Fantasy Football Week 12: Start'em and Sit'em

Fantasy Football Week 12: Start'em and Sit'em
November 21, 2013, 3:30 pm
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CSN Staff

 

Mark didn’t join us for our start/sit video this week because apparently he was too busy doing his fantasy homework. I guess the guy with -29 points needs to put in a little extra time? 

We’re not really sure why the term ‘bellcow’ made its way into sports terminology, but it’s pretty freaking awesome. 

New York Giants fan, Kate Mara, must be thrilled about the team’s four-game winning streak. 

By: Tony Andracki, Scott Krinch and Mark Strotman

We're baaaaack!

Welcome to another edition of CSNChicago.com's Start'em and Sit'em, where three totally unqualified guys give their take on the best and worst plays in the upcoming fantasy football week.

We're not experts, but then again, how can anybody truly be an "expert" at fantasy football? This is a game of luck and nobody can predict the future.

We don't have special powers, but we are pretty obsessed with fantasy sports. Just ask our girlfriends...if we had any. 

Every week, each of us will comprise a trio of players with the best matchups or situations on tap for the week ahead and a corresponding trio of guys who are most likely to run into a metaphorical brick wall.

And because we're men and we love perpetuating stereotypes, we, of course, turned this into a competition. Why not?

After three weeks (and all of last year), we realized a major flaw in our scoring: If we assign 0-5 values to each player's performance, there's nothing worse than a zero. And Mark's Week 3 sit of Antonio Brown (who went off for 31 ESPN standard points) should have been bad enough to sink his entire week (as Tony's picks of Cam Newton and DeSean Jackson in Week 6 did), instead of just that one pick.

So we've instituted a new system. We will add up the ESPN standard fantasy points for all of our "Starts" and subtract the points from all our "Sits" and the difference will be the weekly score. If one of us winds up with a negative score, so be it.

[RELATED: Week 11 picks]

(Scoring example: If Scott's three starts total 45 fantasy points and his three sits total 20, he would finish the week with 25 points.)

So without further ado, here are our picks for Week 12:

Mark Strotman (Week 11 points: - 1; Total: -29)

Here we go. With two weeks left in (most) regular seasons, you're likely either fighting for the top spot or a wild card spot in your fantasy leagues, so these Start-Sit options are crucial. That's why I've done some extra homework and found you all the right (and wrong) options. So much is about matchups, especially with bye weeks come and gone. As much as we can help you -- hopefully we did a nice job for you this season -- sometimes you've just got to go with your gut. If you like a guy, go with him. Odds are he got you to that point you're at right now. But we want to help you along the way. 

Start 'em

Scott Tolzien, QB -- GB (vs. MIN)

No, I won't be starting a franchise with Tolzien as my starter if I ever had the chance. He's thrown five interceptions in two losses to begin his NFL career, and in both games his giveaways against the Eagles and Giants were crucial in Green Bay losses. Still, the Vikings are the Vikings. They have given up at least 19 fantasy points in four straight weeks, including multiple touchdowns in that span. As Tolzien becomes more comfortable in the offense, his numbers will go up. With Eddie Lacy leveling off, too, expect the Packers to throw against an awful Vikings pass defense.

Donald Brown, RB -- IND (@ ARI)

Trent Richardson said earlier this week that he believes he has been playing pretty well this season. That's nice, Trent. You haven't. In fact, you have been entirely overshadowed by Donald Brown, who all of a sudden is looking like a Darren Sproles-type running back. He has scored in each of the last two games, including five receptions two weeks ago and a pair of rushing touchdowns against the Titans last Sunday. Richardson really just isn't doing it, and with Reggie Wayne out Brown will take on a bigger role in the passing game. Brown is a great flex this week, even against a stingy Cardinals defense. 

Torrey Smith, WR -- BAL (vs. NYJ)

The receiving yards haven't been there for Smith -- he hasn't topped 100 yards since Week 5 -- but he's playing a Jets team at home, and that means business. With scores in his last two games, Smith is back in WR2 category despite a rather marginal season to date. Joe Flacco has struggled this season and Ray Rice is starting to pick up some steam in the run game. Don't let that stop the positive vibes coming out of Smith's camp. Ride the momentum and play him this week against a bad New York defense.

