Startability Index Week 13 (Start/Sit)
By: The Football Girl | Posted: December 02, 2011
Last night’s episode of “The League” brought the usual funnies, from Andre’s mixology party to Kevin and Jenny’s "powdery" cure for their dwindling sex life to Pete’s foiled plan to actually initiate a sex life.
However, it lacked something pretty obvious to those who understand the show's inherent core : any mention of fantasy football playoffs. Hello?
If you’re reading this you well know the playoffs are literally around the corner and that this the makest/breakest of all the weeks for many of us. If you have Marshawn Lynch, congrats, you’re well on you’re way. If you’re like me and sadly played against Lynch last night, you have a steep climb. But hope is never lost until you have 0 players remaining, and this week many great options stand out. I’m not a fan of projections, especially from the big sites that often predict a receiver will have a 100 yard, TD game based solely on the criteria of whether the projector has heard of him. Yet a glance at the schedule and a ride on the momentum train and this could be a big week all the way around.
So sit back, relax, down a bag of Skittles and check out this week's startability suggestions. If you want scores and general advice on anyone not listed, please ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you very quickly. Good luck everyone and hope you’re back next week for help with your playoff lineups. PLAYOFFS? (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
Sam Bradford vs. 49ers (5): Bradford hasn’t had a very good fantasy performance in several weeks, and really no great performances on the year. But since the Rams face the best run defense in the league, he’ll likely be hoisting up the ball more than normal. San Francisco’s secondary is susceptible to the big play.
Andy Dalton at Steelers (5): Dalton didn’t have a horrible first game against the Steelers with two TDs, although he only threw for 170 yards and had two picks. Unfortunately for Dalton, it looks like Troy Polamalu will play so I wouldn’t expect much better numbers in this rematch.
Matt Hasselbeck at Bills (7): The Bills injury-laden secondary is playing worse than anyone in the league right now. See Mark Sanchez + 4 touchdowns last week. The Hass hasn’t thrown for over 200 yards in a couple of weeks; otherwise, his startability number would be even higher.
Eli Manning vs. Packers (9): Manning owners are still riding high off his 400-yard passing performance of last week (Brees, who?). While he may not match that again, Manning has a good opportunity for another big game against a Packers team giving up an average of 20 points to opposing quarterbacks. Manning has done a great job of wading through his injured WR corps.
Carson Palmer at Dolphins (8): Palmer is coming off his first zero touchdown game since becoming a Raider. Still, the Dolphins secondary has given up 16 passing touchdowns and about 250 yards a game.
Mark Sanchez at Redskins (6): It’s easy to roll with the “don’t play Sanchez” rule, but last week’s 4-TD performance changed things. The Redskins usually field a strong secondary although they allowed Tavaris Jackson a multi-touchdown game last week. Plus Sanchez may look to show DeAngelo Hall he’s better than average.
Alex Smith vs. Rams (5): On the surface it would seem like Smith is good play, perhaps good for 225 and a couple of touchdowns. (Told you I love projections!) The reality is the Rams have a strong secondary that has played especially well as of late – in fact, they’re one of the few team to hold Drew Brees under 300 yards passing. The Niners will likely harken back to their traditional run-first offense, leaving Alex Smith with a so-so fantasy day.
Jackie Battle at Bears (3): Battle has been on the decline for weeks. He’s now losing touches to both Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones. The Chiefs also have a tough battle against Chicago’s nasty, turnover-inducing run defense.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Panthers (10): Blount earns my first 10 because he’s coming off two 100-yard efforts and is facing one of the worst rush defenses I’ve seen in my lifetime. His rough-and-tumble style is perfectly suited to Carolina’s feathery front seven.
Chris Johnson at Bills (7): Johnson put up one of his few bright spots last week against the Bucs and looks to be back. (I squeamishly typed that last art) He gets an even better matchup this week against the Bills who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Kevin Smith at Saints (8): If Smith continues to progress, he’ll play Sunday night at New Orleans. While he won’t be 100% with the ankle sprain, he looked tremendous against the Packers on Thanksgiving before exiting the game. He’s a legitimate hybrid threat and a definite start if healthy.
C.J. Spiller vs. Tennessee (5): Spiller looked pretty lame in his first start since Fred Jackson’s injury. He didn’t cut well or take advantage of open space. But the Titans should be a slightly easier task yardage-wise, although they’ve only given up 5 rushing touchdowns on the season.
