DAN FEELS REX GROSSMAN'S PAIN IN THIS WEEK'S START HIM! SIT HIM!
Usually I begin the weekly START HIM! SIT HIM! column with some little tid-bit about a few players whose value is on the rise, or on the decline. I’ll point to matchups going forward or an increased role that should affect the way that player is viewed from this week on.
This week’s column is going to be a little different, however, because I really only need to bring up one person’s value, and it is on a steep decline.
Back Sports Page fantasy football columnist: Dan LaLonde.
After Week 2 – a period that saw him go a promising 7-3 – LaLonde had three consecutive 6-4 weeks – culminating in a 30-20 record heading into Week 6. BSP readers were beginning to question the advice they were getting – noting LaLonde’s mediocre track record.
Fans were showing up to practice chanting the back-up writer’s name as LaLonde recommended starting the Vikings’ defense on the road in Chicago. He said the pressure wasn’t getting to him, but his teammates knew otherwise.
And then, it happened.
LaLonde went on to make poor suggestion after poor suggestion en route to a historically bad Week 6 performance.
He advocated starting Greg Little over Brandon Marshall. Ryan Torain over Arian Foster. The Vikings’ defense over The Bench.
He went away from what he knew and it cost him dearly, as this week the coaching staff notified him that any more indefensible advice and his job will be in jeopardy.
LaLonde took these words to heart and went back to the drawing board. He went back to basics in an effort to deliver sound advice to fantasy owners everywhere. He doesn’t want to dwell on the past – instead he wants to take it one pick at a time.
Now before we move onto Week 7, we have to look back and Week 6 and see how I did. (Hint: Not well)
QB Colt McCoy – Projected * 252 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT (16 Points)
Actual * 215 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 16 rushing yards (17 Points)
McCoy played well in a tough environment on the road this past Sunday against the Raiders. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t play well enough to get his team the win, but his performance netted me one of the few wins I managed in Week 6. If only I could stop here and erase the next nine picks, I would.
RB Ryan Torain – Projected * 112 yards, 1 TD (17 Points)
Actual * 22 yards, 0 TD (2 Points)
The Redskins faced a deficit early and decided to scrap the run shortly after; instead electing to put the ball in Rex Grossman’s hands. Anyone who watched the game or saw the box score knows how that turned out, but this clearly goes as an ugly, ugly loss for me.
WR Greg Little – Projected * 86 yards, 1 TD (14 Points)
Actual * 72 yards, 0 TD (7 Points)
My toughest loss of the week. Little had a walk-in touchdown mid-way through the first quarter that would have given him an additional six points on the week, but he inexplicably lost his footing at the one-yard-line despite no one being near him. Alas, it’s all about the stats, and seven isn’t what I was hoping for.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe – Projected * 47 yards, 1 TD (10 Points)
Actual * 45 yards, 0 T (4 Points)
I took a shot in the dark predicting Shiancoe would score – he didn’t – and the Vikings managed only one TD as a team. The yardage was right, but without the score Shiancoe provided little value for owners this past weekend.
Vikings Defense – Projected * 23 points allowed, 4 sacks, 3 turnovers (10 Points)
Actual * 39 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 turnover (1 Point)
I swore I wasn’t going to do it again, but I did it again. I recommended the Vikings’ Defense on the road in Chicago despite the obvious dearth of playmakers in their secondary, and overall poor performance this season. Not much else to say, as Cutler shredded the secondary and Forte made a mockery of the front-seven. Poor recommendation by me.
QB Jay Cutler – Projected * 243 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT (9 Points)
Actual * 267 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT (18 Points)
Did I mention Cutler shredded the secondary? The Bears’ makeshift offensive line managed to keep the Bears’ QB upright (he was sacked only one time) and he made the Vikings pay all night long. He’s as inconsistent as anyone in the league, but when he plays like he did Sunday night you just have to tip your cap.
RB Arian Foster – Projected * 56 yards, 0 TD (5 Points)
Actual * 49 yards rushing, 52 yards receiving (9 Points)
Those who started Foster can take solace that his 52 yards receiving helped him save face, but nine points isn’t enough from a player of his caliber. The Ravens’ run defense held him in check all day long, but a couple of screen passes for solid gains saved the day for Foster. I’m grading this as a win for me, if for no other reason than I desperately need another one to save face as well.
