Week 4 Start/Sit: Solving the Bye Week Blues

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Week 4 Start/Sit: Getting You Ready for a Win

- By Chet Gresham

With the byes here your lineup choices are getting more difficult. We will try to help you out with this weeks start/sit:

Start ’Em


Jay Cutler:
He went into hostile Seattle territory last week and put up good fantasy numbers. This week he gets a horrid Detroit pass defense (340 yards to Jason Campbell!) at home. Cutler should have the best game of his young Bears’ career.

David Garrard:
He’s facing the Titans poor pass D and is coming around a little from his poor start. Tennessee’s D won’t completely stop MJD, but enough to make the Jags throw more than they would like.

Jason Campbell:
He is purely a situational starter and this week at home against a poor Tampa pass defense is the right situation. Last week he exploited a poor Detroit secondary and he should be able to do the same this week. Clinton Portis is hurting and they will have to rely on the pass yet again.

Running Back

Darren McFadden:
JaMarcus Russell hurts his value no doubt, but Houston is just plain pitiful on rush D. They have given up a leagues worst 205 yards per game on the ground along with a league high 8 touchdowns.

Cedric Benson:
He gets the Cleveland Browns who are about as bad as the Texans on rush D. Cedric Benson, so far, has disproved a lot of analysts and has run strong every game. He won’t have to be all that great to have a good game against the poor Browns defense.

Donald Brown:
He had somewhat of a coming out party in Arizona and should build on that. Coach Manning has only one goal and that is to win games. Brown gives them their best chance to do that. The Seahawks will be traveling and are still banged up. There is no reason to think the Colts won’t get up early and then run the ball so they can get home for dinner on time.

Wide Receiver

Nate Washington:
The Jaguars have given up an incredible 77% completion rate this year. Kerry Collins isn’t Dan Marino, but he’ll get the ball to Gage and Washington and I believe Washington is going to take over that top wide receiver position. He could make that move this weekend.

Johnny Knox:
The Lions give up large chunks of real estate to wide receivers and Johnny Knox is fast enough to gain a lot of real estate quickly. He’s not getting targeted enough to start every week, but against Detroit you’ve got to get him in there.

Terrell Owens: He ended with no catches last week. This week he gets the Dolphins pass D which has given up 15.5 yards per reception. If Edwards and Owens can’t get it done this week he will need a miracle to become worthwhile this season.

Sit Down!


Mark Sanchez
: The guy has guts and poise and all the intangibles, but the Saints pass D is better than some of their numbers look. They’ve only allowed 3 touchdowns to 7 interceptions, and they’ve also held opposing quarterbacks to a 54% completion rate. They give up a lot of yards because they are usually far ahead and are getting thrown on. Sanchez will have trouble in the Big Easy.

Brett Favre: He wants revenge and he gets the biggest stage to look for it, but the Packers’ pass D is a ball hawking bunch and will pick Favre once or twice as he tries to force the ball in an attempt to beat his old team. He could win the game on some last second heroics, but I don’t think his numbers will be great.

Matt Cassel:
He has yet to get an easy matchup this year. The Giants pass D is playing slightly above their heads, but they are getting the job done and I’m scared of starting a QB against them. The Chiefs will be at home, but the Giants have only given up 124 yards per game through the air and 2 touchdowns while intercepting 5.

Running Back

Marshawn Lynch:
He will need to be eased back into the offense and the Dolphins run D has been pretty good this year giving up only 66 yards per game. Does this mean start Fast Freddie? I think so, he should get a lot of looks in space.

LaDainian Tomlinson:
You drafted him early and you’ve been waiting for him to heal so you can start him, but this is the Steelers D and LT could be limited. Hold off a little longer and hope he doesn’t get hurt n Pittsburgh, or on the bus.

Fred Taylor:
You may have picked him up after a good game last week, but he gets the Ravens and their NFL best run defense. Sit him down, way down.

Wide Receiver

Dwayne Bowe: He looks like he’ll play this week, but hamstring injuries can reoccur. Add to that the Giants’ NFL best passing defense and you have a good sit candidate.

Marques Colston:
Darrelle Revis is a giant killer. He shut down Randy Moss and Andre Johnson and now he gets Colston. Do you really sit Colston? Probably not. He’s your starter! But if you happen to be stacked at WR with good matchups I would.

Roy Williams:
The Broncos’ pass defense has been insane. They’ve given up no touchdowns through the air and have 5 interceptions. I don’t know how they can keep it up, but they will be at home and Champ Bailey should be able to handle Williams.

This Start/Sit was authored by Chet Gresham.


Week 4 Start/Sit: Use Your Head, Not Your Hope

- Article by Ken Meringolo

By week 4, we know a lot about the teams and players in the NFL. We know which receivers are getting targeted the most, which running backs are getting the most yards per carry and where defenses are weakest, among other things. Our start and sit decisions therefore, become more and more calculated as opposed to relying on a belief that a guy should be able to get it done. Of course there will always be a fantasy owner who looks like a genius for drafting Glen Coffee and starting him in Week 4 (ohboyohboyohboyohboy….I can’t wait to collect those points this week). But around the league there are plenty of easy decisions to make, and if you pass up an easy decision for a hunch or a hope, you are decreasing your chances of cashing in at the end of the season.

Start of the Week

Jay Cutler, QB CHI - Cutler will get his chance to explode this week against the third worst defense in overall passing yards allowed. The Lions have also allowed the most passing touchdowns and with Forte yet to impress, I see Jay Cutler going for it all in the air. Like many of you, I see that the interweb is jammed with people telling you to start Bears players this week. Don’t outsmart yourself. If you have a Bears offensive player this week, play them, especially:

Devin Hester, WR CHI/Greg Olsen, TE CHI – These two should benefit from a very weak secondary that even the Redskins were able to dominate (in a loss). The Lions have not done a great job against the tight end and Devin Hester is every bit as fast and dangerous as Santana Moss—who just dropped 178 yards on the Lions.


Carson Palmer, QB CIN
– Carson has yet to blow up this year for his patient fantasy owners. But you have to remember that he sat out the majority of the preseason so he lost some time to get his rhythm. Three weeks and in and he looks confident and comfortable. I predict the first breakout game of Carson Palmer’s comeback will come against the Browns. Palmer has had some epic fantasy days against Cleveland, including the 400+ yard, 6 TD performance in 2007. He might not get to 400 this week, but I definitely see 300+ yards and 3 TD’s.

Darren McFadden, RB OAK
- I know…his fumbling issues and lack of scoring don’t necessarily warrant a lot of consideration. but his talent is undeniable and the Houston Texans are the worst run defense in the league. The Raiders do a great job of committing to the run so you know they will be handing off to McFadden plenty. Consider this as his last chance to prove early in the season that he is going to anchor your battery of running backs.

Mike Sims-Walker, WR JAX - As I wrote earlier this week in the Fantasy Mailbag, David Garrard is starting to develop a nice rhythm with MSW. The Jacksonville passing attack has been depressing for a long time now, but this week they face the porous Titans’ passing defense. Keep in mind also: MSW is in that magical “third year” for wide receivers. A third-year wide receiver always makes some noise, and MSW stands an excellent chance to become the next to do so.

Chris Cooley, TE WAS – You didn’t think I would roll with zero Redskins this week did you? They get the 0-3 Bucs and Jason Campbell has been helping Cooley put together yet another Pro Bowl resume early this season. With Clinton Portis banged up and Jim Zorn loading up on the passing game, I expect screens and dumpoffs to Cooley to replace the running plays that Zorn would otherwise call.

San Francisco, DEF
– Last week I urged owners to reserve Adrian Peterson (sacrilege!) out of the respect I have for Singletary’s impact on this defensive unit. The 85 yards AP got on the ground were more than I thought he would get, but still nothing special. This week against St. Louis, the 49ers will stuff Steven Jackson and have their best overall defensive performance of the season. Something I always think about when it comes to defense: stopping the run is not about talent or coaching—though both certainly help. Stopping the run is about heart and effort. You have to want to put your nose into the line of scrimmage. You have to be willing to sell out against lead blockers and set up your teammates for tackles. Mike Singletary knows this as well as anyone alive. And his attitude is sinking in with his young team.


Matt Cassel, QB KC
– He faces the #1 ranked pass defense this week in the Giants and he doesn’t have Randy Moss or Wes Welker to bail him out. It’s going to be a long day for Cassel…it’s going to be a long year for Cassel.

Derrick Ward, RB TB
– He is not even getting 40 yards a game on the ground to begin with, but you have to believe Washington is going to sit on the run and make Josh Johnson beat them in the air if he can. Sorry Tampa fans, but there is not a single matchup that favors you in this game…except of course the fact that Redskins have proven generous enough to let other teams get their first win of the season against them.

Derrick Mason, WR BA
L – Not many Derricks I like this week. The New England passing defense has not allowed an opposing wide receiver to score a touchdown yet this season and at some point Joe Flacco has to down to earth anyway, right?

