by Will Overton
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 – Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears – vs. Tampa Bay
The Chicago Bears are an absolute mess of a football team so far this season, but through it all Jay Cutler has remained a top 10 – 12 quarterback and his weapons are getting healthy. He’s clearly good enough that he should be torching a bad secondary in Tampa Bay.
Recently we’ve seen a little bit of life from the Tampa defense, but there is still a whole lot of shakiness there. The Bucs also don’t get many interceptions, just eight total this season, which makes me feel a lot better about using Cutler who can be undone by interceptions. Cutler just has so many weapons from his two big receivers to his tight end to Matt Forte out of the backfield, there’s just no way the Bucs can cover all of them.
Sit – Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins – @ San Francisco
I expected big things last week from Griffin against Tampa Bay, but he still looked a little out of sorts. Griffin did complete 70% of his passes last week, but he only managed 207 yards on 23 completions and threw a pair of picks to a defense we’ve already stated doesn’t get many of them. Griffin’s legs still pose a threat, but he’s going to have a hard time creating too much in the open field against the athletic San Francisco defense.
Start – Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Cleveland
This is how little I think of the Cleveland Browns defense, I’m willing to promote Steven Jackson as a solid start option this week. Jackson has a TD in two of his last three games though and two weeks did run for a season high 81 yards. The biggest reason to use him is the Browns though. Cleveland got run all over by Alfred Blue last week and a couple weeks before Bobby Rainey looked strong against them. Jackson is nowhere near what he used to be, but we might get a glimpse of the former Jackson this week.
Sit – Jonas Gray – New England Patriots – vs. Detroit
It probably seems crazy for me to tell you to sit a guy who is coming off a 200 yard performance last week, but that’s what I’m going to do here. It’s going to be tempting to use him, but the Lions run defense is stout and if the Pats are going to rack up the yards it’s going to be through the air which means less time with Gray on the field and more time with Shane Vereen. Last week Andre Ellington had just 42 yards on 19 carries, so I don’t have a whole lot of faith in Gray.
Start – Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
There is a fear here that the Packers will do to Minnesota what they have been doing to everyone lately, blowing them out of the water. If that happens McKinnon’s role could be minimized. Still, the Packers run defense is spotty at best, allowing 4.5 YPC and 9 TD’s this season. Minnesota should also have gotten the message by now that McKinnon is their best back, as evidenced by his 4.9 YPC this season and the fact that in the three games where he has carried the ball 15 times or more he has amassed 80 yards or more each time. Here’s hoping this game stays relatively close because McKinnon could have a big day.
Sit – C.J. Anderson– Denver Broncos – vs. Miami
I do believe the Broncos will find a way to bounce back this week against the Miami Dolphins, I don’t think it’ll be the running game leading the way though. Miami is tough on defense in general, but I don’t see them letting the Broncos mish mash run game do much on them. C.J. Anderson has had his moments, but I have a hard time trusting him when you know Peyton Manning is going to throw a ton and Juwan Thompson is going to vulture the goal line carries. Anderson will likely be the lead back with Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman projected to sit out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to use him.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Format)
Start – Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns – @ Atlanta
It’s his first game back from a suspension that has sidelined him for 10 games, but I don’t think we’ll see much rust from Gordon. I actually Gordon is going to come out and shine in this one after not being able to play all season and likely chomping at the bit to remind people what he did last season, posting numbers that had him in the conversation for best receiver in the league. A matchup with Atlanta is the perfect opportunity for him to show off a bit.
Sit – Keenan Allen – San Diego Chargers – vs. St. Louis
Over the last few weeks Keenan Allen has been making positive strides and been more productive. I think he could finish this season strong and remind us why he was such a high pick this year. That said I don’t think it happens this week. The Rams pass defense just shut down Peyton Manning and the Broncos last week and I think the Chargers will find it tough going this week as well. The Rams also have given up just 14 TD’s all season through the air so finding the end zone may be tough.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Format)
Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints – vs. Baltimore
One of the most hot and cold players in the league this season it’s hard to trust Marques Colston, but that’s what I’m doing this week. Even though the numbers are down for Drew Brees, the Saints have still got the third most passing yards in the league this season. It also happens that Brandin Cooks is now out for the season making Colston the number one receiver, not counting Jimmy Graham. And while the majority of the targets will go Graham’s way, someone else will get some of Cook’s and I think that’ll be Colston.
Eric Decker – New York Jets – @ Buffalo
This season Decker has gone from red zone threat to possession receiver in New York, averaging just 10.5 YPC this season with his longest reception being 29 yards. You almost need Decker to score TD’s to make an impact now, but he’s not doing much of that either. With Percy Harvin in town, who is much better fit for the short pass system the Jets, Decker’s value is even lower.
Start – Charles Clay – Miami Dolphins – @ Denver
I expect the Broncos to force Miami into a bit of a shootout and Tannehill may be relying on his tight end a bit more than normal. Clay has been getting more involved in the offense recently with 17 catches in his last three games. Meanwhile, Denver has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to tight ends in fantasy football this season. So look for Tannehill to utilize Clay more than normal this week in a potentially high scoring game.
Sit – Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – @ Philadelphia
The good news is that Walker seems good to go after suffering a concussion last Sunday. The bad news is that while the Eagles don’t stop the pass, they do stop tight ends, in fact they are top ten in the league for fewest fantasy points allowed to them. Walker also has just one TD in five games no more than 57 yards in those five games.