Marcas Grant: If Dez Bryant is on the field, there's no way you can reasonably sit him. The first reason is that you drafted him to be an every week starter. Yes, Tony Romo was part of the equation but it was also about selecting a player who is among the most talented at his position. The second reason is that if you leave Bryant on the bench and he balls out, you're going to spend the rest of the week kicking yourself. This isn't exactly rolling the dice with Terrance Williams.
M.G.: This turned out to be a tougher call than I imagined. After a third straight huge game I sat down to take a closer look at Todd Gurley's game tape and ... I mean, wow. Just like ... wow. Todd Gurley is that dude and he's destined to be a star in this league for a long time. Chris Ivory doesn't elicit the same type of emotional reaction, but that doesn't mean he's not a very talented and productive running back. The Jets offense isn't the laughingstock that it once was and Gang Green's schedule works out pretty well in the back half of the season. I would actually advocate playing the matchups the rest of the way, but if you're forced to pick one, I'm in favor of talent over matchups and would pick Gurley.
M.G.: I know you've been itching for Ben Roethlisberger to get back, but at this point it's hard to keep Philip Rivers on the bench, especially in a week like this. The Chargers can't run the ball and they face a Ravens team that is adept at slowing down running backs. But Baltimore's secondary has been among the worst in the league. That's a recipe for success for an offense that has averaged 57 pass attemps over the past three games. Rivers has been fantasy gold for the past month and this week's game shouldn't be any different.
M.G.: With so much volatility in the fantasy running back market, it's not wise to just part ways with someone as talented as Jeremy Hill despite his struggles. You would have hoped for more consistency from a player on which you probably spent a second round pick. But the good news is that Cincinnati hasn't completely given up on him even if Giovani Bernard has taken a bigger share of the workload in the short term. The best attitude to take with Hill for now is to treat him as an RB2 and hope that things improve unless you somehow have better options.
M.G.:Antonio Gates isn't doing anyone any favors with his knee injury right now. The veteran tight end is reportedly "playing it by ear" and listening to his body rather than undergoing an MRI to determine the severity of his MCL sprain. That leaves you in limbo if you're hoping to play him in a matchup against the Ravens secondary. But Ladarius Green has shown that he can be an equally productive option if given the chance. If you're needing to start a waiver wire running back, you've got a tough decision. If you're just looking for depth, you might need to forgo adding a free agent for the week just to make sure you have a tight end available to start. The way things are going, there will be a new list of RBs for you to chase next week.
M.G.: This week should be all about Chris Johnson. First rule of Flex Club: Don't talk about Flex Club. But since we've already broken that rule, the next is to generally go with the running back since it's so much easier for them to get touches. Johnson's resurrection has been one of the biggest stories of the NFL and fantasy football season. Now he's facing the Browns defense, which has been the absolute worst against fantasy running backs this season. It seems like a match made in fantasy heaven. And if that doesn't convince you, let me remind you that Johnson is the NFL's second-leading rusher. Why wouldn't you flex that guy?
M.G.: Neither one of these players are guys that you're going start every week, so you're looking to the matchups to see which one belongs in your lineup in Week 8. In that respect, Stefon Diggs runs away with this thanks to his contest against Chicago. The Bears have had their struggles against the pass this season. The Cardinals have not. Arizona has been much tougher on fantasy wideouts this season and could be a nice fantasy defensive play if Johnny Manziel ends up getting the start over Josh McCown.
M.G.: You're keeping Carlos Hyde ... but you don't have to be happy about it. If you look on the waiver wire you're not going to find any more trustworthy options. For as bad as the 49ers offense has been this season, Hyde is still the team's primary running back and will see the bulk of the team's carries. That's worth reserving a roster spot for him. Just know that you can only play him when the matchups are favorable. Whenever that happens to occur.
M.G.: Step one: Get out of that league. We say this every season, but playing in leagues with Week 17 championships is like shoe umbrellas -- pointless. It's patently unfair to put together the best possible fantasy team -- usually from very good football teams -- and end up penalized because they play on good football teams and could ned up sitting at the end of the year. Step two: Don't trade Rob Gronkowski. He's really good and he plays at a position without much depth. Even if the Patriots do sit their starters in Week 17 (which is awfully hard to predict right now), can your team survive that long if you're streaming tight ends through the playoffs? I wouldn't take that chance.
M.G.: Well let's begin by dropping C.J. Anderson from this equation because he's a throw-in that should end up on the waiver wire. That means you're moving DeAndre Hopkins and the Denver defense for Eddie Lacy and Emmanuel Sanders. Considering the Broncos offense has been a quagmire this season I'm worried about Sanders' longterm prospects. Similarly, I hope and believe that Eddie Lacy can rebound this season but so far his outlook is dubious. Meanwhile both Hopkins and the Broncos defense have been the best at their respective positions all season long and don't appear to be slowing down. I would jump at the chance to grab that duo.
M.G.: Manuel has a problem with overthrows at sea level. What would he do at elevation? Plus Culpepper and his offense have dogged determination that could get them a win. Viva!