Fantasy Football: Start Stevan Ridley, Sit Wes Welker

Stevan Ridley

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Start of the Week: Stevan Ridley (vs. OAK)

It seems that the New England backfield is Stevan Ridley’s to lose, for now. Word out of Boston was that it was fellow RB Shane Vereen’s turn in the Belichick doghouse on Sunday. Apparently Vereen was benched because he went out of bounds instead of fighting for the extra yard. Ridley went on to take over the running back duties, picking up 101 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. It’s impossible to predict how Belichick will utilize his running backs, but as long as Ridley doesn’t fumble on Sunday, he’s in for a big day.

Wes Welker

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Sit of the Week: Wes Welker (@SEA)

Welker will play in his first game of the season, and this is not the week where you want to start him. He’s got a tough matchup against the Seahawks in Seattle, and will likely be on a snap count. Welker should have a fine fantasy season, but keep him on your benches this week.

Start ‘Em, Quarterbacks

Drew Brees, (vs. DAL)

Back to back mediocre performances in his first two weeks have Brees owners concerned, but a return the friendly confines of the New Orleans Metrodome will quickly erase all memories of the early season. In 2013, Brees had a 33.8 point better QBR indoors compared to outdoors, and looks to continue that trend this season. You drafted Brees hoping he’d be the top quarterback to finish the season, and this week is when he starts to provide returns on your investment.

Jay Cutler (@NYJ)

Even with Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall hobbled, Cutler and the Bears pulled off an incredible comeback against my 49ers. Cutler wound up becoming the 2nd highest scoring QB of Week Two and looks to continue that success as the Bears head up to North Jersey to visit the Jets. The Jets, who just got lit up by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, still have issues in the secondary despite the return of DB Dee Millner, so I expect another top five finish for Cutler this week.

Sit ‘Em, Quarterbacks

Peyton Manning (@SEA)

Remember the last time that Manning went up against the Seahawks? Now, I don’t think the Broncos’ offense is going to fumble the opening snap and completely tank like they did in the Super Bowl, but the have allowed just 13.8 points per game to opposing teams since 2013. It’s tough to sit Manning because of his upside, but if you’ve got another viable option at QB, I’d keep Peyton on the bench.

Cam Newton (vs. PIT)

Newton looked good last week, putting up 281 passing yards with one touchdown and no picks. Predictably, his rushing totals were low, with just 19 yards on four attempts. Of those four attempts, just two were designed. With the lack of rushing attempts, temper your expectations for big numbers from Super Cam. The Steelers have a poor defense, but are weaker up front than they are in the secondary. Expect the Panthers to try and run the ball and play smash mouth defense all day.

Start ‘Em, Running Backs

Zac Stacy (vs. DAL)

The Cowboys still have one of the weakest run defenses in the NFL, and Stacy clearly established himself as the top dog in St. Louis. He was on the field for 67% of the snaps, and scored on a short, two-yard touchdown run. With the Rams still relying on Austin Davis, expect the offense to revolve around Stacy this week.

Sit ‘Em, Running Backs

Knile Davis (@ MIA)

Yes, I understand that you probably just spent the number one waiver or a big portion of your Free Agent Acquisition Budget to acquire Davis, but on Wednesday, Charles was seen in practice, doing some light practice and even cutting. The ankle sprain may not be as severe as it was speculated to be, which means that Charles and Davis may wind up splitting snaps Sunday. If that’s the case, Davis isn’t worth starting against an above average Miami run defense.

Eddie Lacy (@ DET)

This might be the third straight week that Lacy makes the list, but will likely be the last. Lacy has posted a total of nine fantasy points in standard leagues, and goes up against another top run defense in the Detroit Lions. The Lions allowed the ninth fewest fantasy points to running backs in 2013, and have done well this year as well. Greener pastures are ahead, but just not this week.

Start ‘Em, Wide Receivers

Marques Colston (vs. MIN)

For the first time in the past 87 games, Colston didn’t record a single reception or target on Sunday against the Browns. That’s got a lot of fantasy owners nervous, but now that the Saints are returning home, the entire Saints passing offense gets a boost. Oh and the Vikings gave up the 2nd most fantasy points to wide receivers last year, and just gave up 6/81/1 to Julian Edelman last week.

Larry Fitzgerald (vs. SF)

Fitz was the go-to-receiver for Drew Stanton last week against the New York Giants, and he wound up with six receptions for 51 yards on ten targets. Yes, those are underwhelming numbers, but Fitz has some history against the divisional rivals. In his past five games against the 49ers, he’s averaged almost 90 yards per game and scored two touchdowns.

Sit ‘Em, Wide Receivers

Jeremy Maclin (vs. WSH)

Maclin is tied for 5th in the NFL with 22 targets through two games, but looks out of sync with Nick Foles. Of those 22 targets, Maclin has hauled in just eight of them, though two of them have been for touchdowns. While the Redskins’ pass defense is nowhere near elite, relying on Maclin to get a touchdown for the 5th game in a row is asking a bit much…

Start ‘Em, Tight Ends

Dennis Pitta (@ CLE)

Pitta had a quiet Week Two, posting just 30 receiving yards on three receptions. Fellow TE Owen Daniels vulture a pair of touchdowns against the Steelers, but I think it’s reasonable to expect that to balance itself this week against the Browns who just got lit up by Jimmy Graham. Now I’m not saying Pitta is on the same class as Graham, but I’d feel pretty safe with starting Pitta this week despite last week’s poor performance.

Kyle Rudolph (@ NO)

Rudolph is the Vikings’ best receiving threat and leads the team in both targets and receptions. The Saints are the worst pass defense team in the league, which means plenty of yards to go around for the Minnesota passing game.

Sit ‘Em, Tight Ends

Jordan Cameron (vs. BAL)

Even if he’s healthy enough to suit up this week, I’m avoiding Cameron. In five career meetings against the Ravens, Cameron has 8 receptions and zero touchdowns.

Larry Donnell (vs. HOU)

While Donnell has been impressive thus far in 2014 (12/137/1 in two games), he now faces a Houston defense that was pretty impressive against tight ends last season, and now have an even better defense. There will be better days ahead for Donnell.

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