With the Bengals coming out of their bye in Week 7, the second half of the season is now officially underway for the undefeated ACF North leaders. They face their division rivals this week in the Pittsburgh Steelers, but my guess is the game won't be as close as we thought when the season first started.
It's almost a certainty that Ben Roethlisberger plays this week, pushing Landry Jones back to the bench. Jones was promoted to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart, ahead of Michael Vick. Big Ben obviously adds a whole different dimension to the Steelers passing game, one they have been desperately missing under Jones and Vick.
Around the NFL, Alfred Blue and Nate Washington saw their ownership spike when the waiver wires opened on Wednesday. With Arian Foster out for the season, and likely done with the Texans altogether, Blue becomes the lead back, with Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes getting touches here and there. If you are in desperate need of RB help, Blue is the back you want of them all, but we've already seen that Blue can't be trusted. Washington gets more targets than people think. And while last week was the exception, not the rule, he will provide decent WR3/4 value for those in PPR formats.
In some exciting news, FanDuel has decided to offer official company swag to the best E-Mail each week from the Bengals Fantasy Forecast. FanDuel is also offering the Cincy Fantasy Pass, where you can play against me for FREE and get a chance to win 2 VIP Suite Tickets for the November 29th game vs. St. Louis (Week 12) – plus, exclusive FanDuel merch. You'll also get entry into our Cincy Fantasy Pass grand-prize tournament at season's end.
Philip Rivers – Chargers: The Chargers are a bit of a mess right now, with a running game that is floundering, and a defense that is ranked 3rd worst in fantasy football thanks to their 180 points allowed. With that being the case, Rivers is forced to throw from behind a LOT, which fantasy owners knows is gold! The Ravens secondary is in shambles, and they are giving up 24.9 PPG to fantasy QBs this season, 2nd most in the NFL. At $8,500 on FanDuel, Rivers is the 3rd most expensive QB on the market.
Andy Dalton– Bengals: Dalton is one of the most underrated fantasy QBs in the league this season. Did you know he was ranked #1 for all QBs before his bye last week? The Steelers are giving up 20.8 PPG to QBs this season, 14th most in the NFL. But, Dalton is averaging 34.14 PPG, making him more likely than not to eclipse the Steelers season average. I like Dalton as a top-5 fantasy QB this week. $8,100 on FanDuel puts Dalton as their 5th most expensive QB, but someone you can build a competitive roster around.
Charcandrick West – Chiefs: West was looking like a bust taking over for Jamaal Charles, until last week when he ran the ball 22 times for 110 yards and a touchdown. So the question becomes, is he Lamar Miller (real value) or Matt Jones (fool's gold)? My guess is somewhere in the middle, but with the needle leaning towards real value this week as he gets a helpless Lions run defense that is giving up a generous 22.0 PPG to RBs this season, 8th most in the NFL. I have him as a high-end RB2, with a real shot at RB1 numbers if he scores.
Chris Johnson – Cardinals: I'll be honest and say I was one of the last to buy into CJ2K this season, meaning I don't own him in a single league I'm in. Because of my doubts, I have missed out on 567 rushing yards (2nd most in the NFL), 3 TDs, and subsequently, fantasy football's #10 ranked RB. No more do I ignore him though! CJ2K gets the best match-up one could hope for this week as he takes on a Browns defense that is allowing a robust 26.2 PPG to RBs, the MOST in the NFL this year! For those who play DFS, his $7,300 price tag on FanDuel should be well worth the price!
Stefon Diggs – Vikings: Diggs has hit the scene with a vengeance, racking up 324 receiving yards (108 YPG), back-to-back 100-plus yard games, and a touchdown in just 3 games! I won't say he is this year's Odell Beckham Jr., but he is someone that obviously has the eye of Teddy Bridgewater and Vikings OC, Norv Turner. Diggs gets a Bears secondary this week that gives up 28.5 PPG to WRs this year, 3rd most in the NFL. If he can catch 6-of-10 targets for 87 yards against the Broncos elite defense, imagine what he will do against a Bears defense that is ranked in the bottom 3 for fantasy purposes!
Jeremy Maclin – Chiefs: Maclin missed last week's game against the Steelers with a concussion, but is practicing in full this week and is listed as probable for Sunday's game in London. The Lions give up a hefty 26.8 PPG to WRs, 7th most in the NFL this season. Maclin is all the Chiefs really have in the way of WRs, and only Travis Kelce will challenge him for targets. Get Maclin back in your line-ups this weekend!
