We're done with the first quarter of the 2011 NFL season which means it's time for bye weeks to begin and bye weeks can be the bane of any fantasy football team's existence and with the Browns, Ravens, Cowboys, Dolphins, Rams and Redskins all out this weekend, deciding who to start and who to sit can get pretty confusing.
Hopefully this will help.
|Matt Ryan QB Atlanta Falcons -- Start|
This game has the potential to be a shootout. The Atlanta Falcons will be hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night and that means that Matt Ryan will be going up against the leagues second worst passing defense.
The Falcons passing game is starting to get on track and with Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez as receivers, Matt Ryan could have a big day, especially if the Packers get out to a lead and force Ryan to throw the ball more than he usually would.
|Matt Schaub QB Houston Texans -- Sit|
This may be tough to do, especially with bye weeks cutting down on available quarterbacks, but if you have a better option, I would sit Matt Schaub this week and here's why:
Andre Johnson makes Matt Schaub and this week there will be no Andre Johnson.
Without Johnson in the lineup, the Texans' receivers become exponentially easier to cover, even by Oakland's No. 22 ranked defense. If you have a better option, you should go with it because Schaub will likely just put up mediocre numbers until he has his No. 1 receiver back.
|Fred Jackson RB Buffalo Bills -- Start|
Don't let a 66-yard performance against the Cincinnati Bengals scare you -- the Bengals have the best defense in the NFL and Johnson was blanketed all day. This week the Bills will be facing the Philadelphia Eagles at home and will be looking to rebound from a week-four loss.
The Eagles have the third worst run defense in the league and Jackson could have a big day. The Bills are going to stick with what works and what works is running the ball with Jackson and throwing the ball to Jackson out of the backfield. There's no reason to expect he won't have a solid game.
|Any New York Jets Running Back -- Sit|
The New England Patriots have the worst defense in the NFL but that largely comes from having an atrocious passing defense. They still have the No. 18 run defense in the NFL. The Jets are the third worst team at running the ball so far this year.
Furthermore, the Patriots have the best offense in the NFL and there's a real possibility that they could jump out to a fairly large lead which would force the Jets to abandon the running game and try to pass the ball.
|Julio Jones WR Atlanta Falcons -- Start|
Julio Jones has had over 100 yards receiving in each of his last two starts and this week he'll be going up against the No. 31 ranked pass defense in the NFL when the Falcons host the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers will have to deal with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez along with Jones. Somebody's going to be open and Jones has big play potential. He's also tied for ninth in the NFL when it comes to targets.
|Deion Branch WR New England Patriots -- Sit|
Branch isn't a starter in a ton of leagues but he's owned in almost all leagues. Here's the thing, Tom Brady and Branch haven't set up the kind of quarterback-wide receiver relationship that you want in your starting receivers yet. Branch's numbers are too inconsistant to give him a go on a weekly basis. However, there are teams on bye weeks and you may feel the pressure to start Branch.
Think twice about it. The New York Jets have the second-ranked pass defense and Branch would have to go head-to-head with Darrelle Revis or Antonio Cromartie. Either way, it's not a good matchup for Branch.
|Dallas Clark TE Indianapolis Colts -- Start|
Dallas Clark has been a tough guy to predict so far this year when it comes to fantasy football, which is a testament to how good Peyton Manning really is because usually Clark is a no-brainer.
Curtis Painter is going to be the starter this week and if he has time to throw the ball he can be impressive. It won't be like having Manning back but it will be better than having Kerry Collins. If the bye week has you sweating over who should start at tight end, give Clark a spin. You may find that you don't want to take him out for the rest of the season.
|Marcedes Lewis TE Jacksonville Jaguars -- Sit|
Lewis hasn't really benefited from having a rookie quarterback like some tight ends do, acting as safety valvues. He has only five catches in Blaine Gabbert's two starts and the Jaguars are going up against the best defense in the NFL on Sunday when they host the Cincinnati Bengals.
If the Jaguars can't make their way into the red zone very often, Lewis will likely be useless for your team.
|Detroit Lions -- Start|
The Lions are hosting the Bears on Monday Night Football. Jay Cutler will walk into the stadium and he may crawl out of it. For some reason the Bears aren't interested in protecting Cutler from getting sacked a million times a game. Cutler has been sacked 15 times so far this season, which is second only to Sam Bradford.
The Lions defense has picked off seven passes (second most in the NFL) and have racked up nine sacks so far this season. Ndamukong Suh will be looking to help the Lions get to the double digits in sacks on Monday night. If they can at least pressure Cutler into throwing some hurried passes, the Lions defense could have a big week.
|Pittsburgh Steelers -- Sit|
Yeah. I said it.
The 2011 Steelers just don't look like the Steelers we're used to, especially on defense. They have the No. 22 ranked run defense in the league and they allowed Arian Foster to run over them for 155 yards and a touchdown last week.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, Arian Foster is not Chris Johnson.
I know Johnson hasn't had the best of starts so far this season but he finally went over 100 yards in week four and it seems that he's about to hit stride. Johnson also gets his fullback, Ahmard Hall, back in the lineup after he served four games for violating the league's substance-abuse police.
Get ready for a breakout game from Johnson and a bad showing by the Steelers defense.