Fantasy Football 2013: Thursday Night Headlines

By Adam Pfeifer
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports


Bills. Browns. A game that hardly anyone truly cares for kicks off on Thursday night. Unless you are a Buffalo fan, Cleveland fan, or are simply addicted to football/fantasy football, this game doesn’t really grab your attention. Well, what do you know?

I fall into both of those categories.

Thursday night games, sadly, are typically the devil of fantasy football. You’d be lucky to get decent production out of your top guys, and in this contest, there is a ton of risk involved. Let’s get right down to it.

Buffalo Bills

Running backs, running backs, running backs. That has been, and will continue to be the main fantasy headline surrounding the Bills this season. Of course, there’s C.J. Spiller, one of the most electric backs in the league, has been short-circuited. Whether it’s the playcalling, the continuous injuries or just struggling, Spiller has not been what I envisioned him to be, which scares me. You know what else scares me? Injuries, especially to a running back, and especially on Thursday night. On Sunday, Spiller sprained his ankle, which has resulted in him limping all over the place this week. As of right now, Spiller appears to be a true game-time decision, but he stated that as long as he is 85-90 percent, he’ll most likely be out there. I don’t like him one bit in this matchup because he won’t be 100 percent, Jackson will likely see more work and the Browns defense is ranked third overall right now, and have also allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing runners. I have him ranked barely inside my top-30 this week, and I’d start a lot of guys ahead of him. Fred Jackson, meanwhile, is also dealing with an injury (sprained MCL), He practiced all week, and is listed as probable for this contest. Still a tough matchup, but he’ll likely get the most work, so consider him a low-end two, flex option in a time where the running back position is depleted.

As for the wide receiver position, Stevie Johnson is the popular name, but rookie Robert Woods has been the best receiver by far. A popular waiver wire option, Woods has played more snaps than Johnson in two consecutive weeks, and has been targeted 18 times during that span. However, I actually think shutdown corner Joe Haden will be on Woods, as Johnson operates out of the slot, and area in which Haden hardly sees. It’s hard to trust either of these guys, especially since rookie quarterback EJ Manuel has thrown almost half of his passes for five yards or fewer this year.

Cleveland Browns

Look, despite this being the evil Thursday night contest, you can’t sit Jordan Cameron or Josh Gordon. At all. Cameron is on pace for over 170 targets… as a tight end. Gordon, meanwhile, has a great matchup against a Buffalo secondary that is very depleted, and has also surrendered six catches of 40 yards or more, which is Gordon’s bread and butter. This unit has also allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts.

As for the running backs, it’s difficult to determine who will get the most touches. Willis McGahee may very well lead the Browns in carries with 12-15, but last week, he was only out there for 26 snaps. Chris Ogbonnaya is the pass-catching back, having hauled in nine balls over his last two games. And considering Brian Hoyer has attempted over 90 passes over the last two weeks, Ogbonnaya could see some deep league PPR value.

Good luck this week, folks. And please, pray that we see some fantasy goodness on Thursday night.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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