Sit 'em

Cam Newton, QB -- CAR (@ MIA)

I'm not totally on board with Newton as a sit, but the reason I chose him is because you may have a better option at quarterback -- think Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger or Colin Kaepernick. Newton is riding A TON of momentum after three touchdowns against the Patriots, meaning this week against a good Dolphins defense may put him right in line for a letdown. Newton is fantastic, but don't forget that he put up six points two weeks ago on the road against the 49ers. If you don't have a viable backup, play Newton with confidence. If you have a sufficient No. 2 -- I'm playing Kaep -- go with him.

Danny Woodhead, RB -- SD (@ KC)

It's been a fun ride for Woodhead owners, especially in PPR owners. This week he faces a stingy Chiefs defense that needs a win after Peyton Manning dissected it a week ago. That could mean bad news for Woodhead, who thrives in the passing game. Also, Ryan Mathews is picking up steam, so Woodhead will see even fewer carries than he already is getting. The fact that this is a divisional game makes me believe Woodhead will be even worse, so don't feel obligated to play him in a non-PPR league. In a PPR league, you probably have to roll him out there -- we don't do PPR points here.

[RELATED: Top pickups for Week 12

Michael Floyd, WR -- ARI (vs. IND)

What an impressive 91-yard touchdown from Floyd last week. Don't let it fool you. The Colts have allowed some big games to opposing wide receivers, but I'm not trusting Mr. Floyd this week. He wasn't exactly dominating before his 25-point outing last week, and this late in the season you need to go with players you've relied on all year. Chances are that, if you're still in the playoff race, you haven't done it with Floyd. He was fun last week, and that's about all he'll do.

Tony Andracki: (Week 11 points: 15; Total: 29)

Who called Antonio Brown finding the endzone?

Actually, not really me. I just said he's due and called a big game IF he finds his way across the goal line. Which he did. Twice. And almost a third time, too, but he dropped the ball.

I'm not sitting Andrew Luck anymore. It's too painful. Plus, I was wrong this past week and I have come to the realization that I do not like being wrong.

Also, Danny Woodhead? What was I thinking? What an idiot.

Start 'em

Colin Kaepernick, QB -- SF (@ WSH)

I hope Michael Crabtree is back for Monday night, but I'm not crossing my fingers (or toes). Regardless, I feel Kaepernick turning the corner. I FEEL it. It will happen. I believe. Maybe if I send enough positive energy about it out into the universe, it will come true. C'mon, Kaep.

Pierre Thomas, RB -- NO (@ ATL)

The Falcons have allowed 1,003 rushing yards and six rushing TDs the last seven games, which comes out to an average of 143 rushing yards and 20 fantasy points a week. Darren Sproles is hampered by injury and Pierre Thomas has been quietly effective all year. He'll be the bellcow in the New Orleans offense this Thursday night. (Side note: When did "bellcow" make the transition into sports terminology? More importantly: WHY?)

[MORE: Getting defensive for Week 12

Marques Colston, WR -- NO (@ ATL)

This is pure, unadulterated risk. I'm telling you to start a player who totaled just three fantasy points from Week 5 through Week 9. But Colston has 24 fantasy points the last two weeks and appears to have regained a stranglehold in this Saints offense. This week, he draws the Falcons D, which allows 25 points to opposing wideouts per week. If this doesn't work, you can blow up a pic of my face in the video above, print it off and throw darts at it, like CSN web producer John Paschall does. Apparently he holds grudges or something.

Sit 'em

Case Keenum, QB -- HOU (vs. JAC)

Do you really want to start a QB that has a chance of being pulled after just one half of football? That's what happened to Keenum last week and as the Texans fight to halt an eight-game losing streak, you'd have to imagine the leash won't be long for the hometown kid. The matchup is cushy, but I can't feel confident about this. Maybe I have trust issues. Who knows.

Chris Ivory, RB -- NYJ (@ BAL)

The Jets' backfield issues seem to have been solved...for the time being. I don't trust this situation either (see? Trust issues). Ivory has at least 98 rushing yards in three of his last four games and has scored in two straight contests, but he'll be going up against a Ravens defense that ranks third against opposing RBs and hasn't allowed a rushing TD since Week 4. In fact, that's the only rushing tuddie they've allowed all season.

Danny Amendola, WR -- NE (vs. DEN)

He's questionable mid-week again (what else is new?) and now that Rob Gronkowski and Shane Vereen are back, Amendola bumps down to the third, fourth or even fifth option in the New England passing game. Plus, Amendola is made of glass and just one light hit could end his game prematurely. Stay awayyyyyy.

Scott Krinch: (Week 11 points: 16; Total: -9)

Of Course "The Law Firm" would get more carries than Gio Bernard did after I hyped up the rookie in last week's video. What is Cincy thinking? It's painfully obviously Bernard is the future. Hey Gruden, give him the rock and let him shine!

