Fantasy Football Mailbag: Friday 10/7/16

Should we use Derek Anderson if he starts for Carolina? And what's Matthew Stafford's Week 5 outlook?

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Now, let's answer some questions.

If Derek Anderson starts, you'll probably want to fire that puppy wherever you can.

The last time that Anderson got significant snaps for the Carolina Panthers was 2014. In that season, he led the entire league in numberFire's Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back -- the metric we use to track the efficiency of a quarterback -- among all passers with at least 100 drop backs. He's a solid quarterback with a decent supporting cast, and his matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is completely ripe.

The Buccaneers are 24th against the pass, according to numberFire's metrics, and they've already allowed a pair of quarterbacks to finish as top-six weekly scorers at the position this year. If we get confirmation that Anderson will start, it's fully justifiable to pick him up and lock him in for that Monday night hammer.

Given Matthew Stafford's matchup with numberFire's top-ranked pass defense in the Philadelphia Eagles and Dion Lewis' lack of a timeline for a return, it might be best to make a move and let Stafford ride the bench this week.

Through their three games this season, the Eagles haven't allowed a single quarterback yet this year to top 10 fantasy points. This includes Ben Roethlisberger, whom the Eagles held to 6.98 points in a Week 3 blowout. Granted, that game was in Philadelphia, and Stafford will be at home in a dome this week, but this isn't a defense we want to target with opposing offenses.

The most recent update we have on Lewis is that he's walking without a brace on his knee, according to Kevin Duffy of MassLive. This says nothing about whether Lewis will be able to return when he's eligible in Week 6. Because of that, you may want to let him free this week before trying to pick him back up on waivers next week.

If you had asked this earlier in the week, Alshon Jeffery would have been a definitive "sell." But now, with Kevin White on injured reserve, Jeffery's in a position where we need to hold and see what his role is.

Through the first four games, White led the Chicago Bears with a 26.09% target market share while Jeffery was all the way down at 18.12%. This means that 26.09% of the team's targets are now up for grabs, and the Bears would be misguided not to shuffle a good chunk of those Jeffery's way. When he was active last year, Jeffery's market share was above 30.0%, and we shouldn't be surprised if he gets back up there again going forward.

With Jeffery, don't judge his performance based on what happens this weekend. He's facing Vontae Davis, who is one of the best cornerbacks in the league, and we shouldn't expect a monster game. But once he gets beyond that, we could finally be seeing the Jeffery of old once again.

We're going to take Charles Sims out of the running to begin with because he's both dealing with an injury and a potential role reduction for this week. This leaves us with the trio of Giovani Bernard, Bilal Powell, and Darren Sproles, and Bernard and Powell hold the higher floors here.

The one time where we greatly dislike Bernard is when the Cincinnati Bengals are heavy favorites, a game script that generally favors Jeremy Hill. This week, as they head down to Dallas, the Bengals are favored by just 2.5 points. That hints at neutral game script, a scenario in which the team will likely use Bernard more heavily. The pace will be slow, putting a cap on Bernard's upside, but he should see the volume we seek.

As for Powell, pace is not an option for him. The opposing Pittsburgh Steelers fly when they are at home, increasing the number of snaps for the New York Jets. With Eric Decker out and Quincy Enunwa questionable, there are targets up for grabs for Powell, who already has 16 targets over the past two games. The Jets are going to have to throw plenty as seven-point underdogs, meaning Powell is usable for fantasy this week.

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