Week 14: Sit 'Em
This week I have a few pairs: Forte and Cutler along with Hasselbeck and Houshmandzadeh, a running back returning from an ankle injury -- DeAngelo Williams and two tight ends who are likely to be safety valves at best for short yardage. Jay Cutler is leading the league in interceptions, has a sore hand and is facing the third best pass defense in the league. Green Bay will pressure Cutler in addition to shut down Forte's running game. Forte did have a solid outing versus St. Louis last week, but this week will be different. Look for Chicago's difficulties on offense and for that matter defense as well, to continue. I recommend sitting both Cutler and Forte this week. The match-up is not favorable and their performances have not been encouraging. Matt Hasselbeck receives rest day after rest day in hopes that his ailing body will be able to get back onto the field every week for one solid effort. This week his shoulder is nagging him and although he faces a Houston defense that can be thrown against, he is not an option I would consider (especially on the road). Linked to Hasselbeck is Houshmandzadeh; T.J. has disappointed his fantasy owners this season. Many owners may have given up on him by this point. I see Nate Burleson stepping up his game this week, just a hunch. DeAngelo Williams is a stud, but we saw him sit three games after trying to get back from an ankle injury his rookie year. Ankle injuries in backs worry me and this case is the same. Williams is reported to be ready for action after practicing today, but I see him splitting carries with Stewart as he returns. If Williams is 100% and there are no limitations I would say start him. However, with the potential of a split workload and the fact the New England has only given up three scores to running backs, Williams is a sit'em candidate this week. Heath Miller and Ben Watson are both solid tight ends who will score now and again or may catch a hot streak. Lately, neither have been hot. Pittsburgh and New England are looking to get their seasons back on track. Look for these two guys to be safety valves for low yardage with their offenses looking for big plays to open up games.
Jay Cutler has definitely played better at home this season. Last week versus St. Louis Cutler was hit hard and suffered a hand injury. In Week 1 he threw four interceptions and one touchdown against Green Bay. Cutler has thrown for less than 200 yards in his past three games. Did I mention that Cutler leads the league in interceptions and Green Bay is the third ranked pass defense? Cutler has averaged just over 18 points per fantasy week, but recently his numbers have dipped and he is a sit'em candidate for sure.
Matt Hasselbeck is averaging less than 200 passing yards per game on the road and has just 3 TD passes in five away games. The Houston defense can give up yardage through the air and on the ground for that matter, but Hasselbeck's production is up and down. His consistent rest days are due to his aging body and lingering aches and pains. This week it is his shoulder, next week something else. With these trends, Hasselbeck should be on your sit list. Look for about 200 yards passing a touchdown and an interception.
Matt Forte has now run for over 70 yards in three games this season. He did have a solid performance last week versus the weak St. Louis defense, but this week he faces Green Bay. With Cutler struggling to pass the ball effectively and battling a sore hand, Forte's value increases for Chicago this week, but Green Bay will stifle the run. Forte has been averaging 14 fantasy points per week. This week I would expect to see 40-50 rushing yards and a few receptions for short yardage.
I am saying to sit DeAngelo Williams for two reasons; 1) he is likely to return from his ankle injury this week, but may still be limited and 2) New England has only allowed three rushing touchdowns to running backs. I see Williams playing, but splitting carries with Jonathan Stewart. Both backs should be able to gain some yardage, but New England is looking to bounce back into prime form and will be out for the win. Williams averages nearly 17 points per game, so it is hard to sit him, but the ankle injury worries me. He appears to be back as he practiced today, but he missed three games a few seasons back with another ankle injury. In addition, personally I do not like the match-up. If Williams appears 100% and physically ready on game day, do not let the match-up stop you from playing him.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson face a Houston defense that has allowed just one 100-yard game to a WR this season. WR Houshmandzadeh has been a disappointment this season. His up and down performance -- mainly down -- has not been encouraging. If you have T.J. and consider starting him against the right match-up, this week might look appealing, but I suggest thinking about your options. I have a feeling Burleson will step up this week and make a difference. Houston will likely cover Housh. The bottom line is that Houshmandzadeh cannot be trusted as a consistent fantasy playoff run player.