The injury bug has plagued the NFL season earlier than expected this campaign. Some familiar faces to fantasy football have caught the bug, especially quarterbacks. Tony Romo (collarbone), Drew Brees (shoulder) and Ben Roethlisberger (knee) have all went down with major injuries in the first three weeks. But with injuries come breakout stars, like Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who rank in the top five in scoring at their position.

A pro-tip before revealing the start ’em, sit ’em, bye weeks will begin week four. That means sit any New England Patriots or Tennessee Titans.

Start ‘Em

Derek Carr (Quarterback/Oakland Raiders)

Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter of their NFL game Nov. 9, 2014 at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. The Broncos won 41-17. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/MCT)
Derek Carr. Photo courtesy Tribune News Service.

Another Oakland Raider that is worth starting this week: Derek Carr and company face the Chicago Bears, a team that looks lost to say the least. Unlike the previous years, the Raiders have surrounded their Quarterback with weapons. Rookie Amari Cooper is an early candidate for offensive rookie of the year and Carr has thrown a touchdown to five different receivers this year. Also, the Bears rank dead last in opponent passer rating. Carr is not a household name, as he is owned in 44 percent of leagues (ESPN). So if you’re having trouble finding a replacement for an injured quarterback, Carr should be on your radar.

Karlos Williams (Running back/Buffalo Bills)

Reports suggest that the Bills will go without LeSean McCoy this week, as he rests a hamstring injury. That means the Bills will give Karlos Williams a chance to start, who is having a good season even with McCoy starting. Williams has scored a touchdown in each game this year and went over 100 yards last week on 12 carries, an impressive stat line. Williams will go against the New York Giants, a defense that is favorable for fantasy running backs.

Jordan Matthews (Wide Receiver/Philadelphia Eagles)

The Eagles may have found their offensive rhythm last week against the New York Jets, scoring 24 points on one the top defenses. Jordan Matthews didn’t score last week, but still had six catches. Matthews goes against a Washington Redskins defense that is without their top cornerback, DeAngelo Hall. Matthews leads the Eagles in targets this year, averaging about 10 a game. Look for Matthews to get a lot of attention against a shorthanded Washington defense.

Sit ‘Em

Matthew Stafford (Quarterback/Detroit Lions)

Monday night in front of the 12th man in Seattle. Need I say more? Oh, and safety, Kam Chancellor is back for the Seahawks. As for Matthew Stafford, it’s the same story, he continues to turn the ball over. Stafford has as many interceptions as he does touchdowns this year. Although the Lions air it out the majority of time Stafford will have trouble moving the ball against one of the best secondaries in the league, who rank second in the league against the pass.

Jeremy Hill (Running back/Cincinnati Bengals)

Each year there is a player that goes through a sophomore slump. Jeremy Hill looks to be a victim of the slump this season. Despite scoring two touchdowns in week one, Hill has yet to rush for 100 yards this year, a mark he eclipsed five times last year. The last two weeks Hill is averaging two yards a carry. As a result, running mate Gio Bernard has been given more playing time. Hill will be going against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is giving up less than four yards a carry so far. Sit Hill until he finds himself out of the dreaded slump.

Mike Evans (Wide Receiver/ Tampa Bay Buccanneers)

Chicago Bears inside linebacker Jon Bostic (57), right, tries to intercept a ball in the end zone intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the second quarter on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, at Soldier Field in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Mike Evans. Photo courtesy Tribune News Service.

Mike Evans will have a long day against the Carolina Panthers. After failing to make a catch in the first two games, granted he didn’t make his debut until week two, Evans had over 100 receiving yards last week. But Evans will be matched up with cornerback Josh Norman, who is making a name for himself. Norman has two interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and more importantly shutting down the opposing team’s top wide receiver. Along with the addition of defensive end Jared Allen for the Panthers, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston will have a difficult time throwing the ball to Evans.


Andy Gustafson is the Sports Writer for the Niner Times. This is his first year involved with the Times. He is majoring in mass media communications and minoring in journalism. He is from Asheville, North Carolina.