By Derek of The Sportmeisters
Welcome to the best time of the year Sports Fans. Here is where I will tell you who I think you should start or who I think you should sit for your fantasy team. This year, I will give you your obvious must starts (guys you start every week no matter who they play), a few players from each position who you should start, a sleeper start em’, and a must sit em’.
Also, I will be giving projections for those players. If you have more questions, don’t forget to join me for my Sunday Morning Start Em’/Sit Em’ Chat from 10:45am to 12:45pm. Go to www.Sportmeisters.com for more info. Enough talk, let’s get down to business!
QB Obvious Must Starts
Drew Brees —NO vs. TB —Projection: 300 Yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Peyton Manning —IND vs. BAL —Projection: 300 Yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Tom Brady —NE vs. NYJ —Projection: 275 Yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Philip Rivers —SD vs. DEN —Projection: 275 Yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Aaron Rodgers —GB vs. SF —Projection: 275 Yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Kurt Warner —ARI vs. STL —Projection: 350 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
QB Start Em’
Brett Favre —MIN vs. SEA: Favre has 17 touchdowns to just three interceptions on the year and threw for 344 yards and a touchdown last week against Detroit. This week, he faces the Seattle Seahawks, who are ranked 22nd against the pass and allow over 30 points and 250 passing yards per game on the road. Start Em’. Projection: 285 Yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Ben Roethlisberger —PIT vs. KC: Big Ben may not have had a great game last week against Cincinnati, but he faces a much easier matchup this week. He will face the 24th ranked pass defense of the Kansas City Chiefs. Start Em’. Projection: 285 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Matthew Stafford —DET vs. CLE: Stafford may not be your every week fantasy QB, but this week, he may surprise some people. He may have just six touchdowns to 12 interceptions on the year, but against the 20th ranked pass defense of the Cleveland Browns, he could have a career day. Sleeper Start Em’. Projection: 250 Yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
QB Sit Em’
Joe Flacco —BAL vs. IND: Flacco hasn’t been great in his last three games, throwing just one touchdown and two interceptions. This week, he faces the 16th ranked Indianapolis Colts pass defense that has allowed just seven passing touchdowns all season. Sit Em’. Projection: 250 Yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Matt Ryan —ATL vs. NYG: Ryan has struggled recently, throwing just three touchdowns to six interceptions in his last three games. This week, he will be without his featured RB, as Michael Turner is out with an injury, and is facing a re-energized New York Giants pass defense that is ranked second in the NFL. Sit Em’. Projection: 225 Yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Matt Cassel —KC vs. PIT: A bad season for Cassel just keeps getting worse with the recent suspension of his best WR Dwayne Bowe. Besides that, he is also facing the 12th ranked pass defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will be charged up after losing to Cincinnati last week. Must Sit Em’. Projection: 185 Yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
RB Obvious Must Starts
Adrian Peterson —MIN vs. SEA —Projection: 135 Yards Rushing, 2 TD, 2 Receptions, 20 Yards
Maurice Jones-Drew —JAX vs. BUF —Projection: 100 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 Receptions, 35 Yards
Steven Jackson —STL vs. ARI —Projection: 110 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 Receptions, 25 Yards
Chris Johnson —TEN vs. HOU —Projection: 105 Yards Rushing, 2 TD, 3 Receptions, 30 Yards
Ray Rice —BAL vs. IND —Projection: 100 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 6 Receptions, 50 Yards
RB Start Em’
Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush —NO vs. TB: Thomas is fully healthy and getting the bulk of the carries, especially in the red zone. However, last week it was Bush who stole the show. Due to the extremely good matchup against the 31st ranked run defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I like both of them. Watch Bush’s injury status before game time as he has not practiced yet this week, but if he plays, make sure you Start Em’ Both. Projections: Thomas: 90 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 3 Receptions, 30 Yards—Bush: 60 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 Receptions, 35 Yards
Rashard Mendenhall —PIT vs. KC: Mendenhall was almost invisible last week against Cincinnati, rushing for just 36 yards. However, Cincinnati has a good run defense, unlike this week’s opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, who rank 27th against the run. Start Em’. Projection: 110 Yards Rushing, 1 TD
