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 – Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers – vs. Cincinnati
The Bengals are a good defensive team, but so were the Kansas City Chiefs and we all saw what he did to them last week (392 yards and 3 TD). The week before he had the Dolphins, who also were a good team, and he posted 298 yards and a TD against them. Rivers has thrown for 3,381 TD, 22 TD and 8 INT on the season, and at this point it’s hard to argue against using him regardless of who he’s facing.
Sit – Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tennessee
A few weeks ago against Tennessee he managed just 232 yards with 0 TD and 0 INT. He is coming off a game with 163 passing yards and has 2 TD over the past three games. As it is the Titans have allowed 8 passing TD on the season, fewest in the league. There’s just no reason to roll the dice this week, outside of 2 QB formats.
Start – Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Pittsburgh
Granted, he managed little in Week 12 but that was against the Jets who are one of the elite rushing defenses in the league. The Steelers are a different story, having allowed 118.8 rushing yards per game and 13 TD. Rice showed that he still has something left in the tank against the Bears and is well worth using as a RB2 this week.
Start – Shane Vereen – New England Patriots – at Houston
Stevan Ridley lost another fumble, and LeGarrette Blount did as well. At this point it’s hard to imagine the Patriots trusting either of them, which means a much bigger role for Vereen. He got 10 carries in Week 12, and was also targeted 11 times in the passing game. There’s no reason to think that he won’t get nearly as many touches once again and, in a high-powered offense, that makes him worth using.
Sit – Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – at New York Jets
Don’t push him up the rankings because he’s the unquestioned lead back, at least not yet. Things should start looking up, but this is a brutal matchup and it’s impossible to trust him.
Sit – Panthers Running Backs – vs. Tampa Bay
This is a three-headed monster, so it is impossible to predict who is going to get the bulk of the carries. Will it be D’Angelo Williams? Mike Tolbert? Jonathan Stewart? They are going to ride the hot hand, but Cam Newton could also easily steal the goal line carries. It’s impossible to trust any of them.
Wide Receiver (Two Receiver Formats)
Start – Kendall Wright – Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
He is quickly emerging as one of the top wide receivers in the league and is the go to option for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Touchdowns are the biggest concern (2), but those should start coming (he scored in Week 12). He hasn’t been below 69 yards since Week 4 and had 9 catches against the Colts in Week 11.
Sit – Nate Burelson – Detroit Lions – vs. Green Bay
He exploded in his first game back for 7 catches, 77 yards and 1 TD. That will likely sway some people in shallower formats to think that he’s a good play. Sure there’s upside, but can we say for certain that he’s going to continue to get a significant number of looks? In three receiver formats I’d use him, but with the other weapons in Detroit it’s a risk in smaller formats.
Wide Receiver (Three Receiver Formats)
Start – Rod Streater – Oakland Raiders – at Dallas
Denarius Moore is banged up and Streater has performed over the past two weeks (11 catches for 177 yards and 1 TD). Those performances came against the Texans and Titans, two of the better defenses in shutting down receivers. The Cowboys can be beat, which definitely makes Streater a good play.
Sit – Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers – vs. St. Louis
Sure, Colin Kaepernick just had a nice game and we also saw Nate Burelson step onto the field and perform immediately. Maybe Crabtree can do the same thing, but are you willing to bet on it? He could face a snap count and, unless you are desperate, giving him a week or two makes sense.
Start – Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears – at Minnesota
When he faced the Vikings earlier in the season Bennett scored 2 TD. Minnesota has allowed 9′TD to opposing tight ends, second most in the league, just adding to the appeal of the matchup.
Sit – Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – vs. Cincinnati
Not only does he face a tough defense, but Gates is also quickly losing opportunities to Ladarius Green (who has actually out produced him the past two weeks). Tight end timeshares are always tough to predict, so trusting Gates is going to be difficult.