Sit/Start — Week 7

Danny Salonen & Nic Bodiford

Former Colts Offensive Coordinator, Tom Moore

Like any live performance — be it athletic, musical, theatrical, or otherwise— the first moments of your event are filled with anxiety, excitement, and uncertainty. But, by and by, those feelings recede, giving way to the reality of the situation.

It is in those moments, the real moments, the moments after the opening wave has washed over you, that the quality of your performance is decided.

I’ll take the liberty of sharing a story from the twitter of Kevin Clark (NFL reporter for The Ringer), that Nic shared with me. It’s an excerpt from Ron Jaworski’s book that tells of a conversation Jaws and Jon Gruden had with then-Colts-OC, Tom Moore, who, as Jaws describes it, essentially “signaled in every play of Peyton Manning’s career.”

While attending a Colts practice, Jaws and Gruden were surprised to see that Manning was taking almost all the practice reps, and inquired as to why the back-ups weren’t getting more work. Moore, as described by Jaws, is a man of few words, and after Gruden asked the question (and I’ll quote directly from the book), “[Moore] looked at us both in the eye, paused for a moment, then said in that gravelly voice of his, ‘Fellas, if 18 goes down, we’re f***ed. And we don’t practice f***ed.’”

Between injuries and sub-par play, we’ve seen plenty of starry-eyed rookies and back-ups getting their chance to shine. In some cases, we’ve seen the development of a new reality as a new NFL star is born; in others, the reality we’re left with is more similar to the one Tom Moore alluded to. For guys like Brett Huntley or Mitchell Trubisky, we’re still not sure.

Detroit and Houston are on bye this week. Here are Nic and my positional Starts and Sits of the week:

The “Tighten up that chinstrap” Starts of the Week

QUARTERBACK

(Nic) Matt Ryan — 2017 has been a brutal year for the 2016 MVP. Matt Ryan has managed 1,357 yards and just 6 touchdowns to pair with 6 interceptions. This is not the QB you (foolishly) reached for in drafts. However, if there’s a week for him to bounce back, it’s Week 7. The Patriots are allowing more fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other team. Toss Matt Ryan into your starting lineup this week, reap the benefits, and then trade him on a “Matt Ryan is back!” platform. Sell high, kids. Sell high.

(Danny) Marcus Mariota — No need to get cute here, Mariota didn’t score great last week, but with over 300 yards passing, he showed that he could sit in the pocket and distribute. The Browns are allowing the best passer rating in the league right now, and Mariota has another week of rest under his belt — no need to go get a waiver wire QB fill-in, Mariota should be back on track.

RUNNING BACK:

(Nic) Mark Ingram — As I mentioned in the Week 7 Waiver Wire column relating to Ted Ginn, I think Sean Payton will be aggressive in the first half and then try to grind out the win in the second. Ingram showed off his toolbox last week, finishing as a top five back in standard scoring (114 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns, 5 receptions for 36 yards receiving). Last week’s performance was too strong to ignore and I expect him to ball out again, this week.

(Danny) Adrian Peterson — Nic and I almost came to blows over this, but I’m puttin’ it up anyway! Yes, the game flow favored AP last week, but he’s clearly the best back in an offense that desperately wants to run the ball. The Rams have been uncharacteristically bad against the run this year. It’s not hard to get lightening to strike twice if you have the right circumstances, and this my friends, is the right circumstances.

(Nic) C.J. Anderson — CJA has yo-yo’d his way to a so-so fantasy season so far. In his two poor showings, the main issue for him was a lack of carries. In their Week 1 match-up with the Chargers, he had 21 total touches and it’s likely this time around is a similar story — the Chargers are allowing the second highest YPC to opposing running backs this year (5 YPC). With the loss of Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos will look to Anderson to control the rock and control the clock. The last thing they want is to get into a shootout. Bank on CJA this week.

WIDE RECEIVER:

(Nic) Terrelle Pryor — Pryor’s largely been a letdown this year, but I think he bounces back on Monday night. He’s bounced between 4 and 5 targets per game from Week 2 through Week 6. However, against Philadelphia in Week 1, he saw 11. The Eagles are giving up the 5th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and I think we see fireworks from Pryor on Monday night.

