DAN GETS TEBOWED IN THIS WEEK'S START HIM! SIT HIM!
Have you ever heard someone say, “I would have won this week if I had just played ___________”? Maybe that player was someone they were strongly considering playing, or maybe it was someone they had buried on their bench that they haven’t played all season. Regardless, that player had a big game and they are mad that they didn’t have him in their lineup.
I can understand general frustration with sitting someone who had a big game and playing someone who didn’t, but you really can’t beat yourself up about it, especially if you weren’t even considering starting the guy in the first place.
For example: let’s say for some inexplicable reason you have Dolphins’ QB Matt Moore (who had 21 points this week) on your fantasy team. Maybe you went to high school with him or you love the Dolphins or you just have an affinity for people named Matt Moore. Then let’s say that you also have Tom Brady (15 points this week) or Drew Brees (18 points this week) as your every week starter on your team and you lost this week by two points.
Don’t tell me you are really going to look someone in the eye and say, “Man, if only I had started Matt Moore over Tom Brady/Drew Brees this week, I would have won!”
Matt Moore’s grandmother wouldn’t start him over Tom Brady or Drew Brees in fantasy.
The point is: You can’t second-guess yourself. I realize it’s frustrating when you are deciding between two guys for your flex-play and the guy you play goes for three points and the guy you sit goes for 20. I get that. But you can’t get mad at yourself because you sat Marshawn Lynch against Dallas (19 Points) and you played Michael Turner against Indianapolis (13 Points).
Just like with real football, your only job is to put your team in the best position to succeed. It’s a numbers game. You want to put the guys in your lineup who give you the highest probability of winning that week. If it just so happens that your #5 running back out-performs your #1 running back, then so be it, but you’re going to drive yourself crazy looking at what might have been if somehow you were able to see the future. If you can see the future, then stop playing fantasy football and start playing the lottery.
In fantasy, there are three possible ways to lose on a given week. The first is when you lose to someone who just has a better team than you have. Nothing you can do about it, but you can still find comfort in knowing that you did everything you could do to win; the other guy just has a better team.
The second is when you play the wrong guys and you had the winning players on your bench. This is obviously the most frustrating way to lose and will cause even the most levelheaded owners to beat themselves up. Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s nearly impossible to avoid second-guessing yourself, but for your own sanity you pretty much have to here.
The third way to lose is by playing the right guys, but just not getting the right results. It can be extremely frustrating, but that’s football. Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Honestly, it’s what helps make sports so much fun. Think about it – if you could predict exactly what would happen that easily then the games would be less interesting to watch. Sure, your trips to Las Vegas would be more lucrative, but sometimes predictability is boring.
For example, look at the two fictional teams below creatively named Team 1 and Team 2.
QB – Michael Vick
RB – Matt Forte
RB – Fred Jackson
FLEX – Frank Gore
WR – Roddy White
WR – Miles Austin
TE – Vernon Davis
QB – Andy Dalton
RB – Reggie Bush
RB – Ben Tate
FLEX – Marcel Reece
WR – Jacoby Ford
WR – Earl Bennett
TE – Anthony Fasano
Given the choice, you would obviously take Team 1 without a moment’s hesitation. Then, if your fictional Team 1 were to take on Team 2, you would probably line up your best jokes about how going against them is just like getting a bye week and how their fantasy team should be contracted from your league.
Well congratulations, because if you played them last week, then you lost 114 to 52.
But that’s NFL football and that’s fantasy football. All you can do is put your best lineup out there and hope that they perform up to their capabilities. Second-guessing gets you nowhere, and unless you actually can see the future then there is no reason to beat yourself up about playing the wrong guy after you already know the result. It’s like saying you would have gotten 100 on every test if your teacher had been kind enough to give you the answer key before you had to sharpen your #2 pencil.
Now, before we get into Week 10 it’s time to look back at Week 9’s START HIM! SIT HIM! and see how I did:
Matt Cassel – Projected * 284 yards passing, 2 TD, 1 INT (17 Points)
Actual * 253 yards passing, 38 yards rushing, 0 TD, 0 INT (13 Points)
(Note: My original selection, Kevin Kolb, sat out last week, so I moved his projection to Matt Cassel)
There are a few ways to look at this. On one hand, Cassel played a terrible game. He failed to lead his team to the end zone even one time despite having a juicy matchup at home against the winless Miami Dolphins. On the other hand, his 13 points were more than Michael Vick, Matt Schaub or Ryan Fitzpatrick had on the week. He wasn’t an elite play, but 13 points from a waiver-wire QB is fine, so we’ll grade this as a win.
Lance Ball – Projected * 62 yards, 1 TD (12 Points)
Actual * 4 yards, 0 TD (0 Points)
The idea behind the introduction was to show the difference between poor plays (or in my case, poor recommendations) and just getting poor results. This was a poor recommendation.
I took a shot in the dark that Ball would overtake Willis McGahee as the team’s starter after he saw his workload increase over the previous two weeks. It didn’t happen, and McGahee actually went on to be the top scoring fantasy RB last week with 28 points.
Denarius Moore – Projected * 78 yards, 1 TD (13 Points)
Actual * 61 yards, 0 TD (6 Points)
Moore had a respectable 61 yards receiving, but failed to score despite being targeted twice as many times (12) as Jacoby Ford, who went off for 105 yards and a TD.
This goes as a loss, though it’s one I can feel good about. If you tell me Moore is going to receive 12 targets against a bad secondary, I’m going to start him every time; it just didn’t pan out last week.
Brent Celek – Projected * I just think he’ll score (6+ Points)
Actual * 60 yards, 0 TD (6 Points)
Celek played well on Monday night, and I doubt anyone who started him is particularly upset about the decision, so this goes as a win. Yes, it’s very close and I may be bending my own rules slightly, but Celek was the #13 tight end in fantasy this past week, and unless you were seriously considering starting Anthony Fasano over him, then he was a fine option.
Raiders Defense – Projected * 13 Points, 5 Sacks, 3 Turnovers (14 Points)
Actual * 38 Points, 2 Sacks, 0 Turnovers (-1 Points)
Last week I listed the following reasons why you should start the Raiders’ Defense:
- They play Tim Tebow and the Broncos
- The Broncos have allowed 13 sacks in the two games Tebow has started
- Tebow fumbled three times last week (losing one) and threw an INT
- The game is being played in Oakland
- The Raiders have had two full weeks to prepare for this game after a bye
- This is going to be ugly
It’s safe to say that I didn’t see a 14-point win for Denver coming.
But look at the reasons I listed. Numbers 1-5 are all indisputable facts that led me to draw the conclusion that #6 was going to happen. Obviously it didn’t and I look foolish for predicting a Raiders’ blowout win, but if you tell me those same two teams are playing again next week in Oakland then I would start the Raiders’ Defense all over again. It didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean it was the wrong play.
At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself in the mirror since Sunday.
Jay Cutler – Projected * 237 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT (9 Points)
Actual * 208 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT (16 Points)
Coming into this game the Eagles were right near the top of the league in sacks, and the Bears were right near the bottom in sacks allowed. So what happened? Obviously Jay Cutler wasn’t sacked once in a game for the first time since his hairstyle was “in”.
All signs pointed towards the Eagles’ pass-rush giving Cutler fits and causing multiple turnovers. However, the Bears’ offensive line gave him time, and he picked apart what is shaping up to be a very overrated Eagles’ secondary. Great performance by Cutler and the Bears, and another humbling loss for yours truly.
Rashard Mendenhall – Projected * 43 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Actual * 52 yards, 1 TD (11 Points)
It’s a game of inches.
In the fourth quarter of their bi-annual blood bath against the Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger scrambled to the goal line and was tripped up by a defender as he stretched the ball across the plane. Originally ruled a TD, the call was overturned by replay and Pittsburgh was given a first-and-goal at the six-inch line. Predictably, Mendenhall scored on the next play to ruin one of my only solid picks on the weekend. Baltimore stuffed him all day, but in the end his 11 points were good enough to hand me another loss.
