Fantasy Frenzy: Start and Sit

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San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews gets past Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Travis Daniels en route to scoring his second touchdown in the second half of a game Sept. 2 in San Diego.
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews gets past Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Travis Daniels en route to scoring his second touchdown in the second half of a game Sept. 2 in San Diego.

There are always tough decisions week to week on who to start and who to sit. So here are a few suggestions at the three key positions — quarterback, running back and wide receiver — to help you set your lineup.

Players to Start

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
One of the biggest surprises of the fantasy football season is once again a must-play this week, as he takes a weak New Orleans secondary. Newton should have plenty of passing yards and will most likely go more than 300 yards for the fourth time this year.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Mathews did not live up to his high billing his rookie year, but in his sophomore campaign he is racking up the fantasy points. He is carrying the ball at least 15 times a game and is also accumulating receiving yards from the backfield. Expect great numbers from Mathews this week taking on a porous Denver defense.

Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints
He was a dangerous return man in San Diego but not a smart fantasy play, however now that he has headed to the “Big Easy” to pair with Drew Brees, he’s putting up solid fantasy numbers. Sproles is averaging 12 points a game, and this week expect him to go well over that against a bad Carolina defense.

Players To Sit

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Johnson went down with a hamstring injury last week, and the team lists him as doubtful for this Sunday’s game. But if you saw the injury happen during the telecast, you know it looked significantly worse than reported, so don’t expect to have Johnson in your lineup for a little while. Fantasy owners that are scrambling to replace his huge output should look to the Texans’ second receiver Jacoby Jones to fill for the former Miami great. Jones is still available in 90 percent of ESPN leagues so he should be an easy temporary replacement.

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
He is usually a must start from week to week, but his numbers have been inconsistent this season. This week they are playing the Green Bay Packers, so expect a high-scoring game and very little running of the ball, especially if the Falcons fall quickly behind, which is something the Packers have managed to do to teams all season long.

Players on their bye weeks
Just a reminder to those that might not be completely aware that this is the first week of bye weeks this season. So owners of players from the Redskins, Rams, Cowboys, Browns, Ravens and Dolphins need to sit their star players from these teams and look to the bench to fill in.