Ed Bonfanti
Your Favorite Mistakes

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With only two weeks left in the regular season of most fantasy leagues, every lineup decision owners make is crucial. Owners know that one mistake can lead to them missing a playoff spot. In this kind of high stakes, pressurized atmosphere, many times owners make the crucial mistake of going with 'Name Players,' regardless of their recent output. These are the same kinds of owners that still think the Steelers are bad to start running backs against or that Tom Brady is still an elite fantasy quarterback.

For these owners, time has somehow stood still for these players and strategies. Think of overrated 'Name Players' as comfort food, for gamers. Now, listen, I’m a big believer in playing your studs, regardless of matchup. But they have to be studs in the present tense. Just because a player was drafted early and was considered elite in August, doesn’t mean he’s still a stud in November.

I’ve made a list of players that I think will be mistakes to start in Week 12. All of these players are 'Name Players' but have either underperformed of late or face a genuinely poopy matchup.

Matt Ryan

While I may continue to wear my Matt Ryan jersey, that is only because I’m a diehard Falcons' fan. You, on the other hand, don’t have to keep supporting the Falcons, especially Matt Ryan in Thursday night’s game against the Saints. In his last four games he’s thrown nine interceptions to five touchdowns. So many of Ryan’s favorite weapons are either hurt or underperforming. The Saints defense is no longer the worst in history, in fact, they’re ranked 3rd in the league in defending the pass. I don’t care what he’s done in the past or where you drafted him. He needs to be on your bench Thursday night.

Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers was one of the early season success stories in fantasy football and perhaps owners should’ve sold high when they had the chance. In his last five games, Rivers has averaged a fairly pedestrian 17 fantasy points. He’s not winning games for owners anymore like he did the first month of the season. Up next is an angry Kansas City Chiefs team, arguably the best defense in all of football. Most gamers didn’t draft Rivers as their QB1 so conceivably they should have other options to go to. Let’s hope so, because I don’t see Rivers returning to his early season form this Sunday.

Ray Rice

Being a Ray Rice owner this season has been nothing short of torture. Recently the United Nations added to their charter that no gamer should be forced to endure owning Ray Rice this season. A bold move on their part but one that was certainly appropriate. On the other hand, after finally breaking out for 131 yards and a touchdown last week, his best game of the season, his owners are hoping Rice is about to start a comeback. Not so fast. Rice is about to run into a wall, going up against the Jets No. 1 ranked rush defense. Time to send Rice back to the bench, my friends. In past seasons, Rice would be a matchup-proof start but this is 2013 and he has not earned that right. He’s got some nice matchups against the Steelers and Vikings coming up so he won’t have to be on the bench for too long, but this weekend is not the time to start Rice just because of his name.

Andre Ellington

Big picture, I’m a believer in Andre Ellington and I don’t think his breakout 154 yards and one touchdown performance in Week 8 was a fluke. He’s a talented and shifty runner, who I think has a lot of potential going forward. He’s been disappointing and then disastrous his last two games though, culminating in an horrid three-rushing-yard performance last week. He’s also not getting enough snaps from Cardinals' coach Bruce Arians, averaging 10 carries in the last two games. This Sunday, Ellington is playing the Colts, which is still a tasty matchup but it’s hard for me to trust a guy that only got three yards the previous week. If I have better, safer options to choose from, I’m looking in another direction from Ellington this week. Earlier in the season he was touted as a potentially season-changing 'Waiver Wire Wonder' but I need to see a little more consistency from him before I make him an automatic start.

Jason Witten

Once one of the most reliable players in fantasy football, especially in PPR, Witten has become nothing more than a boom-or-bust player, mostly bust. He’s really only had three solid games out of 10 this season. He’s had below 30 yards receiving on four separate occasions this season. Two weeks ago he exploded on the Vikings' putrid defense for 102 yards and a touchdown. The three games before that he averaged 30 receiving yards with zero touchdowns. Do you really want to rely on this guy in a game that could decide if you play in Week 14 or if you go home? One quick reality check on Witten, he’s ranked 8th among Tight Ends in fantasy football. He has not been elite this season. He’s just a name now.

Robert Griffin III

Similar to Andre Ellington , I’m a fan of RG3 long term but I certainly think he shouldn’t be started this week, under any circumstances. Not against the 49ers, still a top-five defense. RG3 has been good enough to be ranked 8th among fantasy QBs, though his play in reality has been questionable at times. We’re not concerned about how he performs for the Redskins though, just for fantasy owners. He’s had several dud performances this season and I wouldn’t feel confident starting him against such a good defense. In Weeks 8 and 9, he only averaged 12 fantasy points a game.  This was only a couple weeks ago.  There are so many out of nowhere spot-start QBs out there, probably on your waiver wire, that to automatically start RG3 just because of who he is is a mistake. I’d rather start Case Keenum this week.

Good Hunting!

Ed Bonfanti

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