Well it’s week 3 and love it or leave it – you probably have a good idea about your own team’s strengths and weaknesses at this point. So for this week’s Sit or Start Advice I’m going to try not to list all of the obvious options (unless it’s to bench a supposedly obvious option) because let’s face it: If you have to be told to start WR Calvin Johnson vs Washington’s secondary – you’re probably not gonna get very far in FFL this season anyway.
Chiefs at Eagles
Sit ’em: TE Brent Celek – I know it’s tempting to start everyone in the Eagles offense every week. And while Celek has been on the field for about 69% of the Eagles plays this season – he isn’t always in the gameplan – or at least in Michael Vick’s gameplan. Last weekend Celek went out on 34 pass routes and he was targeted just once. He didn’t even make the catch. The Chiefs held TE Jason Witten under 20 yards last week, and I can see the Eagles having a little more difficulty moving the ball against KC than they did against the Chargers. Celek may pull in something like 5 for 40 tonight, but if he doesn’t get a score he’ll be a bad start.
Start ’em: QB Alex Smith – Ha, bet you didn’t think I’d say that. Well look to many of you Smith is on your roster as a backup QB for injury or bye week purposes, and that’s understandable and rational. And I’m not suggesting you start Smith here over Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, or his opponent Michael Vick….but if you have a starting QB that’s not panning out or is inconsistent ala QB Big Ben or Andy Dalton it’s def a week to consider making the switch to see what Smith has….in standard scoring 6 pt per TD leagues Smith is actually currently ahead of signal callers like Russel Wilson, Cam Newton, and yes even a guy like Drew Brees. So there’s your perspective for you, I’m not saying Smith will finish the year in the company of those elite type of players, but I am saying that in a matchup with Philly (who made Philip Rivers relevant again last week) Smith is worth a look if you’re uncertain about your starter. I know Thursday night football brings out the worst in team play and usually lowers fantasy scores, but I think there’s also something to be said for Andy Reid’s return and his gameplan to throw a thousand times.
Colts at 49’ers
Sit ’em RB Trent Richardson – I know, I know Richardson’s awesome, an elite talent etc…and the Colts are a Superbowl team with him and Andrew Luck united…but I’d be advising you to sit the guy if you can even if he weren’t playing the 49’ers defense. Look, he’ll have less than a week in the offense by kickoff -the coaches say he’ll play a lot, but you have to wonder especially if the Colts get behind and need to pass as Richardson may not be ready for the pass protection schemes. I know his time will come this season, and I know you may not have the depth behind him to bench him on your squad….but I would consider starting even a guy like Joique Bell over Richardson this week if you can – because outside of Trent being force fed the ball at the goaline to showcase their new toy… I can’t imagine Richardson gets much done. Oh, and did I mention they’re playing the 49’ers defense on the road?
Start ’em WR Anquan Boldin: Here at the Art of Score we like to preach patience and the ebb and flow of situational opportunity. After week 1’s 200 yard effort Boldin looked like his 25 year old self, then just last week in Seattle he looked like he was 85 with zero separation in his routes. However, Boldin is somewhere in between these extremes and the Colts passing defense is below average. Kapernick will be determined to work Bolidn back into the game plan, and after last week when we correctly warned you to bench Boldin…it’s a new day, and a new week…and we think it’s time to start him again.
Texans at Ravens
Start ’em: RB Ben Tate in our weekly flopping on what to do about the Texans’ backup RB, I’m hesitantly pushing him forward this week because it looks like WR Andre Johnson may be slowed by a concussion. Johnson looks like he’ll play, but I think the Texans will run even more than usual in this one- and Tate may finally even get that elusive TD, that starter Arian Foster usually grabs. And that’s a key piece here, do not forget Foster is the starter here….Tate gets some hype, but he’s also on the last year of his rookie deal. It’s tough for me to imagine the Texans upsetting Foster with Tate essentially in his last year with the club. Tate is always a risky play, but this week as a flex he may be worth it.
