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.
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.
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, NFL.com
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