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 – Josh Freeman – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Detroit
He has quietly posted an impressive season, with 2,708 yards, 17 TD and 6 INT (as well as 301 yards on the ground). He’s thrown at least one touchdown in all but one of his games this season. When coupled with his ability to avoid turning the ball over, it helps to offset days that he posts fewer yards (he hasn’t eclipsed 200 in his past three games).
This week he gets a Lions defense who is tied for the ninth most passing touchdowns allowed with 21 while picking up just 11 interceptions. Just two weeks ago Jay Cutler completed 21-26 passes against them for 234 yards and a touchdown.
Couple his solid performance with the matchup and he’ll be worth using in all formats.
Other quarterbacks to start:
- Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New Orleans
- Matt Cassel – Kansas City Chiefs – at St. Louis
Sit – Kyle Orton – Denver Broncos – at Oakland
He was a savior to many owners earlier in the season, but those days have vanished in a heartbeat. Over his past two games he has completed just 28 of 69 passes, going without a touchdown. In his last game he threw three interceptions. He hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards in either game.
The Raiders passing defense has been solid, giving up the seventh fewest passing yards on the year (202.5 per game). At this point, he is just too risky of an option to trust with your fantasy title on the line.
Other quarterbacks to sit:
- Mark Sanchez – New York Jets – at Pittsburgh
- Carson Palmer – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
Start – Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Philadelphia
Earlier in the season he would have been a lock to play, but after losing his starting role for the Giants it certainly came into question. However, over the past two games he has rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Couple that with his ability to contribute in the passing game and there is no reason for him not to be able to continue to produce.
Start – Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
After not playing since Week 8 (10 yards on nine carries), fantasy owners had lost hope with Torain. No one knew for sure if he would return to regular carries, or if the Redskins would embrace a running back by committee strategy. Well, he returned with a bang in Week 14, getting 24 carries for 172 yards. It is the third time this season that he has received at least 20 carries, picking up at least 100 yards in each of them.
He draws a Dallas defense that is in the middle of the pack against the run, giving up 112.7 rushing yards per game, as well as 11 TD. Given his success and his apparent health, there is no reason to think that Washington won’t ride Torain once again this week. That should help him see success again.
Other running backs to start:
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. Green Bay
- LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Detroit
Sit – LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – at Pittsburgh
Remember his early season success? Well, you can forget it now. Over his last four games he has 181 yards on 54 carries and no touchdowns. Since Week 5 he hasn’t had more than 57 rushing yards in a game. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 6. Yes, he can also contribute in the passing game, but over the last two games he has a total of four receptions for 28 yards. He doesn’t have a receiving touchdown all year long.
That would be enough to consider benching him, but he also draws the best rushing defense in the league. The Steelers are allowing just 60.1 rushing yards per game. They’ve allowed four rushing touchdowns on the year. There is just no way to trust him at this point.
Sit – Pierre Thomas/Chris Ivory – New Orleans Saints – at Baltimore
They have a tough draw, with the Ravens allowing just 98.8 rushing yards per game (and only five rushing touchdowns on the season). Add to that the fact that we really have no clue who is going to get the majority of the touches, or if they are going to split them evenly, and we get a situation that fantasy owners should try to avoid. With fantasy titles hanging in the balance, now is not the time to play a guessing game.
Other running backs to sit:
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. San Francisco
- Brandon Jackson/James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at New England
Two Wide Receiver Formats
Start – Deion Branch – New England Patriots – vs. Green Bay
He has scored touchdowns in three straight games, as the Patriots offense has caught fire. In the past four games he has 21 receptions for 398 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, the Packers passing defense is among the best, but right now it just doesn’t matter. There’s no reason to think they are going to slow down now.
Another wide receivers to start:
- Kenny Britt – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
Sit – Percy Harvin – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Chicago
He is just a tremendous risk. His migraine issues have helped to keep him out of action and, with no guarantee that he’s going to suit up or who is going to be throwing him the ball, he’s not worth the risk.
Another wide receiver to sit:
- Mike Williams – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Atlanta
Three Wide Receiver Formats
Start – Santana Moss – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
He’s coming off a game where he had seven receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown and draws a Cowboys defense that is awful against the pass (254.4 passing yards per game, 27 TD). When the two teams met in Week 1 he had six receptions for 77 yards. He certainly is an option worth using.
Another wide receiver to start:
- Mike Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Detroit
Sit – Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers – at San Diego
He has just one game with more than 61 yards on the season. He’s only had more than four receptions in a game twice. Throw in the best passing defense in the league, allowing just 173.4 passing yards and 12 TD, and it is an easy decision to leave him on the bench.
Another wide receiver to sit:
- Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers – vs. Arizona
What are your thoughts on these decisions? Who would you start? Who would you sit?
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 15 rankings: