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 – Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Pittsburgh
Dalton has actually been one of the best quarterbacks in the league through seven weeks, with 1,761 yards, 14 TD and 2 INT. Teams have been able to throw against the Steelers, who have allowed the fifth most passing yards (2,046) and managed just 5 INT. Dalton was also pretty good against Pittsburgh late last season, throwing for 546 yards, 4 TD and 2 INT in two games (he’s thrown 2 TD in each of his past three meetings with the Steelers). The Bangals have a strong running game, don’t be afraid to utilize Dalton in all formats thinking he’s bound to regress.
Sit – Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – at Dallas
He has yet to score a TD on the ground, which certainly takes away a lot of his appeal (especially since he’s averaging just 238 yards per game through the air). He’s also often struggled on the road, throwing all five of his interceptions. There’s too much risk, given a tough matchup, in single QB formats.
Start – Antonio Andrews – Tennessee Titans – at Houston
Entering the season a matchup with the Texans would likely be one we’d look to avoid, but seven weeks into the year that’s just not the case. They have allowed the fifth most points per week to opposing running backs, including 776 rushing yards (fourth most) and 6 TD. While there are questions about the breakdown of the Titans backfield, Andrews appears to have separated himself as the early down runner (especially after taking 10 carries for 57 yards this past week). With Terrence West off the map, Bishop Sankey becoming an afterthought and David Cobb not yet back on the field, Andrews is well worth utilizing in this one.
Start – Charcandrick West – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Detroit
Not only is West coming off a big day (22 carries, 110 yards, 1 TD vs. Pittsburgh), but he also draws a favorable matchup. Over the past two weeks the Lions have allowed 215 rushing yards and 104 receiving yards to opposing running backs (as well as 2 TD). We all know that Alex Smith will always be willing to check down to his running backs and it certainly appears like West is going to get the first opportunity to replace Jamaal Charles. Don’t be shy in utilizing him.
Sit – James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at Denver
Are you willing to bet that he’s going to remain the “lead” back? There’s numerous reasons to think that he won’t:
- The team is coming out of their bye week, giving Eddie Lacy additional time to get healthy
- The matchup is not an easy one (Denver’s 487 rushing yards allowed are the second fewest in the league)
- He’s not going to replicate his performance from Week 6 (10 carries for 112 yards and 1 TD against the Chargers)
There’s simply too much risk if you can avoid him.
Sit – Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants – at New Orleans
Sure he has a favorable matchup, but does anyone really think the Giants are simply going to hand him lead back duties? Is Shane Vereen not going to play a role? Is Rashad Jennings going to ride the pine? This has pure committee written all over it, making it a situation to avoid wherever possible.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Format)
Start – Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
He has answered all of the questions over the past three weeks:
- 6 receptions (10 targets), 87 yards
- 7 receptions (9 targets), 129 yards
- 6 receptions (9 targets), 108 yards, 1 TD
You could easily argue that he’s passed Mike Wallace as far as fantasy value and the return of Charles Johnson clearly was a non-factor in his role. Diggs has not only been getting opportunities, but he’s delivering on them. The Bears have allowed 11 receiving TD to WR thus far and over the past two weeks they are allowing the most points per week to opposing WR (though it was only one game). Don’t be afraid to try and exploit this matchup.
Sit – Anquan Boldin – San Francisco 49ers – at St. Louis
We all know how bad Colin Kaepernick and the offense has been and this matchup certainly doesn’t give much hope for a breakout performance (the Rams have allowed the fifth fewest points per week to opposing WR). Sure Boldin had a nice two game stretch recently, but he was stymied by the Seahawks (3 receptions for 39 yards) in Week 7 and could face a similar fate this season.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders – vs. New York Jets
With a potential date with Revis Island looming, it makes sense to be a little bit skiddish. Granted the Raiders are not the Patriots, but the offense has proven capable of putting up some points. While Cooper has been a bit hit or miss this season (three games with fewer than 50 yards), there’s simply too much upside to shy away from him despite the “scary” matchup.
Sit – Terrence Williams – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Seattle
Forget about the potential return of Dez Bryant, Williams simply hasn’t performed (18 receptions, 293 yards, 2 TD). While the Seahawks also haven’t been the Seahawks, they still are allowing the fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers.
Start – Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – at Kansas City
We all know that it generally takes tight ends a year or two to acclimate themselves to the NFL. Ebron certainly appears to be coming into his own, when healthy, and is coming off his best game of the season (5 receptions, 89 yards, 1 TD). Given the uncertainty of many of the options, this is a good “gamble” to take.
Sit – Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cincinnati
Sure he would benefit from the return of Ben Roethlisberger, but he hasn’t been targeted more than 3 times since Week 1. How could anyone be willing to trust him?
Sources – CBS Sports, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: