The toughest thing about fantasy football is deciding when to bench a star player. There's always that lingering trust that he'll perform up to his standards this week. I figured I'd help you make those decisions. Here are five star fantasy players you should bench this week.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
The Redskins have to play the Broncos in Denver. Unless Washington wins the coin toss, elects to receive and scores first, Morris owners won't get much from him this week. If Washington doesn't score on the opening possession of the game, it's pretty likely that Denver will, which immediately puts Robert Griffin III in a hole at high altitude. Don't take that chance.
The Broncos' efficient, high-octane offense forces opposing offenses to become one-dimensional in order to try to play catch up. Morris will be effectively taken out of the game plan if his team gets too far behind too early. Remember that Denver boasts the league's top rush defense, per ESPN.com. Also, Roy Helu seems to be stealing some of Morris' spotlight lately.
Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys
He's been back for two weeks and hasn't caught a single ball in that time. This week against the Detroit Lions, Tony Romo will likely be in gunslinger mode. Therefore, the ball will be flying all over the field. But don't count on it coming Austin's way too much. The emergence of rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams and even slot target Cole Beasley have stolen receptions away from Austin.
His owners should probably wait to start him until he begins getting a normal dose of catches again. That may not happen for a while, so you may want to consider dropping him. He's definitely been frustrating.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
The Browns are playing in Kansas City this week, and Arrowhead Stadium is always one of the league's loudest venues. I expect audibility issues and a ton of false starts for the Browns.
The pressure will fall on quarterback Brandon Weeden to get Gordon the ball, and he will fail. Weeden is only completing 52.8 percent of his passes this year per ESPN.com, and the deafening Chiefs crowd could lower that percentage. In addition to penalties, I also expect a few Browns turnovers from the noise. Gordon simply won't get the ball enough this week, and when he does, the Chiefs' third-best passing defense will be able to cover.
According to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, there have been rumors that Gordon could possibly be traded. That should excite his owners.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
He's not truly a "star" player this year, but he's still a big name. This is really sort of a "final call" to bench him, because it should have already happened. According to ESPN.com, he's only averaging 3.1 yards per carry so far. Sit him this week against the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers will give up some yards on the ground this week, as they only rank 18th in stopping the run. Jones-Drew will get his chances, but he'll be horribly inefficient yet again. The Jags' passing game isn't nearly good enough to take the pressure off Jones-Drew.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Like Jones-Drew, Manning isn't having a great season, but he's still one of the big-name quarterbacks out there.
This week, Manning and the Giants will square off against their division foe the Philadelphia Eagles. You better believe that the Eagles are licking their chops for this matchup. The Giants just ended a six-game losing streak at home against the Vikings, but they are still vulnerable. Going into Philly certainly doesn't make things more comfortable for a quarterback with 15 interceptions in seven games.
The Eagles will blitz Manning all day and force him into bad throws. The running game likely won't get going, and he'll rely a bit too much on Hakeem Nicks and safety net Victor Cruz. The Eagles have been waiting to crush New York for a while, and I think they are up to the task at home. Bench this Manning, and start the other one...if you somehow have both.