Listen, I know everyone wants the ball.  Even down to a pick-up game or intramural flag football, everyone’s looking to make the catches.

But when I saw what Roy Williams said about having more chemistry with Jay Cutler to try and convince the Bears’ coaching staff to feed him the ball (that motive is my speculation, but obvious I think), I about lost it:

“I can’t get detailed on [what happened before with Cutler], but it’s just certain pass routes [where] I’m like, What I got?’ He’d be like, ‘You’ve got the such and such.’ [Then], I’m like: Alright, my bad.”

Maybe the “such and such” Cutler was talking about is horrible hands.  Whatever the case, Williams knows that he has been one of the NFL’s biggest busts on talent at WR.

Which got me thinking… fantasy sports has become a great barometer of skills players’ values, hasn’t it?  Of course there have always been stats, but now players are more intently followed every week, new players that break out are known of much quicker and added to fantasy teams, while players that bust are dropped even quicker, making Roy Williams not a bust for just the Lions, Cowboys, and Bears (oh my!) but a bust for anyone that thought he’d be a big part of their fantasy team.  I have actually never drafted Williams, but it’s funny to see him get any sort of press after one good game.  What’s even funnier? He’s owned in 51.3% of ESPN leagues (vs. only 12% owned in Yahoo leagues – which is still baffling).

So I had to go back and think about how well players’ ownership percentages actually translate into players’ real-life values.  Of course there are going to be dead teams and autopicks that are never addressed, but Chad Ochocinco is over the 50% mark as well?  Really?  And started in 9.8% of leagues?  Now these numbers are starting to look ridiculous.

I apologize to getting to my point so circuitously, but all I’m trying to do is debunk the values of % started and % owned players.  Of course I still accompany my picks with their % started numbers just for reference, but they don’t really mean anything.  Unless you think your WR core of Roy Williams and Chad Ochocinco is gonna take you all the way.

Looking at last week’s picks, it was a pretty solid outing with Jackie Battle proving his worth, Pierre Thomas sneaking in a TD, and Antonio Brown having a definite legit outing.  Jabar Gaffney and Demaryius Thomas both had poor games, but at least Gaffney snuck in 4 points.  Thomas disappeared.  For guys I said to bench, BenJarvus Green-Ellis put up a goose egg (how’d that work out for you “maybe the writer plays in a 4 team league” Pefacommish) and Miles Austin still hasn’t worked his way back into the offense.  MJD got bailed out by scoring a late 4th quarter touchdown, Jeremy Maclin would have had only 16 yards if you took out the first 5 minutes of Sunday Night Football (damn!), and Steven Jackson, well, yes Random Collmenter, I’m up 2-1, but that’s a rough loss there.  I don’t think a single person, even the most die-hard Rams fan (or player for that matter), would have seen a game like that against the Saints.

Due to your feedback, and my intro above, I’m slightly changing the format for this article the rest of the year.  I’m still going to list my sleeper starters like usual, but I’m not necessarily going to pick predominantly started players as guys I’d bench (even though this week 4 of the 5 are).  While some guys will still be over 50% started, I’m also going to include some trendier starters that are perforating into line-ups.  Since you readers are obviously more of the adept players, it makes more sense to include some guys I don’t like that may look like nice sleeper plays.  Still included are players’ start percentages on ESPN and Yahoo.

Possible Starters

Chris Ogbonnaya (3.7%, 11%) You know, earlier in the week I was low on Ogbonnaya, thinking HIllis would probably be back in a limited role or someone else would split carries with him.  Well, Hillis re-injured his balky hammy making him officially Madden cursed, and while the Browns did sign Thomas Clayton (who I’ve never heard of – he has 7 career carries) to be the third down back, Ogbonnaya looks primed for a major role against the Texans on Sunday.  Houston has a good run defense and the Browns will probably be behind early, but Ogbonnaya was on the Texans practice squad all of two weeks ago.  I’ve got a feeling that going against his former team will help calm his nerves and pregame jitters before his first start.  It’s a gut call but also a volume call, and while I don’t see any sort of DeMarco Murray breakout, a 50-yard game with a TD seems very realistic, if on the low end.

Michael Bush (37.9%, 47%) It’s hard not to get excited about the best running back with the last name Bush helming the Raiders backfield with McFadden out.  Bush is owned in most leagues, but you can still find him on a few waiver wires, and should be started in pretty much any situation.  The Broncos defense is in the dregs of the league, and with Carson Palmer making his first start in silver and black, it’s going to be a big workload for Bush.

