I hate shopping.

Obviously not all the time, but more often than not, I can’t stand the process.  Especially when it’s shopping for clothes.  Usually this happens when I’m dragged by my girlfriend somewhere, but even when it’s clothes for me, I loathe the atmosphere.  I feel like the bright lights and droning pop music further stress the materialism; and almost every time the majority of shoppers are by themselves and don’t seem to notice any of the people around them.  It’s almost as bad as the movie Blindness.

Now, there’s obviously situations and places that I actually do like to shop – usually in smaller, more specific stores.  Get most guys into a GameStop (I need to pick up FIFA 12) or into any sports memorabilia or jersey place (I always like to drop in those to see what Brewers stuff they got – go Crew this afternoon!) and they are good to go, knowing what they’re looking to get.

This same process happens in our every day fantasy progressions.  As the ladies know, usually it’s the mammoth stores that are bigger than Super Wal-Mart that give them their best deals, but nothing beats the one-of-a-kind discovery at a smaller store that most people aren’t going to find.  That’s how I feel about sleepers and risking playing a guy most people wouldn’t dare.  If you did start a guy (like the maybe four people in the country that might have started Torrey Smith last week) that makes everyone else scratch their heads and he pans out, you look like a genius.  I feel it’s a lot less fun to win your match-up when your first three or four round picks carry your team, but hey, winning with those guys definitely trumps losing.

Again, the sleepers I like for each week are like the smaller stores that may have something to win your matchup, but they may have nothing but a creepy storeowner that scares the bejesus out of everyone.  It’s all about context and compartmentalizing the thoughts I lay forth.  If you feel you are a lock to win this week, don’t get cute and bench one of your studs.  Also, if you’ve had a bunch of injuries and have only one or two “safe” players at your core, don’t bench one of them and make your lineup all the more volatile.  But if you’re unsure or feel like you’re overmatched, sometimes rolling the dice is exactly what you need.

Last week went exceeding well for my picks with Daniel Thomas continuing to shine (well he won’t this week – see below) and Ryan Fitzpatrick and David Nelson legit options moving forwards.  On the flip side, Danny Woodhead wasn’t as involved as I had thought and Nate Burleson was absolutely brutal.  However, every player I said to bench had less than 9-point games (in ESPN standard scoring), so hopefully I helped you out there.

Here are the guys not predominantly started that I like for this week along with guys to think about benching that are started more often than not:

(The percentage numbers listed are players’ percent started in ESPN then percent started in Yahoo)

Possible Starters:

Michael Jenkins (0.4%, 1%) The anemic Vikings passing game can still support some fantasy relevancy, and with this week’s matchup and coming off last week’s 9-catch performance, I like Jenkins a lot this Sunday.  First of all, both he and Harvin have the same amount of targets at 17, and Jenkins has 15 catches off those 17 targets, giving him the highest conversion into catches of anyone with more than 6 targets.  He and McNabb actually have a bit of rapport going on, and I don’t see that stopping against the Chiefs this week.  Everyone knows the Vikings MO is to collapse in the 2nd half, so the Vikes won’t take their foot off the pedal at any point against the lowly Chiefs.  I think another 8 reception, 80-ish yard game with the definite possibility of a score is what you have in Jenkins this week.

Jeremy Shockey (2.9%, 3%) As one of our guest posters wrote about earlier this week, Chicago will feature heavy doses of cover-2, especially to help contain Steve Smith downfield.  A lot of people are going to look at Greg Olsen as the big play this week, and while I do think both Panther TEs will have big games, I actually think Shockey is the guy to start this Sunday.  The Bears are not going to allow their former guy in Olsen run up and down them, so I think Chicago’s cover-2 will be tweaked in order to help contain Olsen as well.  Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is notorious for using his tight ends, and if Olsen is schemed against in the Panthers multiple 2-TE formations, look for Shockey to be a big benefactor.   Carolina’s got nothing going on the ground right now, and with the cover-2 slowing down the big plays downfield, I like Shockey for at least a 5 catch, 50 yard day with a TD.

