Sunday, November 2, 2014

Last Minute Fantasy Start'ems and Sit'ems: Week 9

RG3 is back this week and facing the hapless Vikings, so you should totally start him, right?
 By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

In a jam choosing between two borderline starters this week? I've got your back with my last-minute start'ems and sit'ems. Let's get right to it.


Quarterback: Brian Hoyer, Cleveland

Matchup: Vs Tampa Bay, Sunday at 1 pm

At this point you could probably just start any quarterback facing the Bucs, who are giving up over 292 yards per game to opposing QBs (2nd worst in the league), but Hoyer's remarkable consistency is what makes him a great start in a week of turmoil. With Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, and even serviceable plug-in Kyle Orton all on byes, plus Tony Romo sitting out this week due to injury, you may just need somebody serviceable this week.

Enter Hoyer, who has thrown for at least 200 yards in every game this season and, other than a head-scratching stinker against Jacksonville, has coupled that with a touchdown each week as well. Never mind the fact that Hoyer has thrown only two interceptions all season and is going against one of the worst pass defenses in the league at home, and that every game is now a must-win for the Browns who are suddenly a threat in the AFC North race.

Expect solid numbers of the 250 yard, 1-2 TD, 0 TO variety.

Running Back: Denard Robinson, Jacksonville

Matchup: At Cincinnati, Sunday at 1 pm

Many are pointing to the other running back in this game as a must-start (Cincy's Jeremy Hill will get a full workload with Giovani Bernard out due to injury), but I'm going to ride a mini-hot streak from this former Michigan quarterback.

"Shoelace," as he used to be called during his days in Ann Arbor, has the speed to take it to the house at any time, and he's made the most of his 40 carries the last two weeks, piling up 235 yards, good for 5.9 yards per carry. What's more, the Bengals are far worse against the run than Jacksonville (run defense is just about the only thing the Jags don't do terribly) surrendering nearly 22 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, the 6th-worst total in football.

Expect a 20 carry day from Robinson, and a third consecutive 100 yard performance. The only question will be if he can find the end zone. The less-than-punishing Robinson has just one rushing score all year as the Jags often turn to either quarterback Blake Bortles or Toby Gerhart near the goal line.

Wide Receiver: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston

Matchup: Vs Philadelphia, Sunday at 1 pm

Hopkins has emerged as a reliable Flex and WR2 starter in recent weeks, piling up over 200 yards on over 18 yards per catch the last two games out. He was Houston's only reliable threat in a meltdown against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, and followed that up by making the most of his five catches against Tennessee last week.

With veteran Andre Johnson slowing down and Hopkins gaining the trust of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, expect a big day against the porous Philly secondary. If the Eagles jump on top of the Texans early, all the better, as Houston may be forced to throw a bit more than it wants to, leading to increased targets for Hopkins.


Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Washington

Matchup: At Minnesota, Sunday at 1 pm

I know, it's tempting. Your normal starter in on a bye or hurt, and RG3 is making his comeback against the Vikings… THE VIKINGS!? THEY STINK!!

All true, but Minnesota has actually been very good against opposing fantasy QBs, holding them to under 15 fantasy PPG (2nd best in the league behind Detroit), and this is RG3 we're talking about. He's just as likely to tear some critical ligament in his leg as he is to score multiple touchdowns. So, until Griffin strings together multiple HEALTHY and productive games, I'm viewing his as just another big name that can't produce.

UPDATE: It seems that Washington can't even make it to the game without putting RG3 in danger.  Their team bus crashed en route to the stadium, leaving several players shaken up and at least one officer from the team's police escort hospitalized. RG3's ligaments are all intact, though, so he will still start.

Running Back: Tre Mason, St. Louis

Matchup: At San Francisco, Sunday at 4:05 pm

After getting 18 carries and rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' upset of Seattle two weeks ago, Mason became a hot fantasy commodity. But last week's disaster against the Chiefs brought him back down to Earth, as St. Louis moved back to a running back by committee approach and the offense sputtered.

After only 7 carries last week, Mason may see his workload jump back up again this week, but facing the dominant 49ers run defense won't be a walk in the park. I'm still buying Mason long-term, because I think the Rams will realize what they have an feature him again, but this week I'm definitely keeping him on my bench.

Wide Receiver: Terrance Williams, Dallas

Matchup: Vs Arizona, Sunday at 1 pm

The Cardinals are surprisingly friendly to opposing WRs, and Williams has produced at least six fantasy points every week this season. Still, much of that has come in games where he received limited targets, but cashed in by scoring in the red zone. With Tony Romo out, expect the Cowboys to lean on DeMarco Murray like never before (and that's saying something), and when fill-in starter Brandon Weeden goes to the air, he'll likely be looking for play-maker Dez Bryant, or security blanket Jason Witten.

With already limited touches and a now a backup QB, Williams may get lost in the shuffle.

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