Marcas Grant: First of all ... enough is enough! I have had it with these monkey-fighting injuries in this Monday to Friday season. All three of the backs you listed are getting a shot because the players ahead of them have suffered some sort of issue. Even though Bryce Brown has the best matchup going against the Browns, we have no real clue how the Seahawks will use him. Especially with talk that Fred Jackson and even Derrick Coleman could see some work. James White has done well as Dion Lewis' replacement, but the Titans have allowed the fewest receptions to running backs this season which takes away a large part of White's game. At this point, I'd lean toward Robinson, who has a plus matchup against the Falcons run defense.
M.G.: I think the Panthers have given us a pretty clear answer about this now. If they had any real faith in Fozzy Whittaker, he'd probably have a lot more than 18 rushing attempts this season. By comparison, fullback Mike Tolbert has 45 carries. With Stewart looking doubtful to play this week, it seems likely that the Panthers turn to the rookie Cameron Artis-Payne to get the bulk of the touches. The good news is that Carolina has pretty much been a one-back team this season, so the runner who gets the start might not need to spend a lot of time looking over his shoulder for someone to steal his touches.
M.G.: This question here is the exact reason I advocated for trading away Julio Jones before the fantasy playoffs. It's all going wrong in Atlanta right now. The offense is a mess and two matchups with Josh Norman and the Panthers isn't doing anyone any favors. But if you're stuck with Julio Jones, I can't recommend sitting him down simply because he has the ability to post a huge number every week. It comes down to this: I would rather lose with Julio posting a low score in my starting lineup than lose with him posting a huge number on my bench. It's not an enviable position to be in, but it beats the alternative which is not being in the playoffs at all.
M.G.: Be afraid. Be very afraid. Lining up against Josh Norman this season has been a fantasy death sentence and it's affected all levels of fantasy receiver from the elite on down. But much like Julio Jones, do you really want to take the chance of sitting a player who could explode at any time? My advice is to start Beckham, temper your expectations and see where else in your lineup you can exceed your projections. It will definitely be a nervous weekend for anyone with Beckham on their roster.
M.G.: Okay, humblebrag much? "Look at me! I have healthy and talented running backs!" We get it, Jason. But seriously, you do have a real dilemma with two of your three backs facing each other on Thursday night. While I generally don't like road teams on Thursdays, starting Doug Martin is a no-brainer. He's played well all season and the Rams run defense has gotten a little leaky recently. In reality, Lacy has a tougher matchup against the Raiders than Gurley does against the Buccaneers. But I'm not brave enough to have both of my running backs playing so early in the week. As hard as it might be after last week's game, I'd sit Todd Gurley this week.
M.G.: The Chiefs do line up against the Ravens this week, but the matchup might not be as juicy as you think. The Ravens in the past month are allowing fewer than seven points per game to tight ends. Considering how inconsistently the Chiefs have been targeting Kelce (eight targets in the past two games), this isn't a week about which to be optimistic. Next week's game is against the Browns, who have been even tougher on tight ends this season. If you play in a Week 17 championship (why?) and you surivive that long, there is a matchup with the Raiders on tap. But I'm not dropping Kelce just because I don't want any of my opponents to scoop up a talented player. However, I'm also not confident in starting him anytiime soon.
M.G.: Yes, the New Orleans Saints have a new defensive coordinator in Dennis Allen. But they still have the same players. A new scheme can only do so much to hide inferior talent and that, more than anything, is why the Saints defense has been driving the struggle bus this season. They put up a nice day against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers last week, but the Lions offense has found a little bit of a groove lately. I believe that Stafford will figure out how to exploit the New Orleans defense this week in a game that has the potential to be a pretty high scoring affair.
M.G.: A few weeks ago, this wouldn't have been a tough decision. Cam Newton was playing lights out football while Russell Wilson ... wasn't. Obviously you know what's happened with Wilson in the past four weeks. This week he gets to take on the woeful Browns defense without Joe Haden. Cam does have a nice matchup against the Giants but with Wilson on fire, it's hard to put him on the bench against such a poor defense.
M.G.: Between injuries and matchups, this is a week where you can afford to find some values at the running back and wide receiver positions. If there's somewhere you'll need to splurge, it's at quarterback. Players like Russell Wilson and Cam Newton have outstanding matchups, but aren't particularly great value options. That's okay because what they are likely to return this week makes it worth your while.
M.G.: I would definitely be concerned about starting the Broncos this week against one of the league's best offenses. I'd probably shy away from the Patriots simply because they could still be missing some key pieces this week against the Titans. If you're looking to stream a defense, I'd suggest the Texans against the lackluster Colts offense. However it's worth keeping an eye out for Indy's quarterback situation since there's a chance that Andrew Luck returns to action this week.
M.G.: Kelly-tricks? Not bad, but I think we can do better. Bargaining Chips, anyone? Tweet me with your suggestions.