Week 12: Sit 'em
Who knows what to believe regarding the severity of Rivers' rib injury? Tight end Antonio Gates said after Sunday's win that his starting quarterback is dealing with a 'very severe' injury. Then his head coach said he's fine. Rivers has struggled in the past two games, tossing just one touchdown and three interceptions in matchups with Oakland and Miami. On the season, he's averaging 254 yards per game but has failed to crack 210 yards in three of the past four contests. Regardless of his health, Rivers will be hard-pressed to post QB1 numbers this week against a surging St. Louis defense that has allowed just three touchdown passes during the past four games. The Rams have registered 18 sacks over their past five games (second-most in the league) and are coming off a Week 11 effort in which they held a Denver offense averaging 29 points per game to seven. As if you needed further evidence to consider benching Rivers, Vegas expects limited scoring in this game, setting the over-under at 43 points, third-lowest of the week.
Matty Ice has the Falcons sitting atop the NFC South despite a 4-6 record but his fantasy owners might not be enjoying the same place in their standings if he is their top signal-caller. Ryan is averaging 279 yards per game but hasn't topped 300 yards since Week 5 and has passed for multiple scores only once since Week 4. He hasn't lived up to expectations this season, especially over past six weeks despite favorable matchups against the Giants, Bears, Buccaneers and Panthers. In Week 12, he will face a Cleveland defense allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, including just 14 touchdown passes over their first 10 contests. With only two teams on bye this week (Carolina and Pittsburgh), Ryan owners should consider their alternatives before relying on him in a matchup against the Browns' stingy secondary led by cornerback Joe Haden.
Mathews returned to action in Week 11 after missing seven games with an MCL sprain. He carried the ball 16 times for 70 yards, but the Chargers' backfield remained a committee with rookie Branden Oliver getting 14 touches and the bulk of the red-zone plays. Donald Brown is still chipping in as well. Mathews remains the best option in standard leagues considering he had just 26 catches last season and could continue giving way on passing downs to Oliver, a Darren Sproles clone. The matchup this week is troublesome as the Rams' defense has allowed only one rushing touchdown and an average of 40 yards per game to opposing running backs over the past three weeks. Mathews' owners should continue selling him now based on the 'Murderers' Row' of matchups on the horizon (Baltimore, New England, Denver, San Francisco, Kansas City).
Miller has been battling a nagging shoulder injury but appeared rather healthy last Thursday night against Buffalo. He finished the Week 11 win with 98 total yards, just one week after a dismal four-carry, 10-yard performance against Detroit. Miller will continue to lead this backfield, but rookie Damien Williams could see more touches down the stretch if the Dolphins' coaching staff has any questions regarding Miller's health. Williams had 10 touches for 61 yards as the lead back in the loss to the Lions but saw his role reduced last week as his only touches came on two receptions for a total of 38 yards. The Dolphins' offensive line also remains a concern following the loss of left tackle Branden Albert for the season and faces a very stiff test this week in Mile High against a Broncos defense allowing a league-low 57 yards per game on the ground to opposing running backs. Miller has topped 15 carries only once this season and will likely produce lower-end RB2 numbers against a defense that has yielded just four rushing touchdowns to RBs.
Floyd remains one of the more frustrating players to roster in fantasy. Many of his owners likely benched him last week due to his nearly invisible production recently and a difficult matchup with Detroit. He was able to regain fantasy relevance by catching both of his targets and taking them to the house. Despite that out-of-nowhere performance, Floyd's upside remains limited as he's been held to four catches or fewer in seven straight games and is averaging just 45 yards per this season. He is also averaging just 5.4 targets per game. This week's meeting with shutdown cornerback Richard Sherman is one to avoid unless you are desperate. With Larry Fitzgerald listed as questionable with an MCL sprain, Floyd could see extra defensive attention, making him nothing more than a low-end WR3 for the trip to CenturyLink Field.