3:54 pm, November 2nd, 2012
It’s not easy to compile the ideal Week 9 lineup, especially with the Patriots on a bye and injuries to players like DeMarco Murray and Jordy Nelson further clouding outlooks. Yet even as you have to dig deeper to figure out which guys to play, there are certainly some guys you definitely
shouldn’t play in order to avoid complete disaster. A few guys you should think twice about putting in your lineup (and then ultimately decide not to put in your lineup) below. All photos via Getty:
1.Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
You would think a matchup at Tennessee would look friendly for just about any quarterback. Not for Cutler, and not with his offensive line. Cutler was erratic at home last week against the Panthers, and he is the opposite of a fantasy superstar. There are some guys you never bench (superstars) and then there are some you never start no matter the matchup (Cutler). Sometimes, it’s not about the matchup, it’s about how bad or mediocre a guy has been all year long. Sadly for fantasy owners, Cutler fits that bill.
2.Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
There are better options out there if you need to replace a guy like Tom Brady this week. Flacco has been completely unreliable this year and especially disappointing on the road. He has two TD passes and four interceptions in three road games, and the Browns have started to play better pass defense recently.
3.Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys
Not only has he been mediocre since taking over for the injured DeMarco Murray, Jones has continued to remind us of just how notoriously brittle he can be - he's dealing with shoulder and knee problems heading into this week’s game against the Falcons. You may see more of Phillip Tanner this week, and I have a strong gut feeling (and my gut is large) that potentially explosive rookie Lance Dunbar can stir some excitement this week, so add Dunbar if you're desperate for RB help.
4.Vick Ballard, RB, Colts
His heroic and memorable leap into the end zone against the Titans last week may have played a large part in him staying in the mix, and he may be in line for most of the carries this week with Donald Brown out again. But Ballard will find little running room against Miami; the matchup just does not beckon well for his style of running. He doesn’t make many defenders miss, and the Dolphins' front seven doesn’t miss many tackles.
5.Alex Green, RB, Packers
Don’t use him just because he gets most of the carries. Green has done absolutely nothing with his opportunity to start, and you’re better off taking a shot on an upside guy with less touches, like Ronnie Hillman. Green could soon lose his starting job to James Starks, who will only be slightly less ineffective.
6.LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Cardinals
He delivered a surprising 100-yard outing against the Vikings two weeks ago,
but the 49ers limited him to next to nothing in his next game. LSH, or the “hyphen” as he is known, is too diminutive to challenge defenses consistently and won’t be much of a running threat against Green Bay.
7.Every RB, Steelers
Jonathan Dwyer has a quad issue, and Rashard Mendenhall is struggling to return from an Achilles injury. Isaac Redman may start, but that is not good news. He’s a pedestrian north south banger who offers little statistical promise against any decent opponent. He won’t get much done against the Giants.
8.Steve Johnson, WR, Bills
In some cases, you may have no choice but to go with him, because roster depth is very limited. But avoid him if you can, as the Buffalo passing game will surely be stifled in a potential one-sided affair at Houston. The Bills might not even pad their numbers much throwing the ball playing from behind.
9.Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
The only way he could get open against the Colts was by pushing off - both of his big plays against Indy last week were called back because of pass interference flags. Britt has not been able to fully regain his pre-injury form from last year and will certainly not be open frequently against the Bears.
10.Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Rudolph has been so frustrating recently that you're probably just looking for a reason to bench him and have full peace of mind. Well, here's your free pass to reserving Rudolph this week: He faces the Seahawks secondary, and on the road at that.
11.Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
See our Jay Cutler example for the full lowdown on players who have become “matchup proof” in a bad way. No matter who he faces these days, Finley is not producing. Other pass-catchers have stepped forward with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson out, and Finley has battled shoulder and pass-dropping issues. He may appear in this space every week as a reminder to bench him.
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