The 2013 fantasy football championships start on Sunday, and you simply cannot afford to make a single lineup mistake.
While it will be tough to sit some of the stars who brought you this far, it will be the right decision in certain situations and could just be the difference between winning the title and being a forgettable runner-up.
You don’t want to live with regret for an entire offseason, so keep reading to find out some of the best stars to start, the tough players to bench due to poor matchups and a closer look at the hardest calls of the week.
|QB||Tony Romo (DAL)||Andrew Luck (IND)|
|RB||Alfred Morris (WAS)||Steven Jackson (ATL)|
|WR||Antonio Brown (PIT)||Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)|
|TE||Dennis Pitta (BAL)||Brandon Myers (NYG)|
|K||Steven Hauschka (SEA)||Sebastian Janikowski (OAK)|
|DEF||Cleveland Browns||St. Louis Rams|
Sit: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Luck has been wildly inconsistent in 2013 and runs into a tough matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16.
It’s an especially tough sit because the Colts signal-caller has been on fire as of late, throwing for six touchdown passes over the last two weeks after totaling just one scoring pass in the three games prior.
However, Luck has only surpassed the 232-yard mark on a single occasion in that five-week span and is seemingly out of sync with his receivers. It’s going to be extremely tough to lock in and get on the same page with a tough pass rush bearing down this Sunday.
NFL.com’s Marc Sessler noted that Luck is fast approaching a milestone, but he may not be able to reach it against this stingy Kansas City defense:
Andrew Luck needs 248 passing yards to pass Cam Newton for the most passing yards in a player’s first two seasons in NFL history.
— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) December 18, 2013
The Chiefs have been dominating opposing quarterbacks recently, recording six interceptions and six sacks in the last two games. This is an opportunistic unit that will capitalize on every mistake that Indianapolis makes, which could cost Luck owners who weren’t wise enough to stash him on the bench.
Don’t take the risk here with Luck. Go with a safer option—such as Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins—in the championship.
Sit: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
It isn’t going to be easy to sit Fitzgerald, who has been a WR1 for much of the 2013 season, in the championship.
Unfortunately it’s the right call, because his matchup with the Seattle Seahawks on the road is downright brutal.
Fitzgerald wasn’t able to find any room against their stingy secondary, with coverage led by superstar cornerback Richard Sherman, and came away with just two receptions for 17 yards in a Week 7 loss in Glendale.
The veteran wideout’s string of ineptitude against this NFC West rival goes back to last season, when he was held to just one catch for two yards in a lopsided 58-0 blowout in Week 14. His last respectable performance came in Week 1 of 2012, when he caught four passes for 63 yards.
If four catches and 63 yards is a “good” performance against this team, it is certainly a matchup you will want to avoid. There are other wideouts going against softer defenses who are much more worthwhile of a start.
It would be best to avoid playing any worthwhile Cardinals fantasy players this week, as they just aren’t going to score many points.
Start: Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens
The tight end position has been anything but consistent in fantasy this year. When Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending knee injury, it took away one of the few reliable options and sent owners scrambling to the waiver wire.
One talent who many wound up picking up is Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, who returned from injury in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Unfortunately, Pitta hasn’t been as big of a factor as many predicted he would become. The fourth-year man out of BYU has just eight receptions for 72 yards and a score this season, with all but two catches and 24 yards coming in his 2013 debut against Minny.
Is Pitta worth another shot in Week 16?
Is Pitta worth another shot in Week 16?
No, he’s not going to be a worthwhile TE.
Yes, he’s going to produce against New England.
His failure against the Detroit Lions last Sunday cost many owners a chance at the championship, but some still managed to make it despite his mediocre showing. If you were fortunate enough to advance, it is worth giving Pitta another shot.
The New England Patriots love to take away the opposition’s best weapon and dare the other players to beat them. Pitta is a talented part of the offense, but he’s not the best.
Expect the Pats to attempt to lock down Torrey Smith in the passing game and give Pitta room to work in the middle and against soft single coverage.
PPR owners will greatly benefit from a barrage of targets heading Pitta’s way, and the volume should translate into yards and scores for owners in all leagues.