It’s time for another Start and Sit column, where multiple Cafe members rate all fantasy-relevant players in an attempt to help you with your tough lineup decisions. Much was made of the last column, where we had the gall to rank Vincent Jackson and Terrell Owens close, giving Owens the edge. It turns out Owens outperformed Jackson last week, though neither did particularly well. That’s not to say that our system is foolproof by any means; rather, it’s to point out that when you see something so off-kilter with your own line of thinking, take a second to review why we may have preferred the seemingly worse choice. It takes a lot of time to produce this tool each week, and by the time it reaches your eyes, we’ve put a lot of thought into it.
|1||Peyton Manning||IND||at TEN||99.60|
|3||Matt Schaub||HOU||at ARI||84.84|
|4||Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||at DET||84.80|
|5||Brett Favre||MIN||at STL||81.40|
|6||Tom Brady||NE||at DEN||80.60|
|8||Tony Romo||DAL||at KC||80.40|
|10||Matt Ryan||ATL||at SF||74.20|
|11||Carson Palmer||CIN||at BAL||72.60|
|12||David Garrard||JAC||at SEA||70.20|
|13||Eli Manning (Q)||NYG||OAK||68.98|
|14||Mark Sanchez||NYJ||at MIA||68.20|
|17||Jason Campbell||WAS||at CAR||64.80|
|20||Derek Anderson||CLE||at BUF||62.80|
|25||Josh Johnson||TB||at PHI||50.80|
|26||JaMarcus Russell||OAK||at NYG||46.40|
|30||Brady Quinn||CLE||at BUF||23.75|
Start: Donovan McNabb, Eagles. No hangover here — we’re throwing McNabb right back into the fire after his three-week layoff. I am actually slightly worried about him. I remember in the past when he’s had to wear a protective vest, and it really seemed to cause his throws to be off. That being said, his matchup is great, as he should have no problem finding DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek for scores.
Start: Matt Schaub, Texans. Schaub has led the explosive Texans offense to eight passing touchdowns this year, all in the last three games. Against a Cardinals’ passing defense that hasn’t exactly been stout against the pass, Schaub makes a great start. — Nick Hopkins
Sit: Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks. Conversely, we’re sitting Hasselbeck in his return from injury, even though he has an easy matchup. If I’m in a two-QB league, I’m actually pretty happy with Hasselbeck as my second guy if I have a good first option. In one-QB leagues though, you have to wait to see how Hasselbeck looks before inserting him — the passing offense wasn’t exactly running on all cylinders when he was under center earlier in the season.
Sit: JaMarcus Russell, Raiders. You guys and gals in one-QB leagues can obviously skip this section, but this is for my peeps in two-QB leagues that are entertaining the thought of ever starting JaMarcus Russell. In fact, if you play in a league where you can play a QB at flex (which is almost always the right decision), you still shouldn’t play Russell. If you play in an eight-QB league, then maybe, maybe I’d think about it, but only if Brian St. Pierre is already picked up.
Update: Eli Manning looks good to go for Sunday.
|1||Adrian Peterson||MIN||at STL||96.00|
|2||Maurice Jones-Drew||JAC||at SEA||91.20|
|4||Marion Barber||DAL||at KC||83.81|
|8||Steve Slaton||HOU||at ARI||78.20|
|9||Michael Turner||ATL||at SF||77.60|
|10||Rashard Mendenhall||PIT||at DET||77.40|
|15||Clinton Portis||WAS||at CAR||73.50|
|T-20||Tashard Choice||DAL||at KC||69.20|
|22||Jerome Harrison||CLE||at BUF||68.60|
|23||Jonathan Stewart (Q)||CAR||WAS||67.20|
|25||Chester Taylor||MIN||at STL||65.60|
|26||Cedric Benson||CIN||at BAL||65.20|
|30||Joseph Addai (Q)||IND||at TEN||64.00|
|T-30||Thomas Jones||NYJ||at MIA||64.00|
|32||Donald Brown||IND||at TEN||63.20|
|33||Leon Washington||NYJ||at MIA||62.00|
|34||Cadillac Williams||TB||at PHI||61.42|
|38||Michael Bush||OAK||at NYG||59.60|
|39||Laurence Maroney||NE||at DEN||54.20|
|40||Mewelde Moore||PIT||at DET||52.40|
|41||Justin Fargas||OAK||at NYG||52.00|
|45||Kevin Faulk||NE||at DEN||45.80|
|46||Ladell Betts||WAS||at CAR||44.00|
|48||Derrick Ward||TB||at PHI||42.59|
|51||Chris Brown||HOU||at ARI||32.40|
|54||Earnest Graham (Q)||TB||at PHI||28.80|
|55||Jamal Lewis (Q)||CLE||at BUF||26.87|
|56||Sammy Morris||NE||at DEN||25.80|
|57||Bernard Scott||CIN||at BAL||24.59|
|58||Ryan Moats||HOU||at ARI||23.80|
|59||Jerious Norwood||ATL||at SF||21.90|
|60||Rashard Jennings||JAC||at SEA||18.20|
Start: Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers. Where did that superb Sunday night game come from? I’ve been a big believer in the guy since his college days, and I would have figured he’d be one of the best young backs in the NFL by this point. Unfortunately, it’s taken longer for the light to come on for the second-year player, but it finally looks like he’s coming into his own. Willie Parker isn’t expected to play, so Mendenhall should run roughshod over the Lions in Week 5.
