24 Hours 'Til Sunday — Andy Richardson
Posted Sep. 22 at 05:26 AM
In the NFL, you're either in, or you're out. Or you're questionable after having put in a limited practice on Friday and your coach says he's hopeful and optimistic and we'll see after the final walkthrough and make a game-time decision.
My basic approach with these things is that I don't want to risk taking a zero when I've got 8-10 points on the bench, so if there's significant question or doubt in my mind, I bench the guy. Game-time decisions in 4:00 p.m. ET games are almost always benched, unless I've got the other option in the same game (Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin, for example) and am certain I'll be attentive enough to change my lineup in the middle of the afternoon. Guys who are hurting and I expect to play but be limited are a gray area; if you held out Arian Foster in Week 1, you missed out on some points, so I give some leeway to stars who are probably fine. OK, enough intro, on to the games.
Rams at Bears: So needless to say, I am benching Steven Jackson in the one league I was unfortunate enough to draft him. I have Daryl Richardson, but am looking elsewhere, even if Jackson in inactive. It's a tough matchup and I don't expect him to do much. That said, I'm not buying talk that he and Isaiah Pead will share work. Last week it was all Richardson after Jackson was sidelined and I would expect the same. He can be used if he's your best option. For the Bears, no Matt Forte. BTW, I am also not buying team's happy talk about Forte and Fred Jackson being "ahead of schedule." Nobody ever says a guy is behind schedule. It's probably just to get opponents thinking. I don't think we'll see either guy for several more weeks.
Bills at Browns: Both running backs have a lot of appeal this week. I'd go ahead and use Stevie Johnson and probably Scott Chandler if I didn't have a better option. Something about this matchup makes me think sloppy and low-scoring, but that's what I figured from Bengals and Browns last week, so you can probably use guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Greg Little if need be.
Bucs at Cowboys: Noteworthy injuries, none. My wife took Dallas as her suicide pool pick, which I am wary of, but my opinion doesn't count since I got bounced last week picking the Patriots. Having seen the Bucs last week, I can say their defense isn't very good, so go ahead and use your 'Boys. Am starting Doug Martin but wary of Tampa wideouts this week.
Jaguars at Colts: Like both running backs in this matchup, and Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener. On Austin Collie, I have nothing to add. Maybe he's active and maybe he isn't; we won't know for sure until tomorrow morning. I wouldn't use him, and would only use Donnie Avery if he's out. No interest in Jaguars passing game this week., they should run well and often.
Jets at Dolphins: I've seen enough of these two defenses and offenses to know that Reggie Bush is the only player I would use in this game from either team. And the defenses. Don't know or care if Dustin Keller will play; he shouldn't be used this week regardless.
49ers at Vikings: There's a small part of me that sees this as a potential trap game for the Niners. But a big part of me that sees Minnesota's offense doing nothing whatsoever against this defense, and San Francisco winning something like 20-10. I would use Vernon Davis and Percy Harvin, and will use Kyle Rudolph in a league where I lost Aaron Hernandez, but don't think there will be much offense overall. Eh, I'd use Frank Gore, too, there aren't enough running backs to leave him out of lineups. He should be fine.
Kansas City at Saints: The over-under on this game is in the 50s, as well it should be. I'm a little nervous about the running backs because of the committee, but think Sproles and Charles have the most appeal. Both quarterbacks, Dwayne Bowe, Lance Moore, that Graham guy. Colston has a foot injury but as long as he's active I'd go ahead and use him. Ingram, Thomas, Hillis; no one knows how much these guys will be used and they're best avoided. If Kevin Boss sits out, Tony Moeaki is an intriguing dice roll in deeper leagues. Not to state the obvious, but New Orleans' defense is really bad.
