Week 7: 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.
Seems like the 2012 season started very similar to the 2011 season, with Ryan Fitzpatrick putting up very big fantasy numbers. After passing for 12 touchdowns in the first four games, he hasn't thrown any in the last two. That should change this week as the Bills face the 4th worst passing defense in the NFL, the Tennessee Titans (who are giving up 292 yards per game through the air). With all the QBs on bye this week, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to give Fitzpatrick the start.
It's not often that you can start two running backs on the same team in a given week, but this week might be one of the exceptions, due to the number of RBs injured and on bye. After not being used much in the first few weeks of the season, Blount has come on lately and become part of the offense, being used in goal line situations, and scoring touchdowns in each of the last two games. Last week he was not only used on the goal, but he received a season high 7 carries and turned that into 58 yards. This week the Bucs face the 2nd worst run defense in the New Orleans Saints, who are giving up 172 yards per game on the ground. Look for Tampa Bay to try and pound the Saints with both their running backs.
Montario Hardesty finally got in some game action; it only took till game 6 for him to get into the game. Coming on in relief of the injured rookie Trent Richardson, Hardesty rushed the ball 15 times for 56 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown. He also caught the ball 1 time for 9 yards. At this point, Richardson's chances of playing this week are very uncertain. That being said, if Richardson does in fact sit out, it looks like Hardesty will get the bulk of the carries. If Hardesty does start, he will be facing a Colts team that is giving up the 4th most rushing yards per game (159 yards) and just last week got torched by Shonn Greene (yes that Shonn Greene) for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. If you need help at RB2 or flex, Hardesty might be worth a look if Richardson sits out.
Going into the 2011 season there were huge expectations of what Felix Jones could do in the Cowboys offense. Unfortunately, due to injuries and inconsistent play, that never happened. This season he was scheduled to be the backup, but due to the play of starter Demarco Murray, Jones hasn't really seen much of the field. That all changed last week when Murray went down and Jones came on in relief and had one of his better games in a long time, despite not playing the full game. Jones rushed 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown, as well as 1 catch for 13 yards. Murray has already been ruled out for this week's game, so if you have Jones sitting on your bench get him in your starting lineup.
With Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams both out injured, the job has fallen to William Powell. Powell didn't get the start last week, but it didn't take long for him to take over as lead back for the Cards. Despite not starting, Powell rushed 13 times for 70 yards and added 1 catch for 8 yards. Conversely, Stephens-Howlings (who started the game) rushed 11 times for only 22 yards. With that kind of a performance, it is no surprise that Powell will be getting the start this week. With all the bye weeks and injuries there is definitely a lack of running back depth available, so if you have Powell he makes for a low end RB2 and a solid flex option.