Fantasy Football

2011 Fantasy Football, Week 4 Sit ‘Em Start ‘Em: Grossman Looks To Exploit Rams Secondary


Frank Gore

There are many approaches and philosophies to playing fantasy sports.  Some people are willing to take on risk in the interest of upside while others are completely risk-averse.  Some people go stars and scrubs on draft day while others will only draft players who go for a bargain. 

My personal approach is to treat it like gambling.  Take in as much information as you can to make the most informed, logical decision and rely on that proper decision-making process to make the aggregate result of your decisions enough to make a profit/win a fantasy league.
Unfortunately, publicizing your start/sit recommendations doesn’t allow for any sort of aggregate.  It’s a very small sample size, and if enough people take your advice, some of them are bound to lose their weekly matchup as a result.  Needless to say, I’m not crazy about going out on such a limb.  So I guarantee this advice is 100% wrong or your money back.

Start/sit advice is based on ten-team leagues so QB/TE start recommendations are guys I think are top ten plays and RB/WR start recommendations are guys I think are top 20 plays.

QB Start: Rex Grossman, Washington Redskins (Week 4: @ St. Louis)

Over the final three weeks of 2010 and the first three weeks of 2011, Grossman is averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game.  In week four he gets a Rams defense that has not been as good as some thought Steve Spagnuolo would have made it.  To be fair, the Rams have faced Michael Vick, Eli Manning, and Joe Flacco this year, but they’ve still allowed seven TD’s through the air while forcing only one interception.  Unless you also own one of the top 6 QB’s (Brady, Rodgers, Stafford, Vick, Rivers, Brees) you should probably be starting Grossman this week.

QB Sit: Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Week 4: Detroit)

I’ll be honest, I own both Romo and Grossman on two teams, and it will be tough for me to actually pull the trigger on starting Grossman over Romo.  But it’s probably, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, the safer play.  Romo is still banged up, and the very capable pass rush of the Lions could make his rib injury an issue at some point.  Not to mention the fact that Miles Austin is out on Sunday and Dez Bryant is a fairly questionable game-time decision.  The Lions have also been pretty good against the pass so far allowing only two TD’s through the air (albeit to Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel, and Donovan McNabb).  I understand if you can’t bring yourself to go with Grossman over Romo, but I’m going to force myself to take my own advice.

RB Start: Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (Week 4: @ Philadelphia)

I know, I know, it’s not exactly going out on a limb telling people to start a guy who was drafted tenth among running backs.  But Gore has been brutal so far (19 points through three weeks), he’s got a bit of an ankle issue (listed as questionable but expected to play), and Kendall Hunter got in on the action last week (scored a touchdown).  I just want to make sure Gore owners don’t panic and sit him this week.  He’s got a fantastic matchup going against the Eagles who have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs so far this year.  If you drafted Gore in the second/third round, you’re going to need something out of him in order to win.  This should be the week he finally gives you something.

RB Sit: James Starks, Green Bay Packers (Week 4: Denver)

With Ryan Grant out this week, Starks would appear to be a guy you should have in your lineup.  And Green Bay could lead Denver by a healthy margin for most of the game which should mean more carries for Starks.  However, Starks was horrible in week three as he averaged less than half a yard per carry and lost a fumble.  Moreover, Denver’s run defense is actually pretty good.  While it’s true that Oakland lit them up on the ground, they shut down Cedric Benson and Chris Johnson, and the only player to run for a touchdown against them was a quarterback (Jason Campbell).  I could also see this one turning into a bit of a shootout and Starks not getting the expected mop up carries.

WR Start: Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos (Week 4: @ Green Bay)

As I said, I could see this game being a bit of a shootout.  And while Starks might not end up getting some extra touches, that doesn’t mean Denver isn’t going to have to throw a ton in this one.  Eric Decker saw the most targets for Denver last week, but for now I’m chalking that up to Lloyd just returning from an injury.  He’s off the injury report this week, so hopefully he’ll be the most targeted of Kyle Orton’s options this week against a Green Bay defense that has given up an average of 27.3 fantasy points to opposing receivers so far this season.

WR Sit: Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City (Week 4: Minnesota)

Bowe was a candidate for regression coming into this year as he was unlikely to repeat his 15 touchdown total from a year ago and it was unlikely that Matt Cassel could manage not to suck again.  With Jamaal Charles going down for the year, Kansas City’s passing game (complete with a sucky Matt Cassel) no longer has the benefit of an excellent running game to take away some of the pressure.  But Bowe has managed to extend his fortunate run into 2011 with two double digit fantasy point performances in the first three weeks.  I don’t expect it to continue this week against a Vikings team that has kept a couple of #1 receivers in check (held Vincent Jackson to three points and held Mike Williams to zero).

TE Start: Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions (Week 4: @ Dallas)

It seems that I can’t write a single fantasy football article without making at least one reference to, and this article is no different.  They guys at PFF have developed a set of criteria in order to determine which TE’s will put up consistent numbers going forward.  With Aaron Hernandez and Antonio Gates out, only seven TE’s meet the criteria, and Pettigrew is one of them (along with Gronkowski, Graham, Keller, Witten, Finley, and Davis).  Pettigrew also has a nice matchup against a Dallas defense that is one of only eight teams to allow an average of ten fantasy points to tight ends.

TE Sit: Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (Week 4: @ Seattle)

Gonzalez had his lowest reception total since 2002 last season and his lowest yardage total since he became a starter in 1998.  He has also managed only six touchdown catches in each of the last two seasons.  Two of his touchdowns this season came against an Eagles team that has a tough time defending tight ends.  With all that in mind, it’s easy to see that Gonzalez will not be able to sustain his current touchdown rate.  And his value is tied to those touchdowns as the points accumulated via his three touchdown catches account for more than half of his fantasy points this season (18 of 34).  When the touchdown faucet gets turned off, Gonzalez’s value will be minimal.  His opponent this week, Seattle, has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to tight ends so far and fared well against the one elite tight end they faced (held Vernon Davis to 47 yards on five receptions).

Written by Brett Talley exclusively for  Brett is a law student in Dallas who would start Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate article and sit the article above.  You can follow him and/or ask him for fantasy advice on Twitter @therealTAL.

Tags: 2011 Fantasy Football, Sit Em Start Em, Lineup Advice, Brett Talley, Week 4, Week Four, Frank Gore, Rex Grossman, Tony Romo, James Starks

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