It seems like it's only a matter of time before some players get hurt. Darren McFadden is the poster child for that and the inevitable finally took place as he suffered the dreaded high-ankle sprain against the Buccaneers on Sunday. McFadden hasn't been productive this year and those that took him with a top-five pick are probably suffering in the standings.
As we enter the last four or five weeks of the regular season in fantasy, there are some other things owners need to remember. This is obviously more important to teams that are 6-3 or better because they're chances of heading into the fantasy playoffs are much greater. One main issue that always comes up is the weather. Some teams in the northeastern part of the country can deal with snow and wind to limit the chances of racking up TDs in the passing game. For instance, Green Bay has to travel to Chicago for Week 15 and they head home against Titans. Although, Rodgers and Co. can probably hang a 50 burger on Tennessee even if it's -20 degrees and winds of 70 MPH.
Detroit also has a nice indoor schedule with only one game taking place outside (Week 14 against the Packers). Matt Stafford could be a key component to a lot of fantasy championships.
Also, don't forget about teams clinching early. The Falcons still haven't lost yet and fantasy owners of guys like Matt Ryan should be rooting for Chicago to keep winning to prevent ATL from locking up home-field advantage.
Here are this weeks pickups. If you're not sure who to cut, you can hit me up on Twitter (@MikeSGallagher) for some help.
Carson Palmer, Raiders - In the last 40 minutes of Sunday's game, the Raiders ran the ball three times on designed runs. Three. The Raiders have a soft schedule and with their top two backs (McFadden and Goodson) down for a while, the silver and black are going to air it out. Plus, their D can't stop anyone. Carson serves as a nice bye-week fill in for Aaron Rodgers or RG3 owners.
James Starks, Packers - Mike McCarthy made good on his word that Starks would see more time at tailback and Starks led the team in carries with 17. He wasn't very productive with that allotment though and was able to turn those 17 carries into only 61 yards. Alex Green wasn't much better with his 11 carries going for 53 yards. It's worth noting that the Cardinals do have a solid defense and one of the best linebackers in the league in Daryl Washington. Starks is on the upswing and should be owned in some 12-team leagues.
Taiwan Jones, Raiders - Darren McFadden got DMC'd on Sunday and his status for Sunday's game against the Ravens is certainly in doubt. Mike Goodson also suffered an ankle injury and could miss time. Interestingly, The Raiders ran the ball a whopping three times after McFadden went down in the second quarter with about 10 minutes left. There's really no way that the Raiders go with such a pass-happy approach and Jones might be able to get 10-to-15 carries per game. He'll take on the Ravens next week in what's shaping up to be a favorable matchup. That said, I'd have to be in a big jam to consider starting him.
Marcel Reece, Raiders - Reece was busy as a receiving option for the Raiders and he racked up eight catches for 95 yards and a TD on Sunday. He was targeted nine times, which ranked third behind tight end Brandon Myers (13) and Rod Streater (10). The Raiders didn't have any sort of a run game and that will have to change, so I wouldn't bend over backward to add him in a standard league. He is certainly attractive in a PPR leagues, though.
Joique Bell, Lions - Sure, Mikel LeShoure scored three TDs, but he didn't lead his team in rushing. That distinction goes to Bell with his 73 yards on 13 carries. Bell also added 36 yards in the passing game on his three receptions. This has full-blown split written all over it and LeShoure checkered injury history offers some nice upside for Bell. The Lions go up against some favorable opponents and figure to get into some shootouts for the rest of the year. LeShoure does hold more value, but it's kinda close.
Bernard Pierce, Ravens - There's no doubt that Pierce is Rice's handcuff and he would likely vault to RB2 status should Ray miss time. Plus, the Ravens may lock up their position in the playoffs for Week 16.
Brian Hartline, Dolphins - Hartline is back, folks. After cooling off a few weeks ago, the Ohio State product has now looks like fantasy owners can lean on him. He laid a goose egg in Week 7, but he had four catches last week and seven catche
Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers - Antonio Brown is dealing with a mild high-ankle sprain and there's a good chance that he could miss Sunday's game against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Yes, the same Chiefs that have given up 31.7 points per game to teams that aren't offensive powerhouses in the Bucs, Raiders and Chargers. It still might be tough to start him with a Monday night game, but Brown may be listed as doubtful or possibly ruled out before Sunday. Brown owners might want to handcuff him, too.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders - The Raiders are about to get extremely pass happy. DHB might be busy.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts - Hilton is an interesting name this week by coming off a 100-yard game and seeing a team-high 11 targets. Secondly, Donnie Avery is banged up and is going to have to heal on a short week as the Colts take on Jacksonville on Thursday. Hilton might be a WR3 this week against a horrible Jaguars secondary.
Donald Jones, Bills - Stevie Johnson's status for Week 10 is up in the air and Donald Jones might emerge as a double-digit target guy. He gets the Patriots and the Bills are going to need to air it out. If you need a stop-gap option with a GB receiver or Larry Fitzgerald on a bye, Jones might be your guy.
Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins, Vikings - Percy Harvin's ankle is sprained in three places, so his status for Sunday is definitely up on the air. The Vikings will have to score some points to hang with Detroit and both of these guys could be flex options. I'd prefer Simpson for his big-play ability.
Danario Alexander, Chargers - Robert Meachem not only sucks, but he is also hurt and missed last Thursday's game against the Chiefs. Meachem has been a disaster in San Diego and it seems like Alexander is a lock to leapfrog him. Alexander might have some serious success against the Tampa Bay secondary.
Josh Morgan, Redskins - Morgan saw a team-high 12 targets on Sunday and it looks like he's out in front to be the most valuable Redskins receiver. However, that's a little bit like winning a tallest midget contest. While I wouldn't mind picking him up 16-team leagues, I probably wouldn't start him for at least another two weeks.
Brandon Myers, Raiders - The tight end was targeted a whopping 13 times on Sunday and he turned them into eight catches for 53 yards and a TD. As mentioned about five times in this article, the Raiders are going to pass it a lot.