Week 16: Start ’em or Sit ’em?

Now that I am in the Fantasy Football Super Bowl I am psyching myself out trying to come up with the best line up. For the most part I have good options to choose from. For example, I have Dominic Rhodes who unfortunately sat on the bench last night. Playing him would have solved one of my dilemmas.

Here are the no-brainer starts:

Pierre Thomas @ Det
Roddy White @ Min
Tony Gonzalez v. Mia
Cowboys D/ST v. Bal

Here are the dilemmas:

Lee Evans or Lance Moore? This is probably the easiest one I have. I like Moore against the Lions more than I like Evans against the Broncos simply because Drew Brees is throwing to him. The Bills QB situation is bad any way you look at it. Still Evans is a number one receiver, gets a lot of yards per reception, and has served me well most of the season. Moore has lead the Saints in receiving, but hasn’t done much in the last two weeks. Both receivers have been cold as of late.

Rob Bironas or Garrett Hartley?
Most teams like to play one kicker throughout the season, but I have found that games are one and lost on the feet of these guys (just like in real life!). The right match up can cover a poor RB performance and put you over the top. Bironas has been a very effective play as he has reaped the benefits of the Titan’s smash mouth-grind-it-out offense all year. He has been my number one just about every week. But this week he is going up against the Steelers and their ferociously stingy defense. By contrast Hartley, replacing Martin Gramatica , has been perfect and is up against the terrible Lions. I see him getting a few extra attempts than Bironas, but they may be of the impoverished extra-point kind.

Tyler Thigpen or Kurt Warner?
Obviously Warner has to be preferred to Thigpen based purely on total points and stats this season. But here’s the case for Thigpen: 1) he has a descent match up against Miami’s mediocre pass defense, 2) he throws to Tony Gonzalez (see above) allot, 3) he has out performed Warner in the last two weeks, and 4) he gets a lot of rushing yards. Contrast that with the case against Warner: 1) the Cardinals are on the road, which means a warm weather, West Coast turf team will be playing outdoors in the cold, hard East cost, 2) snow and wind are in the forecast, 3) all-pro receiver Anquan Boldin probably will not play, 4) the Patriots are good, 5) the Cardinals can’t run the ball.

LaDainian Tomlinson or Kevin Smith?
This seems like an absurd question, but things are not what they seem. It is tempting to be loyal to LT out of respect for his past accomplishments and high draft position, but you have to go with recent trends and weekly match ups rather than stuff you were thinking about in August. LT has been consistent, getting you about 13-14 points a game in the last few weeks against some pretty bad run defenses. However, he struggled against the awful Kansas City run defense last week averaging less than 3 yards per carry. This week he goes up against Tampa Bay, a normally tough defense who has looked bad against the run the last two weeks, but has not given up a rushing TD at home all year. The chances of LT not finding the end zone are pretty good.

By contrast Kevin Smith has run hard against some tough defenses (Titans excepted) and did well against the Colts last week. He is averaging over four yards per carry and catches balls out of the backfield. Only he and Calvin Johnson are threats to score on the tepid Lions offense, but they go up against the soft Saints at home playing for their pride. He is a bit of a sleeper, and I have a feeling he will play well.

So ask the great fantasy football minds out there: what do you think?


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