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 Steven Jackson 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.
-Tim Tebow(start): Tim Tebow has finally arrived. In week five Tebow replaced Kyle Orton and it is hard to say you couldn’t see it coming. Denver has been begging for the young “prodigy” to lead their Broncos since the start of the season. For fantasy purposes, Tebow is very similar to Cam Newton given the fact that they are both essentially the goal line running backs on their team. This added rushing value is great for fantasy, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that Tebow gets to open his season against a weak Dolphins secondary currently allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
-Curtis Painter(start): Curtis Painter has not been nearly as bad as most would have suspected after being named the starter due to Kerry Collins injury. His rapport with wide receiver Pierre Garcon has grown into a reliable connection. This week the Colts take on the Saints. The Saints average almost 19 fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and are inept to giving up the big play. With Pierre Garcon’s blazing speed, it would not be a shock to see him break off a long touchdown, substantially boosting Painter’s numbers. Painter isn’t a terrible start this week with quarterbacks such as Brady, Vick, Flacco, and Fitzpatrick out due to bye weeks.
-Carson Palmer(sit): Carson Palmer was traded to the Raiders early this week at the end of the NFL trade deadline. Going forward Palmer will have decent value as a second tier quarterback, but fantasy owners should not get too excited this week. Raiders coach Hue Jackson has not yet determined if Palmer will start this week. Although it is unlikely, if Palmer were to start it would not be advised to immediately insert him into fantasy lineups. Not only has Palmer not been playing football, but he will certainly need the week eight bye to fully grasp the Raiders playbook and at least develop some kind of rhythm with his receiving core.
-Matt Ryan(sit): Matt Ryan has been disappointing this year posting three weeks with 12 or less fantasy points. Atlanta’s run game has flourished and it is well known that when the Falcons get down into the red zone they look to run the ball. On top of that, is seems likely with an upcoming bye week that the Falcons will rest receiver Julio Jones for another week. Regardless of the issues on his own side of the ball, Ryan faces the dangerous Detroit defense that has been great against quarterbacks this year. With the Falcons offensive line troubles Ryan is sure to be pressured and brought to the ground numerous times by the scary good pass rush of the Lions.
-Earnest Graham(start): Earnest Graham took over the starting role in Legarrette Blount’s absence in week six and did so with authority. Graham rushed for over 100 yards and looked about as explosive as a 30 year old running back could. This week Graham takes on the Bears who are allowing the second most yards per carry to opposing running backs. Not only should Graham be able to get it done on the ground this week, he also is one of the best pass catching backs in the league making him double trouble for the Chicago defense.
-Michael Bush(start): Michael Bush has had some decent fantasy games this year because of his ability to successfully convert goal line carries. More importantly, Bush should see an uptick in touches this week with Jason Campbell being knocked out of the offense. The Kansas City defense hasn’t been good against the run all year, allowing six rushing touchdowns in five games. The Raiders know they are going to have to pound the ball to win this game and Bush will be an integral part of that game plan.
-Steven Jackson(sit): The Dallas run defense has continued to be impressive posting another week of allowing under 90 rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns. At the same time, Steven Jackson hasn’t been all that impressive either. With Bradford struggling early on, defenses have continued to key on Jackson. This game is likely to be over within the first half and the Rams will have to throw the ball a lot if they have any hope of making it a game. Chances are this will likely lead to the Rams showcasing their newly acquired toy, Brandon Lloyd.
-DeAngelo Williams(sit): After a huge week five DeAngelo Williams regressed back to his pedestrian rushing numbers last week posting 44 yards. The fact is Williams is a great running back, but the way in which he is used in the Panthers offense does not bode well for fantasy. With Cam airing the ball out week after week there has only been slightly over 20 touches a game for the Panthers running backs, and Jonathon Stewart does his part in taking 6-8 of those away from Williams. Unless Williams finds a way to break a long one, his fantasy numbers are likely limited.
-Roddy White(start): Roddy White continued to be a disappointment last week recording just two catches for 21 yards. While he certainly hasn’t lived up to his preseason ranking, owners shouldn’t give up hope and White should be in a starting lineup every week. With Julio Jones likely out, White knows he has to step up his receiving duties and carry the workload that his team expects out of him. The Falcons play the Lions this week, and although Chris Houston is a solid cornerback I feel like Roddy will show this week why he was drafted as one of the top wide outs in the league.
-Doug Baldwin(start): Doug Baldwin is probably a name that not many will recognize yet but he has made sure to make himself noticed on the field. In Baldwin’s last two games he has totaled 220 receiving yards and one touchdown, essentially passing Sidney Rice as the Seahawks top receiving option. This week the Seahawks take on the Browns who will again be without cornerback Joe Haden, making Baldwin’s task much easier. For owners in need of a bye week replacement at wide receiver or flex, Baldwin is a name to keep in mind.
-Santana Moss(sit): Santana Moss was contained by the Eagles secondary last week catching just two balls for 38 yards. While up until the Eagles game he had been pretty reliable as a receiver, it is hard to bet on him with John Beck throwing the ball. Against a viable Panthers secondary it is tough to start Moss with much confidence. If possible wait a week to see how the chemistry between Beck and Moss develops.
-Santonio Holmes(sit): Santonio Holmes has pulled himself out of his early season slump with a receiving touchdown in back to back games. Unfortunately Holmes has significant downside because of how much Sanchez has been spreading the ball around. Holmes’s numbers of 6.5 targets and 3.3 receptions per game backs his lack of production. His lack of targets combined with a matchup against the San Diego Chargers, who have only allowed two receiving touchdowns all year is worrisome for his fantasy totals this week.
-Kellen Winslow(start): Kellen Winslow has not lived up to the hype he created last year. Winslow has yet to score a touchdown and has only eclipsed 50 yards receiving twice this year. If there is any week for Winslow to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke it is this week, as the Buccaneers line up across from the Chicago Bears. The Bears are currently the worst team against fantasy tight ends. Winslow, being a guy who might have even been dropped in some leagues, is worth a start this week.
– Lance Kendricks(start): Lance Kendricks was a trendy preseason sleeper at the tight end position but hasn’t quite panned out just yet. Good news for fantasy owners is his targets continue to be there, and his hands have improved as Kendricks has recorded two straight games with 4 receptions. The addition of Brandon Lloyd will only help Kendricks. With Lloyd’s presence on the field, Kendricks will finally have a true number one receiver lining up next to him that will be sure to open up space for him to work the middle of the field.
-Jared Cook(sit): Besides one long touchdown in week four against the Browns, Jared Cook really hasn’t been that impressive. At best Cook is a matchup play week to week. Against the Texans who rank third against opposing tight ends for least points allowed, the matchup simply isn’t there for Cook to have any real fantasy value.
-Jermichael Finley(sit): It would be hard to imagine in the beginning of the year that Jermichael Finley would ever be a sit. Coming into the season Finley was drafted by many as the next guy to put up Antonio Gates type numbers. Finley hasn’t had the abundance of targets some expected, and for the most part many of his catches have been of the short yardage/check down type. As hard as it is to say, it is getting to the point where owners may be better off looking elsewhere.
-Cowboys(start): The Cowboys defense has been pretty good overall minus week four against a stout Lions offense. This week the Cowboys defensive unit gets the pleasure of taking on a Saint Louis Rams team that has given up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses this season. Not only is that news great, but Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has been in a walking boot all weekend and is no guarantee to play. Expect big things out of this defense that could be available in numerous leagues.
-Jets(sit): The Jets defense has been great all year long and they currently rank third amongst fantasy defenses. The game against the Chargers could possibly be concerning for owners. Phillip Rivers and the Chargers are coming off a bye week so they are assured to be rested and fully game planned for the Jets. Another reason for concern, is the large turnover numbers from Phillip Rivers, which for the most part are typical for him.