Week 8 Startability Index (Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em)
In an effort to broaden the eyeballs coming our fair site, I added Reddit to our cocktail of social media late last week. Other than liking and disliking random pieces of content, it was tough to ascertain the site’s intricacies. Well, when I submitted my Week 7 Startability Index, I got the same reaction (not in the nicest terms, either). Apparently our Startability Index is not self-explanatory – who knew?
Please allow me explain. By ranking players prospects for the week between 1-10, the Index is a blend of start/sit and player rankings. My hope is that it’s a useful tool because instead of a definitive start or sit, you can see how a player is ranked by his point value for the week in comparison to others. and make you decisions accordingly. Two running backs vying for your flex spot may receive a (6) and a (5) here respectively, or they may both receive a (7). In my “ranking” system there may be ties. And honestly, that is somewhat by design because heading into a given week those two running backs may truly have almost the exact same point projection, so here they get the same Startability Index score. Then it’s all about your gut. But, for the most part, you will find descrepencies when comparing players and hopefully find this a useful tool to aid your decisions.
Now that I’ve utterly confused you even more so, let’s get to this week’s list. If you see someone not listed that you would like covered, please request in the comments section below.
Carson Palmer at Kansas City (6): Palmer has put up big yardage numbers each of the last two weeks and will probably stay in the 25-30 passing attempts category. Kansas City’s defense looked weaker than it had all season last week vs. Tampa Bay. But with the Chiefs playing at home and the intensity of this rivalry, it’s hard to go any higher with Palmer.
Philip Rivers at Cleveland (8): Forget interceptions and think touchdowns. Rivers has two in each of his last three games. Cleveland has given up 15 of the passing variety.
Mark Sanchez vs. Miami (6): In typical fashion, Sanchez’s numbers are all over the place this year. His connection to Jeremy Kerley seems to be strengthening, and he is playing at home. Also the Dolphins run defense may leave Sanchez no choice other than to air it out.
Mike Vick vs. Atlanta (7): Oh Vick, always the toughest call of the week. The Falcons have allowed two of their last three opposing quarterbacks to put up sizeable numbers (the exception, Kirk Cousins, doesn’t count.) Andy Reid have never lost coming off a bye, and with all the overtones of pressure in this one, I’d give Vick one more shot. And I’d also pick up Nick Foles off waivers just in case.
Vick Ballard at Tennessee (4): Ballard performed last week with 84 yards on the ground. But there are a few issues for Ballard owners this week: 1) Donald Brown returned to practice and could play. (Yeah, that’s the biggie.) 2) The Colts have been a different team on the road this season, on that stagnates offensively.
Felix Jones vs. New York Giants (4): Jones didn’t do much of anything last week against the Panthers, and owners were dismayed to see he only had two more carries than fellow back Phillip Tanner. Jones has also been dealing with a knee bruise this week. While still the starter in DeMarco Murray’s absence, he’s not the best play until he really thrives in the replacement role.
Mikel Leshoure vs. Seattle (7): Leshoure put up a decent game last week against the top rushing defense in the league. Now he gets a break as he only has to face the sixth best rush defense in the league! Leshoure didn’t approach a 100 yards on the ground but ran well enough that Detroit can feel comfortable handing it off to him, especially with an effective offensive line. Leshoure with 4 catches a game is a more solid play in PPR leagues.
Rashad Jennings at Green Bay (4): Jennings is a huge step down from MJD, as evidenced by his replacement performance of 44 yards on 21 carries against the Raiders. Although Jennings did find the end zone last week. he is set up to have a tough time against the Packers who have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 1.
Darren Sproles at Denver (5): Sproles has been an underutilized talent this year, netting about 60 total yards per game. After his 13 catches in Week 2 vs. Carolina, he has not seen brought in more than 5 any game. And he’s a non-factor on the ground. The Broncos secondary really emerged in that crazy Monday Night Football game against the Chargers, and I just don’t see this week, on the road, as the one where Sproles goes off. But he is definitely a favorite on red zone plays inside the 10-yard line.
Eric Decker vs. New Orleans (8): Decker has caught a touchdown in each of his last three games. The Saints have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers. A must start.
Chris Givens vs. New England (7): Givens has one catch of at least 51 in each of his last four games. Assuming he grabs another, he should have a chance to add six points against a Patriots secondary that was given up 16 passing touchdowns.
Brian Hartline at New York Jets (5): Hartline has done very little since his Week 4 253-yard performance. The Dolphins have been talking all week about how they plan to get Hartline infiltrated back into the offense. But that also makes me think the Jets, playing at home, will be ready.
Cecil Shorts at Green Bay (4): With 79 yards, a touchdown and 10 targets, Shorts came up not short last week. But I don’t love him heading into Green Bay against an improved secondary playing the best they have all year. Mike Mularkey is going to keep Shorts involved in the offense but this is one of those games where there could be no offense for Jacksonville (see Rashad Jennings).
Titus Young vs. Seattle (5): Young had his best game of the season last week and is the leading contender to take over for Nate Burleson, who is out for the season. However, It is hard to have any confidence in the Lions passing game at the moment, particularly when passing a Top 10 pass defense in Seattle.
Chris Cooley at Pittsburgh (2): This is your friendly neighborhood reminder that Chris Cooley was cut for a reason and we have no clue if he’ll be used in any viable manner. Proceed with caution.
Vernon Davis at Arizona (6): Davis hasn’t done anything since Week 5 against Buffalo. The 49ers passing game is going awry, and some think the NIners are shifting as far to the run as possible. I believe that Harbaugh has to get Davis involved in the offense for this team to be a real contender. Unfortunately Harbaugh forgot to tell me if that was happening this week. Davis had one catch for 32 yards in last year’s game at Arizona.
Brandon Pettigrew vs. Seattle (4): Pettigrew hasn’t done much since his Week 2 touchdown. He is not a terrible start because he does get between 4-8 targets a game, but with fumble issues and inability to run after the catch, he may disappoint yet again.