Last week was all over the place for fantasy owners. There were major injuries (Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster), major surprises (Nick Foles, Tom Brady) and major letdowns (Jordan Cameron, Vincent Jackson).
There will likely be more of the same this week, but, as always, fantasy owners should concentrate on players with new situations/roles -- many of which will be in the same games.
The Packers' receiving game should be a major focus, as should the Eagles' as Foles attempts to make lightning strike twice. There's plenty to watch in the Texans-Cardinals' game, as both teams have precarious RB situations right now. The Raiders and Giants also have “new” RBs at the helm, as Rashad Jennings gets another crack at starting for Oakland and Andre Brown (leg) will make his season debut for the Giants. The Bears will test out a gimpy Jay Cutler, and while the Lions don't have anyone specific to watch, it's always worthwhile to enjoy Calvin Johnson.
Regardless of what you pay attention to, there were be plenty of fantasy fallout, so here's hoping everyone's squad stays healthy.
We're here to help you make some tough decisions with key numbers to know about every contest, plus a stud, sleeper, stumbler or injury concern to watch for with a brief explanation why. Note that the “studs” are guys who are either better than most owners realize or established stars who owners might be foolishly thinking about benching.
Rams at Colts
Stat to know: The Rams D/ST has the fifth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) over the past four weeks (11.5), thanks largely to 4.5 sacks per game. But the Colts are yet to allow more than nine fantasy points in any game this year, and they've allowed two or fewer sacks in all but three games. It could be a tough time for the Rams' defense on the road.
Stumbler: TE Coby Fleener (Rams allowing second-fewest FPPG to TEs.)
Eagles at Packers
Stat to know: Both Brent Celek and Zach Ertz scored last week, but Ertz has had more targets (20) than Celek (12) over Philadelphia's last four games. The Packers are tied for the sixth-most FPPG allowed to TEs (10.1), so Ertz is a legitimate sleeper this week.
Stumbler: Packers D/ST (Eagles have allowed three of fewer fantasy points to D/STs in three of the four games in which Nick Foles has had significant playing time.)
Jaguars at Titans
Stat to know: The Jaguars rank third, first and second, respectively, in FPPG allowed to QBs, RBs and TEs. However, they're 17th in FPPG allowed to WRs. Kendall Wright gets enough targets to still function as a WR3, but he's not an automatic start.
Stud: RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Titans have allowed at least 18.5 fantasy points to an RB in each of their past four games.)
Bills at Steelers
Stat to know: The Steelers continue getting killed by running backs (fifth-most FPPG allowed to RBs), and after both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson had at least 9.9 fantasy points last game, both are playable this week.
Sleeper: Bills D/ST (Steelers allowing fifth-most FPPG to D/STs.)
Raiders at Giants
Stat to Know: Rashad Jennings is expected to start for Darren McFadden (hamstring), and he's coming off a monster game (23.6 points). He's not a bad flex option, but keep in mind that the Giants are allowing just 3.3 yards per carry. It could be a tough day for Jennings, so don't expect another big performance.
Stumbler: RB Andre Brown (Raiders allowing just 16.5 FPPG to RBs; Brown will likely split time in his first game back from a broken leg.)
Seahawks at Falcons
Stat to know: Roddy White (ankle, hamstring) might return for this game, but even if he does, both him and Harry Douglas are risky starts. The Seahawks are allowing just 15.6 FPPG to WRs (third fewest).
Stud: WR Golden Tate (Falcons allowing seventh-most FPPG to WRs.)
Bengals at Ravens
Stat to know: Ray Rice has struggled all year, and that will likely continue against the Bengals. Cincinnati has only allowed double-digit fantasy points to an RB three times all year. It's tough to bench Rice, but it's not crazy.
Stumbler: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Ravens have allowed one rushing TD and fewest FPPG to RBs.)
Lions at Bears
Stat to know: The Bears' offense didn't do much before garbage time when these teams met in Detroit in Week 4, but with Jay Cutler expected to return from his groin injury, they should do better at home. The Lions allow the fourth-most FPPG to WRs (28), so Alshon Jeffery, who had 21.4 points in their first meeting, remains a decent play.
Stumbler: TE Martellus Bennett (Lions rank 22nd in FPPG allowed to TEs.)
Panthers at 49ers
Stat to know: Carolina played dual-threat QBs in Weeks 1 and 2 (Russell Wilson and EJ Manuel) and held them both below 20 fantasy points. They're currently allowing the fewest FPPG to QBs (12.2). Colin Kaepernick is only a borderline QB1.
Stumbler: TE Greg Olsen (49ers allowing fourth-fewest FPPG to TEs.)
Texans at Cardinals
Stat to know: Arian Foster (back) will likely give way to Ben Tate again, but it won't be easy for any Texans' RB to gain yards. The Cardinals have allowed just 3.4 yards per carry and two rushing TDs to RBs all season.
Sleeper: Cardinals D/ST (Texans tied for most FPPG allowed to D/STs.)
Broncos at Chargers
Stat to know: The Broncos are allowing the 10th-most FPPG to RBs, thanks largely to seven rushing TDs and four receiving TDs allowed to RBs. Both Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead are options, but Woodhead is the better play since he's San Diego's receiving back and often its goal-line back.
Injury: TE Julius Thomas, ankle (Joel Dreessen would start and be a sleeper TE if Thomas can't go.)
Cowboys at Saints
Stat to know: It's easy to expect a shootout in this game, but New Orleans has the fifth-ranked pass defense (211.9 yards per game) and an 8:9 TD-to-INT ratio. You're still going to start Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, but Jason Witten and Terrance Williams, who has just four catches in his past two games, aren't necessarily must-starts.
Sleeper: RB Pierre Thomas (Cowboys allowing ninth-most FPPG to RBs, including 57.3 receiving yards per game.)
Dolphins at Buccaneers
Stat to know: Darrelle Revis is back to playing press, one-on-one coverage, and he'll likely draw Mike Wallace this week. Wallace has been getting a ton of targets lately (average of 11 per game over the past four contests), and he might be a little too fast for Revis to cover all game, so he's not totally unplayable, but it's a boom-or-bust proposition.
Sleeper: TE Tim Wright (Dolphins tied for second-most FPPG allowed to TE.)