Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: Making the Call on Boom-or-Bust Stars

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent INovember 21, 2013

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) runs the ball against the against the St. Louis Rams in the first quarter of the game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

There's nothing more annoying than starting a boom-or-bust fantasy football player in an off game. But with only a handful of surefire fantasy football stars at every position, it can be difficult to field a winning team from week to week. 

With that in mind, here's advice for a few of the most confounding players in the league. When they're on their game, these stars put up big numbers. On the other side of the coin, they tend to fizzle badly just as often. 

Note: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues (ESPN). Points against stats (ESPN). The Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks are on bye. 



Start: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers 

Oct 27, 2013; London, UNITED KINGDOM; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during an International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Martin-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Martin-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers have totaled less than 200 yards of offense the past two games, and Colin Kaepernick has scored just 15 fantasy points in those contests. 

Washington provides the perfect bounce-back opportunity for Kaepernick, however, as the fifth-worst fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks this year. Washington allows 18.5 fantasy points per game on average (no less than 14 points the past five games), and the Redskins have allowed single-digit point totals just twice this season.

The Redskins struggle to defend against the run and the pass, which means San Francisco's frustrated dual-threat quarterback should be able to generate some big yardage totals on both fronts.

Projected Stats: 280 total yards and three touchdowns.


Sit: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens are hosting the New York Jets this weekend. The matchup is favorable for Flacco, as New York is in the bottom half of fantasy defenses, allowing 17.4 points per game.

However, Flacco has scored eight and seven points the past two weeks. He and his Ravens teammates on offense have struggled to move the ball on offense for most of the season, and you have to go all the way back to Week 6 to find the last time Flacco passed for more than 250 yards in a game.

Projected Stats: 200 total yards and one touchdown.


Running Backs

Start: Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders

Nov 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Rashad Jennings (27) runs the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Texans 28-23. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rashad Jennings' fantasy stock is rising, and he's a must-start back this weekend when the Oakland Raiders take on the Tennessee Titans at home. 

Jennings has carried the ball 10 times or more just five times this season, scoring 11, four, 23, nine and 21 fantasy points in those games. He's taken over as the featured back for the Raiders the past three games, however, and he's eclipsed 100 yards and a touchdown in two of those contests.

Tennessee is a bottom-five fantasy team against the run, and the Titans have allowed at least 20 fantasy points to opposing running backs in each of their last five games.

Projected Stats: 130 total yards and a touchdown.


Sit: DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 8:  DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys is gang tackled by a group of New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  The Cowboys defeated the Giants 31-36.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

After missing the better part of three games due to an injury, DeMarco Murray is finally healthy again. He put together a decent fantasy game in Week 10, scoring 14 points, and he has the potential to put up monster point totals when given a chance to carry the Cowboys offense. 

That's not going to happen this weekend, though.

Dallas is on the road to face the New York Giants on Sunday, and the Giants feature one of the league's top fantasy defenses against the run. Allowing 13.3 points per game, New York has allowed more than 20 points just once this year, and it has allowed an average of just 11.33 points the past three games.

Projected Stats: 65 total yards with zero touchdowns.


Wide Receivers

Start: Victor Cruz, New York Giants

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 8:  Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  The Cowboys defeated the Giants 31-36.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/G
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Victor Cruz has been one of the most disappointing fantasy stars of the 2013 season. 

He began the year with double-digit points in three of his first four games (eclipsing 20 in two of them), but Cruz has scored eight points or less in all but one contest since that time. 

But the Dallas Cowboys allowed 29 points to Cruz in Week 1, and this team gave up 41 and 31 points to the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions recently. It's safe to say Cruz will have a chance to brush up on his salsa dancing this weekend.

Projected Stats: eight catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns.


Sit: Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 7: Mistral Raymond #41 and Xavier Rhodes #29 of the Minnesota Vikings look on as a pass intended for Pierre Garcon #88 of the Washington Redskins goes over their heads during the fourth quarter of the game on November 7, 2013 at
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Washington's offense is in turmoil, and the San Francisco 49ers are in town for a Monday Night Football showdown that will expose this unit's weaknesses even more. 

San Francisco gave up just 16 points to the New Orleans Saints receivers last weekend, and the 49ers feature the league's fifth-best fantasy defense against wide receivers. 

It's going to be a long, long night for Pierre Garcon, who struggled last weekend after scoring 17 points two games in a row prior to his six-point outing against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Projected Stats: four catches for 60 yards and zero touchdowns. 


Tight Ends

Start: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 18:  Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers makes a touchdown catch as Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots defends during play at Bank of America Stadium on November 18, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Greg Olsen has had just three big games for fantasy owners this year, putting him more on the "bust" side of the equation. 

However, one of those games came Monday night in the Panthers' big win over the New England Patriots, and the Miami Dolphins should give him another chance to shine on Sunday. 

Miami features the league's fourth-worst fantasy defense against tight ends, allowing 9.9 points per game. Antonio Gates had a big game last weekend, catching four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, and Olsen should match that production.

Projected Stats: Five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.


Sit: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers

Nov 3, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) looks at the scoreboard from the bench against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It's been another frustrating year for Antonio Gates and fantasy owners hoping to get consistent production from the legendary tight end. 

Since a three-game stretch starting in Week 2 in which he scored 10, 11 and 19 points, Gates has only scored more than seven points one time—last weekend's showing against the Dolphins. 

He's going up against the top team in the NFL against tight ends this weekend when the Chargers travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. Kansas City allows just 3.6 points per game, and the Chiefs have allowed eight points or less in every game this year but one.

Projected Stats: Four catches for 35 yards and zero touchdowns.


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78


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