ONE TO START, ONE TO SIT
“One to Start, One to Sit” is a weekly column where each NFL game will be evaluated and the best/worst fantasy match-ups will be listed.
Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills
CAR- Cam Newton
BUF- CJ Spiller
Cam is going to bounce back strong this week. Seattle may have manhandled him, but he still managed to find the end zone for a passing td and put up 12 fantasy points on a horrific outing. With Buffalo’s defense, Cam may get a reprieve, he is essentially the Panthers offense, so when they’re in the red zone Cam has the capability to produce.
Carolina shut down Marshawn Lynch last week and posts a very underrated defensive line. With that said, I can’t in good faith but Stevie Johnson or Scott Chandler here yet due to a lack of faith in EJ Manuel. Spiller however, while I think his struggles in the running game continue, he remains a huge part in Buffalo’s passing game to stay at this spot.
CAR- DeAngelo Williams
BUF- Fred Jackson
When CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are two of your top 3 leaders in receptions, you know the WR’s are in trouble. Stevie saved his fantasy day with an 18 yard TD reception, but otherwise put up feeble numbers. He did tie for the lead in targets with 6, but with EJ Manuel at QB, Stevie remains a #4 WR on any fantasy team.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
MIN- Adrian Peterson
CHI- Matt Forte
Okay, this is an obvious choice for AP to be here, he should be here every week, and I may do that from time to time. However, it’s only because I don’t trust a single WR on Minnesota’s roster. Jerome Simpson with his 140 yards last week? He may have Charles Tillman on him for the game (Granted, A.J. Green still put up numbers, but are we really going to compare the two?). So as for now, it’s an obvious choice but AP is the guy.
Matt Forte on the other hand, is just like another Reggie Bush for MIN’s def to see. A pass catching back that can hurt you with his hands as well as out of the backfield.
MIN- Min D/ST
CHI- Jay Cutler
If this game were in Minnesota, I’d have a different opinion about this. I just see Chicago blowing Minnesota out of the water, offensively and defensively. Ponder would be up here, but MIN DEF/ST takes a hit in points if Ponder throws a pick-six, which I wouldn’t be shocked to see Chicago do once or twice this week. Jay Cutler put up good numbers last week, but if anyone who’s ever owned Cutler could tell you, those numbers could be depleted the following week. Chicago could win this game 49-0 and Cutler could still put up 141 passing yards and 1 TD, it wouldn’t shock me. Anyways, Cutler goes here because I don’t see Chicago having to air it out that much vs. Minn. The def will hold AP and Chicago will have a safe lead by the 2nd half.
Washington Redskins @ Green Bay Packers
GB- Eddy Lacy
RG3 looks to be back and better than ever. After putting up a career high 329 yards on Monday night, he now goes up against an overrated GB secondary. While Griffin does lack a star WR, he does make the best of the talent he has around him (the guy has continued to make Santana Moss fantasy relevant).We may be seeing another LeSean McCoy type performance with Lacy this week. He’s a powerful RB who can catch out of the backfield, this is the type of player that can kill the Redskins. If Lacy gets enough carries, expect a big day from him. RG3 looked as if he
WASH- Alfred Morris
GB- James Jones
What happened to Alfred Morris last week? 12 carries for 45 yards and 2 fumbles (one was credited to RG3)? With Shanahan being…. Well Shanahan, could we see more of Roy Helu in the following weeks if Morris doesn’t perform? This could be a do/die week for the 2nd leading rusher of 2012.The TD juggernaut of 2012 completely disappeared last week with zero targets. Is this a sign to come for the season or a one week fluke?
I say with the surprising revival of Jermichael Finley, it’s a sign. Jones has always been a red zone/TD reliant player, and without those red zone looks, he’s got nothing.
Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts
MIA- Mike Wallace
INDY- Reggie Wayne
While it was Brian Hartline that put up the biggest numbers vs Cleveland. Mike Wallace will bounce back strong against a weak Colts secondary. Joe Haden won’t be around to contain him and Wallace will benefit from the possible extra coverage Hartline and Brandon Gibson may receive. If he’s on the field, Reggie Wayne is going to be Andrew Luck’s go to WR. He went an incredible 8 for 8 last game for 96 yards and a TD. With Miami having a very underrated run defense. It would be no surprise if Wayne surpassed these numbers (minus the 8 for 8, he’s gotta drop a pass right?)
MIA- Brandon Gibson
INDY- Ahmad Bradshaw
Indy gave up 171 yards on the ground last week, so Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are excluded from the worst option. With my belief that Wallace will return to form in this game, some WR is going to take a hit. My belief is that Brandon Gibson is that WR. While having a good fantasy day last week vs. Cleveland, Gibson is still a 3rd down security blanket at best. Expect a down day for him.
Vick Ballard is gone for the season so the Indy backfield is now Ahmad Bradshaw’s to own, which would be great, except it’s Ahmad Bradshaw. He gets his first start of the season against a Miami defense that surrendered just 47 yards on the ground to Trent Richardson last week (granted the Browns stopped running the ball for some odd reason), but 47 yards none the less.
Bradshaw is no T-Rich, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to see Donald Brown or Delone Carter appear at some point in this game.
St. Louis Rams @ Atlanta Falcons
STL- Sam Bradford
ATL- Steven Jackson
A questionable running game? Check. Finally having a security blanket that can break for a TD (Jared Cook)? Check. Playing against a def with a questionable secondary? Double Check! Bradford was 1 yard away from breaking the 300 yard marker last week (against a superior ZONA secondary). While playing Atlanta, points will be scored on both sides, and I trust Bradford to match, if not excel his numbers from last week.
With the injuries to Julio Jones and Roddy White plaguing their WR corps. ATL will have to lean on Jackson more to move the chains. The former Rams RB will definitely see more than the 11 carries he got in week 1, and I’m sure will be in line for a TD or two this week.
STL- Chris Givens
ATL- Roddy White
Roddy’s playing with an ankle injury that’s obviously affecting his gameplay. He only received two targets (both in which he caught) vs. New Orleans, but against STL, he (or Julio Jones if White doesn’t play) may have a hard time breaking away from Cortland Finnegan on Sunday, Givens has lost his #2 receiving option to Jared Cook, and now may be forced down to the slum boom/bust STL receiving options.
While the speedster has the capability of catching one deep pass that could make anyone’s week. It’s hard to rely on a WR catching one pass a week to make/break him.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Bucs
NO- Darren Sproles
TB- Vincent Jackson
The most shocking thing that came out of the Saints vs Falcons game last week was NO’s commitment to running the football. 26 carries between Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles combined for 76 yards, and could be the start of a ground game the Saints have lacked for years. While Thomas and Ingram are still fantasy irrelevant. Sproles remains one if not the top receiving option for Brees due to his ability to play and perform on passing downs. Sproles will get you several carries a game, and will always be a factor on the NO passing game.
Vincent Jackson performed well lead TB last week in receptions, targets, and yards last week against a stellar Jets defense. New Orleans secondary is no where as good as the Jets. Freeman loves to throw to V.Jax, V.Jax is fast enough, and good enough to exploit poor corners, expect another big game.
NO- Lance Moore
TB- TB DEF
I refuse to put the NO running game in here week after week, so instead I’ll try my luck at Saints Wack a Mole. It’s no secret Drew Brees likes to spread the ball around, so on any given week, any Saints WR can go out and have a monster game. This week, I say a trend continues, and Lance Moore remains the low man on the Saints totem pole. After a low of 4 targets and only 23 yards receiving last week. I say Brees continues to use Colston, Graham, Sproles, and the surprising Kenny Stills over Moore in this matchup. Insert any defense playing vs Drew Brees here. Expect this one to be a score fest.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
CLE- Jordan Cameron
BAL- Joe Flacco
Cameron has emerged as not only a red zone threat for the Browns, but a sure handed receiver as well. He lead the team in receptions and targets last week and will remain Brandon Weeden’s go to guy vs Baltimore. He also remains the top choice for the Browns this week due to their incapability of committing to the running game, as well as the fact that Julius Thomas torched the Ravens defense last week for 110 yards and two TD’s.
