Hello fantasy fans – as we approach the midpoint of the 2013 season I hope the fantasy fortunes have smiled upon you. If they haven’t, well fight on anyway – here’s our weekly sit/start with some suggestions you can use, and maybe some you haven’t thought of…we try to avoid the very obvious “start Calvin Johnson stuff here”. As always we are available here at Art Of Score to answer specific lineup questions if you have them. So leave below in the comments anything you’d like to have discussed.
Panther vs Buccaneers
Sit ’em WR Mike Williams – New QB Mike Glennon simply hasn’t looked anywhere else at WR but Vincent Jackson since taking over the reigns 2 games ago. Williams is reasonably talented, and you may be tempted to start him as a bye week replacement given that in the wake of the RB Doug Martin injury Tampa should be throwing more. But you simply cannot underrate the importance of a QB and WR chemistry – and based on his targets he is simply not that involved right now. Williams also has a minor hamstring injury, which he should be able to play through, but owners shouldn’t be excited about his availability.
Sit ’em WR Steve Smith – This is a “maybe” sit depending on your individual team’s depth. Smith can run hot or cold, and while he is the Panthers #1 WR, QB Cam Newton has been far from a model of consistency this season. Even with a fairly high target number, if those passes aren’t very accurate Smith won’t have a big day. There is also the Revis factor to consider. The Bucs haven’t been playing Revis enough in isolation lately, but you’d have to think on a team with limited aerial weapons like the Panthers – Revis will draw the Smith assignment more than not. If you have bye week issues or poor depth, you probably still start Smith – but if you have a WR3 you like this may be the week to promote him over Smith in your starting lineup.
Cowboys vs Lions
Sit ’em – WR Miles Austin: He is still working his way back from injury and I think that Terrence Williams will be cutting into his playing time for the rest of the year. I would wait until he shows something unless you are desperate
Sit ’em – Detroit TE’s : I don’t think you can count on Fauria or Pettigrew as TE1 on a weekly basis. At best they are bye week or injury fill ins. Their production is too inconsistent.
Bills at Saints
Sit ’em RB CJ Spiller: I know, I know. When you drafted him over the summer he was the centerpiece of your team. He’s a terrifically talented RB that seemed to have 2013 destiny written all over him. Well I’m here to give you the reality – he’s hurt, and the Bills insist on not giving him enough touches to be a credible factor. Now whether his injury is the cause of not getting enough touches is debatable (I feel like even before Spiller was on the injury report every week, he was still losing work to Fred Jackson). The Saints aren’t a particularly bad matchup, although they are 11th overall in the league in total defense (just 22nd against the rush), but Spiller just seems to be in that bad of shape + situation. If you can live with/need the maximum of 6-8 pts that Spiller will give you in this one than use him – but it may be time to give another “bench” RB on your team a chance to crack the starting lineup. Spiller is just not right nowadays and the fix for that doesn’t appear to be on its way anytime soon.
Start ’em RB Khiry Robinson – As a flex option only (and potentially even over Spiller), Robinson is worth a look for a potential 7-10 points this weekend. Robinson has slowly come on the last 2 games as the Saints have put Mark Ingram to rest with an “injury” which has no timetable. Robinson is still just the 3rd option in the Saints backfield so his workload is very, very suspect – but against weaker teams (The Bills are 28th in the league vs the run) he is capable of similar performances to his 7 carry 53 yard 1 TD performance week 6 performance. He’s a little boom or bust, but the talent is there and the matchup seems right this week for a little more boom.
49’ers vs Jacksonville
Sit ’em – RB Maurice Jones-Drew: I love MJD, but his line is awful and he looks slow this year. I know his lisfranc injury is the type of injury that takes a while to come back from, so maybe he is still working his way back to form. Against this defense, it would be best on tempering any expectations for him this week. I understand if you have to start him, just don’t expect much.
Dolphins vs Patriots
Start ’em – RB Lamar Miller: I am not sure that the Pats have a S or a LB that can cover him out of the backfield. The Patriots are ranked a pathetic 31st in the league vs the run, and just last week allowed Chris Ivory to literally get off his team’s bench and go for 100 yards on them. Miller, a season long starter seems to have 120 combined yards in him.