Tim Tebow (22.6%, 18%) I know I just said you can’t take % started numbers very seriously, but I am surprised these numbers dropped so dramatically after last week.  Sure, the Broncos got trounced last Sunday and Tebow was god-awful, but for us in fantasy land, he still put up 12 points (in standard ESPN scoring).  The Lions were the perfect team to minimize Tebow with such a strong defensive line, who are the players Tebow usually has to shake to make plays.  This week, Tebow gets the Raiders and will fare much better both on the ground and through the air.  I expect over 20 points this time out, and with guys like Stafford and Newton out on byes, should be started more often than not.

Arrelious Benn (0.3%, 1%) Reports out of Tampa Bay are that Raheem Morris wants to get Benn more involved in the offense, and what better week to expand a player’s role than going up against the team he had his best game against this year.  Benn snagged a 65-yard TD against the Saints in week 6, and while I don’t think he has another play that big this week, I like him a lot as a deep sleeper if you’re in a deeper league or searching for a lottery pick.  A 50-60 yard game with another TD against New Orleans is what I’m seeing.

James Jones (10.1%, 20%) Hit James Jones up on the low ‘cause James Jones about to blow… No?  Are Mike Jones references done?  Probably.  Anyway, I like Jones to be the second-most productive WR (behind Jennings of course) for Green Bay at San Diego on Sunday.  I like Jordy Nelson as well, but I think Jones has the bigger game.  We all saw on Monday Night what wide receivers can do against a questionable Chargers secondary, and I think it’s going to be a pass heavy game back and forth.  Start Jones with confidence.

Son of a Bench

Anquan Boldin (72.1%, 82%) Boldin is coming off three straight double-digit outings, but I don’t think it continues this week against the Steelers.  Pittsburgh is still giving up the least points to opposing WRs and Boldin was the leading receiver against them in that week 1 trouncing.  Boldin has been getting tons of targets, and I think the Steelers are going to take him out of the game this time out and make Torrey Smith and Ed Dickson beat them.

Nate Washington (61.1%, 47%) While he’s had a pretty solid season, Washington’s last two big games came against Indianapolis and Denver.  Not exactly stout secondaries.  But the Bengals are much stronger, and I see Washington very limited this week.  I think there are a lot of better options out there.

Jackie Battle (35.4%, 43%) Battle has been on my start list the past two weeks and delivered solid games, but I think he’s a bench this time out.  Miami is a stronger run defense than they get credit for, giving up the 4th least fantasy points to opposing running backs, and Battle isn’t exactly well suited to barrel through Miami’s physical line.  If you watched last Monday Night’s game, you could tell Battle needs a defined lane to get going, and I don’t think he’ll see many if any holes like that against the Fins.  I would look elsewhere, maybe even pick up Ogbonnaya if he’s available.

Ben Roethlisberger (66.5%, 70%) I’m in a pretty small minority, but I think the Ravens surprise the Steelers yet again and eke out a tough, grinder of a game.  If those adjectives turn out to be true, that would mean Big Ben is in for a slow fantasy day.  I think it’s going to be one of those 13-10 games and you can find a lot of better options to play as your starting QB.

Beanie Wells (79.1%, 68%) Wells has been on this list three or four times, and only once has he had a big game.  I’m sticking with him for another bad game here with John Skelton being called upon to start for Kevin Kolb.  Not that Kolb was playing well anyway, but Skelton is definitely not an upgrade.  I think the line gets stacked more often than not and the Rams play tough against the run just like they did last week against the Saints.  If you have some other options at RB, I’d go with them.

If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me@jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone in week 9!

  1. Jay says:
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    With 2 rbs, 2 wr’s, and 1 flex, would you start Forte, Murray, Crabtree, Julio Jones, with Mendenhall as flex? My other options are Little, A. Brown, and D. Thomas (who I think is out)

  2. Random Collmenter says:
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    What’s up with me not getting a shout-out this week for being soooo right about S-Jax?!?! Was fully expecting that. I guess I’m 1 – 1 in the “Talk Gratuitous Smack About Your Predictions” League. My prediction this week? Beanie. He’s continually proved this year that he can actually play at not 100%, and the Rams run D is like the worst in the league. We shall see…

    I think percentages like Ochocinco’s just prove that not everyone takes fantasy football as seriously as we do. Their loss, right? (literally.)

