By: Hop Mathews
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
This weeks Thursday night match-up pits a depleted Jets secondary against an offense hoping to regain its original form after returning to near full-strength. The Jets have given up big games to QBs over the past few weeks, but are still a formidable opponent as long they have Darrell Revis dropping back in coverage. Tyrod Taylor should be a decent play due to his upside potential, but given his struggling receiving core he maintains his middle tier status. The biggest question for the Bills comes in the backfield with an ailing LeSean McCoy returning alongside Karlos Williams. Both have shown great talent this year, but a split backfield against a stingy Jets run defense is cause for concern.
For the Jets, Chris Ivory looks to improve his performance against a poor Bills run defense with his starting center back in action. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been relatively consistent aside from his game against Oakland and should maintain a decent floor against the bills. The Wide Receivers for the Jets, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall are both very start able. Decker, in the slot, should look to take advantage of a weakness in the Bills secondary. Marshall, despite facing a tougher match-up outside, should be able to continue his success.
New Orleans Saints @ Washington Redskins
This match-up in New Orleans has the potential for another shoot-out like we saw week 8 against the Giants, though not to the same extent. Both defenses have struggled against the pass, especially the Saints who rank dead last in the leauge. This should provide a favorable match-up for Kirk Cousins, who has put up decent numbers, considering the defenses he’s faced. For the Redskins receiving core, Jordan Reed posses the highest floor, as Cousins security blanket, while it is still unknown exactly how the dynamic between Pierre Garcon and the returning DeSean Jackson will flesh out. Most likely, Jackson will return to his typical “Boom/Bust” form due to his big play potential, while Garcon becomes less valuable with the increase in receiving options.
The high-powered Saints offense headlined by Drew Brees and Mark Ingram have great potential against the Redskins. Mark Ingram should be able to bounce back after last weeks sub-par performance, as the Redskins run defense has been atrocious all year. For the Saints, receivers Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks are the only two names that really jump out. Brees likes to throw the ball, but he also tends to spread it around.
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
With the Lions cutting their losses for this season and a solid Green Bay team that is coming off two straight losses against good teams with great defenses, this game looks to be a true coming home party for the Packers. The Lions have ranked toward the bottom against opposing QBs and should pose little threat to a top tier QB like Aaron Rodgers. James Starks hopes to earn a permanent starting role after receiving the No. 1 spot amid Eddie Lacy’s recent tribulations. Starks should see a lot of carries if the Packers find themselves ahead early.
The Lions don’t posses a great deal of fantasy potential outside of Calvin Johnson. Even Johnson, who comes in to the game 13th in the league in targets, has struggled to turn them into touchdowns , but he should have a plethora of chances if the Lions have to play from behind. The return of Eric Ebron at tight end puts a damper on Golden Tate’s potential, in an already tough match-up. Matthew Stafford has struggled this season as well as against the Packers in the past. The backfield for the Lions has been changing up all season and seems to be trending toward Theo Riddick, originally a strictly pass catching back.
Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This match-up pits two fairly even teams, who are both at the bottom of their respective divisions. The Cowboys, who had high hopes coming into the season, have been greatly hindered by injuries, especially to the likes of Dez Bryant (returned week 8) and Tony Romo (expected to return week 11). The Buccaneers have been looking to rebuild around No. 1 draft pick, Jameis Winston. In fantasy terms, the Buccaneers running back Doug Martin hopes to build on what has been an solid year against one of the league’s worst run defenses. Winston has been solid this year and hasn’t thrown a pick since week 4. However, his outlook for week 10 isn’t all that great in a game that will reliant on the ground game. Winston’s receivers have been little help this season either due to injury or simply dropped passes. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay’s top receiver, is still a viable play due to the sheer volume of targets though his ceiling remains low until his hands improve. If the other members of the Buccaneer receiving core are able to play (Vincent Jackson & Austin Seferian-Jenkins) they may prove to hamper Evans targets for Sunday, though in the long run they may help ease coverage on him.
The Cowboys have suffered six straight loses since losing their starting quarterback. With Matt Cassell still at the helm, the cowboys offense remains limited, though there have been a few bright spots. The movement from a committee backfield to a single rusher has greatly increased Darren McFadden’s value as the seasons progressed. Dez Bryant has also shown glimpses of previous greatness in his few games since returning to injury.