Oh fantasy, how I’ve missed you. Other than some start/sit videos for SI last year and wayward advice on social media I have largely been out of the fantasy dispensary business for the past couple of years. Corporate media job. Focused on other NFL coverage. Relaunching TFG. Etc. Pretty tragic, I know.
But all along, and while still playing in a minimum of five leagues, I’ve yearned to dip my toe back in the fantasy world for a variety of reasons. Film nerds may disagree but analyzing players from a fantasy perspective is paramount to prepping for the week’s games. Also, I really like winning money. So please give a warm welcome to the return of The Startability Index.
Here’s how it works:
So I’m a bit confused this week. Larry Fitzgerald coming off a resurgent week or Emmanuel Sanders against a weak Raiders secondary? Both players may be recommended to start but which one should garner the most confidence for owners? That’s where the Startability Index comes into play. We rate players from 1-10 based on how strongly we believe you should start or sit them that week. 10 mean unquestionably start, while 1 means under no circumstance. Most of the players we cover are from reader requests and typically in the tweener category, although one this week is a definite 10. Fort he record, we give Sanders an 8 and Fitz a 7. Let’s go more in depth on some of your requests this week.
Javorious Allen (vs. Pittsburgh): 5 in standard leagues, 6 in PPR
My full opinion on Allen is still forming, though I highly respect him going by two names. Like the rest of the Ravens, Allen’s trip to London was a disaster but with 13 touches, including 5 catches he clearly is an integral part of the offense. Allen should continue to be the top option with Danny Woodhead out. The Steelers gave up 140 yards and two scores to Jordan Howard last week but held Dalvin Cook and Isaiah Crowell in check in the opening two weeks. Fun, somewhat related fact: the Ravens have scored at least 20 points in all games against the Steelers since 2013.
Ameer Abdullah (at Minnesota): 3
Let’s see, the Vikings front have allowed the fifth least amount of rushing yards this year, and Abdullah in 14 NFL starts has yet to top 100 yards on the ground. Hopefully you have a more promising option.
Frank Gore (at Seattle): 6
As a 34-year running back, Gore is a medical miracle. He continues to be the lead option in Indy, as evidenced by 25 carries last week. However, Gore’s 3.0 yards per carry are his lowest in recent years but he remains a top red zone option with 2 TDs. Even without the production he’s a solid start against the woeful Sehawks run defense that has been torched the past two weeks.
Stefon Diggs (vs. Detroit): 10
Multiple people requested Diggs be included on this list, which is quite frankly surprising. Diggs is the top fantasy recever going right now by a healthy chunk and had his most explosive week (182 yards, 2 TDs) last Sunday with Case Keenum under center. Lions CB Darius Slay will be a tough matchup but there’s no reason to believe any player can stop Diggs at the moment.
Sterling Shepard (at Tampa Bay): 7
The Bucs have the NFL’s worst secondary and thus have surrended the most fantasy points to opposing WRs. With the Giants’ lack of a running game and Bucs’ focus on Odell Beckham Jr., there is a strong likelihood that Shepard is in for double digit targets like last week.
Dez Bryant (vs. Los Angeles): 9
Like Diggs, obviously you are starting Bryant. But should you expect better times ahead than last week’s meager 2 catch performance? Overall the Rams have held opposing WRs in check (they are 4th best in this regard) but not the “x” receiver. Pierre Garcon torched Trumaine Johnson and the Rams for 142 yards last week. There is no reason Bryant’s can’t match or improve on tht number.
Amari Cooper (at Denver): 5
Cooper, who leads the league in drop,s has been one of the most frustrating players of the early season. He was only targeted 5 times in both Week 2 and Week 3. Even when Cooper’s hands were more reliable, he never topped 60 yards against the stout Broncos secondary. Cooper is fine as a WR3 at this point but until he performs like his old self you may want to consider other options if you have them.
Pierre Garcon (at Arizona): 6
Garcon comes off a monster 142-yard receiving day, and should be in line for another biggie. He is clearly the #1 option on an offense that is starting to maximize its potential (which isn’t crazy high due to Brian Hoyer but good enough for Garcon owners). Arizona has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing WRs, including 5 touchdowns. Garcon’s high targets (25 on the year) are encouraging but he needs to get into the end zone.
Carson Wentz (at Chargers): 5
The potential for an epic performance always seems to be within Wentz’s grasp but he still makes too many frustratingly bad throws. The season-ending injury to Darren Sproles (torn ACL and broken arm on same play) could negatively impact the short passing game – Sproles had 12 targets in the first two weeks. Wentz already had a lowly 7.0 yards per pass and comes off a weak 176-yard, one touchdown performance against the Giants. The Chargers are a slightly more favorable opponent with CB Jason Verrett out but sack leader Melvin Ingram could present huge issues for Wentz. Owners should consider other available options like Alex Smith or Trevor Siemian.
Kirk Cousins (vs. Kansas City): 6
Cousins finally broke out last week with three touchdowns and 365 yards against the Raiders. He is finding other relaible options as his chemistry with Terrelle Pryor has yet to develop. But even without Eric Berry the Chiefs have one of the best secondaries in football and have held two of the three QBs they’ve faced this season to zero passing touchdowns.
Ryan Griffin (vs. Tennessee): 6
With C.J. Fiedorowicz on IR due to a concussion, Griffin shined last week pulling in 5 of 6 targets for 61 yards and a score. Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense is certainly on the rise, and there’s every reason to believe Griffin will be part of it, especially since there are only two tight ends on the active roster. The Titans present a friendly matchup, too, as they have surrendered 13 points/game to opposing tight ends
If if you want a Startability score, please reach out of Twitter or tune into my Facebook Live Sunday at noon ET on The Football Girl page.