Week 9 Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em: Shocking Players You Must Bench
Benching a player who you selected high in your draft is never an easy thing, but sometimes it is necessary to avoid an albatross in your lineup. The combination of a player who may be struggling and a poor matchup can flat out ruin your week and cost you a victory.
It obviously isn't advisable to bench a star player if there isn't a suitable replacement on your bench or on the waiver wire, but if you have a capable alternative, then don't hesitate to pull the trigger.
Complacency is one of the worst attributes to have in fantasy, as you have to take action when things are stacked against you.
Here are stars at every position who you will be best off leaving on your bench this weekend. It may not seem like a good idea now, but you'll be happy that you were bold when everything is said and done.
Matt Schaub: QB, Houston Texans
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With 2,118 passing yards and 13 touchdowns, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has been one of the best options at his position this season. This is even without the services of stud wide receiver Andre Johnson for the past few weeks. Johnson is scheduled to miss yet another game on Sunday.
Schaub has made do to this point, but against the Cleveland Browns, he won't have such an easy time without his No. 1 target. The Browns are quite underrated defensively and feature one of the best pass defenses in the league.
Receivers like Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones are pretty unreliable, and Schaub can't continue on with tight end Owen Daniels as his only true weapon.
On top of that, the Browns happen to struggle mightily against the run. The Texans have one of the premier running backs in the league in Arian Foster and will likely hand him the ball all day long.
With Foster handling the bulk of the offensive workload and Johnson out yet again, it is best to temper expectations for Schaub this week.
Projection: 200 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rashard Mendenhall: RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
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After a magical 2010 season that saw him develop into one of the best running backs in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers workhorse Rashard Mendenhall has had a rough year. The fact that he has battled injuries has something to do with it, but he has just 421 yards and is averaging under four yards per carry.
Mendenhall has at least been good for a high touchdown total over the past couple seasons, but he has just three at the midway point this year.
Pittsburgh's transition from a smash-mouth running team to a pass-first team has certainly hurt Mendenhall's production as well. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been great in 2011, but it has been at the expense of the running game.
I doubt the Steelers are going to force the run much on Sunday night as they ready to face the Baltimore Ravens and their third-ranked run defense.
Mendenhall has never had much success against the Ravens, and I don't think that will change, especially with how mediocre he has been playing.
Projection: 55 rushing yards, 2 catches, 10 receiving yards
Brandon Marshall: WR, Miami Dolphins
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Wide receiver Brandon Marshall hasn't exactly been the explosive playmaker the Miami Dolphins envisioned when they acquired him prior to last season. While some of that has definitely been his fault, he has been plagued by poor quarterback play and the lack of a proper supporting cast.
That continues to be true this season. Chad Henne was playing fairly well to start the season, but he has since suffered a season-ending injury. This forced Matt Moore into action. Moore continues to look Marshall's way, but he isn't the type of quarterback who can properly utilize Marshall's skills with a big arm.
Marshall has been a consistent producer with no fewer than four catches in any game this season, but he has lacked explosion. Marshall has just one touchdown catch, which largely falls on his shoulders for dropping so many potential scores.
This week isn't a good bet for him to turn things around as the Dolphins face the Kansas City Chiefs. Marshall will be blanketed by cornerback Brandon Flowers, who has shut down many high-caliber receivers this season, and I think he'll do the same on Sunday.
Projection: 4 catches, 50 receiving yards
Fred Davis: TE, Washington Redskins
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After a hot start, the 3-4 Washington Redskins have cooled down considerably over the past month. One particular Redskin who has continued to roll, however, has been tight end Fred Davis.
In the absence of Chris Cooley, the wide receiver-esque Davis has developed into a very dangerous threat from the tight end position.
He was clearly a favorite of quarterback Rex Grossman, but Grossman has since been removed for John Beck. Davis hasn't missed a beat, though, as he has racked up 14 catches in a touchdown over Beck's too starts.
With wide receiver Santana Moss out, Davis is the unquestioned No. 1 receiving option on Washington, but there is reason to be skeptical this week.
For one, the Redskins are facing the 6-1 San Francisco 49ers. The Niners have been a bit susceptible to the pass, but they have been able to handle mediocre quarterbacks like Beck.
Also, while he is still expected to play, Davis is questionable with an ankle injury. When you combine those factors, there are much safer plays than Davis this week.
Projection: 3 catches, 33 receiving yards
Neil Rackers: K, Houston Texans
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Predicting how kickers will fare is an incredibly inexact science, so it is best to simply look at the situation around them. One usually-excellent kicker who will have some less-than-ideal conditions this week is the Houston Texans' Neil Rackers.
Rackers has the benefit of one of the best offenses in football, and because of that he gets plenty of field-goal and extra-point attempts. While many are picking the Texans to blow out the Cleveland Browns this week, the Browns are masters of games that are ugly and low-scoring.
I think the Texans will win, but they won't score as many points as they are accustomed to. The Browns aren't anything special, but they excel at holding the ball with their running game and possession short-passing offense. Because of that, Rackers won't get as many opportunities as he is used to.
Projection: 2 XPs, 1 FGM
New York Jets Defense
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Over the past two seasons, defense has been the hallmark of the New York Jets. While cornerback Darrelle Revis and the pass defense are still excellent, the Jets as a unit have really struggled. This is particularly true against the run, as opposing backs have routinely gashed them.
The Jets won't get much relief this week as they take on the Buffalo Bills, who happen to have one of the league's best backs in Fred Jackson. Whether anybody wants to admit the Bills are the real deal as a team, their offense most certainly is for real.
Buffalo has one of the best scoring offenses in the league, and with the way New York's defense has been playing, I don't think the Jets will put up much resistance.
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't get sacked and the Bills protect the ball as well, so the ceiling certainly isn't high for the Jets this week.
Projection: 30 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 INT