Sunday, September 14, 2014

Last Minute Fantasy "Start'ems and Sit'ems:" Week 2

Patriots running back Shane Vereen could be in line for an increased workload and bigger fantasy numbers this week.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We'll see how regularly we can keep this going, but this is the first week of SuiteSports' last minute fantasy football advice.

We're going to try to do this every Sunday morning, though it will likely depend on the kind of Saturday fellow editor Jeremy Conlin and I have.

Don't feel bad, that's the same attitude I have toward my 77 fantasy teams as well.

Just kidding, I only have three, but it seems like 77 sometimes when I find myself simultaneously rooting for and against every wide receiver in the league.

Anyways, here are some guys you may want to plug in or pull out before kickoff today. Obviously, you're going to want to start the Peyton Mannings and LeSean McCoys of the world every week, but here are some guys on the border of a QB1, WR2, RB2 or Flex spot.


Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals
Matchup: At NY Giants, Sunday at 1 pm

Oh Carson Palmer, the guy I always liked as a fantasy quarterback and loathed as a reality quarterback. The Cardinal signal caller has quietly put up better numbers than you think, and had himself a solid game against the Chargers last week, throwing for 304 yards and a pair of scores with no interceptions.

Expect a repeat of that performance against a Giants secondary that looked lost at times against the Lions last week. With the emergence of receiver Michael Floyd, look for Palmer to again be solid, and a bounce back game from Larry Fitzgerald could make this a flat-out great performance against a bad pass defense.

[Ed. Note - shortly after publication, the Cardinals announced that Palmer would be inactive and Drew Stanton would start in his place. We do not recommend playing Stanton unless you're in a super-deep two-quarterback league and your only other option is whoever ends up starting for the Rams. If you're looking for an on-the-bubble quarterback play, we suggest Jake Locker against the miserable Dallas defense.]

Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots
Matchup: At Minnesota, Sunday at 1 pm

Starting a Patriots running back is always frustrating, but Vereen seems to be deserving of more touches after New England's disappointing week one loss in Miami. The versatile back led the team in rushing with 36 yards and a score on only 7 carries (5.1 YPC), while adding 35 yards on five catches through the air.

It also helps Vereen fantasy owners that his main competition, Stevan Ridley, was so ineffective, rushing for only 21 yards on a team-high eight carries (2.6 YPC), and only catching two check down passes for 7 yards. Of course, his fumbling issues from last year could still be in the minds of the New England coaching staff as well.

One final thing to keep in mind is that the Patriots threw 56 times last week and lost badly. Look for a renewed commitment to the run and screen game (something they didn't do well against the Dolphins), and I would expect Vereen to be the beneficiary in both cases.

Golden Tate, WR, Lions
Matchup: At Carolina, Sunday at 1 pm

Tate may not seem like a slam-dunk start in smaller leagues after only being targeted six times against the Giants, and with a Carolina's defense looking so good against Tampa Bay last week. But keep in mind that Tate caught every ball thrown his way for 93 yards (15.5 YPR) and that last week was his first regular season game working with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Look for each player's comfort to grow this week, and for Tate to be targeted closer to 10 times as Carolina's secondary focuses on Megatron. When they do, don't be surprised if the reliable Tate burns the Panther defense for around 100 yards and a touchdown.


Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
Matchup: At San Francisco, Sunday at 8:30 pm

Well, let's start with the obvious things: Both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey are doubtful for tonight's game, and San Francisco has one of the best defenses in football.

If that isn't enough, just remember that he turned the ball over twice at home against Buffalo, and coach Marc Trestman has been hearing all week how star running back Matt Forte needs the ball more. If you have somebody like Palmer (mentioned above), or even a guy like Jake Locker going against the Cowboys' porous defense, I'd start them over a Cutler.

Chris Ivory, RB, Jets
Matchup: At Green Bay, Sunday at 4:25 pm

A lot of people in big leagues were forced to plug a random Jets running back into one of their RB2/3 (depending on the league) and Flex spots last week, and the ones that chose Ivory were handsomely rewarded to the tune of 102 yards and a touchdown.

That's great, but remember that 71 of those yards came on a single run, meaning Ivory's other 9 carries went for 31 yards (3.4 YPC), and that was against Oakland. The Jets also handed out 24 carries to Chris Johnson, quarterback Geno Smith and Bilal Powell.

Unless you think Ivory is going to rip off a 70-yard TD every week, he's waiver wire fodder, especially this week when the Jets could be playing catch up all day against Rodgers and the Packers, forcing Smith to put it in the air (a scary thought).

Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington
Matchup: Vs Jacksonville

Garcon was actually a redeemable fantasy start last week in Washington's embarrassing loss to Houston, amassing 77 yards on 10 catches. If you're in a PPR league, he served you quite well. If you aren't, he didn't do poorly enough for you to pull him out of the lineup this week.

Well I'm here to tell you that you should, because the RG3 you know is dead!

Well, at least he still isn't back to being RG3 yet. The Washington quarterback looked stiff and uncomfortable in the pocket last week, and relied on a familiar face in Garcon to catch all of his dink and dunk passes thrown with little confidence.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice that Garcon was targeted on 12 of Washington's 37 pass attempts (a third of RG3's throws). That ranks second in the league for targeting one player behind Jordy Nelson, who drew 14 of Aaron Rodgers' 32 pass attempts, mostly to avoid Richard Sherman on the other side, and just ahead of Calvin Johnson's 11 targets on Detroit's 32 pass attempts.

I assume even Jacksonville's coaching staff will attempt to force RG3 out of his comfort zone.

With defenses adjusting and hurrying Griffin, plus the emergence of DeSean Jackson, look for Garcon's numbers to dip in the coming weeks.

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