Fantasy Football 2011: Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 8

Eric StashinSenior Writer IOctober 28, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter on October 23, 2011 at Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Chiefs won 28-0.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

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 – Matt Hasselbeck – Tennessee Titans – vs. Indianapolis
While he’s coming off a poor showing against the Houston Texans in Week 7 (104 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT), he does have an extremely positive matchup.  The Texans have been among the better defenses against the pass (203.6 yards/game, 8 TD, 8 INT), though the Colts have been the exact opposite.  Not only have they allowed the tenth most passing yards/game at 265.1, but they have allowed a league worst 14 passing touchdowns vs. just three interceptions.  While he’s far from a must use, as a bye week fill-in he’s a great option (the matchup benefits Nate Washington as well, especially in three-receiver formats).

Sit – Matt Cassel – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Diego
Cassel had been showing signs of warming up, much like he did in 2010.  He threw 7 TDs over a three week span, including two against the Chargers in Week 3.  However, he threw for just 176 yards in that game, which is basically right at the Chargers’ yards per game average (175.7).  Considering Cassel’s Week 7 struggles, throwing for 161 yards, 0 TD and 2 INT, does anyone really have faith in him?  In fact, he’s topped 180 yards just twice on the season.  There’s too much risk outside of two quarterback formats.

Running Backs
Start – Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – at St. Louis
The Rams have been shelled by the run this season, giving up 183.8 rushing yards/game.  While he normally isn’t a major factor carrying the ball, Sproles actually had 12 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown in Week 7.  It’s the second time in the past three games he’s been given 10+ carries (he had 11 carries for 51 yards in Week 5).  Couple that potential with at least five receptions every game this season (45 catches for 329 yards and 2 TD) and the porous run defense and Sproles is a must use option this week.

Start – Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at New York Giants
The Dolphins passing game is in shambles at this point.  They’ve thrown just five total touchdowns on the season and in Matt Moore’s three starts he is averaging less than 200 yards.  Considering the struggles the Giants have had against the run this season (127.7 yards/game, 7 TD), it should surprise no one if the Dolphins go heavy on the run.  Granted, Thomas has struggled recently and has a hamstring issue that needs monitoring, but the opportunity will be there to make him a viable option.

Sit – Montario Hardesty – Cleveland Browns – at San Francisco
As it is, there’s a chance that Peyton Hillis plays (though that is now in doubt) which would immediately limit any potential upside for Hardesty.  Throw in the fact that he’s averaging a meager 3.3 yards/carry and there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical (despite rushing for 95 yards in Week 7, it took him 33 carries to get there).  There’s no guarantee the Browns stay quite as patient this week.

Sit – Alfonso Smith – Arizona Cardinals – at Baltimore
He’s expected to start in place of the injured Beanie Wells, but draws a near impossible matchup against the Ravens (allowing 85.8 rushing yards/game and just one rushing touchdown).  Smith is averaging just 3.6 yards/carry and isn’t a very good risk to take given the matchup.

Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Pierre Garcon – Indianapolis Colts – at Tennessee
Granted he’s slowed down from when Curtis Painter was first installed as the starting quarterback, but the potential is still there for big performances (especially with the Titans having allowed 11 TD).  Even with the regression, he’s continued to lead the team in targets and should continue to get opportunities to produce.

Sit – Eric Decker – Denver Broncos – vs. Detroit
He had a good rapport with Kyle Orton, but it may just not be there with Tim Tebow at this point.  He was targeted just three times in Week 7, picking up two receptions for 21 yards.  Demaryius Thomas was much more integrated into the offense with 10 targets and there always is the threat that Tebow takes off and runs instead of throwing the ball.  That just adds to the risk.

Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Jabar Gaffney – Washington Redskins – at Buffalo
The Bills are third worst in the league against the pass, allowing 284.8 yards/game on the season.  Throw in what appears to be a good rapport with John Beck, having tied for a team leading eight targets in Week 7 (which he turned into four receptions for 68 yards) and there is a lot to like in deeper formats.

Sit – Jerome Simpson – Cincinnati Bengals – at Seattle
The Seahawks have allowed just six passing touchdowns on the season, which will significantly limit his potential upside (especially since he’s the second fiddle to A.J. Green).  In deeper formats, there’s likely a better option.

Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Week 8 Articles: