Joe Flacco is a maddening fantasy quarterback.
The Ravens signal-caller had a career day against Tampa Bay, throwing for five touchdowns and more than 300 yards. He’s owned in most leagues, and Flacco is fine as a backup or a bye-week replacement. But you cannot trust him to deliver solid points on a week-to-week basis.
Flacco amassed an astounding 42 fantasy points against the Bucs, but in Week 5 he totaled just 8. In Week 4 he had 31, and in Week 3 he had 14.
If you’re desperate for a quarterback, don’t be wowed by Flacco’s Week 6 numbers. He has a great matchup on tap against Atlanta, so the good times may continue, but he’s not a quarterback you can count on for steady production.
It’s never too late to plan ahead for the fantasy playoffs. Anyone who has stashed Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon on their roster will be rewarded in Week 12, when Gordon’s suspension ends. Gordon’s return will also make Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer more valuable. Cleveland already has a stellar running game and an outstanding tight end (Jordan Cameron), and Gordon’s return will enhance the Browns’ offense and provide Hoyer with opportunities for big fantasy numbers.
Hoyer could be worth keeping as an emergency backup for the playoffs. Derek Carr had a breakout game for Oakland, but the Raiders’ schedule isn’t favorable. Oakland hosts Arizona in Week 7, then travels to Cleveland and Seattle. Cam Newton of the Panthers had a huge day against the Bengals, throwing for 284 yards and running for 107. Newton had not run much prior to facing Cincinnati, and he took a pounding from the Bengals defense. If you own Newton, he’s certainly starter-worthy, but you must have a Plan B because Newton appears destined to suffer an injury if he keeps running the ball.
Running backs: I have Minnesota’s Matt Asiata on two of my teams and I’m out of patience after he delivered 6 fantasy points in Week 5 and 1½ in Week 6. The Vikings look terrible, particularly on offense, and there’s no way to trust Asiata, or any of their offensive players, in your fantasy lineup. Ben Tate of the Browns is making his owners smile. Tate had 124 rushing yards last week, then hammered Pittsburgh for 78 more rushing yards, and two touchdowns. Ahmad Bradshaw of the Colts quietly has become a reliable fantasy back. Bradshaw is averaging 14 fantasy points per game and is an ideal flex option.
Wide receivers: It’s probably time to pick up New England’s Brandon LaFell. LaFell’s two touchdowns in Buffalo, and his 119 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago in Kansas City, cement the notion he’s a valuable member of the Patriots’ offense. LaFell’s teammate, Danny Amendola, did not have any receptions and is not worthy of a spot on any fantasy roster. Andre Holmes of the Raiders has put up a total of 42 fantasy points in his last two games. Is this a sign of things to come, or is he a prototypical “boom or bust” guy?
■ Correction: Because of a reporting error, the statistics for Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola were incorrect in a previous version of this story.