We'd like to think we recovered last week by providing pretty solid advice like starting Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Crabtree and sitting Reggie Wayne. With six games down, we're really starting to see what teams are legit, but we've still had a huge jumble of players entering and exiting the mix. Check this week's Start or Sit? to see who should be injected into your lineup to give it a boost.
Washington Redskins @ Carolina Panthers (1:00 ET)
START: RB Ryan Torain
SIT: QB Cam Newton
After Rex Grossman literally gave the starting job away last week against the Eagles, the John Beck era is upon us. And while not much is known about Beck’s skillset, we’re not too excited about the prospect of having the Washington quarterback anywhere near our roster. However, one Redskins player we do like is Ryan Torain…until Shanahan changes his mind, of course. But with Tim Hightower battling an injury and Roy Helu becoming a non-factor, Torain looks like the best running back to face a Carolina defense that gives up the second-most rushing yards per game (140.3).
The Redskins don’t have a pushover pass defense. They have allowed the 9th fewest passing yards per game in the league, and they’re tied for 3rd in sacks. Basically, it means that Cam Newton will not have the same amount of time in the pocket or the mediocre pass defense that he has been lucky enough to face all season.
Seattle Seahawks @ Cleveland Browns (1:00 ET)
START: WR Greg Little, RB Marshawn Lynch
SIT: RB Montario Hardesty
Even though he was a popular waiver wire pickup this week, Montario Hardesty should not be in your lineup against the Seahawks. With Seattle susceptible to the pass, Colt McCoy and Greg Little look like better start options. Meanwhile, we may have another Marshawn Lynch sighting. After having his best game all season in Week 5 versus the Giants, Lynch owners should be excited to hear that he will be facing a team that gives up 129.8 yards per game against opposing running backs. In a week where many accomplished RBs are on a bye, there aren’t many better RB2 options than Lynch.
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions (1:00 ET)
START: WR Nate Burleson
SIT: QB Matt Ryan
Poor Atlanta Falcons. They have to play the angry Detroit Lions at Ford Field. After the infamous “handshake felt ‘round the world,” Lions will look to stick it to the Falcons on the offensive and defensive end. We all know Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew are must starts for Detroit, but our sneaky pick is Nate Burleson. After receiving the second-most targets in last week’s game, Burleson came away with a respectable 9 fantasy points. Atlanta’s passing defense is not as good as the Niners’ D, so you can expect more from Nate if he’s given the same amount of opportunities. And while it shouldn’t be much of a secret, let it be known that Matt Ryan is not a great quarterback away from the Georgia Dome. Even though his home-away splits have been deceptive so far, things will eventually fall into their rightful place.
Denver Broncos @ Miami Dolphins (1:00 ET)
START: QB Tim Tebow
SIT: WR Brandon Marshall
After taking out space on the city's billboards and chanting his name all of this season, Broncos fans finally have Tim Tebow as their team’s starting quarterback. And could it come at a more opportune time? This week, Denver will be going to the state that made Tebow an icon: Florida. All signs point to Timmy being a must start, so we’re not going to ignore that. After spending last Monday on Revis Island, Brandon Marshall will now be visiting the Champ’s Ring. If that catches on, you can thank us. But anyway, Champ Bailey is not an easy corner to face and it will show come Sunday.
San Diego Chargers @ New York Jets (1:00 ET)
START: WR Malcom Floyd
SIT: RB Shonn Greene
Ugh. That may be the best way to describe Shonn Greene’s season. So far, Greene has hit double-digit fantasy points twice this season and both times were due to the fact that he was able to get into endzone. Without those touchdowns, the Jets running back would have never reached 10+ points this season. Now unless he breaks off a big run to the house, we’re pretty sure that coach Rex Ryan will give LaDainian Tomlinson every goal-to-go opportunity in an effort to have him score at least once against his former team.
If there’s Revis Island on one side of the field then there’s got to be a Cromartie Cavity on the other. For as much as Revis does to shut down his side of the field, Cromartie more than makes up for when facing the opposing team’s number two receiver. So with Vincent Jackson stranded on Revis Island, Malcom Floyd should turn into a good flex option this week.
Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1:00 ET in London)
START: RB Earnest Graham, QB Jay Cutler
SIT: WR Mike Williams
Boy, are the Brits in for a good one! Nothing exemplifies the best that the NFL has to offer quite like the Chicago Bears versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After shocking the Saints at home last week, the Bucs are looking to continue their winning ways with help from their backfield surprise, Earnest Graham. With the Bears rush defense not as good as people may suspect, Graham will find success in another week without LaGarrette Blount. And speaking of surprises, after such a great rookie campaign Tampa’s Mike Williams has been awful this season. He has been so bad this year that we can only suggest him as a flex start at best…and that may be pushing it.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans (1:00 ET)
START: RB Chris Johnson
SIT: QB Matt Hasselbeck
There are so many good QBs out of action this week that people may be looking through the free agent pool to find a viable sub. Just don’t let Matt Hasselbeck be that guy for you. Yes, we know that he has posted good numbers this year but playing against the Texans defense isn’t an easy task. And by the way, welcome back to fantasy football relevancy, Chris Johnson. We’re pretty sure your owners have missed you.
START: QB Matt Cassel, WR Dwayne Bowe
SIT: QB Carson Palmer, KC Running Backs
We know you’re excited about the Raiders getting Carson Palmer, but please, take a step back and recognize the situation he’s being thrust into. Many players have complained this season about not having training camp. Think about a dude that hasn’t played since last year starting with a new playbook and new receivers. Sit on Palmer for a few weeks to feel out how this is actually going to work. On the flipside, The Chiefs’ running backs are either old, inexperienced, or banged up, and the Raiders are terrible against the pass. Expect good things from Cassel.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Arizona Cardinals (4:05 ET)
START: RB Rashard Mendenhall
SIT: QB Kevin Kolb
It’s too bad the Cardinals have very little chance of getting revenge for the Steelers beating them in the Super Bowl three years ago. Since winning their first game, the Cardinals have lost four straight, and Kolb has put up awful numbers in that stretch. He has failed to go over 252 yards since Week 1 and has thrown five interceptions to one touchdown in the past three games. With Polamalu expected to play, this Steeler D isn’t going to help Kolbs problems. Mendenhall finally had a solid game with 146 yards against the Jags, but his hamstring is still lurking, so use him as an RB2 or flex.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (4:15 ET)
START: Anybody who likes cheese
SIT: QB Christian Ponder
The questions about an undefeated season finally popped up this week. We knew they were going to come eventually, but after only six games? Some people, ahem ESPN, just have nothing better to talk about. What we are willing to say is that the Packers should roll through the Vikings, even in Minnesota. The Vikings are starting rookie Ponder (talk about the worst first start ever), and cornerback Chris Cook was arrested for domestic abuse this week. Not that either of those facts make a huge difference. One thing to remember is that James Starks and Ryan Grant have made each other terrible fantasy options. Use them only if you have to.
St. Louis Rams @ Dallas Cowboys (4:15 ET)
START: RB DeMarco Murray
SIT: WR Brandon Lloyd, QB Sam Bradford, RB Felix Jones
Sorry, St. Louis. You might’ve made a great trade to get Lloyd, but with Bradford injured, you’re going to have to wait to see its true impact. It’s a good thing the Cardinals are in the Series right now, because this is not a situation anybody wants to be watching. The Rams have allowed an NFL-high 21 sacks this year, Bradford has a high ankle sprain, and Jay Feely, who threw seven interceptions in his last two starts in 2007, will be behind center. The Rams’ misfortune comes as a much needed break for the Cowboys. Jones also has a high ankle sprain, thus leaving the responsibility to rookie DeMarco Murray, so this could be a great game for him to acclimate to a bigger load.
Indianapolis Colts @ New Orleans Saints (8:20 ET)
START: RB Mark Ingram, RB Darren Sproles
SIT: WR Reggie Wayne
In a strange sequence of events, Saints center Olin Kreutz has stepped away from a starting position, guaranteed money, and his teammates. Apparently, he is not playing up to his full ability and that’s not okay with him. Gotta love the heart and values of this guy. Does this have any fantasy impact? No, not really. Neither does the fact that Saints coach Sean Payton will not be on the sidlelines after suffering a torn meniscus and broken tibia last week, but it’s important to know. When you have Drew Brees and are playing the Colts, these are minor footnotes.
Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars (MON, 8:30 ET)
START: QB Joe Flacco, WR Anquan Boldin
SIT: Any Jag not initialed MJD, WR Lee Evans
Yeah, we’re wondering why this is on Monday night too. Can we start that flex scheduling a bit early and put the Falcons/Lions or Bears/Bucs here instead? Now that it was revealed that David Garrard needs surgery on his back, it makes a little more sense why the Jags did what they did this season. The thing is, Gabbert isn’t even close to getting the job done. Honestly, it’s questionable that he ever will. While some of it is on his terrible offensive line and weak receivers, he has yet to complete more than 16 passes in a game, he’s only surpassed 200 yards once, and threw for 109 yards last week. Against a Baltimore team that has allowed QBs to score only 7.4 points per game this year, he doesn’t stand a chance.