Sit ’em: RB Bernard Pierce – I just love talking about backup running backs I guess. I love Pierce’s talent, I even think by season’s end he works his way into a full 50/50 split with aging starter Ray Rice (aging more in miles than in years). People are going gaga over Pierce this week b/c of Rice’s hip injury, but I bet Ray Rice starts anyway on Sunday. His injury looks less severe than initially thought and either Rice or Pierce is slated to face a very good Texans run defense. Pierce will have his days before the end of 2013….but this won’t be one of them.
Giants at Panthers
Sit ’em RB David Wilson: It’s not time for full out panic on Wilson, but it’s getting close. I personally think he’ll be a better player in the 2nd half of 2013 than he will be over the next few weeks. As an owner if you drafted him in rounds 3-5 of your drafts this year that is not what you want to hear, but let’s face reality – Wilson has back to back performances of 7 carries for around 20 yards with no TD’s. He will probably get better as the season goes on because the Giants will make an effort to run more, he will hopefully be less conscious of fumbling and more conscious of getting the tough yards, and at some point he should get goalline work again. Only here’s what’s happening currently: he is running like he’s terrified of fumbling (which he should be), he is on a team that can’t run block at all, and they are playing a very good Carolina front 7 defense this week. To top off this poop Sundae for some reason the Giants are giving Bradon Jacobs (a tall pile of poop in his own right) meaningful carries – including around the endzone. I would consider starting one week guys like Jason Snelling and Bobby Rainey over David Wilson this weekend – don’t cut him, or sell him low…but if you can, avoid making Wilson a big part of your plan the next few games.
Start ’em RB DeAngelo Williams: Did you see what RB Knowshon Moreno did to the Giants last weekend? Dengelo has opened the season running with a pair of 80 yard efforts, if he gets a score with that he’s clearly RB2 material. Give him another look this weekend.
Packers at Bengals
Sit ’em RB James Starks: I know Ed Lacy is likely out, and I know you may have spent a waiver move on this guy recently. But let’s face it, Starks’ good game last week came when the game was already in garbage time against a battered and defeated Redskins defense. The Bengals run defense is stout, and the Packers are never really committed to the run when the game is in doubt – so if it stays close which it should – Starks will finish with something like 50 total yards and no scores. If you picked up Starks because you’re desperate at RB than ok, you can give it a shot….but if you picked him up to play matchups, this is not a time to play it cute. Put him on the bench, where he’ll probably be in real life as early as next week.
Start ’em TE Tyler Eifert: It depends on whether the Red Rocket Mr Andy Dalton can look anywhere else on the field other than at AJ Green. Eifert has been getting open, and while fellow TE Jermaine Gresham has also been playing solid, the big play ability especially in the redzone is Eifert’s. His 1st Td is coming and it very well could be this weekend.
Rams at Cowboys
Start ’em TE Jared Cook: Just like with Bolidn, Cook is not the dominate 2 TD 140 yard monster of week 1, nor is he the invisible one catch wonder from Week 2. I happen to be a believer that Cook is closer to Week 1 than week 2 and he should prove it with a solid effort this week.
Sit ’em RB Demarco Murray: The Cowboys simply aren’t committed to the run. And it’s this fact more than the (IMO overrated) Rams’ defense that would cause me to try to find a better Rb2 this week than Murray. As a pass catcher Murray may salvage you a day here or there, but it’s so tough to count on that happening. Look for other options, and use him more as a flex play if you must use him.
Browns at Vikings
Start ’em Minnesota Defense: QB Brian Hoyer – off the bench, RB Bobby Rainey- off the bench, and WR Josh Gordon fresh off suspension. Those are your Browns’ offensive weapons this week. Now, as I wrote yesterday I love Bobby Rainey, and I have some love for Josh Gordon too – but neither of these guys is ready for the full workload just yet, and nobody in history is ready to work with Brian Hoyer. This could be cover your eyes type of bad for Cleveland’s offense on Sunday.
Sit ’em WR Josh Gordon: Gordon’s owners drafted him despite his 2 week suspension. And I recommended picking him up if he was somehow still on your waiver wire. But not for this week, not in his 1st game back….and not with Hoyer.
