Start or Sit - Week 13

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The playoffs are just around the corner and many of you are desperate for a win that would secure a spot in the post-season.

That's where we come in with our weekly start or sit column.

Like I tell you every week, you probably won't find your stud players on this list. Guys like Adrian Peterson, Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald should always be started, regardless of who they're playing so it's a waste of time to even mention them.

Send your questions to:

and between Ricky and myself, we'll do the best we can to help you out.

Otherwise, good luck this weekend.

Must starts: Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning


Jay Cutler - Broncos vs. Jets - Cutler leads perhaps the most frustrating offense in the league this season and that's not what you're looking for at the most crucial time in fantasy football.

If you started him against the Raiders last week, chances are you have no intention of playing him again this season because in the words of Sir Charles Barkely, he was 'turrible'.

But with the Broncos traveling to New York for a Thanksgiving weekend showdown with J-E-T-S, Cutler's arm is going to be tested early and often. The Jets are the proud owners of the fourth ranked run defense, but absolutely ashamed of their 26th ranked pass defense.

Start him with confidence.

Matt Ryan - Falcons vs. Chargers - While it took us awhile to catch on, Ryan has merited start status since day one of his fantasy football career.

Since I've been conscious enough to actually understand football, I've never seen a rookie QB play at the level Ryan has been at before the season even started.

This week he gets the woeful Chargers pass defense and with the sudden emergence of Michael Jenkins and Harry Douglas, along with probable Pro Bowler Roddy White, Ryan is going to be dealing all day.

I love this team.

Trent Edwards - Bills vs. 49ers - Edwards has been about as predictable as the weather this season, leaving fantasy owners scratching their heads when setting their lineups each week.

Are we going to get the 250 yd 2 TD Trent, or the 125 yd, 2 INT Trent?

This week you'll get the good as Edwards faces the 29th ranked pass defense in the league.


Matt Cassel - Patriots vs. Steelers - I'm fully aware that Cassel threw for 400 yds in consecutive games for the first time since Teddy Roosevelt was in office. But let's take a trip down memory lane and check out the teams Cassel's been having these successes against.

In order, he's faced the 28th, 26th, 16th, 11th, 21st, 25th, 32nd and 29th ranked passing defenses in the NFL.

Geez Matt, pick on someone your own size.

The 11th ranked passing defense is the Colts, and in that Week 9 matchup Cassel delivered a lowly 204 yd, 0 TD, INT day.

The 16th ranked passing defense belongs to the Bills, and in that Week 10 matchup he struggled again, finishing with 234 yds, 0 TD.

And now the Patriots face the Pittsburgh Steelers and their league leading pass defense that includes 37 sacks on the season.

Cassel has yet to face a defense as fierce and dominating as this, so buckle up because it's going to be bumpy ride.

Tyler Thigpen - Chiefs vs. Raiders - I have two, very important words you'll need to understand completely if you want to understand Thigpen's inclusion on the sit list despite his ridiculous string of fantasy performances as of late.

Nnamdi Asomugha.

It's pronounced, I am the greatest cornerback in the NFL so don't you dare think about starting a QB or WR against me.

Kind of long, but I'd say it's fairly effective.

Jake Delhomme - Panthers vs. Packers - Paging Dr. Tommy John, your little procedure isn't doing enough to help out Delhomme very much this season. He still looks unsure of himself and is guessing which receivers are open as opposed to reading the field to find them.

The Packers should get Atari Bigby - how amazing is that name? - back this weekend and after being scorched by Drew Brees on Monday night football last week, this defense is going to be ready to punch somebody in the mouth at Lambeau.

Guess it'll just have to be Delhomme.

Running Backs

Must starts: Adrian Peterson (Min), Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, LaDanian Tomlinson, Clinton Portis


Thomas Jones - Jets vs. Broncos - As a Bears fan, I'm pretty torn about this entire situation going on out in New York.

You've got our mortal enemy under center and one of our favorite Bears backs having an amazing season.

Part of me wishes Jones was still here, but that would also mean Matt Forte probably wouldn't be in a Bears uniform today. It's a tough call, but I'm more than pleased with Forte and I'll be more than happy to root for TJ on Sunday.

He's the motor of this Jets offense and he'll be running on high all afternoon.

Warrick Dunn - Bucs vs. Saints - Keep riding the wave coming out of Tampa that is the one and only Warrick Dunn.

The Saints will come marching in and Dunn's shifty running style should cause them fits all day long.

Expect at least 120 total yards combined and a TD.

Ronnie Brown - Dolphins vs. Rams - Last week I recommended you start Forte against the Rams and he provided you with a stellar, 2 TD performance.

I suggest you do the same this week with Ronnie Brown and don't you dare hesitate for a second when trying to decide between him and a hobbled Brandon Jacobs.


