These players don’t have to be benched. Each individual team is different and league context matters. The matchups are more difficult than usual and if possible, seeking a better start is recommended.
QB Matthew Stafford vs. CAR
The Lions offense isn’t clicking. After doing a good job protecting Matthew Stafford, the offensive line has allowed 16 sacks the last two games. Stafford has been a Top 12 quarterback once this season and the absence of Golden Tate against the Bears and Vikings was noticeable. While Stafford has multiple touchdowns in seven of nine games, he has a low ceiling. He has passed for 217 yards or fewer in three of the last five games and has one game with more than two touchdowns. Marvin Jones has a bone bruise on his knee and could sit this week, making it more difficult for Stafford.
RB Adrian Peterson vs. HOU
It may be difficult to bench Peterson since six teams are on bye, but the floor is low. While he’s going to get volume, the Redskins offensive line is without several starters and Peterson has struggled the last two games with 28 carries for 85 yards. He doesn’t do much in the passing game 14 catches for 168 yards on the season. In the last six games, Peterson has one rushing and one receiving touchdown. The Texans have allowed 3.54 yards per carry to running backs, third best in the NFL, and three rushing touchdowns to running backs.
RB Jordan Howard vs. MIN
Howard has been a disappointment. He is extremely touchdown dependent and if he doesn’t score, he’s providing a low score. Howard had 11 carries for 21 yards with an 11-yard catch in a game where the Bears led 26-7 at the half. Howard has 12 catches on the season, but only two in the last six games. He can’t even help out in the passing game. In five of nine games, Howard has rushed for 47 yards or fewer and is averaging 3.4 yards per carry. The Vikings have allowed two rushing touchdowns to running backs and the only backfield to total more than 100 rushing yards against them this season was the Saints.
WR Devin Funchess vs. DET
Funchess hasn’t seen much volume lately. The Lions could get cornerback Darius Slay back this week, making it more difficult for Funchess. The Panthers spread the ball around and Funchess has seen a dip in targets the last three games. He has 13 targets in that span and hasn’t topped 44 yards. After averaging 7.8 targets in the first six games, Funchess is averaging 4.3 targets the last three games. He tends to see fewer targets when Greg Olsen plays and it’s happening again.
TE Kyle Rudolph @CHI
Rudolph isn’t seeing the volume he used to. In the first five games, Rudolph had at least nine points in PPR formats and scored a touchdown in two of them. Since then over four games, he hasn’t scored. Rudolph is averaging 4.2 targets in the last four games and has 11 receptions. Rudolph has 39 yards receiving or fewer in four straight games. While it’s difficult to find any solid tight end, there are many to play over Rudolph.
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