Fantasy Football Start Sit
I swear these teams and players have some nerve. We spend the beginnings of our weeks preparing our rankings, articles, doing our research on trends and stats, all in an effort to bring you the most accurate advice possible. And then news like; Donald Brown has surgery on his knee – out 2-3 weeks. Well, thanks for the heads up! It is a violent game and it should be expected injuries can and will happen at any time so I’m kidding of course, but I more so wanted to get the news out to you as it kind of snuck out of nowhere. Not to mention, no real offense to Donald Brown, but not many people seem to care. Ouch. Regardless, the more important aspect of this news is bye week replacements and those looking for whom to start or sit this week. MJD is on bye, Matt Forte, Cam Newton, and Drew Brees among others. Will William Powell get a shout out? What about newly appointed Vick Ballard? I guess you will just have to find out.
Christian Ponder at WAS: Ponder has been very solid this season in his sophomore campaign and he’s got potential MVP candidate, Percy Harvin, playing on his outside. Ponder has thrown 2 touchdowns in 3 of the 5 games he’s played this season and this week he gets the putrid Washington Redskins pass defense. Every year us fantasy folks look for that one sieve of a defense that we can exploit as a great matchup and it’s looking like we have found it. If your starter has a tough match up, or you are a Brees/Newton owner in a pinch, Ponder should make for a quality option this week.
Andrew Luck at NYJ: Hey, the kid’s hot, sometimes it’s that simple. The Jets have been particularly bad against the run this season, not the pass, but the Colts are calling upon Vick Ballard to carry the load. If the Colts weren’t comfortable giving Brown much work, I don’t foresee them doing it with a guy who couldn’t beat Brown out for the job. I expect the Colts to put the ball in Luck’s hands all game long and watch him go to work against the Jets.
Other QBs worthy of a start: Brandon Wheedon vs CIN, Philip Rivers vs DEN, Ben Roethlisberger at TEN
vs CIN: I really just wanted to get the chance to dote a bit on Trent Richardson. After falling down some draft boards in the preseason due to a knee scare and after starting the season of to the tune of 19 rushes for 39 yards against the Eagles, T Rich has completely turned it on. Double digit fantasy scoring in every game since and a pure awesomeness when he runs that is just a joy to root for and watch. I would also like to point out that the Bengals will be the first team Trent will have played twice; the first time he played them he had his best game of his young career as he rumbled for 145 total yards and 2 touchdowns.
Rashard Mendenhall at TEN: If we learned anything about Pittsburgh over the first 4 weeks it was that everyone on their roster outside of Rashard Mendenhall is terrible at running the rock. Mendenhall gets his first work of the season last week and nearly outperforms any performance by a Steelers back prior. Tennessee has not been good this season and I think Pittsburgh will be able to wear the Titans down with the balanced attack they have been looking for all season. Mendenhall should be a solid flex or bye week replacement.
William Powell vs BUF: Yep, I did it. I like when guys get the chance to come out of nowhere and play for their livelihoods. I especially like it when they do it against the leagues 30th ranked run defense. Stephens-Howlings is much better suited to the change of pace role, not to mention he is fighting his own injury this week. I’m not saying Powell is a must start or that you should bench a stud for him, but with bye weeks and injuries galore, I think you could do far worse in a flex spot. Yes, I’m riding the bandwagon.
Other RBs worthy of a start: Doug Martin vs KC, Ryan Mathews vs DEN, Danny Woodhead at SEA
Jeremy Kerley vs IND: I do not like Mark Sanchez at all, let me get that point across. At the end of the day, passes will be completed and yards will be gained. I do not expect the Colts to hold the Jets to under 200 yards passing or anything and as such Kerley should be busy again as the main receiver for the Jets. In his first action last week as the Jets main option, and against a much stiffer test in the Texans, Kerley had 5 catches for 94 yards. He should have a nice second game as starter as well.
Antonio Brown at TEN: After a huge preseason, Brown has been relatively quiet this season. He has yet to have a really big game and I just have a feeling it may be tonight. He certainly isn’t missing opportunities as he has 7 catches in the last 3 games in a row and has not had less than 74 yards receiving in any game this season. Brown is uber explosive and it’s only a matter of time before he puts it all together for one of those big time games. Don’t get discouraged.
DeSean Jackson vs DET: Jackson has been a frequent contributor to my “sit” portion of the column but I think it’s time for the flip flop. I actually like Jackson this week at home against the Lions. The Lions are coming off a bye week so they have had time to prepare, but their defensive line has not been up to par with what their reputation in a long time. The home field advantage should also help slow the pass rush and Vick needs to continue working on getting the ball out quicker. Jackson should benefit as he still gets his fair share of balls no matter the circumstance. He has 9 targets in every game this season.
Other WRs worthy of a start: Erik Decker at SD, Reggie Wayne at NYJ, James Jones at HOU
Heath Miller at TEN: I am sticking with the theme of must start tight ends against the Titans. They were terrible going into last week when I recommended Kyle Rudolph and sure enough he scored. The Titans just don’t seem to defend tight ends at all. Miller should score tonight.
Tony Romo at BAL: He’s coming off of a 5 INT performance in which he’s had two whole weeks to think about it and make corrections. I think Romo will be better going forward, and I would not sit his weapons, but playing on the road in Baltimore makes me very hesitant to start Romo. Dez Bryant may have run the wrong route on that INT two weeks ago but my question was why was the play adjustment a hitch that was short of a first down when Dez clearly destroyed his rare one on one coverage? You don’t get your supremely talented wide out one on one very often and this time you do, you audible to a 4 yard hitch on a 3rd and 6? I just have a feeling you have a QB with a better match up.
Tom Brady at SEA: It would take a lot of guts and probably one heck of a back up to make this happen but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I know Brady leads the number 1 offense in the NFL, and he’s match up proof. That’s fair. The Seahawks have given up one passing touchdown to Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Sam Bradford, and Cam Newton COMBINED! The game is in Seattle, which makes it even tougher on the opposing QB, and Brady has never played in Seattle. No, I do not think Brady is the type of quarterback who will get rattled at this stage of career or anything but if Seattle is considered the loudest environment in the NFL, and Brady has never experienced it. That is a factor. It would take some big guts, but I’m just pointing out the facts.
Other QBs worth a sit: Ryan Fitzpatrick at ARI, Sam Bradford at MIA, Joe Flacco vs DAL
Alfred Morris vs MIN: Consider this one a litmus test for the young rookie runner. He has been an amazing fantasy story to start the season but this week he takes on the league’s number 2 run defense. RG3 is coming off of the concussion so the Redskins would be wise to give the kid a lot of carries on Sunday so there is cause for optimism. But the matchup is stout and this game will truly prove if Morris enters the realm of matchup proof and bonafide starter.
Ahmad Bradshaw at SF: Bradshaw had a career game last week that certainly shocked me as I have been a huge detractor of Bradshaw all season so I’ve had to eat crow for at least one game. The 49ers won’t let me down. In San Francisco, the 49ers are still the big boys on the block and are probably a little excited to evoke the revenge factor in this NFC championship rematch. Since the loss to Minnesota the 49ers have been on a defensive tear, allowing 3 total points in the last 2 weeks.
Steven Ridley at SEA: Yes, I’m a little crazy for telling you basically that the New England starters are all sit worthy but the Seahawks are the top total defense in the league and they are at home. It doesn’t help Ridley’s case that he fumbled at the end of the last couple games. He certainly isn’t earning any brownie points with his coach. Add the slight doghouse factor with the match up and I think Ridley is a tough start this week.
Other RBs worthy of a sit: Chris Johnson vs PIT, Alex Green at HOU, Jackie Battle vs DEN
Torrey Smith vs DAL: Victor Cruz, healthy Hakeem Nicks, and Vincent Jackson all were shut down vs this Dallas defense. Coach Rob Ryan has had two weeks to game plan for the Ravens offense and I think that will make it very difficult to get anything going for Torrey Smith. He struggled against Brandon Flowers and the Chiefs, along with the rest of the Ravens passing offense, and he could have a tough time against this Dallas secondary as well.
Steve Johnson at ARI: Patrick Peterson doesn’t have his own island named after him yet or anything; he still has too many mental lapses for that. His talent level is undeniable though. Playing at home further helps his cause and Steve Johnson has yet to top 61 yards this season and has only turned his 19 targets the past two weeks into 62 total yards and 0 touchdowns. I don’t like the prospects of that turning around against this aggressive Cardinals D.
Domenik Hixon at SF: It was a nice, short-lived run for Hixon but I think his time may be coming to an end already. Eli likes to slang it now; there is no doubt about that. The problem is, Reuben Randle finally started getting involved last week. Add that factor to Ramses Barden coming back and some guy named Hakeem Nicks getting into the line up again soon as well and opportunity becomes more and more scarce for Hixon. Sell, sell, sell if you can.
Other WRs worthy of a sit: Brian Hartline vs STL, Brandon Lloyd at SEA, Robert Meachem vs DEN
Vernon Davis vs NYG: Alex Smith is the highest rated passer in the NFL and Vernon Davis is his favorite target. True. The New York Giants are top 5 in the league at defending the tight end this year. Also true. If you don’t have a quality backup tight end, which is most likely if you have been riding Davis, I wouldn’t go pick one up that is worthy of being on the waiver wire right now, but temper expectations for this particular week. It’s a tough look for Venon.