Week 10: Start 'Em
When it comes to setting your lineups for each week of the fantasy season, a good rule of thumb is simply to not over think it. You drafted players for a reason and in almost all cases, it is to play them from the jump. Then again, don't let draft day pride interfere with a basic - or detailed - look at the match-ups, something you most likely do throughout the season. That's why we offer the "Start 'em" column, where we look beyond the obvious names to offer suggestions on potential lineup options, perhaps someone sitting on your bench right now that you may have simply overlooked. Throughout the season check back here for sleepers and oh so subtle plays and also sneak a peak at our Matchup Analyzer page.
While it took longer than most people thought, Darren McFadden got injured and missed most of the last game. On top of that, McFadden's back up -- Mike --also left the game early with an injury. Both of them have a high ankle sprain, which usually means missing multiple games. If that's the case, the running back most likely to put up the most fantasy points is Marcel Reece, who (in a PPR league) could be a very useful flex or even RB2 in a deep league. When the two top backs went out with injuries, the Raiders turned to Reece instead of Taiwan Jones, and he caught 8 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Yes, the Raiders were behind, but he was catching passes before this, with 18 going into last week's game. The Raiders will be in a tough place vs. the Ravens this week and will most likely be playing from behind, so you can expect a lot of passes Reece's way; so if youre in a PPR league, give Reece a look
Despite coming close to surpassing all his 2011 numbers, Rogers hasn't been used as much as the Falcons would have thought going into the season. Look for the Falcons to start to use him more as the season goes on, to keep everyone fresh for the stretch and no better game to start than this week vs. the Saints. I see this game being a big shootout with lots of scoring. Look for Rogers to gain over 100 total yards and with at least 4 receptions. If you need help at flex this week, Rogers makes for a good choice.
Pierre Thomas was going about his business this season, being part of a three headed running back committee, helping out in the run and pass game. Then Saints super stud Darren Sproles had to have surgery on his hand and will miss some time. While the Saints still plan to use a committee approach, Thomas will be getting more looks and touches. In his first game without Sproles, Thomas had 70 total yards and 2 receptions in what was a very weird game. This week in a big division matchup vs. the undefeated Falcons, look for the Saints to rely more on Thomas. Look for him to gain over 100 total yards, catch a few passes and even score a touchdown. He makes for a solid RB2 start and a good flex start.
Like the Chargers, Floyd has had an up and down season making it very hard to know when he will put up his big games. He has been more consistent in PPR leagues as he has consistently been able to catch an average of 4 passes per game. The bigger issue is lack of yards and touchdowns. That should change this week as the Chargers face a Bucs team giving up a league worst 321 yards per game through the air (including 414 last week to Carson Palmer). Floyd is still the #1 target in San Diego and should have no problem putting up a big game this week vs. the Bucs. He makes for a solid start as WR3 or flex.
The rookie surprises keep on coming in the NFL and T.Y. Hilton is just another example. When the Colts drafted Hilton in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft they were hoping that over time he would develop a solid rapport with fellow rookie QB Andrew Luck, they definitely weren't expecting it to happen so soon. So far, after 8 games, Hilton has already caught 24 receptions for 355 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a big game last weekend when he caught 6 passes for 102 yards and a TD. Luck has been raving about his fellow rookie. With all the coverage that Reggie Wayne gets, Hilton will continue to get open looks and many opportunities to put up solid fantasy numbers. If you need a flex or WR3 this week, give Hilton a look.