Light Bulb Going Off In Your Head1 450x376 Start Em Or Sit Em? Beyond the Obvious

If you need me to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Ray Rice, and/or Calvin Johnson, etc., you’re either:

A) Illiterate

B) You had a frontal lobe lobotomy

C) You’re a mouth breathing Neanderthal.

I’m going to assume that the illiterate won’t be reading this column, that the lobotomized are too busy relearning to use a spoon to make time for fantasy football, and that the Neanderthals are either looking for a brontosaurs[1] to club, or in Congress, and that since the rest of you don’t fit into any of those categories, you don’t need to be told to start your studs.[2] I respect you too much to act as if telling you to start Arian Foster is some profound insight. So here’s the deal: I’m going to make the column as helpful to fantasy football as I can,[3] and focus on the mid-level players I expect to over-perform in a given week based on matchups and other factors. All I ask in return is that you leave comments which say that my column provided the most brilliant and scintillating fantasy advice you’ve ever come across so that they’ll give me stock options, a promotion, and a corner office on the top floor of the company high-rise.

Deal?

 


[1]“When I was a kid, a Brontosaurus was a dinosaur, not a fraud, and Pluto was still a planet.”

[2]Repeat after me: “I WILL NOT GET CUTE; I WILL ALWAYS START MY STUDS. I WILL NOT GET CUTE; I WILL ALWAYS START MY STUDS. I WILL NOT GET CUTE; I WILL ALWAYS START MY STUDS.”

[3] Keep in mind that the focus of the column is on a player’s immediate utility, not his long term value. Dynasty owners should NOT add or drop players based on what I write here.

                                             

 

Pats vs Bills

Start

Ryan Fitzpatrick. This game is going to be uglier than my mother in-law. (Please don’t tell her I said that. Or my wife.) There will be PLENTY of garbage time points.

Prediction: QB1/2

Stephen Ridley. I’m starting to think that he’s for real.

Prediction: RB2 

Tashard Choice (assuming FJAX and Spiller don’t play). Solid without being spectacular, Choice is like the plain-looking girl with the great personality and sense of humor: underrated. I’ve long felt that he’s been a victim of circumstance, on teams with sexier options that keep him from getting his shot. He had 20 carries for 91 yards last week.

Prediction: RB2/3 

Welker and Lloyd. If Cleveland is Lisa Ann, Buffalo’s D is Pamela Anderson.[1]

Prediction: WR1/2

Stevie Johnson. I’m kinda cheating by listing him.

Prediction: WR1/2

 


 

[1] Translated: they’re easy.

                                        

 

49ers vs. Jets

Start

Alex Smith. No, I’m not drunk, high, or robo-tripping. Smith is perpetually underrated, Revis is out, and the 49ers will be looking to strike hard and fast in order to right themselves.

Prediction: QB2 

Frank Gore. I think the Jets are in trouble.

Prediction: RB2 

Vernon Davis. I’m cheating again. Shame on me.

rediction: TE1/2

Sit

The Sanchize: He looked overmatched last week. Against the Dolphins. TEBOW! TEBOW!

Shonn Greene. Always bench him. Always. I would start Clinton Portis over him.[1]

Santonio Holmes. Sanchez is going to be on his back most of the day, and given that it’s been over a month since Holmes said/did something stunningly idiotic, I think he’s due for an epic sideline hissy.

S’hawk vs Rams

Start

BEAST MODE!!! I’ve met disfigured, syphilitic lepers that are better looking than he is, but the dude runs angry! And the Rams defense isn’t scaring many people.

Prediction: RB1

Danny Amendola. Bradford has mad man-love for him, and I think he’s a Welker-type. Jeff disagrees, but he gets mani-pedi’s and writes his columns wearing pantyhose, red lipstick, hoop earrings, and a dress whilst listening to Yanni,[2] so I think you should listen to me.

Prediction: WR2

Sit

Bradford. The Rams are bad. Their WRs are bad. Their O-line has more holes in it than an Eliot Spitzer alibi.

Russell Wilson. I like him, too, but he’s just not there yet.

SJAX. Even if he plays, he’ll be facing a stacked box.

 


 

[1] Not really. Greene is an RB4/5 with RB2 upside that surfaces every fourth equinox.

[2] I might be projecting a little bit. Also, Jeff, please don’t kill me.

