Fantasy football clicks: Schedule could offer boost for Romo, Vick
Tony Romo and Michael Vick both face struggling defenses in the upcoming weeks
Rashad Jennings has gone for more than 100 yards in each of his prior two games
Scheduled to return next week, Rams' Danny Amendola is a smart fantasy stash
A lot of responsibility comes with playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys and Eagles have two of the highest profiles in the league, and they play in the NFC East, likely the league's most visible division. They've traditionally been competitive, especially in recent years. But let's forget all that boring, practical, real-life stuff. For our purposes, the quarterbacks of these two teams have enjoyed some of fantasy's best weapons the last few years. Coming into the year, most of us in the fantasy community thought Tony Romo and Michael Vick had likely seen their best days but remained strong second-tier options, especially given the skill players at their disposal.
That's why Romo and Vick have been so disappointing.
There isn't any good reason why Vick should be the 14th-ranked quarterback and Romo the 21st. Sam Bradford is 19th. Christian Ponder is 17th. Andy Dalton is 13th. Josh Freeman is 11th. I don't think anyone would confuse the Rams' skill players for Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten. Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson are great, but they don't quite match up with the foursome in Dallas. And that's without factoring in the gap in talent that separates Romo from Bradford and Ponder. The differences in weapons and talent aren't quite as stark between Vick, Dalton and Freeman, but the Bengals and Buccaneers would at least think about flopping their skill players for the Eagles', straight up, for this year only. Quite simply, while we rightly expected less from Romo and Vick this year, we just as rightly expected more than this.
Here's the good news for those of you who have held onto these two embattled NFC East quarterbacks, whether out of loyalty, a lack of options or sadism: Things are about to get a whole lot better. Romo has had two strong fantasy performances in his last three games, and he's got two games with the Eagles and one apiece against the Browns, Redskins and Bengals on the schedule. If you're lucky enough to be playing in Week 16, Championship Week in most fantasy leagues, you'll be treated to a tasty matchup against the Saints.
Vick gets those same Saints this week to get himself back on track and save his job. Assuming he can do that, he'll play those same two games against the Cowboys, with two more against the Redskins and individual dates with the Panthers, Buccaneers and Bengals. That, too, is a friendly schedule for a passer. As poorly as Vick has played from a real-life standpoint, his rushing yards have saved him in fantasy. They turned a 12-point game into a 16-point game last week and a 14-point game into a 19-point game in Week 4. He has only scored fewer than 15 points once in standard scoring leagues this year.
So yes, Romo and Vick have a ton of responsibility as the respective faces of two of the league's flagship franchises, not to mention countless fantasy teams from coast-to-coast. This is the week they'll both start to turn it around. And that's what I think.
Here's what I think about what other people think this week:
At RotoWire (subscription required), Derek VanRiper lists Donald Brown as an upgrade in his weekly barometer. I'm right there with him. Brown returned to action last week, running 14 times for 80 yards. As VanRiper points out, Brown is quietly getting 4.3 yards per carry this year, and draws the Jaguars, Patriots and Bills in the Colts' three games after playing the Dolphins this week. That should make Brown a must-start in each of those weeks.
The Yahoo! guys gave us their weekly over/under column, and one prop particularly caught my eye. All three writers say Torrey Smith will have less than 74.5 yards this week. Even if Joe Flacco isn't who we thought he was after the first few weeks of the season, and even if the Browns should keep this game close at home, I like Smith to have a big day. I'm thinking something on par with the six-catch, 97-yard, one-touchdown game he had against the Browns in Week 4.
Matthew Berry at ESPN loves Rashad Jennings this week. So do I. Jennings has gotten more than 100 yards each of the last two weeks, and the Lions have been one of the league's friendlier defenses for running backs. Jennings is the only show in town, something that should lead to him giving fantasy owners 100 combined yards and a score this week.
At NFL.com, Michael Fabiano got a question in his mailbag from a fantasy player who owns Owen Daniels and Jason Witten, but can only start one. Fabiano gives out some good advice, but I'd add something here. In a situation where you have a guy who should be an every-week starter relegated to your bench because you don't have a starting spot for him, you should be willing to take less than his market value in a trade that improves a starting spot on your roster. Even if you take a lesser player that upgrades your starting roster, it's better than keeping a stud on your bench every week. It's all about maximizing your starting lineup, especially as we transition out of the bye-week portion of the schedule. Don't advertise your willingness to do so to your league, however.
Nathan Zegura at CBS.com tells fantasy owners they should bench Michael Turner this week. Unfortunately (since I own Turner in one important league), I have to agree. Turner has failed to reach 70 yards for three weeks straight now. The only way you can possibly start him is if you believe he will score. That's a tenuous spot to put yourself in, especially against a Cowboys defense that hasn't allowed a running back to put up a productive fantasy game since Marshawn Lynch carved them up in Week 2. Get Turner on your bench this week.
Let's take a trip back over to RotoWire (subscription still required). Mario Puig's five things to know this week tells us that Titus Young will approach WR2 production. I was a believer in Young coming into the season, and I love the addition he made to his jersey after his son was born, but I'm selling this prediction. Matthew Stafford and the Lions haven't been anywhere near consistent this season, and I don't believe they will turn it around. The addition of Mike Thomas isn't all that threatening, but it's worth noting the Lions felt they had to go out and make a move for another receiver.
Finally, we'll swing by Yahoo! once more and take a look at Andy Behrens' 7-on-7, in which he informs us that Danny Amendola will be back for the Rams next week. He also points out that, somehow, Amendola is owned in just 59 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Through four games and a small part of a fifth, Amendola had 32 catches for 395 yards and two touchdowns. That is not the line of a guy who should be available in six out of every 10 leagues. If you're in one of those leagues, grab him now and start reaping the rewards next week.
Chat with me on Twitter, @MBeller.
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