Each week during the NFL season, FST brings you our Fantasy Football Start’em column, which takes a look at favorable match-ups and how they might impact lineup decisions for your fantasy football roster. We often look beyond the obvious names to offer suggestions on potential lineup options. If you have any start’em sit’em questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.

Running Backs

Mikel Leshoure DET VS. MIN

Well, well, who is Mikel? This herb-toking renegade was suspended the first couple games this season and shelved all of his rookie campaign last year with a torn up knee. Apparently this cannabis-lover is proving to be not so much a bum as he handled the full load last week in his first game action, as he rolled for a 100 yard game with a TD. Not only did sir-smokes-a-lot run and catch the way a stoned college student eats top ramen, he was also effective in pass blocking schemes and kept Kevin Smith from touching the pigskin. Expect this Ricky Williams doppelganger to be heavily involved Sunday and despite the Vikings staunch run defense with Stafford’s status for Sunday iffy there will be more added incentive to raise Leshoure’s touches.

Marshawn Lynch SEA VS. STL

Aww yeah, it’s Skittles time in Saint Louis this weekend! After a physical game on MNF, expect Beast Mode to get back to the end zone this week against a weak Rams defense. Russell Wilson’s goal as rookie QB is to not lose the game. Thus it’ll be more Lynch pounding inside the tackles and finishing off his stiff arms with an end zone splash that will allow him to taste the proverbial rainbow – skittles style.

LeSean McCoy PHI VS. NYG

McCoy and Philly’s offense needs a bounce back performance or Shady and Coach Reid are going to be in hot water. Entering their first divisional game the Eagles will lean heavily on McCoy to remove the pressure and pass rush from Vick. I can’t envision The Giants’ D being as fierce as they were in Carolina last Thursday. Deploy McCoy and expect it pay big dividends expected of a first round fantasy pick.


Joe Flacco BAL VS. CLE

Flacco looked like the truth on Sunday night running the no-huddle. His monster game could be a sign of his maturation into the elite and the cusp of what he’s capable of doing this season. I’m not about to crown him yet, but he outperformed Brady on Sunday and Coach Harbaugh’s confidence in the passing game is paying off. My bet is that the King QB of Uni-brows will torch the Browns secondary. He’s my “Panty-Dropping” pick of the week as all the ladies will be ogling for more Flacco uni-brow after Thursday’s AFC North battle.

Andy Dalton CIN VS. JAC

This ginger Bengal out did himself last week and spoiled the Redskins’ home opener. Now he takes his aerial show to Florida where he faces a defense that gave up over 300 yards to rookie Andrew Luck last week. With Green, Hawkins and Gresham over 350 and 2 TDs is about as guaranteed as it gets. He’s a close second on the Panty-Dropping scale of reliability this week.

Matt Ryan ATL VS. CAR

Who has a cooler nickname than Matty Ice? This guy has absolutely gutted opposing defenses this season and is putting up video game type numbers so far. Carolina has been a disappointment up until this point and defensively they couldn’t have looked much worse than the last couple weeks. I’m giving the nod to Ryan’s play making ability and his continuous surge as the QB Rating leader – meaning this dirty bird he’s crazy efficient and accurate.

Wide Receivers

Torrey Smith BAL VS. CLE

There’s nothing much to add from his amazing performance on Sunday night but that it was Favrian in nature. He’s a great person and who is well loved by teammates, community and fans alike. Not to mention he’s a deep threat and not even a healthy Browns secondary stands much of chance here. I don’t expect any let down in Baltimore on Thursday night either, so expect him to be unbelievable again.

A.J. Green CIN VS. JAC

Green has spun heads since his rookie year, last season. After watching the Redskins’ secondary trying to catch this guy it’s no wonder he is considered to be one of the most gifted WRs that Coach Marvin Lewis has been around. In the “bullet-proof tiger” pick of the week expect a couple TDs and over 100 yards from Green against a depleted Jaguars secondary.

Vincent Jackson TB VS. WAS

I hate to beat a dead horse or dead skin for that matter but have the Redskins not given up at least 30 points in every game this season? OK, so does that change this weekend on the road against a revamped Buccaneers offense on Sunday? My guess is NO and outside of Mike Williams I see VJax as the man who will benefit most from this. Expect numbers that he put up against the Giants as opposed to those he received from Dallas and their double teams.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett NYG VS. PHI

He’s gone from a sleeper pick to be a starter in all formats. With touchdowns in every game this season I expect more of the same from this red zone beast. Is he a top 5 tight end? Probably not, but he’s certainly climbing the rankings and Bennett has been Eli’s go-to-guy close to pile-ons. Bennett has rabid Giants fans cheering Bennett for President in the Meadowlands for good reason.

Dennis Pitta BAL VS. CLE

Flacco’s favorite target, Pitta is also a red zone wet dream and fantasy stud thus far. He’s a start in all leagues and with only 1 less target than Brees’ favorite target in Jimmy Graham you’ve got to love the chances he’ll do his end zone dance this week. I’m giving no love to the Browns, but this is a division game and Baltimore plans to punish this team heavily.

Kyle Rudolph MIN VS. DET

Christian Ponder to Kyle Rudolph to beat the 49ers repeatedly, really? This little known touchdown machine had an incredible one handed TD catch last week and now he’s going against a Lions defense that has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to tight ends. Rudolph will ultimately be a safety valve when Detroit brings the heat defensively from Suh and others. I expect he’ll be targeted numerous times with end zone targets a plenty.


Arizona Cardinals AZ VS. MIA

Arizona? The red birds from the desert are relevant? I don’t believe it but they are 3-0 and in large part because of this under-valued and unsung defensive effort. Miami is probably going to be without their beat up running back in Reggie Bush this week. So if this offensive has to rely heavily on the rookie, Ryan Tannehill’s arm, I see some turnovers and sacks in the cards for the Cards. Possible 4 and 0 start for this team? Believe it!