Steve Slaton - Texans vs. Jaguars - Despite being one of the biggest surprises of 2008, Slaton is headed for a tough night against a Jaguars defense that limited Adrian Peterson to 80 yds last week.

The Jags have a middle of the road run defense, but their running game is extremely potent spearheaded by Maurice Jones-Drew. If the Texans can't slow him down, expect the Jags to play ball control and limit Slaton's chances overall.

And the Texans might get down early in this affair, giving Sage Rosenfels the opportunity to cut it loose and forget about the running game.

Jamal Lewis - Browns vs. Colts - Looking at the numbers you'd expect Lewis to be in line for a strong outing against the Colts bottom feeder run defense.

But the Colts have been playing much better as of late and the Browns have been an eyesore since Week 1. He'll have moderate success from a yardage standpoint when it's all said and done, but don't expect much in the way of long runs or TD's.

The Browns are going to lose this game and they are going to lose this game badly.

Peyton Hillis - Broncos vs. Jets - This has been one of the most interesting stories of the season and Hills is earning huge rep points for being a rookie fullback carrying the load for a team that was and is supposed to be playoff contenders.

But this is going to be one of the dark chapters of this fairytale season.

The Jets run defense will give him nowhere to go and Hillis doesn't have the burst to get by the front line.

Wide Receivers

Must starts: Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson,


Greg Jennings - Packers vs. Panthers - Jennings and Aaron Rogers have developed the kind of chemistry that you cannot ignore. Early on in his career, Jennings was primarily a deep threat and not counted on to provide much else.

He's evolved into an all around wideout that's capable of going over the middle and beating safties deep. This weekend against the Panthers he'll be asked to do both and will tally a score for the third straight week.

Antonio Bryant - Bucs vs. Saints - He's not very flashy and if you saw him walking down the street you wouldn't even take notice.

But in the fantasy world he's become one of the few receivers you can count on each and every week. He's Jeff Garcia's most trusted target and won't have any problem getting separation against the passive Saints secondary.

At least 80 yds and a TD.

Bernard Berrian - Vikings vs. Bears - I know that he was here last week and bombed, so for that I apologize.

But this week Berrian gets to face his former team in a stadium whose turf was built for a player with his kind of speed.

One deep ball is all he'll need to help you on Sunday.


TJ Houshmandzadeh - Bengals vs. Ravens - Housh has managed to stay reasonably productive despite playing with a quarterback that'd be second or third string on every team in the NFL.

But this week the Bengals go up against a rejuvenated Ravens defense that is seemingly getting better each and every week and has allowed only three TDs through the air this season.

Marques Colston - Saints vs. Bucs - With so many weapons to choose from, Brees is looking Colston's way less and less each week and fantasy owners are left wondering why.

The Bucs play the pass as well as anyone in football and will have no problem shutting down Colston on Sunday as Brees will favor Lance Moore for the important possessions.

It's a shame he got hurt early on in the season. We were expecting big things from Colston this year.

Dwayne Bowe - Chiefs vs. Raiders - See Tyler Thigpen above.

Tight Ends

Must starts: Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow Jr., Owen Daniels, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark


Heath Miller - Steelers vs. Patriots - This is the kind of game that Miller was built for. With Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington having to deal with the physical style of play employed by the Pats secondary, Miller should be the one Big Ben looks to in the red zone.


Tony Scheffler - Broncos vs. Jets - There's some decent matchups for Scheffler on the horizon, but this weekend it's not looking very bright. Hope you have somewhere else to go on this one.

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Ryan or Rivers at QB?


pretty sure its time to add jennings to the must start. and randy moss. and TO

Olsen responds: Jennings and T.O. are playing at a level high enough to be included in the must start list, there I'd agree with you.

But Randy Moss?

I don't think so.

He just posted a stellar 45 yd performance against the Steelers and he's more of a situational starter than anything. Cassel may have some great games against garbage defenses because that's what young and inexperienced quarterbacks do.

In effect, Randy Moss' value invariably depends on who the Patriots are playing and is not a must start. You'd probably start him regardless of the matchup but that doesn't make it the right play.

Thanks for the input.

Need help with my week 16 Championship picks

QB need 1
M. Schaub
D. McNabb
M. Cassel

RB need 2
F. Gore
C. Johnson
M. Turner
S. Morris
P. Thomas

WR need 2
T. Owens
A. Bryant
L. Moore
B. Berrian

Flex Player could be a RB or WR need 1


Ricky responds: Oh man, this is a hard one. So many options. Again, if you have a strong gut feeling one way or another on any of these, follow it. I'd probably go with Cassel, Turner and Thomas, TO and Bryant.

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About the bloggers

Matt Wood is a web editor for and editor of He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on November 28, 2008 11:16 AM.

Breaking down the Turkey Day games was the previous entry in this blog.

The best and worst of Week 13 is the next entry in this blog.

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