Within every Fantasy week there are those Starts and Sits that blind side us to the point of befuddlement. Whether you are a manager making YOUR OWN decisions, or like me, a Fantasy writer assisting others and trying to make that perfect prediction for our readers, we have all fallen victim to the unforeseeable at some point.
To think we—managers and writers—can get every call right all the time is rather futile, but that doesn’t stop us from trying each week. Last week was a prime example of this type of dreaded week.
Last Week’s Starters: Last week, my starters produced some pretty good numbers holding their consistency levels in check, but still didn’t come up as big as I would have wanted them too. Still, if you used them you had no complaints.
Last Week’s Sits: If you remove Roddy White’s superman performance that nearly no one saw coming, my Sits were pretty solid. Unfortunately, there is always one bad call that is the only thing that stands out. But, such is the way sometimes.
Last Week’s Waiver Wire Pickups: This was something new I did and it had mixed results. Maclin and Collie produced, whereas Massaquoi, Hurd, and Washington did not.
This week I will try and widen the focus on WRs considering the myriad of favorable matchups especially in the divisional realm. We will do our normal Top Ten Starters and Sits, then we will take a look at some more options at Starting WRs; this will replace the Waiver Wire pickups for this week as I try to give you all more concrete direction.
So let’s get started.
Must Start of the Week.
This week, Mr. Steve Smith from the Carolina Panthers is the premier Must Start of the Week. Smith goes up against a very weak Tampa defense that is more porous than a leaky dam, but even if that weren’t the case, he would still be number one.
Smith is starting this year nearly identical to last year: He missed the first two games of the year in ’07 and ‘08, in 2007 his next three games after Week 2, he was good for 23 catches and 261 yards with 1 TD and last year in his first three games after Week 2 he accounted for 16 catches for 262 yards and 1 TD.
Key point number one is in both ’07 and ’08 week 6 was his breakout week both over 100 yards; one of those teams he faced was Tampa.
In the past four meetings, Smith has torched Tampa for 30 catches and 490 yards and 2 TDs, and with the way Tampa is playing defense this year there is very little room to think it won’t happen again. He is a must start in all formats.
Two through Ten:
|#2 Larry Fitzgerald: Fitz isn’t having the greatest of seasons yet, but in the past 4 meetings against Seattle he has tagged the Seahawks’ secondary for 411 yards on 26 catches and 3 TDs.|
|#3 Donald Driver: Continuing on with divisional matchups, Driver has been a Lion killer nearly his entire career. In the past four meetings Driver has accumulated 253 yards on 23 catches and three TDs and with the Lions banged up, and the Packers undoubtedly coming in with a chip on their shoulders, you can bet this will continue.|
|#4 Greg Jennings: Yes, that’s right, there are two Lion killers on Green Bay and Jennings is the other one. Jennings has torched the Lions for 374 yards on 15 catches with a single TD as well. He makes an excellent start this week.|
|#5 Hines Ward: In the past four meetings against Cleveland, Ward played in three of them and embarrassed the Browns racking up 210 yards on 18 catches and this week should be much of the same as Pittsburgh is 11-0 vs. the Browns.|
|#6 Randy Moss: Moss has become one of those guys that has been pushed into the background of the Fantasy limelight, but this week against a surprisingly horrible Tennessee defense there is no reason to think Moss will be stopped. I like Moss’ red zone value this week and think he’ll be good for TDs more than yardage.|
|#7 Ocho Cinco: Houston can throw the ball, but defending against the pass vs. really good receivers is not something they excel at; start Ocho with confidence.|
|#8 Andre Johnson: The Bengals’ defense will give the Texans all they can handle and force them to play from behind; a perfect situation for Johnson.|
|#9 Wes Welker: Welker will surely attract a lot of attention from the Titans secondary. If they focus on Moss, Welker will have a huge day being the set up man underneath, if they focus on him …well he’ll probably still have a good day.|
|#10 Brandon Marshall: Marshall is the MAN in Denver no doubt, and every week he just keeps getting better. If we remove the INT by Randy Moss on the Hail Mary pass las week, Orton is the only QB without an INT. San Diego should have their hands full this week.|
Must Sit of the Week:
This week’s mortifying stigma—Must Sit of the Week—goes to Mark Clayton of the Baltimore Ravens. Clayton has been MIA this year, and there is no reason to think this will change any time soon. Minnesota does give up yardage, but they only do so when they use their blitz packages; something they won’t do much of with the type of backfield the Ravens have.