    Who you like better in the flex this week – Ringer or Jerome Simpson? I keep waffling. .5 PPR league. Thanks!

  3. Random Collmenter says:
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    oh snaps, i DID get a shout-out… how did i miss that? :)

  4. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Jay: I’m with ya man, I like that line-up!

  5. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Random Collmenter: Haha, I was about to say man! Maybe I shoulda put my smack to you in bold… Hah, just kidding… I just think the Rams will clamp down again… If they play with the same intensity as they did against Brees, John Skelton and that Cardinals offense is in for a long day… I know Wells will play and his health isn’t an issue, but Skelton is an issue and will keep things pretty close to the line. We’ll see man, I think I’m goin 3-1 against ya!

    I like Ringer more, I know they’ve come out and said CJ is still the starter, but the fact they even had to do that means Ringer will definitely get some touches.

  6. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    Drop Greg Little for Jonathan Baldwin?

  7. bluety says:
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    is F. jones worth trading for? I have been offered Jones and Andy D for Plamer and Ricky Williams?

  8. hideousmutants says:
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    Yer killin’ me! I just convinced myself that Big Ben was going to do okay and settled on him over Romo. I know all the matchup arguments are in Romo’s favor but he’s just been so subpar the last few weeks, it’s hard to believe matchups over actual performance. Also, I’m starting Miles and would prefer not to have all my eggs in a Cowboys basket.

    Now I gotta think about QB again. [Shaking fist at sky] Damn you, Doc!

  9. Robert says:
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    JB! Needing some major help with RB, WR and Flex this week. Again, I’m in a return yards league (1pt/10yds, 6pts/TD)…

    RB (need ONE): P. Thomas, McGahee, Jacobs, Ogbonnaya, Joe McKnight (return yards only). Thomas is on the waiver wire, FYI.

    WR (need TWO): Roddy, VJax, Antonio Brown (+ return yards). Got Boldin too, but we know your dislike for Mr. Boldin. ;-)

    Flex (need TWO): Gronk, Gates, Finley, [anyone from above]

    What say you JB??? Thanks, as always, sir!

  10. John Rambo Junior says:
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    What’s WSH Torian value moving forward? Trade bait or holdoff? Same for MIN Jenkins. Thanks

  11. Random Collmenter says:
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    yeah- in bold, italics, underlined, and in comic sans would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

  12. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Shmorgie S. Board: Nah, I’d hold onto Little… I think Baldwin might have more raw talent, but he missed a lot of time and I think McCoy is a better QB than Cassel. Also, Baldwin has better receivers around him to compete for targets.

  13. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @bluety: I was going to say no, but that trade is a no brainer! Palmer and Ricky Williams aren’t exactly big factors, and I like Dalton more at QB and Jones more at RB down the road.

  14. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @hideousmutants: I have no problem with you blaming Doc! But it’s me you should forsake! I’d go with Romo man… Just have a feeling the Ravens/Steelers game is going to be so electric there’s going to be slow offenses.

  15. friar says:
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    With Hanson on bye this week, I need a kicker. The question, though, is whether Hanson’s good enough to justify holding onto in a 14-team league. My other option is to drop Jon Baldwin, my fourth WR (starting two each week) behind DJax, Manningham, and Washington. Thoughts?

  16. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Robert: Yo Rob! For your RBs I’m gonna give you the same gameplan I have for one of my team’s final slots: McGahee if he plays, Ogbonnaya if not or if there are any reports McGahee will be limited or benched if he fumbles (due to his surgically repaired hand) or something like that. And yea, you’re right, I have been exclusively dogging Boldin… Don’t know why, I like him as a player a lot. I think it’s Roddy and VJax, even though I know it’s really hard to keep rolling Jackson out there after three straight dud games. If he’s gonna break out, it’ll be this week against the Packers. I like Gronk and Gates at TE. Hernandez is still a little hurt and working his way back so I like Gronk’s role and Gates at 70% is still killin’ it out there. Good luck with your teams man!

  17. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @John Rambo Junior: I’d say hold off on Torain until (if) he has a breakout game. If Jenkins has trade value in your league, I’d do it ASAP… Harvin looked pretty spry against the Panthers, and if he can stay healthy, he and Aromashodu might take the majority of the targets.

