When it comes to setting your fantasy football lineups each week, you need to have a short memory. Just because a player struggled last week or even the week before, doesn’t mean you park him on your bench for good or, even worse, think about dropping him.
Football is a game of matchups. A receiver can catch one pass for six yards one week then dominate with nine catches for 120 yards and a touchdown the next. Having an understanding of schemes, both on the offensive and defensive side, will help, and from there can lead you to the right lineup decisions — but only if you can focus on the hits and don’t obsess over the misses.
One of the most frustrating receivers this season has been Calvin Ridley. During the preseason, expectations of the new Jaguars receiver ran extremely high, and Ridley went from a sixth-round hopeful to a lock in the third round in most fantasy drafts.
But after an eight-catch, 101-yard performance in Week 1 when he also found the end zone, Ridley has been wildly inconsistent, and fantasy managers have lost faith. They refuse to lock him into their lineups each week, and when he faces Pittsburgh on Sunday, many will mistakenly leave him on the bench.
Things have not been easy for the Jaguars, as an early season two-week trip to London has messed with everyone’s schedules. But being home now for two weeks has yet to yield an impressive game for Ridley, until now.
The Steelers like to use a mix of both man-coverage and a Cover-2 zone. Man-coverage can cause matchup issues depending on the personnel, but putting Ridley against either an aging Patrick Peterson or a banged-up Levi Wallace won’t be a problem. Ridley has too much speed and should have little trouble finding separation.
On top of that, once the Steelers fall into their Cover-2, the Jaguars will have little to no trouble finding the holes where Ridley should be able to make a few catch-and-runs, which will lead to increased yardage. The individual matchups and zone scheme are a win-win.
Ridley’s prowess won’t end there, though. Following a Week 9 bye, the Jaguars’ schedule opens up beautifully for him. He will see the 49ers next, a team whose zone coverage was just carved up by Jordan Addison and the Vikings. After that, he faces the Titans, Texans then the Bengals, three teams that have struggled mightily with their coverage in the secondary.
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It’s time to forget about what Ridley failed to do for you in the first few weeks of the season and focus on what he is about to do for your team as you make a push to the fantasy playoffs. He is ready to deliver.
Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on X @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to Fantasy-Alarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.