Philip Rivers is starting to stink again, can't say that I'm surprised so I got a few points on that front. 

What else did we learn in Week 11? Oh yeah, that Stevan Ridley fumbles at the most inopportune times. And that Bobby Rainey is a S.T.U.D. Don't worry I'll talk about that shortly - or you can watch the video if you feel like listening to Tony and I ramble on for five minutes.

Anyways, you've got two weeks to make a push for a fantasy playoff spot. Don't get cute, it cost me last week. Play your stars and don't second guess yourself.

With that being said, here are some guys that could help you out in Week 12: 

Start 'em

Eli Manning, QB -- NYG (vs. DAL)

Playing in Eli Manning with your fantasy season on the line? Crazy, but a calculated risk. Yes, we all know Eli threw four three picks in their Week 1 matchup. That's not all. He also passed for 450 yards and four touchdowns. The Giants have quietly been on a roll, winners of four straight games and can put themselves into the playoff mix with a victory on Sunday. Sorry, back to fantasy talk. The Cowboys are dead last in the NFL, allowing 21.4 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Start Eli with confidence this weekend. 

Bobby Rainey, RB -- TB (@ DET)

I made the biggest mistake of my fantasy football season last week by benching Bobby Rainey in favor of Percy Harvin. I talked him to my colleagues and friends all week. I even owned the dude when he was backing up Willis McGahee in Cleveland earlier this season. He has the performance I've been waiting for and I had him sidelined. Ouch. Anyways, I believe Rainey is the real deal. He's got the rare size/speed combo that NFL scouts look for and he can handle the workload. He led the NCAA in rushing attempts his senior season at Western Kentucky. Talking fantasy terms, the Buccaneers have a stout offensive line and Rainey has nobody to compete with right now. If you have him on your roster, you've struck gold because I believe he's the waiver-wire pickup that will win you a fantasy title. Start him each week, especially against the Lions on Sunday.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR -- ARI (vs. IND)

Since when did starting Larry Fitzgerald become a bold, risky move? Well, when you look at his stats and see he only topped 100 yards once this season and has been pretty much hit or miss. But I believe that will change. Carson Palmer seems to be getting in a rhythm and he connected with Fitz six times for 61 yards and a touchdown against the lowly Jaguars. Hey, nothing like playing Jacksonville to build up your confidence. Fitzgerald has a cake matchup on Sunday. The Colts are 24th in the league against opposing receivers and have given up 10 touchdowns in their last six games. I see that trend continuing and Fitz having his best game of the 2013 fantasy football campaign. 

[ALSO: Week 12 Target Watch -- NFC

Sit 'em

Matt Ryan, QB -- ATL (vs. NO)

I've been saying it for years now: Matt Ryan is an extremely overrated quarterback. I don't care if anybody disagrees. He's been given a plethora of weapons since being drafted. Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Michael Turner, Stephen Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers to some extent. What has he done with that talent? Not much. Ryan is the King of the checkdown. He's been a mediocre fantasy quarterback this season and there are plenty of better options on waivers this week; including Josh McCown, Scott Tolzien, Mike Glennon and Carson Palmer. His matchup against the Saints on Thursday night is a nightmare with New Orleans only allowing 11.2 fantasy points to quarterbacks. Don't do it. Just trust me. 

Ray Rice, RB -- BAL (vs. NYJ)

Benching Ray Rice after he has his best showing of the season? Yeah, you heard me. Rice went up against the Bears defense that's allowed fours straight 100-plus yard rushers. Don't get your hopes and think 20 fantasy points are going to be the norm going forward, especially against the Jets on Sunday. New York is second in the NFL against the run and haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. I don't expect that stat to change this weekend. 

Cecil Shorts, WR -- JAC (@ HOU)

I'll go as far as to say Cecil Shorts is nearing droppable territory. He's had a miserable season after breaking out in 2012. Is it the quarterback? Is it the system? Is he really just not good? Honestly, I have no idea right now. Shorts has found the endzone once in 2012 and has only scored in double digits in two games. When Justin Blackmon was suspended I thought Shorts would finish the season as one of the top wideouts in the league. That's not going to happen. I expect the misery to continue against the Texans on Sunday. What's even worse about sitting him for me? In one of my leagues, my Top 3 wide receivers are on a bye and I'm forced to start Cordarrelle Patterson over him. That's how little my trust is in Shorts.