Week 3: Player Upgrades
(Editor note: This week's Player Upgrades article comes via Jack Anderson. Hit him with questions and comments on Twitter @jackandersonIII. Cool? Cool.)
Hello and welcome to player upgrades. Throughout the year we'll be focusing on which players should receive starts based on matchups, injuries, etc. plus those rising weekly and long-term rankings.
Your opponent has a clear-cut starting QB in Drew Brees, but maybe you're saddled with Andy Dalton and Big Ben? You locked up AP with the number one pick, but forgot to take another back until round seven? Player upgrades will help you decide whom to start each week.
Remember when Rivers was mentioned as a possible MVP candidate a few years back? Then came the dark days on the back end of the Norv Turner era. Now Mike McCoy has seemingly revitalized the 31-year old signal-caller. Rivers picked apart the Eagles secondary on Sunday for 419 yards and four touchdown passes, leaving him having tossed seven touchdowns through two games. Looking ahead, it gets even better for him with matchups against Tennessee, Dallas, Oakland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Washington in the next seven weeks. It's too early to reignite the MVP chatter, but Rivers might be a perfect fit for fantasy owners stewing over the ineffectiveness of Cam Newton or Tony Romo.
Matt Schaub and Sam Bradford might have gaudier numbers, but it's all about the Dolphins upcoming schedule. The Texans play the Seahawks and Niners in two of the next three weeks while the Rams get the Coawboys, Niners and Texans in three of the next four weeks. Meanwhile Tannehill draws the Falcons, Saints, Ravens and Bills over the next month. He's been efficient and threw for over 300 yards on Sunday for the second time in his career, outplaying Andrew Luck on the road. The lack of touchdown passes are a concern, but it's early and the favorable schedule – along with improved play – make Tannehill an intriguing option.
After turning in a dud in Week 1, Miller rebounded Week 2 with a 14-carry, 69-yard performance, capping it off with a touchdown. Averaging 4.9 yards per carry ought to draw some attention and increased playing time. For now, he's the starter and the Dolphins face a pair of shaky run defenses in New Orleans and Buffalo over the next four weeks. If you're scrounging for a starter, Miller is a decent low-end play, but be sure to monitor the situation as backup Daniel Thomas already has 16 carries on the year to Miller's 24.
Perhaps the Redskins defense – or lack thereof – is responsible for the rare outbreak of a Packers running back, but Starks looked impressive, chewing up yard in chunks en route to his first 100-yard game since 2010. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry and amassed 132 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 36 yards through the air – a complete performance on a dominant day for the Green Bay offense. It's tough to predict if Green Bay will continue to impress on the ground, but if you're in a tight spot, Starks might be a solid play (especially since Eddie Lacy is likely to be sidelined in the coming weeks due to the concussion he suffered on Sunday).
After two games, Hilton's stock is rising (especially when you compare his stats to Indy's top receiver Reggie Wayne). The old school vet has 13 catches on 16 targets for 142 yards and a touchdown. Hilton has nine catches on 17 targets for 144 yards and no touchdowns. Also worth noting is Hilton has three catches of 20+ yards and had a career game Sunday against the Dolphins. Wayne has long been the man for the Colts, but Hilton is beginning to emerge as option 1b.