Fantasy Football: sit or start?

How about a lesson on how to handle injuries in fantasy football?

Not really anything else interesting going on in the league, so that’s what we’ll spend our time on this week.

We’re heading down the stretch of the regular season and playoffs are right around the corner.  What could possibly stop that team you’ve built so far, abound with talent?

Injuries.

I went through it this year with Calvin Johnson, who was out for three games (and wasn’t fully healthy for five).  It can be frustrating when players who are supposed to produce for you, and can produce for you, aren’t out on the field.

So you have three options.

The first option, which I highly recommend, is to “handcuff” your star players with their backups.  It can be a great move if you have the roster space.  For example, had I simply put Golden Tate on my roster to begin with, I wouldn’t have missed Calvin Johnson’s production.

The second option, which is risky, is to wait until the injury actually happens to swoop in and grab the backup.  This past weekend, Nick Foles went down with a broken collarbone and is likely to be out six to eight weeks.  Now Foles’ owners are scrambling for Mark Sanchez.  You need to be high on the waiver order, though, if you want any shot of picking up big name backups.

And the final option is to simply replace the production with a player on a completely different team.  This could be through free agency or a good draft to begin with.  What I ended up doing with my Calvin Johnson debacle was just inserting Jeremy Maclin into my lineup.  He’s been unstoppable as of late and now it’ll be difficult to choose between the two.

I hope the injury bug doesn’t strike your playoff-bound team, but it will happen to a lot of us.  Hopefully you’re prepared to fend against it.  Let’s get to it:

I made a trade for Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan this past week and I couldn’t be happier.  This guy is about to go off against a Tampa Bay defense which is still stuck in the ancient “Tampa-2” defense.  Matty Ice, contrary to his chilly nickname, is a hot play Sunday.

I’d recommend starting the Eagles’ newest starting QB, Mark Sanchez. Hey, before you grab your pitchforks and start some riots, hear me out.  Mark actually looked like an improved quarterback after taking over for the injured Foles last week.  And let’s be honest, being in an offense with Macklin and LeSean McCoy makes the job a lot easier.

The Bengals’ Jeremy Hill had himself a game against the Jaguars and look for him to have some more success against the Cleveland Browns.  Whether or not Gio Bernard plays, Hill is still worthy of a starting spot.

This column is meant to be one full of bold predictions, so don’t be surprised that I’m giving Buccaneers’ RB Bobby Rainey the nod this week.  He takes on the New York Jets.  Who gives up more points to RBs than the Jets?  Nobody.  That’s who.

I think Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona are worthy of a start this go-around.  Their quarterback, Carson Palmer, is red-hot, throwing for multiple touchdowns in six straight games.  Two-touchdown games are the norm — one for Floyd, one for Fitzgerald.

If there was ever a time for 49ers’ WR Michael Crabtree to do something, this is it.  He showed flashes early in the year, but has been a dud otherwise.  San Fran is out to prove something this week after a bad loss against the Rams.

Larry Donnell of the Giants is a good play for anyone needing a TE.  If the opposing Seahawks have a weakness on defense, it’s against the big guys in the red zone.

Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins have been playing very well lately.  I think it stops this week, however, against a stout Detroit defense.  Tannehill will probably start to skew back to his early-season numbers, which would be about 10 points.

I know I just mentioned his tight end as a start, but Eli Manning will probably struggle overall against Seattle.  I can’t see the Giants winning this one, having to face the “12th man” and coming off a game where they were walloped by the Colts.

I said Jamaal Charles was a sit last week and then he saved his day with a touchdown.  Let’s try this again.  Jamaal’s Chiefs take on another top-3 rush defense.  Not to mention he’s been averaging less than four yards per carry the past few weeks.

We all remember the preseason buzz surrounding Bishop Sankey of the Titans.  Remember when he delivered on all that hype?  Yeah, neither can I.

Well, this one could absolutely blow up in my face, but I’d temper the expectations for Calvin Johnson this game.  I wouldn’t necessarily bench him (he is Megatron after all) but the guy is coming off of a multi-week absence against a tough Miami secondary.

Everything I said for Tannehill can be said for Mike Wallace.  He hasn’t surpassed 81 yards all year, depending mostly on touchdowns.  Too risky for my liking.

Greg Olsen, tight end for the Panthers, has gone downhill these past two weeks.  It’s not necessarily his fault, considering the whole offense is a mess.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel; he squares off against only one more “bad” defense the rest of the year.

ANTHONY WATSON

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