Lions at Titans: Neither team can stop the pass, so Calvin Johnson and Kenny Britt could be really big here. Tony Scheffler won't play, so Brandon Pettigrew should also be good. If I had Kevin Smith I'd try to squeeze one more good week out of him, hoping Mikel Leshoure doesn't get a huge workload (but it could be almost 50-50). Some questions this week about Chris Johnson. I do not think he's going to turn things around. I would not trade for him. If trading him away, I'd want to get a decent starter in return, and one who I am confident will remain the starter, or otherwise, what's the point? That's the problem with trading for Alfred Morris, who's a better start now, but could be yanked at any time. I do not buy talk of Johnson being benched for Javon Ringer. I have heard Ringer being talked up for 2-3 years now and seen nothing to justify it.
Bengals at Washington: Two bad defenses. I would start the Bengals and Washington's key starters without hesitation. For Washington that's probably Leonard Hankerson in for Pierre Garcon. I don't know anything beyond what's been reported about Garcon's injury. A foot sprain of unreported severity. Unfortunate for Garcon owners and Washington's offense, but they'll be pretty good anyway.
Eagles at Cardinals: I like both defenses here. Sack- and turnover-prone offenses. The only Cardinal to use is Larry Fitzgerald. For the Eagles, no Maclin, but I wouldn't be eager to use Damaris Johnson. DJax and Celek and McCoy should be good.
Falcons at Chargers: Sounds like Gates will play this week. Ryan Mathews, too. I'd be hesitant to use him, but again, starting running backs are hard to come by and many won't have better options. Problem is that other backs will also play, and I'm not sure Atlanta's run defense is as bad as it seemed against Denver. You don't need my help to use the QBs and main receivers.
Texans at Broncos: I am steering clear of this game. I'd use Foster, obviously, and Andre Johnson, though I don't have either player on any teams. But Houston has a very good defense and Denver's isn't bad either, so it shouldn't be a shootout. Gary Kubiak coached in Denver for a long time, of course. For whatever that's worth. I am benching Decker in a non-PPR league. I would use Demaryius Thomas. Again, though, I'm concerned about the Denver offense this week. I guess if McGahee got you 2 TDs last week you wouldn't want to bench him, but I'm not expecting much.
Steelers at Raiders: The Steelers offense should be good, but I wouldn't want to wade into the running back quagmire. I am starting Darren McFadden in a PPR league. Avoiding the Raiders otherwise. Janikowski is questionable, make sure he's active.
Patriots at Ravens: New England will probably focus on Ray Rice, Baltimore will probably focus on Rob Gronkowski. Not that I'd bench either player, but it might be tough sledding for both offenses. I tend to be a don't bench your studs guy, but if I had say Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III, I'd sit down Brady, what the heck. Should be a good, close, 20-17 type of game. Plan your lineups accordingly.
Packers at Seahawks: A third straight week where Green Bay's offense disappoints? Yeah, I think so. Good defense in Seattle, tough place to play. Greg Jennings is uncertain and I wouldn't use him. I am very wary of Russell Wilson against the Green Bay pass rush, but I'd go ahead and start Marshawn Lynch. I think Seattle could win, but it will have to be behind Lynch and that defense making plays.
As always, I'll answer questions as best I can over the next day or so. I think the advice has mostly panned out well so far. Good luck, and enjoy the games.
Posted by Mary Bellanti | Sep. 22 at 06:08 AM
Tight end help please! Love your column. Chandler, Fleener, Owen Daniels. I seem to change my TE every week to play matchups since I didn't draft one of the top 5.
Posted by Nick Waterbury | Sep. 22 at 06:23 AM
@FantasyIndex I've got Peterson,McFadden, JCharles, Dez Bryant, B Marshall, and MWallace. Problem is I only have 4 openings, who's in/out. Also have Pitta and witten, I feel like I have to go Pitta this week. help!