Kevin Smith —DET vs. CLE: As inconsistent as Smith has been so far this year, I love him this week. He faces a Cleveland Browns run defense that allowed 128 Yards on the ground last week and is ranked 30th in the NFL. This should be his breakout game. Start Em’. Projection: 85 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 Receptions, 35 Yards
Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells —ARI vs. STL: Even though these two are splitting carries, how can you not love both against the Rams and their 28th ranked run defense? I expect both guys to hit pay dirt this week. Sleeper Start Em’ Both. Projections: Hightower: 50 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 Receptions, 25 Yards—Wells: 75 Yards Rushing, 1 TD, 2 Receptions, 20 Yards
RB Sit Em’
Ryan Grant —GB vs. SF: Grant has gone over 100 yards just once this year and this week he faces the third ranked run defense of the San Francisco 49ers. Sit Em’. Projection: 50 Yards Rushing, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards
Frank Gore —SF vs. GB: As hard as it is to bench him, you might have to this week. Green Bay completely stifled the Dallas run game last week, holding them to just 61 yards on the ground. They are ranked fourth in the NFL and have only allowed three rushing touchdowns all year. Sit Em’. Projection: 60 Yards Rushing, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards
Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas and Michael Bush —OAK vs. CIN: With a new QB at the helm, the Raiders will have to hand the ball off more, but with three backs in the mix and an inconsistent O-Line, you can’t really trust any of them. Especially against Cincinnati’s second ranked run defense. Must Sit Em’ All. Projections: McFadden: 20 Yards Rushing, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards—Fargas: 35 Yards Rushing, 2 Receptions, 10 Yards—Bush: 30 Yards Rushing
WR Obvious Must Starts
Randy Moss —NE vs. NYJ —Projection: 6 Receptions, 90 Yards, 1 TD
Wes Welker —NE vs. NYJ —Projection: 9 Receptions, 90 Yards, 1 TD
Larry Fitzgerald —ARI vs. STL —Projection: 8 Receptions, 95 Yards, 1 TD
Reggie Wayne —IND vs. BAL —Projection: 9 Receptions, 100 Yards, 1 TD
Andre Johnson —HOU vs. TEN — Projection: 10 Receptions, 100 Yards, 1 TD
Greg Jennings —GB vs. SF —Projection: 6 Receptions, 65 Yards
Roddy White —ATL vs. NYG —Projection: 5 Receptions, 85 Yards
Marques Colston —NO vs. TB —Projection: 6 Receptions, 90 Yards, 1 TD
WR Start Em’
Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin —MIN vs. SEA: Last week against Detroit, Rice put up a monster seven catch, 201 yard performance and Harvin chipped in with three catches for 53 yards. Rice is obviously Brett Favre’s go to guy and there have been rumors that Minnesota wants to get Harvin even more involved in the offense. Why not start both of them against Seattle’s 22nd ranked pass defense? Start Em’ Both. Projections: Rice: 10 Receptions, 100 Yards, 1 TD—Harvin: 7 Receptions, 70 Yards
Calvin Johnson —DET vs. CLE: Megatron finally showed up last week with eight receptions for 84 yards, his best game since week four. This week, he faces the 20th ranked pass defense of the Cleveland Browns and I expect him to find his way back into the end zone and I think this is the week that he and Matthew Stafford finally get on track and gets him back into the Must Start category. Start Em’. Projection: 8 Receptions, 100 Yards, 1 TD
Anquan Boldin —ARI vs. STL: He looks to be almost back to Must Start form, putting up eight catches for 105 yards last week against Seattle. I fully expect him to put up a second straight big game against the weak 26th ranked pass defense of the St. Louis Rams. Start Em’. Projection: 7 Receptions, 100 Yards, 1 TD
Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes —PIT vs. KC: Kansas City is ranked 24th against the pass and both guys are primed and ready for a breakout game. Especially Holmes, who has just one touchdown this year. Start Em’ Both. Projections: Ward: 7 Receptions, 80 Yards, 1 TD—Holmes: 7 Receptions, 95 Yards, 1 TD
Robert Meachem —NO vs. TB: With Lance Moore hurt, Meachem has stepped in to catch six balls for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games. Moore may be out again and the Saints are facing the Buccaneers, who rank 15th against the pass, but have allowed 19 touchdowns through the air. Sleeper Start Em’. Projection: 4 Receptions, 70 Yards, 1 TD
WR Sit Em’
Miles Austin —DAL vs. WAS: It seems that teams have started to figure out how to cover Miles Austin as he has just five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown in the last two games. This week, he faces the best pass defense in the NFL in the Washington Redskins and I expect another down game. Sit Em’. Projection: 3 Receptions, 35 Yards
