Every week of the 2011 NFL season I will be putting out an article of the top “starts” and “sits” for the upcoming week in fantasy football. Keep in mind that no one can predict what will happen on Sunday’s and I encourage everyone to make their own decisions, but hopefully I can provide some insight. Players I deem as good “starts” for the week I think will have a better than projected week and should find a way into your starting lineup. On the other hand players I name as “sits” I personally would rather find room on my bench in favor of someone else. Of course when it comes down to week to week decisions you always start your studs, and just because I think Ben Roethlisberger is “sit” worthy doesn’t mean you necessarily have someone worth starting over him. Take it for what it is worth and good luck this week.
-Phillip Rivers(start): Phillip Rivers has thrown for 713 yards through the first two weeks producing solid fantasy numbers. That being said Rivers hasn’t even come close to his ceiling and has really been held back by his turnovers. This week Rivers gets the Kansas City Chiefs whose defense hasn’t been able to stop a thing this year allowing 89 points in the first two games combined. Expect Rivers to have a massive day in this divisional matchup.
-Colt McCoy(start): Colt McCoy hasn’t done anything to write home about, but at the same time he has played two consistent games in which he looked promising. This week McCoy gets the pleasure of throwing against the Dolphins secondary who has allowed nearly 750 passing yards and 6 touchdowns this year. Not only does this matchup bode well for McCoy, but there has been talk throughout the week of the Browns looking to limit Peyton Hillis. This means McCoy might have to shoulder the load this week giving him the chance for a big game.
-Eli Manning(sit): The Manning’s haven’t had the greatest of year so far. After Eli’s miserable two performances to start the year he might be wishing he was in his brother’s position. Not only has Eli continued to be turnover prone, he also lines up across from the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. At first glance the combination of Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham might seem like it could actually be a good test for the stout Eagles secondary. Keep in mind that both Nicks and Manningham are pretty banged up, knee inflammation and concussion respectively. Plus the Eagles secondary did a pretty decent job in containing a similar offensive threat last week in Roddy White and Julio Jones.
-Ben Roethlisberger(sit): Unfortunately for Ben Roethlisberger he plays behind arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. Last week Ben somehow managed to escape the game after taking a hit to his knee that would render most left sitting on the sideline for the remaining of the game. It is likely that Roethlisberger will miss significant practice time this week and the offensive line isn’t getting any better. If the Seattle Seahawks found ways to get to Big Ben, I don’t see why the Colts can’t. Start Ben with a lot of caution because at this point who knows if he will finish the game on the field.
-Ahmad Bradshaw(start): The only way the Giants can win this game is if they run the ball successfully against the Eagles. Ahmad Bradshaw is going to have to be a big part of that. The Eagles have been exposed in two straight weeks through the run game, allowing 300 yards and 2 touchdowns via the ground game. It should also be noted that last week with Giants receivers banged up Eli Manning seemed to check down to Bradshaw often. This allowed Bradshaw to record 5 catches for 45 yards. Expect more of the same this week.
-Ben Tate(start): Last week I went out on a limb deeming Arian Foster a sit and it paid off. This week I can’t help but feel the same, which is why Ben Tate seems to be a great play. Tate recorded his second 100 yard rushing game of the year and chances are Foster’s hamstring is not going to be up to par. Texans coach Gary Kubiak even made a statement early in the week that Tate should be expected to “carry most of the load right now.” Start Tate with confidence as he has shown he can produce week in and week out if given touches.
-Reggie Bush(sit): Owners got excited after Reggie Bush’s week one performance but in reality that may have just been a blip on the radar. Daniel Thomas put out Bush’s fire as he made his rookie debut last week rushing for over a hundred yards. Simply put, Bush just isn’t meant to run in between the tackles and be an every down type back. With the emergence of Thomas expect Bush’s role to continue to dwindle to where he is only liable to be a PPR (points per reception) flex play.
-LeSean McCoy(sit): McCoy has had an incredible start to the 2011 season. It certainly is a gut call, but I foresee McCoy struggling in this matchup against the Giants. The New York Giants front four has looked good this season by successfully containing the run in two straight games. It should also be noted that the last time the Giants played the Eagles, McCoy struggled amassing only 77 total yards and no scores. At the same time I feel Vick will play this week and is bound to have a monster week against a secondary that has struggled this year after being riddled with injuries. It is likely you don’t have a better option but don’t be shocked if McCoy fails to keep his hot streak rolling.
