Fantasy Football Week 12: Start ‘Ems and Sit ‘Ems

Week 11 of the 2014 NFL season is now behind us and your fantasy team was likely shocked. In case you missed it:

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning only threw one touchdown to match his pair of interceptions in the Broncos’ embarrassing loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and his slew of offensive weapons were kept out of the end zone, while New England Patriots undrafted rookie running back Jonas Gray introduced himself to the NFL with 199 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Also, in case you were hoping for Houston Texans receivers Andre Johnson or DeAndre Hopkins to score a touchdown, defensive end J.J. Watt took that opportunity, catching a two-yard pass from first-time starting quarterback Ryan Mallett.

Don’t fret – the Week 12 edition of the MTSU Sidelines Start ‘Ems and Sit ‘Ems is here to aid you in your fantasy football woes.



Start ‘Em of the Week: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: After being embarrassed by the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago, he completed 72.1 percent of his passes for 330 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions against an underrated Minnesota Vikings defense.

This week Cutler gets the third-worst passing defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have only intercepted eight passes all season. Green lights for Jay Cutler and his squadron of offensive weapons.

Start ‘Ems: Brian Hoyer (CLE), Joe Flacco (BAL), Michael Vick (NYJ)


Sit ‘Em of the Week: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: After being shut out in Week nine by the Miami Dolphins, Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers only put up 13 points on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Now they take on a St. Louis Rams team that held Peyton Manning and the Broncos to seven points. Things are not looking bright for Philip Rivers, despite such a great start to the season.

Sit ‘Ems: Matthew Stafford (DET), Ryan Mallett (HOU), Teddy Bridgewater (MIN)


Sleeper of the Week: Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Indianapolis Colts have quietly fallen from having one of the better passing defenses in the league to sixth-worst. The rookie quarterback may be worth a look this week if you are thin at the position.


Running Backs:

Start ‘Em of the Week: Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts: Listing Trent Richardson as my “Start of the Week” does not mean I think he will have the best rushing game of the week, it just clearly means that he is worth starting.

After starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw broke his leg against New England, earning a spot on the injured reserve, Richardson ran the ball seven times for zero yards.

This week, Richardson gets to redeem himself against the 26th-ranked Jacksonville Jaguars rushing defense, which has allowed over 150 rushing yards in both of their past two games.

Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, could wear out his welcome with the second team of his short career if he does not pick up the production, especially against a very weak divisional opponent.

He has to realize that he needs to pick up his game in order to keep a spot on an NFL roster. Richardson was able to rush for 79 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week two and 77 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week eight.

If he was capable of doing it then, he should be able to put up a good performance against a very bad Jacksonville team.

Start ‘Ems: Bishop Sankey (TEN), Denard Robinson (JAX), Steven Jackson (ATL)


Sit ‘Em of the Week: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: Rumor has it that “Beast Mode” is on his way out of Seattle following the 2014 season.

While that has not stopped him from performing well, he likely will not find success against the third-best rushing defense of the Arizona Cardinals, who are only allowing an average of 80.5 rushing yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game.

Sit ‘Ems: Jonas Gray (NE), Mark Ingram (NO), Alfred Morris (WAS)


Sleeper of the Week: Alfred Blue, Houston Texans: Texans starting running back Arian Foster missed his second game of the season, this time with a groin injury, and Blue filled in nicely with 36 rushes for 156 yards.

While Foster is expected to return next week, Blue could get plenty of carries to help ease Foster in. If Foster re-aggravates the injury, Blue becomes the primary back once more.

The Cincinnati Bengals have the 28th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL, and Blue could find similar success against Cincinnati as he did against Cleveland.


Wide Receivers:

Start ‘Em of the Week: Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns: This week the Cleveland Browns get a gift from the NFL – All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon.

He returns from a 10-game (initially season-long) suspension for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Cleveland Browns claim that they will be easing Josh Gordon back in to the offense in his first game since 2013, but their opponents, the worst passing defense in the NFL of the Atlanta Falcons, find that hard to believe.

The Browns only scored seven points last week against the Houston Texans, and they clearly need the help of a playmaker.

Josh Gordon is too physically talented to not make an impact against such a poor defense.

