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 – vs. Philadelphia
Kaepernick has thrown 4 TD vs. 3 INT and has yet to score a TD with his legs, so why does he get the nod as a start? He’s facing an Eagles defense that has allowed the second most points to opposing quarterbacks (behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars). Surprisingly he’s performed better on the road than at home, but it’s hardly enough to sway anyone against using him. The matchup with Philadelphia has the potential to be a shootout, so get him locked into your lineup unless you also own of the truly elite option.
Sit – Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins – at Oakland
You would think a matchup with the Raiders would be promising, but they have actually allowed the sixth fewest points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Maybe that’s because they’ve been awful against the run, but that doesn’t matter. Look for the Dolphins, amid rumors that Tannehill’s job is in jeopardy, to feature a run heavy attack limiting Tannehill’s exposure. (On the flip side, get Lamar Miller into your lineups).
Start – Khiry Robinson – New Orleans Saints – at Dallas
The Cowboys’ defense has actually allowed the 25th fewest points to opposing running backs, but the 16th most rushing yards (309). They have allowed just 1 rushing TD, but more importantly have allowed 7 receptions for 68 yards to opposing backs. Could Pierre Thomas be a non-factor? He got 18 carries against the Vikings in Week 3 (who have allowed 313 yards, but on 17 more carries) and should see a big workload once again. Don’t shy away from him, especially as a FLEX option.
Start – Donald Brown – San Diego Chargers – vs. Jacksonville
With Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead both injured, Brown is seemingly the last man standing for the Chargers. From a fantasy perspective, it comes at the perfect time as the Jaguars are horrific at stopping the run (a total of 553 yards and 6 TD to opposing backs). With this situation appearing to not be muddled, it’s a good one to exploit.
Sit – Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – vs. New York Jets
Outside of 6 receptions against Carolina in Week 2, this has been a disappointing start for Bell. He’s turned 40 carries into 120 yards and 1 TD while Reggie Bush has started to get things in gear (12 carries for 61 yards and 1 TD in Week 3). This is a tough matchup regardless, but with Bell potentially ceding more carries to Bush it looks that much worse. He’s no more than a FLEX, at best, this week.
Sit – Chris Johnson – New York Jets
Same game, but that’s alright. Johnson looks like he has little left in the tank, with 22 carries for 56 yards over the past two weeks and looking like the inferior option to Chris Ivory (23 carries for 87 yards in the same two games). Between this being a tough matchup, as well as the potential Ivory starts to take on an expanded role, Johnson is just too big of a risk.
Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Format)
Start – Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers – at Baltimore
The rookie wide receiver is coming off a big game against Pittsburgh (8 receptions, 115 yards, 1 TD) and has 90+ yards in two of three games this season. Throw in a matchup against Baltimore, whose 43 receptions allowed to wide receiver is the eighth most in the league, and the matchup is perfect.
Sit – Jordan Matthews – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
It’s easy to get overly excited, with Matthews coming off a monster game (8 catches, 2 TD) and having a matchup with a 49ers defense that hasn’t been able to stop opposing wideouts. However, keep in mind he had just 59 yards and also faces tremendous competition for touches. Trusting him in shallower formats is way too risky.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Markus Wheaton – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay’s defense just isn’t very good, having allowed 39 receptions for 545 yards and 4 TD against opposing receivers, not to mention 53 rushing yards and 1 TD. Wheaton has seen his numbers grow each week and is coming off his best performance (6 receptions for 97 yards). Given the matchup, he’s worth considering most deeper formats.
Sit – Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New England
The Patriots have been the best defense against opposing wide receivers over the first three weeks, Alex Smith is the Chiefs quarterback and Bowe has managed 6 receptions for 72 yards in two games this season. Does anyone really think he’s trustworthy in any format at this point?
Start – Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – vs. New Orleans
I wouldn’t consider Witten one of the best options, especially given his struggles, but if you drafted him as your starter I also wouldn’t give up hope quite yet (especially given the injuries/bye weeks). Let’s not forget that he started off slow in 2012 (though he was banged up, he had 8 receptions for 76 yards over the first three weeks) before exploding in Week 4 (13 receptions for 112 yards and 1 TD). While we can’t expect that type of performance, seeing a “breakout” wouldn’t be surprising.
Sit – Ladarius Green – San Diego Chargers – vs. Jacksonville
While he is coming off a good game, reports are that his snaps actually didn’t increase and Antonio Gates was still on the field significantly more. While we want to believe that the transition is coming (and maybe it will), it’s not here yet.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings: