It’s Sunday, and the clock is about to strike 1:00 pm.  Anticipation is building, and you finally cave, as you remove Stevan Ridley from your FLEX and replace him with Joique Bell.  After all, Ridley has been in the doghouse with Coach Belichick and Bell has a great matchup vs. the Eagles.  We’ve all be there before — at the last minute you completely reverse course from the original starting lineup you had all week long.  Sometimes it pans out, but sometimes you’re left kicking yourself — like when Bell cedes carries to a red-hot Reggie Bush and Ridley sneaks in for a couple of one-yard touchdown dives.

This column is here to help you make those decisions easier.  Each Saturday throughout the NFL season, I will be providing you with a list of some players you should start, as well as some that should take a seat at the end of your bench.  I won’t be telling you to start LeSean McCoy, ‘cuz if you’d ever consider sitting him, well, you’ve got way more things to worry about than fantasy football (like getting your head checked).  Instead, I’ll focus more on the fringe players or the sneaky second- or third-tier guys who aren’t automatic starts or sits each week.

Let’s get on with the show.  And as always, I will be taking your additional start/sit questions on here and will be doing so all the way up until kickoff.

(Stats are based on PPR formats unless noted otherwise)

 

START ‘EM

Colin Kaepernick, 49ersAn underwhelming 2013 season accompanied by a less-than-stellar preseason made Kaepernick the 12th QB off the boards in this year’s fantasy drafts.  While I believe his ADP is in the right range, his Week 1 matchup vs. the porous Dallas Cowboys defense is one that fantasy owners must exploit.  The Cowboys’ D ranked 31st (out of 32 teams) vs. opposing QBs last year, allowing 26.2 fantasy points per game.  The Cowboys will also be without cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who will miss four games after being suspended for breaking the NFL’s drug policy.  Because Kaepernick fell a bit in drafts, it’s possible he may be your QB2, but I’d start the Niners’ signal caller over guys like Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Nick Foles this week.

Fred Jackson, BillsJackson eclipsed the 30-year-old mark three years ago — the traditional “downhill point” of a running back’s career — but that hasn’t slowed him down one bit.  The undrafted back out of tiny Coe College was a menace in PPR leagues last year, ranking 11th among all RBs.  C.J. Spiller is fully healthy once again, which means a backfield split, but Jackson has always gotten his share of catches and goal line touches.  F-Jax and the Bills face the Chicago Bears in Week 1, a team that allowed the second-most points to opposing RBs last year (29 ppg).  Jackson is still a flex play in most leagues, but he’s worth starting over ball carriers like Maurice Jones-Drew, Toby Gerhart and Bishop Sankey.

Marques Colston, SaintsWe all know about Jimmy Graham and the addition of rookie Brandin Cooks, but Marques Colston is still a major part of the Saints’ record-setting offense.  Colston is coming off arguably the worst (full) season of his career (he had a statistically reduced 2008 after playing in only 11 games), but his foot troubles that have plagued him in years past seem to be behind him.  After all, in his “bad” 2013 campaign, the eight-year vet still racked up 943 yards on 75 catches.  The Saints open up vs. the Falcons, who gave up the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last year.  In what should be a shootout, Colston is worth starting over other WRs like Larry Fitzgerald, DeSean Jackson and Torrey Smith.

Heath Miller, SteelersThe Big Ben-to-Miller connection has endured for years and in the Steelers’ new no-huddle offense, it should continue to thrive.  The duo has a great opportunity to make a splash in Week 1 when Pittsburgh hosts the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.  Miller didn’t fare all that well against them last year, catching just seven balls for 58 yards in their two contests, but overall the Browns defense allowed a great deal of production to opposing teams in the red zone.  In fact, Cleveland was the 11th-worst team when defending against the touchdown within their own 20-yard line — allowing 2.0 TDs per game — and they let opponents score six points on 64 percent of those opportunities (30th in NFL).  Miller is a fine start in deeper leagues and warrants consideration over higher-profile tight ends like Charles Clay and Martellus Bennett.

