By Zac Bellman
Special to the Tribune
Editors note: This is the first of a weekly series written by Marquette freshman Zac Bellman, who offers advice for fantasy football players.
Start: Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) vs. New York Jets
Luck and the Colts will still be riding high from their emotional win over the Packers last week, and the Jets stagnant offense will provide plenty of possessions for Luck. Look for Luck to find tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener early and often in this game, as the Jets will look to stop Reggie Wayne, who is coming off a career game.
Sit: Tony Romo (Dallas) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Although the Cowboys are coming off a bye and had plenty of time to get prepared for this matchup, the Ravens defense is never easy for an opposing quarterback. This year, they’ve only given up two passing touchdowns, and only three touchdowns total. Romo is also coming off a five interception game against the Bears.
Sleeper Start: Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City’s defense has given up ten passing touchdowns already this season, second-most only to the Redskins. Meanwhile Freeman and the Bucs are coming off a bye, and Freeman passed for a season high 299 yards the week before that. Kansas City’s offense will also likely struggle with a new starting quarterback, meaning Freeman should get opportunities.
Start: LaRod Stephens-Howling (Arizona) vs. Buffalo Bills
Incumbent starter Ryan Williams went down with a shoulder injury that will likely end his season, which opens the door for Stephens-Howling, who is also returning from injury. The matchup is very favorable for him, with the Bills giving up 460 yards and five touchdowns to running backs over the last two weeks.
Sit: Marshawn Lynch (Seattle) vs. New England Patriots
There are certainly backs with less production than Lynch this season, but unless the Seahawks get the lead early, the Patriots will eliminate the run. They also rank in the top 10 in run defense, which does not bode well for Lynch, even at home.
Sleeper Start: Alex Green (Green Bay) vs. Houston Texans
Cedric Benson went down with a foot injury last week that could keep him out eight weeks or longer. The Packers struggled mightily in the second half when they couldn’t establish the run, but Green did manage 55 yards on nine carries.
He will see plenty more carries this week as the starter, and Green Bay will need to run the ball to slow down the pass rush that allowed the Colts back into the game last week.
Start: James Jones (Green Bay) vs. Houston Texans
Greg Jennings could very well be out again this week with a lingering groin injury, and Jones has seen a dramatic increase in targets over the last two games. The Texans defense will be a tough matchup, but Aaron Rodgers seemed to look Jones’ way at critical moments last week and their chemistry seems to have improved from previous years.
Sit: Dez Bryant (Dallas) vs. Baltimore Ravens
See Tony Romo. Seriously though, the Ravens defense is locking down wide receivers and they’ve only given up 272 yards passing yards the last two weeks.
Sleeper Start: T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis) vs. New York Jets
His targets will increase this week as the Jets look to slow down Reggie Wayne. He was tied for second on the team in targets last week and managed three catches for 37 yards; he could burst out this week.