Andre Caldwell (0%, 1%) Caldwell was targeted a whopping 12 times last Sunday for 6 catches and 53 yards, and going against the super-charged Bills this week, I could easily see another game with big target numbers.  Obviously Andy Dalton and Caldwell are going to have to refine their game, but Dalton is a rookie and I think they improve on their 50% connection rate.  Also, we all saw how gashed the Bills secondary can get, and with the Bengals almost assuredly down in this game, I think Caldwell has a monster game as Dalton’s safety valve opposite A.J. Green.  With Jerome Simpson still dealing with his nonsense off-the-field issues that are now manifesting into on-the-field issues with home fans booing him, Caldwell is easily the guy to own other than Green.  I see an 8 catch, 70-yard game with a TD in store.

Reggie Bush (16.4%, 17%) I don’t think fantasy opinions have changed on any player more than Reggie Bush this year.  He had the solid week one performance against New England, scoring a TD to go along with 9 catches, but then fell into oblivion with Daniel Thomas seemingly taking over the lead back role, relegating Bush to an even smaller role than he had in New Orleans.  But now Thomas is going to be out for week 4, and Bush has a huge opportunity to have a big game for the Fish.  Going against the Chargers, I don’t think Bush is going to have much success on the ground, but since he’ll have much more time on the field, Bush’s prominence in the passing game will once again come to the forefront.  I think he could have another 6+ catch game and he’s extremely valuable this week in PPR formats.  If you are having RB struggles, Bush is a legit flex play option this week, even with the recently acquired Steve Slaton reportedly getting some work.

Eric Decker (17.9%, 38%) Popular sleeper Eric Decker really broke onto the scene in week 2, but still had a large chunk of work in week 3 even with Brandon Lloyd back in the starting lineup.  Going against the Packers, John Fox is going to have to abandon the running game (painfully – I’m sure) and chuck the ball as much as possible to try and keep up.  With Charles Woodson mainly lining up on Lloyd, I think Decker could have a huge game as the Broncos try to play catch-up.  Another 100-yard game with a possible score is very realistic.

Son of a Bench:

Steve Smith (CAR) (86.3%, 75%) This one definitely pains me a little bit as a die-hard Panthers fan, but I don’t think Smith has a big game on Sunday.  As mentioned above, Chicago features a prototypical cover-2 that I think they will fully utilize to specifically limit Smith’s chances downfield.  While this week’s game won’t be played in a monsoon, I still don’t think Smith has a big game.

Javhid Best (96.3%, 65%) The run D in Big D has been stifling thus far, and I see another big defensive performance shutting down Best this Sunday.  In his matchup against Dallas last year, Best went absolutely bonkers — oh wait, he had 3 carries for 2 yards.  Yikes.  Well, this year is obviously completely different and Best is healthy for the time being, but I still don’t see a big game at all here.  Dallas has shut down the Jets’ run game, the 49ers and Frank Gore, and the Redskins rushing attack so far this year.   I don’t see Best and the Lions breaking the mold.

Dwayne Bowe (89.1% 81%) Last week notwithstanding (going against Megatron), Antoine Winfield has had a great season, shutting down both Vincent Jackson and Tampa’s Mike Williams.  Now, I don’t think anyone can really cover Calvin Johnson, so let’s just forget about last week and focus on how much Bowe’s going to get blanketed on Sunday. I actually think the Vikings might hold up against a 2nd half comeback for once, and Bowe won’t have a big game.

Peyton Hillis (81.7%, 75%) While Hillis is assuredly playing in tomorrow’s game against Tennessee, he may not be the full-load back he was right away.  Some reports are saying Hillis lost over 10 pounds overcoming strep throat that kept him out last week.  Montario Hardesty is going to be in the mix, and the Titans have been solid against the run since getting gashed week 1 by Jacksonville, limiting both Ray Rice and Willis McGahee in the ground game in weeks 2 and 3.  I think this could be a slow game back for Hillis as he’s eased back into the offense.