This all depends on if Flacco can get help from Rice, Clark, Brown, and Stokley. Joe Haden is going to take away Torrey Smith, but the rest of the Browns secondary is highly suspect. Ray Rice hasn’t performed well recently vs. Cleveland and the Browns running game was very impressive last week.
Expect Flacco to throw a ton (he may match his 62 attempts from last week), so the potential for a monster game may be there.
CLE- Greg Little
BAL- Torrey Smith
With the emergence of Cameron as a red zone threat and the Davone Bess as the 3rd down catcher. Greg Little seems to be finding himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. While he did amass 10 targets last week. Little caught only 4 passes for 26 yards. He’s got one more week to prove all the doubters wrong before No.1 WR Josh Gordon returns.
Insert any WR going to see Haden here. After shutting down Mike Wallace, Haden has his eyes set on Torrey Smith. The Baltimore passing game is hurting even more after losing Jacoby Jones last week. Unless Marlon Brown can open it up for Baltimore and have Haden cover him on plays, expect a poor outing from Smith.
Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs
DAL- DeMarco Murray
KC- Jamaal Charles
DeMarco Murray where did this come from? 86 yards rushing, 8 catches for 39 yards. 28 combined touches. If you weren’t so injury prone I’d consider you a monster steal in any draft. While KC did keep MJD in check with only 45 yards. Dallas is a completely different beast than Jacksonville. With Murray’s involvement in the passing game now, if he can stay healthy and continue to go at this rate.
Murray may be a top 5 overall pick come next year. Charles was kind of a let down in the passing game, only catching 3 passes in the first game, but remained a monster factor in the running game. Dallas does have a solid def line, but Charles will get the carries and enough yards to be a fantasy factor.
DAL- Jason Witten
KC- Alex Smith
The Cowboys defense gave Eli Manning nightmares (3 INT’s, 6 turnovers total), imagine what’s going to happen to Alex Smith? While Smith will work within Reid’s system and may not turn the ball over as much as Eli, I would still expect very moderate numbers coming from him (only threw for 173 yards vs. Jacksonville). Jason Witten will continue to be a factor for the Cowboys, mainly in the red zone and on 3rd downs, but to see him perform another 2 TD game, no way. Expect a dropoff from Witten this week.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans
TEN- Tennessee Def
HOU- Andre Johnson
Tennessee’s D/ST may have gotten an inflated stat last week vs. Pitt (5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble). However, vs Houston we’ll get to see if they’re for real or not.
I’m going to say yes. Houston’s offense was a tale of 2 halves vs. SD, and if it weren’t for the Chargers letting them back in the game, Houston may be suspect in this one. When he’s healthy, only Calvin Johnson can match the abilities of Andre. On nearly every passing down, Schaub looks to him first. While Foster and Tate continue to come out of the gate slowly, expect Andre to have another big game.
TEN- Nate Washington
HOU- Arian Foster
He lead the Titans last week in yards and targets, this week could Nate continue his rise to the number 1 WR spot for the Titans? Don’t see it. The Steelers took Britt out of the game last week and made Washington step up. It worked, but Washington still didn’t produce big numbers. I expect a Kenny Britt comeback this week and Washington to fade back into obscurity. Like Stevan Ridley, I say LET IT RIDE WITH FOSTER! Another week of underperforming.
San Diego Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles
SD- Phillip Rivers
PHI- Michael Vick
Rivers shocked the fantasy world last week becoming fantasy relevant again by putting up 4 TD’s. While SD still found a way to lose the game is beyond me (2nd half they took their foot off the gas), however it shows that Rivers can still perform with his lackluster group of WR’s.
Is the Michael Vick of old back?
