Week 14: Start 'Em
When it comes to setting your lineups for each week of the fantasy season, a good rule of thumb is simply to not over think it. You drafted players for a reason and in almost all cases, it is to play them from the jump. Then again, don't let draft day pride interfere with a basic - or detailed - look at the match-ups, something you most likely do throughout the season. That's why we offer the "Start 'em" column, where we look beyond the obvious names to offer suggestions on potential lineup options, perhaps someone sitting on your bench right now that you may have simply overlooked. Throughout the season check back here for sleepers and oh so subtle plays and also sneak a peak at our Matchup Analyzer page.
The Eagles announced this week that regardless of Vick's possible return, rookie Nick Foles will be the starting QB for the remainder of the season. We knew the Eagles were very high on him during training camp, now we will get an extended look at him. So far he is passing for about 200 yards a game and has thrown his first 2 career touchdown passes. With the Eagles facing the Bucs this week, look for Foles to have his coming out party, as the Bucs are easily the worst pass defense in the NFL giving up 309 yards per game through the air. Don't be surprised to see some firsts for Foles. This will be the week when Foles passes for more than 300 yards as well as his first multi touchdown passing game. If you need a QB this week, Foles might be your best option.
After a very slow start to the season, Shonn Greene has started to come on in the 2nd half of the season, including this past Sunday when Greene rushed for over 100 yards for the 2nd time this season. He would have also scored a touchdown, but decided to give himself up so the Jets could run the clock out. Greg McElroy replaced Sanchez mid way through last week's game and there is talk that he will get the start this week. If he does indeed get the start, then look for the Jets to rely even more on the run game as they try and take pressure off the young QB. The Jets face the Jags this week, who give up the 2nd most rushing yards per game, so look for another week where Greene gains over 100 yards and scores a TD. If you need a RB2 or flex start, Greene is a great option.
When Willis McGahee went down with injury, most people thought (myself included) that the Broncos would give rookie Ronnie Hillman and veteran Lance Ball the first crack at McGahee's touches; That never happened. The Broncos activated former first round pick Knowshon Moreno and he has carried the load the last 2 games, rushing for 154 yards as well as 8 receptions for 40 yards. Not eye popping numbers, but you would be hard pressed to find another running back on your bench or waiver wire getting more touches than this. Moreno has a good match-up this week vs. the Raiders, so if you need a RB2 or Flex starter, I would give me Moreno a long look.
With DeSean Jackson done for the season due to injury, Riley Cooper was given the start last week and played the most snaps of any receiver. He caught 2 passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. Cooper will continue to start and continue to see targets, especially this week as the Eagles face Tampa Bay (the worst pass defense in the NFL, giving up 309.4 yards per game through the air). Foles and Cooper seemed to have built up a good rapport when both were practicing with the 2nd unit. Now that they are both playing with the first unit, watch Foles use Cooper as his go-to guy. If you need a WR3 or flex, give Cooper a look
For the first few games of the season, the only receiver Sam Bradford looked at was Danny Amendola, then he went down with injury and Bradford has been looking for someone else to step up and become the go to guy. Starting in week 4, Givens went on a run where he would catch at least 1, 50+ yard reception a game. Over the last 2 games he has become a much more consistent receiver, not simply relying on the big play. The last 2 weeks, Givens has 16 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown. With the Rams more often than not trailing in the game, they are forced to pass a lot more, giving Givens plenty of opportunity to put up fantasy points. Givens makes for a fine WR3 or flex start.