Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2014): Week 4: Colin Kaepernick, Joique Bell, Jordan Matthews & More

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).


Running Backs
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?


Tight Ends
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,

Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings:

Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Doug Martin, Arian Foster, T.Y. Hilton & More
Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster, Michael Crabtree & More


  1. Sammi says:

    Start Kaepernick over Brees then?

  2. Knucky says:

    Wheaton’s stats have decreased in each of the first three weeks, not increased. His 97 yard game was in week 1 against the Browns.

  3. Mike72 says:

    Hey Professor going forward who would you rather have strarting evey week? Ertz or Kelce? Standerd scoring. I drafted kelce but when an owner dropped Ertz I dumped kelce and scooped Ertz.

  4. MikeC says:

    Professor Roto,

    Can you rank the following for WR/WR/Flex – PPR League? This is my bench, I have 5 starters on bye…damn auto-draft

    Torrey Smith vs. CAR
    Justin Hunter @ IND
    Eric Decker vs. DET
    Chris Ivory vs. DET

    Would you swap out any of the following FA WRs and/or start them over the ones above?

    Allen Robinson @ SD
    Eddie Royal vs. JAC
    Stevie Johnson vs. PHI

    Thank you for your thoughts, love the site

    – Meaux

  5. K says:

    Hey prof,

    I’ve got Murray as a no-brainer, weekly RB1, and own both Khiry and Brown. At RB2, I’m thinking Brown gets the start over Khiry given the lack of competition for the job in SD & the JAX matchup…what do you think?

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Nate says:

    Trade question–how does this look? 10 team PPR

    GIVE: Lacy, Thomas, Brady/R White
    GET: Charles, Maclin, G Tate

    My team at the moment:

    QB: Ryan, Brady
    RB: Lacy, Bradshaw, Spiller, Davis
    WR: Thomas, Garcon, White, Quick
    TE: Paul, Kelce

    He also has Donald Brown and Vereen, who I might be interested in getting–other than that, not much there. What do you think? Thanks!

  7. Sam says:

    With Ellington, Stacy, and West out this week I’m in a slight pickle. I have Bradshaw and Taliaferro so I’m not completely lost but I am considering dropping West and picking up Blount because I like his matchup better than Taliaferro. Also for this week and RoS do you like Kelce, Allen, or Daniels at TE? For some reason all 3 are available on the waiver wire and I’m going to need a replacement for Jared Cook anyway.

  8. Samni – I’d go Brees

    Mike72 – I am a big fan of Ertz, I’d go with him

    MikeC – I’d def. use Robinson, prob. over Smith and Decker is probably going to miss

    K – Brown for me, only because I’m worried Robinson loses a few touches to Pierre Thomas

    NAte – I’d do that if I were you

    Sam – I’d prob. stay with who you have. I’d go Kelce for the TE.

  9. Sam G says:

    Roto –

    Lester – In one league I got Keenan Allen and V. Jackson going at WR. Got Donald Brown and J. Charles or K. Davis at RB. Then Lamar Miller at Flex. Would you look to switch any of these guys out for either Rueben Randle or M. Wheaton? Both of them are going against banged up/bad secondarys.

    In another league I got R. Jennings and Joique Bell starting at RB (since Montee Ball is on a buy). Would you consider swapping out Bell for Pierre Thomas?


  10. Tyler says:

    Little thin with a bunch of guys out on bye this week… PPR who do I FLEX? Niles Paul or Greg Jennings?

  11. chris says:

    Starting lacy,miller,a brown, and crabtree. Leaning towards smith sr…also have asiata…Wayne..or cj2k

  12. Paul says:

    Hey Professor, would you start Kelvin Benjamin over CJ Spiller as a FLEX, in a PPR league?

  13. Mark says:

    I have a few rbs on byes this week. I have joique bell as my rb2 and dont like the matchup at all. I see you say to sit him but if my only other options are taliaferro,johnathan stewart and gerhart would you still sit bell? If so, who would you start in his place? Also for my flex would you start reggie wayne over the rbs I named?

    • Philly snowball Thrower says:

      Safest choice is Bell especially PPR. I have the same situation and I have tossed back and forth the idea of starting Taliaferro. There is no foundation yet on use of Taliaferro when all 3 Ravens rbs are healthy. Thats this week. So its extremely risky to assume anything. There may be an underlining loyalty to Pierce to have first wack at winning the role and for this game limited touches for Taliaferro. Yet it is very possible Taliaferro gets in and shows better rhythm and runs away with the job. I would wait one more week to see if you can count on him.

  14. Sam G – I’d leave your first team as is (too late on Randle anyways). As for the second one, I’d go Thomas over Bell

    Tyler – sorry I was away from the computer last night. I probably would’ve said Paul, though that obviously wouldn’t have panned out too well due to the concussion.

    Chris – Looks good as is! Wayne is tempting, but in place of what you have in.

    Paul – I’d actually go Benjamin. Good matchup and more clarity on his opportunities.

    Mark – With your alternatives I’d roll the dice on Bell (unfortunately). As for your FLEX almost have to gamble on Gerhart

  15. romo says:

    so I’m having white, benjamin, and patterson over cooks and thomas? I’m scared lol.

  16. Philly snowball Thrower says:

    I am just going to throw things out there on the conversations above.

    #1 Cooks is almost a must start indoors against Minnesota. He plays all over the place. I have not seen one team in the small sample size able to defend against him.

    #2 Benjamin is going to see Jimmy Smith all day and it will be interesting to see if Benjamin continues what he has been doing. I have doubt but we’ll see if the rookie can do it.

    #3 Alfred Blue should not be dumped unless you need a roster spot. This is a run first offense and the ability to pull a high potential player off your bench will only strengthen your bench potential. Yes he is a handcuff but maybe the best one out there outside of Hyde.

    #4 Terrance West is losing out to Crowell. I don’t like it either but its a true fact Cleveland loves Crowell and are showing signs leaning to him over West. With Tate coming back now West has to rise above these two. Thats why I reluctantly wonder if Blue is worth rostering more than West. Its a tough decision. I might stick with West because you drafted him and I never like to have regrets over a situation that can change to favor West once again.

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