Fantasy Football Truths
Start 'Em, Sit 'Ems tell you nothing: Fantasy football desperately needs betteranalysis
One of the biggest wastes of space perpetrated in fantasy football columns around the country are “Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em” recommendations. This occurs when a columnist decides to make sweeping statements about certain players and their viability as fantasy options on the upcoming Sunday.
The reason they’re nonsensical is that it’s impossible for these recommendations to take specific circumstances into account. For example, saying that Pierre Garcon is a must-start in the week ahead may make a certain degree of sense, unless a certain owner can only start two receivers in a given week and already has, say, Brandon Lloyd and Miles Austin on his roster along with Garcon.
The decision to start Pierre suddenly gets a bit tricky.
I’ve got a huge game coming up in my big-money league, and I’ve got some awful tough decisions to make, decisions that no Start-Sit column could possibly elucidate. I’ve been fortunate enough to build up some depth through the year at the running back and receiver position, which helped me get through injuries and the bye weeks, but which also makes figuring out a starting lineup this week with everyone healthy a serious head-scratcher.
I’m set at quarterback, where Drew Brees is an easy choice over Ben Roethlisberger, who’s banged up and has to face a Jets defense that gave up only five completed passes last week. Adam Vinatieri is my only kicker, and the turnover-happy Eagle defense is a no-brainer over the injury-wasted Colts. I also have to choose two running backs and three receivers to start, along with a flex position. I’ve got 10 legitimate choices for those six spots.
At running back, there’s LeSean McCoy, Rashard Mendenhall, Fred Jackson, Michael Bush, and Mike Goodson. At receiver, I can choose from Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Marshall, Chad Ochocinco, and Steve Johnson. I don’t think it’s a leap to say that all 10 likely could be listed as a “Start ‘em” choice, just like I’m sure several might make some “Sit ‘em” lists. That doesn’t help me at all.
For instance, I think that Jackson, coming off a nice stretch of games, is likely a “Start ‘em” guy if you removed all other factors from the equation. But is he more worthy this week than Goodson and Bush, two guys who have to split carries but are facing much more lenient defenses than Jackson? Or can he possibly leapfrog Mendenhall, who’s been quiet and is facing the Jets, but has the potential to rack up multiple scores?
The receiving bunch is even more of a logjam. Marshall is coming off injury and has never got in sync with Chad Henne, but he’s facing the Bills’ sieve-like secondary. Wallace, on the other hand, has the best numbers of the group since Roethlisberger came back, but he has the potential to be stranded on Revis Island.
For now, I’ve decided to go with McCoy and Mendenhall at running back, Maclin, Johnson, Marshall at receiver, with Jackson as the flex pick. The process came down to eliminating possibilities more than anything else. Goodson and Bush are too much at the mercy of their circumstances; they’ll only get enough carries to make a big impact if their games break right. Ochocinco was actually in there originally over Marshall to start until he started whining about an ankle injury; the bad karma the Bengals seem to have is just too overwhelming to trust their players at this point.
I hate leaving Wallace out, especially since Revis is nicked-up, but I felt the negatives just outweighed the positives. Plus, Marshall and Johnson both have a nice warm-weather setting in Miami.
Will these be the right choices? Probably not, at least not all of them, just based on the law of averages.
Would I have made any of those choices based on a start/sit column? That’s a definite no, which is about the only thing I’m sure about concerning my team this week.