Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: Advice for Handling Risky Stars

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 15:  Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans works out on the field before the start of the game against the Tennessee Titans  at Reliant Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It's that time of year where fantasy owners are looking to solidify their playoff seedings, so here is some advice on what to do with Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson and other risky stars.

The players on this list have plenty of talent, but they are having some issues lately. Injuries to other players on your roster could force you to make a decision on these players.

Decisions should be made based on their recent performances, the talent around them and who they face. Early in the season it's fine to take a risk on a player who hasn't performed well. However, that could cost you late in the season.

Here what to do with risky stars this week. 


Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 27:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws a pass during pregame against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons fans can't be too happy with their team's 2-7 record. However, fantasy owners are just recently starting to see the effect.

Matt Ryan has averaged only 215 yards over his last three games. Over his last four games, the Atlanta quarterback has thrown five touchdowns to nine interceptions. 

The Falcons are falling fast, and Ryan doesn't have a healthy receiving corps to work with, although Roddy White has returned to the lineup. Now he will get to face one of the hottest teams in the league, the New Orleans Saints, on a short week.

New Orleans has the third-best pass defense in the league. It is allowing only 191.4 yards through the air, so Ryan could be in for a long night. In their Week 1 meeting, he threw for 304 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Even when Atlanta was losing early in the season, Ryan was at least helping fantasy owners. He had a minimum of two touchdowns in each of his first six games, but he is struggling lately.

With a depleted offense and a tough opponent, Ryan may not be the best option this week.

Verdict: Sit 'em


Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 17: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs for a big gain against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter on November 17, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

Fantasy owners are doing one of two things with Ray Rice. They have either given up on him or are hoping that he explodes for a big game. At this point, many have decided to sit him.

Rice is having the worst season of his career. He is averaging only three yards per carry and is on pace to fail to rush for at least 1,000 yards for the first time since his rookie season.

Despite his lack of production, he has found the end zone four times this year. That's a big total for someone who has only 420 rushing yards through nine games.

For those who gave up on Rice before last week, he punished those owners. The 26-year-old rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, adding 17 receiving yards as well. He did all that after averaging only 2.5 yards in his previous eight carries.

While his numbers were impressive, he was aided by a 47-yard run, which could be a sign of things to come. However, he had topped only 40 rushing yards once this season entering last Sunday and hadn't rushed for more than 45 yards in any outing.

Rice will next have to take on the league's No. 1 run defense in the New York Jets. The Jets have allowed an average of only 73.2 rushing yards per game this season and have allowed only 2.9 yards per carry. Things don't look good for Rice.

Verdict: Sit 'em 


Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

HOUSTON, TX- NOVEMBER 17: Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans runs past Tracy Porter #23 of the Oakland Raiders on November 17, 2013 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Raiders won 28 to 23.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are unsettled at their quarterback position, but Johnson hasn't let that stop him from being productive.

Johnson has 976 yards and five touchdowns through 10 games. With more controversy at quarterback for Houston, the wideout has become a risky option for fantasy owners.

He has been a fantasy stud lately, however. The 32-year-old had 116 yards last week against the Oakland Raiders and is averaging 111.8 yards and a touchdown over the last five games.

Houston has lost eight straight games, but Johnson has been on fire. The Texans next take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 24th against the pass. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 419 yards and two scores against Jacksonville last week.

Although Houston has a lot of issues right now, Johnson hasn't let that affect his performance. He has continued to put up big numbers, no matter who the quarterback has been for he Texans.

Verdict: Start 'em


*All stats courtesy of