Stevie Johnson – Projected * 37 yards, 0 TD (3 Points)
Actual * 84 yards, 0 TD (8 Points)
The toughest one to grade yet. Johnson’s eight points rank him 25th on the week for fantasy WRs, which by definition makes him an average flex-play. So then I went to the top-50 RB/WRs from this past weekend – and, of course – Johnson was tied for 50th.
Essentially, Johnson was a perfectly average fantasy play last weekend. If you started him you probably weren’t upset, and if you benched him you were probably fine with it. What does that mean for me in terms of a win or a loss? Well, I said to sit him, and since he was very average I feel fine with that, so I’ll grade this out as a win.
Hey, don’t roll your eyes at me!
Heath Miller – Projected * I just don’t think he’ll score (Sub-6 Points)
Actual * 73 yards, 0 TD (7 Points)
The Ravens had allowed 15 fantasy points to tight ends all season heading into Sunday night’s tilt against the Steelers; so what do they do? Of course they surrender nearly half of that amount in one game to Miller.
No gray area here, because if I’m giving myself the win for Celek with six points, ,this clearly goes as a loss the other way.
Bears Defense – Projected * 27 Points, 3 Sacks, 1 Turnover (5 Points)
Actual * 24 Points, 1 Sack, 1 Turnover (3 Points)
The Bears’ Defense actually played better than this stat-line would suggest, but in fantasy the points are all that matter. They were only able to generate one sack and one turnover combined, which isn’t good enough to warrant a start any week in fantasy.
That concludes another week of me recapping excus– er, I mean, START HIM! SIT HIM! with a 4-6 record. In all seriousness though – the only one that sticks out as a bad pick on my part was Lance Ball; the others just yielded bad results. Can’t really be upset about that. After all, would you have even continued reading last week if I said to start Matt Moore and sit Tom Brady? I doubt it, but I would have been right.
On to Week 10!
QB Mark Sanchez – Projected * 234 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT (15 Points)
If Sanchez is appearing in the START HIM! portion of the column, then you know one of two things must be happening:
- I’m starting to believe in Mark Sanchez
- The Jets are playing New England this weekend
Unfortunately (or fortunately, based on how I’ve been doing lately) for Jets fans, it’s the latter this time around.
I’m still not completely sold on him as the long-term solution in New York, but this is fantasy we’re talking about, and Sanchez has been having a pretty solid year from that standpoint. His upside is capped by his lack of arm strength and average talent, but he gets a boost this week going against the laughable Patriots’ secondary. Look for a respectable number of passing yards and maybe even a few rushing yards this week from Mediocre Mark.
QB Matt Schaub – Projected * 215 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT (10 Points)
It just doesn’t look like Andre Johnson is going to play this week, and without him I would really hesitate to use Schaub against Tampa Bay.
The Bucs just lost their best interior defensive lineman (former 2010 #3 overall pick Gerald McCoy) for the season. It severely weakens them up front, which should mean the Texans are going to attack them on the ground, up the middle, with Arian Foster. If Johnson plays I would consider using Schaub, but without him he’s just a very average fantasy QB.
RB Roy Helu – Projected * 110 total yards, 1 TD (17 Points)
Trying to predict which RB Coach Mike Shannahan will deploy as his number-one ball carrier can be maddening. He rarely tips his hand at all before the game starts and will change course at the drop of a hat if one back looks stronger than the others.
But in Sunday’s game against the stout 49ers run-defense, Shannahan went with one guy. He handed off to Helu just ten times, but QB John Beck completed an astonishing 14 passes to the halfback for 105 yards. This looks like a trend moving forward because Beck loves to check-down to the running back – as he regularly exhibits all of the arm strength of a little league right fielder – making Helu a solid option the rest of the way.
I’ve tried guessing with Mike Shannahan before and lost, but when one guy accounts for 67% of your carries and 48% of your team’s receptions, I feel pretty good about guessing with him this time.
Prove me wrong, Mike. Come on, I dare ya.