Posted by Clayton Barnett | Sep. 22 at 06:30 AM
Andy- thanks for this column. After watching Colston play with this foot injury this year, I've come to the conclusion that he just isn't the same player and won't be until they shut him down and get this thing right. I have Lance Moore and Colston, and considering starting Moore over Colston. Moore usually plays well in the dome, and with Devery back he should be heavily targeted underneath. Is it smart or crazy to start Moore over Colston in PPR? Thanks
Posted by Roy Sherman | Sep. 22 at 07:16 AM
Andy: Love the column. Got a quick question about WRs. I have J. Jones, Wayne, and Harvin, but I can only start 2 (.5 PPR league). The custom scoring profile shows them at #3, 7, and 15 respectively, but seeing any player (Jones) on the injury report, even if they are listed as probable, always makes me wonder if I should start them (Gates in wk 2 is a good example). What do you think?
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 22 at 07:49 AM
Mary, thanks. I will go with Daniels first and Fleener 2nd. Chandler's value so dependent on catching a touchdown, tough to start him. Nick, I would definitely use Charles, Bryant and Wallace. My fourth spot would come down to Marshall or Peterson. I would use Marshall. If it's a PPR league, maybe I consider McFadden for a spot. I would definitely use Witten myself, but if your gut says Pitta, you can go with that. My advice is Witten. Clayton, it is smart to start Moore over Colston. Colston has been a little unlucky not to score the first two weeks, but in PPR and with the foot injury, definitely use Moore. Roy, I personally could not bench Jones. He's fine; I think the Gates thing was flukey. Not at all worried about Jones. I would bench Wayne, but given the matchups I could understand benching Harvin (I never bench him personally). I think all three guys will be good (obviously Ian does too given the high rankings) so I don't think you can go wrong whoever you sit. Good luck.
Posted by George Taylor | Sep. 22 at 08:14 AM
Having already been burned by Cruz this week need help at WR, have Decker, SJohnson, Holmes & Blackmon. Have to start 2 of those 4, standard scoring. Thanks for the great column, its adds much to the rankings.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Sep. 22 at 08:26 AM
Andy: I agree with you on Texans-Broncos. With that in mind, I'm thinking of starting Luck over Peyton. What do you think? Also, Dancing CJ, Decker (I actually think he can have the better game if Joseph covers Thomas), Rudolph or Den. Moore @ Flex? Also, Don Brown, Ingram or Amendola @ Flex? Brown has best matchup, but he's really not that talented and comes off the field on third down. Standard scoring for all. Thanks much.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 22 at 08:42 AM
George, decker and johnson, no question. Peter, yes on Luck. I would actually go CJ, Decker 2nd. Of your choices, Brown. Ingram will either get you a short touchdown or 3 points. Even in shootout he is a desperation play. I think Brown will be decent this week.
Posted by Scott Anderson | Sep. 22 at 08:43 AM
Sup Andy? You're a popular guy this week; but that's what happens when you know your stuff! Great advice last week as usual. Here are my questions: 1. Flacco or Luck? 2. Starting Charles, need RB & Flex from the following: Turner, Hillis, Dwyer & Pettigrew (starting TE is Gonzo). 3. Another Flex ?: S. Jax, Hillis or Decker? Thanks as always!
Posted by stephen hicks | Sep. 22 at 08:44 AM
Andy-- Fairly standard yardage scoring league. Only real twist is all TDs over 40 yards are 12 points. All others 6. I'm starting Lynch and need 1 other RB from Ridley, Morris and CJ2K. Ian has CJ just barely ahead in the yardage rankings and also in my custom one. Clearly he has a better chance than the other 2 for a long TD but he has been so pathetic his first 2 games. I'm at a loss because I'm 0-2 (second most points scored in the league) and I need a win this week. What do you think?
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 22 at 09:07 AM
Scott - thanks. I guess Turner at his old stomping grounds and Pettigrew against a really poor defense (and with Scheffler out). Can't trust the Pitt backfield and don't want to use Hillis until he shows he has a big role. Definitely Decker at the other spot; doesn't sound good for SJax playing and can't trust him anyway. Stephen I like Morris this week, although granted CJ is a lot more likely to score from long-distance (but I like Morris' chances of scoring 2 1-yard TDs more than CJ's of scoring from 40-plus). Good luck.
