Start ‘em/Sit ‘em: Week 4

I’m introducing a new column to the NFP on Friday called “Enter the Redzone,” so let’s get a jump start on Week 4 action by discussing our Start ‘em/Sit ’ems today.

Get ‘em in the lineup

1. Jerricho Cotchery Wide Receiver New York Jets

Cotchery and the Jets head to New Orleans on Sunday to take on the 22nd-ranked passing defense in the league.

The Jets’ No. 1 wideout was hot in September, averaging six receptions per game and posting at least 80 yards receiving in each contest.

Expect the Jets to put the ball in the air, especially in the second half, in an effort to keep up with quarterback Drew Brees and the explosive Saints offense.

2. Cincinnati Bengals D/ST

This one’s a no-brainer.

The Bengals have looked outstanding on the defensive side of the football so far in 2009, averaging 10.6 fantasy points per week (Standard Scoring). In addition, they’re tied for the league lead in interceptions with 10.

As if that’s not enough, Cincinnati travels to Cleveland on Sunday to take on the NFL’s worst offense. The Browns are putting up just 218 yards (32nd) and 9.7 points (31st) per game this season.

Get ‘em in the lineup.

3. Darren McFadden Running Back Oakland Raiders

We weren’t real high on McFadden entering 2009, mainly because his quarterback is completely incapable of leading his team down the field on what some refer to as a “scoring drive.”

But never mind JaMarcus Russell’s inefficiencies because this Sunday, McFadden gets a crack at the NFL’s worst run defense, the Houston Texans.

The Texans are the only team in the NFL allowing more than 200 yards per game on the ground (205.0). They’ve already been torched by Thomas Jones for 107 yards, Chris Johnson for 197 yards and Maurice Jones-Drew for 119 yards.

We don’t expect a monster out of McFadden, but he’s a solid RB2/Flex option in Week 4.

4. Brandon Marshall Wide Receiver Denver Broncos

You see what happens when you give Marshall just a few more offensive snaps? He produces, that’s what.

It took three games, but Marshall finally broke out last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, catching five passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

With the Dallas Cowboys coming to town this Sunday and a chance to move to 4-0, look for head coach Josh McDaniels to take full advantage of Marshall against the league’s 27th-ranked passing defense.

5. Glen Coffee Running Back San Francisco 49ers

With starting running back Frank Gore on the shelf for the next two to three weeks, the rookie from Alabama gets to step into the lineup and show head coach Mike Singletary what he can do.

Coffee was the hottest name on waivers this week, so there’s no sense keeping your shiny new toy on the bench Sunday when he takes on the St. Louis Rams. Steve Spagnuolo’s defense ranks 27th in the league against the run, allowing 148.0 yards per game.

Coffee is a solid RB2/Flex option.

Put ‘em on the bench

1. Larry Johnson Running Back Kansas City Chiefs

This Sit ‘Em recommendation applies to the entire Kansas City offense, not just Johnson, but we’re going to single him out.

L.J. is averaging an eyebrow-raising 2.5 yards per carry this season and has failed to find the end zone. He lacks the open-field speed and ability to break tackles that made him so effective just a few years ago.

To make matters worse, Johnson faces one of the NFL’s deepest front sevens Sunday in the New York Giants.

The real question here is, “How long will head coach Todd Haley wait until he puts Jamaal Charles in the lineup?”

2. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offense

Put all of ‘em on the bench this weekend. Here’s why:

A. Washington is sixth in points allowed this season, giving up just 16.3 per game.
B. Tampa has benched quarterback Byron Leftwich in favor of the unknown Josh Johnson, who lacks any real NFL game experience.
C. The Bucs put up fewer than 100 total yards in Week 3, further demonstrating they can’t get the job done offensively.

3. Fred Taylor Running Back New England Patriots

After last week’s 105-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Atlanta Falcons, every Taylor owner thinks he won the New England Backfield Lottery.

While Fred-T showed he still has what it takes to get the job done, Week 4 is not the time to press your bet and go for broke.

Sunday, the Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens, proud owners of the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense. In addition, the Ravens have not allowed an opposing running back to top 100 yards rushing in a game since 2006.

Keep in mind that the Baltimore secondary has been suspect this year, giving up an average of 231.7 yards per game (17th).

You don’t think Tom Brady and Randy Moss will try to exploit that?

4. Braylon Edwards Wide Receiver Cleveland Browns

Edwards has only caught 10 passes in three games and still has not found the end zone. In addition, head coach Eric Mangini has benched quarterback Brady Quinn in favor of former starter Derek “3 Interceptions vs. Baltimore” Anderson. Two things you should note about Edwards heading into this game:

A. His career numbers vs. Cincy are not that impressive: In seven games against the Bengals, Edwards is averaging just 4.4 receptions and 58 yards receiving. The Browns also have a record of 2-5 over that seven-game stretch.
B. He’s the only viable weapon on the Cleveland offense: Meaning (if the Bengals are smart) they will play press coverage at the line of scrimmage on Edwards and put a safety over the top for help. If the defense can take Edwards out of the game, who’s left to beat them?

5. Ryan Grant Running Back Green Bay Packers

Grant isn’t a must-sit this weekend, but if you have a better option on your roster, pull the trigger.

The Vikings have the fourth-best total defense in the NFL right now and have several factors working in their favor in this matchup.

For starters, the Green Bay offensive line has been suspect this year and will struggle against a Minnesota front four that features two dynamic ends (Jared Allen, Ray Edwards) and two outstanding run stuffers (Pat and Kevin Williams).

In addition, Grant has gone up against the Vikings four times in his career and has eclipsed 100-plus rushing yards only once. The crowd is going to be electric, making it difficult for a banged-up Green Bay offensive line to hear quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ snap count.

As we mentioned above, Grant is not a terrible start. But owners with a better option on the roster should make the switch.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Upcoming Games

Dec 9th, 8:20 PM

Pittsburgh +3.5 -110

Minnesota -3.5 -110


Dec 12th, 1:00 PM

Seattle -6.5 -110

Houston +6.5 -110


Dec 12th, 1:00 PM

Jacksonville +9.5 -110

Tennessee -9.5 -110


Dec 12th, 1:00 PM

Las Vegas +10 -110

Kansas City -10 -110


Dec 12th, 1:00 PM

Dallas -5 -110

Washington +5 -110


Dec 12th, 1:00 PM

New Orleans -6.5 -110

NY Jets +6.5 -110


Dec 12th, 1:00 PM

Atlanta +2.5 -110

Carolina -2.5 -110


Dec 12th, 1:00 PM

Baltimore -1 -110

Cleveland +1 -110


Dec 12th, 4:05 PM

NY Giants +7.5 -110

LA Chargers -7.5 -110


Dec 12th, 4:05 PM

Detroit +8.5 -110

Denver -8.5 -110


Dec 12th, 4:25 PM

San Francisco +2.5 -110

Cincinnati -2.5 -110


Dec 12th, 4:25 PM

Buffalo +3.5 -110

Tampa Bay -3.5 -110


Dec 12th, 8:20 PM

Chicago +11 -110

Green Bay -11 -110


Dec 13th, 8:15 PM

LA Rams +2.5 -110

Arizona -2.5 -110


Dec 16th, 8:20 PM

Kansas City -3 -110

LA Chargers +3 -110