So the Bengals’ 3-5-1 record might have you down. But on the bright side, there’s always fantasy football to look forward to! At least for many of us. So if your team is still in contention for the playoffs, you might need to make some tough decisions about your quarterback play this week.
Think of fantasy player matchups as precious metals, and me as a jeweler. Like a good salesman, I’ll give you a tour of my shop, starting with the most alluring matchups and work my way down, presenting my case for each.
Platinum: can’t-miss investment, must-start
Gold: very good investment
Silver: solid investment
Potential gold mine: could be great, but, could also turn out to be nothing
Copper: least desirable of the precious metals, not a good start
Plastic: not even real gold, put on your bench
Fool’s Gold: shiny and enticing, but not a wise investment
Gold - Marcus Mariota, TEN (at Indianapolis Colts) - After a slow start, the sophomore quarterback has been on fire in recent weeks, topping 25 fantasy points (per NFL.com) in four of the last six weeks. He now goes up against the Colts, who are allowing the fourth most points to opposing quarterbacks. So while he’s not yet as reliable as, say, Drew Brees, Mariota should definitely be starting in more than 29.9% of leagues, which is where he currently stands.
Silver - Russell Wilson, SEA (vs Philadelphia Eagles) - Wilson has topped 26 points two weeks in a row, and finally seems to be healthy. The Eagles have been solid against opposing quarterbacks overall (though not as much the last 4 weeks, allowing over 17 fantasy points per game), so this is more a statement about Wilson and how he should be starting most weeks if you have him.
Silver - Tyrod Taylor, BUF (at Cincinnati Bengals) - Taylor has done an admirable job this year, considering his weapons. He is currently the 11th overall quarterback in fantasy football, and is coming off perhaps the greatest performance of his career, a 25.86 point showing in Seattle. Also, Taylor has a fabulous deep ball (that might remind some Cincinnati fans of Jeff Blake), and the Bengals’ defensive backs have allowed their fair share of big plays. Last week in NFL.com fantasy, Eli Manning had 18 points against the Bengals, and that was with two interceptions.
Copper - Carson Palmer, ARZ (at Minnesota Vikings) - Not only is the Vikings’ defense one of the stingiest to opposing quarterbacks, but Palmer continued his lackluster season last week with two interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers. He simply cannot be relied upon to deliver against a top defense on the road.
Plastic - Carson Wentz, PHI (at Seattle Seahawks) - Since his hot start, Wentz has become irrelevant in the fantasy world. He has not totaled 12 fantasy points in any of his last five games. It’s not likely he breaks that trend against one of the better defenses in the league, and a team that’s fighting to make it to the postseason.