Posted by ADAM LOCKE | Sep. 22 at 10:14 AM
Andy- Thanks for another well written column. I enjoy the weekly read and your observations. I Have A. Rodgers and J.Flacco. 4pts TD/ 8pts for 50+ TD, 2 pts at 300 yards. Am I crazy to think that Flacco is the better start? I'm local to Seattle and know how loud the stadium will be Monday night. Is Jennings in or out? No Jennings means J. Nelson gets covered by 6-4 Browner with that monster wing span. Finley is the only size mismatch for the Pack. Pats probably forced to play up to stop R.Rice and put someone on Pitta. Opening up long TD possibilties for T.Smith? Please talk some sense into me. Thanks
Posted by RICHARD LEVINE | Sep. 22 at 10:24 AM
Andy - need a flex in a PPR. Matthews or Demaryius Thomas? Starting Rice and M. Bush at RB and Harvin and A. Brown at WR. Agree with line up?
Posted by Scott Anderson | Sep. 22 at 10:28 AM
Sorry Andy, any thoughts on Luck vs. Flacco? Also, I have Richardson, so would you start him over Decker @ flex if Jackson is out? Thanks again.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 22 at 11:12 AM
Adam - I believe NE's defense is better than it was last year, so I would not consider benching Rodgers for Flacco. Lots of respect for Seattle at home but would still bet on Rodgers putting up decent numbers (and we know he's more likely to score a rushing TD than Flacco). Richard - I can't recommend Mathews until seeing him play fully. Might not have a big workload this week. Thomas, and I agree with the rest of the choices. Scott, I would not want to use Richardson at Chicago over Decker (I actually have that choice myself and am using Decker), even with SJax inactive. Don't see Richardson doing much in this game. I like Luck a little more; I see NE-Balt as kind of low-scoring.
Posted by ADAM LOCKE | Sep. 22 at 11:48 AM
Andy- Great point on the possible rushing TDs for Rodgers. That in itself could be a difference maker. I've been guilty of loving my Hawks too much, and letting it bias my decision making.I appreciate your input and for "talking me off of the ledge". Thanks for your help, and may all of your players make the highlight films(in a good way).
Posted by Jose Montana | Sep. 22 at 12:27 PM
Hey, I don't want to pay for the weekly rankings and the redrafters - can I just ask you who to start every week for free? And I'm too lazy to input my leagues custom scoring rules and auction values - can I just ask you to evaluate my trade offers?
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 22 at 12:39 PM
Jose - it is a fair point, but although I work with Ian to write the Weekly, the final rankings are ultimately his (and why he avoids lineup and trade questions, for the most part, in his mailbag). The opinions and recommendations I make here do not always line up with Ian's rankings, or I agree there wouldn't be much point. My hope is it is primarily a second opinion, sometimes the same and sometimes not, and mostly for people who are already subscribers (though I admit I don't know that).
Posted by Clayton Barnett | Sep. 22 at 07:25 PM
Jose, why rock the boat? What is your problem? Andy, I am a subscriber and appreciate the second opinion rather than relying solely on the rankings every week.
Posted by David Kennedy | Sep. 23 at 07:50 AM
PPR leagues. Pick two L Moore, D Pitta, or T. Smith. Torrey's younger brother just died I hear. WR3 Collie, Jeffrey, or Binns. Im so tempted to go Collie. Talk me off that ledge. Finally R Cobb or M Williams at flex. Thank you so much.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 23 at 08:24 AM
David, bench Smith. If Collie is active, I guess you can use him, though I would probably try Jeffery. I kind of see Cobb being busy this week, though Williams looks safer (guaranteed to be on the field more). Good luck.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Sep. 23 at 09:04 AM
Andy: With Garcon out and Cincy without it's two best corners, what are your thoughts on Hankerson as a Flex play over Dancing CJ or Don. Brown? Thanks much.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 23 at 02:45 PM
Peter, just saw this. Don't think any did much. Hoe you went with the AZ defense....
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