The bye weeks begin this week with the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers sitting this week out. Fantasy owners will need to replace Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Reggie Cobb, Steve Smith, Jordy Nelson and James Jones in their lineups.
I hope I helped out fantasy owners last week. I had some good calls (Snelling, Moreno, Cameron), but missed on Pierre Garcon. I feel confident this week’s edition of Fantasy Football Start/Sit will help fantasy owners win in Week 4.
- Reggie Bush – Reggie Bush’s knee isn’t 100%, but should get most of his touches back. Joique Bell did a great job taking over for him last week. I still expect Bell to get double-digit touches against Chicago. The Bears currently have the 25th ranked defense (it shocked me too). Bush should have a nice week.
- Peyton Manning & all three starting wide receivers – Peyton Manning is on fire and he faces an Eagles defense that just looks tired. Why are they tired? The Eagles fast-paced offense is leaving them on the field for 40+ minutes a game. If you give Manning that much time, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas & Wes Welker will get their share of fantasy points.
- Darren McFadden – Why do I like a running back who only had nine yards in the previous game? The Oakland Raiders face the Washington Redskins, that’s why. Washington’s defense has given up the most points through the first three games than any other team in the Super Bowl era…so roughly fifty years. I also like either Terrelle Pryor (or Matt Flynn) depending on his concussion. Whoever plays quarterback should have a nice game.
- Colin Kaepernick – I was a Kaepernick detractor this preseason, but the hate has gotten out of hand. Does he have Cam Newton syndrome? If you’re not aware of the disease, it’s when a quarterback appears in a million commercials in the offseason and then stinks in the following season (see: Robert Griffin III). I don’t know if he’s suffering from that, but he faces St. Louis this weekend and he’ll bounce back.
- Owen Daniels – The Houston Texans play the Seattle Seahawks at home this weekend. Seattle has the best secondary in the league. Houston will look to avoid them. Daniels has been Matt Schaub’s security blanket in the past. He will be targeted in the red zone.
- Indianapolis Colts Def/ST – The Colts play the Jacksonville Jaguars WITH Blaine Gabbert. Starting the Colts defense will be the smartest decision you’ll make this week.
- Ahmad Bradshaw – He’s currently listed as questionable, but if he plays, he’ll plenty garbage time carries. If he doesn’t start, Trent Richardson might be a good start. I’d feel a little less confident, since Richardson has only had the playbook for 10 days going into the Jaguars game.
- Josh Gordon – Now that you’ve seen what Gordon can do, he’s a no-brainer start. Hoyer looked for him all game and it paid off. Cincinnati’s secondary is better than the defense they playd last week, but he’ll still get his targets. He’s an athletic player and will make the most of them.
- Matthew Stafford & Jay Cutler – I loved both quarterbacks going into the season and so far, they’re proving me right. I think the Lions/Bears game will be a shootout, thus giving both quarterbacks opportunities to score. They both have running backs that can catch the ball, so that will be their ‘running game.’
- Jason Snelling – I mentioned Snelling as a ‘start’ last week and he didn’t disappoint. Jacquizz Rodgers is getting carries with Steven Jackson out, but when the Falcons are in the red zone, Snelling is the guy. He can catch the ball for PPR leagues and still gets a handful of carries on top of that. I like him as one of the top flex players this week.
- Cecil Shorts– The Jaguars should be behind for most of the game and they’ll need to pass. Unfortunately, Gabbert will be in charge of that, but Shorts can make people miss on short passing routes. He put up good numbers against Indianapolis last season doing just that.
- Aaron Dobson – DEEP LEAGUE START – He’s getting targets in the New England offense. Kenbrell Thompkins is the receiver getting the touchdowns, but if you’re in a PPR league, he’s a definite deep league flex play.
- T.Y Hilton – I hate admitting this, but Hilton isn’t a smart fantasy football start. I don’t consider him startable right now. Andrew Luck has been targeting Darrius Heyward-Bey more and more each game. DHB has taken the spot Donnie Avery had in the offense last season. Hilton has yet to score a touchdown and unless he breaks one, I don’t see him as a player you should start this week.
- Donnie Avery – Speaking of Donnie Avery, he makes this section of the list. Kansas City played Philadelphia last week and Avery went off by catching seven balls for 141 yards. Fantasy owners should be cautious of stat lines when the players play the Eagles. Kansas City had the ball for the majority of the game, thus giving Alex Smith more opportunities to pass the ball. Avery had a good week, but Dwayne Bowe is still the man in K.C.
- Andy Dalton – The only reason I have Dalton listed here is the presence of Joe Haden. He will be blanketing A.J. Green all game. Dalton still has Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones for targets, but having Haden out there really hampers the flow of Cincinnati’s offense. Green will still get a few catches, but nothing like he’s usual production.
- Stevan Ridley – I will not trust Ridley until he gets 75%+ of the touches out of the backfield. In last week’s game, Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount each scored more fantasy points than Ridley. You should be sitting him or trying to sell low at this point.
- Heath Miller – I’m not sure why he’s owned in any standard fantasy league. You’d be better off playing either Brandon Myers, Jermaine Gresham or Scott Chandler. Drop Miller if any of those guys are on the waiver wire.
- Tampa Bay Bucs Def/ST – The Buccaneers just benched Josh Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon. I don’t expect him to do a ton against Arizona. This team is just completely lost. I know Darrelle Revis will be on Larry Fitzgerald, but I have a little more faith in Carson Palmer than that. Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts will pick up the slack and Arizona should be fine.
- Eli Manning – If you own Eli Manning, I assume you have options. He’s not a guy who went in the first few rounds, so hopefully you drafted a decent back-up. I just can’t start him until he shows he can play a game without throwing interceptions. He’s a good quarterback and hopefully this is just a hiccup. I’d play Philip Rivers and Sam Bradford over him right now.
- Rashard Mendenhall/David Wilson/Ryan Mathews – If you have a flex spot open and thinking about starting one of these running backs, don’t. Mendenhall, Wilson & Mathews are stuck in the category of players squandering their opportunities. I’d also throw BenJarvus Green-Ellis in that group. If Ben Tate, Jason Snelling or Marcel Reece were getting the touches those guys are getting, they’d fantasy studs. You should look into picking up a wide receiver flex if any of those running backs are your best flex option.