Week 15: 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.
After a very promising 2010 season, Freeman took a big step back last season. 2012 was going to be a make or break year in Freeman's young career. To help Freeman, the Bucs signed free agent WR Vincent Jackson and drafted Doug Martin in the first round of the 2012 draft. Both have been huge helps and are major reasons Freeman is on pace to set career highs in both yards and touchdown passes. This week Freeman makes for a great start as the Bucs face the Saints in a big divisional game that will likely be a shootout. Last time Freeman faced the Saints, he passed for 420 yards and 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Look for much of the same this week.
Since taking over the starting gig for Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick has been a dual threat -- running and passing the ball -- on the way to helping the 49ers to victories in two of his three first starts. While you shouldn't expect Kaepernick to be passing for 300+ yards, you can expect him to pass for at least 200 yards as well 40+ rushing yards. Let's not forget that he has already rushed for 5 touchdowns. This week the 49ers face a Patriots' team that is giving up the 4th most passing yards per game (275.5), which should allow Kaepernick to put up some solid stats. If you're not sure who to start this week at QB, Kaepernick makes for a great play as a dual threat, running and passing.
While Joique Bell isn't the starter, he is getting more touches every week and has been closing games for most of the season. After going through a rough patch in weeks 10,11 and 12, he has picked it up the last few weeks. OC Scott Linehan talked about getting him more touches, and it showed last week as he had a season high 17 touches, rushing for 49 yards and catching 5 passes for 47 yards. This trend will continue this week vs. the Cardinals, who are giving up140 yards per game on the ground. Bell makes for a low end RB2 and a very solid flex start.
If you started David Wilson last week, consider yourself a genius (especially if you are in leagues that count return yardage). It took rookie David Wilson three quarters of the season, many weeks in the dog house, tons of work and some injuries to other players, but he is finally starting to show the promise that the Giants thought they were getting when they drafted him in the 1st round of the 2012 draft. With starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw nursing some nagging injuries, the Giants have finally given Wilson more playing time and he showed them that he is capable of making plays, putting up 327 all purpose yards. If Bradshaw is to miss any time, Wilson would make for a very solid start at RB2 and/or flex. Even with Bradshaw healthy, Wilson is a must start in all leagues that count return yardage. If you didn't start Wilson last week, don't make the same mistake again.
When Josh Gordon was taken in this year's NFL supplemental draft, no one could be too sure what to expect from him after he sat out all of the 2011 season due to a suspension. The Browns took him in the supplemental draft and have been raving about his ability ever since. While he was quiet the first few weeks of the season, Gordon has come on to be one of the best rookie wideouts this season. Over the first nine weeks Gordon never caught more than 3 passes and never gained more than 99 yards. Since then, he has averaged 4.5 receptions with 78.75 yards receiving as well as scoring 1 touchdown. Gordon has one of the better match ups of the week as the Browns face the Skins (who have the 2nd worst pass D in the NFL). Gordon makes for a solid WR3 and a great flex.