About the Author
Recent posts by William Del Pilar
Remember, while I recommend starting or sitting players, I don't know your roster makeup. For example, with all things equal, you should sit A.J. Green this week but some can't, as they don't have the quality bodies. Realize that my recommendations might not suit your needs and if it's a tough start-or-sit player, I'll let you know if it's OK to start him when I recommend sit and vice versa. Like all things in life, fantasy football is gray versus black and white.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (at Patriots)
Fitzpatrick had a horrible Week 16, throwing for 196 yards, no TDs and no interceptions. However, he did throw for 369 yards, two TDs and two interceptions in Week Three against the Patriots. New England is allowing 270 yards and 1.75 TDs per game to the position, including 21.0 rushing and 0.5 TDs per game. He is high-risk, high-reward guy with a four-game average against the Pats from 2009-11 of 261.25 passing yards and 1.25 TDs. He has the matchup and warrants a start.
RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers (at Browns)
Mendenhall had a great game in Week 16 based on expectations, with 18-116-1 rushing and 1-35-0 receiving. With Ben Roethlisberger not 100 percent with a high ankle sprain and the Browns allowing 196 total yards and one TD per game the past four weeks to RBs, he warrants a start. He can exploit this matchup.
RB C.J. Spiller, Bills (at Patriots)
Spiller has been coming on, with a five-game average of 20 utilizations for 107.6 yards from scrimmage and 0.8 TDs. This past week was another great outing going 16-111-1 rushing and 2-27-0 on three targets. He faces a Patriots squad allowing 164.9 yards and 0.75 total TDs to RBs the past four weeks. Look for Spiller to post elite numbers, as he's fighting for the chance to battle for the starting job in 2012 and will be giving 100 percent. He's a no-brainer start this week.
WR James Jones, Packers (vs. Lions)
Jones had a great fantasy game last week, finally putting it together for the few owners who started him. After producing 4-50-2 on six targets, he will be in lineups this week. It's a risk considering how deep the Green Bay WR corps is, but if the team begins to rest its starters, such as Jordy Nelson (6-115-2 on seven targets) or Donald Driver (2-29-0 on three targets). He should benefit with plenty of targets. Add in the fact that the Lions allowing 193.8 yards and 1.3 TDs to WRs the past four weeks and you can start any other Packers WR, including Randall Cobb.
WR Reggie Wayne, Colts (at Jaguars)
Wayne wasn't in many lineups but posted the elite numbers his owners expected when they drafted him, with 8-106-1 receiving on 14 targets. Granted, some of that had to do with it possibly being his last home game as a Colt. He's playing for a contract and the Jaguars are badly beat up in the secondary. They're allowing 173.8 yards and 1.5 TDs per game. This is a matchup play as he can exploit this but we all know Colts' players are risky this season.
WR Laurent Robinson, Cowboys (at Giants)
Robinson (1-5-0 on two targets) was a product of the team playing for nothing when the Giants ended the Eagles' playoff hopes. Once QB Tony Romo (bruised hand) left with injury, it was all she wrote as the team also decided to rest RB Felix Jones (as planned) and go with Sammy Morris and QB Stephen McGee, who weren't good enough against an improved Eagles defense. Robinson caught 4-137-1 against the Giants in Week 14. The Giants are allowing 188 yards and 1.8 TDs per game the past four weeks to WRs and those are good enough numbers to warrant starting him.
TE Aaron Hernandez, Patriots (vs. Bills)
Hernandez is probably one of the easier players to say to start but I received a few calls from some old-time league members regarding him after going 4-36-0 on six targets. Remember, that was his worst game of the season and the Bills are allowing 41.3 yards and one TD per game to the position. That might not sound like much but Hernandez was inactive earlier this season against them and the Bills will do everything to stop Rob Gronkowski, allowing Hernandez a few opportunities. Remember, he still has an average of 5.5 catches for 59.4 yards and 0.5 TDs in 13 games. Not the best numbers, but he has upside every week and especially this week as the Patriots have posted more than 30 points in each of the last three meetings with Buffalo. Start him.
