Welcome to this week’s edition of my start ‘ems/sit ‘ems. Before I get into this week’s decisions, let’s see how I did last week:
Glen Coffee: Push. He managed over 100 total yards and in PPR league threw in 5 receptions. I’m just going to say it was a hit.
Darren McFadden: Big time miss….next.
Mewelde Moore: He didn’t get the touches I thought he was going to get but, he did manage a score.
Tashard Choice: Push. Barber was more productive than I thought but the Dallas offense couldn’t do much of antyhing. He managed to gain 80 total yards and had 5 receptions.
Steve Slaton: Hit…89 total yards and two scores.
Marshawn Lynch: Hit…he couldn’t get anything going on the ground.
Darren Sproles: Hit…1 catch 16 yards the whole game.
Ray Rice: Miss…he had a nice game against the Patriots rushing for over 100 yards and throwing in 5 catches for 49 yards.
Fred Taylor: Hit
Ryan Grant: Miss….had over 100 total yards against a solid defense.
In Week 5, you’ll be without the services of Matt Forte, Marques Colston, Greg Jennings among others but, here’s who I think should play and who should hit some bench:
1. Rashard Mendenhall (PIT): He makes a very nice RB2/Flex option this week against the Lions. Even though Parker may be ready to go, turf toe injuries can linger and Willie Parker is not exactly the picture of healthy recently. Mendenhall had a career game against the Chargers and, while I’m not expecting the same, I feel comfortable with projecting 80 rushing yards and a TD. I’d get him in your lineups this week.
2. Jerome Harrison (CLE): Who knows the status of Jamal Lewis this week and, frankly, I don’t care what it is. Harrison is the better and more all-around back at this point and contributes nicely in the passing game, as well. Anderson might be checking down a bit more going forward and with the Bills on the docket this week, they are facing a defense that’s giving up over 150 YPG on the ground and 7 rushing TDs. They are also 3rd in the league when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. I would not be surprised to see him duplicate last week’s efforts with a score thrown in.
3. Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson (BUF): Get them both in your lineup if you have either of them. The Browns are next to last in terms of rushing yards allowed, tied with the Texans in rushing TDs allowed and have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Both make solid RB2 options in any format.
4. Michael Bush (OAK): I hate recommending any Oakland position player but, this could be a sneaky play. The Giants are probably going to load the box against the run but I think he’s more talented than McFadden at this point and is better in the run and in the passing game. I think he makes a sneaky flex option against a team that is allowing around 117 YPG on the ground.
5. Tim Hightower (ARI): The Cardinals are facing the porous Texans rush who have managed to allow a 100 yard rush in 3 of their first 4 weeks (with the exception of the Raiders…shocker, I know). I think Hightower will manage to get near that mark and Hightower could be used effectively in the passing game. He makes a nice flex option with RB2 upside this week.
1. Steven Jackson (STL): It’s tough for me to recommend benching someone who’s 4th in the league in rushing but, with the way this offense has not been able to score, I just do not see him doing much this week. Add in the fact that the Vikings have allowed only 1 RB to go over 80 yards and that they have yet to allow a rushing TD, makes my decision a tad easier….although, it is still tough to recommend. If it makes you feel better, I am taking my own advice and sitting S-Jax in one of my leagues.
2. Cedric Benson (CIN): The Bengals get to come into Baltimore where the refs jobbed their defense (IMO) and suffered a crushing loss, yet again, to the Patriots. Something tells me the Ravens rush defense will be ready to play. The Ravens D has not allowed a back to reach the 60 yard mark and are allowing on average 59.5 YPG on the ground. If you have other options, go with those options this week.
3. Steve Slaton (HOU): This is starting to become a who’s who of running backs this week. It seems that Gary Kubiak is trying to do everything he can not to use this guy. Whether it’s using Chris Brown as a goal-line back or signing someone like Chris Henry to the practice squad. The Cardinals are ranked 6th against the run in the NFL and have only allowed 1 rushing TD thus far. Backs are gaining a paltry 3.1 YPC against their defense. I think the Texans will look more to air it out on Sunday making Slaton a bit more valuable in PPR leagues.
