By Julian Martinez
Quarterback: There’s some FitzMagic in the air
A quarterback I really like this week is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has looked solid throughout the season and has been able to take advantage of the great weapons around him, such as Brandon Marshall, who continues to be a Top-10 receiver, and Eric Decker, who slotted back into a role he’s more comfortable in with the addition of Marshall. This week the Jets will be going to Oakland and even though the Raiders’ defense has looked better as of late, I like this match-up. Fitzpatrick is only owned in 25 percent of Fantasy leagues.
Another quarterback who will be worth starting this week is Matthew Stafford. Although Landry Jones didn’t take advantage of the Chiefs’ defense this past week quite like I imagined, I believe they are still a weak defense against the pass and Stafford should be able to take advantage. Stafford is now more of a quarterback you trust if the match-up is right, but I foresee a big afternoon between him and Megatron to come.
Running back: Foster’s injury has got me feeling Blue
It is unfortunate that one of the most dynamic athletes in the NFL is done for the year, but that is the case for Houston running back Arian Foster. Foster already missed a couple games this year due to a groin injury, but this past weekend, in a blowout game against Miami, Foster suffered an Achilles tear. This may unfortunately be Foster’s last game in the NFL, as Foster has a long list of injuries throughout his career and this is a contract year for him with the Texans.
So now what? Out of the gate in Houston, I am planning on investing in Alfred Blue. Blue in my mind has never really seized the opportunity when Foster has been hurt before, but he’s going to be given the first opportunity to take the bulk of the carries and there is value in that. Blue should be one of those handcuffs owned in every league, but his ownership has fallen below 20 percent in recent weeks so he is my number one waiver priority this week.
I will say Chris Polk also is a name that interests me in Houston, because if Blue once again fails to take advantage of a Foster injury, then I can very easily see Polk taking advantage. Polk showed productivity in his time last year in Philadelphia and he has actually out-touched Blue in recent weeks. Polk’s ownership is at little more than one percent.
The last name I am going to bring up in regards to the Texans’ run game is Pierre Thomas. Thomas is not currently on the Texans’ roster, but it should be noted he was in contact with Houston earlier this year when Foster was expected to miss up to eight games due to the groin injury. Talks fell through and Thomas remained a free agent, but now that Foster has been placed on the injured reserve, we could see Thomas’ name pick up steam again.
Wide Receiver: Can’t stop talking about Houston this week
Another noteworthy name out of Houston this week is Nate Washington, who saw nine receptions for 127 yards and two scores. An absolutely dominating performance albeit mostly in garbage time. The Foster injury has a two-pronged effect in my mind: sure, it makes it important to pickup the starting running back for the offense, whomever it ends up being, but it makes the urgency to move the ball in other ways that much more important in Houston.
The need to throw the ball may have gone up and as thrilled as DeAndre Hopkins owners would be to see Hopkins get 20 targets a game, he can’t do it himself. Washington has been a good receiver in the NFL and can be a good second option for Brian Hoyer and company. Washington is owned in about five percent of leagues.
A receiver you might have a chance to grab, surprisingly, is Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers. Adams was dropped recently in a few leagues thanks to an ankle injury, dropping his ownership to roughly about 50 percent. Some might view Adams as Aaron Rogers’ third receiver, but his athletic ability is superior to that of James Jones and should make him the clear second-best receiver in Green Bay’s offense. Jone’ targets rank outside the Top-50 in the NFL and I fully expect his touchdowns to be scaled back with Adams returning. If your fellow owners made the mistake of dropping Adams, then make them pay by scooping him up.
Tight End: Don’t worry there is nothing to talk about in Houston here
Jordan Reed inserted his name into the growing list of valuable tight ends to own this year. Reed coming off a concussion exploded against Tampa Bay this past weekend. His double-digit receptions went along with 72 yards and two scores. It is hard for me trust Reed given his injury history, but if he is on the field he is in Top-5 of the position. Reed is owned in less than half of leagues, so it is definitely possible to still snag him up in a majority of leagues.
Kicker and DST: A Few Notes
A defense that has been quietly productive has been the Minnesota Vikings. Jay Cutler has been known to turn the ball over in the past and I could see this week being one where Cutler finds players in the wrong uniform a couple times. I’m willing to stream them this week.
If you dropped Brandon McManus, this is your reminder to go pick him up again. McManus is battling it out with Stephen Gostkowski this year for the top kicker spot and is one of the few difference makers at the position.
Bye Week Teams: