Let me start off by congratulating the Chicago Cubs on their first World Series victory in 108 years. None of us were even conceived in our grandparents minds when the Cubs last won the Crown. Yeah, karma is a bitch for Cleveland after coming back from 3-1 down versus the Golden State warriors in the NBA Finals, the Cubs do it to the Indians. Game 7 had it all and was one for the ages. In football, hopefully your fantasy season is going swimmingly as some of my teams have already called it quits and I will be looking to play spoiler the rest of the way. There were some very entertaining and meaningful divisional and non-divisional games last week, and more divisional showdowns commence this week, starting off with the Falcons looking to avenge their Week 1 loss to the Bucs on Thursday Night Football. These suggestions are mainly looking at players who are under-owned in many leagues, and make for smart pickups the rest of the way. You may have already been thinking of some, but others you will be completely new to. Hopefully they help you solidify your positioning for the playoffs or knock others off.
Blake Martinez (ILB/GB)- Yes, Martinez is a rookie, meaning he will continue to be inconsistent down the stretch. However, if you look at his stats over his past three games, he has tallied 21 tackles and three passes defensed, showing some of his coverage ability. With another pass-heavy offense on tap versus Indianapolis, Martinez should see more opportunities in coverage, while continuing his solid tackle numbers of late.
Korey Toomer (ILB/SD)- With Jatavis Brown (knee) and Denzel Perryman (hamstring) likely out for this Sunday’s game versus the Titans, Toomer will once more fill in at inside linebacker versus the run heavy Titans, and he could stuff the sheet. Over the past four weeks, Toomer has two forced fumbles and a recovered fumble, making him an intriguing play for leagues rewarding those stats and adding points for yards returned. Owned in only five percent of Fantrax leagues and less than one percent of ESPN leagues, he is an easy pickup in deep leagues and one who should continue to produce down the stretch as the Chargers linebackers continue to struggle with injuries.
Jamie Collins (OLB/CLE)- After lighting the NFL on fire last season with five and a half sacks, five forced fumbles and 89 tackles en route to a Pro Bowl, Collins has fallen off tremendously during the first half of the season, and was recently traded to the Browns for a conditional third round pick. The good news for him is the Browns defense is on the field a ton and gives up a ton of points, which should help him improve on his turnover numbers the rest of the season. The bad news, it’s the Browns, and we all know they aren’t winning much this season. A free agent after this season, it will be interesting to see where he ends up, and for how much money. He has the pedigree of a captain, just needs to find his groove. He is a risky play versus Dallas, but should at least rack up tackles and contribute a pass defensed.
Vince Williams (ILB/PIT)- The 2013 sixth round draft pick had to fight for snaps, was mainly a special teamer/defensive package specialist in 2015. But this season the Steelers rewarded Williams with a three year contract. This shows their trust in the young inside linebacker, and cements him in their plans for the future. He is a sound tackler who diagnoses plays well and reacts, rather than letting the game come to him. With a weak running Ravens team on tap, Williams should be locked in on Flacco’s eyes this week and ready to blow up any short yardage/screen plays the Ravens throw at the Steelers defense. Williams is a key cog in the Steel Curtain and one to trust as you gear for a playoff push.
Todd Davis (ILB/DEN)- One of the best pass defenses faces off with an explosive, high octane pass offense when Denver and Oakland square off in an AFC West showdown. Amari Cooper and Derek Carr are making sweet music this season, so the Broncos’ corners will have their ears pinned and heads on a swivel to slow them down. Where the game will be won is in the trenches, more specifically, can Latavius Murray get things going on the ground, or will Todd Davis and the front seven have other ideas. Davis has been quiet through the first half of the season, but has shown some promise. It is only a matter of time before he starts putting his game together at the age of 24. Risky play this week? Yes, but the Denver defense always cranks out very reliable fantasy starters by season’s end.
Connor Barwin (DE-OLB/PHI)- After a tough loss in Dallas, the Eagles will look to tee off versus Eli Manning and a punchless Giants run game. Barwin may not be the sack monster he was just two seasons ago, but he is still hard to beat off the edge and will continue to be a force on the Eagles defense. With a sack in each of his two previous games, Barwin could be getting ready to go on a sack binge.
Frank Clark (DE/SEA)- With Michael Bennett (knee) shelved for a while, Clark should dominate opposite Cliff Avril and is a must start down the stretch. While the Bills, led by LeSean (hamstring) McCoy, possess a dangerous run game, Seattle’s bread and butter is defending the run. This sets up for a matchup where the Seahawks will dare the Bills to throw, and with double teams thrown Avril’s way, Clark should see plenty of clean looks at Tyrod Taylor.
Devin Taylor (DE/DET)- The Lions do not exactly pose much threat as a pass rushing unit to opposing offensive lines. But with a suddenly struggling Sam Bradford on tap this week, the time could be right to start Taylor, who is the best bet to get to him. Bradford has been sacked 11 times his past two starts, including four fumbles versus the Eagles two weeks ago, setting up a very enticing play for Taylor this week. A sack is all but guaranteed, but we will see if he can also force a fumble. The Vikings need to establish the run and get Bradford going. Both of which don’t seem likely after the past 2 weeks.
Malik Jackson (DT/JAX)- Now would be a good time to cut bait with Jackson. He has not lived up to the billing this season despite signing a monstrous deal in the offseason on the heels of a Super Bowl victory. The Jaguars brought him in for his ability to disrupt plays and create plays and turnovers for others. He has done neither and has one sack on the season.
Terrell McClain (DT/DAL)- I tried to resist, I just could not! There is never a week where playing your starters versus the Browns offensive line is a bad idea, and McClain should blow up what is left of the inside of the Browns offensive line. The Browns will look to run the ball with Crowell this week. Crowell will get his yards, but at the end of the day, look for McClain to post a sack and a tackle for loss and/or stuff. You could do worse at DT this week.
The weeks of meaningful games in the NFL are heating up, now. Which fantasy teams have the guts and skills to step up and dominate, crushing the throats of others? Hopefully yours does. For some of us, fantasy sports is life. It is the air we breathe and thrive in!
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Major League Fantasy Football Show: Join Ej Garr, Corey D Roberts, and Bryan Luhrs live Sunday November 6th, 2016 from 11am-12:30pm EST for episode #75 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. We will be breaking down key matchups, discussing fantasy start/sit, some DFS, and handicapping as well.
Bryan is the owner os Real Deal Dynasty Sports, a writer with MLFS, and a frequent guest on our radio shows.
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