 

SIT ‘EM

Robert Griffin III, Washington Football Team: RG3 had a rather lackluster preseason, throwing two picks and zero TDs in 67 snaps.  There still seems be some skittishness with his surgically-repaired knee, and he is not someone I’m starting until I see the 2012 version of RG3 on the football field.  On top of that, he has to face J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and the Texans D in Week 1.

Joe Flacco, Ravens: Flacco’s 2013 season was laughable. After signing the largest contract in NFL history (at the time), Joe Cool bottomed out with a career-worst 19/22 TD/INT ratio and 73.1 QB rating.  The Bengals defense was sixth-best vs. QBs last year and in two games vs. Cincy, Flacco threw only two TDs to five INTs and completed just 58.1 percent of his passes.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Raiders: The Jets had fantasy football’s second-best defense vs. RBs last year and the Raiders will have to travel across the country for to face them in an early game.  Also, it’s the Raiders.

Toby Gerhart, JaguarsThe Eagles averaged 12.8 points (9th) to the Jags’ 8.5 points (32nd) in the 1st half of games last year.  In a game that could get out of hand early, it’s best not to rely on the trailing team’s run game.

Jeremy Maclin, EaglesMaclin is on the flipside of the Gerhart scenario.  The Eagles could be up big early, which means a heavy does of LeSean McCoy.  After ACL surgery, I’d also like to see Maclin play a couple of games before I begin starting him with confidence.

Charles Clay, DolphinsRumors have surfaced that the Patriots are planning on possibly shadowing Clay with Darrelle Revis at times, which is a death sentence for production.  Clay also had a knee injury this summer, which limited him to just one preseason game.  There are better tight end options out there in Week 1.

 

Follow SethDaSportsMan on Twitter at, you guessed it, @SethDaSportsMan, for quality fantasy sports advice and the deepest veneration of all things Nicolas Cage

  1. SMLV1 says:
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    Reed or Rudolph?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @SMLV1: Reed. Rams were #1 vs tight ends last year

  2. Frank White says:
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    Sup Seth… Fred Jackson over Woodhead at flex?? I have Matthews going too, just to add

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Frank White: Jackson

      • Frank White says:
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        Thanks!!!

  3. amuells says:
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    J. Bell or Patterson for flex?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @amuells: Patterson

  4. Michael says:
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    Hey golden tate, pierre Thomas or woodhead at flex? Thank you

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Michael: Pierre

  5. Deezpac says:
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    Got 2 questions for you:
    Clay over Wright at TE?
    Britt over Caldwell or Latimer?

    Thank you

    • Deezpac says:
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      @Deezpac: 1pt PPR league

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Deezpac: Yeah, go with Clay. I’d like to see Wright in that offense before I throw him out there.

      And I think Latimer could be a nice gamble, but Caldwell is the safer bet. I dont trust Britt (or Hill) yet

  6. Steve says:
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    Ertz or Cameron???
    Thx

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Steve: Cameron

  7. Steve says:
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    K Allen,decker,or justin hunter at flex??
    Thx

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Steve: Hate to sit Keenan, but I’m gonna go with Decker. You must have some pretty good guys at your starting WR spots, so rather avoid Keenan in a bad matchup

  8. Tom says:
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    Terrance Williams, Kelvin Benjamin or Lamar Miller

    Thank you Seth

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Tom: Gimme T Will in what should be a shootout (or at least Cowboys will be coming from behind)

    • Bryan says:
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      @Tom: I would play Williams, Cam isn’t healthy and Millers usage is up in the air.

  9. Kevin says:
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    I’ve been agonizing over who to slot in as my RB2 in a standard scoring league:
    Doug Martin vs CAR
    Ben Tate vs PIT
    or Mark Ingram vs ATL

    I’m not sure if I’m overthinking it or not. I love Ingram’s matchup and I have a good gut feeling about it, but I’m not sure I can justify starting him over Martin or even Tate.

