Week 4: 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 overthink 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 matchups, 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, which this week backs up our take on two sneaky AFC South wide receivers to ponder...
Shaun Hill came into the week 3 game to replace an injured Matthew Stafford but also because the Lions were down 14 points with less than 3 minutes left. Hill only attempted 3 passes backing up Stafford last season, but came on in relief this past week and led a comeback for the ages that just fell short in OT. Despite only playing the last 3 minutes of regulation and overtime, Hill passed for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns. While we won't mistake Shaun Hill with Stafford, he is very capable of putting up solid fantasy numbers if Stafford sits out and he gets the start. It's not always about being the most talented, but being in the right place and at the right time. If he starts, Hill would have the compliments of one of the best offenses in the NFL at his disposal. If you have QB issues this week and Hill is starting, he is definitely worth a look as a start this week.
It is starting to get really thin on the Bills' depth chart. Going into the season the biggest strength the Bills had was in the running game. They went into the season with a two headed attack of the veteran Fred Jackson and the youngster CJ spiller. In week 1 Jackson went down with what looked to be a three to eight week injury. Spiller was doing a great job at replacing him heading into week 3, as the NFL rushing leader only to be injured early in week 3. Luckily for the Bills it looks like he will only miss a week or two. Fred Jackson is proving to be a quick healer as it looks like he will practice this week and there is a chance he can return this week, although it is unlikely the Bills will rush him back. In steps Tashard Choice, who was brought in last season when Jackson went down. Choice came on in relief of Spiller and was able to rush for 91 yards. While Choice won't be mistaken for Jackson or Spiller, he is trusted by the coaching staff (played for head coach Chan Gailey in college) and will get a healthy dose of carries if Jackson doesn't play. Follow Jackson's practices this week and if he sits out start Choice.
Not sure there has ever been this much talk about a player who has yet to play a game in the NFL, after sitting out his rookie season with a torn ACL and missing the first 2 games of this season due to league suspension. The Lions were so high on Leshoure that despite him not playing since 2010, he was their starting running back in week 3. The talk was that they would ease him into it with about 15 touches, that took about 1 half to get 15 touches. Leshoure was doing such a great job he finished the game with 26 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown to go along with 4 receptions for 34 yards. The way the Lions were willing to give Leshoure the keys to the car and just let him drive off with it, shows me that they that have all the faith in the world in him and as long as he is healthy, he will get plenty of touches. Leshoure makes for a good RB2 or flex start this week.
Knowshon Moreno's career has been in steady decline since rushing for 947 yards and 7 touchdowns as a rookie. After missing most of last season due to injury, Moreno came into the season as the backup to Willis McGahee. After 2 weeks, Moreno was inactive as the Broncos wanted to see what they had in rookie Ronnie Hillman. McGahee went down with an injury in week 3 and there is a good chance he isn't ready for the next game, meaning someone will get the opportunity in his place. My guess is the Broncos will give Hillman, Moreno and even Lance Ball a chance to run the rock and by the end of the game it will be Moreno carrying the load. Ball is too much of a full back and Hillman isn't ready for this kind of action. If you're in a deep league and need a fantasy starter, you might want to give Moreno a shot.
The Dolphins got a scare in week 3 when Reggie Bush didn't come out for the 2nd half after getting a helmet to the same knee he has had injury issues within the past. With Bush out, the Dolphins had the choice between their two young back up running backs. In the end they went with Thomas on 42 snaps, compared to Lamar Miller with 17. While Miller seems to be the more talented of the two, he can't pick up a blitz or understand the playbook, so for the time being expect Thomas to be the main guy if Bush misses any time. Early reports are that Bush escaped any long term injury, but he still might need some time to get back to healthy. If the Dolphins do decide to hold him out this week, give Thomas a look as a low end RB2 and a solid flex.