It may seem a little strange to recommend a quarterback coming off a performance where his team scored five points, but this looks like a prime bounceback spot for Russell Wilson. The Panthers have been the league's second best run defense in terms of rushing yards allowed this year, which should mean more attempts for Wilson. Perhaps more importantly, Wilson showed last week that he's healthy and can move around again, rushing for a season-high 80 yards.
Wilson had been heating up before last week's setback, and the Panthers being without Luke Kuechly should help Seattle and Jimmy Graham get going down the middle of the field. Don't overreact to last week, as Wilson has everything trending in his favor for a big time home performance.
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Mark Ingram vs Detroit
Ingram is dealing with a toe injury, but if he's active, you'll want to get him out there.
After falling into Sean Payton's doghouse about a month ago, Mark Ingram has been virtually unstoppable out of the backfield. Ingram is averaging over 8 yards per carry over his last four games, racking up four touchdowns during that timespan as well. Even with Tim Hightower getting more involved, the rushing attack for the Saints is clicking right now and should keep rolling in a game where the Saints are projected to score nearly 30 points.
While the Lions have been stingier against the run lately, they'll likely have to pick their poison and drop more defenders back into coverage to slow down Drew Brees. With more opportunity for checkdowns and a good shot at a touchdown in what could be a shootout, Ingram is back on the RB1 radar this week. If he sits, Tim Hightower is an incredibly value play in his absence.
USA TODAY SportDerick E. Hingle
Spencer Ware vs Atlanta
Spencer Ware hasn't exactly lit the world on fire, despite some great matchups over the last few weeks. So what could make this game different? Atlanta's defense schemes to allow running backs as many catches as they desire. Atlanta has given up the most receptions and yards to running backs of any team in the league, which should set Ware up for a nice reception floor in PPR leagues. Alex Smith does love to checkdown, after all.
Add the receiving potential to Ware's heavy workload (at least 16 total touches in three straight games) and you have the makings for an RB1 type week. It seems like only a matter of time before Ware busts out for a big game, and in a game where Andy Reid will want to keep Matt Ryan off the field, this is as good of a shot as any.
APColin E. Braley
Colin Kaepernick vs Chicago
Who would have thought that Colin Kaepernick would emerge as a top-5 QB candidate towards the end of the season? If you missed out on the Kaepernick train the last few weeks, it's not too late to hop on. Kaep is coming off a game where he ran for 113 yards, and he has at least two touchdowns per game over his last four starts. The rushing floor gives you a lot of room for error, and Chicago is very vulnerable through the air, allowing opposing quarterbacks a 96.4 QB rating, which is 25th in the league.
While a lot of Kaepernick's stats have come in garbage time or catch-up mode, this game could be a sneaky shootout between two teams that struggle to consistently get stops. Kaepernick is once again locked in as a QB1 in a strong matchup.
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Jordan Howard vs San Francisco
Fantasy goodness can come from the most bleak situations, as Jordan Howard has demonstrated. With Chicago on their third-string QB in Matt Barkley, Howard has secured true bell-cow status and has averaged over 20 touches per game over the last four weeks. Howard has quietly been one of the most effective backs in the league this season, 5.1 yards per carry.
While the endzone has been elusive for him this year, Howard should be in line to score against a 49ers defense that has surrendered 14 rushing touchdowns this year. It may seem overly simplistic to pick on the 49ers with running backs every week, but given Howard's workload and his excellent matchup, it would be a shock if he finished outside of the top-10 in RB stats this week.
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Donte Moncrief vs New York Jets
Donte Moncrief has 29 targets over his last four games, and a very burnable Jets secondary should set him up for plenty of work. Moncrief has scored a touchdown in every full game he's played this season, and he's the clear-cut red zone option for a team that gets down there often. The Jets allow the 24th most passing yards per game in the league, and Andrew Luck is healthy and ready to rock.
There are few better bets at the wide receiver position to score a touchdown than Moncrief this week. With T.Y. Hilton demanding cloud coverage due to the lack of speed on the outside for New York's corners, Moncrief should find a lot of hohles all night long. He's a sneaky WR1 candidate this week.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
Philadelphia's ground game vs Cincinnati
The Eagles have been more than frustrating with their running back rotation this year, but Ryan Mathews being ruled out puts both Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood firmly on the RB2 radar. The Bengals showed last week that without A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, they are going to have a tough time keeping the chains moving. That should set gameflow up nicely for Philadelphia's running backs, who will take on a bigger responsibility with Carson Wentz struggling to get going. With Jordan Matthews also banged up, the Eagles could look to utilize Darren Sproles heavily in the screen game.
The Bengals have struggled against the run all year, allowing the 5th most rushing yards in the league. Smallwood is the better standard league play and Sproles is the better PPR option, but both are certainly startable in a prime matchup.