                                            

 

Panthers vs. Falcons

Start

Michael Turner. Rumors of his demise are, if not greatly exaggerated, at least premature. His line (5.7 ypc) last week is misleading—I could have made it twenty yards through those holes— but he’s going to get the rock.

Prediction: RB2/3

Roddy White. News flash: White has been targeted more times than Jones (27 to 23).

Prediction: WR2

Steve Smith. I might be cheating again; he’s a stud.

Prediction: WR1/2

Tony Gonzalez. Duh. This dude’s like Sophia Loren: age just doesn’t matter. Sophia Loren, hmmm… what a GILF.[1]

Prediction: TE1 

Greg Olsen. He looks like he might finally become the player Bears fans always thought he was. Bastard.[2]

Prediction: TE2/3

 

Sit

Quizz. He’s just not there yet.

Every Panther not named above (other than Cam Newton)

 


 

[1] A GILF is like a MILF, only 20-30 years older.

[2] It’s a bit unfair of me to call Olsen a bastard: the man was Martzed, which is kind of like being forcibly penetrated by.

                                               

 

Vikings vs. Lions

Start

Christian Ponder. I traded him for peanuts last year. I hate myself. He’s going to be legit.

Prediction: QB2

Shaun Hill (If Stafford is out). Hill filled in for Stafford for 10 games in 2010, and averaged 259.8 yards per game, throwing 16 TDs.

Prediction: QB2/3

Mikel LeShoure. I own him in every single league I’m in. I love this guy. Big, strong, fast, patient, and he has soft hands.

Prediction: RB1

Nate Burleson. He’s the 25th most targeted WR, ahead of Wallace, Jones, and Nicks. (Disregard this if Stafford doesn’t play.)

Prediction: WR2/3

Kyle Rudolph & Brandon Pettigrew. They’re massive targets that know how to separate.

Prediction: TE2

 

Sit

All non-stud Lions (if Stafford doesn’t play)           

All Vikings WRs not named Harvin 

 

Chargers vs. Chiefs

Start

Philip Rivers. “Hello Chiefs defense, I had a crap game last week, so I’m going to beat you like a drum until people remember that I’m PHILIP EFFING RIVERS!”

Prediction: QB1 

Ryan Mathews & Jamal Charles. These two are studs and should be started without hesitation. I list them because given their injury history, fumbling issues (Mathews), and/or shoddy team (Charles) might tempt you to sit them. DON’T DO IT!

Prediction: RB1/2           

Dwayne Bowe. World class tool, diva, malcontent, and an amazingly talented WR.

Prediction: WR1/2 

Malcolm Floyd. He’s the 26th most targeted WR.

Prediction: WR2

Sit

Matt Cassel. He’s that friend that’s super nice and tries SO hard, but is still an utter yutz.

 

                                                        Titans vs. Texans

Start

Jake Locker. Not the best start, but if you’re forced to choose between a Sanchez-type and Locker, go Locker.

Prediction: QB1/2

Ben Tate. Obviously, if you’re starting him, you’re not in an ideal situation. That said, he’s the only backup in the league who has a shot at RB1/2 production every week.

Prediction: RB2 

Kendall Wright. The 22nd most targeted WR.

Prediction: WR2/3

Sit

Chris Johnson. I know. You drafted him in the first round. Suck it up. $*** happens.

 

                                                          Bengals vs. Jags

Start

The QBs. If you’re in a pinch, neither of these defenses is going to stop anyone.

Prediction: QB2/3

The RBs. See above.

Prediction: BJGE = RB2/3, MJD = RB1+

 

Sit

There’s no one here you need to be told to sit. This game wins the Toilet Bowl designation for the week: whether you’re talking fantasy or real life, there’s not much to see here.

 

                                                      Raiders vs. Broncos

Start

Willis McGahee. It’s obvious. He’s a workhorse.

Prediction: RB2

Eric Decker. Manning’s new BFF, Decker has been targeted the 18th most times of any WR.

Prediction: WR2

Brandon Stokely. He’s just solid.

Prediction: WR2/3

 

Sit

Carson Palmer. Start him if you have to, but meh. Just meh. 

Peyton Manning. It pains me to put him here. I hope he proves me wrong 

All the Raiders’ WRs.

 

Fins vs. Cards

Start

Reggie Bush. Unless something changes drastically, this will be the last time you see his name: if he plays, you play him.

Prediction: RB1/2 

Brian Hartline. He’s received the 12th most targets of any WR.