Clayton has never really been a stud, and is averaging just less than 45 yards a game with a solo TD. It’s unclear as to why his production has suffered but as it stands right now, he is not only a must sit, but you may want to relegate him to your bench until further notice.
Two Through Ten:
|#2 Megatron aka. Calvin Johnson: Johnson’s knee injury has been stated as insignificant by the Lions staff, but at the same time, the Lions were not willing to release the results of an MRI which has been par for the course when dealing with the Lions. Last week they violated the NFL’s policy on injury reporting and there is no guarantee you’re gonna get anything out of them or their beat writers. With a bye coming up after Green Bay, it would make sense that Megatron would be very questionable. Even if he plays, Green Bay’s defense won’t let him do too much.|
|#3 Kevin Walter: The Bengals are the real deal on D, and Walter usually only fairs better against weaker defenses, he shouldn’t put up too much this week.|
|#4 Mohammed Massaquoi: Ok, until the Browns figure out how to pass the ball consistently make sure you keep Massaquoi on your bench which is a shame cause this kid has talent.|
|#5 T.O: Remember when picking up T.O was supposed to be a good thing during the draft this summer? Well we have Mr. Check Down (Edwards) and the coaching staff to thank for Owens being a bust this year. He is on pace for 700 yards and is worth dropping at this point EVEN IF he has ONE GOOD WEEK.|
|#6 Kenny Britt: New England has been getting better on coverage each week and that is saying a lot since they were already pretty good to begin with. Britt should only be considered when the matchup favors him.|
|#7 Dwayne Bowe: Bowe is sharing time with Megatron as a weekly sit option at this point, and this week is no different. Don’t get me wrong, this guy is very talented, but so is DeAngelo Hall. I don’t think this week’s matchup favors Bowe as Hall has already recorded 3 INTs, 4 Deflections, and 14 solo tackles.|
|#8 Earl Bennett: Bennett has been too inconsistent this year to be considered a good option against Atlanta as he continues to share time with Knox.|
|#9 Muhsin Muhammad: Muhammad has been just under marginal in PPR leagues but that’s about it. He averages just under 5 catches a game for 45 yards and no scores,; even against a poor D he is still not considered an option considering all the other available options out there. If you ABSOLUTELY have no one else, give him the nod.|
|#10 Kevin Curtis: Ok, in case anyone is wondering, yes Curtis is now officially Fantasy irrelevant thanks to the tandem of Maclin and Jackson. Curtis can’t seem to get over the knee injury and isn’t worth a look for the remainder of the season.|
Risky Starts: Proceed With Caution:
Donnie Avery: The Rams enjoyed the best game so far out of Avery last week which translates into average in Fantasy. Still, the Rams have the chance of actually winning this game and Avery could, or could not, be featured. My guess is they will cram four quarters of Jackson down the Jaguars throats and keep things close only using their wide outs in specific situations — well, that’s what they should do anyway.
If you are in a pinch and have no one else, consider starting him, just look around first.
Hakeem Nicks: The feeling in New York is that Nicks is getting more and more looks which would prove the theory that they want to integrate Nicks sooner rather than later. The problem is the guy who they think he is superseding—Mannigham—is still a viable target making the newbie more of a risk than a consideration this week.
I would follow the Giants situation at WR closely however, particularly the Nicks vs. Manningham situation. If Nicks starts showing more work week in and week out, he could be a sleeper pick.
Santana Moss: Moss has been up and down this year, but there are two things you can count on in Washington:
1. Zorn can’t run an offense to save his life, but by some inexplicable reason unbeknownst to mankind he still does, which doesn’t always boad well for the WRs.