James Starks at Giants (3): Starks appears to have recovered from the ankle injury he suffered on Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter, though, because Green Bay is a passing team first (and second and third and tenth) and Starks hasn’t come close to a 100-yard rushing effort the whole season.
Jonathan Stewart at Bucs (4): Stewart has run well as of late, but is in too crowded of a backfield to put up great fantasy numbers. The Bucs are near the bottom in run defense, though, allowing 140 rushing yards a game and 16 rushes over 20 yards.
Mike Tolbert at Jags (3): Tolbert is on a sharp decline. He hasn’t scored or even hit the 50-yard mark since Week 9. While much of it has to do with Ryan Mathews’ emergence, the sputtering Chargers offense is also a culprit.
Beanie Wells vs. Cowboys (7): Wells busted out for 228 total yards last week against the Rams. He ran well and is a great start moving forward. But the Cowboys are a much tougher foe so adjust your expectations a bit.
Nate Burleson at Saints (5): Burleson has shown some production as of late with recent games of 83 yards and 63 yards plus a touchdown. While he’s clearly not the main weapon in Detroit, he does get a consistently nice catch total. Better play for PPRers.
Plaxico Burress at Redskins (5+): Washington is one of the top teams against the pass, and the Jets passing game is wildly inconsistent. Still, Plaxico is usually good for his typical 4 catches, maybe 50-80 yards and a score. (Ugh, mae the projection bug go away!) An adequate WR2 or high-end WR3 option.
Early Doucet vs. Cowboys (3): Doucet has only topped the 50-yard mark once since Week 5. And John Skelton throwing to him isn’t doing Doucet or his owners any favors. Yet Doucet does get open in the end zone once in a while so that makes him a low-end WR3.
Percy Harvin vs. Broncos (6): Harvin is coming off a great week with 95 yards and a score, and is always an intriguing start. But the Broncos secondary has been on fire lately, not allowing a 100 yard receiver in several weeks. Harvin, as the number one receiver, will get the bulk of attention from them as well. Perhaps he’ll have better luck on the ground with a playing, but injured Von Miller.
Julio Jones at Texans (4): First off, make sure Jones is playing. As of now, he’s been missing practice with the lingering hamstring issue and is officially questionable. His return last week was invisible since he had no catches, disappointing anxious owners everywhere. Jones is such a high risk/high reward start, but against the Texans he becomes a little more risk and a little less reward.
Johnny Knox vs. Chiefs (6): Caleb Hanie loves Johnny Knox, as evidenced by Knox’s career-best 145 yard receiving game last week against Oakland. The Chiefs are tougher against the pass, but Knox should still be targeted plenty.
Laurent Robinson at Cardinals (8): Robinson is a touchdown machine. In fact, he hasn’t missed the end zone since Week 7. PPR owners have to be happy with season-high seven catches last week. Miles Austin is poised to return this week, but Robinson remains a favorite target of Tony Romo’s and a fantasy must-start.
Steve Smith at Bucs (8): The Bucs are near the bottom in pass defense, having given up 19 touchdowns in the air. Smith is clearly Newton’s biggest weapon and should targeted throughout the game.
Ed Dickson at Browns (4): Dickson had a great Week 10 performance with 10 catches for 79 yards and 2 TDs, yet he’s done nothing since. The Browns have given up good points to opposing TEs but Dickson is too unreliable to comfortably start.
Aaron Hernandez vs. Colts (8): Hernandez is coming off a 6 catch, 62 yard performance and looks to build on it against the hapless Colts. Shouldn’t be too hard.
Tony Gonzalez at Texans (7): Gonzalez has been a stud as of late, and for most of the season. Last week he had a season-high nine catches and has proven to be Matt Ryan’s favorite target (sorry, White and Jones). However, Houston sports one of the best pass defenses out there and has held down opposing tight ends pretty nicely.
Jacob Tamme at Patriots (5): Tamme has been very inconsistent, which is bound to happen when you have a quarterback carousel. This week Dan Orlovsky starts and I do subscribe to the notion that new starting QBs often look to their tight ends for security, hence the middle startability number.
Jason Witten at Cardinals (7): Romo has a lot of weapons, but they are all poised for big days against the Cards. I see Witten getting somewhere in the 5-6 catches, 80 yards, 1 score range. Not that I really want to be playing the projection game.