WR Brandon Marshall – Projected * 42 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Actual * 106 yards, 0 TD (10 Points)
Matt Moore completed just 16 of his 34 pass attempts for a mere 204 yards Monday night – something that most saw coming. Somehow, Brandon Marshall collected 109 of those yards despite being blanketed by Darrelle Revis - the league’s top corner - the majority of the night. I’m starting to think that if I had predicted the sun would come up last weekend that we would have had total darkness.
TE Greg Olsen – Projected * 41 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Actual * 42 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Hey, what do you know? I got one right without having to sheepishly grade myself on a curve!
Olsen was targeted a whopping ten times but managed just five catches for 42 yards on the day. He’s still a solid TE1 moving forward, but take note of how well the Falcons’ have defended tight ends this season when setting your lineup.
Eagles Defense – Projected * 31 points allowed, 2 sacks, 1 turnover (4 Points)
Actual * 13 points allowed, 2 sacks, 4 turnovers (15 Points)
Have you ever said or done something and immediately thought, “Wow, I can’t believe I just did that”? To the point where even before the results are in you immediately regret your decision?
Well, that was me somewhere in-between Rex Grossman’s second and third interceptions on Sunday. After declaring the Eagles’ defense a “sit” I flipped on the game and realized I basically had issued a vote of confidence for Rex Grossman against a ball-hawking secondary.
Grossman went on to do what Grossman does, and he completed nine passes to his own team and four to Eagles’ defensive backs. Rex’s second-leading receiver in the game (behind TE Fred Davis) was Kurt Coleman who caught three passes. Unfortunately for Rex, Coleman is a Safety for the Eagles.
I could go on about this game, but it’s probably best to just mark this as a loss and move on. After all, the only person whose performance actually rivaled Grossman’s on Sunday was yours truly.
I’m going to generously grade this as a 3-7 week and then erase it from memory (and possibly the internet).
On to Week 7!
QB Tim Tebow – Projected * 184 yards passing, 53 yards rushing, 2 TD, 1 INT (18 Points)
What better way to rebound than to look for a little divine intervention?
I should probably start off by saying that I believe in Tebow. No, I don’t believe he will make the Pro Bowl or carry the Broncos to a Super Bowl anytime soon, but I think he can be a serviceable QB. Because of his legs, he has the potential to be even better than “serviceable” in the world of fantasy.
Get Tebow in your lineups this weekend, because he should be in for a big day. Everyone has a big day against Miami, and because of his ability to scramble, Tebow could be a sneaky play that nets you 20 points. Also, I’m using this speech as inspiration to rebound from my 3-7 performance last week.
“You will never see someone research as hard as I will the rest of this season!”
QB Philip Rivers – Projected * 221 yards, 2 TD, 2 INTs (10 Points)
“Dude, you got killed last week and now you’re saying “sit” Philip Rivers?”
- Everyone reading this
I know, but before you dismiss the idea and stop reading altogether let give this some context: In order to sit Rivers I’m saying there are twelve better starting QB options this week.
All the usual suspects of Rodgers, Brees, Romo, Newton and Stafford have favorable matchups and wouldn’t be sat anyway; so that means I need seven more.
Tebow against Miami? Yes.
Roethlisberger against the abomination known as the Arizona Cardinals’ secondary? Yes.
Schaub at Tennessee? He could have Andre Johnson back, and the Titans’ secondary is still very mediocre. Yes.
Cutler on the road against Tampa Bay? Did you see Cutler this past week? Did you see Drew Brees throw for 383 yards in Tampa last week? Yes.
Freeman at home against the Bears? Both secondaries are weak and the points should come in bunches this week. Yes.
Donovan McNabb at Green Bay? Just kidding. No.
Matt Ryan at Detroit? Yes, he’s going to get hit, but the Lions’ secondary can’t cover the weapons the Falcons have. Yes.
Joe Flacco at Jacksonville? It’s very debatable, but when you get down to it would you rather have the less talented QB vs the less talented secondary or the more talented QB against the very best secondary? I’d take Flacco – so he’s my seventh “yes”.