RB Maurice Morris – Projected * 47 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Morris makes the list because somebody out there is inevitably going to look at the Lions’ matchup against the Bears and think, “That’s going to be a shootout and Jahvid Best is still hurt! I’m putting Morris in for this week.” And I’m here to tell you not to do be the one to do it.
Morris is an average talent and he splits carries with two other average/below average backs in an offense predicated on passing the ball. Morris figures to touch the ball only 10-12 times in the game and will have Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs staring back at him every time he does. Let someone else in your league pick him up, because this just isn’t the weekend to roll with Morris.
WR Antonio Brown – Projected * 73 yards, 1 TD (13 Points)
Brown has quietly produced double-digit fantasy points in each of the past three weeks and established himself as Ben Roethlisberger’s #2 WR behind Mike Wallace. Don’t be scared off by this weekend’s matchup against a solid Bengals’ secondary because Brown figures to stay away from the blanket-coverage of Leon Hall, and will face the much more beatable Nate Clements. He may not score in the game, but his big play ability helps make him a very nice play with huge upside this weekend.
Mystery Wide Receiver – Projected * 61 yards, 0 TD (6 Points)
We’re going to do this one a little differently.
If I told you there was a WR who was going to be without his starting QB, on the road, and facing a top-ten pass defense this week, you wouldn’t be inclined to play him, would you?
Then, if I told you that player has been held between six and ten fantasy points every week since Week 4, you would probably look elsewhere, right?
And if I told you that player has only one receiving TD since Week 3 (and it came against the St Louis Rams), there is no way you would start them, right?
Now, if I told you that player was Larry Fitzgerald, would you start him this week?
TE Visanthe Shiancoe – Projected * I just think he’ll score (6+ Points)
Blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah BLAH! Blah: Blah blah blah blah blah blah (blah blah blah blah) blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah, “Blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah?” Blah – blah blah blah blah blah.
TE Marcedes Lewis – Projected * I just don’t think he’ll score (Sub-6 Points)
Did you know that the king of hearts is the only king without a moustache?
Browns’ Defense – Projected * 13 points allowed, 3 sacks, 3 turnovers (12 Points)
Quiz time: Which team allows the fewest passing yards (165.3) in the NFL?
Well, since you’re all a bunch of cheaters, and you looked at the answer before you saw the question, you all correctly guessed the Cleveland Browns.
I would also be willing to bet that unless you actually play defense for the Cleveland Browns you wouldn’t have guessed that they are #1 in the league. Now, sometimes stats like this can be a little fluky, but one thing it should tell you is the Browns obviously have a good secondary. Cornerback Joe Haden is quickly becoming a shutdown corner and has inserted himself into the discussion among the best CBs in the league not named Darrelle Revis.
The Browns have to be salivating at the thought of Sam Bradford and the Rams coming to Cleveland this Sunday. The highest scoring defenses in fantasy either have a defensive TD or pitch a shutout, and neither of those outcomes are out of the question for Cleveland in this matchup.
Saints’ Defense – Projected * 31 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 turnover (5 Points)
Did you watch “The Game of the Century” this past Saturday between LSU and Alabama? Just a knockdown, drag-out game between two stout defenses and largely inept offenses? Well, this week’s matchup between the Saints and Falcons figures to be a lot like that, only the complete opposite.
The Falcons have won three straight games and have scored over 28 points per game during that time. They play better at home, and this week’s tilt against New Orleans kicks off a three game home stand for Atlanta. New Orleans has as high-powered of an offense as anyone in the league, and has scored an average of 36 points per game over their last three.
Unless you can confidently predict which one of these defenses will score a touchdown you don’t want to go near either one. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if even the losing team ends up in the mid-30’s.
Good luck to everyone this week, and that goes double for anyone facing the fantasy cheat code known as Aaron Rodgers.
START HIM! SIT HIM! Season Record: 49 – 41
Follow me @Dan_LaLonde on Twitter where you can ask me how I can look myself in the mirror after grading Stevie Johnson’s SIT HIM! recommendation out as a win.