The HOT/COLD List, Week 3
Welcome back to another week of my HOT/COLD list. As usual, this list is not a rankings post. By that, I mean that just because DeAndre Hopkins is HOT and Brandon Marshall is COLD does not mean I suggest starting Hopkins over Marshall. It just means that relative to that players’ expectations, I believe that Hopkins will perform well and Marshall will underwhelm. Both the HOT and COLD sections will be laid out like an actual fantasy football team (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, D/ST,) Without further ado….
QB: Matthew Stafford – Remember how good Michael Vick was in week 1? And same with Aaron Rodgers in week 2? Well the common thread between those two performances was the Redskins defense as the opponent. Those two quarterbacks averaged 30 fantasy points each. 30! Stafford has a chance to put up equivalent, if not better numbers in the Lions high-flying attack. He is a must start in all leagues.
RB1: DeAngelo Williams – The Giants defense has been putrid against the run this year; starting running backs are averaging 16.5 fantasy points per game against Big Blue in 2013. Williams has been teetering on the borderline of mediocrity this season, but I believe that this is the game that he breaks out.
RB2: Giovani Bernard – If you watched the show Hard Knocks, you know how much the Bengals’ coaching staff and ownership loves Bernard. He rewarded them last week with a big 2 touchdown performance that was much needed against the Steelers. Even more promising than that was the fact that Bernard looked confident and explosive all game long. Bright future for this guy.
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins – This guy was an absolute beast last week, especially when the Texans needed him most. Andre Johnson exited early with a concussion, and Hopkins stepped up to the tune of 117 yards and a touchdown, including the game winner. While Johnson is likely to play on Sunday, he might not be as effective because of the head injury, which leaves Hopkins able to snag some extra targets and receptions.
WR2: Anquan Boldin – Last week’s disaster was a great lesson on Boldin: he is not matchup proof. Guys like Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green? They’re matchup proof, meaning you’re starting them every single week no matter who they are playing against. Anquan Boldin is not one of those guys, evidenced by his 1 catch for 7 yards and 0 fantasy points against Richard Sherman. Despite saying all this, I love Boldin this week against the Colts (who don’t have Richard Sherman) and I think his numbers will be closer to his 208 week 1 performance than his 7 yards last Sunday.
TE: Antonio Gates – Since the beginning of 2012, who has given up the most touchdowns to opposing tight ends? The Tennessee Titans. Who do the Chargers play this week? The Tennessee Titans. Philip Rivers is going to get Gates involved early and often and expect a touchdown at the very least from Antonio.
D/ST: Minnesota Vikings – This as been an atrocious week for Cleveland Browns football, and it wont get any better on Sunday. With Brian Hoyer starting at quarterback and no Trent Richardson to line up in the backfield to take the pressure off, the Browns will struggle mightily.
QB: Andrew Luck – Last week, a player (not Luck) was 8/19 with 142 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. That sounds like Josh Freeman/Ben Roethlisberger numbers; basically a player that you don’t want near your fantasy starting lineup. Those numbers belong to Russell Wilson, the QB that faced the Niners defense last week. Who faces the Niners defense this week? Yep, you guessed it, Andrew Luck.
RB1: Trent Richardson – Don’t get cute with this, just look at the facts: Trent Richardson got traded in the middle of the week, which means he had about 4 days to learn the Colts’ playbook. Even if he knew all of the running plays, there is no way he could have picked up the pass protection schemes that quickly, which means he wont be playing on 3rd down this Sunday; Andrew Luck is just too valuable to not be properly protected. Combine all that with the fact that Richardson has been a disappointment already with the Browns this season and all the signs point toward benching the former Alabama star.
RB2: David Wilson – While injuries and poor performances from backups have caused Wilson to continue to get carries despite being in the doghouse of his head coach, there is still no way I am starting him. Last week against the Broncos, Wilson carried the ball with 2 hands on it at all times. That’s fine, but by doing that he lacked any explosiveness whatsoever. The Giants are going to throw, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Wilson puts up a 0 for the day.
WR1: Cecil Shorts – While I was high on Cecil Shorts last week against the Raiders, playing the Seahawks is a totally different animal: it’s a bird. And because he is going to be matched up with Richard Sherman from the opening kickoff, there is no way I can start him in any league.
Greg Jennings – Going up against Joe Haden has become almost the equivalent of playing Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis. That is a task that Jennings has to overcome today and I just don’t think he can do that with Christian Ponder throwing him the ball. Sit Jennings if you have any viable backups.
TE1: Kyle Rudolph – He has been very inconsistent so far this year… playing with Christian Ponder will do that to you. And because of that very reason, I can think of at least 10 other TE’s that I would start over Rudolph. If he happens to find the end-zone, then he’ll be worth it, but he wont get enough receptions otherwise. I have trouble starting a guy who is so dependent on that one touchdown to have a productive day.
D/ST: Detroit Lions – Going up against Washington isn’t exactly a matchup that will strike fear into the Lions hearts, but be careful starting them in fantasy. Robert Griffin III has put up big numbers in the 2nd half of games this year and that means subtracting points from the Lions D once the 3rd quarter begins.