Look, I couldn’t blame you for starting Rivers just because of his talent and the weapons around him, but I’m saying it isn’t the “no-brainer” that it is every other week. They play the Jets this week, and it’s well documented how their secondary shuts down every opponents passing attack. You can run on the Jets, and Ryan Mathews should have a field day, but you can’t pass on them. I would rank Rivers thirteenth as a QB this week, which mean’s he gets his first (and only) SIT HIM!
RB Jackie Battle – Projected * 78 yards, 1 TD (13 Points)
In his last game before the bye, Battle rushed nineteen times for 119 yards, while catching two passes for 21 yards against the Colts. He probably won’t match those numbers this week, but for owners looking for a bye-week fill-in for Frank Gore, LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson or someone else, Battle is a nice flex-option and someone who should be good for ten-plus points.
RB Daniel Thomas – Projected * 44 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Note: I came extremely close to putting Maurice Jones-Drew here because he faces the Ravens’ defense on Monday night, but he may catch enough passes out of the backfield to net eight-ten points, which is fine for a flex-play.
Back to Thomas: Did you see the game Monday night? The Jets stacked the box and dared Matt Moore to throw, while limiting Thomas to just 47 yards on 15 carries. Look for other teams to do the same against Miami moving forward, because Matt Moore simply can’t beat anyone. Thomas’s fantasy outlook for the rest of the season looks bleak at this point, so you may want to see if you can sell while he still has value.
WR Darius Heyward-Bey – Projected * 73 yards, 1 TD (13 Points)
DHB has lead the Raiders in targets in each of the past three weeks (28 over that span) and looks to have carved out a nice role in Oakland’s offense. Some will be scared off by the proposition of Kyle Boller being the Raiders’ QB this week, but against a horrendous K.C. Chiefs' defense he’s worth the play. Even if he doesn’t score he should lead the team in receiving yards, which makes him a solid WR2 this week.
WR Santana Moss – Projected * 53 yards, 0 TD (5 Points)
The Panthers haven’t allowed any WR to score a TD in their past three games. Santana Moss is really the only playmaker the Redskins have and Carolina figures to key on him this Sunday. Sit Moss this week, as the ‘Skins figure to attack the Panthers on the ground (Carolina is 31st in the league in rush-defense).
TE Dustin Keller – Projected * 47 yards, 1 TD (10 Points)
With Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez all on byes this week, the pickings at TE are especially thin. Any one you can pick up off the waiver-wire who scores a TD this week would be a great bye-week fill-in. San Diego has allowed four TDs to TEs this season, which makes Dustin Keller as likely of a candidate as anyone.
Visanthe Shiancoe – Projected * 33 yards, 0 TD (3 Points)
I just don’t think he will score against Green Bay. It’s as simple as that.
Broncos Defense – Projected *13 points allowed, 3 sacks, 3 turnovers (12 Points)
This week’s START HIM! Defense is brought to you by… Matt Moore!
No, the Broncos’ defense isn’t as good as the Jets, but Matt Moore is just as bad as he showed Monday night. Moore completed 16 of 34 passes for 204 yards to his own team, while completing two passes for 102 yards and a TD to Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis.
The Broncos are a terrific defensive spot-start this week, and if they get a defensive TD (a very strong possibility) they may be the highest scoring defensive unit this week.
Bears Defense – Projected * 31 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 turnover (4 Points)
Basically, when picking a defense for the week you need to ask yourself two questions:
- 1. Is there a high-probability of a shootout?
- 2. Are either Rex Grossman or Matt Moore involved?
Clearly, I forgot to look at question #2 when recommending sitting the Eagles’ defense last week, but I won’t make that mistake again. This week and answer to question #2 is no, but the answer to question #1 is yes.
Look for a high-scoring affair this weekend in Tampa Bay and avoid starting either defense. Both teams allow over 275 yards through the air per week (25th and 26th in the league, respectively), which is usually a good indicator that points are coming in bunches.
The thing that scares me in this game is Devin Hester being part of the Bears defense/special teams, as the threat of him having a return touchdown makes the Bears defense a viable play nearly every week.
This week, Tampa Bay, let’s just agree not to kick the ball to Devin Hester. I’d hate to have my impending 10-0 bounce-back week ruined because your punter couldn’t kick the ball out of bounds.
Good luck to everyone this week – and that goes double for the Buccaneers special teams coach.
START HIM! SIT HIM! Season Record: 33-27