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2012 Fantasy Football Start Em, Sit Em: Matt Cassel, Peyton Manning, Ryan Mathews, Dennis Pitta and More

QB Start

Matt Cassel (Kansas City Chiefs, Week 3: @ New Orleans, rank: 18, My rank: 13)

Cassel is a borderline start option in 12 team leagues this week against a New Orleans defense that has given up the 7th most passing yards through two weeks.  And they’ve given up 49 fantasy points to quarterbacks.  Admittedly, they faced two top ten QBs in RGIII and Cam Newton.  And Cassel doesn’t exactly have the same skill set as those guys.  But if you passed on all the top QBs in drafts this year and chose to play the matchups with fringe guys, Cassel should be the choice this week.  The Kansas City defense has been just as bad against the pass, and this one has the potential to be a high scoring affair.

QB Sit

Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos, Week 3: vs. Houston, rank: 13, My rank: 17)

As you can see by his rank among experts on, I’m not alone in being down on Manning this week.  But because the matchups for Cassel, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco and Josh Freeman are favorable this week, I’m a bit more down on him than most.  If you drafted Peyton, you should have drafted a backup.  And if you did it was likely someone like Cassel, Cutler, Flacco or Freeman.  You drafted the backup as insurance for Peyton’s neck, but if you have them on the roster, this would probably be a good week to utilize them.

RB Start

Andre Brown (New York Giants, Week 3: @ Carolina, Fantasy rank: 22, My rank: 18)

Obviously Brown has already played this week.  And he played well (113 yards, 2 TDs).  But when my rankings came out on Thursday I had him above that cut line of the top 20 most startable RBs in ten team leagues at #18 overall.  Given how difficult it can be to pick lesser players to over perform and to pick established players to disappoint in a single week, I’m going to go ahead and give myself a little credit for being higher on Brown than most.

And it should be noted that Brown is still available in over 50% of ESPN standard leagues at the time of this writing.  If you play in a deeper league, he is most likely gone.  But if you happen to be in a league where he’s available, use the #1 waiver claim or a substantial percentage of your FAAB budget to get him.  There’s a pretty decent chance he’s the waiver pickup of the year.

RB Sit

Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers, Week 3: vs. Atlanta, rank: 17, My rank: 24)

Mathews will reportedly play on Sunday, but who knows how many carries he’ll get and how effective he’ll be with them.  It’s probably a good idea to wait a week and make sure Mathews is fully healthy before putting him in your starting lineup.

WR Start

Torrey Smith (Baltimore Ravens, Week 3: vs. New England, rank: 27, My rank: 20)

Torrey Smith lives and dies by the big play.  Last year he led the league in deep targets (15+ yards) which led to eight games with five or less fantasy points and five games with double-digit fantasy points (14 games).  His opponent this week, the Patriots, gave up the 10th highest adjusted yards gained per pass attempt last year.  In other words, Torrey Smith needs a few big plays to be worth starting and the Pats gave up a decent amount of big pass plays last season.

WR Sit

Brandon Lloyd (New England Patriots, Week 3: @ Baltimore, rank: 22, My rank: 26)

The Ravens gave up the fourth lowest adjusted yards gained per pass attempt last year.  They also gave up the fourth fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.  Lloyd is going to have some big weeks with Tom Brady throwing the ball to him, but with this matchup, this may not be one of those weeks.

TE Start

Dennis Pitta (Baltimore Ravens, Week 3: vs. New England, rank: 11, My rank: 6)

Pitta leads all tight ends in targets through two weeks.  The Patriots have allowed Todd Heap and Jared Cook to top 60 receiving yards in the first two weeks.

TE Sit

Jermichael Finley (Green Bay Packers, Week 3: @ Seattle, Fantasy rank: 7, My rank: 11)

Last week I pointed out how Average Depth of Target (aDOT) can help us identify boom-or-bust pass catchers.  The basic idea is that the catch rate on deep passes is lower than the catch rate on short passes.  So the higher your aDOT is, the lower your catch rate is likely to be.  Fewer catches but more potential for big plays creates a very volatile situation from week-to-week.  Volatility isn’t the best quality in a fantasy player.

The point: Jermichael Finley had the highest aDOT among tight ends last year.

Accountability for Week 2

QB Start: Josh Freeman – Bad Call.  Freeman was one point short of being even a top 20 fantasy QB.

QB Sit: Robert Griffin III – Horrendous, horrendous call.  This marks the second straight week where the quarterback that I recommended you sit has scored 30+ fantasy points and been the top fantasy QB for the week.  Which means Peyton Manning is going to have a huge week.

RB Start: Michael Turner – Bad Call.  The consensus rank had him as a flex play as the 24th running back...which is what he was.  He was the 23rd ranked RB in week two.

RB Sit: Frank Gore – Bad call.  Gore was a top ten back.  I’m on some kind of sh**ty roll.

WR Start: Dwayne Bowe – Great call.  Finally!  Bowe was the third best WR and the only WR to score two TDs last week.

WR Sit: Demaryius Thomas – Back to familiar territory with another bad call here.  DT was a top ten WR.

TE Start: Owen Daniels – Bad Call.  Only 47 yards on six catches for Daniels last week.

TE Sit: Greg Olsen – Good call.  Just one catch for 13 yards.

Written by Brett Talley exclusively for  If you have any further questions about this particular topic, feel free to ask him on Twitter (@TheRealTAL) or email him at

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