Texans wide receiver has been on a tear of late and comes at a friendly cost.
With the NFL season hitting the midway point, you've probably figured out a fantasy strategy by now in the free HoustonTexans.com Home Team Challenge. But bye weeks and tough matchups can make or break your lineup, so as always, I'm here to offer my (also free) advice.
The prize for this week's Texans fan who accrues the most fantasy points is an Anthony Weaver autographed mini-helmet. Here are my picks:
SIGN ME UP QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, 60 points (@ CIN):If you're not going with QB Tom Brady (93), and even if you are, Roethlisberger would be my pick. Of course, this is coming from one of two people in the Texans Celebrity League (as if I'm a celebrity) who didn't pick Brady last week and paid the price for it, but still. The advantage of taking Big Ben over Brady is that you could use the 33-point discount to buy the following: any kicker; any tight end except Antonio Gates (37); any wide receiver outside the top 10, and there are some good ones this week; and any defense but the top six. But of course, what you want is Brady-like production, and that's where this bargain gets good. Roethlisberger has quietly thrown for 13 touchdowns to only five INTs for a 101.1 QB rating this season, and he's fresh off a four-touchdown performance at Denver against what was the league's best pass defense. Normally getting the Bengals' dreadful pass defense would be my main selling point for a quarterback, but it's practically relegated to bonus status with Roethlisberger.
RB Marshawn Lynch, BUF, 38 points (@ NYJ): Lynch faces the 28th-ranked Jets' rushing defense. When it comes to rushing TDs, the Jets have allowed plenty of them – nine, to be exact, which is tied for second-most in the league. As if that weren't enough to whet a fantasy owner's appetite, Lynch has scored a touchdown in four of six games this season. The rookie had 23 carries for 79 yards and a TD in Week 4 against the Jets, and I would expect an even better output this week against a New York defense that has surrendered an average of 116.7 yards and 1.3 TDs to the last three starting running backs it's gone up against.
NO THANKS RB LaDainian Tomlinson, SD, 69; TE Antonio Gates, SD, 37 (vs. HOU):I don't think there are any rules in this fantasy football league other than the 300-point salary cap and the Sunday lineup deadline time. But if there were more, number one would undoubtedly be that you simply cannot pick players from your real-life team's opponent. The implications for doing so are endless, but the foremost is that you in effect are not just predicting, but HOPING for your team to get thrashed by said player(s). And then there's the terrible irony that if your pick should come true, you might win a prize of, say, an Anthony Weaverautographed mini-helmet, when your Texans defensive end is assigned to stop those players all game. That's just not cool. Think Anthony would appreciate that? These two Pro Bowlers are also the most expensive at their respective positions by a combined 26 points, and that's plenty to work with toward getting another player who's NOT getting paid to try and beat your home team this week.
Alternatives: Players on 31 other NFL teams
K Rob Bironas, TEN, 30 (vs. OAK): Bironas is a clear-cut player to avoid. Thirty points for a kicker is probably too much to begin with; the skyscraper-like expectations that would go along with selecting the Titans' kicker are definitely too high. He may have been like a rocket-powered slingshot for fantasy owners last week when he booted an NFL-record eight FGs in a brilliant showing against the Texans, but Bironas had made only eight field goals all season before that! Tennessee gets its starting quarterback back this week, and the team has struggled to score TDs with him in the lineup all season just like it did with Kerry Collins last week. But take last week off the record, and Bironas has averaged only 6.8 fantasy points per game this season. That's nowhere near enough to justify spending more points on him than players like WR Marvin Harrison (29) and TE Kellen Winslow (27) – not to mention Bironas' running back, Lendale White (29).
Alternatives: Kris Brown, HOU, 29 (@ SD); Phil Dawson, CLE, 26 (@ STL)
TEXANS FANTASY SPIN
It's all about the wide receivers this week. It's unclear where their game with the Chargers will be played, and it's unclear who will be the team's quarterback with Matt Schaubday-to-day. But one thing is clear as crystal, and has been for several weeks: The Texans' wideouts are putting up big numbers, and consistently. WR Kevin Walter (19) was only three yards shy of his second consecutive 100-yard game in Week 7 and now has 18 receptions for 257 yards and a TD in his past two. WR André Davis (14)also continues to make big plays – he leads all NFL receivers that have at least 20 receptions with a yards-per-catch average of 19.2. The speedster also has notched receptions of over 40 yards in four of his five games this season, including a spectacular 53-yard TD catch last week. The Chargers' pass defense is ranked a lowly 25th in yards allowed per game, although they have limited their opponents to only nine passing TDs. But WR Jacoby Jones (8)will see the field in three-wide receiver sets, and that should open up the field even more for these playmakers to keep doing just that.
Haven't signed up yet? It's not too late to register for the Home Team Challenge. Make sure to set your lineups by Sun., Oct. 28 at 10:00 a.m.