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Quarterback

Sit

Joe Flacco @ PIT

So far Polamalu’s protective hair shell has kept him from any season-ending injuries, which means the Steelers defense is about as good as there is in the NFL. If Ray Rice was full strength, Flacco owners could hold out hope that Pittsburgh would focus on shutting down the run, opening room for Flacco to find some yards, but it looks like Rice won’t be 100% if he plays. Polamalu will be sitting back and waiting for Flacco’s mistakes.

Carson Palmer @ CLE

This has less to do with the matchup (which isn’t bad) than it does Palmer’s current level of ability. He shows flashes every now and then, but on a week to week basis he isn’t making the throws to beat good coverage. If you drafted him as your QB1, I’d start implementing Plan B right now. Check to see if someone took Orton late and is willing to deal their other QB, or maybe the Roethlisberger owner is getting ready to put their fill-in QB up on the trading block.

Start

Chad Henne vs. NE

Amazingly, Henne looks more accurate than he ever did in college, and this is the perfect week to take advantage. The Patriots’ secondary is young and they aren’t pressuring the quarterback. Henne should have plenty of time to uncork some downfield throws to Brandon Marshall.

Kyle Orton @ TEN

Yes, the Titans are a very good pass defense. But with Moreno questionable, Maroney still settling in, and Buckhalter — well, Buckhalter just isn’t very good — Orton should throw early and often. 250 yards should be a cinch, so Orton owners just need to hope that either Denver is sorting out how to score in the redzone, or Orton just starts tossing it in from the 30 yard line.

Running Back

Sit

Ahmad Bradshaw vs. CHI

Brandon Jacobs looks to be a nonfactor at this point, but there may not be enough carries in the world to put together a big game against the Bears rush defense right now. Bradshaw may throw in a few receiving yards but you’re likely to miss out on that 100 yard bonus.

Rashard Mendenhall vs. BAL

Mendenhall has been better than I expected so far — I was worried that with Roethlisberger out, defenses would load up at the line to stop the run — but some of his numbers have been a little misleading. A long overtime TD run boosted his numbers in Week 1, the Titans held him to 72 total yards and no TD’s in Week 2, and then he rolled on a terrible Tampa Bay defense last week. I’m guessing his numbers look more like Week 2′s line.

Start

DeAngelo Williams @ NO

Three underwhelming weeks in the books for D-Will. I’m hoping you haven’t sold low on him yet, because we’re nearing the point in the season where he starts churning out 140 yard, 2 TD weeks. The QB situation is a concern, but he has put up monster numbers when Delhomme was doing his best to sabotage the offense, so he ought to be able to do it with Clausen at the helm.

Justin Forsett @ STL

I want to see another week or two of 15+ touches for Forsett before I consider him a solid RB2, but I like him as a flex play this week. Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain both averaged about 6.5 yards a carry against the Rams defense last week, and Forsett has the talent to break some big runs (and receptions). Maybe Pete’s finally figuring it out.

Wide Receiver

Sit

Braylon Edwards @ BUF

Don’t be fooled into thinking Edwards is a must-start against a bad Bills team. The Buffalo secondary is legit and I expect to see a lot of Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. Keep Braylon in your lineup and you may need a drink by halftime. (Get it? Because he was arrested for drinking and driving.)

Calvin Johnson @ GB

In most weeks, Megatron remains a good play no matter who is at QB, but with a weak-armed Shaun Hill, a good Packers secondary, and the Packers pass rush hurrying Hill’s throws, I don’t see much opportunity for big plays. I’d consider him a low-end WR2 this week.

Start

Brandon Marshall vs. NE

Go read the Chad Henne section above. Done? Good. Nobody in the Patriots secondary can handle Marshall’s size and after-the-catch ability.

