Hello fantasy footballers! It is Columbus Day weekend and I know each week you have questions about your lineups as well as your roster and who should stay, who should go, and who you should trust and who you should bench. Well, I'm here each week to answer the questions that come up heading into the weekend and give you the answer to what exactly you can expect when the opening kickoff goes into the air until the final whistle blows Monday Night. How can you win your fantasy matchups this week? Why, it's Hallamentary of course! Godspeed and good luck my friends!
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Questions about your team or a waiver move? Lineup decisions? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for answers to those questions. You can also hit me up by following me on Twitter @ryanhallamFA or if you just want to read some of my incoherent babbling in 140 characters.
Can you trust Rashard Mendenhall this week if he is cleared to play? The Steelers have been absolutely dreadful running the ball through the first three weeks of the season, and they are hoping to get Rashard Mendenhall back. With a good week of practice I believe that he will get on the field. I have Mendenhall on many of my teams as he fell into the double digit rounds in most drafts and I was more than happy to grab him. I have great hopes for Mendenhall after the middle of October and the rest of the season, but there's no way that I could start him in Week 5, unless you are absolutely desperate at running back and would be starting backup running backs on multiple teams I wouldn't be starting Mendenhall this week. Week 7 I will be all about Mendy, but this week I just can't do it, even though I have great hopes for this guy going forward.
With the injury to Greg Jennings, which of the Green Bay receivers should you start? James Jones scored two touchdowns, but Randall Cobb had seven catches last week. It looks like Greg Jennings isn't going to play, so who is going to play second banana to Jordy Nelson? My feeling is Jones. Cobb is a nice change of pace player and is a bit of a novelty play guy, while I feel that Jones is the more traditional type of receiver and the kind of guy that Aaron Rodgers will be looking for and I believe will put up the better stats. Cobb is most likely not in free agency anymore and if he is on your team I wouldn't be starting him against the Colts, but I would consider starting Jones in deeper leagues.
Are Miami Dolphins players actually fantasy relevant? Ryan Tannehill, Devone Bess, Reggie Bush, and whoa ho Brian Hartline have been catching the eye of fantasy players everywhere the past couple of weeks and of course everyone is thinking "is this for real? Should we own DOLPHINS players?" Ladies and Germs I'm not here to tell you that the Dolphins are going to score enough points to make multiple people fantasy relevant. However, if you are in a PPR league I have to say that Brian Hartline has to be on someone's roster, and I also believe that Devone Bess should be too. I'd start Hartline before Bess, but if you are in a 14 team league with three receivers and a flex, I could easily see Bess being worthwhile. In this day and age of fantasy quarterbacks I really don't see a way that Tannehill would enter your starting lineup unless you are in a two quarterback league, but keep an eye on the kid, he's been doing quite well.
Is Torrey Smith becoming a bonafide elite wide receiver? He got off to a rough start in the first two weeks of the season, but since (i'm sorry to say) his brother's death, Smith has become nearly impossible to defend. Smith has six catches in each of the past two games and nearly 100 yards in both games. I have to say that I absolutely love Torrey Smith. Joe flacco has taken a step forward to become one of the better quarterbacks in the game and the Ravens are more of a passing team than they were before. Smith is the best receiver on the team and I believe that he will have at least 85 catches and ten touchdowns before the season is over.
Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden are out this week, which Giants receiver can you trust this week? Of course, Victor Cruz is going to get his against the Browns this week, but who else can we trust? Honestly, the Browns defense is pretty damn strong and I'm not sure that any of the other Giants' receivers are going to put a good showing forth. Domenik Hixon had a heck of a game against the Eagles, but will the Browns be ready for him? Rueben Randle is also a rookie on the Giants' roster, but I don't think I could trust him this week. If you need to start a Giants' receiver to make up for someone you have on the bye it would be Hixon, but hopefully you have another option. The Browns have given a number of teams all that they could handle.
Will the legend of RG3 continue to grow? Is he now a QB1? So far Griffin has completed nearly 70% of his passes, has thrown for four touchdowns and has run for four more. He has fantasy owners from coast to coast thinking of the wonderful deliciousness that was Cam Newton last year. Can he continue? Will he be Cam Newton 2.0? One problem is that he doesn't have the talent at receiver that Newton has in Carolina, not that Cam has Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, but with Pierre Garcon hurt, Griffin's best target is Santana Moss? However, I believe that Griffin is a top 12 fantasy quarterback and you can rely on him in a week in, week out basis. If you chose him as your second QB, I would feel comfortable trading the guy you picked as your starter to plug in RG3 each week and improve your team elsewhere.
Can you continue to trust Michael Turner on a weekly basis? After starting the season with two rough games, Turner has topped 80 yards and has scored twice this season in what seems to be a bit of a renaissance. Turner is 30 year old and has rushed the ball over 300 times in three of the last four seasons, so I think most expected him to slow down and for Jacquizz Rodgers to start to take over his role. So far Turner has been everything that fantasy owners hoped he would be and some. As long as the Falcons still spell Turner somewhat during the game, hopefully he can be a reliable back the entire season and someone that you can at least start in your flex. I would keep a close eye on Turner and if he starts to fade I would think of putting someone else in my lineup.
Was Chris Johnson's performance in Week 4 the sign of things to come or will he continue to struggle? Johnson has been a fantasy dud for the past year and three week before he broke out for 141 yards even though he didn't find the endzone. Will this be the performance that he needs to get back on track? Or was this a one week thing and he is going to go back to struggling again? The Titans play the Browns this week who are a very strong defense and I would be very surprised if Johnson had another huge game this week. However, unless you have a very strong running back group, I think that you need to ride to the show with Johnson and hope that he turns it around. Let's face it, he doesn't have a lot of competition for carries on the roster. I would have a hard time sitting Johnson, unless you have great options.
Can you trust Matt Hasselbeck as a fantasy starter? I don't see any way that Jake Locker sees the field this week which means that Hasselbeck will be under center. The guy is no slouch and had a good completion percentage and two touchdown passes last week. I wouldn't think of starting of putting Hasselbeck into my starting lineup unless you are in a deep two quarterback league and you've had some injuries. However, I wouldn't downgrade any of the receivers because of him being under center. If you were planning on playing Kendall Wright or Nate Washington I wouldn't take them out of your lineups because Jake Locker won't be playing. Hasselbeck could give you everything that he does, and possibly a little more.
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