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 – Tom Brady – New England Patriots – vs. Denver
It should go without saying that Brady is a must start option, but overall this season the results simply haven’t been there. His 2,552 yards place him 12th in the league. His 14 TD place him in a tie for 13th in the league with QB like Sam Bradford (injured), Ryan Tannehill and Carson Palmer. In other words, it’s hardly impressive company.
That said, he’s thrown for 728 and 5 TD over his past two games and has his biggest weapons back (Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola & Shane Vereen). This week’s game is almost guaranteed to be a shootout with the Broncos, who have allowed 279.1 passing yards per game and 18 TD. Brady is trending in the right direction and has a juicy matchup. Get him active in all formats.
Sit – Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
The matchup would dictate using him (the Redskins have allowed 274.9 passing yards per game and 19 TD), but how exactly are we supposed to trust Kaepernick at this point? If he isn’t rushing for TD, he’s hardly been a viable option since Week 1. Against the Jaguars a few weeks ago, who were an equally favorable matchup, he threw for 164 yards and 1 TD (rushing for a pair of TD saved his day). In his past 9 games he’s eclipsed 200 yards just once and has thrown a TD pass in just five games. Make no mistake about it, the 49ers feature a rushing attach and that’s not about to change.
Start – Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams – vs. Chicago
I discussed Stacy earlier in the week, but it ia absolutely is worth repeating. This is a tremendous matchup for Stacy, and looks even better after Ray Rice torched the Bears in Week 11. Chicago is allowing 133.9 rushing yards per game (second most in the league) and 11 rushing TD. Stacy, meanwhile, has shown how impressive he can be with 78+ yards in five consecutive games earlier this season (including a pair of games of 127+ rushing yards). The offense should continue to run through him, as he’s had 26+ carries in three straight games, and with this matchup he should explode.
Start – Andre Brown – New York Giants – vs. Dallas
Over the past two weeks the Giants have seemingly gone to a run heavy approach, taking the ball out of the hands of Eli Manning. Brown has quickly taken hold of the starting running back spot, something the team desperately needed, with 212 total yards in two games. The Cowboys have been extremely susceptible to big games from opposing running backs, allowing 1,664 yards and 13 TD. Considering Brown can also be featured in the passing game (5 targets in Week 11), his upside becomes that much greater.
Sit – Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – vs. Carolina
Should he be the lead back in Miami? Probably. Is he going to be? Probably not. The Dolphins are clearly riding the hot hand, but that just hasn’t been Miller recently (11 total carries over the past two games). Even if the Dolphins do give him the bulk of the carries, would we expect him to produce big results against the Panthers?
Sit – Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – at Arizona
This really should go without saying, but just in case anyone was confused. Richardson continues to be pitiful, regardless of what the coaching staff wants to say. How could they not turn to Donald Brown at this point? It would be surprising if Richardson saw the bulk of the carries but, even if he did, Arizona is featuring one of the best rushing defenses in the league (81.4 rushing yards per game, 4 TD). It’s going to be hard to justify starting him the rest of the way.
Wide Receivers (Two Receiver Formats)
Start – Torrey Smith – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New York Jets
Fantasy owners are likely growing frustrated with Smith, who has not eclipsed 100 yards in five consecutive games. However, he has scored in back-to-back games and takes on a Jets’ defense that has allowed 10 passing plays of 40+ yards (fourth most in the league). Smith has the potential to break big plays and the Jets just watched a banged up Buffalo receiving corps make play after play after play against them. Don’t shy away from Smith now.
Sit – James Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Minnesota
We all know the potential, but is he going to get enough opportunities to use in shallower formats? Jordy Nelson is the top dog and Jarrett Boykins has stepped up as a go to option. There are only going to be so many targets, and Jones hasn’t been doing much with the ones he’s gotten (7 catches for 116 yards on 16 targets since returning to the lineup).
Wide Receivers (Three Receiver Formats)
Start – Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Diego
After recommending we ignore him week after week after week, now he’s become a usable option? To put it succinctly, yes! He’s been targeted 26 times over the past two games and, while the numbers haven’t been huge (11 catches for 124 yards and 1 TD), the opportunity is half the battle. The Chargers have allowed the third most yards to opposing receivers (2,040) as well as 10 TD. While he’s still a risky option in shallower formats, he’s worth using in deeper leagues.
Sit – Tavon Austin – St. Louis Rams – vs. Chicago
He’s coming off a monster game, but keep in mind that he simply made big play after big play after big play. Can we really expect that to happen again? It’s not impossible, but it’s far more likely that he takes a step backwards. He’s a big-time hit or miss option, and that makes him too risky with playoff berths on the line.
Start – Coby Fleener – Indianapolis Colts – at Arizona
Fleener has suddenly become one of the most targeted Colts, with 10 targets in each of the past two games. Considering the team had planned on depending on Darius Heyward-Bey behind T.Y. Hilton, is it really a surprise? Now, throw in that the Cardinals have given up 845 yards and 10 TD to opposing tight ends and this is a no brainer.
Sit – Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears – at St. Louis
He has now gone four straight games with fewer than 50 yards and has one touchdown in his past eight games. The Rams have also been among the hardest teams for TE to make plays against, having allowed just 381 yards and 2 TD.