NFL Week 12 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Chris Johnson, Matt Ryan and More

Eric StashinSenior Writer INovember 25, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 13:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the New Orleans Saints at Georgia Dome on November 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Trying to decide whom 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 Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, vs. Minnesota

Ryan's thrown for more than 300 yards each of the past two games (667 yards against the Saints and Titans) and draws a Vikings defense that has been poor against the pass.  It is allowing 259.4 passing yards per game, fifth most in the league, and is tied for the league lead with 19 passing TDs allowed. 

With or without Julio Jones, you would expect a solid performance from Ryan.  With signs pointing to Jones playing, Ryan looks that much more impressive.

Sit: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills, at New York Jets

Even in two-quarterback formats, Fitzpatrick is a nearly impossible play.  Here are just a few numbers to consider:

  • He’s thrown for seven interceptions over the past three weeks (during which time he hasn’t had a game of more than 209 yards throwing) and has multiple interceptions in four of his past five games.
  • He’s thrown for more than 260 yards just three times this season.
  • Since 2008 he’s never thrown for more than 191 yards against the Jets.

There’s really nothing else that needs to be said.

Running Backs

Start: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans, vs. Tampa Bay

Everyone wants to write him off after his debacle against the Falcons (12 rushes for 13 yards).  While there’s a chance that they go to Javon Ringer a little bit more, let’s not forget Johnson is just two weeks removed from back-to-back games of more than 100 total yards.  Tampa Bay is currently allowing 133.5 rushing yards per game, as well as 13 rushing TDs (second most in the league).  There’s a good chance Johnson gets things back on track this week.

Start: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks, vs. Washington

Injuries to the offensive line or not, Lynch just continues to produce for the Seahawks.  He picked up 88 yards and a touchdown last week, his sixth straight game with a score (he missed Week 7 against Cleveland).  As the clear top running back in Seattle, there should be plenty of more touches for him (at least 23 carries each of the past three weeks).  Keep him active in all formats.

Sit: Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants, at New Orleans

He has done a lot of talking this season, but he has failed to back it up on the field.  Jacobs is coming off a game against the Eagles where he managed just 21 yards on 12 carries.  Not being a major threat in the passing game, the Giants could look towards D.J. Ware or Da’Rel Scott in what should be a shootout with the Saints.  There’s too much risk involved.

Sit: Jackie Battle, Kansas City Chiefs, vs. Pittsburgh

He’s averaged just 51.0 rushing yards per game over the past four and also has scored just one touchdown on the season.  Are we getting intrigued yet?  Throw in a matchup against a Steelers defense that is already allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game and doesn’t have to worry about the passing game (with Tyler Palko again expected to start) and there are plenty of reasons to avoid him.

Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Format)

Start: Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings, at Atlanta

The matchup against Atlanta alone would make him intriguing (254.1 passing yards per game, seventh worst in the league).  With Adrian Peterson likely out of action as well, there’s a good chance Harvin lines up in the backfield and gets additional touches that way (he had five carries for 21 yards in Week 11).  He should be given ample opportunity to produce.

Sit: Eric Decker, Denver Broncos, at San Diego

Sure, Tim Tebow has made a handful of big plays in the passing game, but is that something you are willing to depend on?  Sure, Decker had a touchdown in each game from Week 8 through Week 10, but he’s also coming off a game with no receptions.  He has two receptions or less in four of his past six games.  He was a nice find early, but he’s too big of a risk to trust now.

Wide Receiver (Three-Receiver Format)

Start: Santonio Holmes, New York Jets, vs. Buffalo

The Jets have proved we can’t trust their passing attack.  However, while Holmes’ numbers against the Bills have not been impressive, he has scored a TD in each of his last two games against them.  In deeper formats he’s well worth the risk.

Sit: Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts, vs. Carolina

The name value is going to get people interested in deeper formats, but the performance has turned him unusable.  He hasn’t scored since Week 1 and is averaging 35 yards per game in his past four.  Anyone really want to roll the dice?

Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 articles: