It’s the first week of the season that four teams will be on a bye - Minnesota, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay – but there are few players that are universally started across those four squads. Regardless, here’s a look at who you might want to tinker with within your lineup.
Start ‘em: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers has two 400-yard passing games this season, which not-so-coincidentally match up with the Chargers’ two wins. San Diego is on the road in Oakland this Sunday night, but it’s a place that Rivers has succeeded over the past four seasons. Since 2009, Rivers has completed 68.6 percent of his passes for an average of 306 yards per contest against the Raiders. Not many high-quality quarterbacks are on byes this week (really only RG3), so you may not be in the market for a passer. If you are, look no farther than Rivers.
Sit ‘em: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Seattle’s secondary is one of the best in the league, and Luck will try his hand at dicing up the Legion of Boom this weekend. Luck hasn’t been bad, but the Seahawks have given up fewer than 12 points per game this season, to go with 11 sacks and 13 turnovers forced. The potential is just too great for Luck to have a poor game to risk starting him this week. They all might not be better plays, but literally every quarterback in the league has a better matchup than Luck.
Start ‘em: Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
The box score for the Broncos’ last game against the Eagles is a bit deceiving when it comes to Knowshon Moreno’s workload. He finished with 91 total yards and a rushing touchdown, but was pulled in favor of Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball once Denver extended its lead. But in the first half and early in the third quarter while the game with Philadelphia was still close, it was predominantly Moreno getting the workload. This week’s game against Dallas should be closer, and while the Cowboys do bring in the third-best rushing defense, it will definitely be Moreno getting the majority of the work for the league’s best offense.
Sit ‘em: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
It is becoming increasingly evident that Chris Johnson might not be “CJ2K” anymore, and he’ll have tough sledding against a stout Kansas City front seven this week. The Chiefs have allowed just more than 113 yards per game rushing, but Johnson is coming off an atrocious 15-carry, 21-yard performance against the New York Jets. You might need to start him but if you’ve got other options, go with them.
Start ‘em: Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
Hakeem Nicks has been one of the more frustrating players to own in fantasy football this season, starting with a good opening week against Dallas (nine catches, 114 yards), before combining for just seven catches and 116 yards over the past three weeks. If there was ever a week for Nicks (and the Giants offense as a whole) to get on track, it’s this one against Philadelphia. The Eagles are giving up a whopping 325 passing yards per game, causing many to be quite concerned about Philadelphia’s secondary. The Eagles have allowed big games to the likes of Leonard Hankerson (five catches for 80 yards), Malcolm Floyd (five for 102 yards), Eddie Royal (seven for 90 yards) and Donnie Avery (seven for 141 yards), so don’t be surprised if Nicks joins that club in Week 5.
Sit ‘em: Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
While they might not be the best unit in the NFL, the Houston Texans do boast the best statistical pass defense in the league, and that’s what counts in fantasy football. The only receiver that the Texans have allowed to gain more than 55 yards in a game this season was Baltimore’s Torrey Smith in Week 3, and that was due mostly to one 48-yard catch. Anquan Boldin has been hit-or-miss so far this season, and it will likely be the latter again on Sunday.