(Nic) Ted Ginn Jr. — Kinda nuts, huh? Green Bay has a beatable secondary but more than anything, I think this comes down to game plan. Sean Payton finally has a decent defense on his hands and I think he’d like to feature it in the second half against a new starting quarterback. I see the first half playing out as follows; New Orleans is extremely aggressive, taking numerous shots downfield. If they can get a lead going early, it will put the onus on Bretty Hundley to lead Green Bay back from a deficit. This sets up nicely for the Saints surging defense to welcome the fresh, young starter to the NFL. I like Ginn’s odds of scoring this week.

TIGHT END:

(Danny) Jimmy… Graham… — Whoa, Nelly! Am I spittin hot takes right now? Or just living in 2012? Jimmy, like AP, is not the player he once was, but I like him for some new life this week. Now that September is over, the Seahawks offense should regain signs of life, and Jimmy will see a Giants defense that has given up the most yards, TDs, and fantasy points to Tight ends. Let’s go.

(Danny) Austin Seferian-Jenkins — Clearly Nic and I are all aboard this hype train. The Jets seem to want to throw the ball, and ASJ continues to look like a prime target. In the current TE landscape, keep rolling him out until further notice.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS:

(Danny) Minnesota — The Baltimore offense is not good this year, plain and simple. If your most fantasy-relevant player is Alex Collins (no disrespect, I’m a big fan), you’re not having a great year. In the last four weeks, fantasy defenses are averages over 11 fantasy points per game vs the Ravens.

(Danny) Carolina — I love defenses with pass-rushing skill, against rookie QBs. Enter Carolina vs Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. They may even be on your waiver wire…

The “Tushy on the Pine” Sits of the Week

QUARTERBACK:

(Nic) Two-fer time — Sit Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton. Yes, Roethlisberger is playing at home. Yes, it’s a division-rival. Yes, Andy Dalton has been great since Bill Lazor became OC. Don’t start them. Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati games are always defensive slugfests and both defenses are looking good this year. Pittsburgh even managed to slow down the mighty Alex Smith (not being sarcastic). Find a streamer.

(Danny) Jameis Winston — Shoulder injuries are easy no-go’s. Even if he plays, I don’t like the chances that he’ll give you reasonable fantasy production.

RUNNING BACK:

(Danny) Orleans Darkwa — I know, I know, he was sooooo good against the Broncos, and you were super stoked to get him on the waiver wire this week, but the Hawks have only allowed three rushing TDs this year. Kudos on the pickup, but don’t chase points. I want to see another good week against a quality defense before I trot him out.

(Danny) LaGarrette Blount — Philly’s big bruiser has been severely hit and miss this season, and this week he’s still a touchdown-dependent back, going against a Washington defense that has only allowed three rushing TDs to RBs this year.

WIDE RECEIVER:

(Nic) T.Y. Hilton — If you’re a T.Y. Hilton owner, it’s time to let him go. He’s had a few good showings, but the Jags’ pass defense is the realness and it doesn’t get any easier from here. If you can, send out trade offers — today. Take a look at the Colts rest-of-season schedule. It’s a murderers’ row of teams like Jacksonville (twice), Cincy, Houston, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Baltimore. Get out while you still can.

(Danny) Keenan Allen — Yes, I’ve heard the saying, “start your studs”, and Allen is a top 20 receiver this year in most formats (if not all), but there are some holes. For starters, Keenan hasn’t caught a touchdown since week 1. Couple that with the fact that he’s only had more than 5 receptions once this year, and he’s working against a tough Broncos secondary, and I’ll take a pass this week.

TIGHT END:

(Danny) Jason Witten — The 49ers aren’t great at much this year, but somehow defending tight ends is one thing they’re good at… in fact, they’re actually the best in the league against tight ends, this year. Keep Witten on the bench.

(Danny) Coby Fleener — Fleener’s fantasy relevance is dead until further notice. Last week we relegated him to emergency streamer status, at this point, he’s not even that to me.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS:

(Danny) Washington — Unless there’s a scoring format that goes for golf rules, the Washington defense has been bad over the last couple weeks. That won’t change against a Carson Wentz-led Eagles team that seems to be catching fire.

Danny’s Boom or Bust, Go Big or Go Home, Swing for the Fences, Hail Mary Pick

Josh McCown — Don’t look now, but Joshy boy threw for three and a half bills last week, and what should have been 3 touchdowns, had it not been for the ASJ call. If the Jets can surprise the Pats, they can surprise the Dolphins. I like McCown for a sneaky, week 7 swing-for-the-fences pick.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts or comments — have a great weekend!

Follow Nic and Danny on Twitter at @Ginger__Nic and @DannySalonen, or holler at both jabronis at @FantasyHawks12.