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Week 7: Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Ben Roethlisberger

Week seven marks the first of three weeks where six teams will be on their bye week. In these next three weeks you will have to scramble to find replacements for your starters. Word of advice: don’t be afraid to get creative. The typical move would be to replace your player on a bye week with someone off the waiver wire, but what if, with all the players on a bye, you don’t have any room on your bench to stash someone who isn’t playing? Or what if you have to drop someone like Donald Brown to pick up a defense? The question becomes: Is it better to go into that week without a starting defense or drop a valuable bench player for a defense that could contribute very little to your weekly score?

Those are a lot of questions to consider and these are the situations a lot of owners are finding themselves in this year. With more teams utilizing the split backfield system, there are more quality running backs to be had.

Here’s a situation I had in one of my leagues earlier this year. In Week four, I had Donovan McNabb, Brent Celek and Steve Smith (the bad one) on a bye week. Only problem was that our bench isn’t deep enough to house so many bye weeks because I also had quality running backs that were not drop-worthy in a 12-team league. So in order to make enough room to start a full roster, I had to make two trades, which I would normally not make, but they were better than having to drop quality players. First I traded Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Jones and Steve Smith (the good one) for Matt Forte and Percy Harvin. My second trade was Correll Buckhalter and Mike Bell for Donald Brown.

It just goes to show you that instead of dropping a player of value you can include him in a trade to improve your starting lineup. Just an example of things you should consider doing before dropping that valuable player for a defense or kicker that will be on the waiver wire in a week.


Start ‘Em

Matt Cassell, QB, Kansas City (vs. SD)

Cassell has quietly been a very solid player this year as he has two touchdown passes in three of his past four games. He tends to get his fantasy points with the game already out of reach. But in fantasy sports, garbage time counts. This week he faces an average Chargers defense and should be a safe bet to score at least once.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh (vs. MIN)

Big Ben is coming off a performance where he threw for 417 yard and two touchdowns against Cleveland and while the Vikings defense is a lot better than the Browns, they haven’t been great at stopping the pass. In their last three games, the Vikings have let up a combined 987 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and they have recorded two interceptions. Look for the Steelers to abandon the run at some point and focus on exploiting the Vikings questionable pass defense.

Other Mentions: Eli Manning (vs. ARI), Kurt Warner (@ NYG), Tony Romo (vs. ATL)

Sit ‘Em

Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota (@ PIT)

Favre has the misfortune of facing the Steelers this week and to make matters worse, they will be getting back Troy Polamalu this weekend. Favre actually put up his best game last week against the Ravens’ defense, but the Steelers defense is much better against the pass than Baltimore is. In their last three games, Pittsburgh has forced eight turnovers and Favre has been ridiculous with just two interceptions so far this year. Look for that to change.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia (@ WAS)

This recommendation is based more on the matchup rather than what McNabb is capable of doing. Even though the Eagles put up a stinker against the Raiders last week, I am not jumping off the Eagles bandwagon. This offense is a lot better than what they showed last week. However, this week they get another tough matchup because the Redskins have only let up 200 yards passing twice this season and have yet to let up more than one touchdown in any game. If you have a better option at QB I would probably sit McNabb this week.

Other mentions: Chad Henne (vs. NO), Jason Campbell (vs. PHI), Jake Delhomme (vs. BUF)

Running Backs

Start ‘Em

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo (@ CAR)

It’s no secret; the Carolina defense is no good against the run. In five games, they have let up 594 yards and four touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch has assumed the #1 RB role since returning from his four-game suspension and with his pass-catching ability, he should be a good bet for a score in Sunday’s matchup. Fred Jackson should also have a nice game because the Bills are not going to win by letting Ryan Fitzpatrick throw the ball.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants (vs. ARI)

Jacobs has been a massive disappointment so far this season with just one touchdown and zero 100 yard games. Ahmad Bradshaw is outscoring him every week, but that stops here. Jacobs was a stud last year and as the weather gets colder, the Giants will eventually start running the ball more. I think he breaks out this week and reminds owners why they used an early second-round pick on him.

Other Mentions: Tashard Choice (vs. ATL), Donald Brown (@ STL), Justin Fargas (vs. NYJ)

Sit ‘Em

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh (vs. MIN)

Mendenhall was named the starter by coach Mike Tomlin this week, but Willie Parker is still around and will steal some carries from him. Not to mention, before last week when Ray Rice torched the defense, the Vikings defense had yet to allow a rushing touchdown. I expect the Steelers to throw the ball more often than not, so Mendenhall’s value will be limited this weekend.

Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay (vs. NE)

Cadillac will be driving on the other side of the road in London and with the Pats finally finding their stride offensively, expect the Bucs to throw the ball the entire second half. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cadillac didn’t reach the 50 yard mark this weekend.

Other mentions: Jamal Lewis (@ GB), Larry Johnson (vs. SD), Tim Hightower (@NYG)

Wide Receivers

Start ‘Em

Mile Austin, WR, Dallas (vs. ATL)

Austin deservedly got the week off after his 10 catches for 250 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs and this week he has another nice matchup. The Falcons lost CB Brian Williams and Austin got promoted to starting wide receiver. Should we expect another 200-yard performance? No, but he is the WR you want to start on the Cowboys.

Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh (vs. MIN)

Do you know who is tops among all wide receivers in receptions and yards? If you answered Hines Ward then you would be correct. I mentioned above how the Vikings’ pass defense hasn’t been very good lately and Big Ben has to throw it to someone and that someone just happens to be the NFL’s league leading wide receiver. Not a bad combination if you ask me.

Other Mentions: Dwayne Bowe (vs. SD), Steve Breaston (@ NYG), Austin Collie (@ STL)

Sit ‘Em

Braylon Edwards, WR, New York Jets (@ OAK)

Mark Sanchez looked absolutely awful against the Bills. Let me repeat that for you. Mark Sanchez looked awful last week against the Bills. This week Edwards has to face the league’s best cornerback in Nnamdi Asmougha, which means you have to limit your expectations. The Raiders defense is coming off a very nice game against the Eagles’ offense so I wouldn’t expect the Jets to be a ton better this week.

Santana Moss, WR, Washington (vs. PHI)

Probably the ultimate boom or bust receiver, Santana Moss hasn’t topped 45 receiving yards in two straight and this week he gets to face Asante Samuel. Last year against the Eagles, Moss caught five balls for 28 yards and zero touchdowns in two games. This is probably a bust weekend.

Other mentions: Devin Hester (@ CIN), Kevin Walter (vs. SF), Michael Crabtree (@ HOU)

Tight Ends

Start ‘Em

Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh (vs. MIN)

Let me give you a little Bart Simpson treatment here.

I will always start a tight end facing the Vikings.
I will always start a tight end facing the Vikings.
I will always start a tight end facing the Vikings.
I will always start a tight end facing the Vikings.
I will always start a tight end facing the Vikings.

Sean Ryan, TE, Kansas City (vs. SD)

Who is Sean Ryan? He is a tight end who happens to be facing the Chargers defense this week. So far, the Chargers have been the second worst defense against tight ends and Ryan has already scored two touchdowns for the Chiefs this year. We saw Tony Scheffler have his first good game of the year against San Diego last week and we can expect the same from Ryan.

Other Mentions: Jermichael Finley (@ CLE), Brent Celek (@ WAS), Benjamin Watson (@ TB)

Sit ‘Em

Zach Miller, TE, Oakland (vs. NYJ)

Zach Miller had his coming out party last week against the Eagles and even though most of his yards came on his one touchdown catch, he did collect another five catches for 53 yards. That said, do you really trust JaMarcus Russell to consistently get his players the ball? I’ve learned the the words Russell and consistent do not belong in the same sentence.

Randy McMichael, TE, St. Louis (vs. IND)

With six teams on a bye week, you may be tempted to look for a diamond in the rough. With Donnie Avery hurt, the Rams are hurting for receiving options for Marc Bulger, but the Colts are the toughest team against tight ends. Steer clear of McMichael.

Other mentions: Anthony Fasano (vs. NO), Dustin Keller (@ OAK), Kevin Boss (vs. ARI)

Defense/Special Teams

Start ‘Em

New Orleans D/ST (@ MIA)

The Saints defense has been a fantasy monster this season and this week they get to face the one-sided Dolphins offense. New Orleans has been the fourth toughest against the run and chances are they will be well prepared for the wildcat offense. Their top quality is forcing turnovers and there’s a good chance they will force Chad Henne into some mistakes.

New York Giants D/ST (vs. ARI)

One might think to sit the Giants against the Cardinals offense because of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerlad and Co., but fear not because the Giants defense specializes in shutting down the pass and the Cardinals might be without Anquan Boldin this week. The Giants have shown an ability to get to the quarterback with 14 sacks this year and Kurt Warner is not the most mobile QB in the NFL.

Sit ‘Em

Carolina D/ST (vs. BUF)

Carolina’s defense has been dreadful this year, especially against the run. Even though they face a weak Bills offense, I expect the Bills to be conservative and run the ball. Both Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson should stay fresh throughout the game thanks to their time share. So it could be a long day for the Panthers if they can’t get the Bills offense off the field.

Minnesota D/ST (@ PIT)

We saw the Ravens carve up the Vikings defense last week and you should see the same thing from the Steelers this week. Big Ben has shown an ability to throw the ball in any situation and he is a tough guy to force into mistakes, which is bad news for the Vikings because they get a lot of their points by sacking the quarterback and causing turnovers.

Top 5 Kicker Matchups

  • Stephen Gostkowski (@ TB)
  • John Carney (@ MIA)
  • Lawrence Tynes (vs. ARI)
  • Mason Crosby (@ CLE)
  • Matt Stover (@ STL)

Bottom 5 Kicker Matchups

  • Sebastian Janikowski (vs. NYJ)
  • Dan Carpenter (vs. NO)
  • John Kasay (vs. BUF)
  • Nick Folk (vs. ATL)
  • Ryan Longwell (@ PIT)

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2 comments for “Week 7: Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em”

  1. […] Featured ⋅ October 30, 2009 at 1:01am ⋅ Post a comment I am frustrated. I mentioned last week how owners should get creative when dealing with their bye weeks. I shared with you how I coped […]

    Posted by Week 8: Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em | Sports of Boston | October 30, 2009, 1:01 am
  2. Man, you guys put some serious effort in to your weekly picks. Where do you get your information from?

    Posted by Dallas Cowboys Vacation Packages | June 11, 2010, 3:14 pm

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