Prediction: WR2 

Larry Fitzgerald. There shouldn’t be any question, really. Unless you have another ungodly-talented stud you have to start him, Kevin Kolb or no.

Prediction: WR1/2

Andre Roberts. He’s getting a bunch of targets.

Prediction: WR3

 

Sit

Both QBs. (Not that you would have even thought about starting them.

All RBs not named Bush. Who knows what’s going to happen with the Fins’ backfield, Ryan Williams isn’t trustworthy yet, and Beanie makes Tiny Tim look like The Rock and The Incredible Hulk had a love-child and then roided it up.

 

Skins vs Bucs

Start

Doug Martin. He’s the bell cow back in the league’s most vanilla offense.

Prediction: RB1/2 

Alfred Morris. We’ve all been hurt by Shanny before, but Morris is averaging over 4.3 ypc.

Prediction: RB2 

VJAX. He’s the only startable Buc other than Martin.

Prediction: WR2 

Leonard Hankerson. Garcon’s on the shelf and Hankerson’s targets are on the rise.

Prediction: WR2 

Fred Davis. He’s a stud. It was always just a matter of time.

Prediction: TE1

 

Saints vs. Pack

Start

Drew Brees. Stick with him.

Prediction: QB1/2

Darren Sproles. For the few who haven’t clued into the fact that he’s a ppr stud: always start him.

Prediction: RB1

Cedric Benson. Until the Saints prove otherwise, you can assume their defense will suck harder than a fat kid on a milkshake.[1]

Prediction: RB2/3

Lance Moore. Quietly emerging. The 28th most targeted WR.

Prediction: WR2/3

Every Packers ball catcher. You can see Rogers’ frustration building; the Saints’ defense is terrible, and he’s going to come out firing. Everyone will be in play.

Prediction: No starter will perform as less than a WR3.

Sit

Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram.

 


[1] To quote Mr. Chow, “It’s funny because he’s fat.”

                                           

Giants vs. Eagles

Start

Michael Vick. He’s been out of sorts and unpredictable, but he’s too talented to ignore and the Giants’ defense has been spotty

Prediction: QB1/2

Andre Brown. He’ll be the waiver wire pick up of the season. Cut previously by four teams, the man has been an absolute beast. (You should, however, temper your expectations against a solid Iggles defense.)

Prediction: RB2

Ramses Barden. He’s a gamble, but with 9 receptions on 10 targets last week, I’d roll with him unless you have a clearly superior option. (His value diminishes if Nicks plays.)

Prediction: WR2/3

Martellus Bennett. The seventh most targeted TE in the NFL. He’s big, bestial, and ready to rock.

Prediction: TE1/2

Brent Celek. He’s received the fifth most targets amongst TEs.

Prediction: TE2

Sit

Michael Vick and Desean Jackson. Yeah, I know I just told you start him, but only because I know many if not most teams aren’t in a position to bench him. The same is probably true for Jackson, but if you’re trying to make a decision between roughly equivalent players (e.g., Ponder and Torrey Smith), then I would bench them. Vick has been a mess (29th ranked QB), and while the Giants defense has had its issues, the Giants pass rushers are likely to snap him in half. As for Jackson: I don’t like/trust him, even if you almost have to start him right now because he’s received the 13th most targets in the league. I think the fact that Jackson has that many targets is part of the Eagles struggles. It’s hard to make Jackson the center of your attack and develop any kind of rhythm: Jackson’s a one trick pony (the deep ball) who disappears all too frequently when he isn’t getting his way and/or is being well covered. Additionally, I expect his targets to go down with the return of a more complete WR, Jeremy Maclin.

 Prediction: WR2/3

  

Bears vs. Boys

Start

Michael Bush. Cutler is a head case. The Rams have been giving up 4.5 yards per rush. Mike Tice is the offensive coordinator.

Prediction: RB1

Demarco Murray. Both offenses have been sputtering; both teams have bell cow backs. The Boys are going to try to establish the run early, and hope doing so creates an opportunity to burn an otherwise solid secondary on a play action pass.

Prediction: RB1

Miles Austin. The Bears base defense is a cover two, bend-don’t-break defense. They give up a lot of short-intermediate yardage on passing plays to slot WRs.

Prediction” WR1/2

 

Sit

Cutler. He’s not a terrible choice (225 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs), but there are better options. 

Bears WRs not named Marshall. For all the reasons you should start Bush.

Dez Bryant. He’s been off his game. Focus isn’t his strong suit, and the Bears are going to hit him hard.