Michael Crabtree —SF vs. GB: Crabtree has yet to find the end zone in his first four NFL games and I don’t see that changing this week against the sixth ranked pass defense of the Green Bay Packers, who are coming off of a magnificent Defensive game against Dallas. Sit Em’. Projection: 4 Receptions, 45 Yards
Braylon Edwards —NYJ vs. NE: Edwards has been incredibly inconsistent since joining the Jets. He has had two games with 70-plus yards and two games with a touchdown. However, he has also had two games that combined for four catches and 54 yards. This week, he will face a pissed off New England pass defense that ranks seventh in the NFL. Sit Em’. Projection: 4 Receptions, 45 Yards
Eddie Royal —DEN vs. SD: Just when you think that Royal is becoming part of the offense again, he has a two catch, 21 yard game against Washington. To be fair, Washington does have the best pass defense in the NFL, but Royal has been almost invisible all year with just 27 receptions for 253 yards and no Touchdowns. This week, it doesn’t get any easier against the 11th ranked pass defense of the San Diego Chargers, whom Royal has not fared well against thus far in his young career. Must Sit Em’. Projection: 3 Receptions, 30 Yards
TE Obvious Must Starts
Jason Witten —DAL vs. WAS —Projection: 5 Receptions, 50 Yards, 1 TD
Antonio Gates —SD vs. DEN —Projection: 6 Receptions, 70 Yards, 1 TD
Tony Gonzalez —ATL vs. NYG —Projection: 5 Receptions, 55 Yards, 1 TD
Dallas Clark —IND vs. BAL —Projection: 8 Receptions, 85 Yards, 1 TD
TE Start Em’
Jeremy Shockey —NO vs. TB: Shockey has now had two down weeks in a row, catching a combined six balls for 68 yards. However, should bounce back against the 15th ranked pass defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have allowed 19 passing touchdowns this year. Start Em’. Projection: 5 Receptions, 50 Yards, 1 TD
Brent Celek —PHI vs. CHI: Celek continues to surprise this year. He has a touchdown in each of the last three games and has 46 receptions for 533 yards and five touchdowns on the year. This week, he faces the eighth ranked pass defense of the Chicago Bears, but they have allowed 16 passing touchdowns and you have to start him while he’s hot. Start Em’. Projection: 5 Receptions, 55 Yards, 1 TD
Heath Miller —PIT vs. KC: Miller isn’t usually a great fantasy TE, but this week he faces the 24th ranked pass defense of the Kansas City Chiefs and should find the end zone. Sleeper Start Em’. Projection: 5 Receptions, 50 Yards, 1 TD
TE Sit Em’
Zach Miller —OAK vs. CIN: Anyone want to start a Receiver/Tight End with Bruce Gradkowski at QB? I didn’t think so. Sit Em’. Projection: 4 Receptions, 40 Yards
Kellen Winslow —TB vs. NO: Even though it looks like Winslow has developed chemistry with rookie QB Josh Freeman, he has too tough a matchup against the 19th ranked pass defense of the New Orleans Saints, which haven’t allowed a TE to score all year, to use this week. Sit Em’. Projection: 5 Receptions, 60 Yards
Donald Lee —GB vs. SF: Even with Jermichael Finley injured, Lee is completely non-existent in the offense. Even though the 49ers are ranked 29th against the pass, they have only allowed one touchdown to opposing Tight Ends. Must Sit Em’. Projection: 2 Receptions, 15 Yards
D/ST Start Em’
New Orleans Saints vs. TB —The Saints have been the best fantasy defense so far this year and they have a great matchup this week against a Tampa Bay offense with a rookie QB and no real offensive weapon to worry about. Start Em’.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. KC —You are probably starting them anyway, but especially against a Kansas City offense without Dwayne Bowe and Larry Johnson, who is no longer with the team. Start Em’.
Arizona Cardinals vs. STL —The only weapon on the St. Louis offense is RB Steven Jackson and if there were any week to use the Arizona Defense, this is it. Start Em’.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. OAK —Bruce Gradkowski at QB, need I say more? Start Em’.
D/ST Sit Em’
New York Jets vs. NE —As good as the Jets have been against the pass, I don’t like them this week against Brady and company, especially after last week’s embarrassing loss to the Colts. Sit Em’.
Denver Broncos vs. SD —The Chargers are rolling and the Broncos seem to be sliding backwards. Against a healthy LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers, I don’t like their chances. Sit Em’.
Baltimore Ravens vs. IND —Can anyone say Peyton Manning for MVP? Never start a fantasy Defense against that guy, especially since he tends to torch the Ravens. Must Sit Em’.
There you have it Sports Fans. Any questions or concerns, please email me at Derek@Sportmeisters.com and don’t forget to join me for my weekly Sunday Morning Start Em’/Sit Em’ Chat from 10:45am to 12:45pm. Go to www.Sportmeisters.com for more info.