It's never easy benching one of your top players in fantasy football, but there are times when doing so is in your best interest.
Given the incredible amount of talent that is unavailable this week, thanks to an active bye-week schedule, pickings are slim at a few key positions.
However, it would be foolish to start these following players, regardless of their star power. Here's a look at a few players you must sit this weekend, along with a few suggestions for an alternative starter in his stead.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are in Carolina for Week 9 to face the Panthers.
This is bad news for Matt Ryan and his offense.
Carolina features the NFL's second-ranked fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks—behind only the Seattle Seahawks—allowing just 9.7 points per game.
Roddy White still isn't practicing with the team as of Thursday, Oct. 31, as noted by Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, and Ryan is coming off his worst game of the season in Arizona last Sunday as he struggles without his top weapons in the lineup.
If you own Carolina's defense, then you're excited about this matchup. On the other hand, if you have Ryan as your starter, this is the week to plug in someone else.
Alternative Solutions: Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs; Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans; Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Things can't get much worse for Vincent Jackson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year after starting the season with a record of 0-7.
But things will get worse this weekend, as the Seattle Seahawks are hosting this winless team at CenturyLink Field—a venue that hasn't seen the home team lose a single game since 2011.
Furthermore, Seattle's secondary is hands-down the best in the league. Richard Sherman is extremely effective at shutting down big receivers like Jackson by locking them up at the line of scrimmage to disrupt the timing of passing plays.
Jackson had been one of the league's hottest receivers heading into Week 8 against Carolina. He'd caught four touchdown passes in his previous two games, but the Panthers shut him down.
Seattle's defense at home is even more formidable, and Jackson's rookie quarterback will have his worst game of the season.
Alternative Solutions: Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers; Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets; Darrius Heyward-Bey, Indianapolis Colts.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
There's a good chance many have already abandoned Chris Johnson as a viable fantasy starter this year. He's only scored double-digit fantasy points in two games this year, averaging just 8.9 points per game.
On the field, Johnson is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, and he's scored just two touchdowns this year—both of which came on receptions.
The St. Louis Rams host the Titans this weekend, and the Rams are fresh off a brilliant defensive effort that nearly won the game against the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch was held to just 27 total yards in the game.
Making matters worse for Johnson and his fantasy owners is the recent news that backup running back Shonn Greene will be taking more carries from Johnson in the future. Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported head coach Mike Munchak as saying Greene will receive 15 carries per game going forward:
It appears Johnson's days as a fantasy superstar have come and gone.
Alternative Solutions: Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams; Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers; Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints.
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