Start: Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, Bills. Our guys love the Buffalo duo this week. We figure the Bills are going to control the pace of the game all day, and with the passing offense showing no signs of life, that’ll mean oodles of carries for these two backs. We like Jackson a little bit more, so look for him to get about 20 touches, with Lynch earning about 15 touches, and both reaching the end zone on Sunday.
Sit: Kevin Smith, Lions. I know, we ranked him low last week and it burned you. But can you really count on two short-yardage TDs from the Lions week in and week out? Take out those trips to the end zone and Smith looked awful in Week 4, rushing for 30 yards on 19 carries. It looks like he could have another one of those types of days this week, with the defending champion Steelers coming to town. Don’t bank on the TDs this week — you might be sorely disappointed.
Sit: LenDale White, Titans. The big guy isn’t going to score a lot of points unless the Titans are moving the ball well, as most of his fantasy relevance comes from the goal line. For an 0-4 team, that’s a scary prospect for a back on your team. Will the Titans be able to keep up with the undefeated Colts? I wouldn’t count on it, especially with my RB2 slot on the line. Look to guys like Ahmad Bradshaw, Jerome Harrison, and Glen Coffee instead.
Update: Jonathan Stewart practiced and should play. Joseph Addai is listed as questionable, but should also play, yet makes for a poor start against Tennessee. Both Jamal Lewis and Earnest Graham are also questionable, yet shouldn’t play a big role in their offenses.
|1||Reggie Wayne||IND||at TEN||96.40|
|2||Andre Johnson||HOU||at ARI||95.40|
|7||Randy Moss||NE||at DEN||84.20|
|8||Roddy White||ATL||at SF||81.80|
|9||Hines Ward||PIT||at DET||81.20|
|10||Santonio Holmes||PIT||at DET||80.40|
|16||Mike Sims-Walker||JAC||at SEA||76.60|
|17||Chad Ochocinco||CIN||at BAL||76.00|
|20||Bernard Berrian||MIN||at STL||74.60|
|21||Pierre Garcon||IND||at TEN||74.40|
|22||Jerricho Cotchery (Q)||NYJ||at MIA||73.20|
|25||Santana Moss||WAS||at CAR||70.80|
|26||Percy Harvin||MIN||at STL||70.60|
|27||Patrick Crayton||DAL||at KC||70.20|
|28||Kevin Walter||HOU||at ARI||69.55|
|30||Sidney Rice||MIN||at STL||67.80|
|31||Wes Welker (Q)||NE||at DEN||67.44|
|33||Steve Breaston (Q)||ARI||HOU||65.40|
|35||Torry Holt||JAC||at SEA||63.80|
|36||Mohammed Massaquoi||CLE||at BUF||63.20|
|39||Kevin Curtis (Q)||PHI||TB||62.80|
|40||Antonio Bryant (Q)||TB||at PHI||62.54|
|42||Austin Collie||IND||at TEN||61.60|
|43||Michael Jenkins||ATL||at SF||60.60|
|44||Chansi Stuckey||CLE||at BUF||58.00|
|T-48||Antwaan Randle El||WAS||at CAR||54.80|
|50||Donnie Avery (Q)||STL||MIN||54.60|
|51||Michael Clayton||TB||at PHI||54.40|
|52||Josh Cribbs||CLE||at BUF||53.60|
|55||Laveranues Coles||CIN||at BAL||52.40|
|58||Louis Murphy||OAK||at NYG||50.40|
|60||Braylon Edwards||NYJ||at MIA||48.60|
|61||Miles Austin||DAL||at KC||48.00|
|T-61||Darrius Heyward-Bey||OAK||at NYG||48.00|
|63||Keenan Burton (Q)||STL||MIN||47.40|
|64||Chris Henry||CIN||at BAL||46.80|
|65||Andre Caldwell||CIN||at BAL||45.80|
|68||Johnnie Lee Higgins||OAK||at NYG||39.40|
|69||Joey Galloway||NE||at DEN||38.20|
|72||Jacoby Jones||HOU||at ARI||34.80|
|76||Sam Hurd||DAL||at KC||31.60|
|77||Andre Davis||HOU||at ARI||31.40|
|78||Limas Sweed||PIT||at DET||30.40|
|80||David Clowney||NYJ||at MIA||27.40|
|81||Mike Thomas||JAC||at SEA||26.20|
|82||Malcom Kelly||WAS||at CAR||25.80|
|84||Julian Edelman||NE||at DEN||23.60|
|T-84||Mike Wallace||PIT||at DET||23.60|
