Aaron Rodgers $21,450
As a Cowboys fan, this is very difficult to write. As a victim of Aaron Rodgers, I don’t like him too much right now. He is an insanely good QB, and takes this team about 5 levels up. Without him, they would probably be about 4-12. The Falcons defense is nothing to be scared of, and we know Rodgers will find a way to get it done. The price is definitely steep, but all of the QB’s on this slate are pretty expensive. Rodgers has been above value in 4 of the last 5 weeks, and should be able to get there this week. This over/under is currently sitting at 61, which is way higher than the AFC Championship. Rodgers can be used in all formats.
Matt Ryan $18,750
Matt Ryan will face off with Rodgers, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him match numbers. I like Ryan more, mostly due to the price. The Packers defense is pretty bad, and we saw the Cowboys have a huge 2nd half through the air. Dez Bryant caught 2 touchdowns, and I am excited to see what Ryan is able to do with his numerous weapons. I think the Falcons eventually take this game down, and it will have to be on the shoulders of Matty Ice. All of these quarterbacks are elite this week, so you can really consider all of them. Ryan is my number 1 and I will have around 70% exposure. I think he is better fit for tournaments, but I will have him in most of my cash games as well.
Le’Veon Bell $20,400
Le’Veon is really expensive, and I still haven’t decided if I will be paying up for him this weekend. However, he is obviously the number 1 option, and there is a very good chance he ends up being the highest scoring runner on the slate. With that being said, some of these other guys do have similar upside. Devonta Freeman and Dion Lewis come to mind first. They are used through both the air and ground, which makes them game script proof. Even Tevin Coleman, who has over 16 fantasy points in 3 straight games. Bell is definitely the safest way to go, but it will be hard to pay the price. With the crazy over/under in Atlanta, I will probably stick Bell in some tournaments and stack that game in cash. This is a somewhat tough slate, and a lot of guys are going to be really highly owned, with such few options.
Dion Lewis $9,700
Lewis flashed his talent last weekend, but wasn’t needed down the stretch. Lewis caught a TD, ran for a TD, and returned a kick for a TD. He is extremely elusive, and nearly impossible to tackle in the open field. With Gronk out, Lewis is the ultimate safety blanket for Brady, and I could see him being relied on heavily. Blount is the bruiser back, but I think we saw who the Patriots wanted to have lead the backfield last week. You never really know with Belichick, but I think Lewis is a safe play for 20 touches. The Steelers are decent against the run, but struggle against pass catchers out of the backfield. Lewis is still way too cheap, and I like him a lot in both cash games and tournaments
Consider – Devonta Freeman, Ty Montgomery, Tevin Coleman
Julio Jones $18,000 or Mohamed Sanu $8,950
Both of these guys are squarely in play, and it just depends what type of roster construction you are going with. If you want to play Le’Veon, it will be difficult to fit both him and Julio in. It can be done, but you have to go for a few value plays that are not optimal. Instead, you can go down to Sanu and hope the Packers double team Julio. I think both of these guys are elite options, and I will have a lot of lineups with both. Jones will get a ton of targets as he is the most trusted WR, but Ryan showed the trust he had in Sanu when he threw a few in the endzone during the 4th quarter. Sanu is the clear WR2, and a fantastic play at just 8.9k. Julio is going to cost you a lot, but he has the most upside at the position. We saw what Dez Bryant did just a week ago, and Julio is probably in just a little bit of a better spot. This offense is extremely lethal, and you will want some exposure if you like money.
Julian Edelman $13,300
Edelman was leaned on heavily by Brady against the Texans, finishing with 13 targets and 8 catches. He didn’t get into the endzone, which halted him from having a ceiling game. Brady will go right back to Edelman this week, against a Steelers team that isn’t great against the slot. Mike Mitchell and Artie Burns will both see Edelman, and I don’t think any are built well to stop him. He is a precise route runner, and should be able to find some big holes in this porous defense. Sure, they have picked it up recently, but this is Tom Brady we are talking about. Edelman is a lot cheaper than Julio, and has a very similar floor. Edelman will be a staple in my cash games. You don’t want to watch this game and just see Brady throwing to this little guy every play and dropping you down the leaderboard.
Geronimo Allison $5,000
If you want some of these expensive guys, you have to pay down somewhere. If you want to go way down, you can look at Geronimo Allison. Allison was targeted 5 times against the Cowboys, converting that into 3 catches for 46 yards. Rodgers looks at Allison a lot on 3rd down, as he is a big body and is an excellent slant runner. The Falcons aren’t good on the backend, and Allison should be able to have some success because of it. He won’t get the same targets as a Cook or Cobb, but at his price, you will be happy with 3 or 4 catches. Everyone that will be on this field is worth consideration, and especially one who has the chance to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers at just 5k.
Consider – Eli Rogers, Randall Cobb
Jared Cook $8,950
Cook is almost a lock for me. The Falcons are atrocious against TE’s, and it is something we have targeted for years now. Rodgers targeted Cook 11 times, including 1 that ripped my heart into 400 pieces with 3 seconds left. He finished with 6 catches, 104 yards and a TD. His price did go up, but only to 9k. He should be about 14k here, against the Falcons as Rodgers number 1 target. You can definitely argue that he is a must play here, and I will personally have 100% of him. I don’t see a scenario where Cook fails to reach value.
Jesse James $5,800
If you feel the need to pay down for some reason, you can look at Jesse James. We saw Big Ben target him 6 times Sunday, and he ended with 83 yards, which is great production for only 5.6k. The Pats aren’t great against TE’s, and worse against them than anyone else on the slate. The Steelers are in a tough spot this week, and will have to have a big day through the air if they want to beat the Pats. James gets targeted a lot in the redzone, and he could catch a cheap TD for you.
The Pats are the only defense that is in a somewhat positive position. Roethlisberger has a tendency to turn the ball over, and their special teams is the best in the league. You can combine Lewis and the Pats as well, and hope for a double dip encore. You can play any of the other 3 defenses, but it could just come down to who gets a return TD or a lucky pick 6.