Browns vs Chiefs
Sit ’em – WR Dwayne Bowe: Look up the stats of what Joe Haden has done against the opposing team’s top WR this year. Then, look at Bowe’s overall production. That is why your are sitting him this week.
Sit ’em – QB Jason Campbell : I think Jason Campbell helps this team. He could play well and still not have great stats. KC is just too tough on defense to recommend a start. You’re likely very in need to even think about starting Campbell in the 1st place, trust us there’s a better backup QB option somewhere.
Steelers vs Raiders
Start ’em – RB Darren McFadden: He should be back for this game and I think he will play well. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will be an asset in this game. I don’t see Jarvis Jones or Lamar Woodley handling him out of the backfield.
Start ’em – WR Antonio Brown: He is amongst the leaders in targets this year and has only had one big game. I think he has the potential for that this week.
Giants at Eagles
Sit ’em: QB Eli Manning – The way Manning played on Monday night this week leads me to believe he is done as a very good, or even good QB. This may mean done for 2013, or done for the rest of his career…I’m not sure yet. Yes, the Giants have other issues that contribute to his struggles – but watch the game tape – Manning isn’t even recognizing open targets anymore. He very nearly threw another game changing INT for a TD, but the Minnesota CB flat out dropped the ball. So you have bye week issues and you see a weak Philly defense on the schedule , and you think “well, I’ve had Eli in reserve all season – time to use him”….I’m saying not so fast. I’m saying maybe take a chance on a guy like Mike Glennon or someone comparable because they’re just not a lot of QB’s playing worse football than Eli Manning right now.
Start ’em: QB Michael Vick – maybe you’re thinking about using Eli Manning, because you’re also a Michael Vick owner and you’re not sure Vick is healthy enough to warrant a risk play. I’m saying that he is – limited mobility or not, Vick was put on notice by Nick Foles’ limited run of success that he is replaceable and that motivating factor combined with getting to face a horrendous Giants defense (if Eli had benefits of playing the Vikings, the biggest benefit was the Giants defense that let several wide open WR’s run through them- only to have Josh Freeman miss them). Vick may not reach the top 10 fantasy 2013 QB status he seemed destined for early in the year, but he certainly could be a top 8-10 QB this week.
Jets at Bengals
Sit ’em RB Gio Benard: During his rookie season Bernard has had the typical inconsistent play you’d expect from a 1st year player. To me he’s a slightly above average talent that doesn’t have everything necessary to dominate tough matchups. The Jets defense qualifies as a “tough matchup”. Currently the Jets are 4th overall in the NFL in total defense, with an even more impressive 2nd overall in rushing allowed (behind a Denver team that benefits from teams always having to turn the pass when they’re behind). The Jets have a nasty front and it’s best to avoid the when you can. You don’t make an exception for Bernard, you sit him if you have the depth to do so.
Start ’em WR Jeremy Kerley: Kerley’s 8 catch 97 yards and a TD vs New England last week may have you a little skeptical. It’s fair to ask where Kerley was before that, and I have 2 credible answers for you: injury and opportunity. Kerley was banged up to start the season with a concussion and that caused him to be a little behind in the game planning with a new QB and a new offense. Well, with Santonio Holmes being out with injury and the Jets in need of a veteran presence Kerley’s opportunity is now. If you need a mid level flex play, or a bye week replacement Kerley could respresent Wr3 – low end Wr2 numbers this week. The Jets are starting to gain faith in him…so should you.
Falcons at Cardinals
Start ’em RB Jacquizz Rodgers: If you’ve followed the Art of Score for any length of time you know we are not Rodgers fans. In fact, this recommendation wounds my soul. However, without Julio Jones, maybe without WR Roddy White, and a Steven Jackson who is threatening to play – without a lot to back it up….the Falcons are short on options. It’s a case where volume of work should equal production, because while I don’t expect Rodgers to have a good game running the ball – you can’t discount that they will force it to him in the air. Last week he caught 2 TD passes. I wouldn’t expect that this weekend, but I would expect him to get enough looks to be a viable start, with maybe even a shot at RB 2 type of production. I’d start him over CJ Spiller for example…(gosh that’s painful)
Start ’em RB Andre Ellington: See the analysis of Rodgers above, right down to the I’m not crazy about him as a player. Ellington is actually probably a little better player than Rodgers, but his surrounding situation is much worse. He’s a pass 1st gadget RB, but with the Cardinals offense a wreck I suspect they will have to throw a lot in this one – won’t be able to do much deep, and have to rely on dump offs to Ellington. It may not be exciting…but if you’re a fantasy owner you’ll take it every time.
Redskins at Broncos
Until further notice you are to start all Broncos starters, if you have to be told this, you probably shouldn’t be playing fantasy football. Seriously, we are gonna stop talking about them, if you have any of Denver’s starters you need to play them weekly because the potential payoff is too high to sit them. Not all of them will have monster weeks in and out, but most of them will be above average starts, if not elite, for most weeks.
Start ’em TE Jordan Reed: I doubted Reed when he was drafted, and even right now as a Redskins fan I think his value is super-inflated for fantasy purposes (although I was one of the 1st people to recommend adding him to your fantasy teams weeks and weeks ago before his coming out party last week)…but you can’t deny that after Pierre Garcon, Reed is RG3’s favorite target. If it seems like a sudden thing you can’t put a lot of stock in, consider that the Broncos will likely put a lot of pressure on the Redskins offense by going up early and then blitzing (their normal mode of operation). This means the Redskins will need to throw the ball, and while it’s relatively easy to pay more attention to Garcon, it’s more difficult to defend the type of blitz defying hot routes Reed is likely to be running. I would be shocked if Reed had less than 10 targets in this one, and he has shown an ability to cash in on those when needed. He could very well approach another 100 yard 1 td performance. He’s worth starting over disappointing limited upside TE’s like Greg Olsen or Jared Cook, and he may help you out if you’ve recently lost a TE like Jermichael Finley.
Packers at Vikings
Start ’em WR Greg Jennings: I say this very tentatively: Jennings makes a nice sleeper pick at WR this week. We all saw Josh Freeman set the QB position back to the days of George Blanda on Monday Night – but the good news is, he’s out with a concussion (I mean good from a fantasy perspective, heal up buddy…). And the Vikings aren’t going back to QB Matt Cassell either (why would they? they don’t really want to win), instead they are going all the way back to September of 2013 for Christian Ponder. Ponder is not an NFL every week starter – but he can complete passes (something Freeman couldn’t do), and he does look for Jennings in the passing game. Jennings should be a focal point for Ponder as he attempts to regain his confidence, as Jennings is clearly the most competent of an underwhelming Vikings WR corps. And then there’s the fact that Jennings will be playing his old team for the 1st time – you can overblow the revenge factor in sports a lot…but if there’s one position that can be “fed” the ball to make a point or to reward someone it’s WR. I think Jennings gets even more targets than normal in this game and we may see a flash of old school production from him. He’s worth a gamble this week all the way up to a WR2- although solid flex play may be more realistic.
Start ’em RB Eddie Lacy – Lacy totaled over 100 yards from scrimmage (82 on the ground) vs a very good Cleveland Browns front 7 last week. He’s quietly becoming an every week must start for your fantasy team. Minnesota’s run defense is in the bottom 1/3rd of the league, and they let Peyton Hillis of all people score on them last week: not good. With TE Jermichael Finley’s loss, the Packers have lost some major weapons and depth in their passing game which should shift the emphasis to Lacy even more. Against tougher defenses the limiting of passing weapons may allow defenses to key in and limit Lacy, but this week the Vikings are not talented enough to really make him a non-factor. Expect a very nice game from Lacy.
Seahawks vs Rams
Sit ’em – Any Ram: Kellen Clemens is a potential turnover machine. How bad is he? There are confirmed reports the Rams tried to lure Brett Farve out of retirement this week to finish out the season for them. This says a lot about the Rams organization as a whole, and I propose that they currently are the worst run franchise in the NFL. So take heart Jacksonville, there’s at least one team make dumber personnel decisions than you. The Seahawks have the #2 defense in the NFL for yardage, so this promises to be brutal. Even RB Zac Stacy is a weak play this week. Lay off the Rams until you see some light.
:by Mike & Ron