Just in time for your last minute decisions, here’s this week’s Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em, with slightly less guessing than Week 1.
It goes without saying that you won’t see guys like Arian Foster and Calvin Johnson on this list. What you will see is a few names that are on the bubble and few names that seem obvious but should be reconsidered.
May the dominance be with you.
This one should be obvious and it defeats the purpose of this article, but there seems to be some concern regarding Stafford’s statistical potential this Sunday.
He had a hard time against St. Louis last week and it doesn’t get any easier this week when the Lions travel to San Francisco. There’s no question that the 49ers have the best defense in the NFL.
Regardless, this game is going to be a high-scoring airshow and Stafford will post a nice stat-line for you.
Robert Griffin III
RGIII had a great debut in Week 1 when he abused the New Orleans Saints secondary with 320 yards and two touchdowns, plus another 42 yards on the ground.
What was truly remarkable was his control of the offense and his instincts while operating the read-option. Reportedly, Mike Shanahan gave him complete control.
I wouldn’t expect those same passing numbers this week as the Redskins will probably respect the Rams secondary and choose to run more. But I do expect him to pick up more yards with his feet. Especially in the red-zone.
The return of Manning couldn’t have been much better.
He showed that he still operates the no-huddle offense better than anyone in the NFL. This is good news for fantasy owners. It’s also good news for the Broncos, as they’re going to need to score a lot on Monday night to keep up with the Falcons.
I’m not going to give Manning the win this week, but when it comes to fantasy QBs, you want one who’s going to be playing from behind for most of the game.
Start Peyton with confidence.
Flacco proved last week that he is more than just a game manager. He posted some nice numbers in a blowout win against the Bengals. This week he’ll be back to being just a game manager.
The Eagles secondary features one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL and a much improved pass rush. This is going to be a low-scoring game.
I don’t want any part of it.
See Joe Flacco. Vick is a risk every single week, and that’s especially true against the Ravens front seven, even without Terrell Suggs.
Did someone say something about a game manager?
Schaub is a great quarterback. Unfortunately for fantasy GMs, the Texans are a great running team, and there will be no need to throw against the Jaguars.
He will have a decent game as far as NFL standards are concerned, but by fantasy standards, there are much better options this week.
I never thought I’d see the day that Alex Smith warrants a must-start in fantasy football. This week, he is just that.
The Lions secondary is atrocious when healthy. They are not healthy. And even if Smith has the luxury of a great defense, this is going to be a high-scoring game, and he will benefit in a big way.
This maybe the only time it’s safe to start a Redskins’ running back. After last week’s 96-yard, two touchdown performance, Morris has earned the right to be on top of the depth chart. That could all change midway through the game against the Rams, especially if they fall behind, but with RGIII and a good offensive line, I’m not scared. Morris is going to have good week. Don’t miss out.
He doesn’t have good vision. He seems timid. He’s missing the holes. The offensive line wasn’t giving him any room.
Those are things we were saying exactly one year ago this time. Funny how some things never change. CJK was horrible in Week 1 and has a lot of owners stressing. Not to worry my friends.
Indeed, he had opportunities that were missed. Indeed, the offensive line needs to play better. But this week, we are going to see CJ in 2010 form. You’ll notice that the San Diego Chargers couldn’t stop the dump-offs to Darren McFadden last week as he racked up 86 receiving yards.
CJ will benefit the same way this week and won’t be running up against the Patriots defensive front. The Chargers are a little more forgiving than that. Keep him in your lineup.
I’m expecting the Bengals to bounce back after their Week 1 ass-kicking at the hands of the Ravens and take out their frustrations on the Browns.
The Law-firm has a great match-up against a soft defense and by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, he will be featured as Cincinnati runs out the clock.
You probably looked at the stats that Shonn Greene posted last week against the Bills and thought to yourself, “Man, the Bills' defense sucks. Charles is going to have a huge game.”
Allow me to be the voice of reasoning. Greene’s production was inflated by garbage time as the Jets had an offensive explosion. The Bills defensive line does not suck. In fact, it’s quite stellar. They didn’t have great game last week, but they’ll be back on track this week.
Charles may be good for a chunk of receiving yards, but he’ll lose all goal-line carries to Peyton Hillis. I could see the Chiefs playing from behind and relying on the pass more than the run.
