even if Fred Jackson (groin) returns, that hurts Dixon more than Brown, who’d still be a flex option.
WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans: Rookie QB Zach Mettenberger is hard to trust right now, but Hunter’s playmaking ability alone earns him this listing. He snared four passes for 31 yards and a touchdown on a team-leading 10 targets during Mettenberger’s Week 8 NFL debut. Coming off the bye, their chemistry should increase against a secondary that looked like a Pop Warner team without Jimmy Smith (foot).
QB Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams: Davis hasn’t topped 160 passing yards in any of the last three weeks but should air it out often, considering St. Louis’ weak rushing offense and Arizona’s excellence at stopping the run. The Cardinals have been vulnerable through the air, however, because of the volume of throws they face.
TE Clay Harbor, Jacksonville Jaguars: Harbor whiffed in his tasty Week 9 matchup against Cincinnati, but Dallas is showing more holes in its passing defense. The Cowboys have ranked in the top 10 for average fantasy points allowed to tight ends for most of the year.