By Anthony ‘The Pug’ Pugliese
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Coming down the home stretch now as most leagues have three weeks remaining before the playoffs start? Is your team hanging in there? Ask the rest of the Scrum Sports staff how I’m doing in our league (first place in case you were wondering). Have any specific questions about your lineup? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Derek Carr – QB Oakland Raiders – Been a huge fan of this guy all season. If you have been following since the beginning, he was my sleeper pick for quarterbacks this season. He goes against a Lions defense that gives up more points to opposing quarterbacks then every other team except the Saints and Ravens. After being beaten in a loss to the Vikings last year, look for Carr and the Raiders to get back on track and prove to the league they aren’t to be taken lightly.
Tony Romo – QB Dallas Cowboys – If you have been stashing Romo away waiting for him to return to the lineup the payoff begins this week. In the midst of a 7 game losing streak the Cowboys begin their quest for the playoffs this week. Yes, I said it. At 2-7 I think Romo and the Boys can go on a run and compete in a division where the winner looks to be about .500. The Dolphins D has underperformed all season and rank 20th in passing yards given up. Look for Romo to return with a vengeance and put up over 300 yards in this one.
Stevie Johnson – WR San Diego Chargers – Due to injuries, Johnson is the new number one in town. A matchup against the Chiefs this week who currently give up the second most points to wide receivers with 1853 yards and 14 touchdowns against is matchup gold. It doesn’t hurt that Philip Rivers is throwing him the ball, a proven gunslinger. Don’t be surprised to see him break the century mark and score a touchdown, or maybe more….
High Risk, High Reward
Frank Gore – RB Indianapolis Colts – The Falcons rank 3rd in the league against the run. Gore hasn’t exactly turned heads this season. So why is he on a list for high reward? I think the Colts are going to rely heavily on the run game to get them through the injury to Andrew Luck and Gore is obviously the bell cow on this team. Call it a hunch, but I think Gore is due for a breakout game, and the Falcons appear to be in a downward spiral right now. I believe this to be his week to breakout.
Tavon Austin – WR St. Louis Rams – He was in my must start list last week and it didn’t work out, because the Rams passing game is a mess right now. Former Texans quarterback Case Keenum gets his shot to lead the Rams this week, and that’s exactly why I like Austin this week. Austin is a guy who can catch a short pass and, with his speed, can quickly turn it in to a huge game. He is the kind of player that can make a QB look good on the stat sheet, and if Keenum realizes this, Austin could be in for a big workload. It doesn’t hurt that the Ravens love to give up points to opposing wide receivers more than anyone else in the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense – The Bucs making another appearance into fantasy relevance. The defense played a hell of a game against the Cowboys last week getting pressure on the QB and only giving up 216 net yards. This week The Bucs travel to Philly to take on the Eagles, who are starting Mark Sanchez this week. If the same defense that was in Tampa last week shows up to Philly this week, the pressure will cause the Eagles mistake prone signal caller into multiple turnovers, and possibly even scores. There is always the chance they don’t show up though and this decision could burn you, thus high risk high reward.
Players to Avoid
Kirk Cousins – QB Washington Redskins – Cousins has been on a hot streak lately, and he absolutely torched the pitiful Saints defense for 324 yards and 4 touchdowns last week. This week they play against Carolina, and it’s a whole different ballgame in Charlotte. The Panthers pass defense is scary good. It is one of the main reasons the Panthers are still undefeated, and one of the main reasons they still will be after this game. Avoid Cousins this week.
Jeremy Langford – RB Chicago Bears – This guy has been a beast off the waiver wire filling in for the injured Matt Forte. That being said, there is talks of Forte making an appearance in this weeks game. Although Forte might not be a full go, the Bears have a date with Denver Broncos this week who rank 7th against the rush this season. Time to find an alternate back if possible.
Jeremy Hill – RB Cincinnati Bengals – Yes Jeremy Hill is the starter on this team, but for how long? Besides touchdowns, Giovanni Bernard has been the better back this season. Hill hasn’t been running the ball very well lately and the Cardinals boast the 4th best rushing defense in the league. I believe it to be a matter of time until Hill losing the starting job to Bernard, and I believe this week to really begin to open the Bengals eyes to that even more.
Waiver Wire Gem of the Week
Brock Osweiler – QB Denver Broncos – Due to multiple injuries and poor play of Peyton Manning, Osweiler will be at the helm this week. He got his feet wet last week and has been working with the first team all week. He has a lot of weapons around him and is set up to succeed. He could be a huge pickup down the stretch.
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