Charles is a dangerous option this week.
Back problems continue to hamper Lynch but weren’t a factor last week, as he carried the ball 21 times for 84 yards. So while he’s a slight injury risk this Sunday, his value is severely limited against a very good Dallas front seven.
Their pass rush is going to scare the crap out of Russell Wilson and this game is going to get out of control in a hurry. It’s tough to do, but Leave Lynch on the bench.
Jackson has been a workhorse for the St. Louis Rams and fantasy players alike. But this week, this season, his production will be unreliable.
The Rams offensive line is in shambles after injuries from last week. That’s bad news with a good Redskins defense coming to town.
Jackson is in for a rough game.
It’s not fair. It’s not fair to list a sleeper that nobody will dream of starting at this point in the season, with exception of super-deep leagues. I guess I could cop-out and list Alfred Morris here, but let’s face it, he’s not a sleeper.
It’s only a matter of time before Rodgers becomes the starting running back for the Atlanta Falcons. That won’t happen by Monday night, but he will get more snaps than he did last week. The thing to remember is that he has big-play potential.
Anytime he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a threat to take it to the house. He should benefit from a lot of check downs against the Broncos and the fact that he returns punts adds to his value (depending on league scoring).
With Devery Henderson most likely sidelined, and a quarterback who’s eager to rebound after a disappointing loss in Week 1, Moore will see a huge number of targets.
What he won’t see is defense. This match-up bodes well for pretty much every offensive player. You could almost build a roster of all Saints or all Panthers players and win your game this week.
At the very least, make room for Moore.
Guess who is in first place in the NFC North? That’s right, the Minnesota Vikings. That, of course, is temporary. What’s not temporary is Percy Harvin’s production.
He’s all but match-up proof. We’ll probably see defenses getting back to their routine of stacking the box against Adrian Peterson. That’s great for Harvin, who is the best weapon the Vikings have. He receives, he runs and he returns kicks.
He’ll be extremely productive at all three against the Colts.
The New York Giants have a good pass rush, but it won’t be effective if their secondary is going to be as bad as it is. That sets up a nice game for Vincent Jackson.
He didn’t have a great debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it’s obvious that he and Josh Freeman aren’t on the same page yet, but they’ll be forced to connect this week as they play from behind.
I like him for decent yardage and a score.
The reoccurring theme in this week’s column is that the game between the Ravens and the Eagles doesn’t bode well for fantasy GMs. As previously mentioned, Philly’s secondary is not to be tested and even with Torrey Smith’s ability to stretch the defense.
He’s just not worth the risk.
See: Torrey Smith. The Ravens have one of the best safety combinations in the NFL via Bernard Pollard and Ed Reed. They give Lardarius Webb, one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL, all the help he needs.
Stay away from this game if possible.
Ogletree was the surprise receiver of Week 1, as he found holes all over the Giants secondary. He won’t be as successful against the Seahawks, who have a better defense than most give them credit for.
It’s not to say that he won’t or can’t be productive, it’s more likely that the Cowboys build and early lead and go conservative by running the ball. And there are number of mouths to feed in Dallas.
Between Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, it’s going to be hard to rely on consistency from Ogletree every week. He has better match-ups in the future.
Leave him on the bench for this one.
Michael Crabtree/Randy Moss
You can’t pick a quarterback to be a sleeper and not pick his receivers to be the same. Alex Smith is in for a big day, and so are Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss.
If I had to pick one, I’d go Crabtree. He was the hot target last week and will finally live up to the hype this year after three disappointing seasons.
San Francisco 49ers
Again, this should be obvious. But there is a level of insecurity when starting a defense against a high-powered offense that features Megatron.
Even if they allow a lot of points, there should be plenty of sacks and turnovers.
I’m all in on this game this week. The Eagles defense is much better than it was last year, and I could see Flacco taking some chances downfield that work against him.
Without James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, the Steelers’ defense suddenly looks very average. Couple that with the fact that the Jets’ offense suddenly looks very explosive and you have every reason to look for a better option this week.
It won’t be much longer that the Cowboys’ defense is underrated, and if they’re on the waiver wire in your league, you need to stash them now.
This Sunday is a great match-up with a rookie quarterback and an otherwise underwhelming Seattle Seahawks team. Dallas is a must-start.
In fact, I’d choose them over anyone on this list.