Fantasy Football: sit or start?

I feel so bad for the Arizona Cardinals.  So bad.

A team that has been ranked a consensus No. 1 in the league by all the experts.  A team looking to heal the wounds of the Super Bowl loss against the Steelers nearly a decade ago.

And this was the season they would make everyone forget about that.

Larry Fitzgerald, who has been a top player on and off the field for his entire career, would get his first ring.

Bruce Arians would cement himself as a top coach.

And Carson Palmer would erase the sting of the awful 2006 playoff game, where he tore his ACL.

But on Sunday, Palmer went down holding the same knee that was surgically repaired.  A torn ACL for Carson and the loss of a starting QB for Arizona.

But remember what I said last week?  I told you how a fantasy football team can guard against such an injury.  Have a good backup, have a good supporting cast and continue to have a fighting chance.  The Cardinals have that exact setup.

So while Carson “cried like a baby” after learning about his injury (understandably so), it’s not over just yet for the red-hot Arizona Cardinals.  Players are rallying behind backup QB Drew Stanton.  A Super Bowl is still possible. And a championship is still possible for any fantasy teams facing injury.  Just follow the Cardinals’ lead:  smart drafting, good backups and a good supporting cast.

Let’s get to it:

Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are facing an awful Tampa Bay pass defense this week.  The opposition has given up multi-TD games to quarterbacks like it’s their job.  And to be quite honest, I don’t know if anybody in Tampa Bay knows that their job is to win football games, not lose them.

Don’t be upset Tampa fans; you get to face an even worse pass defense in the Washington Redskins!  Therefore, if you’re out of options, Josh McCown of the Bucs is a good one – he has two stellar receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

I’m not a big Eddie Lacy fan, but the Packers’ running back is a must-start the rest of the way.  The offense is simply unstoppable with Aaron Rodgers clicking on all cylinders.  Lacy is the one who gets the goal-line looks and screen passes, resulting in a bunch of fantasy points.

The Patriots’ defense has been unable to stop opposing backs as of late; Ahmad Bradshaw gets to face off against them this Sunday.  The Colts’ back has put up more than 50 yards or a touchdown in every game this season.  That’s the definition of consistent.

New England wide receiver Brandon LaFell takes on a Colts’ defense that has been stingy to opposing teams for the most part.

However, teams have been able to gash them with their No. 1 receivers the past few weeks.  Enter LaFell.

I already mentioned the Buccaneers’ quarterback; now it’s time for the guy catching those passes:  Mike Evans.  It looks like he has taken over the top receiver role and the sky is the limit for this talented rookie.

I mentioned him last week and he didn’t live up to my expectations.  We’ll try again this time.  Larry Donnell is a start simply because he is on the field nearly 100 percent of the game, gets a decent amount of targets and is a safety valve in the red zone for the Giants.

I don’t think Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers is a top-10 play this week.  Besides the Titans’ pass defense being relatively solid, I can’t see the Steelers needing to pass the football.  My guess is a heavy workload for Le’Veon Bell.

What happened to Cam Newton?  The Carolina offense has looked like garbage the past few weeks and now Cam has an ankle injury limiting his mobility.  Even in a good matchup, I’m leaving the QB on the bench.

I see the Cardinals becoming one-dimensional after Carson Palmer went down with an ACL tear.  That doesn’t bode well for Andre Ellington; the tough Detroit defense will be keying on him and only him.

I’d bench both Ben Tate and Terrance West if I could afford it.  The Browns’ ball carriers are too unpredictable.  They go against my philosophy of starting consistent players.

Sammy Watkins of the Buffalo Bills did not look like himself last week.  Nursing a groin injury, the star receiver is going to have a tough time on a short week; the Bills play Thursday night.  Look elsewhere.

Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery can both take a seat on the bench this week.  The talented Bears’ receivers are playing with a QB who is acting like a child, a coach who can’t control his players and going against a top-five Minnesota pass defense.  No thanks.

The same can be said for the Bears’ tight end, Martellus Bennett. I could just copy and paste what I just wrote but you get the point.

ANTHONY WATSON

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