Don’t be afraid of facing quality defenses

Don’t be afraid.  That’s Wednesday’s theme.  My 2-year-old daughter walks around saying “Zoe’s not afraid of the dark.  Zoe’s not afraid of the outside.”  The weird thing is her name’s not Zoe. 

OK it is, but my point is this: We’re getting to the time of the fantasy season where you have to pull the trigger on some moves. The problem is you’re hesitant, or you tend to overthink things.  So let’s take a look at what’s ahead in the coming weekend and why you don’t have to be afraid of Jets CB Darrelle Revis or the Steelers defense, and why you shouldn’t overanalyze big quarterback and running back situations.

As Tom Brady said Tuesday, it doesn’t matter who Revis covers, the Pats will be ready.  Check and check.  Yes, it’s hard to throw the football on the Jets.  But the Patriots are unique.  What Brady likes is to throw to WR Wes Welker.  A lot.  Revis doesn’t play the slot all that much, so coverage will be mixed.  Welker will still have a big day.  As will Rob Gronkowski, because the other thing the Jets don’t do well is cover tight ends.  Ravens QB Joe Flacco had TE Ed Dickson open a few times Sunday night but bad throws limited his production.  Expect another big day by Brady, Welker and “The Gronk” on Sunday.  Also watch out sleeper-wise for New England’s running game.  It would be a typical Bill Belichick thing to do to come out with a heavy dose of RBs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley to keep the Jets off-balance.  If you have RBs on byes they’re both decent flex options.

James Harrison’s broken eye-socket could keep him out a number of weeks for the Steelers.  I know, it’s hard to look at an injury and say “How does that affect fantasy?” But that’s sort of what we do because everyone wants to know, whether you admit it or not.  This makes the sledding much easier for Titans RB Chris Johnson and QB Matt Hasselbeck this week.  Johnson is getting into form and Hasselbeck will continue his fantasy surge against Pittsburgh.  You’re starting CJ2K, of course, but don’t shy away from Hasselbeck just because it’s Pittsburgh.

Andre Johnson is going to be out at least three weeks.  Do you really think WR Jacoby Jones is going to become Johnson-lite?  Well, with the byes this week he is worth picking up, but don’t try to be too smart.  First, pick up Broncos WR Eric Decker.  Pick up Packers WR Jordy Nelson (believe it or not these guys are still widely available in plenty of leagues).  Get these guys first, because the real beneficiary of Johnson’s injury is going to be RB Arian Foster.  Houston knows they can run the football whenever they want to.  Their schedule the next four weeks is Oakland, Baltimore, Tennessee and Jacksonville.  None of those teams will require winning a shootout.  Foster will be the most valuable fantasy running back over the next month.

Steelers RB Isaac Redman is worth adding for the immediate and distant future.  I’m not a big believer in  Rashard Mendenhall.  He has shown he can’t be a breakaway back and can’t stuff it in near the goal line.  Throw in his current injury and his questionable status for practice this week, and the time is ripe for a new back in Pittsburgh.  Redman showed flash and an ability to run more than 3 yards at a time.  And if he has to, Mike Tomlin will use Mendenhall to send a message to his team.  I think Redman winds up the starter at some point, and he could hit 50 yards and a touchdown this week.  Patience with Mendenhall is at an end.

Jason Smith hosts NFL Fantasy Live, airing Sundays on the Red Zone Channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2pmET and 12AMET/9pmPT.  He writes Fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily.  Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca.  He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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