Owen Daniels (71.1%, 63%) Daniels is coming off two straight weeks with scores, but even so, he’s still not close to the player he was before blowing out his knee two years ago.  Add in to the fact James Casey came out of nowhere to have a big game last week with 126 yards and a score, along with the competent Joel Dreessen still around, and the Texans are starting to look like most of the other teams in the NFL with multiple TE options vulturing fantasy value.  Oh, and the Texans get the Steelers on Sunday, who are notorious for shutting down opposing TEs.  Definite no go.

If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin.  If you’re of the legal drinking age (have to say that due to our legal dept.), join me on Monday Nights for the brand new Twitter “Gruden ‘that guy’ drinking game”

(#GrudenThatGuyDrinkingGame) for the ultimate party game that’s primed to sweep the nation.  Good luck to everyone in week 4!

  1. b-mad says:

    in a ppr league, need to start two of fred jackson, bradshaw, starks, or steven jackson?
    also need to start two of b lloyd, lance moore, or quan?

    while i’m at it, what are your thoughts in a standard league of trading newton and starks and getting sanchez and miles austin? i already have romo for a starter


  2. Jhern says:

    Would you start arian foster?

  3. Chunk says:

    which side do you like: b jacobs and b marshall, or fred jackson

  4. JB Gilpin says:

    @b-mad: Fred Jackson is pretty unbenchable right now, so I’d go with him and Starks actually. With Ryan Grant out against a weak Denver team, I think Starks gets a ton of love. S-Jax is still banged up and while I do like Bradshaw, your other guys are money. Stilll go with Lloyd and Boldin at WR. I like your thoughts on trading, but I’d see what else I could get instead of Sanchez. Austin is the best player in the deal, but as we’ve seen from Arian Foster, trading for a guy with a bum hammy is nothing to take lightly. I’d see if you could get a RB or WR instead of Sanchez. Even though he’s putting up solid numbers, I still think he’s just a shade above replacement level.

  5. JB Gilpin says:

    @Jhern: It really depends… I have him in above McGahee & McCluster in a league (nothing too groundbreaking there), and I’m debating Foster vs. Hillis in another. Right now it’s Foster, but he’s still only a flex play right now, I’m scared to play him unless my options are like they are in that first league I mentioned.

  6. JB Gilpin says:

    @Chunk: I think I actually like the Fred Jackson side right now… He’s definitely the lead back, tough to find in today’s NFL, and Brandon Marshall plays with such an inconsistent passing system that he’s hard to trust every week. Sure his end of year numbers will look great, but like I called a few weeks back, he’ll have some bum games. And Jacobs shouldn’t ever be a starter on anyone’s team unless Bradshaw gets hurt.

  7. J says:

    @JB – Would you start Bush over Addai in a 1/2 PPR? I’ve been able to survive despite starting Bush the last two weeks as my flex. I’m scared of being burned again by him.

  8. JB Gilpin says:

    @J: Definitely sticking with Bush again this week, with Daniel Thomas out and Steve Slaton only on the roster a few days, it’s Bush’s backfield. Even with 1/2 PPR, his catches will rack you up enough points for your flex.

  9. M2L says:

    PPR league: Lance Moore, Steve Smith Car, or Julio Jones start one?

  10. JB Gilpin says:

    @M2L: I think you stick with Smith, I think the Saints and the Falcons make statement wins against the Jags and Seahawks respectively, lessening the roles of their complementary receivers.

  11. Hurricane Kindra says:

    If Dwayne Bowe is one of my starters, and Lance Moore (NO), Nate Burleson (Det), and David Nelson (Buf) are on my bench. Who do you think I should start instead of Bowe?

  12. Chunk says:

    Thanks JB, what about marshall or felix jones? .5 PPR. Ive got marshall as my 4th wideout starting in my flex spot, but RBs could use an upgrade (Starks, wells, jacobs, addai, mccalister)

  13. Mike says:

    Would you start Willis McGahee, McCluster, or Davone Bess as a flex in a PPR league this week?

  14. JB Gilpin says:

    @Hurricane Kindra: I have an enormous man crush on David Nelson… I’d actually start him.

  15. JB Gilpin says:

    @Chunk: Well considering you have Deuce McCalister on your bench, I’d probably drop him, he hasn’t gotten a snap for years! Haha, I’m just messin, I think you mean McCluster. I’d roll with Marshall as the Fish will need a lot of offense to keep up with the Bolts. If you have Starks on your bench though, I’d start him over both those options. I like Starks a lot this week with Grant out.

