Fantasy Football: sit or start?

Being a Minnesota Vikings fan can be rough, to say the least.

Who can forget the 2009 heartbreak of Brett Favre?  Or the Christian Ponder debacle?  Or the Adrian Peterson debacle?  Or the four Super Bowl losses?  Or – OK, you get the point.

And while this season is much the same with a 3-5 record, I saw something different this past weekend.  Something that doesn’t usually play in my team’s favor.

Luck.

The ugly game included our offense looking inept for all but one drive, a strong defensive effort on all but one drive and a loss of the lead with two minutes to play.

And there was the same old, “here we go again” feeling.

But our young rookie stars had a different plan.  Teddy Bridgewater led us down the field for a tying field goal to send it to overtime.  On the first play of overtime, rookie Anthony Barr caused a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.  Finally:  something went in our favor and we won.

So we’re halfway through the regular season, about five weeks out from fantasy playoffs.  If you’re starting to get that “here we go again” feeling, like you’re not going to make the playoffs, just look to the Minnesota Vikings.

You’ll find comfort in their story.  Even when you think it’s over, there’s always a chance for your team.  Everything can line up right for your opponent.  But there’s always the hidden ingredient that will allow you to come out on top: luck.  Let’s get to it:

I see San Fran’s Colin Kaepernick having a QB1 stat line this week against the Rams.  I remember, not so long ago, when the Rams allowed Matt Cassel to look like an elite passer.  Kaep should get some rushing yards, too, as he scrambles away from Robert Quinn and Co.  And let’s not forget what happened the last time these two teams met:  343 passing yards and 3 TDs.

If bye weeks have you scrambling for a QB, look no further than Alex Smith of the Chiefs.  This guy is known for dinking-and-dunking his way to a mediocre game without any errors.  Their opponent, however, is strong against the run and awful against the pass.  It isn’t rocket science.

I’ll continue to mention Indianapolis running back Ahmad Bradshaw until he’s started in 100 percent of leagues.  The man is killing it this year.  Only two games have had him total less than 10 points and he’s ranked fifth among rushers.  He takes on a soft Giants’ D, but I don’t care who he’s facing:  start him.

The Denver Broncos have themselves a new ball carrier, and his name is Ronnie Hillman.  All that preseason hype about Montee Ball has been flushed down the theoretical toilet because Hillman is simply the better back for this offense.  Peyton Manning is very kind to his RBs; this situation will be no different.

Philly receiver Jeremy Maclin had himself a game last week:  187 yards and 2 TDs.  I’m riding the hot hand here against a Houston defense that struggles against pass-happy offenses.

While I hate relying on TD-dependent players, I have a good feeling Dallas wideout Terrance Williams will score this week.  In a game that could be a shootout, this top-20 wide receiver should be in your starting lineup.

Remember what I said about Alex Smith?  Well if you have Travis Kelce on your team, plug him and play him this week.  Specifically against TEs, the New York Jets give up the fourth most points in that area. If the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III returns this week, sit him.

If Colt McCoy plays instead, sit him, too.  I don’t care which of the three QBs for Washington play this week – it’s not a good matchup against the Vikings, who give up the second fewest points to passers.  It can’t be considered a fluke, either, when their opposition has included Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford and Drew Brees.

I can’t imagine Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco having a good game this weekend.

He’s taking on a Pittsburgh defense that has a knack for picking the ball, not to mention it will take place at Heinz Field.  On the road against a red-hot team, I’m leaving Wacko Flacco on the bench.

This could be considered a bold prediction for the week:  Jamaal Charles will not reach double-digit fantasy points this weekend for the Kansas City Chiefs, who take on the Jets. I’ve already said it twice, but I’ll say it a third time, New York’s weakness is through the air.  Not the ground.

We’re going to stay in the same game and give a shout out to Chris Ivory.  Don’t start him.

The Jets’ featured back will start to lose opportunities now that speedy Mike Vick is in the backfield with him.  Don’t forget that Kansas City’s run defense is stout, too.

Emmanuel Sanders had a hat trick of TDs for the Denver Broncos last week, but I don’t think he’s worth a starting spot this go-around.  New England’s pass defense against WRs is No. 1 in the league.  While I understand it’s Peyton throwing him the ball, most of the passes will probably go to Demaryius Thomas.

I don’t really understand why Pierre Garcon is started in more than half of all fantasy leagues.

He’s on pace for around 800 yards and 6 TDs, which would average out to seven points per game.  The quarterback situation in Washington is a mess and he’s taking on the tough Minnesota pass defense.

I’m going to reach back into the cookie jar for a third time to pull out a Washington player:  Jordan Reed.

Unless you’re in a PPR league, he’s not worthy of a start because his athletic ability simply won’t be realized anytime soon.

ANTHONY WATSON

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