Start: DeSean Jackson, Eagles. McNabb is back, but the speedy Jackson has been doing just fine without him, gaining 250 yards and scoring two TDs in his last two games with Kevin Kolb under center. If he’s facing a bad secondary, Jackson will be a great play in most weeks, and the Buccaneers’ secondary has been pretty bad. Again, my only concern will be McNabb’s accuracy as he deals with the extra layer of protection.
Start: Pierre Garcon, Colts. Mais oui! Garcon has went from fantasy afterthought, to new Colts starter, to every-week player in the span of a few short weeks. This week he’s facing a Tennessee secondary that has been awful all season, consistently giving up big play after big play. You know the attention is going to be on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, so look for Garcon to get behind the defense once, and for Peyton Manning to make the Titans pay.
Sit: Ted Ginn, Dolphins. After an 11-catch game against the Colts in Week 2, Ginn has disappeared over the last two weeks, catching just one pass (four a whopping four yards) in that two-week span. If that’s not enough of a deterrent, he draws the Jets this week, who feature shutdown cornerback Dwight Lowery. To be honest, I wouldn’t even waste Lowery’s talent guarding Ginn at this point if I was pulling the strings for New York.
Sit: Braylon Edwards, Jets. Now now, you Jets fans probably have visions of TDs dancing in your head after acquiring the former third-overall draft pick. While it’s entirely possible, I’d take a wait-and-see approach with the punch-happy receiver before inserting him into my lineup. If it was me, I’d use him as a decoy as much as possible, because there’s a danger of dropped passes with him at this point. Coach him up, and get back to me in a few weeks, Braylon.
Update: Jerricho Cotchery didn’t practice on Saturday, and it’ll be hard waiting on him for his Monday night game. If you have other options, use them. Roy Williams is completely out, so he belongs on the bench. Give the other Cowboy WRs a bump up. I’ll assume Wes Welker plays again this week, but who knows what Bill Belichick will do. Steve Breaston should play — hopefully, since the matchup is sweet. Odds are Kevin Curtis is out, since he didn’t practice on Friday. In the same game, Antonio Bryant will need to play for the Bucs to have any chance. The Rams WRs will probably play, but you’re not playing them anyway.
|1||Dallas Clark||IND||at TEN||99.40|
|2||Jason Witten||DAL||at KC||94.40|
|3||Tony Gonzalez||ATL||at SF||87.80|
|5||Chris Cooley||WAS||at CAR||85.00|
|7||Owen Daniels||HOU||at ARI||81.80|
|9||Dustin Keller||NYJ||at MIA||77.80|
|10||Heath Miller||PIT||at DET||74.80|
|11||Visanthe Shiancoe||MIN||at STL||73.00|
|12||Zach Miller (Q)||OAK||at NYG||72.60|
|14||Kellen Winslow||TB||at PHI||70.40|
|16||Kevin Boss (D)||NYG||OAK||65.24|
|17||Robert Royal||CLE||at BUF||62.60|
|18||Marcedes Lewis||JAC||at SEA||62.40|
|21||Ben Watson||NE||at DEN||59.80|
|26||Daniel Coats||CIN||at BAL||51.20|
|29||Martellus Bennett||DAL||at KC||41.80|
Start: Dustin Keller, Jets. When I’m having trouble deciding whether or not to roll with my TE or snag a one-week play off the wire, I like to look at how many points a defense is giving up to players at a particular position. For the Dolphins, Keller’s Monday night opponent, they’re allowing the fourth-most points to tight ends on a per-game basis. Now, their first three games were against Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, and Antonio Gates, so use that information however you like.
