Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start—Eli Manning—New York Giants at Arizona
He did a lot to silence his critics in Week 3, throwing for 254 yards and 4 TDs. Many of the questions with Manning continue to linger due a depleted receiving corps, however. If Mario Manningham can return from a concussion (as expected) and Victor Cruz can build on his Week 3 breakout, those concerns may be eliminated. He draws a Cardinals’ passing defense that is in the bottom ten in the league, allowing 275.0 passing yards per game. Look for Manning to build on last week’s success.
Sit—Cam Newton—Carolina Panthers at Chicago
Newton had an amazing first two weeks of his NFL career, though things were put back into perspective in Week 3. Taking on the Jaguars he managed just 158 yards and, for the first time, he did not rush for a TD. Use it as a wake up call that as a rookie QB, Newton has the potential to be erratic and unpredictable. While the Bears are struggling defensively, the numbers are skewed due to facing impact passing games like the Packers and Saints over the first two weeks. Consider Newton a risk for the coming week.
Start—Daniel Thomas—Miami Dolphins at San Diego
So much for Reggie Bush playing a major role in the Dolphins’ offense, huh? After missing Week 1 (and struggling in the preseason), Thomas has taken the reigns of the Dolphins’ running game and looked like he can handle feature back duties. He’s rushed for 202 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, and should continue to get the bulk of the carries in Week 4. The Chargers rushing defense has been buoyed by facing a depleted Chiefs’ team (sans Jamaal Charles) and a Patriots’ team that is much more geared towards the pass.
Start—Frank Gore—San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia
This suggestion is dependent on Gore being healthy, of course. Despite struggling over the first three weeks, rushing for 148 yards and 1 TD (with only six receptions for 36 yards), we all know that his upside is there to produce big numbers. There’s a big risk, but there also is a big reward, especially against an Eagles’ defense that is third worst in the league against the rush (131.3 rushing yards per game).
Sit—BenJarvus Green-Ellis—New England Patriots at Oakland
This has more to do with the Patriots desire to pass the ball, as well as spread the ball around the field, and less to do with Green-Ellis’ ability. With Tom Brady at the helm, they are always going to be pass-centric. Throw in Danny Woodhead and Stevan Ridley taking away some carries, and Green-Ellis is too big of a risk to depend on.
Sit—Mike Tolbert— San Diego Chargers vs. Miami
Tolbert may have a toe injury, but that’s the least of his worries. Ryan Mathews has gotten off to a tremendous start, rushing for 207 yards and three touchdowns while adding 14 receptions for 186 yards. It’s pretty clear that Mathews has finally emerged as the top dog in this duo, like we all expected to happen some time ago. Tolbert is the second running back and therefore not a viable option. Of course, Mathews foot injury throws a little bit of a wrench in this thinking, at least at this point. However, Tolbert still has to be considered a risk for Week 3.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start—Denarius Moore—Oakland Raiders vs. New England
We all know that the one major hole in the Patriots team in 2011 has been their pass defense, allowing 377.0 passing yards per game. While the Raiders are more geared towards the run, Moore has proven that he can be a productive option and make some plays. While he was silenced a bit last week against the Jets, that was against one of the best pass defenses in the league. Throw in runs of 20 plus yards each of the past two weeks, and the production potential is there.
Sit—Anquan Boldin—Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets
The latest receiver who has a ticket straight to Revis Island (though, Antonio Cromartie could matchup with him at times as well). Given how unpredictable Boldin has proven to be in the past (50 yards or less in eight out of his final nine games in 2010), does anyone have faith in using him as a WR2 this week?
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start—Eric Decker—Denver Broncos at Green Bay
Even if Brandon Lloyd is back and healthy, you have to think that Decker is going to be a viable option in deeper formats. For one, the Broncos are going to have to take to the air in order to attempt to keep up with the Packers. Second, Decker has been producing extremely well of late with 12 receptions and 161 yards over the past two weeks.
It’s a tougher matchup, plus you have to think that the Jets are going to make an effort to get the ball to Santonio Holmes more. Throw in a little bit of Dustin Keller, and Burress might not get enough targets to have a big week.
Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 4 information: