To say the least, my first week doing the start/sit column didn’t go well; that might even be giving me more credit than I deserved.
I am not going to get every call right and I am not expecting to do that. The goal for me every week is to get about 70 percent of the calls right and hit on about 50 percent of my digging deep calls.
Well, last week I gave myself a record of 11-18-3 (11 wins, 18 losses and 3 that I consider a push for a very ugly 39 percent winning percentage); obviously that is sub par, but I hope to get back on track this week. Technically I got a win for Alshon Jeffery, but he didn’t end up playing so I am not giving myself that one.
If I pick someone to be a start and he gets six points it’s a loss, but it isn’t devastating. However, when I say sit Tom Brady and he goes off (like last week) that call really hurts, as it is a huge difference in a matchup.
If you want to go straight to the recommendations scroll on down. The next few paragraphs are some housekeeping items about what I am looking for when I pick players from here on out.
I didn’t mention this in last weeks article but this is what I consider a “push” for each player. In other words if I say a player is a start I expect more than these numbers, and if I say he is a sit I expect the final outcome to be lower. This is based on standard scoring using decimals.
I chose these as the range because typically this is what the bottom level of a starter at that position will average over the course of the season based on 2014 final numbers.
Each week I am going to try to give three starts, three sits and a deep league option for each position. I may not choose three at every position if I do not feel confident enough in a selection to advise it. I also might provide extra digging deep calls if I really like more than one player.
The baseline is going to be about 70 percent for starts. I am going to look for players started in 70 percent or fewer in ESPN leagues. Sits will vary position to position. I am not going to recommend someone I do not believe in sitting just because I need someone above a certain threshold.
The “digging deep” player will be a player who is started in fewer than 30 percent of ESPN leagues. Just remember that these picks are not highly recommended. These picks are for people in a pinch, in deep leagues or (if you want to think about it in terms of daily leagues) punt plays.
Now that all that is said let’s get on to the picks, and here is to hoping this week is better than the last!
Peyton Manning at Detroit (79% started): I know, I know I said 70 percent and my first recommendation is over that. Don’t worry this is the only one. A lot of Manning owners probably went and got a backup quarterback after what happened in week one and I saw a lot of people asking about starting him on Twitter last week. He isn’t the Peyton Manning we knew from 2013 but he is still a top 10 quarterback and he gets the Lions who got torched week one by Phillip Rivers and run all over last week by Minnesota. Start Manning with confidence this week. This team is definitely at its best when he is in the shotgun.
Carson Palmer vs. 49ers (49% started): Palmer wasn’t drafted as a starter in many leagues, but he should have been. Like I said last week, this team is built to throw, and now it gets a 49ers defense that was torched by Antonio Brown last week.
Cam Newton vs. Saints (49% started): Last week I called him a sit because of how bad the receivers are in Carolina. That doesn’t really matter though because Newton put up 13 points just with his legs alone. He is a start for what he can do on the ground and anything he does in the passing game is just gravy.
Nick Foles vs. Steelers (4% started): I went with a quarterback against the Steelers last week and I am again this week. Foles had a good week against the Seahawks before struggling last week. The Steelers are the perfect team to go against for quarterbacks. The Steelers want to score early and often and that can lead to a game script of a shootout or the Steelers getting a big lead and the Rams playing from behind. Not only that, but the Steelers have a terrible secondary. If you lost Tony Romo, potentially Drew Brees or you have Sam Bradford, Foles is an option that will be overlooked on the waiver wire that is easily obtainable. Foles is available in just about every league.
Tyrod Taylor at Dolphins (12% started): He has a solid floor with what he can do on the ground. If he throws for 200 yards, a touchdown and rushes for 40 yards that is 16 points a week. He is available in a ton of leagues.
Matt Ryan at Cowboys (67% started): The Dallas defense has been very good so far this year. They shut down Eli Manning week one and the Eagles offense last week. Without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant I think the Cowboys will get back to the ball control type offense they had last year while using a rotation at running back. I think this keeps Matt Ryan off the field enough to not be a great option for fantasy leagues. I also think the Cowboys focus on stopping Julio Jones and the Falcons passing attack.
Matt Stafford vs. Broncos (21% started): Injured, underperforming, facing a tough defense and (in my opinion) just not that great of a quarterback. He always has the ability to put up good fantasy numbers because of Calvin Johnson, but I wouldn’t expect anything great this week.
Colin Kaepernick at Cardinals (21% started): He did well in garbage time last week but this Cardinals defense is a lot better than the Steelers. Carlos Hyde is expected to be back, and if he plays the entire game this could mean less passing attempts. I also don’t expect the 49ers to be playing in garbage time for the entire second half this week.
C.J. Anderson at Detroit (69% started) : This might be his last chance to take keep the job. Detroit has been one of the worst teams in the NFL when it comes to points against running backs. I think Anderson is over his toe injury and the long layoff gave the Broncos time to figure out what to do with the offensive line. He might not be the top 5 option he was last season but you can’t complain if he provides top 15 numbers.
Danny Woodhead at Vikings (46% started) : He is involved in the game plan every week. All he needs is 40 yards rushing and 40 receiving to have a good day. He also gets used a lot in the red zone giving him a decent chance to score every week. He is a high floor low ceiling type start.
Devonta Freeman at Cowboys (44% started) : A lot of people drafted him as a bench player because of the shared backfield, but he has it all to himself this week. It will be the first time he will get the starter’s load in the NFL. The Cowboys defense has been good to this point this season but the Falcons typically do damage in the air leaving running room for Freeman.
Bilal Powell vs. Eagles (2% started): For this one you will have to keep an eye on what is going on Sunday morning. If Chris Ivory ends up sitting out Powell could be a top 20 running back this week. This play would be mostly based on volume rather than actual talent.