Start: Vernon Davis, 49ers. Davis now has three touchdowns in his last two games. The Falcons gave up over 60 yards and a touchdown to a rotation of tight ends against both the Patriots in their last game (Chris Baker, Ben Watson) and the Panthers the week before (Jeff King, Donte Rosario). Davis is reliable every-week starter anyway, so get him in your lineup this week. — NH
Sit: Zach Miller, Raiders. I really can’t believe Miller is ranked as high as he is, considering the ineptitude of the Raiders offense. Our group is choosing to have faith that the passing game of the Raiders will get things fixed. The only positive sign I see on the horizon is the eventual return of receiver Chaz Schilens, with whom JaMarcus Russell has displayed great chemistry in the past. He won’t be back this week, and I’d bench Miller as a result.
Sit: Anthony Fasano, Dolphins. Most people had Fasano in the top 20 or so of tight ends before the season, but he certainly hasn’t lived up to even that modest billing so far this year. The Miami tight end has only managed four catches total this season, and hasn’t gone over 10 yards in any game. He’s nothing more than waiver-wire fodder at this point. — NH
Update: Zach Miller practiced and should play, but I still recommend not starting him unless you have to. Kevin Boss isn’t going to play, and you should have dropped him already.
|1||Ryan Longwell||MIN||at STL||92.00|
|3||Nick Folk||DAL||at KC||83.60|
|4||Stephen Gostkowski||NE||at DEN||83.00|
|7||Kris Brown||HOU||at ARI||80.60|
|8||Adam Vinatieri||IND||at TEN||80.00|
|11||Jeff Reed||PIT||at DET||77.00|
|12||Josh Scobee||JAC||at SEA||75.20|
|13||Jason Elam||ATL||at SF||75.00|
|16||Shayne Graham||CIN||at BAL||71.00|
|T-16||Shaun Suisham||WAS||at CAR||71.00|
|20||Billy Cundiff||CLE||at BUF||69.80|
|T-20||Jay Feely||NYJ||at MIA||69.80|
|24||Sebastian Janikowski||OAK||at NYG||64.80|
|27||Shane Andrus||TB||at PHI||60.80|
Start: Ryan Longwell, Vikings. Good kicker in a dome against a bad defense? Yes, please!
Start: Josh Scobee, Jaguars. Scobee may not be the league’s most reliable kicker (three misses in 2009 so far) but the Jaguars are giving him plenty of chances. Scobee has made at least one field goal in each game this year, including three in last week’s offensive explosion against Tennessee. If you are scouring free agency for a replacement kicker this week, Scobee may be your best option. — NH
Sit: Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders. The Giants have allowed just three field-goal attempts in the first three weeks of the season (along with seven extra points). They’re the only teams currently allowing less than one FG attempt per game.
Sit: Jason Hanson, Lions. Constantly overlooked in Detroit, Hanson is having another good season (7-7 so far). However, this week the Lions play a tough Pittsburgh defense that has only allowed three field goals on the year. Not a good matchup for Hanson. — NH
Start: Buffalo Bills. Of the potential FA defenses in your league, we’re head-over-heels for the Bills this week. Despite being banged up all season, the Buffalo defense has done a solid job of scoring fantasy points, sitting in the middle of the pack this season. After a six-sack game in Week 4, they’re taking on the Browns, who’ve given up the third-most points to fantasy defenses this year.
The Browns are about as good a matchup as you could want for your fantasy defense. The Browns offense is a mess after switching quarterbacks and trading away their best wide receiver. Cleveland has allowed the third most sacks this year (13) and thrown the second most interceptions (8). This would be a good week to grab the Bills’ defense off free agency and plug ‘em in. — NH
Sit: Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are tied for 10th among fantasy defenses this year, doing a great job of racking up sacks in the first two weeks and turning turnovers into touchdowns the last two weeks. However, they face a multi-faceted Baltimore offense that has been beating teams through the air and on the ground this season. Tackle Jared Gaither will miss the game for the Ravens, moving dominant rookie Michael Oher to the blind side (Michael Lewis fans appreciate that one).
Sit: Tennessee Titans. You probably don’t have to be told this, but the Titans’ defense has experienced a sharp drop-off from last season. The winless Titans are giving up 27 points per game, and only have six turnovers through four games. And, of course, it doesn’t help that they are playing one of the league’s best offenses this week, the Indianapolis Colts. — NH
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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