Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em Decisions: Week 12: Percy Harvin, Peyton Hillis & More

Just hours before the start of Week 11 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:

Jeremy Maclin – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles
According to Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer (click here for the article):

“Maclin is listed as doubtful. His injured hamstring tightened in practice Wednesday, and Maclin hasn’t been on the field since. Riley Cooper will take his place if Maclin can’t go.”

Maclin is too big of a risk to trust this week, especially with a 4:15 PM start time.  Cooper proved to be a viable option last week, picking up 5 receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Giants.  Against a much more porous passing defense in the Patriots he is a viable low-end option for those in three receiver formats.

Percy Harvin – Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings
According to Tom Pelissero (via Twitter):

#Vikings have downgraded Adrian Peterson to OUT for Sunday.”

Harvin was given five carries a week ago against the Raiders and could play an even bigger role in the running game against the Falcons today.  Couple that with the targets he’ll get in the passing game (he has six receptions in each of the past two games) and he’s an easy play this week.

Toby Gerhart – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
As with Harvin, Gerhart benefits from Peterson’s absence this week.  He’s had as many as 16 carries in a game twice (both in 2010), rushing for 76 and 77 yards in those games.  Is he going to get that many carries this time around or is Harvin going to steal a significant number of his touches?  That’s a major risk at this point (last week Gerhart had just seven carries), reducing his potential value.  Throw in the fact that Atlanta’s defense has been the second best against the run this season (85.4 rushing yards per game) and Gerhart should be left for the desperate at this point.

Darius Heyward-Bey – Wide Receiver – Oakland Raiders
He’s been forgotten since the arrival of Carson Palmer, with four catches for 43 yards in the three weeks since the Raiders’ bye (all actually came in Week 11).  However, there’s a good chance that he’s once again a major focus today.  According to Vittorio Tafur (via Twitter):

“Hue said Moore’s status up in air, McFadden, Ford and DE Jarvis Moss (hamstring) out for Sunday”

The Raiders take on the Chicago Bears who are currently allowing the third most passing yards per game (270.7), adding to the intrigue of Heyward-Bey.  Obviously the Raiders will likely lean on Michael Bush, but given the matchup you have to expect them to throw the ball a little bit more.  With Heyward-Bey being rediscovered last week and both Denarius Moore & Jacoby Ford potentially out, Heyward-Bey becomes an intriguing flier in three receiver formats (depending on your other options).

Brandon Jacobs – Running Back – New York Giants
With Ahmad Bradshaw officially being ruled out for Monday night’s game, Jacobs will likely on be viewed as the lead back once again.  Is anyone really certain that Jacobs is going to get the bulk of the carries, though?  He’s coming off a pathetic 12 carry, 21 yard performance against the Eagles and is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry on the season.  There’s also the chance that the Giants fall behind early, forcing them to go pass happy in order to keep up with the Saints.  Throw in the fact that the team could utilize D.J. Ware or Da’Rel Scott, given in an effort to spark the team, making Jacobs a player that carries significant risk.  If you have a safer option going on Monday you probably want to utilize him.

Peyton Hillis – Running Back – Cleveland Browns
There has been a lot of talk that he will actually return to the lineup today.  With Montario Hardesty also likely to return, this situation is extremely tricky.  Along with Chris Ogbonnaya, all three could share carries against the Bengals (third fewest rushing yards per game allowed on the season).  While Cincinnati has allowed 10 rushing TD, does anyone want to render a guess as to who would handle goal line carries?  Until this situation sorts itself out fantasy owners will want to steer clear if possible.

Matt Hasselbeck – Quarterback – Tennessee Titans
He’s listed as probable for this week’s game against the Buccaneers and is fully expected to start.  WhileTampaBay’s defense is allowing 265.4 passing yards per game (as well as 18 TD vs. 9 INT), would it surprise anyone if the team made a quick change if Hasselbeck gets off to a slow start?  With Jake Locker putting on a show in Week 11 (9-19, 140 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) it certainly wouldn’t be surprising.  You have to love the matchup, but the risk of injury and Locker’s previous performance leave him more as a high-risk QB2 today.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 articles:

Start 'Em or Sit 'Em Decisions: Eagles vs. Seahawks
Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 12


  1. Randy says:

    I’ve reviewed many sets of rankings for DEF/ST, especially yours, and while they speak for themselves…I am very torn about what to do and could use your insight to help give me confidence in my choice this week! What are your feelings behind the Cardinals, Broncos, Pathers, and Raiders DEF/ST matchups? Thanks!

    • Randy says:

      Incidentally, my league’s scoring is based on turnovers, yards allowed, points allowed, and return yardage…along w/ any TDs scored.

    • OK, let’s take these one at a time:

      Arizona – I have some slight concerns that the Bradford/Lloyd combination really start to figure things out, especially in a defense that allows a lot of yards. Plus, they haven’t done a very good job of generating turnovers. With your scoring rules, they go down a notch.

      Denver – The Chargers may be struggling, but they are still a high-powered offense. That alone makes Denver a worrisome option.

      Carolina – The Colts are awful offensively, especially now that Curtis Painter is expected to get the start once again and a running game that is questionable thanks to the injuries. This is the direction I’d lean in your format.

      Oakland – I know Caleb Hanie is leading the Bears, but with Matt Forte in the backfield they are still a huge risk. Oakland is a tough play.

  2. Triz says:

    Any last minute thoughts on McGahee vs Mathews? I know you put McGahee a little higher in your last list, but just checking since they both have such varying health.

  3. Adam says:

    Matthews, Wells, D. Brown, Ogbo, pick 2.

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