4. Michael Turner (ATL): I’m probably killing you guys with these sit ‘ems. How can I bench my #2 overall pick against the 49′ers you’re probably screaming….
1. His YPC on the road is over 1 yard less than at home and gains, typically, 30 yards less on the road than at home.
2. Matt Ryan no longer needs to hand the ball off as he’s coming into his own and comfortable in the pocket.
3. He’s facing the NFL’s 4th ranked defense….on the road.
I think he’s safe to sit in PPR leagues and you might want to look to a back that has a better matchup.
5. Kevin Smith (DET): Pittsburgh can be beaten in the air and not on the ground. Pittsburgh’s D is giving up less than 62 YPG and have allowed the least amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. I don’t like the matchup at all and I think the Lions will be doing more passing then running.
1. TJ Houshmanzadeh (SEA): He appears safe to start again and has a very favorable matchup against the Jaguars. He received 11 targets and caught 8 passes for 100 yards against a solid Indianapolis pass defense. This week, the ‘Hawks face the NFL’s worst pass defense (tied with the Titans) and face a defense that’s 2nd in the NFL in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers.
2. Patrick Crayton (DAL): Someone is going to have to be the #1 WR in Dallas with Roy Williams doubtful for this week. The Cowboys roll into Kansas City to face a pass defense giving up 250 YPG and are 6th in terms of fantasy points given up to opposing WRs. Witten will still be the #1 option but Crayton should see plenty of targets on Sunday to make him a worthwhile #3 WR this week.
3. Mohamed Massaquoi (CLE): He’s the #1 WR by default (IMO) now with Braylon Edwards being shipped off to the Jets. Massaquoi looks to repeat his week 4 performance and will now be Derek Anderson’s go to guy. Brian Robiskie will now dress for games but Massaquoi looked real good against the Bengals and has a pretty decent matchup against the Bills.
4. Kevin Walter (HOU): You’re going to start Andre Johnson but Walter makes a good start against the Cardinals this week. He’s slowly getting his footing after missing the first few games. He faces the 3rd worst pass defense so he and Andre Johnson should have plenty of chances for big yards and scores, especially if they shut down the run.
5. Pierre Garcon (IND): This might be an obvious choice but, hey, I need an obvious choice every once in a while. Garcon and the Colts face the league’s worst pass defense and the team that has allowed the most receiving touchdowns. Feel free to start him as a WR2 this week.
1. Santana Moss (WAS): The Redskins have a tough matchup with the Panthers in week 5. Moss will, more than likely, be lined up with Chris Gamble and will have a hard time catching anything. The Panthers are one of the better teams against the pass and do not give up many fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. I’d stay away from Moss on this one.
2. Wes Welker (NE): In PPR leagues, he’s a tough one to bench. In non-PPR formats, I think you can leave him on the bench this week. The Denver defense is much improved and the new 3-4 alignment is make things difficult for Welker to catch his dink and dunk passes. Denver is allowing around 162 YPG passing without giving up a pass TD. I think they allow their first pass TD against the Pats but, I think they limit Welker and take him out of the game.
3. Steve Breaston (ARI): He went into the bye on a good note with 7 catches on 10 targets against the Colts. Houston has a solid pass defense and has intercepted the ball more than they have allowed touchdowns. I think Boldin and Fitz will have put up their numbers but I don’t think he’s going to do much against Houston.
4. Donnie Avery (STL): Unless you’re in a 14 to 16 team league where receiver pickin’s are slim on the wire now’s the time to either bench or cut bait. I might it out before cutting him, since they are playing the Vikings this week. Avery’s going to have Cedric Griffin or Antoine Winfield covering him. The Rams offense just is not scoring and is not the fantasy juggernaut it used to be.
5. Braylon Edwards (NYJ): I would leave him on the bench this week. He will eventually become Mark Sanchez’s #1 target (and biggest headache). He’s going to play Monday Night but I would leave him on the bench just to see how effective he’ll be and if he can pickup the offense in a matter of days.