    Thanks in advance for the impartial opinion,

    • Bryan says:
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      @Kevin: Martin for me, but agree the matchup is concerning.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Kevin: I’d go with Tate. I dont like Martins matchup and Ingram isnt someone Im gonna start till I see how the carries shake out in NOLA

  10. Reed says:
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    Flex spot in half ppr:

    Golden Tate, Trent Richardson, Marquis Lee, or Moreno? Leaning towards Tate…

    Thanks!

    • Bryan says:
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      @Reed: I would play Tate

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Reed: Moreno

  11. allen says:
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    Starting cooks over g tate

    Starting ertz over reed

    Stndard league..you agree with these plays?

    • Bryan says:
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      @allen: I would start Tate until we see how Cooks is actually used, Ertz and Reed are coin flips Imo.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @allen: I prefer Tate and Reed this week

  12. bryan says:
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    couple options:

    RB’s: can start 2, and flex 1. start all of Le’veon, Montee, Doug martin?

    or…. Flex Marques Colston (over doug martin probably?)

    or… Start Marques colston over keenan allen at my WR2 spot, then start the 3rb’s above.

    basically, of LE’veion, MOntee, doug martin, keenan allen, marques colston, who’s the odd man out?

    • bryan says:
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      @bryan: for what it’s worth, i’m leaning sitting keenan allen actually. I love him this year, but feel iffy about pattrick petterson shadowing him all day

    • Bryan says:
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      @bryan: I would play the Rbs, and sit Allen based on matchup. Saints/Colston looks like a shootout.

  13. Velocity_X says:
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    PPR Flex spots:

    Reed or Kelvin Benjamin?

    Pick two: Kelvin Benjamin, Edelman, Moreno, or Pierre Thomas.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Velocity_X: Reed; Thomas and Edelman

  14. Tom says:
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    Garcon or R. Mathews @ flex

    • Bryan says:
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      @Tom:
      I prefer Matthews

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Tom: Garcon

  15. KHen says:
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    Standard league

    Vereen or R. Matthews

    • Bryan says:
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      @KHen: Standard prefer Matthews.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @KHen: Mathews

  16. Robert says:
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    Lineup and Bench questions. PPR League
    Mathews or Sproles in RB2 slot? Leaning Sproles despite his lower ranking by virtually all experts…
    Rudolph or Gates in TE slot?

    Bench – keep Ivory or drop for Benny Cunningham?

    Thanks all and good luck in Week 1

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Robert: Both arent great options, but I’d lean Mathews.

      Gotta start Rudolph with Gates hammy injury making him quest. on a Mon.

      I’d roll the dice with Cunningham. Not a ton of upside with Ivory

  17. Jon says:
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    Hey man, who would you add for depth out of these; Jonathan Dwyer, Benny Cunningham , Ahmad Bradshaw , Andre Caldwell, Cody latimer, john brown or Steve Johnson & would you start any of them at the flex spot or just add for depth?

    Other options for flex on my team; MJD, gerhart, Wheaton, Kelvin Benjamin, Aaron Dobson

    My two RB’s I start are gio Bernard & Tate

    Three WR’s I start will be demaryius Thomas, Crabtree if he plays(if not then I’m putting someone else there), cordarrelle patterson

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Jon: I like Bradshaw there and I think he’s worth an add. I’d drop Dobson

  18. Wide Right says:
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    0.5 PPR- pick 2 please: Mathews, Fjax, Maclin, J Bell, and Decker
    thanks!

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Wide Right: Bell and F Jax

  19. frankgrimes says:
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    SIT 1: Martin L Bell or Stacy??

    SIT 1: K Allen Crabtree or Hilton??

    • Mordacious Levator says:
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      @frankgrimes: allen in the 2nd one.

  20. Morris says:
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    Desean Jackson Or Pierre Thomas at flex?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Morris: Pierre this week

  21. Awkward is an awkward word says:
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    I agree that RG3 is a tough start this week, but I’m in a deep 14-team league and my back up is Tannehill. Stick with Bob and pray?

    Also, should I start Ingram over Ellington since AE appears to be the dreaded Monday gametime decision?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Awkward is an awkward word: Yeah, I think Griffin is the lesser of two evils.