Buccaneers at Patriots
Sit ’em RB Steven Ridley: Let’s face it this guy’s been a massive disappointment so far for owners that probably spent a top 20 draft pick on him. He keeps getting touches because Shane Vereen went down, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was his last week to show something before LaGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden get more involved. The problem is, it’ll be difficult to do this with Tampa’s good defense and the Pats overall struggles with young players to move the football. I look at Ridley like a low end flex play at best this week and your team just might have better options there.
Start ’em WR Vincent Jackson: Maybe this one is a little obvious to you, but if you watched the game last weekend…Jackson actually had a 73 yard TD called back on a tick tacky illegal formation penalty. So while he finished with 77 yards, Jackson could’ve finished with 150 and a TD. He may be the most underrated fantasy #1 WR in the game right now so don’t start to sleep on him.
Cardinals at Saints
Sit ’em RB Mark Ingram: I’m talking not even in the flex spot with this guy. I had some hope for Ingram in the preseason, because it looked like he was running hard, was healthy, and because the Saints said they were committed to him. What’s played out over the 1st two games however is completely different – Ingram seems to have no vision as a runner, and the Saints will not stick with a guy that can’t move the ball. Pierre Thomas is only a matter of weeks away from snagging Ingram’s work (at least Saints’ fans have to be hoping). Ingram is not only worth benching, but potentially depending on what’s on your waiver wire he may be worth dropping even this early into the season.
Start ’em WR Andre Roberts: Quick, who leads the Cardinals in receptions and yards? Not so fast Larry F…it’s Andre Roberts. Some may feel that Roberts had an underwhelming game last week, since he followed up his 97 yard week 1 effort with just 36 yards against the Lions. But if you watched the game you saw the Lions commit pass interference on him to stop him from getting a TD late in the game. It was a big moment, a redzone look, and an indication that he’s always clearly part of the Cardinals’ plans. He’s a little banged up, but he’s ready to go this week against a below average pass defense….making him a perfect flex or WR3 play.
Chargers at Titans
Sit ’em WR Eddie Royal – I know I suggested him as a waiver add, and I know he’s red hot right now…but I just have this feeling that he’s due for a letdown. Royal’s been a supremely streaky player throughout his career – so while he adds depth and potential flex play to your fantasy bench, this early in the season it’s too soon to insert him for a more stable option if you have one. I think Eddie regresses a little this week- which isn’t so terrible for him, or terribly unexpected.
Start ’em TE Antonio Gates: Gates has been playing well to start the season and I think in the vacuum created by all the Charger WR injuries he’s been crucial. I think he gets his 1st TD of the year this weekend (stealing one of the many that have been going to Royal lately) and he should give you could TE1 production this week.
Sit ’em WR Kendall Wright: Don’t be suckered in by last weekend’s TD. Wright is still an inconsistent player on a bad offense. There about 60 guys I would start over him even as a flex play.
Lions at Redskins
Start ’em RB Joique Bell: I think RB Reggie Bush plays this week, but I also think Bell will get an even bigger share of the workload to ease Bush back. The Redskins run defense is average to good, but they get worn down by giving up massive passing yardage early, which opens up the run late (ask James Starks). If the game is a blowout lead (for either team really) Bell will get work as they rest Reggie, if the game is close – Bell will get meaningful short yardage work. Bell has legitimate RB2 potential this week.
Sit ’em TE Fred Davis: Davis is in a contract year and slowly but surely losing snaps to rookie TE Jordan Reed. If the Redskins offense really fixes itself soon Davis will have a few weeks with TD’s, but he’s no longer likely to be a top 10 TE in fantasy, and is not worth a start until he shows something.
