Eli Manning, New York Giants QB
Normally, starting Manning is a no-brainer, but with this matchup, it should be given a little more thought. The Vikings held Cam Newton without a passing touchdown, forced him to throw three interceptions and sacked him eight times in a win at Carolina last week. Manning, who’s known for his quick release, has only been sacked six times this season, but the Giants’ offensive line is its biggest weakness. The Vikings lead the NFL with 15 sacks, and defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen will be going after Manning. Minnesota’s defense also ranks ninth with 211 passing yards allowed per game and third with 13.3 points allowed per game. The Giants’ running game is depleted, which puts an even bigger target on Manning’s back. The veteran still is a top-15 play, but if you have a better option, go with it.
Brian Hoyer, Chicago Bears QB
Filling in for the injured Jay Cutler, Hoyer threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Cowboys on Monday night. But it’s hard to get too excited about that performance because 36 of his 49 pass attempts came in the second half with the Bears already trailing 24-3, and the Cowboys’ defense isn’t exactly prolific. Hoyer has the benefit of playing another lousy pass defense in the Lions, who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season in standard scoring leagues, according to Yahoo! Hoyer’s a nice QB2 option, but otherwise he sits.
Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos QB
at Tampa Bay
The second-year quarterback has gotten better each week. Last week he led all quarterbacks in fantasy points in standard scoring leagues as he threw for 312 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a win over the Bengals. After going with a dink and dunk offense the first two weeks, the Broncos let Siemian throw the deep ball a bit more, seemingly throwing off the Bengals, who allowed two passing touchdowns of more than 40 yards. Siemian has a favorable matchup against the Bucs, who have allowed a league-worst 33.7 points per game, but don’t get too hung up on one performance. Before last week he had combined for just 444 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Siemian’s a low-end QB2.
Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons RB
Devonta Freeman looked more like the top back he’s expected to be last week, rushing for 152 yards on 14 carries and adding 55 receiving yards on five catches, including his first touchdown of the season. Though Freeman has outrushed Coleman the last two weeks, it’s the latter who’s been getting into the end zone. Coleman rushed for three touchdowns in a win over the Saints, and all three carries came inside the 10. Freeman actually has six carries inside the 10 compared to Coleman’s five this season, but Freeman’s rushed for just 1.0 yard per carry compared to Coleman’s 3.2 in those situations. That’s a small sample size, and it’s bound to level off, so Freeman’s still the No. 1 option in Atlanta, but with Coleman averaging 14 touches a game, he’s a good flex option, even in a tough matchup against the No. 3 defense.
Dwayne Washington, Detroit Lions RB
Not too long ago, Washington was fighting for a spot on the Lions’ roster. Now, he could be splitting carries with Theo Riddick. With Ameer Abdullah on IR and possibly out for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left foot, it seemed like the job would go to Riddick, but Washington may have played himself into a bigger role. Riddick rushed for just nine yards on 10 carries last week against a tough Packers defense, while Washington managed 38 yards on 10 carries. The rookie is much bigger than Riddick, making him more suited for an up-the-gut role. (Hello, short yardage touchdowns.) The Lions likely will go with Riddick as more of a situational back. He’s still the better own, especially in PPR leagues, as he has 16 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown, but Washington’s a nice flex play with upside.
T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars RB
The Jaguars haven’t been able to get anything going on the ground, ranking 31st with 55 rushing yards per game. Yeldon had a solid rookie year, combining for 1,019 yards and three touchdowns in just 12 games last season. So far this season, he has just 84 yards on 34 carries (2.5 ypc), and he’s still the Jags’ leading rusher. Chris Ivory, who returned last week after missing the first two games with an undisclosed medical issue, suffered knee and ankle sprains but managed to play through them in a loss to the Ravens. If Ivory plays Sunday, Yeldon belongs on the bench, even against a Colts’ defense that’s allowing 400 yards per game.
Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns WR
Pryor’s stock may be up after Josh Gordon, who was days away from being reinstated, announced Thursday that he will enter an in-patient rehabilitation center. Pryor had eight catches for 144 yards and rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Dolphins last week. The Redskins have the 26th-ranked defense and are allowing 30.7 points per game, making Pryor a WR2/WR3 option this week, and a nice plug-and-play option down the road.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots WR
Edelman likely won’t have to play quarterback for the Patriots on Sunday after both Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (right thumb) were limited participants in practice Thursday. But with neither at full strength, it could be a tough game for Edelman, as the Pats likely will rely on the run game like they did in last week’s win over the Texans. Edelman’s a flex at best this week against a middle-of-the-road Bills’ defense.
Will Fuller V, Houston Texans WR
After two straight 100-yard games to open his career, Fuller -- along with the rest of the Texans’ offense -- didn’t do much against the Patriots last week. He had just three catches for 31 yards on seven targets. The rookie’s strength is his big-play ability, and the Titans have given up 11 passing plays of 20 or more yards. Fuller’s a WR3 this week.
Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks TE
at New York Jets
Now that’s the Jimmy Graham we’re used to. The seventh-year tight end had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown last week in a win over the 49ers. It was his first 100-yard game since last October against the Panthers. Coming off a ruptured patellar tendon last Novemeber, it appears Graham is back. It’s not a great matchup against the Jets, but Graham’s still a low-end TE1.