Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: How to Manage Struggling Players in Your Lineup

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 13:  Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes against the Green Bay Packers at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

This fantasy football season has been filled with disappointments from players who entered the year with high expectations. The question now is what you do with them.

It is always hard to bench or even cut a player who was drafted in the first couple of rounds. However, this is no longer the time to worry about name recognition. It is important to get the best players into your lineup, even if it means making some tough decisions.

Of course, it is important to know which players are set for a bounce-back performance and which ones will continue to put up duds. Here is a look at some stars who have been inconsistent at best this year, along with advice for Week 11.


Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 03:  Tom Brady  #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

In the four games from Week 5 to Week 8, Tom Brady only threw a total of two touchdown passes and failed to top 300 yards in a game once. This did not seem like a player who is a sure bet for the Hall of Fame.

If he had not shown any improvement going into a game against the tough Carolina Panthers defense, he would have been an automatic "sit."

However, he came through with his best game of the year two weeks ago against the Pittsburgh Steelers, totaling 432 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also had a chance during the bye to get on the same page with his receiving targets after many of them had been in and out of the lineup all year.

Even with an elite defensive line providing pressure all game, Brady should be able to come through with another solid fantasy effort.

Verdict: Start


Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Even though he was drafted early in most leagues, Colin Kaepernick is proving that he is not an elite fantasy quarterback.

While the dual-threat star is capable of posting big games like he did against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he can also put up a dud, which he did with his two-point effort against the Panthers.

It is important to only use him in favorable matchups, which he does not have this week. The New Orleans Saints rank third in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, which is amazing after being second-to-last in the category a year ago.

The 49ers are much more likely to attack the Saints with the run, which will limit Kaepernick's production and make him a poor fantasy start.

Verdict: Sit


Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Trent Richardson #34 of the Indianapolis Colts rushes in the fourth quarter as he pursued by D.J. Swearinger #36 of the Houston Texans and Whitney Mercilus #59 at Reliant Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by
Bob Levey/Getty Images

This is certainly not what the Colts thought they were trading for when they gave up a first-round pick. Trent Richardson has been objectively awful since coming to Indianapolis and has rushed for fewer yards in each of the last six games.

The running back hit his low point last week when he rushed for only two yards on five carries. While he did add 33 yards through the air, the Colts were forced to abandon the run early, which led to a bigger day once again by Donald Brown.

While he does have a good matchup against the struggling Tennessee Titans defense, there is no guarantee he can take advantage of it. After averaging just three yards per carry this year, he will keep losing touches to Brown, and it will lead to another bad day for the former first-round pick.

Verdict: Sit


Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

While Ray Rice has been just as ineffective as Richardson, the fact is that he is still getting touches. Last week, he finished with 18 rushing attempts and six catches, although he only managed to scamper for 56 yards. 

Still, the Ravens continue to make it a point to get the veteran running back the ball while hoping that he can make something happen.

A positive day might finally come this week against the Chicago Bears, who have been awful against the run lately. In the last four games, the Bears have allowed at least 95 rushing yards to an opposing running back, including the not-so-mobile Brandon Jacobs.

Baltimore has struggled to clear space for Rice this year, but there should be plenty of room to run against Chicago.

Verdict: Start


Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football after a reception against the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizon
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The general consensus was that Larry Fitzgerald would succeed when the Cardinals found a quarterback who could throw the ball. Well, Carson Palmer is throwing the ball, just not to his No. 1 target.

Fitzgerald only has nine total catches in his last three games, while the team has been spreading the ball around to Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and now tight end Rob Housler. As a result, the star receiver is not gaining many yards this season, which has made him incredibly inconsistent.

The Pro Bowler only has one 100-yard game this year, which was mostly due to a 75-yard touchdown on a missed tackle. The rest of the games, his fantasy value is based on the ability to get into the end zone.

This seems too risky, even against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have done a decent job of limiting wideouts in recent weeks.

Verdict: Sit


Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11:   Vincent Jackson #83 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers carries the ball in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Two straight duds in a row have led to many questioning Vincent Jackson's value. He only has 39 receiving yards in the last two games combined, and he is responsible for only three double-digit fantasy games all year.

However, rookie quarterback Mike Glennon keeps trying to get the ball to his best receiver with a team-high eight targets last week. In fact, Jackson has been targeted 102 times this year, which is more than anyone not named A.J. Green.

This week, he will face the Atlanta Falcons, who allowed a total of 36 fantasy points to opposing receivers in their last game. The defense has only kept receivers out of the end zone once all season.

As long as Jackson continues to get his targets, he will eventually come through with a big performance.

Verdict: Start


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