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 – Jon Kitna – Dallas Cowboys – at Arizona
He has a pair of 300+ yard passing games in his last four. Since Tony Romo went down with an injury, he has four 300+ yard passing games, including a 379 yard outing. Would anyone have predicted that? In recent weeks, with Dez Bryant out, Kitna and Jason Witten have really started clicking. Witten, who has always had the knock of not being able to find the end zone, has four touchdowns in his last three games (as well as 32 receptions for 350 yards in his last four).
The Cardinals are the tenth worst passing defense in the league by yards (228.1 passing yards/game). While they have been playing better, they haven’t exactly been playing teams who are lighting it up offensively (Rams, Broncos & Panthers the past three weeks). Look for Kitna and company to put up some strong numbers this week.
Other quarterbacks to start:
- Josh Freeman – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Seattle
- Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland
Sit – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New Orleans
Fantasy owners who have been depending on Matty Ice get a tough draw with their fantasy title on the line. Forget about the fact that he hasn’t thrown for more than 227 yards in his last four games, but he gets a Saints defense that is allowing just 195.0 passing yards per game. To make matters worse, they have allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league (10). With titles hanging in the balance, it is just impossible to put your faith in him.
Other quarterbacks to sit:
- Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears – vs. New York Jets
- Tim Tebow – Denver Broncos – vs. Houston
Start – BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
There were times this season where Green-Ellis was far from a lock to play. You really had no clue exactly who was going to get the carries in New England with various names in the mix. Then, there was the thought that Danny Woodhead would carry the workload. However, at this point, things are not so cloudy. Yes, he is coming off a day where he had just six carries for 38 yards, but he still managed to find the end zone. In fact, he has 12 rushing TDs on the year, just one behind the league leader (Arian Foster). The Bills are the worst rushing defense in the league by yards (158.6 rushing yards per game), so look for the Patriots to ride Green-Ellis in Buffalo
Start – Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – at Jacksonville
It’s been a crazy ride in Washington when it comes to their running game, but it looks like a healthy Torain has reemerged as the lead back. Since returning from injury he has 283 total yards against Tampa Bay and Dallas. While he has just one touchdown (a receiving TD against Dallas), Jacksonville has allowed 15 rushing TD on the year. Look for Torain to remain a main focus on offense, both on the ground and through the air (five receptions in Week 15 as a safety valve for Rex Grossman).
Other running backs to start:
- LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Seattle
- Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. San Diego
Sit – LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – at Chicago
It would be ideal if the Jets could lean on LT to help carry them to the playoffs. It would also be ideal if fantasy owners can rely on him to help take them home (as he did in the first few weeks). However, he’s rushed for less than 50 yards in his last five games and less than 60 yards in his last nine. Throw in the fact that his last touchdown came in Week 6 and do you want to have anything to do with him, especially with him getting a Bears defense allowing just 89.8 rushing yards per game?
Sit – Christopher Ivory – New Orleans Saints – at Atlanta
After missing Week 15 due to injury, it is immediately tough to trust him (though it appears like he’s likely to play). With the Saints playing on Monday night, unless we get a clear-cut answer, if he were to be a late scratch you would be left scrambling for answers. That’s not to mention that the Saints also have Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Julius Jones in the mix for carries, which could further limit his potential value. This is unfortunately a situation you may want to avoid.
Other running backs to sit:
- Brandon Jackson/James Starks – Green Bay Packers – vs. New York Giants
- Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Dallas
Two Wide Receiver Formats
Start – Kenny Britt – Tennessee Titans – at Kansas City
It took him just one game back before he reestablished himself among the best receivers in the game. After a slow game in Week 14, he exploded for six receptions and 128 yards against the Texans in Week 15. Now, all he needs to do is return to the end zone and fantasy owners will be drooling. Prior to the injury he had scored in five straight games and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him return there this week.
Another wide receiver to start:
- Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills – vs. New England
Sit – Miles Austin – Dallas Cowboys – at Arizona
With Dez Bryant out Austin was supposed to reestablish himself as the top receiver in Dallas. Unfortunately, that just hasn’t happened. He’s had just one game of more than 47 yards since Week 9 and just two since Week 6. Yes, he had a two touchdown game, but keep in mind that it came on a day he had two receptions for seven yards. With how bad he’s been, there is no way to trust him at this juncture.
Another wide receiver to sit:
- Hines Ward – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Carolina
Three Wide Receiver Formats
Start – Deion Branch – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
I don’t buy that the Patriots may take their foot off the gas in Week 16. They still have to play in Week 17, plus will have a bye in the first week of the playoffs. That seems like an awfully long time to go without pushing hard to expect them to suddenly turn things back on. They need to stay sharp, and that just doesn’t mean slowing down. Could the starters sit the fourth quarter? It’s possible, but three quarters should be more than enough time for Branch to post solid numbers.
Another wide receiver to start:
- Mario Manningham – New York Giants – at Green Bay
Sit – Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers – at St. Louis
We wanted to believe that he would emerge as a go to fantasy wide receiver, but it just never happened in 2010. Only twice did he have over four receptions in a game and only once more than 61 yards. There’s no way to have any faith in him at this point in the year.
Another wide receiver to sit:
- Danny Amendola – St. Louis Rams – vs. San Francisco
What are your thoughts on these decisions? Who would you start? Who would you sit?
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 16 Rankings:
- Top 25 Quarterbacks
- Top 40 Running Backs
- Top 60 Wide Receivers
- Top 20 Tight Ends
- Top 15 Kickers
- Top 15 Defenses
- Waiver Worthy
Make sure to pre-order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here.