Benjamin Watson, TE NE – Wes Welker’s absence has hurt Watson this season, as he has drawn some underneath attention that may have otherwise been paid to Welker. Not to mention Watson put up a nice chunk of his numbers at the end of the Buffalo game anyway. Against the Ravens, Watson should have a very long, quiet day.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DEF – Do I have that much respect for the Redskins? No. But whenever an otherwise bad team gives a quarterback his first start, you have to believe that defense is going to be on the field all day long.

Frontline Player to Reserve This Week—If You Dare

Aaron Rodgers, QB GB – I know some people are already suggesting he won’t have a huge game against the Vikings so it may not be as shocking as me advising you to sit Adrian Peterson last week. But if you have Aaron Rodgers on your fantasy team, chances are you have him cemented in your starting lineup regardless of matchup or news. The Brett Favre factor should be minimal, as I think Rodgers has been dealing with that all along anyway. But the Vikings defense has looked great against the pass this year, allowing under 170 yards per game and they will be chasing down Rodgers all night long due to his banged up offensive line. If you can stomach putting a guy who you probably drafted as your top quarterback on the bench, you should do it this week.

This Start/Sit was authored by Ken Meringolo.


Week Four Start/Sit: Solving the Bye Week Blues

This week there will be several fantasy faces missing due to the first bye week of the season, and several teams sporting new quarterbacks due to injuries or flat-out failure to perform. Quarterback shake-ups were felt in Miami, St. Louis and Tampa Bay in week 3. The Buccaneers have opted to bench Byron Leftwich and go with their 3rd string QB, Josh Johnson this week. Meanwhile the Dolphins lost QB Chad Pennington to a season-ending injury, and seem prepared to go with Chad Henne, though they did sign Tyler Thigpen from Kansas City. Finally, the winless Rams lost Marc Bulger to an injury that may keep him out this week as well. Kyle Boller played well in his stead, and he will probably play this week, too. Unless you're desperate because of a bye week blunder, none of these guys should be on your fantasy squads anyway.

The Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals are all playing golf this week, or filming Chunky soup commercials. That means the following fantasy studs are on the bench:

QBs - Kurt Warner, Matt Ryan and Donovan McNabb

RBs - DeAngelo Williams, Brian Westbrook, Michael Turner, Tim Hightower and Jonathon Stewart

WRs - Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, DeSean Jackson, Roddy White, and Steve Smith

TEs - Tony Gonzalez and Brent Celek

And of course, the Eagles #1 fantasy defense.

--Plug and Play Buys for Week 4 --


About a month ago I wrote an entire article on potential bye week fill-ins based on which defenses allowed the most points to QBs in 2008. Several of those teams are the same through the first three weeks of 2009, though there have been some surprises, like Tennessee at number two. One QB I was highly recommending for the bye week  was Joe Flacco, however, he's had such a great start, he's no longer a fill-in, but a starter. Looking at who is left, these are the five guys that are in line for solid fantasy match-ups who could be available in some leagues, or could be on the bench on some rosters.

Shaun Hill, SF - Hill faces a St. Louis defense allowing the 4th most fantasy points to QBs, and they've only played Seattle, Washington and Green Bay. Hill makes a great bye week buy.

Carson Palmer, CIN - Statistically Cleveland, as bad as they've been, have been pretty solid against quarterbacks so far. However, Palmer throws a lot, and RB Cedric Benson will help the Bengals open up the pass game since the Browns can't stop the run.

Jason Campbell, WAS - I know the Redskins offense has been putrid, but perhaps not as woeful as the Bucs defense. And you might be surprised to know, Campbell is just outside of the top 10 in fantasy points, and ahead of guys like Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Matt Ryan. I like him this week against Tampa.

David Garrard, JAX - The Houston Texans blew up the Titans, then the Jaguars blew up the Texans. This week the Jags face the Titans. Garrard is always a consistent and solid player, but this week, with the Titans shutting down the Jags run game, he'll be throwing more.

Brett Favre, MIN - Outside of last week's last minute game winner, Favre hasn't done much to scream fantasy prowess this season, but this week he faces his old team, who have allowed the 6th most points to quarterbacks.

--Running Backs--

Running backs are often the hardest bye week players to replace because any RB with a fantasy pulse is usually on someone's roster already. Here are five potential plays to cover the bye week blues.

Glen Coffee, SF - Frank Gore is out for a couple of weeks, so get yourself some Coffee and enjoy some nice production against the Rams.

