Week 9: Start 'Em
When it comes to setting your lineups for each week of the fantasy season, a good rule of thumb is simply to not over think it. You drafted players for a reason and in almost all cases, it is to play them from the jump. Then again, don't let draft day pride interfere with a basic - or detailed - look at the match-ups, something you most likely do throughout the season. That's why we offer the "Start 'em" column, where we look beyond the obvious names to offer suggestions on potential lineup options, perhaps someone sitting on your bench right now that you may have simply overlooked. Throughout the season check back here for sleepers and oh so subtle plays and also sneak a peak at our Matchup Analyzer page.
With the Eagles struggling, there has been lots of talk about the possibility of Michael Vick being benched and replaced with rookie Nick Foles. When the Eagles drafted Foles in the 3rd round of this year's draft, they expected him to compete for a back up spot and learn the ropes holding Vick's clip board, but then a funny thing happened. Foles was 40-of-63 for 553 yards with 6 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a 110.1 passer rating, in the pre season. Vick has struggled since the season started, allowing for fans and others to call for Vick to be benched and let Foles start. While there is no word yet if this will in fact happen this week, if it does, Foles makes for a very good start. The Eagles will be facing the Saints on Monday night football, which bodes well for Foles as the Saints are giving the 3rd most passing yards this season, 304 per game. If in fact Vick is benched, make sure to have Foles in your line upInjury Status: Injured Reserve
If you're in a league that starts two QBs (or you need a QB because yours is on bye), look no further. Carson Palmer makes for a very good start this week. Palmer is averaging 277 yards passing per game as well as, just over 1 TD pass per game. This week Palmer and the Raiders will be in a tough position vs. Tampa Bay (who are coming off a big win on the road last week, and will be looking to build on that this week). The Raiders have struggled all season and no reason to think they won't again this week, meaning they are likely to be playing from behind. You add that to the fact that Tampa hasn't been able to stop anyone's passing game this season and that leaves you with a great starting spot for Palmer in your fantasy lineup.
The Houston Texans offense revolves around the one, the only Arian Foster; though that's not to say they don't have any other weapons or ways of putting up points. Which brings us to Matt Schaub. Despite the offense relying on Foster, they still use the pass often and Schaub has been very reliable this year, after missing the end of last season due to injury. Schaub averages 235 yards passing a game and just under 1.5 TD passes a game. This week he faces a weak Buffalo Bills team and should have no problem throwing for over 200 yards and a few TDs. if you need a QB, Schaub is a great option this week.
Despite showing next to nothing over his last few games, the Green Bay Packers are sticking with starting running back Alex Green this week and expect more production from him starting vs. the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards have struggled since starting the season 4-0 and that shouldn't change this week. Look for the Packers to get out to an early lead on Arizona and pound the ball with Alex Green. If you need help at RB2 or flex this week, give Green one more chance to see if he can prove you and the Packers right.
Going into the 2012 season there were high hopes for Brandon LaFell. LaFell has all the physical tools to be a star in the NFL, he just needs to become more consistent. The Panthers were hoping LaFell could take some of the pressure off of Steve Smith and help open up the offense, but unfortunately that hasn't happened on a consistent basis like they had hoped. That's not to say he has been a complete bust, they just wish he was a little more consistent. This week looks like it has a chance to be one of his better weeks, as the Panthers will face the Redskins ( the worst pass defense in NFL, giving up a whopping 314 yards passing per game). LaFell makes for a good WR3 start and a very good flex start.