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NFL fans everywhere were spoiled yet again this past weekend, with a full slate of exciting games to keep them happy.
The battle of the backup quarterbacks took place on Monday night, with Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown leading his team over veteran backup Seneca Wallace and the Green Bay Packers. The major feature of the game undoubtedly was Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers going down with a shoulder injury just a few minutes into the game, but the backups still provided good entertainment. Rodgers owners should prepare for the eventuality that he may not suit up for this weekend’s matchup against another backup quarterback, Philadelphia’s Nick Foles, and acquire a replacement.
Any Andre Johnson owners (like I am) who were worried that the talented Houston Texans receiver would suffer from having a new quarterback throwing him the ball seem to be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief after Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. Not only did Johnson perform as well as he often does, he went above and beyond what most would have expected, hauling in nine receptions for 229 yards and three touchdowns. This immediate chemistry with a new quarterback is surprising, but should be taken in stride by anyone who own the skilled receiver in their fantasy leagues. I would start him with all of the normal confidence that most people do, despite the fact that he plays for a disappointing and underperforming Texan team.
Although it may seem shocking to some, Ray Rice seems to be heading toward a bust of a season this year. The running back of the perennially highly drafted Baltimore Ravens has been slumping of late, tallying just 96 yards over his last three games. Even though he has the ability to break out and become the player he has been for the past few years (as evidenced by his performances in weeks one and five), Rice has been way too inconsistent to be considered the trusted fantasy starter that he has always been. As crazy as this may sound, I would strongly consider benching Rice in favor of another option if you have one. Although this may be a tough pill to swallow since Rice was often drafted very highly, I would suggest benching him until his play (and the Ravens’ around him) gets a lot better. He isn’t going to get many touches if the Ravens fall far behind in games, and their less-than-stellar play has pointed this glaring fact out very well.
Are you looking for a bye-week replacement at quarterback this week? A good option to consider may be the much maligned Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who is owned in about 81 percent of ESPN fantasy football leagues. Although “Big Ben” hasn’t performed outstandingly this year, he has played reasonably well, and now has a threatening starting running back in the lineup who may dissuade teams from overplaying pass coverage against the Steelers.
Additionally, Roethlisberger is playing the Buffalo Bills this weekend, who often put on a poor defensive showing. Although it is true that they have played better of late, I was born in Buffalo so I can attest that the Bills are still the Bills, and predict that Roethlisberger will pick them apart. Even if he does not perform amazingly, you can still drop him next week once your starter returns from his week off
Finally, I will comment on a popular topic of discussion from last weekend: the improbable performance of Nick Foles. The Eagles quarterback turned some heads on Sunday when he threw seven touchdowns in three quarters, tying a record set by Peyton Manning earlier this year. Even though I am a loyal Eagles fan, I won’t pretend that Foles is the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. I sincerely doubt that he will ever repeat such a performance for the rest of his career, even though he still has many years left in the NFL. I am not saying that he is not a good quarterback, because he is good (throwing seven touchdown passes certainly won’t dissuade people from considering him good). As a matter of fact, I think that he will perform well over the next few weeks, especially with Michael Vick injured (I even put in a waiver claim for him in one of my leagues). All that I’m saying is that you can’t expect such a brilliant performance every week, so be prepared to face this fact if you add him to your team.
That’s all for this week, I’ll see you next week with some more fantasy advice.