  16. swalmy says:

    With ryan matthews hurt I’m considering another flex option either lance moore or james starks?

  17. JB Gilpin says:

    @Mike: That’s a toughie, I’d probably go with McCluster’s upside. McGahee get a tough Packers’ run-D with Moreno getting a few touches and the Broncos surely down. It’s about even with Bess, but McCluster will get more touches and is a threat on every play.

  18. JB Gilpin says:

    @swalmy: I think you gotta stick with Mathews, he’s been a beast so far and is going to play on Sunday. He’s probable right now if there’s some sort of catastrophe and he doesn’t play, I like Starks.

  19. Creamsickle says:

    I’m a considerable dog in a deep standard league this week; options for 1 Flex spots are: Stevan Ridley, Jenkins, Antonio Brown and Titus Young – I’m leaning to Ridley over Jenkins. Caldwell is also a FA – are any worth dropping for keeping him long term? Last, Matt Ryan is my unsexy QB, best FA option is Campbell – do I roll the dice and hope Campbell hits 20+ to help with my upset?

  20. JB Gilpin says:

    @Creamsickle: I’d go with Jenkins… Like I said, I think the Vikes will be pedal to the metal no matter what the score is. That said, I think dropping Young for Caldwell is a solid move. Caldwell looks to be the WR2 all year in Cincy. I’d keep rollin’ Ryan out there, I know he’s even more unattractive outside of a dome, but I have a lot more faith in him vs. Seattle than Campbell even though JC is against a porous Pats’ secondary.

  21. Cole says:

    I need to pick 2 of these guys in a 1 ppr league: McCluster, Beanie, or Stewart

  22. JB Gilpin says:

    @Cole: I think I’d bench McCluster… I like Stewart’s increased role in the passing game to help out in PPR and Beanie doesn’t have the limit in touches that Haley will enforce on McCluster.

  23. B-Real says:

    Hey Doc,

    I have two leagues.

    Out of the following RBs, which two should I start?

    League 1:
    Best, Mendenhall, Forte and Starks

    League 2:
    C. Johnson, Tolbert, Addai, S. Greene and S. Ridley

    Also, who do you like better this week?

    Cutler or Fitzpatrick?


  24. JB Gilpin says:

    @B-Real: Hey man, not Doc, but hopefully I can help. 1: Forte Starks. 2: CJ Greene & Fitzpatrick. Love me some Fitzpatrick. Hopefully that was real enough for yas.

  25. Robert says:

    Hey JB! Followed your last week advice on starting Gronk + Finley at my Flex positions last week — you were dead on! So, I’m back…

    I need to start 2 WR and 2 at Flex…and return yds/TDs are counted as standard yds/TDs in this league…

    VJax, Roddy, Boldin, L. Moore, A. Brown, Finley, Gronk

    A few notes: I fear the VJax and Roddy injuries, and Antonio Brown has actually been my most consistent WR so far (with the return yds). Gronk seems like a must start no matter what, but I’m not sure Finley is quite there yet.


  26. bigblue says:

    Erick decker or Caldwell?

  27. Hurricane Kindra says:

    @JB Gilpin Alright, thanks. I’m gonna trust your wisdom.

  28. JB Gilpin says:

    @Robert: I would bench Boldin, Moore and Finley given the return yards…. Boldin gets Revis island and like I said to an earlier commenter, I don’t think the Saints are going to need to pass much to overcome the Jags on Sunday. The same logic goes with Finley vs. Denver. I don’t think you can bench your studs in V Jax and Roddy. And the Steelers/Texans bout should give plenty of return opps for Brown. And Gronk is a lock these days.

  29. JB Gilpin says:

    @bigblue: I think it’s Decker… By the way, my college football team of choice is Big Blue with it being my dad’s alma mater and my school not having a football team… What a game today for the little brown jug, it wasn’t even fair.

  30. Robert says:

    @JB Gilpin: Thanks, sir.

