Start ’em, Sit ’em: Big names to bench

Jeremy Kolok

Sports Blogger

@theozoneonline

 

Start ‘em

 

Devontae Booker, running back, Denver Broncos

Booker’s disappointing performance in Denver’s Week 9 loss to the Raiders is concerning. He carried the ball 10 times and averaged a meager 2.2 yards per carry. In my opinion, the Raiders defense can be credited for those results more-so than Booker can be blamed. This was a minor hiccup following Booker’s 15 and 16-point fantasy performances in the two previous weeks. The Broncos’ matchup Sunday against a New Orleans defense that greatly struggles against the run should encourage you to start Booker. He’ll have a solid bounce-back outing.

 

Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers

I don’t usually like to include quarterbacks in Start ‘em, Sit ‘em because I think it’s a little pointless. Of course you’re going to start a quarterback if you have him on your roster. It’s common sense. However, Newton is an exception this week. The Panthers have struggled this season and Newton’s numbers correlate with that. Newton is only the 22nd ranked quarterback fantasy-wise through Week 9. That being said, Newton has contributed to the revival of Carolina’s season by helping narrowly defeat Arizona and Los Angeles in weeks eight and nine. Newton’s performance generally rises to the occasion and magnitude of the game, so a big Week 10 matchup with Kansas City at home pushes his ceiling high. Start Cam Newton if you can snag him for your roster.

 

Alshon Jeffery, wide receiver, Chicago Bears

The Bears’ wide receiver has been a steady fantasy option all season but definitely benefitted from quarterback Jay Cutler returning from injury. Jeffery sees almost twice as many targets per game from Cutler than he did from Brian Hoyer. Jeffery found the end zone for the first time this season in Chicago’s Week 8 matchup with Minnesota. Although he doesn’t see the ball as much as other star receivers around the league, he makes up for it in yardage. Jeffery averages over 16 yards per reception. After putting up 63 yards and a touchdown against the stellar Vikings defense, Jeffery should have an even better outing against the shaky Buccaneers defense.

 

Sit ‘em

 

Dez Bryant, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys

Bryant shined in his return from injury against Philadelphia, but then greatly underperformed Week 9 against Cleveland. Bryant caught the ball only once for 19 yards, and dropped a sure touchdown in the end zone. One could argue that his quiet week was due to the matchup with the Browns so the Cowboys didn’t need him, however, with how well Ezekiel Elliott is running the football, you could make that case any week. The Cowboys will continue to pound the ball with Elliott, and even when they throw the ball, Bryant will likely see double coverage. Sit Dez until further notice.

 

Chris Hogan, wide receiver, New England Patriots

Hogan has had an interesting season. Week 8 against Buffalo, he recorded his highest fantasy performance of the season with four receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Hogan seems to be quarterback Tom Brady’s favorite wide receiver, which doesn’t really mean much when tight end Rob Gronkowski is playing. Despite Hogan torching Buffalo, he is too inconsistent to start anywhere other than a FLEX spot. That being said, in a matchup with Seattle on Sunday, Gronk will likely draw double coverage, which will probably leave Richard Sherman to cover Hogan one-on-one. I don’t like this matchup for Hogan and you shouldn’t either. Sit him Sunday.

 

Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should spend some time on your bench Sunday. (blacroc, Flickr)
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should spend some time on your bench Sunday.
(blacroc, Flickr)

In his first game back from injury, Roethlisberger put up only 18 fantasy points with one touchdown and an interception. Roethlisberger completed only five of his 17 passes at least 15 yards downfield. Because of this, I expect the Steelers to rely heavily on the run game with Le’Veon Bell against Dallas on Sunday. If you have no other quarterback, obviously you’d start Roethlisberger, however, if you can get your hands on another signal-caller, I’d sit Big Ben this week and bring him back Week 11 when the Steelers head to Cleveland.

ozone@ocolly.com

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