In most fantasy football leagues, the playoffs have either already began or will this week. Every decision to start or sit a player is excruciatingly difficult. For example, last week I elected to start Stevie Johnson over Pierre Garcon. Both of their matchups were beatable but Johnson had been more consistent. Well, that was a mistake. Garcon went off to the tune of 6, 93, and 2 while Johnson, who has been unable to recover from his dropping catastrophe against Pittsburg, produced yet another pedestrian performance of 5 catches for 42 yards. This got me thinking.
Let me begin my saying that my belief in any fantasy sport is to never, ever, under any circumstances, bench a top player. The mark of a great player is someone who performs in difficult situations. To bench a great player in a difficult situation is therefore, to deny that player’s greatness. However, for those B, B+ level guys, the decision to sit or start is most challenging. By B or B+ level I’m talking about guys just like Johnson. They’re certainly consistent and 7 out of 10 weeks should be no-brainer starts. As for the other 3, at least one of those occasions you’ll probably bench them, then start them, bench them again, only to insert them into the starting role Sunday at 12:30. That leaves 1 or 2 times, however, where they should be benched. Here is a list, inspired by some of the songs I’m currently listening to, of players with borderline starts and my suggestions.
Mark Sanchez, “Memories”
Memories. That’s all fantasy owners will be clinging to after the Jets take on Pittsburg. That is, memories of how tremendous Sanchez was about 5 weeks ago. Since then, though, the Sanchize has been nothing but pain for any unfortunate owner. Quite frankly, if Sanchez is your starting quarterback and you’ve managed to make the playoffs, you’ve finagled your way to one of the more improbable success stories in recent memory. Mark is totally overwhelmed right now, has no confidence, and throws to receivers suffering from the same plight. Bench him, bench him, bench him. This one is easy.
Fred Jackson, “Like a G6”
A G6 is a Jet. The Jets run the ball well. Fred Jackson has been running the ball well, thus, he’s very much like a New York G6 running back. The newest starting Bills back is beginning to look like an every week start. Miami did a good job defending the actual G6s last week, but I think the imitation will have success this week. The injury to Lee Evans will probably limit the passing attack, which means more touches for the backs. As long as Jackson can stay away from the “sizzurp” there should be no hesitancy to start him.
Thomas Jones, “Waiting for the End”
The Chiefs will have a surprisingly difficult and even more surprisingly meaningful matchup between 2 teams who, if the season ended today, would be in the playoffs. I really like St. Louis and believe they will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders a few seasons from now. However, the only reason they will get in this season is that they play in the worst division in professional sports. KC should be able to dispatch them this week. You’ll be “waiting for the end” of the game because Jones will see the most action in garbage time. He’s been touching the ball much less the last few weeks, but that should change. Jamal Charles is fresh off a new monster contract and Kansas City will want to save their main man for more pressing situations at either the end of the season or the playoffs.
Mike Wallace, “Tonight (I’m $#%!@&$ You)”
At least that’s what Darrelle Revis will be singing to Wallace owners this week. As bad as the defense has been as of late, Revis has been tremendous. There’s a chance that Ryan will elect to play Revis on Hines Ward and let the speedier Cromartie attempt to handle Wallace. In either case, both corners will be saying, “Let’s remove the space between me and you.” This is one of the trickier calls for the week, but if possible, I’d look elsewhere for a different starter.
Felix Jones, “Bat Out of Hell”
Hell, of course, refers to the Wade Phillips era. During this hellish era, Felix Jones’ talents were seemingly neglected. Somehow the fact that Jones has incredible speed and solid power was forgotten. New head coach, Jason Garret, however, recognizes the potential of his talented back. Felix has been on total tear lately and Washington is beginning to look like one of the worst teams in football. Unlike the other songs on this list, Bat Out of Hell is actually good and one of my favorite songs of all time. It is no coincidence that Jones gets it. He will have one of the 10 best individual performances of the week.
LeGarrette Blount, “Kush”
He has a great matchup this week against one of the bottom rushing defenses in the league. Despite the record of Detroit, they have actually played competitively against their opposition this year. I really doubt that this will be a blowout for Tampa, which means they are going to want to control the clock with Blount. Then again, a blowout would also guarantee Blount some end of game touches. More good news for Blount: Detroit has allowed the fourth most rushing touchdowns. Blount has been a master of inconsistency this season and I think this week will be one of his peaks. Why the song? Well, it has the perfect line, “Blunt and get blunted.” For some reason Snoop Dogg spelled “Blount” wrong, but then again, he spelled “Dog” wrong too. So careless…
Here are a few more guys on the borderline.
Mike Tolbert. Still getting his caries, especially at the goal line. Start.
Stevie Johnson. 4 of last 5 games have been mediocre or worse and no more Evans. Sit.
Mike Williams (TB). Detroit’s secondary is iffy but Lions will score, so lots of chances. Start.
Ronnie Brown. Beginning to wonder if he’s lost it but Bills worst run D in league. Start.
Marshawn Lynch. He’s just not very good anymore and showed that last week. Sit.
Austin Collie. The Robot/Wax Figure says he will play, but I’d like to see something from him as he’s done nothing since week 6. Sit.
Pierre Garcon. Doesn’t have the best catching abilities, but in an injury deprived offense he will get plenty of targets and has quietly had 4 good weeks in a row. Start.
Hines Ward. Brutal matchup against Revis or Cromartie and much like Wallace I’d think about looking elsewhere. Sit.
As seen originally at http://www.hotboxsports.com/article/2010/12/I-Gotta-Feeling-Playoff-Sit-or-Starts