The "don't bench your studs" argument, if it were universally accepted, would probably cut down the start/sit questions by about half. And, I have to admit that I was royally burned once on a 'bench LT' call last year I think it was. He ended up scoring 3 TDs and a bunch of yards against a top-rated rushing defense and there's a similarly heated discussion going on right now. But, I've also saved my bacon more times than that by benching a 'stud' for a B+ player with an awesome matchup (Turner or TJones this year).
And I know there are people loyally starting some former studs that I think should be downgraded. Surely there must be a way that a bunch of FF nut-jobs like us (how's that for buttering up?) can better define a 'stud' so that we don't miss some great games while not forcing people to beat themselves over the head with the same players.
So, I have a few definitions that I wanted to circulate for opinion, commentary and abuse as you see fit.
Definition 1: A stud is someone that is your number 1 draft pick.
This definition states that you were the first person to pick and you picked LT (in past years Priest or Alexander or what have you). It was the call of every sports magazine, internet website and with all of that wisdom behind it, you should plug and play that guy week in week out irrespective of how they've performed in the year or their matchup. They are your stud. You picked them to fill that role, now trust them to fill it.
Definition 2: A stud is someone that has the potential for a really big day.
This definition states that not only does the player have a very reliable outing history, but they can really blow up for 3-4 TDs and a mess of yards. Thus, even if they have some down days, they're a stud because they have a tremendous potential. And if you don't start them and they have monster day, you wouldn't want to miss it.
Definition 3: A stud is someone that has good days even against top defenses.
This definition states that the player will have yards and scores very reliably even against very tough matchups. Take Peyton Manning's 3 TD day vs. Baltimore. Suggests a level of play that is so high that he deserves the start every week.
Definition 4: A stud is a player that you can reliably expect to have decent yardage and a score.
A very reliable and consistent player.
ALTERNATIVELY When do you downgrade someone from a stud to a really good player but you might not start them every single week depending on matchup? Again, this is a frequent topic.
Downgrade and start playing matchup if:
1) A key injury makes them unreliable. Randy Moss gets downgraded from stud because Tom Brady is hurt. TJ Housh or Chad Johnson b/c of Palmer's injury. TO because of Romo's injury. 2) The majority of the games they have played (say a minimum of 5?) they have underperformed for what you would expect for a stud. 3) Their play is obviously affected by matchup OR they underperform vs. the best defenses to a detrimental degree.
Of course, once I can get some opinions on this, I'll be asking folks to provide a list of players you think are studs and the biggest debate will probably be LT vs. Pit. He probably went #1 in most leagues, has been injury hampered, has had some high scoring days but also has struggled for yardage, particularly when the team gets behind and they chase through the air with Rivers. Stud or no stud?
BTW, I do not personally endorse any of the definitions above so please don't attribute them to me. It's just stuff I've heard like everyone else.
It's got to be definition 3. In a few leagues, Lynch went near the end of the first round; however, it would not be at all foolish to bench him in certain matchups (probably not this week, because he's playing Cleveland, though). However, that still disproves #1.
As for #2, Reggie Bush has so much talent that he always has the potential to have a big day. Does that mean you should never bench him? Of course not. Depending on who you have, Bush could be a guy who should be only used as a bye week RB.
Regarding #4, that isn't a bad definition, but it's not a very good one either. Having a consistent player like that is great and he should be played nearly every week, but he's not an auto-start. For instance, lets say that you have a guy like that as compared to a guy who sometimes puts up huge games and sometimes puts up basically nothing, who is in a good matchup. A lot of times, you'd play the "stud" anyway; however, if you're facing up against a juggernaut team who 9 out of 10 times will destroy your team, it very well might be the right decision to play the high-risk/high-reward player.
However, with #3, you should nearly always start him. If he can play well against any defense, you don't really have to worry about matchups and if he's THAT good that not even a great defense can completely shut him down, I really doubt the rest of your team is good enough that you can justify sitting this stud.
I agree that you never sit your studs according to reason #3. The trick is that "Once a stud, always a stud." is not true. You have to know when to downgrade someone from stud status, or upgrade them as need be. That is why you can't just read a FF magazine, or listen to everything Yahoo! sports says, these are things that you have to go with your gut on, and the right answer may not become clear to you until it's too late.
Defintely #3. I would add that injuries to your own stud (not just the supporting cast like the Brady/Moss example), make the decision more difficult to play him. For example, Tony Romo this week. He goes against a top defense (not a problem for a stud) but is coming off an injury. How will he perform? Is it better to sit him for a week if you other viable options? Something else to think about...
"There is no charge for awesomeness or attractiveness." - Po (Kung Fu Panda)
Although I like #3, I think it has to presume that the player does NOT do very badly against weak or normal strength defenses as well. For example, a player may run so hot and cold that they may have a few games that are good against top defenses but surprisingly have poor days vs. weaker defenses. Or at least they should have an asterisk for their stud standing.
The most common 'toss-up' seen on the sit/start forum is if you have a stud going against a top defense and an otherwise okay player but not a stud against a very weak defense. A very good player against a very weak defense, and the fans typically say to start them which makes sense. It's the 'okay' player against a weak defense that's the interesting play.
Some examples from this week would be Hightower vs. Seattle (obviously a disaster), Ryan vs. Denver vs. things like LT and Rivers vs. Pittsburgh.
These are the types of questions that seem to populate the sit/start forums a lot. I think that to start a matchup over a stud, you'd want the other player to have a reasonable likelihood of a 'good day'.
So, I think that a 'good day' would be 10 points for a RB or WR. That's either a hundred yards or 40 yards and a score or so. For QBs, I think a 'good outing' would be more like 14 points. That'd be about 200 yards and a touchdown.
So just to refine my definition of a Stud: 1) Should perform well vs. top 10 defenses: Their 'average' over those games should be more than 14 points for a QB (200 yards and a TD) or 10 points for a rb/wr. (40 yards and a TD or 100 yards) 2) Should perform well vs. bottom 10 defenses: No more than one poor game vs. the bottom 10 defenses (defined as less than 200 yards and a TD for a qb or less than 40 yards and a TD or 100 yards for a rb/wr).
Does that seem pretty reasonable to everyone? If so, I'll probably start analyzing the top qbs/rb/wr for 'studliness'.