Jones to Fly High in New Orleans

David Leffler

On Tuesday, millions of Americans cast their ballots and let their voices be heard in this year’s presidential and congressional elections. In the spirit of election season, here are my top candidates to have breakout games this weekend in fantasy football, along with a few players who should be benched without debate:

1) Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Although fellow Falcons wide receiver Roddy White could easily be here, I chose Jones instead. The second-year receiver snagged five balls for 129 yards in a strong outing against a tough Cowboys defense last week and faces a much easier matchup this week in New Orleans. Although he’s yet to score in consecutive games, expect Jones to light up the Saints defense, which is giving up more points against opposing wide receivers than anyone in the league.

2) Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts

If you’re in need of an emergency fill-in at running back this week, Ballard’s your man. With starter Donald Brown hindered by injuries and unlikely to play much this week, Ballard should have a big game tonight against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who gave up four rushing touchdowns last week to the Detroit Lions. Considering he’s available in almost half of all fantasy leagues, snatch him up if you have the chance.

3) Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Flacco’s been quiet over the past month, failing to throw more than a single touchdown in any game. This week, however, the Ravens face an Oakland defense that was absolutely gashed by Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin while also giving up two passing touchdowns to Josh Freeman. Although Ray Rice will have a huge game, Flacco should get several opportunities to throw the ball downfield on play-action passes.


1) Carson Palmer, QB, Oakland Raiders

Palmer had a big fantasy outing last week, passing for 414 yards and four touchdowns. However, that was largely a product of him throwing the ball a whopping 61 times. If Palmer has to do the same against Baltimore’s defense, which ranks third against opposing fantasy quarterbacks and is coming off its bye week, he could be in for a rough day.

2) Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Although Bowe’s only managed to score three touchdowns all season, it’s not his fault he’s surrounded by a lack of talent, especially at the quarterback position. To make things worse, Bowe and the Chiefs face the Steelers and a suffocating defense on Monday Night Football in Pittsburgh. Whether it’s Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn throwing to him, it really doesn’t matter. Avoid Bowe if you have
another option.

3) Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams

So far this year, Jackson has managed only one double-digit fantasy game and scored a lone touchdown. He has underperformed, to say the least. Things don’t get any easier for him this week, when the Rams face the San Francisco 49ers, whose defense is ranked first overall against opposing running backs by ESPN.

Printed on Thursday, November 8, 2012 as: Jones should exploit Saints' shaky defense