As we gear toward the stretch run, making the correct start and sit moves are of paramount importance. Either you are in solid shape (6-3 or better) or you are like the rest of us trying to earn a place in the playoffs in the final key weeks.
Every move has to be carefully thought out, dissected and topped off with your basic gut instincts.
So with all that said, here is your weekly dose of start and sit recommendations from FantasyPros911.com.
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Philip Rivers: San Diego Chargers
If you haven’t noticed, Rivers has returned to his elite form this year, as he ranks sixth in the NFL in passing (2,473 passing yards) and forth in touchdown passes (17). You might say he is a must-start, but somehow he still doesn’t get the recognition he clearly deserves.
A matchup this week against the Denver Broncos, who are defensively challenged against the pass, should allow Rivers to put up a monster performance. So far this year, the Broncos are yielding 299.1 passing yards per game (30th in the NFL) and in a game that might be destined to become a shootout, Rivers could lead many teams to fantasy glory this week.
Chris Johnson: Tennessee Titans
After getting off the schneid and running for 150 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams last week, there is hope Johnson can keep it going this week when the Titans host the Jaguars.
You all know how putrid Jacksonville has been this year and that is certainly the case when it comes to their run defense. The Jags allow a whopping, league-worst 161.8 rushing yards per game to go along with a league-high 13 touchdowns allowed on the ground.
So, when you add up what he did last week and his juicy matchup this week, maybe this is when Johnson goes on one of his patented hot streaks.
Trent Richardson: Indianapolis Colts
There is no way to sugarcoat it. Richardson has been a colossal bust ever since he was acquired by the Colts from the Browns. However, if there ever was a week he can get going, it would be this week.
You see, this week Richardson and the Colts take on the Rams and their shoddy run defense. The Rams, who just allowed Chris Johnson to rush for 150 yards last week, are giving up 125.2 rushing yards per game (28th in the NFL) and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Look for the Colts to go with a balanced attack on offense and give Richardson plenty of carries to get him going.
(UPDATE: There is actually a chance Richardson may miss the game with an ankle injury and if he does, it could actually mean good things for Donald Brown in his place).
Alshon Jeffery: Chicago Bears
While Brandon Marshall gets all the pub in Chicago, Jeffery has been just as effective a receiver this year.
Since Week 4, Jeffery has posted 457 receiving yards and three touchdowns, which is as good as any receiver in that span. Look for Jeffery to continue to put up solid numbers this week against the Lions, who allow 272.5 passing yards per game (26th in the NFL) while yielding 13 scores through the air.
With Jay Cutler expected to be back under center, Jeffery makes for a solid No. 2 wide receiver or flex play this week.
Golden Tate: Seattle Seahawks
Tate has been inconsistent all year, but his matchup against the Falcons this week could lead to good things.
With the Seahawks missing Sidney Rice and likely to still be without Percy Harvin, Tate should continue to get plenty of looks this week. The Falcons are crumbling on defense and are allowing 248.6 passing yards per game (19th in the NFL) while giving up 17 scores through the air (tied for third worst in the league).
Also, remember last year in his playoff game at Atlanta, Tate went off for six receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Heath Miller: Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller is set to take on a Buffalo Bills’ defense that is getting abused on a weekly basis and he should make for a solid start.
Although solid against tight ends, the Bills have allowed a league-high 20 touchdowns through the air. Expect Ben Roethlisberger to target him a lot when the Steelers get near the red zone.
Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons
It has been a rough few weeks for Ryan, as he is clearly struggling without Julio Jones and Roddy White at his disposal.
Although White may be back for this week’s game against Seattle, Ryan is still too risky a play this week given how good the Seahawks are at defending the pass. The Seahawks allow just 179.8 passing yards per game (second fewest in the NFL) and have limited opponents to just nine passing touchdowns.
Between his struggles (seven interceptions in his last two games) and the tough matchup, it would be wise to sit Ryan this week.
Ryan Mathews: San Diego Chargers
While he enjoyed a nice resurgence in week’s 6 and 7 (212 rushing yards and a touchdown), Mathews went back to being unreliable, when last week—in a good matchup against Washington–he only rushed for 34 yards on seven carries.
Now here come the Broncos, who have been stout against the run, allowing just 81.5 rushing yards per game. Expect the Chargers to lean more on Danny Woodhead in this game, as the Broncos can be beat in the pass game, which is where Woodhead excels.
With the Broncos-Chargers game expected to be a shootout in perhaps Denver’s favor, expect Philip Rivers and the Chargers to abandon the run early in this contest.
Ray Rice: Baltimore Ravens
Who would have ever thought we would be talking about Rice as being a sit candidate? But given how bad his season is going and his tough matchup against Cincinnati, Rice is a borderline start this week.
Rice has yet to rush for 100 yards this season and has only found the end zone three times this season and none since Week 5. He should have another rough go of it this week against the Bengals.
The Bengals are yielding just 103.9 rushing yards per game (10th in the NFL) and have given up just four rushing scores (tied for sixth fewest in the league) this year.
Harry Douglas: Atlanta Falcons
Douglas has emerged as a solid fantasy option ever since the injury to Julio Jones, racking up 352 receiving yards and one touchdown on 22 receptions in the last three weeks. However, his matchup against the Seahawks may not be conducive for him to succeed this week.
As mentioned earlier, the Seahawks are dynamite against the pass, limiting teams to just 179.8 passing yards per game (second lowest in the league). With Matt Ryan struggling and Douglas perhaps being matched up with Richard Sherman, this is a week to scale back expectations for Douglas.
Anquan Boldin: San Francisco 49ers
Combining his recent struggles (179 receiving yards in his last four games) and his tough matchup against the Panthers, try to stay clear of Boldin this week.
While he started off great, Boldin has been nothing more than a low-end No.3 WR or flex play at best in the last few weeks. And with the Panthers—who have allowed only 220.8 passing yards per game (10th in the league) and just seven passing scores (tied for the lowest amount in the NFL)—coming to town, Boldin is best left on the bench this week.
Greg Olsen: Carolina Panthers
While Olsen is a trusted tight end to count on week in and week out, this week he may have trouble getting going.
This week Olsen and the Panthers will travel to San Francisco. The 49ers allow just 220.5 passing yards per game (8th in the NFL). Plus, the 49ers have not allowed a tight end to rack up as much as 60 yards receiving this season, while only allowing two tight ends to score.
Granted with the byes and all, Olsen may have to be relied on. But if you have the luxury of sitting him, this may be the week to do so.