Jacoby Jones @ OAK

Conditional recommendation — if by late Saturday it looks like Andre Johnson is ready to go, then Jones’ value will be limited. But Johnson still couldn’t practice on Wednesday, and there’s a good chance he won’t play. Kevin Walter is likely already rostered in most leagues, but I’ve seen Jacoby Jones available in a few leagues. Walter can’t catch everything, and Owen Daniels still looks limited in the passing game, so Jacoby ought to get a good number of looks his way.

Tight End

Sit

Todd Heap @ PIT

Heap’s been his usual steady self, but I’d look elsewhere this week. With Polamalu patrolling center field, I don’t see Heap racking up many yards even if he can pull in 6-8 catches. In PPR he’s got a little more value, but I’d rather play…

Start

Tony Scheffler @ GB

Unlike Heap, Scheffler has the athletic ability to gain some yards after the catch against a good Green Bay secondary. Shaun Hill doesn’t have the arm to test the Packers corners, but he is accurate enough on shorter routes, and I could see Scheffler getting a lot of action — Pettigrew is playable as well in deeper leagues.

Defense

Sit

New England @ MIA

In the past few years, the Pats defense seemed to be able to play above their apparent skill level — they’d give up some yards, but somehow they’d limit points and generate a turnover or two. Not this year. They are just bad. After last week, consider them unplayable in even the most advantageous matchups.

Start

Atlanta vs. SF

Nothing like facing a team that just fired its offensive coordinator. The Falcons shouldn’t have any trouble putting up points on the 49ers — and when San Fran shifts into catch-up mode, there should plenty of opportunity for turnovers.

  1. JTin says:
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    Sit Bradshaw, Start Forsett…would you make that exact flip?

    I have Bradshaw, Forsett, and Tomlinson for 2 spots. Who would you bench?

  2. stumanji says:
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    Two trades on the table:
    1) My BJGE for his Marion Barber.
    2) My Beanie for his Hines Ward.

    Yes? No? One or the other? Neither? Both?

    My RBs right now are Gore, Greene, Beanie, BJGE, Buckhalter (prob going to drop), and Torain (stash).
    My WRs right now are Crabtree, Jacoby, Nate Washington, Naanee.

    Thanks.

  3. Howie Met Your Mother says:
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    Definitely starting CJ2K and Forte at RB this week, but do I start the “injured” Ray Rice against the Steelers or Bradshaw against the Bears at my FLEX?

  4. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    @JTin: I’d probably bench Bradshaw — the Bears D is just too tough right now.

    @stumanji: Maybe on 1, I’d say no on 2. I’d probably keep BGJE — I think Dallas is going to start throwing more and more, and it’ll be the odd week when Barber can crack 100 yards.

    @Howie Met Your Mother: Yikes. Obviously this depends a lot on Rice’s status come Sunday. I’d lean toward Bradshaw — even if Rice is healthy enough to play, he’s not likely to get any goal-line looks.

  5. WR says:
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    Which 2 would you start in non PPR?

    Megatron, Nicks, Knox, H. Ward

  6. stumanji says:
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    @mgeoffriau: I’m just worried about BJGE getting the carries in NE. Belichick has screwed me in the past with his RBBCs.

  7. 2Legit says:
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    Hey,

    Who should I start this week? Please pick two for non ppr.

    Forte vs NYG
    DMC vs HOU
    Mathews vs ARI
    Hillis vs CIN

  8. D Gross says:
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    Who would you start between Kyle Orton and Matt Ryan because they both have favorable matchups?

  9. El Famous Burrito says:
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    I like the idea of facing a new O-Coordinator.

    Should I drop Bengals D/ST (vs. CLE) to pick up ATL?

  10. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    @WR: Nicks and Knox. If only for the alliteration.

    @stumanji: That’s a valid concern, but Fred Taylor is already wearing down and ‘lil Danny Woodbrain isn’t a real threat. It’s pretty close.

    @2Legit: I’d drop Mathews down for health concerns, but I like your top 2.

    @D Gross: Ryan. I like Orton, but it’s not really a good matchup for him. I just didn’t want people to be scared off of starting him.

