Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fantasy Football: Ten Sneaky Starts

Flacco, Newton, and more

Posted by Karl Brenkert on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Everyone knows to start Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Graham. You win the week by knowing which players you picked up in the late rounds and free agency to put in your starting lineup. If you are on the fence about a player, err on the side of a favorable match-up. This week Miami and Atlanta have a bye week ,but all of Atlanta's playmakers are injured, so neither team offered much in the way starting options, anyway. With no further ado, here are 10 guys with favorable match-ups that you should find a way to sneak into your starting lineup.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens face a Green Bay defense that is giving up an average of 288 yards a game and allowing opposing quarterbacks to amass a 107.2 passer rating. With a struggling running game, the Ravens should throw deep all day long.

Cam Newton has been a disappointment this year, to say the least. He was drafted as a top 5 quarterback, but it seems the brilliant football minds of Ron Rivera and Mike Shula have conspired to turn him into the number 16 QB. Fortunately for Newton owners, this week he faces the Vikings, one of the worst passing defenses in the league. This is not the week to sit Cam and experiment with someone like Geno Smith or Ben Rothlisberger.

Gio Bernard has flashed this season, but he hasn't had a breakout game despite scoring two touchdowns against Pittsburgh. This week he faces a Bills defense that gives up an average of 116 yards rushing and 261 yards through the air. I get the feeling he's due for a big play and will finally crack 100 yards from scrimmage.

DeMarco Murray has had an up and down season so far. He's struggled against the top defenses and abused the poorer defenses like a Republican. Murray should shut down Washington and their 31st ranked rushing defense faster than a Texas Tea Partier this week.

Bilal Powell isn't setting the league on fire, but he is averaging 4.2 yards a carry. He should improve on that this week against a terrible Pittsburgh rushing defense. The only question is whether he can get enough touches in a suddenly crowded backfield.

Knowshon Moreno is running angry. He's taken control of the crowded Denver backfield and should unleash his anger on the worst rushing defense in the league this week. As if Denver were not setting enough records this year, Jacksonville is an NFL record 28-point underdog on Sunday. Expect Denver to put this game away early and then run out the clock.

Justin Blackmon came back from suspension last week and put up 136 yards including a 67 yard touchdown. Long after Denver grabs the lead and tries to run out the game, Jacksonville will keep airing it out. Denver's defense gives up the most passing yards per game because everyone they play is playing catch up.

Rueben Randle is the No. 3 option in the passing game for the Giants, but since the Giants have no running game and a terrible defense, they are always throwing the ball. The Giants play a suspect Bears passing defense on Thursday night and Randle has a good chance of finding the end zone for a second straight game.

Anquan Boldin and I have a love/hate relationship this year. If I tell you to start him, he won't have a catch. If I recommend benching him, he'll go for 200 yards. Therefore, whatever you do, do not start Boldin against an Arizona defense boasting Patrick Peterson and the Honey Badger. Of course, the Cardinals have the second ranked rushing defense, so I'm not sure where San Fran will get its offense if not through the passing game.

Brent Celek suddenly emerged when Nick Foles took over for Michael Vick last week. With Vick sitting this week and Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis matched up on DeSean Jackson, Foles may again look to his safety blanket to keep the chains moving.

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