-A.J. Green(start): A.J. Green has had an impressive start to his rookie season managing to find the end zone in both his first two starts. Not only has Green looked impressive but Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton, has really turned things around too. After an insane 10 reception week, Green runs into the San Francisco 49ers who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year. Miles Austin sure didn’t have any issue reaching the pay dirt three times against the 49ers. With Green’s physical talents there is no reason he can’t find his way to six points either.
-Dexter McCluster(start): Jamaal Charles suffered a devastating ACL tear last week that will leave him on the injured reserve for the rest of the year. In Jamaal’s place, steps up Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster. If you lost Charles for the season I personally would rather add McCluster. Thirty-three year old Jones has looked slow and worn down throughout this year and this preseason. McCluster not only presents more upside in his big play ability, but the fact that he can be played as a wide receiver and will get running back touches is a loop hole that could bring value to fantasy owners.
-Greg Jennings(sit): Greg Jennings has been a big part of the success of the Packers pass game. Despite his solid final numbers of 55 yards and a touchdown it should be seen that all this came from only two receptions. The worry with a wide spread offense like the Packers is that week to week there is no telling who will have a big game. Against a stingy Bears defense Jennings might not be as likely to find the end zone like he has been.
-Plaxico Burress(sit): Clearly Plaxico Burress is going to be a boom or bust type play this year. Week one he totaled 72 yard and a touchdown, but last week he recorded no catches on only two targets. Plaxico simply isn’t the receiver in the middle of the field that he used to be. Although because of his height and jumping ability, he is still a red zone threat. He has continued to be hobbled by his numerous ankle injuries and can’t seem to them behind him and stay healthy.
-Rob Gronkowski(start): This may look like a bad matchup for Rob Gronkowski at first look but the the Buffalo Bills are allowing the fourth least points to opposing tight ends so far this year. A deeper look into the stat shows that they really haven’t played any teams with stud tight ends and they certainly haven’t played Tom Brady. With Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots other integral tight end, out with a sprained MCL, Gronkowski’s targets are bound to increase. This man is a touchdown machine, make sure to get him in your lineup.
-Evan Moore(start): Evan Moore isn’t a well known name and is probably available in the majority of fantasy leagues. Moore has plenty of upside this week if you need a flier at tight end. Colt McCoy has continued to look to Moore in the red zone, allowing him to find the end zone in each of the first two games of the season. This week Moore gets to face the Miami Dolphins who have surrendered three touchdowns to tight ends in the first two weeks. Moore is bound to get his.
-Kellen Winslow(sit): Kellen Winslow just hasn’t quite lived up to his draft position yet this year. Although he has been getting a solid amount of receptions , the yardage total and touchdowns just aren’t there. With so many other options at tight end this year, it might be time to look elsewhere.
-Vernon Davis(sit): Vernon Davis is in a similar situation as Winslow. Davis is known as a top tight end but unfortunately the 49ers offense just hasn’t found a way to get the ball to Davis in crucial situations. Unfortunately for Davis, when the 49ers get down into the red zone they pound the ball with Frank Gore. With so much of tight ends value being reliant on touchdowns, it is hard to keep playing Davis week after week with such mediocre performances.
-Chargers(start): Not necessarily known for their fantasy defense, the San Diego Chargers get a dream matchup in the Kansas City Chiefs. Through two games the Chiefs have only been able to put up 10 points. Regardless of whether or not the defense creates turnovers, if you are playing a team that has averaged only 5 points a week your going to be productive as a fantasy defense. That being said, it is likely that the Chargers get up early in this game via their explosive offense and force the Chiefs to have to gamble creating mistakes and turnovers.
-Bears (sit): The Chicago Bears really struggled last week with their matchup against the New Orleans Saints allowing 30 points. This week they must take on the Green Bay Packers, a very similar offense. Aaron Rodgers is nearly impossible to stop at times, and although the Bears have a good defense there are better matchups out there this week.