Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last Minute Fantasy "Start'ems and Sit'ems:" Week 3

I know starting Mike Wallace is scary, but you're just going to have to trust me this week.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Last week my picks didn't work out so well.

I told you to sit Jay Cutler, who threw for four touchdowns, and told you to start Jake Locker, who threw for over 230 yards and a touchdown, but also had a pair of picks against the horrific Cowboys defense.

I also picked the wrong New England running back (we've all been there), told you to start Golden Tate (though his 5 catches for 57 was better than the guy I told you to sit, Pierre Garcon, who had 1 catch for 12) and told you Chris Ivory wasn't likely to score another touchdown.

Ivory had a bad game against Green Bay, just 43 yards on 13 carries, but dammit, he scored again!

So, why will this week be any better? Because there's no way I can be that wrong two weeks in a row, right? If anything, you can start using these columns to do the opposite of what I say. So, without further ado, here are your last minute fantasy Start'ems and Sit'ems for Week 3.


Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington
Matchup: At Philadelphia, Sunday at 1 pm

Are you stuck with an inconsistent star quarterback who's fantasy basement scares the hell out of you (Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, etc)? Well then, my friends, Kirk Cousins is here to save your day.

Cousins played well last week filling in for the (perennially) injured Robert Griffin III, completing 22 of 33 passes for 250 yards and a pair of scores.

If he plays a whole game, look for him to replicate those numbers against a Philadelphia defense that ranks in the bottom-10 for fantasy points allowed, and in a game where points should be plentiful.

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England
Matchup: Vs Oakland, Sunday at 1 pm

I know, I know, picking a Patriots running back is like playing the lottery, but Ridley earned himself 25 carries last week against Minnesota, and delivered with over 100 yards and a touchdown.

This week, the Patriots face a terrible Raider run defense that is giving up over 200 yards per game on the ground on over 5 yards per carry. Add in the fact that the Patriots have re-committed themselves to the ground game, and Ridley could be a Top-5 fantasy back this week.

I swear to God, if this is the week Belichick finally starts giving the ball to Shane Vereen…

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami
Matchup: Vs Kansas City, Sunday at 4:25 pm

Speaking of boom or bust, that has pretty much been Wallace's fantasy (and reality) career, but we're in a boom period for the speedy wideout. Wallace has a touchdown in both games to start the season, and has been targeted a healthy 19 times this year, after Ryan Tannehill occasionally forgot he existed in 2013.

It seems clear that Wallace has established greater rapport with his young quarterback this season, and with the prospect of facing a banged up Kansas City defense at home looming, I don't see why this can't be Wallace's breakout game of 2014.


Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh
Matchup: At Carolina, Sunday at 8:30 pm

Not much really to say here except that 1. Roethlisberger doesn't throw touchdowns on the road for some reason, and 2. only the Seahawks have allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Panthers since the start of last season.

Add in the fact that Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense have played exactly one good half this year, and I'd avoid the usually effective quarterback. You can start him next week against Tampa Bay.

Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh
Matchup: At Carolina, Sunday at 8:30 pm

Sensing a trend here? Basically, I'm avoiding the Pittsburgh offense like the plague this week against arguably the best defense in the league. If you have other options with better matchups (Ridley, see above, Joique Bell vs Green Bay or even Danny Woodhead vs Buffalo), I'd go with them.

It's not a knock on Bell, who's been great when given the carries this year, it's that he's not getting the opportunities. Due to an off-target day by Roethlisberger and some interesting play-calling by OC Todd Haley, Bell didn't get a single carry in the red zone last Thursday against Baltimore. This week against a Panthers unit that has allowed the fewest rushing TDs in football, I'd look elsewhere.

Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco
Matchup: At Arizona, Sunday at 4:05 pm

Crabtree started the season slow, with only two catches on four targets while battling a calf injury, but bounced back nicely (though his team didn't) last week against Chicago. He turned a team-high 9 targets into 7 catches for 82 yards and a score, but don't expect the same kind of offensive free-for-all against Arizona this week.

Also expect Crabtree to be matched up against star corner Patrick Peterson. While Crabtree has fared pretty well against the Cardinals on the whole, many of his best performances came with Peterson out due to injury, or on the other side of the field covering Anquan Boldin. With Crabtree fully healthy and established as the Niners' go-to-guy, look for Peterson to follow him everywhere he goes.

Not saying he'll be shut out or anything, but there are MANY better matchups this week.

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