QB John Skelton, Cardinals (vs. Seahawks)
Right now, Kevin Kolb (concussion) is likely out. Even if Skelton doesn't start, Kolb falls under the same reasons for you not to start him. Last week, Skelton threw for 297 yards, two TDs and three interceptions but did not do much until the fourth quarter and was almost benched before then. His play has improved with the six starts out of the seven games in which he has played and he has a three-game average of 297.3 yards, two TDs and two interceptions. However, the Seahawks are allowing only 175.8 yards and 0.5 TDs while forcing 2.25 interceptions and 2.8 sacks per game. If you have to start Skelton, he has potential based on his own three-game average but if possible sit him, as he carries heavy risk this week.
RB Cedric Benson, Bengals (vs. Ravens)
Benson almost cost his team the game last week and had 16-57-0 rushing and 1-8-0 receiving on two targets, showing he's the boom-or-bust player we dread. In his defense, he doesn't have many subpar games and the last time he faced the Ravens, he rushed for two cheap TDs but ILB Ray Lewis, who will play in Week 17, was out. Benson he has a three-game average against the Ravens of 19.7 attempts for 57.3 yards and 0.7 TDs. Prior to his game against the Ravens in Week 11, he had managed only two TDs in the six prior games against Baltimore. Look elsewhere and sit him this week.
RB Ben Tate, Texans (vs. Titans)
Tate (6-minus-1-0), who had negative point production for his fantasy owners, was a recommended bench last week because of the unpredictability to determine his touches. Those numbers were not unexpected and even if he had blown up, I would say the same thing because every week he's boom or bust, but mostly bust. There's no way to determine his playing time before the game starts, which is why you need to avoid this matchup and sit him this week. I actually started him in a playoff game this year directly resulting in my exit.
WR Santana Moss, Redskins (at Eagles)
Moss (4-46-0 on 10 targets) might be seeing targets but if you remove Week 14 (3-81-1) he has a four-game average from Weeks 12-16 of 3.75 catches for 39.25 yards and 0.25 TDs on 8.5 targets. Combine that with an Eagles defense that has stiffened, allowing 82.8 yards and 1.3 TDs per game the past four weeks and Moss is in for a tough go. The last two times he has faced the Eagles, he has a two-game average of 2.5 catches for 33 yards and no TDs. If you can avoid this matchup, sit him.
WR A.J. Green, Bengals (vs. Ravens)
Green suffered one of his few subpar games last week, producing 2-25-0 on eight targets but with the team leading big at halftime they changed their game plan in the second half. His shoulder injury might not be 100 percent and he hasn't faced the Ravens yet — he was inactive when the teams played in Week 11. Baltimore is allowing 114 yards and 0.3 TDs per game the past four weeks and that's skewed a bit with how the Chargers took them to task two weeks ago. The Ravens are elite and with Green's shoulder at less than 100 percent this could be a low-scoring affair. Especially when you consider that both teams are battling for the playoffs and they know each other very well. If you can avoid this matchup do so, but Green can start if you don't have anyone else.
WR Mike Williams, Buccaneers (at Falcons)
Williams couldn't sustain a mini-run between Weeks 11-13 and this past week went 4-39-0 on eight targets. He has a three-game average of 2.3 catches for 24.7 yards and zero TDs. The Falcons are allowing 154.8 yards and 0.8 TDs the past four weeks to WRs and that's skewed by the Saints, who lit them up last Monday night. Williams has been too inconsistent; partly because of QB Josh Freeman's subpar play. If you can, sit Williams, as he has minimal upside.
TE Scott Chandler, Bills (at Patriots)
Chandler (0-0-0 on two targets) suffered a goose egg. He was starting to get involved in the passing attack when he got hurt, missed Weeks 14 and 15 and was not 100 percent this past week. Despite the perception of the Patriots' pass defense, they defend the TE position very well, allowing only 13.5 yards and no TDs per game the past four weeks. The last time the teams played, in Week Three, he caught 2-10-1. However, if you can, sit him, as he's too risky.