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 – Phillip Rivers – San Diego Chargers – vs. Tampa Bay
It doesn’t seem to matter who is healthy and who is not, Rivers finds a way to produce each and every week. With signs pointing towards Tyrell Williams being capable of playing, Rivers’ upside looks that much batter against a Buccaneer defense that has allowed 20 passing TD vs. 9 INT on the season.
Sit – Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – at Seattle
It’s easy to simply slide Newton into your lineup, given his pedigree and perceived value. However the numbers haven’t been there this season, as he’s completed just 55.8% of his passes to go along with 13 TD vs. 8 INT (more than 2 TD in a game just once, all the way back in Week 2). While he often does generate value with his legs, he’s rushed for 13 yards over the past two games. Throw in the matchup with Seattle, who has allowed the sixth fewest points per game to opposing QB, and Newton is impossible to trust.
Start – LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – vs. Los Angeles
It’s easy to overlook Blount, especially as Dion Lewis gets healthy and becomes more of a factor in the offense. That said Week 12 broke a four game stretch where Blount was given 18+ carries and he still made the most of his opportunities (11 carries for 67 yards). The Rams are often viewed as a good defense, but over the past four weeks they’ve allowed the third most rushing yards (462) and have allowed the ninth most for the season (1,075). While it’s often difficult to trust New England skill players, Blount is worth utilizing.
Start – Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at New Orleans
There have been two things that have plagued the Saints’ rushing defense this season:
Riddick may not be a touchdown machine, but he does have 5+ receptions in four of his past five games (48 catches overall, after 80 in ’15). With this looking like a high scoring affair, Riddick appears to be a somewhat under-the-radar opportunity to exploit.
Sit – Terrence West/Kenneth Dixon – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Miami
The matchup isn’t a bad one, the question is if these two are going to continue in virtually a strict timeshare or not. If they do, which we have to expect at this point, will either get enough touches to make them worth trusting? Dixon is the more favorable option, but until he’s routinely carrying the load the risk is going to outweigh the potential reward.
Sit – Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Kansas City
In Coleman’s first game back he managed 9 yards on 8 carries (though he did find the end zone) while catching 2 passes for 4 yards. His biggest days have come when he’s been a reception monster, as 64 rushing yards is his season high and he hasn’t had more than 8 carries in a game since September (so we can’t blame his limited usage solely on it being his first game back). The Chiefs have allowed the fourth fewest receiving yards to opposing RB, helping to further limit Coleman’s appeal.
Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Formats):
Start – Brandon Marshall – New York Jets – vs. Indianapolis
It’s easy to be down on Marshall, thanks to the pathetic QB play that the team has gotten. That said we all know that he does have a rapport with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is going to be starting once again, and the Indianapolis Colts secondary has allowed the most points per week to opposing WR over the past month. It’s enough to roll him out there, even with the fantasy playoffs on the line.
Sit – Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Denver
In deeper formats he’s still worth using, but in shallower leagues the matchup with the Broncos is enough to consider sitting him. As it is over the past two weeks Robinson has managed 5 receptions (on 11 targets) for 42 yards and 1 TD and in his past six games he has as many games under 25 yards (3) as he does at 70 or above (3). The inconsistency, the questionable QB and the matchup makes him an extremely risky play.
Wide Receiver (Three-Receiver Formats):
Start – Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Philadelphia
The Eagles have actually allowed the fourth most receiving yards to opposing WR this season (2,041) and Boyd should continue to operate as the top receiver with A.J. Green sidelined (he’s been out producing Brandon LaFell). Boyd has been targeted 17 times over the past two weeks, and if he continues to see the chances he should be able to produce in a favorable matchup.
Sit – Marquess Wilson – Chicago Bears – vs. San Francisco
It’s easy to get excited, coming off a big performance and with a favorable matchup. However Matt Barkley is still going to be the QB, so until he proves he can continue to produce there’s too much risk to put your fantasy playoff hopes in his hands.
Start – Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – at Cincinnati
Over the past four weeks Ertz has the second most targets among tight ends (32). It’s the type of opportunity fantasy owners have been waiting for, and he’s delivered (23 catches for 223 yards and 1 TD). With the Bengals yielding 760 yards to TE on the season (fourth most in the league), that’s enough of a reason to utilize him.
Sit – Jared Cook – Green Bay Packers – vs. Houston
We offered a warning last week, after he exploded in Week 11, and Cook responded by racking up 7 yards in Week 12. There still might be an inclination to utilize him, with his big day still fresh in our minds, but don’t make that mistake
Sources – NFL.com, Yahoo!, ESPN
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