Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Week 8

Publish date:

10/26/09 - Dear Diary,

Since things aren't working out for JaMarcus Russell as a pro quarterback, his post-game comments suggest he may be better suited for a career in comedy. Through seven games, he is completing 46.3 percent of his passes and has 13 turnovers compared to two TDs. That didn't keep him from telling reporters, "I don't think it's me personally. I really don't. Do you?" I mean, he's not exactly the next Sinbad, but pretty hilarious stuff.

Here are this week's starts:

Jay Cutler -- Sure, the Bears weren't competitive versus the Bengals, but you know what makes things better when you're down in the dumps? Yes diary, I suppose beer does do that, but in this case I mean a date with the Browns. Cleveland has given up an average of 313 passing yards and two TDs to the last four competent QBs they've faced (sorry Trent Edwards).

David Garrard -- The bye week probably wasn't enough for the shell-shocked Titans secondary to heal from the 59-0 beating New England handed them. Less than a month ago, Garrard hung 323 passing yards and three scores on Tennessee, and while he may not repeat that, he's a strong bye-week fill-in.

Joseph Addai -- An injured Donald Brown means more opportunities for Addai, who has scored in four straight. His 3.5 yards per carry are ugly, but he's made up for it by catching 27 passes. Meanwhile, the 49ers have allowed opposing RBs to gain 262 total yards and score five TDs the past two games.

Matt Forte -- It's now or never for Forte. There are two rules, diary: 1) Always start the RB versus Cleveland and 2) Never wear denim shirts.

Steve Slaton -- For all the heat he took earlier this season, Slaton has at least 89 total yards in each of the last five contests to go with five TDs. Oh, by the way, Buffalo is allowing the most yards per carry and rushing yards per game in the league.

Kevin Smith -- St. Louis has allowed eight rushing the past three games. In a game that approximately zero fans without a rooting interest will watch, I like Smith to score at least once for Detroit.

LaDainian Tomlinson -- Similar to Matt Forte, if L.T. can't get it done against the Raiders, stick a fork in him.

Beanie Wells -- Ken Whisenhunt can say what he wants, but actions speak louder than words. By giving Wells 14 carries compared to four for Tim Hightower, Wells looks poised to take over sooner than expected. With three catches against the Giants, Beanie is also shedding the stigma of being a poor receiver. As for this week's opponent, Carolina gives up over 130 rushing yards per game, making Wells a solid flex option.

Donnie Avery -- With the Lions allowing 273.8 receiving yards per game, someone on the Rams is bound to have a nice game, so I'll go with Avery by default. Don't expect too much, but he's an option if you're in a bind.

Lee Evans -- In the first five games, Evans had 12 catches for 159 yards and one TD. With Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, he has nine grabs for 143 yards and two scores in two games. By his own admission, Fitzpatrick has better chemistry with Evans, and unlike teammate Terrell Owens, Evans appears to have a functioning pair of hands.

Devin Hester -- Coming off of his first career 100-yard game, Hester is a terrific start against a Browns secondary that has allowed five wideouts to gain at least 82 yards this season. That's right diary, Brady Quinn is to blame for that, too.

Dennis Northcutt -- OK, maybe I'm trying to breathe life into this Lions-Rams game, but with Calvin Johnson's availability still in question, Northcutt is worth a look if you're desperate. He's caught at least five passes in each of the last two games and faces a Rams secondary allowing 258.9 receiving yards per game.

Mike Sims-Walker -- In case your memory is as bad as mine, MSW had seven catches, 91 yards, and two TDs in Jacksonville's first game against Tennessee. Consider yourself reminded.

Vernon Davis -- I was concerned that Michael Crabtree would impact Davis negatively by stealing some of his targets, but 93 yards and three TDs later, I stand corrected. Sure, the Colts have shut down opposing tight ends, but outside of John Carlson, they haven't faced any decent ones.

Zach Miller -- He's been wildly inconsistent this season, but if you're in a bind due to bye weeks, Miller is a reasonable option against the Chargers. They have been horrible against opposing tight ends the past couple seasons and Miller notched six receptions for 96 yards against them in Week 1.

