Vinnie Iyer notes that there have been some rookie studs for fantasy owners, which has provided good reason to consider them reliable starters. But Iyer still likes several veterans in week 10, as he details in his Start/Sit options.
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It’s been a very good year for rookie quarterbacks in the NFL. Last year we had the overnight sensation who was Cam Newton, but there are a lot more fantasy-playable options this season. It’s less surprising with the top two “real” draft picks. Robert Griffin III was a weekly play for the first month and Andrew Luck has delivered some veteran-like numbers in good matchups. Then you consider both Russell Wilson and Brandon Weeden have each produced some excellent statistical performances.
What we’ve also learned is that no matter how talented and exciting a rookie quarterback can be he’s still a rookie quarterback. That makes them a lot harder to predict, and that makes them no more than a platoon player.
So be careful when and where you trust them, especially as we get deeper into the second half and they get closer to that proverbial rookie wall. This week, however, lines up well for the one rookie starter we didn’t mention above.
Joe Flacco, Ravens. Flacco has been such a non-factor in fantasy of late that he has gone from early-season starter to not even a bye-week play for most rosters. But if you need a bye-week fill-in for Aaron Rodgers, Flacco should be able to drop 250 and 2 on the Raiders‘ secondary where he plays best, in Baltimore.
Three more: Eli Manning will rebound from the Steelers disaster by putting up a similar game to big brother Peyton in Cincinnati; Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, even without Antonio Brown, should be good for a couple more scores at home against Kansas City on Monday night; if you’re in a deep league needing a fill-in, consider Dolphins rookie Ryan Tannehill at home vs. the Titans’ porous pass defense.
Vick Ballard, Colts. Ballard is becoming a midseason pickup gem — so much for Donald Brown affecting his ability to produce. He runs hard and is versatile enough to consistently contribute as a receiver (PPR-friendly). Ballard steps into a great matchup with Jacksonville’s run defense on Thursday night.
Three more: There’s no riddle in New England’s backfield about Stevan Ridley, who should go off against the Bills again; you should also like Jacksonville’s Rashad Jennings to get going at bit on the other side of the Colts; if you need a sneaky RB2 or flex play, Atlanta’s Jacquizz Rodgers can put up good combined yardage at New Orleans.
Malcom Floyd, Chargers. Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal are expected to return from hamstring injuries, and Danario Alexander is expected to see more work. But Floyd remains San Diego’s best outside receiver, and should work over the Buccaneers’ weakness at cornerback for a few long gains and a TD.
Three more: Along with Flacco, expect the speedy Torrey Smith to break free down the sideline against the Raiders; Miami’s Brian Hartline posted a hundy in Indy last week and should be busy against the Titans; Tennessee’s Kenny Britt got warmed up a bit, and he should beat the Dolphins‘ secondary more often than not.
Anthony Fasano, Dolphins. If you’re hurting at tight end, it’s always time to think about Fasano, because he’s the cheap guy on the waiver wire who can get you a touchdown. It might come with only one or two catches and fewer than 20 yards, but those 8 points look pretty good at this position.
Three more: The Broncos are reliable to give up tight-end yards, and this week’s beneficiary will be Carolina’s Greg Olsen; with the Giants going back to more running and shorter passing in Cincinnati, you can deploy Martellus Bennett; if there’s any Bill most likely to score on the Patriots, it’s Scott Chandler.
Giants. Tom Coughlin came out and challenged his group after a poor performance against Pittsburgh, even going as far to say it was “soft.” That should be a wakeup call and motivation for all of New York’s defenders, who will get a few sacks and interceptions against Andy Dalton on the road in Cincinnati.
Three more: The Steelers are the next team in line to take advantage of the Chiefs’ mistakes, especially extra pumped at night at home; the Cowboys can get you some sacks and takeaways from the Eagles in an ugly matchup; the Patriots should tee off on the Bills at home while protecting a big lead in the second half.
Carson Palmer, Raiders. Don’t chase last week’s box score, which included 400-plus yards and 4 TDs. It also had three interceptions at home for Palmer. On paper, the Ravens‘ pass defense looks vulnerable, but then you see how Brandon Weeden fizzled. Baltimore will be primed to rattle their old Bengals foe at home.
Three more: Houston’s Matt Schaub might have some success throwing underneath against the Bears, but you don’t want to risk it; on the other side, you can’t feel good about Chicago’s Jay Cutler against the Texans’ defense; Philadelphia’s Michael Vick has a brutal matchup with the Cowboys D at home.
Steven Jackson, Rams. The 49ers look like a defense possessed again, and well rested after a bye, they should be all in on stuffing Jackson. They allow the fewest fantasy points to running backs, so park him if you have a viable alternative.
Three more: Buffalo’s Fred Jackson may start seeing a decreased role behind C.J. Spiller in New England; can’t see the Jets’ Shonn Greene doing much as a straight-ahead runner against Seattle; Cincinnati’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis won’t make it another good game against an angry Giants defense.
Sidney Rice, Seahawks. Rice used the Minnesota motivation to produce nicely at home last week, but this week he’ll likely draw the one-on-one coverage of Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has been in shutdown mode all season.
Three more: The Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe should be blanketed as the Steelers’ top pass defense gives him the attention; the Eagles’ Jeremy Maclin is hit-or-miss at this point, and the Cowboys’ corners can make it rough on him; Titus Young is hard to trust against the Vikings’ defense, whose DBs are better than you think.
Dustin Keller, Jets. The Seahawks are loaded with skilled, physical linebackers and safeties. Knowing that Keller is Mark Sanchez‘s safety valve, they will take him away first, and force Sanchez into taking deeper shots against their pass rush.
Three more: The likely absence of Percy Harvin might help Minneosta’s Kyle Rudolph get more love from Christian Ponder, but take a wait-and-see until he makes a catch again; the Eagles’ Brent Celek is coming off a rough game in New Orleans, and will continue that way against Dallas; beware playing Colts rookie Dwayne Allen, as the Jaguars have defended the tight end well.
Falcons. They have made some big plays to help their offense and allow the team to be undefeated. But this week draws their toughest game yet, in the Superdome against the high-powered Saints. This feels like a negative-pointer for both teams.
Three more: Go back to parking the Chargers, because you can’t expect much from them against the Buccaneers’ pewter-hot offense; the Panthers have gotten some sacks of late, but you won’t trust them at home against Denver; the Rams have been sneaky good at points this season, but San Francisco isn’t a time to use them.