Tashard Choice, DAL - Marion Barber might be back this week, but now Felix Jones is hurt, meaning Choice is a strong play for at least the next two games.

Maurice Morris, DET - My least favorite but probably available if you're looking. Kevin Smith might miss at least one week, and that means Morris is the Lions' running game in week 4 if Smith is in fact out.

Donald Brown, IND - In 10 - 12 team leagues, Brown should still be floating in the waiver waters. He's primed for a solid game against the Seattle Seahawks this week.

--Wide Receivers--

Not only are we out some big receiver names in week 4, but one of the year's surprise pick-ups, Laurent Robinson, is lost for the season. Pickings are getting slim. Here are a handful of week 4 plays.

Antwaan Randle El, WAS - Back to how bad the Bucs are again (worst against WRs). Campbell has to throw it to someone, and beyond Santana Moss, Randle El has been his top target, though Malcolm Kelly is a nice sleeper as well.

Michael Walker-Sims, JAX - Or is it Sims-Walker? How does a guy get two last names, anyway? The Titans are second worst against the pass, which is why they are second worst at surrendering points to WRs and QBs. Walker has looked solid the last two weeks.

Johnny Knox, CHI - Or Earl Bennett, take your pick. The Lions are terrible against the pass, and Cutler likes both these guys. One or both are likely available on waivers this week.

Josh Morgan, SF - Both Morgan and Avery (below) were supposed to be hot sleepers this year and both have simply been asleep so far. But both face each other this week with defenses prone to surrendering WR fantasy points, so it's worth the shot they wake up this week.

Donnie Avery, STL - See Morgan above, and factor in that Avery is now the only legit WR threat for the Rams with Laurent Robinson gone.

--Tight Ends--

Tight ends are having a nice start to 2009, playing above and beyond typical fantasy norms for the position. Here are three week 4 TE plays, I also write a full TE start sit.

Vernon Davis, SF - Davis finally broke out last week, and has an even more favorable match-up this week. He's a solid week 4 start.

Anthony Fasano, MIA - The team that has given up the most fantasy points to tight ends is the Buffalo Bills who have surrendered 246 yards and 4 touchdowns. That's more than 80 yards and a TD per game. Having Chad Pennington out hurts, but whether Tyler Thigpen or Chad Henne start, they will need a reliable set of hands to catch the ball, and that's Fasano.

Jermichael Finley, GBP - This kid was the big sleeper buzz in the preseason, then real games came and he's been invisible. This week's Monday night game against the Vikings could change that. The Vikes have given up the third most yards (222) and are tied for second most TDs (3) to tight ends. If Finley doesn't do something this week, he never will.

--Week Four Start and Sit--

Generally, I always recommend starting your top picks, regardless of match-ups, barring injury, of course. It is obvious that you'll always play guys like Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees. I try to save this list for guys who are not always obvious starts.


Tight Ends





Eli Manning, NYG

Derek Anderson, CLE

Greg Olsen, CHI

John Carlson, SEA

Jay Cutler, CHI

Kyle Orton, DEN

Dustin Keller, NYJ

Kellen Winslow, TBB

Kerry Collins, TEN

Matt Cassel, KCC

Kevin Boss, NYG

Randy McMichael, STL

Trent Edwards, BUF

JaMarcus Russell, OAK

Owen Daniels, HOU

Zach Miller, OAK

Mark Sanchez, NYJ

Seneca Wallace, SEA

Tony Scheffler, DEN

Jason Witten, DAL

Wide Receivers

Running Backs





Kevin Walter, HOU

Lee Evans, BUF

Marshawn Lynch, BUF

Julius Jones, SEA

Vincent Jackson, SDC

Ted Ginn, Jr., MIA

Cedric Benson, CIN

M. Jones-Drew, JAX

Steve Smith, NYG

Any Raiders WR

Darren McFadden, OAK

Larry Johnson, KCC

Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ

Dwayne Bowe, KCC

Ronnie Brown, MIA

Ryan Grant, GBP

Nate Burleson, SEA

Calvin Johnson, DET

Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG

Any  Browns  RB

Team Defense






Denver Broncos

Dallas Cowboys

Shayne Graham, CIN

Nick Folk, DAL

Cincinnati Bengals

New York Jets

Rian Lindell, BUF

Ryan Succop, KC

Washington Redskins

Indianapolis Colts

Shaun Suisham, WAS

Mike Nugent, TB

Here is my complete Week 4 ~ Start and Sit Team Defense and IDP

Written by Rustyn Rose

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