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Who should I start this week in a PPR league: Danny Amendola, Mike Wallace or James Jones?
What an impressive return for Amendola last week against the 49ers. He’s difficult to cover and stronger than he looks. Amendola runs well after the catch and is going to get a bevy of targets in the Rams offense. There’s a huge difference in the Rams offense with Amendola playing. Sam Bradford has a ton of confidence in Amendola. I don’t think people realize how good Amendola has been. He was injured in Week 5 when he had one catch for 44 yards and left in the first half. In the other five games he played, Amendola had 9, 16, 9, 10 and 12 targets and in PPR leagues he has scored 12, 36, 11, 17 and 21 Fantasy points. It could have been even more than 21 last week. Amendola had an 80-yard TD reception in overtime that was called back due to an illegal formation penalty. Three of the five games came against the Seahawks, Bears and 49ers. It sounds crazy to say it but Amendola is a must-start right now. Wallace isn’t as appealing with Byron Leftwich at quarterback for the Steelers. I don’t think you bench him in every situation but expectations need to be dialed down. Jones is always a good bet to score a TD but the return of Jordy Nelson does hurt him a little bit. Amendola is the one I start.
With Ben Roethlisberger out, Carson Palmer is on waivers. Now my question is, can I feel confident rolling with Palmer while Roethlisberger is out or should I make a trade for another QB?
I am stunned that Palmer is still available in so many leagues. If you are a Roethlisberger owner and can add Palmer, feel blessed because in the two leagues I own Roethlisberger I am not as fortunate. The Raiders have passed a lot this season and many times it’s because they have been trailing. Now that Darren McFadden is injured, the Raiders are passing even more. The last two games Palmer has attempted 106 passes and passed for 782 yards with six TDs. Palmer will face the Saints this week and they rank 31st against the pass. He has attempted at least 45 passes in five of nine games. Palmer is third in the NFL in yards per game. Always make an attempt to trade for an elite quarterback, but not at the cost of weakening yourself too much at another position. If Palmer is the option and you don’t need to trade anything from your team, I believe you can be confident.
Do I start Greg Olsen or Jermaine Gresham?
Olsen has either been very good or very bad so far in 2012. There are times where he is just not involved in the offense enough and he really should be the second target in the passing game behind Steve Smith. Olsen is coming off his best game of 2012, in which he had 10 targets and had nine catches for 102 yards with two TDs. Part of that was Champ Bailey making it tough for Smith, and the Broncos being one of the worst teams at defending the tight end. In five of nine games, Olsen has received at least seven targets. In the other games he has five targets or less. For the season, he has 43 receptions for 497 yards and three TDs. The matchup for the Panthers this week is great. The Buccaneers rank last in the NFL against the pass, allowing 321.3 yards per game. They have allowed five TDs to tight ends. Gresham has come on after a slow start. He has at least 10 points in a PPR league in five of his nine games. He has at least five targets in every game except one and with no clear No. 2 WR next to A.J. Green, Gresham will stay involved. He has 37 receptions for 448 yards and three TDs. These two are closely ranked. I like Olsen better here for the matchup.
I need one from Michael Turner, Rashard Mendenhall and DeMarco Murray. I know the safe play is Turner, but he is bad. Do the other two have a shot at playing and if so, do they have a shot at doing anything good?
Turner hasn’t looked good recently. He did have 20 carries for 102 yards with a TD two weeks ago against Dallas, but in four of the last five games he has averaged 3.8 yards per carry or less. Much of his value for producing lies in volume or TDs. He has two games of 20 or more carries out of nine games and has just four TDs. Coming off a juicy matchup against the Saints where he had just 13 carries for 15 yards, it’s difficult to have confidence in him. Turner doesn’t help in PPR leagues with just 10 receptions on the season. Turner is supposed to be a power back that can finish off drives in a prolific offense. It’s not happening. In goal-to-go situations, he has three TDs in 17 chances. You are right in that Turner is the safer play because we know he will get at least 15 touches and in the Falcons offense he will be in position to score. Still, two bad games in the last three against the Eagles and Saints show there is a downside as well. Murray will not play and it looks like Mendenhall will start. Mendenhall will share carries with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. The Ravens rank 26th against the run and with Byron Leftwich at quarterback, the Steelers will run the ball often. There could be concern since Mendenhall has missed four games, but when he was coming off his ACL injury in Week 5 he looked very good with 13 carries for 68 yards. There is some risk for Mendenhall, but if you want upside, Mendenhall has more than Turner.
Would you start Marcel Reece or Mikel Leshoure in a PPR league?
I always like Reece as an NFL player, but he wasn’t Fantasy relevant in most leagues until recently. It’s clear the Raiders coaching staff has no confidence in Taiwan Jones, as we found out last week when he had just one carry. Reece handled the carries with 13 for 48 yards after just one carry in the first eight games. While Reece might not impress with the carries, he’s used often as a receiver in a passing offense. Reece had seven catches for 56 yards last week. In a PPR league, Reece produced 16 points last week. The week before he had eight catches for 95 yards and a TD. Leshoure is dependent on TDs. While he has four on the season, three came in one game. Leshoure has 21 receptions on the season, but just four the last three games, as Joique Bell is being used a lot in passing situations.