Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Breakdown: With the season half way over, the movin’ up breakdown obviously must evolve accordingly. This first section is, as usual, guys who are on rosters and are worth moving up to your starting lineup for the games this coming weekend, and in some cases beyond. We evaluate trends as well as matchups to help you as you set your lineup for the upcoming weekend.
Jay Cutler (CHI) – If you aren’t too worried about interceptions in your leagues scoring system, Cutler’s your guy. With a nice matchup against a San Francisco defense that gives up quite a bit of yardage through the air, Cutler warrants a mention here. With the lack of solid receivers he’s had an up and down season, and while he’s on someone’s roster in every league, he’s one of the guys who is often a number two guy instead of the top dog. This week is the time to start him, unless you have a no kidding number one option ahead of him. With a struggling running game and an opponent with one of the best rush defenses in the league, all indications are that Cutler will have a pretty nice game on Thursday night for a national audience.
Joe Flacco (BAL) – Flacco had a less that exciting week last weekend, but gets a dream matchup this week with Cleveland on Monday night. In week three against the Browns Flacco threw for 342 yards. While he only had one touchdown in that game, it would be well within the realm of expectations to think he would top three hundred yards again but add an extra touchdown or two. Flacco has become a feast or famine kind of quarterback, but this week is the closest thing to a lock you’re likely to get. Start Flacco over just about anyone this week.
Waiver Wire Radar
Breakdown: These are guys who more than likely are not residing on many, if any, rosters. They are in situations that are favorable for possible fantasy this week and possibly beyond.
Josh Freeman (TBB) – Freeman got his first start this past week and performed admirably in leading the Bucs to their first win of the season. While he didn’t blow things up as much in the yardage category, he did throw for three short touchdowns, which is likely to be what the majority of his scores will look like, at least early on. He gets an instate rivalry game with the Dolphins this week, so will have his work cut out for him, but Miami’s pass defense isn’t the best in the league and this very likely will be one of those dink and dunk type outings with a number of short touchdowns, playing right into Freeman’s comfort zone. Obviously Freeman isn’t about to uproot anyone as a number one fantasy quarterback anytime soon, but, especially for owners of Eli Manning or Matt Schaub this week - the only two quarterbacks on a bye, he is a fairly decent option for this week only.
Matt Cassel (KCC) – Again, owners of Eli Manning and Matt Schaub may be looking for one week only assistance this week, and that assistance could be found in Matt Cassel. With a new veteran receiver in Chris Chambers, a young stud in Dwayne Bowe, and a few other capable options, he takes on an Oakland team that should yield at least solid numbers via the air this week. While Kansas City is anything but a scary offense, a 250 yard, 2 touchdown day isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility. Considering the disastrous state of the running game, the teams’ only option these days is to throw, and they’ve started doing that fairly well. Consider Cassel a solid emergency fill in this week should one be needed.
…And On The Slide – Quick Hits
Breakdown: These are guys who are relatively well known, but due to one circumstance or the other – whether a matchup, injury, or lack of performance – are not good starts this week, and in some cases beyond.
Matt Ryan (ATL) – Let me be very clear here. Ryan is not on the slide for the season, rather just this week. Ryan had a great day against Carolina in the second week of the season, tossing three touchdowns. That, however, was in Atlanta and that was not the same team who had made life relatively miserable for Drew Brees and the Saints the week prior. The Panthers have struggled all season but are still a very solid opponent, and with the confidence they gained this week, coupled with the struggles Ryan’s had periodically this season, all signs point to this being a good week to put Ryan on the bench and grab one of the guys mentioned above if possible to give you a better odds-on chance at good numbers.
Matthew Stafford (DET) – I’ll admit it, I am a Detroit Lions fan. Being born and raised for over 20 years in Michigan will doom a guy to a fate such as that. However, I am also a Matthew Stafford fan, but I’m ‘jumping off’ the bandwagon this week. Stafford was looking solid – for a rookie – the first few weeks of the season, but it seems as though whatever confidence he had before injuring his knee has dissipated and he just doesn’t seem as sure of himself. He did have his first multiple touchdown game this past weekend, but his atrocious INT showing had him doubting himself, a la Mark Sanchez a couple of weeks back. However, the ‘bounce back’ game Stafford has facing him just happens to be against the Vikings in Minnesota. This doesn’t usually bode well for the Lions in general, and bodes even worse for Stafford at this point in the season. He’ll figure things out at some point in all likelihood, but at the moment Stafford owners who are not in keeper leagues should be looking to replace Stafford with someone who is a better option for the remaining weeks of the season.