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Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2016): Week 4: Start Jordan Howard, Sit Matt Ryan & More

Friday, September 30, 2016 3:58
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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:

Start – Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins – vs. Cleveland
There have been some questions hovering over Cousins, despite completing 63.7% of his passes while throwing for 989 yards.  Washington’s running game is a question mark, which has helped lead to Cousins throwing the ball at least 35 times in each of the first three games (generating 296+ yards in each game).  He also has an incredibly favorable matchup against the Browns, who have allowed 7 TD and 899 yards through the air. 

Sit – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Carolina
Sure he’s thrown for at least 2 TD in each of the first three games, but the matchup dictates him being a riskier option for those who play in one-quarterback formats.  Keep in mind that over the past three seasons (six games) he has 5 TD vs. 7 INT against the Panthers.  Given the depth at the position there’s simply too much risk to trust him.

Running Backs
Start – Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Detroit

With Jeremy Langford sidelined Howard should operate as the backfield leader in Chicago.  You could easily argue that there’s a bit too much risk in trusting him, considering we haven’t seen much, but there’s also a lot working in his favor:

  • Matchup – The Lions have allowed 292 rushing yards to opposing RB (11th most)
  • Potential – Over the past two weeks he’s taken 12 carries for 67 yards, while also catching 6 passes

As a RB2, it’s hard not to recommend him (and he’s a lock to be a FLEX)

Start – Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Washington
The Redskins have not shown much of an ability to stop the run this season (365 rushing yards, 6 TD), while Crowell has been a solid producer (62+ yards in each of the first three games, 6.1 YPC).  The team has shown that it’s willing to be creative, and the effort to get Terrelle Pryor more could eat into Crowell’s opportunities.  That said, the matchup is too juicy and Crowell has shown enough production not to utilize him this week.

Sit – Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Oakland
On the surface this is a promising matchup, considering the Raiders have given up 370 rushing yards to opposing RB.  That said can you say with any certainty that Forsett is going to get the bulk of the work?  The fact is that he simply hasn’t been very good (2.6 and 2.9 YPC the past two weeks) and is coming off just a 7 carry performance.  There’s simply too much usage risk to gamble on him, with Terrance West just as likely to step up and carry the load.

Sit – Orelans Darkwa – New York Giants – vs. Minnesota
It’s easy to get excited, with Shane Vereen out and Rashad Jennings questionable, but this matchup is going to be an extremely difficult one.  The Vikings’ defensive line is a force, including allowing the third fewest rushing yards in the league (172), and the Giants’ offensive line certainly isn’t the strong point of the team.  Throw in the uncertainty about his usage and it’s impossible to trust him.


Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos – at Tampa Bay

He hasn’t been targeted more than 7 times in a game this season, with his 20 targets tying him for 51st in the league over the first three weeks.  That wouldn’t scream of a “must start” option, though the matchup tells a bit of a different story (Tampa Bay is allowing the third most points per week to opposing WR).  Thomas also has 190 yards over the past two weeks, so don’t shy away from him due to a lack of opportunity.

Sit – Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders – at Baltimore
The Ravens have allowed 368 receiving yards to opposing WR, the fourth fewest in the league.  That makes it tough to trust Crabtree, despite posting a pair of 85+ yard games (including 102 yards on 11 targets in Week 3).

Wide Receiver (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Cole Beasley – Dallas Cowboys – at San Francisco

With Dez Bryant sidelined someone needs to step up, and Beasley appears primed to be the man.  He’s turned 25 targets into 20 receptions and 213 yards and he should see an even bigger workload this week.  The biggest issue is his lack of TD (and at 5’8” he’s not going to be a red zone target), but would it really be a shock to see him break a 15-20 yard TD?

Sit – Tavon Austin – Los Angeles Rams – at Arizona
Sure he’s been targeted 30 times, but he’s turned that into just 14 receptions and 145 yards.  With questionable quarterback play and a difficult matchup, there are better gambles to take.

Tight Ends
Start – Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks – New York Jets

He’s back!  It’s been a long road, but he posted 6 receptions for 100 yards and 1 TD this past week and now draws a Jets’ defense that has had it’s problems in the secondary.  With the shackles off, there’s a good chance that he returns to being a consistent Top 5 option.

Sit – Martellus Bennett – New England Patriots – vs. Buffalo
Sure you aren’t going to downgrade Rob Gronkowski, but the Bills have allowed just 59 receiving yards to opposing TE.  Bennett has also been incredibly inconsistent, having a monster performance (114 yards and 1 TD) sandwiched between a pair of duds (14 and 10 yards).  He’s simply impossible to trust.


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