Fred Jackson and James Starks: Marshawn Lynch and Eddie Lacy are both looking questionable. If either one sits their backup would be a great play.
Dexter McCluster vs. Colts: This one doesn’t come with a condition. I expect the Colts to play well offensively and the Titans will need to play from behind using their passing back McCluster a lot. He played well with the carries he was given last week and Bishop Sankey just isn’t very good. I expect ten plus touches for him this week with the potential to reach 15.
Mark Ingram at Panthers (73% started): I am recommending him as a sit for the second straight week. I think he is a top 30 option but I would think many people have another running back and a receiver to play over him this week. He should get nice volume this week but he has not done much with his carries. Khiry Robinson is not going away and C.J. Spiller is going to keep getting more and more snaps. If Ingram can find a way to score he can be a good option but without a touchdown he hasn’t been performing. He only has 25 carries for 77 yards to this point in the season.
Lamar Miller vs. Bills (53% started): He has a bum ankle and he is going against one of the best front sevens in the NFL. This matchup doesn’t give me high expectations and the Dolphins seem reluctant to give him close to 20 carries a game.
Dion Lewis vs. Jaguars (67% started): A lot of people are touting him as a back who can play when they run and pass and that he can keep defenses on their toes and that when LeGarrette Blount is in it is almost a guaranteed run. Remember though that the Patriots have not run the ball much at all with Lewis. He has 22 carries through two weeks. He has also played 119 offensive snaps and they have thrown on 97 of those plays. So does Lewis really keep the defense off-balance or does him being in the game scream this will be pass.
Mike Evans at Texans (60% started): I am now convinced the injury is behind him and he is ready to roll. My only concern is he doesn’t have a great rapport with Jameis Winston, but if you have him you have to start him even against a tough defense.
Terrance Williams vs. Falcons (38% started): He is by far the lead man in the passing game and Jason Witten is going to be playing at less than 100 percent. Brandon Weeden is a bad quarterback but he isn’t a bad passer. He has the arm and the ability just not necessarily the awareness. So while Weeden may throw three interceptions Williams should be targeted early and often.
Allen Robinson at Patriots (62% started): The classic mantra of New England is they take away a team’s best weapon and make you win another way. That may in fact happen, but I still expect Robinson to get work. They inevitable blowout won’t hurt when the Jaguars need to play from behind as well.
Kendall Wright vs. Colts (26% started): The Colts corners are not 100 percent and I think Wright will benefit a lot. Keep an eye on Dorial Green-Beckham as well if you are looking reall really deep for an option this week.
Andre Johnson at Titans (32% started): People seemed to have got the memo on this one from the time I chose him to the time I started writing. I don’t believe he is even the number two option in that offense anymore. He might be fighting for the number three role.
Brandin Cooks at Panthers (53% started): I chose him assuming Brees would play. No Brees makes me even less interested. He hasn’t performed all that well to this point and he now has a subpar backup attempting to get him the ball.
Sammy Watkins at Dolphins (51% started): I expect Miami to finally wake up as they return home for the first time this season. Brent Grimes is a top-level cornerback. Even though Allen Robinson had a big week last week I expect them to be able to hold Watkins in check.
Davante Adams vs. Chiefs (32% started): I do not think he is 100 percent and he hasn’t locked up the number two-receiver role in the offense. James Jones has been getting the redzone looks while Randall Cobb has been the go to guy between the 20s.
Tyler Eifert at Ravens (70% started): He is locked and loaded as a top six tight end on a weekly basis. As long as you don’t have one of the elite options he should be starting for you. He also is a viable flex if you need help there.
Delanie Walker vs. Colts (21% started): He is the Titans de facto number two receiver. The offense is built around underneath passing and he should thrive in PPR leagues.
Jared Cook vs. Steelers (14% started): He might be the most talented pass catcher for the Rams. I expect them to be playing catch-up and if you are looking for a dart throw at tight end it doesn’t hurt to take a guy whose team should be playing from behind.
Crockett Gillmore vs. Bengals (12% started): He got a lot of targets in week one and did ok with them. Last week he went off for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Like Delanie Walker, I think Gillmore is the teams number two pass catcher.
Jason Witten vs. Falcons (70% started): He hasn’t been a great producer to this point and he has two sprained ankles and a sprained knee. I would find it hard for him to get any separation in coverage this week.
Zach Ertz at Jets (35% started): He isn’t the player that I, and many others, hoped he could be. He splitting time at tight end and the offense is really struggling. His only chance for a good game is finding a way to score a touchdown and not only do I not like betting on a touchdown, I don’t think Ertz can get one.
Eric Ebron vs. Broncos (31% started): The Broncos have a great defense and Ebron has been good this season primarily because he has found the endzone. He could find it again this week but if he doesn’t his best-case scenario seems to be 50 yards.
Carolina Panthers vs. Saints (41% started): Luke McCown will be starting and this defense is good. Start this defense with confidence this week.
Arizona Cardinals vs. 49ers (66% started): Kaepernick can be turnover and sack prone, which is what you are looking for when you are trying to stream a defense. Not to mention toe Cardinals have one of the better defenses in the league.
Cleveland Browns vs. Raiders (25% started): The Raiders blew up last week but I don’t see that continuing. Also the Browns defense has been good when the offense doesn’t put them in a bad spot.
St. Louis Rams vs. Steelers (64% started): The Steelers offense has too many weapons. Roethlisberger can be prone to sacks at times but he isn’t a big candidate for interceptions. Not to mention the offense is getting back one of its best weapons and is coming off a 43 point week.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Bengals (70% started): The secondary in Baltimore is bad. The loss of Terrell Suggs hurts the defense as a whole. I expect Cincinnati to have a good day offensively.
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