Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 12: Making Roster Decisions on Latest Breakout Performers

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistNovember 20, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14:  Donald Brown #31 of the Indianapolis Colts scores a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

They went off last week, but does that mean these NFL players can be trusted again in fantasy football leagues?

There's nothing more infuriating than watching a struggling star or emerging talent rack up the points on your bench but falter upon receiving a promotion. When you chase last week's breakthrough player, he often falls back to earth.

You then replace him with the new flavor the week, and the ugly cycle continues. 

Is it time to break that pattern by giving these hot players the cold shoulder despite their monster numbers in Week 11? Or did they set the bar on their level of play going forward? Let's take a deeper look.


QB Ben Roethlisberger (at Cleveland Browns)

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 17 :  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions on November 17, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Staring down a fortuitous matchup, Ben Roethlisberger delivered 367 passing yards and four touchdowns against the Detroit Lions. For those of you who inserted him into the starting lineup for a one-week play, great. He did his job for the week, but don't roll the dice again.

After Roethlisberger's dismantling of Detroit's secondary, it rates 30th with 282.8 passing yards allowed per game. Looking at the schedule worked wonderfully, but owners are likely hungry for more after Big Ben registered four passing touchdowns for the second time in three weeks. 

Don't get carried away. He has a much tougher opponent ahead of him in Cleveland, which ranks fourth with 207.5 passing yards allowed per game. Joe Haden, who made A.J. Green a nonfactor last Sunday, will shift his attention to stifling NFL reception leader Antonio Brown.

In fact, now's the time to see if you can turn his big performance against Detroit into a better player from the trading block. Four of Roethlisberger's six remaining games come against AFC North opponents, all of whom are tough against the pass.

Roethlisberger can capitalize on a weak opponent, but he's not good enough to use in tough terrains.

Verdict: Sit


RB Donald Brown (at Arizona Cardinals)

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14:  Donald Brown #31 of the Indianapolis Colts runs for a touchdown  during the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Trent Richardson may not last very long in Indianapolis.

Recently obtained by the Colts for a first-round pick, Richardson has received single-digit carries in each of their last three contests. They have not mustered much of a running game at all this season, but Donald Brown finally gave the Colts a surge against the Tennessee Titans.

Given 14 rushing attempts, Brown gained 80 yards and two touchdowns during the 30-27 victory over the Titans. He is now averaging 5.9 yards per carry to Richardson's 3.0, so expect this pecking order to stick in ensuing weeks.

That makes Brown a strong add but not one worth using against the Cardinals on Sunday. 

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 17: Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is tackled by Daryl Washington #58 of the Arizona Cardinals at EverBank Field on November 17, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Cardinals, now healthy up front with Daryl Washington's return, limit opposing backs to 3.3 yards per carry. By ESPN's scoring format, the 10.4 points per game they yield to rushers is the stingiest mark of any NFL squad.

Don't go overboard after one big game against a team that struggles mightily against the run. Brown is worth owning, but he's not worth starting in Week 12.

Verdict: Sit


WR Jarrett Boykin (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 27:  Jarrett Boykin #11 of the Green Bay Packers advances the ball against the Minnesota Vikings on October 27, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Get
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

In order to combat all this negativity, let's close with a player you can trust during the closing stretch.

Jarrett Boykin has not delivered a signature game that makes him any given week's top performer, but he has morphed into a dependable wideout.

In his last five games, Boykin has caught 28 passes for 410 yards and a touchdown. Even without Aaron Rodgers, the sophomore has tallied 203 yards over the last two weeks. A favorable schedule should continue to aid his cause as Green Bay's second target behind Jordy Nelson.

This Sunday, he will again face the Vikings, against whom he amounted five receptions and 89 yards. That was with Rodgers darting strikes his way, but Scott Tolzien has thrown to Boykin more than any other Packers wideout during his two games under center.

The Vikings allow 294.5 receiving yards per game, so Tolzien should move the ball enough to satiate Boykin's fantasy owners.

Verdict: Start