    @El Famous Burrito: Tomato-tomahto. Bengals D might be more valuable long term and this isn’t a bad matchup for them (unless CIN and CLE have another one of those weird 45-44 games again), so I’d probably just hold steady.

  11. Nathan says:
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    Bench Eli for Henne?

    Thanks.

  12. stumanji says:
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    @mgeoffriau: Ok, so I got him to agree to add receivers to the deal: His Barber & Santonio for my BJGE & Nate Washington.

  13. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    @Nathan: I think I would…Eli may throw enough to hit some good yardage, but you’ll probably get a couple interceptions to go with it.

    @stumanji: Yeah, that works. If Washington isn’t a starter for you, then Santanio is a nice higher risk, higher reward receiver.

  14. Nathan says:
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    thanks man.

    follow up to that:

    in a 1pt/PPR, start jacoby jones, buckhalter, or green-ellis at the flex?

  15. Gambler says:
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    Would it be crazy to bench Calvin Johnson for Lance Moore? Lance Moore was great in 2008 with Reggie Bush out.

  16. genghis chone says:
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    PPR league. Pick 2 RBs, 2 WR, 1 flex for this week: Matt Forte, Jahvid Best, John Kuhn, Mike Tolbert, Ryan Torain, Andre Johnson, Hakeem Nicks, Johnny Knox, Demaryius Thomas. Thanks!

  17. Joel says:
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    BIG PROBLEMS. RBs are Sjax, Best, bradshaw and Barber. Obvioyusly, I need another RB off the wire just to start 2. My Q is: Torain and Darby are both on the wire. I just picked up Torain, because I think he obviously has more value after this week. Am I crazy for starting Torain over Darby if Sjax is out?

  18. Drew Crew says:
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    Manningham, Gaffney, Lance Moore or Mike Thomas in a 1 ppr league?

  19. Should I start Orton over Cutler this week?

  20. I have Vick (picked up off waivers) and Flacco. I don’t feel confident that Vick will carry my QB position all season and Flacco has shown nothing.

    There are a few QB available on waivers:Bradford, Sanchez and Hassleback.

    Do I stick with Vick and hope Flacco comes around of look to pick up and stash Bradford or Hassleback?

    thnx

  21. SDPete says:
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    Non-PPR, I have Megatron, Bradshaw, Ochocinco and Palmer. Sounds like you think I should start Knox, Hillis, Jacoby Jones and Orton (all on my bench) over those four. That doesn’t seem right. Really?

  22. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    @Nathan: If Andre Johnson is out, I’d go Jacoby, otherwise BJGE.

    @Gambler: Slightly crazy, but not entirely. The risk is that (even with Bush out), in any given game, you just don’t know which Saints receiver is going to get 3-43 yards and which one will get 7 for 137 yards and 2 TDs.

    @genghis chone: Depends too much on injury…can’t set your lineup until you know for sure about Best and Andre Johnson.

    @Joel: I’d take Torain unless it’s absolutely critical that you win this week (ie, already 0-3 and staring at 0-4). Even then, SJax and Darby might split carries and cut any value between them. I’d go Torain.

    @Drew Crew: I’d go Gaffney and Lance Moore.

    @Supreme: No, Cutler’s matchup is just fine, the Giants only hope is to pressure him (and Cutler handled that just fine in GB).

    @mark_ricci: I’d hold steady until 1 or 2 of those guys gets picked up. What are the odds that all 3 get picked up before you have a chance to snag one?

    @SDPete: Sit/Start recommendations aren’t a strict ranking — it’s an indication of who is likely to disappoint or excel based on situation and matchup. I would definitely start Orton over Palmer — I’ve got no faith in Palmer at all. I’d start Jacoby over Ochocinco if Andre Johnson sits. Other two are tougher calls. Doc’s got his position rankings up if you want to see how his recommendations as well.

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