Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2014): Week 11: Start Ryan Mathews, Sit Rashan Jennings & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:


Start – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
A lot has been made regarding Ryan and his home/road splits.  It certainly is fair, when you look at the numbers:

  • Home – 1,233 yards (9.72 yards/attempt), 9 TD, 2 INT
  • Road – 1,292 yards (6.30 yards/attempt), 7 TD, 6 INT

That said, any QB taking on the Panthers is going to be a player worth using right now.  On the season they have allowed the sixth most points to opposing QB, having allowed 2,692 yards, 19 TD and 9 INT.  Simply, this isn’t the same Panthers defense we’ve come to know so the matchup isn’t a reason to stay away.

Sit – Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins – vs. Buffalo
Even if he was healthy he wouldn’t be a recommended play, but the fact that he’s banged up makes him virtually unusable.  Sure he’s had his moments this season, but he’s coming off a poor game against a tough defense (207 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and draws another difficult test this week.  The Bills have been the best defense against opposing QB over the past four weeks (492 yards, 1 TD, 6 INT), so don’t be surprised if his numbers are extremely underwhelming once again.


Running Backs
Start – Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Oakland
Mathews is expected to return this week, after being out of action since Week 2.  With Branden Oliver struggling of late (55 yards on 26 carries over the past two games), Mathews should step right back into a prominent role.  Maybe he continues to share time, but even 12-15 touches should be enough against an Oakland defense that has allowed the fifth most rushing yards this season (1,063) as well as 9 TD (and also 423 receiving yards to opposing RB).

Start – Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
Given the struggles of Cam Newton, would it really be a surprise if the Panthers leaned on their rushing attack?  It makes even more sense taking on an Atlanta defense that has allowed 1,524 total yards and 13 TD to opposing RB.  Stewart, meanwhile, has appeared to turn back the clock in recent weeks while showing some explosiveness.  There’s no question that he’s a risk, but he’s definitely one worth taking if you have a need.

Sit – Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. San Francisco
You know the Giants want him back, given the struggles of Andre Williams, and things appear to be heading in that direction (though it’s not a guarantee).  Even if he does return, do you trust him in a matchup against San Francisco (722 rushing yards allowed)?  It’s not impossible that he’s eased back into the mix, making him an extremely risky play.

Sit – Bobby Rainey/Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Washington
It’s not really known who will operate as the lead back, especially after Sims led the team in carries in Week 10.  That uncertainty just adds to the problems, as Washington has been among the better defenses at stopping running backs this season (though they have struggled recently).  It’s more the unknown that causes us to steer clear, as they are likely to split carries.


Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – DeSean Jackson – Washington Redskins – vs. Tampa Bay
We all know that Jackson has a lot of boom or bust to his game, but he’s had a lot more “boom” than “bust this season.  Throw in the matchup, with Tampa Bay having allowed 32 passing plays of 20+ yards (tied for 10th most in the league), and there is an awful lot to like.

Sit – Brandin Cooks – New Orleans Saints – vs. Cincinnati
It’s the year of the rookie wide receiver, so it’s easy to get infatuated with the class and want to start them under any circumstance.  However, the Bengals have allowed the fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers and, in his past six games, Cooks has as many games under 40 yards (3) as he does over 50 (3) and has found the end zone just 3 times this season.  Don’t get overly excited.


Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Anquan Boldin – San Francisco 49ers – at New York Giants
New York’s secondary has been ravaged by injury, which should open the door for Boldin. He has 12 catches for 185 yards and 2 TD over the past two weeks. In fact, he has at least 6 receptions in four straight games as well as 90+ yards three times and three TD. With ample opportunities he could easily take advantage of the favorable matchup.

Sit – Michael Floyd – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Detroit
He’s going to be TD dependent, and what makes us think he can score a TD in any week? It’s even worse this week, with the Lions having allowed 4 TD to opposing wide receivers this season. There’s simply way too much working against him.


Tight Ends
Start – Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Seattle
It’s become almost a foregone conclusion that the Chiefs won’t be able to get a TD from a wide receiver this season, hasn’t it? Lucky for them the Seahawks have been poor at stopping opposing tight ends, especially in the red zone, as they have allowed 10 TD. Given the unpredictability of the position, that’s enough of a reason to use him this week.

Sit – Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers – at New York Giants
He hasn’t surpassed 44 yards all season, nor has he had more than 6 targets. At this point does it make any sense to utilize him?


Sources – ESPN,

*** Make sure to pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with projections of over 500 players, expended rankings, sleepers, Top 50 prospects and so much more (including constant updates up until opening day).  For just $5 (through November, then the cost will increase to $6) you will get everything you need to dominate your fantasy league!  For more information and to place your order, click here. ***

Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Ryan Mathews, Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue & More
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  1. Zach says:

    Hey Prof! Which RBs would you start this week? Please rank in order: L Miller, R Jennings, CJ Anderson, D Sproles. I need to start 2 and will likely use a 3rd as Flex.

  2. Steven says:

    Lesser of 2 evils, dalton or tannehill?

  3. Derek says:

    I can start 1 WR and 1 WR/RB and have Odell Beckham Jr., CJ Anderson, DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant, and Ryan Mathews.

  4. Zach – Jennings, Anderson, Sproles, Miller (given the injury, I just can’t trust him, though I don’t want to use Sproles either. Is there a WR you could use?)

    Steven – Dalton, but not by much

    Derek – I’d go Beckham & Mathews, with Anderson as my next choice

    • Zach says:

      Andre Williams? Nah! HAHA Or could use Tre Mason. Shaun Hill is starting now, crazy! I think Lamar as flex is ok, but also have Sammy Watkins so that’s 2 slots decided early on Thursday game with some potential for disappointment.

