We’re with you every Sunday to provide the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest storylines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this.
Can #1) Forceful Felix?
Felix Jones says he finally feels healthy. He’s coming off of his best game this year in week ten against the Eagles where he ran for 71 yards on 16 carries (4.4 ypc) and 3 receptions for 22 yards including an 11 yard touchdown where he made guys miss and broke a tackle on his way into the end zone. DeMarco Murray is listed as doubtful for this week’s game against the Cleveland Browns and their 27th ranked rushing defense. Jones may finally look like the player the Cowboys thought they were getting with the 22nd pick of the 2008 draft, but can he do it for a whole game?
Can #2) Foles Gold
The adage that the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town will be tested this week as the Philadelphia Eagles trot out third-round rookie Nick Foles to face their NFC East rivals, the Washington Redskins in week ten. While last week’s concussion may have spelled the end of the Michael Vick era in Philly, those rabid Eagles fans will finally get what they have been calling for on talk radio. Unfortunately for Foles, he will still be playing behind a patchwork offensive line that has lost 4 of 5 opening day starters to injury. If Foles can demonstrate more pocket awareness than Vick, and the Eagles make a concerted effort to get the ball out his hands quickly, he may have a chance to succeed. My gut says this enures to the benefit of Jeremy Maclin (whom Foles targeted often after taking over last week) and Brent Celek, a tight end being a rookie quarterback’s best friend and all.
Can #3) Black Hole Shootout
The Saints visiting the Raiders should be the highest scoring game of the week. The Saints have scored the seventh most points in the NFL and have given up the fourth most points. The Raiders have given up the thirrd most points and have averaged 26.5 points per game this season at home. Darren Sproles may return this week for the Saints. He’s the only Saints running back I’d feel comfortable starting this week if he pays, and that’s obviously only in PPR. On the Raiders front, Marcel Reece had 104 total yards on 20 touches last week and is a RB1 in PPR leagues again this week (especially with the news that Taiwan Jones can’t even take a handoff in non-contact drills without fumbling). Darrius Heyward-Bey is questionable with a hamstring injury and may not play. If that’s the case, Rod Streater, who played more snaps than Derek Hagan last week, becomes an interesting spot start in deep leagues.
Can #4) You Feelin’ Lucky, Tom?
The Colts-Patriots rivalry is renewed this week, just with a different quarterback under center for the Horseshoes. I have a sneaking suspicion that Bill Belichik will have a little something special planned to welcome the rookie first overall pick in Foxboro. Aqib Talib should be active and start in his first game as a Patriot as well. On the other side of the ball, it appears that Aaron Hernandez will miss another week. Stevan Ridley has another good matchup against the Colts and their 22nd ranking rushing defense. Donald Brown is listed as probable for this game and neither he, nor timeshare cohort Vick Ballard, look startable in leagues where you are trying to win.
Can #5) Big Schott
The Big Apple Circus comes to the Edward Jones Dome where they get to contend with former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Steven Jackson looked revitalized last week, racking up 127 totals yards and a touchdown against the vaunted 49ers defense. Now he gets the hot mess that is the New York Jets and their 30th ranked rushing defense. SJax is a solid RB2 this week and Daryl Richardson is an acceptable Flex play. It will be interesting to see if the Jets use Antonio Cromartie to shadow Danny Amendola. Here’s the list of Jets offensive players that I would start in fantasy this week:
In all seriousness, Shonn Greene has an acceptable matchup against the Rams, who are ranked 18th in terms of average rushing yards per game. Plus I heard they let him drive the clown car.
Can #6) The Leftwich Drag
The Steelers running game gets Rashard Mendenhall back this week, and even against the Ravens’ 26th ranked rushing defense (which still feels very weird to type), the three-headed monster of Mendy, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer (four-headed if you count Chris Rainey), makes it impossible to predict who, if any, would be worth starting. Antonio Brown is out again this week, and with Byron Leftwich (who is still going through one throwing motion in the time it took you to read this entire article) under center, Mike Wallace, Heath Miller and Emmanuel Sanders all become very shaky, low floor fantasy plays. I think you still have to play Wallace because of this big play upside, but I’d be hard pressed to play Miller this week if I had any kind of reasonable secondary option.
Have a great Sunday!