  18. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @friar: I have no attachment to kickers whatsoever. Don’t let a skills player go. Even in a 14 teamer, Hanson might still be there after Sunday or after waivers.

  19. Purewater says:
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    Who would you play James Jones or Ringer?

  20. MikeAdamson says:
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    Regular scoring league, should I go with Demarco Murray or Antonio Gates in my RB/WR/Flex spot? I’m thinking Gates cause Seattle’s run defense makes me nervous. Any opinions welcome.

  21. MikeAdamson says:
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    To be clear, my Flex can be RB, WR or TE.

  22. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Purewater: I like Jones this week… Ringer could be a factor, but you never know when or if CJ200 will break out, and if he even looks like 70% of what he used to be, Ringer could struggle for touches later in the game.

  23. Would you start Ogbonnaya over Javon Ringer? I’m thinking that Ryan Matthews won’t start this week so looking for a replacement.

  24. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @MikeAdamson: I gotcha man; ya know I was thinking Gates as well… With Mathews out, I’m not sold the Bolts will have much success on the ground with Tolbert handling the bulk of running game after missing time and they’ll have to pass all day to keep up with the Pack.

  25. Rags says:
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    I’ve been negotiating with this guy for hours. Finally he’s come out and said I give him Hillis and Jackie Battle for D. Thomas and Michael Bush. I have McFadden out this week, but that’s too much to give up for a place holder right?

  26. Rags says:
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    He says it’s that or nothing, that is. He refuses to look at any other deals.

    I also have Torain, Ringer and Ware, but I’m probably dropping Ware for a kicker.

  27. Mike Adamson says:
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    Thanks JG…hopefully we’re the geniuses thinking alike rather than the fools seldom differing. GL tomorrow.

  28. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Howard: Yea I would go with Ogbonnaya… We know he’ll have the workload, and who knows what will end up going down in the Titans’ backfield. I’m with ya, I think Mathews is a pretty certain inactive and I picked up Ogbonnaya to fill in for him as well in a league.

  29. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Rags: At the halfway point of the season, a place holder, if even for a week, can be a big deal… I think you actually do this deal man. I like Daniel Thomas a lot, especially down the stretch, and Peyton Hillis has all but chased himself out of Cleveland. I’m not banking on it, but there’s a chance we don’t see him the rest of the year with his effed up hammy and relationship with the front office. And Battle could easily begin to fizzle out… You’ll end up having Bush in case McFadden misses more time or gets re-injured and a solid back in Thomas for a back that’s going to at least miss the next few weeks and very speculative career third-stringer.

  30. Gametime says:
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    Who do you like as a WR3 this week… Sidney Rice or Santonio Holmes. Thanks

  31. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Gametime: Santonio… Buffalo has looked weak against the pass more often than not, and I think Holmes has a bounce back 2nd half… He would’ve had a nice TD early in the Jets last game 2 weeks ago if not for a penalty… Then stupid Plaxico Burress went all jailbreaker on everyone…

  32. TJ says:
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    Antonio Brown with return yards (1pt per 10 yds) or Santonio Holmes this week? Brown Has averaged 13.5 pts/ game with return yards? Non-ppr.

    Also, a QB problem: with Newton on bye, need to start Fitzpatric vs a tough Jets pass D. Only bottom qbs on waivers now: Bradford/Feeley, TJac, Flacco, Smith, Palmer, McCoy…. Worth dropping (& maybe losing) Fitz for ROS (as
    injury insurance to Cam)?

    Thanks!

  33. chris says:
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    .5 ppr 2 Rb 3 Wr 1 flex

    Foster, Gore, Mendenhall, M. Bush, R. Bush, D Thomas
    Colston, Aj Green, Heyward-bey, A. Brown

    Should I go with M. Bush as a flex and sit A. Brown against BAL?

  34. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @TJ: That’s close, I’d probably stick with Brown even though the amount of returns will be limited due to the defensive nature of the game. I also think you gut it out with Fitz… It’s a tough matchup, but he’ll be a good backup down the stretch and Cam has gotten a little dinged up here and there… I don’t think there’s much of a difference between Fitz this week and those waiver wire options, but I would pick up Alex Smith if you’re feeling like you need a new QB.