If we’re going by last week’s game he sure is. While he didn’t throw the ball that much (only 25 attempts), Vick managed 54 yards on the ground and even scored a rushing TD (first one since 9/16/12). It’s been made clear that Philly’s motive is to establish a running game (49 rushing attempts vs. Washington), however, for those who took a late round flyer on Vick, use him until he gets hurt (knock on wood) and reap the benefits. Vick has the potential to win a week for you solo.
SD- Eddie Royal
PHI- Brent Celek
How does SD put up 28 points and not have a WR with more than 6 targets? While fantasy mainstay Antonio Gates and top sleeper Vincent Brown struggled vs. Houston, it was Eddie Royal who came out of nowhere to catch 2 touchdowns. I don’t see Royal performing the same numbers vs Philly’s defense. Expect to see more of Gates, Brown, and even Malcom Floyd to return to respectable form this week and leave Royal in the dust.
Celek saved his fantasy night with a 28 yard catch for a TD, take that away, he’s 1 reception for 28 yards on 2 targets. He’s not going to pull that off every week. With Vick looking more towards DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper (15 targets combined). Celek looks to be a boom/bust TE option every week.
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
DET- Calvin Johnson
ARI- Carson Palmer
This is going to be a shootout. The running games may not matter much (not saying Bush won’t repeat what he did last week receiving wise), but Johnson is going to bounce back big time this week. Arizona’s secondary may be stronger, but Nate Burleson, Bush, and Joique Bell proved to us that DET doesn’t need Johnson to have a big game to win. Carson Palmer is going to throw in this game… A lot, maybe too much.
With his trio of more than capable pass catchers (Robers, Floyd, Fitz), and Detroit’s questionable secondary (They made Christian Ponder look good last week!), Palmer is a sneaky QB 1 play this week, with the potential to put up very high numbers.
DET- DET Def
ARI- ARI D/ST
Like I said before, this game should be a shootout. Detroit’s D/ST made Christian Ponder look good last week, and Sam Bradford nearly put up 300 yards against Arizona’s secondary. Stafford is a better QB than Bradford and also has stronger and more pass catching weapons than ST.L, I think this is an obvious choice. If you can, bench these defenses.
Denver Broncos @ New York Giants
DEN- Eric Decker/Wes Welker
NYG- Eli Manning
Peyton Manning could go here for the rest of the season, but where’s the fun in that? So instead I’ll figure which Denver WR’s will be the guy to tear it up on the opposing defense. This week, Wes Welker and Eric Decker will be the monsters to beat. Demaryius Thomas would be here but with the Giants having shut down Dez Bryant last week I’m a bit suspect on him. I don’t believe in Julius Thomas either (yet).
So Welker will once again be the PPR machine we’ve all known and loved him to be. Decker on the other hand, was the only Denver wide receiver that underperformed last week so I expect a nice bounce back game from him. It doesn’t really matter how many times the Giants turn the ball over. Eli Manning will get his stats. 3 picks, and he still put up 450 yards and 4 TD’s (28 fantasy points in standard scoring).
With Denver’s offense being able to score at will (Baltimore’s defense isn’t that bad, and Denver made them look like men playing with kids), the Giants will be forced to rely upon the pass to keep them in the game. Expect another big game from Eli.
DEN- Montee Ball
NYG- David Wilson
As of now, these two are at the top of my list as the biggest fantasy busts of the season (both were 2-4th round picks). Ball is currently the #3 RB on Denver’s depth chart (they may as well be the New Orleans Saints of the AFC), and only got the majority of his carries when the game was out of reach. Maybe later in the season Ball may be a fantasy factor, but until then, he’s nothing more than a bench warmer. David Wilson…What happened to you last week? two fumbles and you’re benched for the game (yet eli throws 3 picks and continues to play… I have Wilson in several leagues, I’m allowed to vent!).
With the Giants bringing in Brandon Jacobs, Wilson is on the thinnest ice imaginable this week. 1 fumble early on, and that may be it for him for the rest of the season. I believe he’ll be the starter on Sunday, but it’ll take a big (SAFE) game for him to keep his job for the next few weeks, do you want to risk one of your RB/Flex spots this week on something like that?
