Taking a look at the scoring leaders through 10 weeks, the most shocking thing to me is the dominance of the top rookie passers and rushers. RG3 sits at QB3 despite throwing only 8 touchdown passes, less than a third of the total thrown by Brees and Rodgers. Andrew Luck is QB8 and leading a mediocre Colts team towards a possible playoff berth. As for the runners, Doug Martin has been setting the world on fire lately with his 25 points per game the last 5 weeks, and Trent Richardson is right behind him at RB10, ahead of Shady McCoy and Matt Forte. All of this isn’t even including Alf Morris (RB12), or other useful fantasy bench players like Daryl Richardson, Vick Ballard and Russell Wilson.
Next year’s rookie class does not appear to be anywhere near as talented at the skill positions, so things are not looking so hot for the woeful offenses in Kansas City, Jacksonville, and New York. There is a chance we will be lauding Geno Smith and Matt Barkley in this space next year, but I’m not holding my breath. So while I may only be recommending one of the stud rookies this week, let’s all take a minute to reflect on what may be the best fantasy football draft class we ever see.
I’m sure it won’t be on nationally, but for those of us with Sunday Ticket (and who don’t care about things like defense), the Saints/Raiders matchup on Sunday will be a lot of fun. Both Drew Brees ($9,600) and Carson Palmer ($8,000) figure to light up the scoreboard and the stat sheet, and either one of them is a lock for 300+ yards and at least 2 TDs. I’m leaning towards Palmer for my squads due to his price, and the fact that he’s been a top 5 QB for the last month. It does take a strong stomach to start Palmer with his propensity for turnovers, but with Darren McFadden likely out again, the Raiders will have no choice but to throw. As for Brees, there’s not a more consistent passer out there. My only hesitation would be his price, and the sudden emergence of a running game in New Orleans. It’s not a huge concern, but a TD switching from Jimmy Graham to Chris Ivory might knock Brees off his current QB1 perch.
One QB who does not have to worry about his RBs stealing any of his points is Aaron Rodgers ($9,800). The Packers have scored an insane 93% of their TDs via the pass, and with the backfield still in state of disarray in Green Bay, that trend should to continue. The Packers/Lions game also figures to be a shootout between Stafford and Rodgers, but Rodgers gets the edge here due to his otherworldly stats in his last 6 games, where he has thrown for 3 or more TDs five times. He’ll have no problem hitting his many targets in the endzone once again against Detroit.
If you want a model of consistency in fantasy this year, look no further than consensus #1 pick Arian Foster ($9,300). His production thus far has been nothing short of perfect. His “worst” game still had 86 yards and a TD, and he’s registered at least 100 yards or 2 TDs in every other game. That’s essentially a 15 point baseline, something that is extremely difficult to leave on the table in weekly fantasy games. This week, Foster and the Texans take on a miserable Jaguars team and Houston should be able to start running out the clock by the mid-second quarter. With Ben Tate still banged up, Foster will get the lion’s share of the carries against a weak run defense, and that should translate into yet another monster day.
Whatever nickname you want to use for him, Doug Martin ($7,900) has had a pretty impressive month. Even if you take out his absurd performance against the Raiders, Martin has exceeded 100 total yards per game every week since Week 6. With LeGarrette Blount all but out of the picture, Martin is free to run all over the division-rival Panthers this week. Tampa’s offense has been the highest scoring in the league since their bye, and Carolina likely won’t be the team that stops them. Expect Martin to break 100 yet again and find the endzone at least once.
The Patriots’ offense has been as high-powered as expected this year, but a big surprise has been their running game. Brady has still gotten his points, but Stevan Ridley ($7,400) has turned into the first workhorse back in a New England offense since the days of Corey Dillon. The matchup with the Colts this week will be marketed as a QB showdown, but the team with the better ground attack will be in the best position to win the game. With Ridley carrying the load, the Pats have an advantage there, and it should make for another big day for the sixth highest scoring RB this season.