Start ‘Ems: Mike Evans (TB), Jermaine Kearse (SEA), Kendall Wright (TEN)


Sit ‘Em of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals: While Fitzgerald seems intent on remaining one of the best receivers in the NFL, it is apparent that Michael Floyd is the favorite target for quarterback Drew Stanton.

Even against a very tough Detroit Lions defense, Floyd caught a pair of touchdown passes (albeit, they were his only receptions). Fitzgerald only caught two passes for 33 yards.

This week the Cardinals take on the Seattle Seahawks, who still maintain the third-best defense, even if they aren’t as dominant as they were in 2013.

Sit ‘Ems: Golden Tate (DET), Pierre Garcon (WAS), Kenny Britt (STL)


Sleeper of the Week: Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis Colts: The Jacksonville Jaguars have a bad defense. They are allowing the seventh-most passing yards per game, and Indianapolis could try to get Nicks more involved this week after he caught only his third touchdown of the season last week against the New England Patriots.


Tight Ends:

Start ‘Em of the Week: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: It is apparent that the Chiefs’ young tight end will be something special for Kansas City over the next several years.

He is very athletic and has 37 receptions for 475 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

Quarterback Alex Smith has yet to throw a touchdown to a wide receiver this season, and against the Oakland Raiders, the tight ends and Jamaal Charles will likely remain the focal points of the offense.

Start ‘Ems: Martellus Bennett (CHI), Coby Fleener (IND)


Sit ‘Em of the Week: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: The veteran tight end has caught 16 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games for the Dallas Cowboys.

This week the Cowboys get to finish their season series with the second-worst defense in the league, belonging to the New York Giants.

Last time these division rivals met, Witten was a minimal part of the offense, catching two passes for 27 yards. Wide receiver Dez Bryant and star running back DeMarco Murray were the focal points of the scoring effort, and I do not see why they will not be this week.

Sit ‘Ems: Julius Thomas (DEN), Vernon Davis (SF)


Sleeper of the Week: Chase Coffman, Tennessee Titans: The sixth-year tight end finally caught the first touchdown of his career against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the back of the end zone on Monday Night.

He started in place of Delanie Walker, who was out with a concussion, and he could see more looks in Week 12 if Walker is not 100 percent.

However, if Walker is healthy, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt may find a way to get the preseason superstar some touches, as he does love to use his tight ends in his offenses.

Against a very weak Philadelphia Eagles defense, Coffman could pick up the second touchdown of his career.


Defense/Special Teams:

Start ‘Em of the Week: Dallas Cowboys D/ST: If you have the Dallas Cowboys defense, I hope you grabbed them off waivers and did not actually draft them.

Prior to the season, this squad was supposed to be pitiful, yet they have allowed the tenth-least points per game with only 21.2.

They are in a five-way tie for the tenth-most interceptions on the season, and now get to take on turnover machine Eli Manning, who just chucked five interceptions in his last game against San Francisco.

Without Victor Cruz, Eli Manning just cannot get it done, even with rookie standout Odell Beckham Jr.

Start ‘Ems: St. Louis Rams D/ST, Green Bay Packers D/ST


Sit ‘Em of the Week: Oakland Raiders D/ST: The Oakland Raiders have quietly had an acceptable defense this season. They rank 18th in yards allowed per game but still trail in points allowed per game with 26.5.

This week will not be a good game for the 27th-ranked rushing defense, as they will be nothing but a speed bump for the red hot Kansas Chiefs and the unstoppable Jamaal Charles, who carried the Chiefs to a victory over Seattle on Sunday.

Sit ‘Ems: Detroit Lions D/ST, Miami Dolphins D/ST


Sleeper of the Week: New York Jets D/ST: Before their bye week, the Jets held the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger, who had just thrown six touchdown passes in the previous two games each, to only one touchdown and a couple field goals.


Other Noteworthy Fantasy Football News: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was suspended for the remainder of the 2014 season by the NFL.

Cleveland Browns running back Ben Tate was released by the team following poor performances and supposed displeasure with the offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount was released by the team following multiple poor performances and displeasure with his role on the team. Blount left the locker room early after the Steelers’ win over the Tennessee Titans. Blount has since been picked up in free agency by the New England Patriots.


You can follow Kenneth Goit on Twitter at @KennethGoit.

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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email

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