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders
JAX- Maurice Jones Drew
Pryor lead the AFC and is 2nd in rushing in the NFL. What’s more shocking is that Oakland let him throw the ball 29 times… Even more shocking is that he completed 19 of those passes. Is Pryor for real? We’ll find out in the weeks to come, but against the Jags defense, he is a very sneaky QB option that some owners may even consider starting. MJD has a chance to put up monster points this week with Chad Henne getting the start at QB. With a passing game that may actually exist and going up against a very weak running defense. Mr. Jones Drew has a huge opportunity to bounce back nicely this week.
OAK- Danarius Moore
JAX- Jags Def
With the Raiders having an excellent running game (for the time being), I don’t expect a whole lot of passes going out. Moore will still get his looks, but until Pryor strengthens as a passer, Moore remains nothing more than a potential bye week filler. Blane Gabbert isn’t playing, Henne is getting the start at QB, all bets are off on what the Jags are going to do offensively this week. However, their defense may struggle against the ground game of Pryor and McFadden.
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
SF- Colin Kaepernick
SEA- Marshawn Lynch
Is Kaepernick for real? While I’ll admit I completely missed the mark last week vs. GB, (412 yards, 3 tds, 22 yards rushing), Kaepernick now must face a defense that made fellow running quarterback Cam Newton nearly irrelevant. In his only meeting last year, Colin put up 244 yards, 1 td, 1 int, and 31 yards rushing. Modest numbers against a great defense, I expect the same for this week, but if your starting Kaepernick, keep your expectations modest. 214 yards and 2 TD’s (one receiving). That’s what Lynch did to the 49ers last year in their two games.
Can he do it again this season?
That remains to be seen, however, Lynch is bench proof when it comes to this matchup. You know he’s going to receive the ball a lot in this one, he can pound it through that tough 49ers front 7, and could break one at any moment. Expect Seattle to deliver a good old minimum of 20 carries of Lynch Sunday Night.
SF- Frank Gore
SEA- Sidney Rice
Gore had a very underwhelming performance vs. GB last week, running 21 times for 44 yards and a td (2.1 average). Last season, Gore was Jekyll/Hyde vs Seattle running for 131 and 28 yards in their two games. While I expect SF to lean on Gore again, another 44 yard performance is unacceptable. I don’t see him being much of a factor in this game.
Sidney Rice only had 3 balls come his way last week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing this Sunday. While the playbook is opening up for Wilson, it’s very difficult to put Rice in a fantasy starters spot this week because of the matchup.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
PIT- Steelers Def
CIN- Cincy’s Def
This may be more of a defensive game than SF vs SEA. Pittsburgh has no offense, and Cincy was held to 15 pts a game vs Pittsburgh last year. So by my count that means Cincy wins 15-0 on Monday night. Cincy has one of the scariest def lines in the NFL. While they did not record a sack last week, they still managed to force a fumble and get an int. Pit’s o-line surrendered 5 sacks from Tennessee’s defense…What does that tell ya?
Pittsburgh’s defense/special teams did get rewarded an extra 2 points for an ignorant safety on the opening kickoff, and only measured one sack vs. Tennessee. Consider Pit’s defense the best they can offer in this game. Cincy’s secondary is strong enough to hold Sanders/Brown, and the running game is practically dead, and on Monday night, Pittsburgh’s D/ST always seems to manage a big game.
PIT- Ben Roethlisberger
CIN- BenJarvis Green Ellis
As predicted, the Law Firm did get the majority of the touches for Cincy, as well as the goal line carries, and as predicted, he sucked rushing the ball but did score a TD. Pitt’s def held Chris Johnson to 70 yards on 25 carries. Law Firm is screwed. With no running game, Big Ben should be throwing 90% of the time. Which is both good and bad, good if it were against maybe Jacksonville or New Orleans, but vs. Cincy, they may have a field day with all the pressure they’re going to put on him. Ben may not make it out of this game.