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Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2016): Week 3: Start Isaiah Crowell, Sit Doug Baldwin & More

Friday, September 23, 2016 3:23
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(Before It's News)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

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:

Quarterbacks
Start – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – at New Orleans
While the New Orleans Saints have somehow allowed just 1 passing TD, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before that number increases significantly.  After all, they have allowed the fourth most passing yards (682) and are one of just six teams to have allowed at least 650 yards over the first two weeks.

For his part Ryan has helped to expose a pair of defenses thus far:

  • vs. Tampa Bay – 334 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
  • at Oakland – 396 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

It’s been an easy schedule, but this week shouldn’t be any different (especially in a game that should devolve into a shootout).

Sit – Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins – at New York Giants
Cousins has thrown for 329 yards or more in each of the first two games, but he’s got a stiff test against the much improved Giants’ secondary.  In fact they are allowing the fifth fewest points per game to opposing quarterbacks.  As it is, Cousins’ “impressive” number is in yardage only, as he’s thrown for 1 TD and been picked off 3 times.  He’s also been asked to throw the ball 40+ times each game, something you’d think the team would like to get away from.

Running Backs
Start – Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – at Indianapolis

The matchup alone would put Gordon in “must start” status, but he’s also performing (coming off a 102 yard performance) and is showing that he’s more than just a runner (3 receptions for 18 yards).  With Danny Woodhead sidelined for the season, Gordon’s role in the passing game could expand.  With Keenan Allen sidelined, you know they are going to run the football.  It’s all shaping up for Gordon to potentially produce like a Top 5 option.

Start – Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Miami
You can argue that he’s just a “borderline” RB2 option, but it’s hard to imagine that he’s not going to be a focal point of the offense.  Over the first two weeks of the season the Dolphins have allowed 245 rushing yards to opposing RB, tied for the second most in the league (and just 3 yards short of the league leader).

Then you have the Browns, who will likely be depending on rookie quarterback Cody Kessler and will also be without their top wide receivers (Josh Gordon & Corey Coleman).  Clearly Crowell is going to be the centerpiece, and he’s coming off a game where he took 18 carries for 133 yards and 1 TD (he’s scored in each of the first two games of the season).

Sit – Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Seattle
Considering all the questionable running back situations around the league, it’s hard to say Hyde is a must sit.  That said, we all know how tough Seattle is against the run and Hyde has hardly impressed over the first two weeks of the season:

  • vs. Los Angeles – 23 carries for 88 yards (3.8 YPC)
  • at Carolina – 14 carries for 34 yards (2.4 YPC)

A pair of TD in Week 1 helps to skew the numbers, but that’s not something we can count on.  It’s been a very difficult schedule for a running back, but don’t expect things to improve this week.

Sit – Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens – at Jacksonville
The matchup may seem appealing, but does anyone trust Forsett to carry the load for Baltimore?  He’s coming off a poor performance against the Browns (14 carries for 37 yards) and could easily start giving up more and more opportunities to Terrance West.  There’s simply too much risk involved.

Bonus Sit – Jeremy Langford – Chicago Bears – at Dallas
He’s been extremely bad, and it’s just a matter of time before Jordan Howard begins taking away his touches.

Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New York Jets
The Jets front seven is arguably the best in the NFL, but the secondary has struggled with Darrelle Revis appearing to be a shell of his former self.  They are giving up the second most points per week to opposing wide receivers, as they are one of just four teams to allow over 500 receiving yards (533).  Maclin hasn’t posted gaudy numbers, as of yet, but the opportunities should be there.

Sit – Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks – vs. San Francisco
He’s having issues with his knee, Russell Wilson is banged up and Jimmy Graham appears primed to see his role increase significantly.  While the matchup may appear to be a favorable one, for those in shallower formats there’s likely more risk than necessary.

Wide Receiver (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Sterling Shepard – New York Giants – vs. Washington

It’s easy to get distracted by the “emergence” of Victor Cruz, but Shepard has turned 12 targets into 11 receptions and is coming off a big game (8 receptions, 117 yards).  He’s going to be a major part of the passing game, which draws a Washington defense that is among the 10 worst per week against opposing wide receivers.

Sit – John Brown – Arizona Cardinals – at Buffalo
The Bills haven’t been very good this season, but Brown is far too boom or bust to trust (even in deeper formats).  With Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd ahead of him, as well as David Johnson, there simply may not be enough opportunities.

Tight End
Start – Julius Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Baltimore

Thomas has topped 60 yards in each of the first two games, and he appears to be an important part of the Jaguars’ passing attack.  There’s little reason to think that won’t continue, and with his potential to find the end zone there’s little reason to think that it won’t be another productive day.

Sit – Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints – vs. Atlanta
Maybe this is the week that he finally produces, but he’s totaled 35 yards over the first two weeks and the team has ample other options to throw the football to.  Maybe he produces in what should be a shootout, but he’s hardly a must start option given the depth at the position and his lack of production.

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings:

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