Here’s a decent costume idea: Dress up as a fantasy winner. How do you do that? Affix dollar bills to your body, along with pictures of your starters and throw a crown on your head. But in order to pull this costume off with authority, you need to pick the right tweener guys to start. That’s where the Startability Index comes in!
As always, players listed are a combination of reader requests and others I believe should be discussed as possible starters or those to avoid for Week 9.
Gio Bernard vs. Miami (5): Bernard certainly has a nice matchup – the Dolphins have allowed seven touchdowns over the last four games. But splitting carries with BenJarvus Green-Elis has rendered Bernard a bit of a fantasy waste these days.
Fred Jackson vs. Kansas City (6+): With C.J. Spiller sidelined with the ankle injury, Jackson is carrying the load for the Bills. While not a yardage monger, Jackson has scored in six of his last seven games.
Steven Jackson at Carolina (4): Jackson returned from injury last week and did absolutely nothing. Now he faces the second-best run defense in football, a unit that has allowed only two rushing touchdowns this season. Just don’t see a lot of carries for Jackson in this one.
Bilal Powell vs. New Orleans (3): Powell’s yard per carry average has been less than 2.0 the past two weeks. That was against tough opponents in Cincinnati and New England. New Orleans is tougher.
Ray Rice at Cleveland (5-): Outside of Week 5 when he logged 74 yards, Ray Rice has no more than 45 rushing yards in any game this season. That includes a 13 carry, 36-yard performance against the Browns in Week 2.
Trent Richardson at Houston (5+) Man, Richardson is due for a breakout performance and could have one against a surprisingly susceptible Texans run defense. More than likely, though, he’ll end up in the 40-60 yard zone, with a chance or two at a score.
Keenan Allen at Washington (8): Despite a bit of a drop off game prior to the bye, Allen has established himself as a legitimate, every week performer. He is a must start guy at this point, a receiver you can count on for 5+ reception and 70+ yards. And he has a fabulous matchup against Washington’s poor pass defense.
Julian Edelman vs. Pittsburgh (4-): Sorry owners Edelman, but his five minutes of fantasy fame are over thanks to the return of Danny Amendola. Don’t believe me? Edelman had two catches for seven yards last week. Time to cut bait.
Vincent Jackson at Seattle (7+): Jackson has been more productive since Mike Glennon took over under center. With 331 yards and 4 touchdowns over his past three games, and a healthy dose of targets, Jackson is a legitimate WR1. He is only getting knocked a point or so for facing Seattle on the road.
Stevie Johnson vs. Kansas City (6+): The Chiefs have allowed between 80-120 yards to their opponents’ top receiver the past three weeks. Johnson comes off a 7 reception, 72 yard, 1 TD performance against the Saints. I’d expect the same type of numbers this week.
Marvin Jones at Miami (9): Outside of Calvin Johnson, there is not a hotter receiver in the game than Jones Yes, you start a guy coming off four scores – and six in his last three games.
Austin Pettis vs. Tennessee (2): I don’t care who the Rams are playing – you want no part of a Kellen Clemens-quarterbacked receiving corps.
Robert Griffin III vs. San Diego (5): Griffin remains the most unpredictable quarterback out there. Two weeks ago against Chicago he put up almost 300 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 104.0 quarterback rating. Last week against Denver: 132 yards passing, 1 TD, 2 INTs and a 45.4 quarterback rating.
Terrelle Pryor vs. Philadelphia (6+): The upside with Pryor is obviously there, but he could also put up 88 passing yards like he last week, get tackled earlier instead of pounding out 93 yards and a touchdown, and have a bust of a fantasy week. Pryor does have a favorable matchup against the Eagles so is probably the worth the risk if you don’t have a more reliable option.
Alex Smith at Buffalo (6-): This is a toughie. Every quarterback that has faced Buffalo except for Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill has been at or above 300 passing yards. Alex Smith rarely throws for more than 250 yards, though. With Thad Lewis starting for Buffalo, this has the feel of a very conservative effort from Kansas City’s standpoint. But Smith could easily eek out a touchdown or two, especially given that the Bills have surrendered 20 via the air this season.
Martellus Bennett at Green Bay (6-): Bennett had only one catch during Week 7’s loss at Washington, but it was in the end zone. The drop from Jay Cutler to Josh McCown is big talent-wise but Bennett should keep getting a few targets a game since Marc Trestman’s offense is much more system-based.
Jermaine Gresham at Miami (4): The presence of Tyler Eifert has really diminished Gresham’s value. Despite scoring his first touchdown of the season last week, Gresham remains too risky to rely on.
Jordan Reed vs. San Diego (6): The Chargers are a tough matchup but Reed is playing at a high level right now. He is RGIII’s number two target after Pierre Garcon and has the numbers to prove it – 224 yards on 17 catches in his last two games.