  35. Ned Shakeshaft says:
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    Hey JG, thanks for the article.

    Between 2 RB, 2WR and a Flex slot, I have Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, James Jones, Nate Wash, Demarco, Brandon Jacobs, Jackie Battle.

    Thinking (with help from your writings) that the right combo is Dez, the Joneses, Demarco, Brandon. Yea or nay?

    (for scoring purposes it’s not a PPR. RB’s and WR’s are pretty equal over time).

  36. I have 2 spots where I find myself flip flopping. Freeman is starting to look good again but Tebow has so much upside. DHB, Mike Williams TB or John Baldwin in a PPR. Thoughts?

  37. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @vultures: I like Tebow man… Like I said in the article, I think he has a 20+ point game this week. Your WR slot is a tough one, I wouldn’t go with Baldwin yet until we see any sort of game-to-game consistency, and I like DHB a shade more this week over Mike Williams… Let’s just hope Carson Palmer can look a little better.

  38. Timmy riggins says:
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    hi would you start tebow or cassel? 6pts for throwing/passing/rushing TDS, 1pt for every 10yds rushing and 25yds passing. Thanks

  39. surfmonger says:
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    tough starter decisions…gimps and matchups (anyone?)

    Schaub vs CLE or Freeman VS NO

    D. Nelson vs Jets or Julio Jones vs IND

    Starks vs SD or R. Mathews vs GB

  40. herschel says:
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    @Jonathan: ppr league, wayne or baldwin (kc)? also, based on this post, assuming you would start tebow over ben? Thanks and good luck today…..

  41. surfmonger says:
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    start ogbannoya over starks?

  42. Carl says:
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    non-ppr league, who to start this week: Manningham or AJ Green? With Nicks injury Manningham is looking awfully tempting.
    Also, Freeman, Bradford, or Tebow for Rest of season? Many thanks.

  43. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Timmy riggins: Tebow, hands down…

  44. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @surfmonger: Schaub, Jones, Starks… I think Mathews either doesn’t play or is severely limited.

  45. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @herschel: Yea, I guess I’d stick with Wayne, I’m just not sold on Baldwin yet… He’s got worlds of talent but has Cassel as his shaky QB with Breaston and Bowe (Chiefs have a nasty set of 3 Bs at WR) vying for targets, I don’t see much consistency. I would start Tebow over Ben as well… Thanks man, good luck to you too

  46. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @surfmonger: Yea I would… I think he may outscore Starks by just a point or two, but I think he has the better game.

  47. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Carl: I’ll start with the easier one first, i definitely think it’s Tebow. Manningham vs. Green is very very tough, I think Manningham is the right play…

  48. chris says:
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    .5 ppr 2 Rb 3 Wr 1 flex

    Foster, Gore, Mendenhall, M. Bush, R. Bush, D Thomas
    Colston, Aj Green, Heyward-bey, A. Brown

    Should I go with M. Bush as a flex and sit A. Brown against BAL??

  49. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Ned Shakeshaft: Yup, I am 100% down with that line-up, hopefully our picks work out!

  50. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @chris: Yup, I’m with ya with that move! Bush (Michael) should have a really nice day this afternoon.

  51. johnny rot says:
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    Start daniel Thomas, Addai, or ogbonnaya.

  52. Art Vandelay says:
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    How do you feel about dropping C. Johnson at this point if there are viable options on the waiver wire? Or is that too risky? I play in a shallow league with large rosters but a short bench, and with Bradshaw out I either need to play Johnson or drop him (for Michael Bush or Jacobs). Thoughts?

  53. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @johnny rot: I like Ogbonnaya this week… Thomas from this week on.

  54. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Art Vandelay: Eesh, I definitely like Bush and Jacobs more this week, but there’s no way you can drop Johnson yet… I know it’s tough, but I’d just hope he gets it together this week.

  55. Grandstander says:
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    Thanks for the write -up, rolling the dice on Ogbonnaya this week with AP on bye. Have a couple dilemmas this week though.

    1 PPR, 2 WRs, who’s odd man out between Cruz, Manningham and B. Marshall?

    Also, standard Yahoo scoring but with 6 point TDs and -2 picks, Eli or Romo?

    Thanks for the advice!

  56. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Grandstander: I’d try to diversify and bench Cruz and Eli… I know Romo has been the definition of inconsistent, but I think he has a nice game today against the Seahawks.

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