There are some players who just don’t inspire. Putting them in your fantasy lineup is the equivalent of a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich for lunch — sure, it’s fine and gets the job done, but you won’t be caught licking your lips in anticipation.
If you are unclear regarding the feeling we’re talking about, just put Andy Dalton in your starting lineup and you will know exactly what we mean.
Are you excited? Not really, right? But you’re not excited about PB&J, either, are you? But how do you feel after you gobble it up? Surprisingly satisfied, right? So get ready to rub your tummy at the fantasy feast Dalton will provide this week versus the Steelers.
We’re going full Dalton on this. We’re not cutting off the crust or nothing. How much Dalton are we consuming? We’re ready to start him over … gasp! … Ben Roethlisberger.
You heard that right. Yeah, that’s opting for PB&J over filet mignon, but we’re been to the Road Ben Fantasy Steakhouse before, and the meat there often is spoiled.
Just look at the past two seasons’ worth of Big Ben road steaks, er, stats: In 10 games away from home, he has averaged 272.3 yards, 1.6 touchdowns and 1.0 interceptions. In 10 home games in the same span, he averaged 319.2 yards, 2.3 TDs and 1.0 INTs. Or, 27.8 fantasy points at home compared to 21.2 on the road.
Roethlisberger also hasn’t topped the 300-yard mark against the Bengals since 2014 and has just one three-TD game in the past six meetings. In other words, this steak is overcooked. Nevertheless, we’re not benching Big Ben for just any old option. A bad steak still is better than a prune salad.
And we already have established, Dalton is much better than a prune salad. When you examine Dalton’s personal history versus the Steelers, it might seem prunish — just two 300-yard games in 14 career games and five of fewer than 200 yards, never more than two TDs in a single game and a woeful 17-12 TD-INT ratio.
But, fear not, there is a jelly lining. This is perhaps the most vulnerable Steelers defense he has faced. Pittsburgh has yielded the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (only the Buccaneers are worse). They are tied with Tampa Bay for the most passing TDs allowed with 13. And they have given up the third-most passing yards and the fourth-most per game.
Then factor in the fact that Dalton also has his most diverse set of weapons. Joe Mixon easily is the best running back Dalton has had at his disposal, and Mixon is featured in the passing game as well. A.J. Green continues to be a top-tier wide receiver, and Tyler Boyd has emerged as a legitimate second receiving threat.
Filling in for bye weeks or stale options and finding the waiver cupboard bare, do what you do every other time the fridge is empty, make a fantasy PB&J and spread some Dalton into your lineups.
Post fantasy Madman Drew Loftis and Roto Rage Jarad Wilk debate whom you should start this week:
Jordan Howard vs. Kareem Hunt
Drew: Howard — The bruising Bears RB has taken a back seat to Tarik Cohen in certain situations this season — when Chicago decides to lean on the passing game. Against a Dolphins defense (second vs. fantasy QBs) much stronger vs. the pass than the run (29th vs. fantasy RBs), but expect a more dedicated ground attack, hence more Howard. Conversely, we expect a more high-flying affair for Hunt vs. Patriots — more passing, less running for Hunt.
Jarad: Hunt— Howard is averaging 3.2 yards per carry this season and just 2.5 over his past three games (and no touchdowns). In that same time frame, Hunt has averaged 4.3 yards per carry, scored four touchdowns and is averaging 84 yards per game. Though the Patriots have not allowed a RB to score since Week 1, they are allowing 4.5 yards per carry and a hair under 98 rushing yards per game (and 47 yards receiving). Lastly, if history repeats itself, Hunt will have a big day he gained 246 totals yards (148 rushing, 98 receiving) and three TDs versus the Patriots last year … in New England.
Last week: Jarad 15.8 (Pat Mahomes — 313 pass yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 13 rush yards, 1 TD), Drew 14.3 ( Jared Goff — 321 pass yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 15 rush yards)
Season: Drew leads series, 3-2
Jameis Winston QB, Buccaneers, at Falcons
(FanDuel $7,400/DraftKings $5,800)
We’re not expecting Fitzmagic, and maybe some rust, when Winston gets his first start of the season. The generous Falcons defense alleviates such concerns.
Marshawn Lynch RB, Raiders, vs. Seahawks
(FD $6,500/DK $5,300)
We don’t normally buy into the whole “revenge game” banter you sometimes see, but if there’s a player out there who we think could exploit such a grudge, that player is Beast Mode.
Ito Smith RB, Falcons, vs. Buccaneers
(FD $5,000/DK $3,100)
With Devonta Freeman (foot) out again, the tide justifiably will shift to Tevin Coleman. You’re not going to find Coleman on waivers, though he will be popular daily option. Smith provides a strong pivot point.
Quincy Enunwa WR, Jets, vs. Colts
(FD $5,800/DK $5,600)
A lot of folks are going to be jumping off the Enunwa wagon onto the Robby Anderson train. But we would classify last week as an anomaly, not the new norm.
Philip Rivers QB, Chargers, at Browns
(FD $8,300/DK $5,900)
Whispers into wind: Psst, the Browns’ pass defense isn’t that bad. Cleveland has allowed just one passing TD at home all season. Expecting Chargers to do their Chargers thing — play down to the competition.
David Johnson RB, Cardinals, vs. Vikings
(FD $7,5000/DK $5,900)
We’re not as down on DJ the rest of the way as some are, but we don’t like him this week, against a Vikings team that hasn’t allowed an RB touchdown on the ground this season.
Kenyan Drake RB, Dolphins, vs. Bears
(FD $6,300/DK $4,600)
It is quite clear he is not going to steal carries from Frank Gore anytime soon, so his role will be as much in the passing game as on the ground. The Bears are the league’s stingiest against opposing fantasy RBs.
Will Fuller WR, Texans, at Bills
(FD $7,300/DK $6,800)
Whispers into the wind: Psst, the Bills have yielded just one passing TD to a WR in the past four games. Emergence of Keke Coutee could eat into Fuller targets.
Tweet of the Week
— regarding Cowboys-Texans