  31. JB Gilpin says:

    @Robert: No problem man, hopefully I get you another W!

  32. Robert says:

    One more for you…a little simpler this time…I’m choosing between the NO and CHI defenses for this week, but also for the next few weeks. NO looks to have a pretty favorable schedule, you think they’re worth dropping CHI for?

  33. JB Gilpin says:

    @Robert: I think it’s NO this week against Gabbert for his 2nd start. I’m also not a big fan of carrying a superfluous defenses… If NO has a tough matchup a few weeks down the road, I’m sure you can find a waiver-wire defense with a good matchup… I’m a big proponent of streaming Ds.

  34. Robert says:

    @JB Gilpin: Completely agree of streaming DEF. Thanks for the input. Got another one…well, because I’m greedy! Have Vick…really intrigued by Campbell vs. NE this week, and I fear Vick crapping the bed again. Is Campbell worth dropping Freeman (my backup) for?

  35. JB Gilpin says:

    @Robert: No prob… I love helping out! Vick is def a bed crapper lately… but he’s your starter if you got him more often than not… Since you’re probably not benching Vick for Campbell or Freeman, I’d stick with J Free. Campbell might have a nice game this week, but he’s not more attractive than Vick. And for the rest of the year I think it’s Free, especially if Vick gets hurt.

  36. Robert says:

    @JB Gilpin: I think I agree…just needed some validation. ALL HAIL THE GILPIN!!!

  37. Jason says:

    I have some problems at WR. Lost Kenny Britt for the year. I have Andre Johnson so he’s in, but which 2 do I play out of the following: Torrey Smith, OchoCinco, Devery Henderson–should I pick up Michael Jenkins or Caldwell over any of them? Also any thoughts on Romo or Newton? Thanks!

  38. JB Gilpin says:

    @Robert: I never claimed divinity… But I never denied it either :)

  39. JB Gilpin says:

    @Jason: I think Ocho is droppable in virtually all formats… I’d go ahead and nab Caldwell for him. I think he’s ready for a solid year, especially if you’re in a PPR. But I’d still start Devery opposite AJ for this week. And I’d hold onto Smith even thought I’m optimistic just because of his upside. Romo is the guy I’d go with this week, I think Da Bears cover-2 will limit Newton’s big play ability tomorrow.

  40. Jason says:

    Also add Donald Jones and Laurent Robinson to that list above. Man I really really miss Britt!

  41. Jason says:

    Wow that was fast thanks! I’ll plug Caldwell, Johnson and Henderson in fort this week and see how it goes.

  42. Noah says:

    Jason Campbell or Tony Romo?

    Also, pick 3 – Nicks, Holmes, Lloyd, D. Moore or David Nelson?


  43. JB Gilpin says:

    @Noah: I still think it’s Romo even with JC’s saucy matchup against NE… I’d stick with your studs at WR as well, Nicks Holmes and Lloyd should be pretty good plays this week.

  44. josh says:

    Which defense would u start week 4 chicago or detroit?

  45. Noah says:

    Thanks JB. Another one – Flex position – Danario Alexander or Antonio Brown? I know, ugh…

  46. dani says:

    hey, would you rather start rashard mendenhall or lagarrette blount? also, pick 3 out of the 4 WRs: reggie wayne, eric decker, brandon lloyd, steve smith.

    thanks you!

  47. JB Gilpin says:

    @josh: I think I’d go with Da Bears, Cam has shown he does make mistakes.

  48. JB Gilpin says:

    @Noah: Ugh indeed, haha. Probably Moore for me, just because of that awful NE secondary.

  49. JB Gilpin says:

    @dani: Probably Blount, I know it’s hard to bench Mendenhall, but that offensive line is brutal and Houston hasn’t been that bad against the run so far. I actually think I’d bench Smith there, it’s between him and Decker, and I think Decker has a nice game.

  50. Lily says:

    Cutler or Grossman today?

  51. JB Gilpin says:

    @Lily: I think it’s Cutler, the Panthers secondary has made some big mistakes and I think their run D is OK… The Bears have shown they have trouble running the ball as well, so I like Cutler and Da Bear passing game.

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