Tyler Eifert– Bengals: Did you know that just two teams (Raiders and Seahawks) in the NFL give up more fantasy points to TEs than the Steelers? That makes Eifert a top-tier fantasy TE this week, right below Rob Gronkowsi and Greg Olsen. The Bengals are coming off a bye, going up against a division rival they are looking to put out for the count, and Eifert has found his role under OC Hue Jackson.
New York Jets defense: The Jets get a Raiders team that isn't a laughing stock any longer. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Latavius Murray, and even Michael Crabtree are looking pretty solid on the offensive side of the ball. The problem with that is the Jets are tied for 4th in the NFL with 8 INTs, and are sure to be fired up after getting embarrassed last week by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. They are in the top 10 with 8.5 fantasy PPG at FanDuel, and cost $4,800.
Andrew Luck – Colts: Luck has been anything but lucky this season for his fantasy owners, ranking out as the #21 fantasy QB this season so far. To make matter worse for him, this week he gets a Panthers defense that is giving up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. They have allowed just 5 TD passes from QBs, while snatching 9 INTs along the way. With Luck himself 11 TDs to 9 INTs this season, I would bet on him doing what nobody else can do to the Panthers in Week 8.
Derek Carr – Raiders: Carr has put together an impressive sophomore campaign, throwing for 1,430 yards, 11 TDs, and just 3 INTs through 6 games this season. The Raiders are getting better, and Carr is leading the charge in that effort. The problem this week is they face a Jets defense that is giving up just 17.2 PPG to QBs this year, 4th fewest in the NFL. You can be sure that Darrel Revis and Co. are going to make sure Amari Cooper doesn't show them up in Oakland.
Melvin Gordon – Chargers: Gordon was the next great running back in San Diego before the season started, but has since become more of the same for Chargers fans. After suffering through Ryan Mathews and Daren Sproles, the Chargers traded up to get Gordon, someone Mike Mayock (NFL Media analyst) said was a "perfect fit for San Diego." Gordon has averaged a miserable 46.9 YPG this season, putting his YPC at just 3.9. Gordon is this year's Bishop Sankey… a complete bust!
Orleans Darkwa – Giants: People are reading WAY too much into Darkwa's 48 yards and a TD last week against the Cowboys. Darkwa would have to overtake not just Andre Williams to have fantasy value, but also Shane Vereen, and he'd have to seriously eat into Rashad Jennings' carries as well. Darkwa is just a cog in the big wheel of RBs the Giants use, and not someone that is going to be the next free agent gem.
Brandon LaFell – Patriots: LaFell saw his fair share of targets out of the gate last week with 8, but managed to haul in just 2 of them (6 drops) for 25 yards. I have no doubts that the Patriots will still target him in the passing game, but the Dolphins are giving up the 13th fewest fantasy points to WRs this year at 24.9 PPG, and they looked renewed and ready to show off their new scheme under interim Head Coach Dan Campbell. I would sit him until we see at least one good fantasy outing from him. I'd rather miss one good game than play him for 3 or 4 bad ones.
Davante Adams – Packers: Adams was a hot pick off the waiver wire because he was slated to be the Packers No. 2 WR behind Randall Cobb after Jordy Nelson went down for the season. The problem is he failed to impress in his first 2 games, totaling just 9 catches for 92 yards and no TDs. He has basically missed the last 4 games (went down in Week 3), and comes back to not only a tough Broncos defense, but fighting James Jones for targets. Adams is a weak WR3 option, and not someone I am buying this week on FanDuel, even at a basement price of $5,300.
Jason Witten – Cowboys: Here's the problem you have with Witten; he has Matt Cassel as his QB. While the Seahawks have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to TEs this season (12.1 PPG), Cassel is a low-end back-up QB that nobody trusts unless they have Brandon Weeden at the helm. Witten will cost you $5,500 on FanDuel, when for $500 more you could get Eifert. No thank you!
Denver Broncos defense: The Broncos have been the best defense in the NFL this season, both in fantasy and in reality. This week however they hit a Packers offense coming off a bye, and a little healthier than they were before. Aaron Rodgers isn't someone I am willing to bet against, although I think the Broncos cause him problems. Nevertheless, there are better value picks for DSF players with their $4,700 price tag over at FanDuel.