      • Zach says:

        Sorry disregard, no WR available. Torrey Smith is on BYE. Only decent option on waiver wire is K Britt and I dont want to go there.

  5. Kermit says:

    I have dropped Matt Ryan in one of my leagues, he has helped drop to 7-3. I have picked up McCown and have Russell Wilson sitting on the bench at the moment. Should I: 1. Run back in and pick Ryan back up and play him week 11 or 2: Play Wilson or 3: Consider myself a genius for making such a brilliant move! On another note – Brandin Cooks – his weekly scores have gone like this: Good being double digit scores (mid teens) to single digit scores (as low as 4 – 10 team PPR scoring) – thusly week 1 thru week 10: 1Good 2Bad 3Good 4Bad 5Good 6BYE 7Bad 8Good 9Bad 10Good bringing us to week 11 – Bad? We’ll see. He’s on the wire in both of my leagues – I’ll pick him up (again) week 12. Sorry this got long. Thanks

  6. Steve from L.A. says:

    Roto need your help!

    Standard 12 team.
    QB: Mark Sanchez, Mike Vick
    RB: McCoy, Ingram, Hillman, Denard Robinson
    WR: A. Brown, Matarvis Bryant, OBJ, P. Harvin, J. Matthews
    TE: K. Rudolph, J. Witten

    A guy in my league wants to trade Matt Stafford for McCoy straight up.

    I’m hurting in QB and no viable QB option on waiver wire. But if I trade McCoy, I literally won’t have a starting RB2 since D-Rob is on bye and Hillman is hurt. (I need every win). Should I pull the trigger and snatch Stafford?

  7. Kermit – I’d use Ryan over both Wilson & McCown this week…. As for Cooks, worth picking up but I wouldn’t trust him this week

    Steve from LA – You need a QB, but McCoy is too steep of a price. I’d instead shop a WR for a QB if possible

  8. Steve from L.A. says:

    Wow, that is exactly what my gut was telling me. Thanks professor.

  9. romo says:

    hey roto! I’m already in the playoffs with a first week bye… i still wanna win! haha. i just dropped j mckinnon for rg3. i have m ryan and p rivers starting this week. I’m thinking off putting rg3 though…my WR is d thomas, k benjamin, r white. on my bench is cooks. RB is L bell, f gore. on my bench is l miller and r matthews. should i keep everything the way it is? thanks again!

  10. Mike from LA says:

    who do you start in a standard scoring league? M. Bryant or B. Lafell?

  11. Sam G says:

    Roto –

    Got two start/sit scenarios for you. Both leagues are standard scoring.

    Scenario 1: I have a RB spot and a Flex (WR/RB/TE) spot to fill. Choosing from CJ Anderson, Montee Ball, Joique Bell, Malcolm Floyd, A. Hawkins, and Justin Hunter. Leaning towards CJ Anderson and Malcom Floyd. Although Bell isn’t far behind. You agree or do you prefer another combo this week?

    Scenario 2: I have a WR spot and a Flex (WR/RB/TE) spot to fill. Choosing from Jordan Matthews, K. Allen, and McKinnon. Leaning towards K. Allen and McKinnon. You agree or do you prefer another combo this week?


  12. Mike from LA – It’s really 50/50, but I’d lean LaFell

    Sam G –
    #1 – Sounds about right!
    #2 – Again, sounds about right though Allen is tough to trust

  13. AJ says:

    Hey Roto
    I can’t make a decision on my WR2 this week. I have Crabtree, Randle, J. Hunter, or I could pick up K. Wright, or G. Jennings. I’m leaning towards Crabtree but his production has been terrible lately.
    Standard scoring. Thanx for your help.

  14. Mike from LA says:

    J. McKinnon or T. Mason – 1.0 PPR league???

    Thanks again!

  15. AJ – I couldn’t trust Crabtree, though none of the options are very inspiring. Hunter may have the highest upside of the group, but go with your guy. Really a “no win” situation

    Mike from LA – Gott go McKinnon

  16. Joe T says:

    I like M. Ryan this week, well “like” might be a little strong, but what do you think of dropping Sanu for QB depth with Sanchez? I’m pretty good at WR so I can’t believe Sanu would start for me again this year.

  17. Joe T says:

    Also I’m confused why you have R. Matthews as a start and R. Jennings as a sit when you have Jennings ranked 10 spots higher than Matthews. I have them both and am leaning towards going with Matthews for my flex because of the matchups. PPR + .5 for carries and targets.

  18. JoeS says:

    Ok need some advice on a trade please. we start 2qb 2rb 3wr 1te 2flex .5ppr. My qbs Luck Ben Mccown rbs Charles Gio Hill Miller R Mathews Simms wrs Wallac Andre Johnson Vjax J Matthews Garcon the Olsen. The Gordon owner is in need to win and obviously i am in need of a wr1. he wants Ryan Mathews Olsen and Garcon for Gordon Kelce and Ball. What do you think? what would you give up to get gordon? Thanks

  19. JoeT – I don’t think losing Sankey or Sanu will hurt you, but I’d say Sankey’s upside is slightly higher. Regardless neither is a weekly starter, as for the rankings, Ray did those so we have a difference of opinion. Mathews has a far better matchup and is more likely to carry the load, in my opinion

    JoeS- I think you are giving up way too much, especially since we don’t know how long it’s going to take Gordon to get up to full speed

  20. JSus says:

    Ryan Matthews or Beckham Jr as a flex?

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