Goodnight, diary...

10/27/09 - Dear Diary,

Larry Johnson's Twitter meltdown has gotten plenty of attention, but no one has mentioned his "U don't stop my checks" comment. You mean to tell me the Chiefs don't offer direct deposit? Not only does LJ appear to be a terrible running back and a reprehensible human being, he's also showing a complete lack of banking savvy.

Here are this week's sits:

Eli Manning -- In "real" games since injuring his foot (sorry Oakland), Eli is 33-for-68 with four picks while averaging 211 passing yards. The aggressive Eagles blitz packages will force him to move around on that ailing foot and limit his effectiveness.

Donovan McNabb -- Outside of the 57-yard scoring strike to DeSean Jackson, McNabb was 14-of-24 for 99 yards on Monday night. He continues to struggle with his accuracy at times, and the O-Line is having trouble protecting him. Against the pass rush of the Giants, that could spell trouble for McNabb.

Ryan Grant -- In their first meeting with Minnesota, Grant needed 50 receiving yards to salvage fantasy respectability. Sure he had 148 yards last week, but that was against Cleveland. Diary, it's similar to the "dog years" concept: each yard against a real team is like seven yards against the Browns.

Julius Jones -- He has 76 total yards in his last three games and has averaged 2.3 yards per carry over that span. The Seattle line is banged up, and Jones isn't that good to begin with. He's not even worth a flex start with six teams on bye.

Marshawn Lynch -- After being exposed against the run early on, the Texans have shut down opposing running backs. In the past four games, they have allowed a total of 151 yards and 2.4 yards per carry. Lynch is averaging 2.9 yards per attempt since returning from suspension, which doesn't make his matchup a particularly attractive one.

Knowshon Moreno -- After turning in a poor performance against a vulnerable San Diego run defense (18 carries, 44 yards), Moreno faces Baltimore's seventh-ranked run D. Correll Buckhalter also returned with 10 carries two weeks ago to limit Moreno's touches.

Pierre Garcon -- He's made some big plays, but Garcon has failed to catch more than three passes in any game. Indy has played two of the league's worst pass defenses the last two weeks (Tennessee, St. Louis), and while Austin Collie scored in both games, Garcon had four catches for 33 yards.

Percy Harvin -- He's clearly an exciting player and a dangerous return man, but he hasn't caught a TD since Week 2 and has 208 receiving yards in his last five games. Sidney Rice has become Brett Favre's go-to receiver, rendering both Harvin and Bernard Berrian risky fantasy plays.

Mario Manningham -- His days as a starter could be numbered after botching a sure TD against Arizona, and while Hakeem Nicks' TD came on a fluke deflection, their targets have been relatively close. Nicks has scored in four straight games, while Manningham is averaging three catches and 46 receiving yards since his Week 2 explosion against Dallas.

Derrick Mason -- His 35-year old body got a much needed week of rest during the bye. However, Champ Bailey is looming this week, and the Broncos have allowed three TD passes in six games.

Terrell Owens -- With Larry Johnson out of the picture, T.O. is a solid choice to have the next epic meltdown. Diary, we can only hope it rivals the Jessie Spano "I'm so excited, I'm so scared" episode of Saved by the Bell. He's averaging 2.6 receptions and 34.6 receiving yards, while continuing to drop passes and lose free agent dollars with every game.

Gary Barnidge -- After a one-week hiatus, the "don't be a sucker" tight end is back. Most of last week's 77 yards came on one play, and the Panthers already have two other mediocre tight ends in Dante Rosario and Jeff King.

John Carlson -- With their O-Line in shambles, Carlson has been staying in more to block, leading to fewer targets and a sharp decline in production. After two TDs in Week 1 and back-to-back six reception games to start the year, he's averaging three receptions and 38.3 yards in the last four contests. Dallas held Tony Gonzalez to under 40 yards last week and has contained opposing tight ends lately.

Until next week, diary...

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