2. Moss has only had good outings against poor teams, and although Kansas City can’t close a game they can cover to a degree. If you are in a pinch give him a shot as he may have a good day but he still seems like a risk.
But Wait, There’s More Starters?
As I said before, there are a lot of matchups this week that favor WRs in lieu of RBs or TEs. So instead of mentioning Waiver pickups I want to focus on another small batch of starters you can think of.
As always, you can use our Free Start Sit Advice to sort your roster out.
Roddy White: Well, White surprised us all by breaking out of his funk and taking it to the 49ers defense. He will have a similar challenge against Chicago, but should still do fairly well.
While White's performance was stellar to say the least, you can expect the Bears to not afford the Falcons OR White such on-field amenities.
Sidney Rice: As a guy who covers the Vikings, I can tell you a couple of things about Rice and why he is becoming so relevant. For one, Rice has gained weight which has afforded him to NOT be the push over he was last year, so with his size and speed and no-fear attitude (not to mention Favre throwing the ball) he is a viable weekly starter and you can bet he will have a big day against the Ravens this week.
DeSean Jackson: Last week’s non-existence was largely due to a complete game of double coverage, and to think the Oakland Raiders can afford themselves such a defensive approach against the Eagle would be foolish to say the least.
Jackson should bounce back very nicely against the woeful Raiders, and reclaim his prowess as a Fantasy stud at WR.
Jeremy Maclin: Last week I listed Maclin as a good Waiver pick up and boy did he prove me right and this week he should start if you did pick him up. Oakland has more problems than they can list on a big board and having to cover Maclin and Jackson while trying to figure out how to contain Westbrook and Celek is gonna be a big headache for the Raiders this week.
The Giants showed that you can pretty much do whatever you want against these guys and you can bet the Eagles will duplicate what the Giants did to them a week ago.
Steve Smith: The Giants didn’t use Smith too much last week on account of Manning sitting most of the game, but that will change this week.
Smith has a nice little one week big— one week huge— thing going on, and this week should be his “huge” week. The Saints boast the best safety in the league in Darren Sharper, but their overall secondary is still a bit suspect and Smith is itching to show he can play with the big boys of the NFL as well. He makes for an intriguing play this week.
Mike Sims-Walker: The only aspect of Sims-Walker being penalized for an undisclosed violation of team policy is that the offense was useless without his presence, and you can bet this week will be his apology to the team. Sims-Walker is the only play maker right now at WR for the team, and he goes up against a defeated Rams secondary.
So far, Sims-Walker has chimed in for 278 yards and 3 TDs in only 3 games; something that is not easily ignored.
Remember to stay on top of the injury situation this week as it will have a lot to do with every matchup—like for instance Cotchery from the Jets— and one of the ways you can do so is with our Dominator Service; cutting edge updates that keeps you ahead of your competition.
RB Start-Sit can be found here.
TE Start-Sit can be found here.
I AM MAKING AN ADDITIONAL ENTRY TO THIS ARTICLE SINCE I FEEL IT IS VERY NOTEWORTHY THAT ALL YOU MANAGERS OUT THERE BE AWARE SO PARDON THIS LAST MINUTE UPDATE!
Braylon Edwards: According to "The Jets Stream" a New York Daily news column for Jets beat writer Rich Cimini, Jericho Cotchery did not practice today, and that could spell bad news for the standout WR this week.
The Jets are a little concerned about the progress of the hamstring injury.
Last week Cotchery also missed two days of practice , but was still able to go on Monday night; he put up nothing relevant to Fantasy and the likelihood of this happening again—if he plays at all— is very high at this point.
This raises the stock of Braylon Edwards as he already proved to be a viable downfield threat and he could see even bigger success against the Bills this week who have been incredibly thin in their secondary and it is beginning to show as the weeks go by. Stay with us for updates on Cotchery and Edwards as this situation develops!
Good Luck this week everyone.