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updated: 9/20/2012 2:46 PM

Should you sit your studs when they face 49ers, Texans?

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  • Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, right, is brought down by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, left, Sunday during the fourth quarter. The 49ers have one of the top defenses in the league and you should think twice about starting running backs when they face them.

      Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, right, is brought down by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, left, Sunday during the fourth quarter. The 49ers have one of the top defenses in the league and you should think twice about starting running backs when they face them.
    associated press

 
 

Never sit your studs.

It's a mantra all fantasy football owners should heed.

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The theory is that no matter who the opponent, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Calvin Johnson and about 10 other players are talented enough to overcome any defense or weather situation that benching them is a horrendous idea.

I've always subscribed to this theory, but there are two teams making me think twice about changing my mind -- the 49ers and Texans.

Last week, I toyed with sitting Stafford in favor of Michael Vick, but the little "never-sit-your-studs" voice in my head said, "Stafford might struggle but in the end he'll post decent numbers."

Wrong. Stafford and the Lions looked absolutely awful, as did Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Week 1. Only a late touchdown pass by Rodgers saved his fantasy day from being a complete bust.

Running backs are the players who you've really got to think twice about starting against San Francisco. Cedric Benson (9-18) and Kevin Smith (16-53) joined the long list of tailbacks who have done nothing against coach Jim Harbaugh's squad. Over the past 18 games, San Francisco has allowed an average of 75.7 rushing yards per game -- and remember, this includes QBs and secondary RBs, so the primary back is likely finishing with 65 or less nearly all the time. The Texans (93.3 rush yards per game allowed and 8 TDs) have been nearly as good over the last 18 games.

So when your players take on these two teams, take a good, long look at your roster and the waiver wire, and see if it makes sense to take a chance on a third option.

And I've got some big-time lookahead advice for you Stevan Ridley owners: When your league's trade deadline approaches, deal him because the Patriots have Houston in Week 14 and the Niners in Week 15. You need to acquire a back with a more friendly schedule in the fantasy playoffs to increase the odds of winning a title.

My teams: Both squads fell to 1-1. Lost in my regular league 120-111 despite a huge game from Dwayne Bowe (26 points). In the auction league, I was spanked 68-42 and better start getting some production from my running backs (Darren McFadden, Jamaal Charles -- and this week, Michael Bush -- or it's going to be a long season).

Good bets

•Bears RB Michael Bush vs. St. Louis. Redskins rookie Alfred Morris (89 rushing yards) and the Lions' Kevin Smith (91 yards from scrimmage, 2 TDs) both had nice days against the Rams. Expect similar numbers for Bush.

•Saints RB Mark Ingram vs. Kansas City. As a low-end RB2 or a flex play, Ingram is a good start against a Chiefs team that has allowed a league-high 75 points.

•Colts QB Andrew Luck vs. Jacksonville. The No. 1 pick has been decent thus far with 533 passing yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs. Against the Jaguars at home, I'm expecting a 280-yard, 2-3 TD day.

•Texans RB Ben Tate at Denver. He's a backup, yet Tate got 16 touches last week in a 27-7 dismantling of Jacksonville. He can't be used all the time, but in the thin air in Denver, I expect another 10-12 touches for Tate and 7-10 fantasy points, making him a good flex play.

•Chargers WR Malcolm Floyd vs. Atlanta. Philip Rivers is looking for Floyd (10-175-1) and he'll need to be involved Sunday in what should be a high-scoring affair.

•Niners WR Michael Crabtree at Minnesota. Steady yet unspectacular so far, Crabtree (13-143) will find the end zone this week.

•Ravens WR Torrey Smith vs. New England. Here's my darkhorse candidate this week. Smith has just 4 catches for 108 yards, but I think he'll get loose for a 50 or 60-yard TD against the Pats.

Bad bets

•Vikings RB Adrian Peterson vs. San Francisco. Nobody runs on the Niners. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Michael Bush, Trent Richardson and Reggie Bush all out-point A.P. this week.

•Titans RB Chris Johnson vs. Detroit. Nineteen carries for 21 yards? In two games? My job application is in the mail to Tennessee. Seriously, how hard can it be to average 1.1 yards a carry -- at ANY level?

•Eagles QB Michael Vick at Arizona. Tom Brady was just thoroughly flummoxed in Foxboro. Vick can explode at any time, but I don't see him as a top-10 option this week.

•Falcons RB Michael Turner at San Diego. At least one thing in the Burner's life still goes REALLY fast -- his car, apparently. (97 mph in case you missed the DUI story). Unfortunately his actual body is moving more like the 1984 Buick Electra station wagon my dad used to drive. Put Turner (28 carries for 74 yards) in the garage or conduct a quick used car sale if at all possible.

•Broncos QB Peyton Manning and RB Willis McGahee vs. Houston. No team has allowed fewer points than the Texans (17). Manning will struggle to hit 225 yards or throw for multiple scores.

•Bucs WR Mike Williams at Dallas. He's in the top 30 among WRs in fantasy points, but much of that is due to the fact that Williams has scored twice. He has just 5 total catches so relying on him is awfully dicey.

•Packers WR Randall Cobb and TE Jermichael Finley. It's never easy playing in Seattle as Tony Romo and Co. found out last week. You're not sitting Aaron Rodgers or Greg Jennings, but everybody else should be looked at with wary eyes.

jdietz@dailyherald.com

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