      And unfortunately you gotta start Ingram, cant risk the DNP with Ellington

  22. ET says:
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    Fred Jackson or Joique Bell?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @ET: Close, gimme Bell

  23. kisses says:
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    12 team H2H PPR. I have Stacy and Jennings in my RB slots and Megatron, Hilton, and Wallace in WR. Would love some help with my FLEX as my options have opened up since drafting:

    Mathews, Marqise Lee, Hartline, Wheaton (just traded for him), or Dwyer (just picked him up).

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @kisses: I dont normally like starting rookies, but without Cecil Shorts, I think Lee could have a solid game, assuming the Jags will be playing from behind

  24. David says:
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    In 10-team, 1 ppt league.

    DeSean Jackson, Rashad Jenning, Kendall Wright, best 2/3 options.

    Also, with Gates hitting the injury report, should I not take any risk and sit him for Allen this week?

    Thoughts?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @David: Jennings and Wright and yes, I’d start Allen (assuming Dwayne). Cant take the risk with a possible Monday DNP

  25. Big Ben 48 says:
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    Flex?? PPR
    Patterson, Roddy, or Fred Jackson?
    Thanks!

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Big Ben 48: Wow, sounds like a good team if you only got one spot for those 3… gimme Roddy

  26. Robb says:
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    Hey- at WR/TE slot I need one player to start out of these

    Jordan Matthews vs jags

    Markus Wheaton vs browns

    Travis kelce vs Tennesee

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Robb: Wheaton

  27. SMLV1 says:
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    Stacy or Tate at RB? Standard redraft league

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @SMLV1: Tate

  28. DiRo says:
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    Should I trust Ellington this weekor start C Johnson? I got Dez, Marshall and then Patterson in my flex, which I feel comfortable with.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @DiRo: can’t risk Ellington. Start Johnson. He’s got an excellent matchup too

  29. Mordacious Levator says:
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    start 2 RB PPR, with 1 flex. i just dropped Run BB DMC for Gordon. now have these RB
    Stacy/Murray/C.Johnson/Freeman/Ivory. Am i better off with Cunningham than Ivory (which one is A. more likely to be useful in case of injury, and B. which has more value by himself now)

  30. Guidedbyvoices says:
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    I kinda love Kaepernick too….but I can’t start him ahead of Stafford this wk,right?

    Is the smart play to sit on Kap for a few was and sell high?

    Also,ppr flex,start P Thomas or Edelman?

    Thnks

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Guidedbyvoices: yeah, cant bench Stafford. Might be a great idea to sell high if he plays well next few weeks.

      Start Thomas

  31. eric the red says:
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    Deeeeeep league.

    Start Fitz over banged up Cam?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @eric the red: its really tough, but cant risk Cam getting a DNP. Start Fitz. Luckily he has a good matchup

  32. CoachGonzo says:
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    Hey Razzballers,

    Should I start Ellington or The Bishop from Tennessee? 12 team .5 reception league

    Thank you

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @CoachGonzo: cant risk Ellington not playing. Go with Sankey

  33. Ron says:
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    Crabtree, Hartline, J. Mathews or Greg Jennings????

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Ron: Crabtree

  34. Ron says:
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    Colston or Crabtree today?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Ron: Crabtree

  35. Pete says:
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    Flex Spiller or Gore in PPR?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Pete: Gore

  36. mike says:
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    golden tate or marqise lee as flex?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @mike: Tate

  37. forwhomthejoiquebelltolls says:
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    bernard pierce or toby?

  38. Frank White says:
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    Sup Seth.. In my 12 team 3 WR PPR i got..
    Brees
    Barandon Marshall
    Cruz
    Maclin
    Mathews
    Bush
    Rudolph
    Rice
    Fred Jackson
    Woodhead
    McFadden
    Hillman
    Boykin
    Nicks
    I was wondering if I should trade Brees, Cruz n Fred Jackson for Demarco Murray, Wallace and Bell(DET)? I have a feeling Cruz is gonna be a bust and My RB’s aren’t the best. I can always grab Big Ben from waivers. You like??

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