Falcons at Dolphins
Sit ’em RB Jacquizz Rodgers: I see you, slowly inching your way toward putting Rodgers in your lineup as a “clever” play in starter Steven Jackson’s absence. Consider this me hitting you on the head with a rolled up newspaper, and telling you “no” very deliberately. Rodgers is a bad NFL RB, he’s a scat back without a lot of moves or special ability, in fact fellow backfield mate RB Jason Snelling has a better chance to produce in Jackson’s absence. Snelling is the harder runner and will get the redzone carries, Jacquizz will be busy catching 3 screens for 28 yards. Seriously. No.
Start ’em TE Charles Clay: In a world of inconsistent TE play I’m riding this guy while he’s hot. The Dolphins will need to throw a lot in this one to keep pace, and Clay is a valuable redzone option.
Bills at Jets
Sit ’em RB Fred Jackson – Seems odd to have to write this about a backup RB, but the Bills through 2 games have insisted on giving Jackson redzone looks (to the chagrin of Spiller owners) and Jackson in standard leagues has been worth anywhere from 11-14 points per week. Though it makes him tempting to start, I think that stops this week as the Jets have a stout run defense and it’s too much to expect Jackson to get quality points.
Start ’em RB Chris Ivory: This is a risk start based on little more than my hunch that to move the ball against Buffalo the Jets will need Ivory’s power as opposed to Billal Powell’s “moves”. I’m not expected a huge day from Ivory, but as a flex play if you are in need he’s worth starting over guys like Mark Ingram or Jacquizz Rodgers. Maybe not a ringing enough endorsement for you, but I’m hopeful that this is the week Ivory begins to turn the corner towards the starting Jets gig.
Jaguars at Seahawks
Sit ’em RB Maurice Jones-Drew: I know you spent a top 3rd or 4th or even higher pick on this dude and we’re only 2 weeks into the season. But MJD had 27 yards last week vs Oakland. Now he has a banged up foot going against Seattle in Seattle? Yeah no thanks. MJD is benchable for all sorts of guys this week like Joique Bell, Knowshon Moreno, Chris Ivory, and Jason Snelling – I would take chances with all those guys over MJD. You hold MJD, you hope he shows you something in a tough spot moving forward – and if he does you smile about it, even when you don’t have him in the lineup…but you can’t start him this week, you just can’t.
Start ’em WR Doug Baldwin: I like Baldwin as a sneaky WR3 play this week. It’s true Seattle has yet to really get it’s passing attack together but I have a feeling at home against a defense nowhere near as good as the 49’ers that this is the week Seattle lets it rip. Baldwin led the team in targets in week 1 and could finish with something like 70 yards and a possible TD.
Bears at Steelers
Sit ’em RB Steelers whomever it is: The Steelers can’t run the football so if it’s Felix Jones, Jonathan Dwyer, or Isaac Redmon, what can you expect from them other than an occasional screen pass, a lot of shots of him staring into space, and 2 plays before he breaks his shoulder in that respective order? Stay far away, far, far away.
Start ’em WR Alshon Jeffery: I think we were a week too early on this last week. The Steelers may be in disarray, but they have enough talent to not let WR Brandon Marshall and TE Martellus Bennett catch every single pass. Cutler will have to look to a 3rd option and Jeffery can finally break out a little. A WR3 play here would be good.
Raiders at Broncos
Sit ’em QB Terrell Pryor: So you know he’s going to go off now don’t you? As we predicted Pryor will be unpredictable this season, a bad real life QB can occasionally be very useful in fantasy. But this is a bad matchup for him – the defense he’ll be playing is quick, he’ll be playing from behind, and Denver’s home field may make it hard for him to call plays. If you have a questionable starter matchup this week it’d be far better to turn to someone like Alex Smith than Pryor this weekend.
Start ’em RB Knowshon Moreno: It’s now or never for Moreno. We said it in the preseason that he clearly looked like the best Denver RB. And while he may never be the fantasy (or real life) #1 RB we all envisioned when he came out of college you have to think he’s passionate and desperate about keeping the momentum he started last week in NY. I don’t know how long he can keep it up, but I’m rooting for him, and I think he could turn in another good day particularly when Denver is sitting on a lead.
Agree? Disagree? Did I miss anything?
Let me know.