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 – Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers – at St. Louis
It has been a rough two weeks, but as we said recently (click here for the article) now is not the time to give up on Kaepernick. There is too much upside, especially against a team in which he rushed 17 times for 150 yards and 1 TD against in 2012 (coincidentally, they were his two highest rushing games in the regular season, with 66 and 84 yards).
You have to think that they will utilize Frank Gore more, which would help take the pressure off. The potential return of Vernon Davis would certainly help as well. The 49ers need more than Anquan Boldin, and you would expect the coaching staff to make the necessary changes to fix the problems.
Sit – Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New York Giants
It doesn’t matter how poor the Giants have been, we know what Smith is and it is hard to trust him to produce in any given week. In a two-quarterback league things would be different, but Smith has proven he’s nothing more than a game manager who isn’t going to take many risks (if any at all). That’s fine and all, but it also means there’s a better chance that he throws for 175 yards and 0 TD than there is of him throwing for 300 yards and 3 TD. There’s just not enough upside to even consider him.
Start – Bernard Pierce – Baltimore Ravens – at Buffalo
Obviously this is contingent on Ray Rice sitting, but if he does Pierce has the potential to post RB1 type stats. The Bills have allowed the second most rushing yards over the first three games (155.0 per game) and are coming off a week where they were torched by Bilal Powell. After Pierce performed well in Week 3 against a tough Texans team, he is a must play this week.
Start – Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – at New Orleans
The concern would be that Miller received just 8 carries in Week 3. However, over the past two weeks he’s rushed for 131 yards and 1 TD on 22 carries. The Dolphins will likely try to play ball control, in order to limit the opportunities for Drew Bree’s and company, so Miller should be in store for an increased workload (finally).
Sit – Jason Snelling/Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New England
This appears to be a true timeshare, limiting the potential of both backs. As a desperation FLEX play they do hold value, but as a RB there should be safer options.
Sit – Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Dallas
Not only is there no guarantee he gets significant touches, but he takes on a Cowboys’ defense that has allowed the second fewest rushing yards this season (66.3 with no TD). There’s too much risk to trust him, especially with him not playing on passing downs.
Wide Receivers (Two Receiver Format)
Start – Torrey Smith – Baltimore Ravens – at Buffalo
Smith is more than a deep threat this season, with 31 targets over the first three weeks, and the Bills defense is beatable, allowing 269.7 passing yards per game (and 6 TD). As the top receiver (by a lot) in Baltimore, he should get ample opportunities.
Sit – Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New England
Obviously if he was healthy he would be a must use option. However, he’s clearly not healthy. Until the Falcons use him as more than a decoy he’s way too big of a risk in shallower formats.
Wide Receivers (Three Receiver Format)
Start – Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants – at Kansas City
We said it earlier in the week (click here for the article), but it’s worth repeating. The trend this season has been when a top WR complains about a lack of targets, he explodes the next week. After just 1 target in Week 3 and Brandon Flowers banged up, Nicks should come back strong.
Sit – Santonio Holmes – New York Jets – at Tennessee
Is anyone believing after one big game? It’s going to take more than that, especially against a defense that has fared well against the pass.
Start – Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Minnesota
He didn’t do much in his first game of the season, but look for him to quickly become a go to receiver for Ben Roethlisberger (especially if Le’Veon Bell remains out). Couple that with a matchup against a Vikings team that he repeatedly been torched by tight ends this season (Jordan Cameron got them for three TD a week ago) and this is one situation worth exploiting.
Sit – Fred Davis – Washington Redskins – at Oakland
He’s quickly losing playing time to Jordan Reed, who has emerged as the more favorable tight end option. At this point you could argue that Davis doesn’t even belong on rosters.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 Rankings: