THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-1) @ ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-3)
WHEN: 7:25 p.m. CT
WHERE: NFL Network
Everyone expected the Seattle Seahawks to be one of the better teams in the NFC this season, but the Arizona Cardinals have played fairly well. Two of their losses have come at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints, two of the top 3 or 4 NFC teams for 2013. This match up should be an entertaining one to watch as two teams that get little national attention square off in the national spotlight.
With Fantasy Football roster decisions due today in regards to the players taking the field tonight, let’s take a look at some of the pertinent information about the Seahawks and the Cardinals.
The main player of concern for the Seahawks is running back Marshawn Lynch, who is battling a sore ankle. Lynch played through the injury last week and still racked up 165 total yards in offense, plus two touchdowns. He is listed as Probable, and owners shouldn’t be too worried.
Seattle has been resting him this week in preparation of the short turnaround. Lynch is a workhorse and won’t be held back by something as trivial as a bum ankle.
Seattle has two wide receivers on the injury report. Percy Harvin, who hasn’t played yet this year, is still Out with a bad hip. Sidney Rice, who is listed as Probable with a tricky knee, but will most certainly play. It doesn’t really matter because he has been largely ineffective this season with just 12 receptions total.
Larry Fitzgerald is listed as Questionable with a sore hamstring, but he played Sunday with the same issue and he racked up 112 receiving yards anyway, including a 75-yard scamper in which he had to outrun the defense. His hammy may not be 100%, but he won’t let that stop him. He will most likely play, and produce.
THURSDAY NIGHT START, SIT
Russell Wilson continues to prove naysayers wrong about his size. With over 1,200 yards passing and 8 touchdowns, plus nearly 300 yards rushing, Wilson has played himself into a fringe fantasy starter at quarterback. He is probably a better real quarterback than fantasy at this point.
He is a terrific option if your number one QB is on a bye or injured, but most weeks, he is a sit. Arizona’s pass defense ranks 24th in the league, so if you have to start Wilson this week, don’t hesitate. He will probably be fine.
Unless late news breaks, and something goes wrong, plan on starting Marshawn Lynch, even though he is banged up, and the Cardinals’ run defense is in the top 8 in the NFL. Lynch is a tough cookie who will play, and produce nearly every week.
Doug Baldwin has become Wilson’s favorite target in the passing game. He has 21 catches for 344 yards. If you are looking to cut some dead weight at receiver, or need to cover a bye. Baldwin may still be available. Grab him, at least for this game.
It is tough to recommend anyone on Arizona’s offense as a must start against Seattle’s relentless defense. Unless you have no other options, sit Carson Palmer against the Seahawks. Very little success is enjoyed against this defensive unit.
Sit Rashard Mendenhall, too. He only has 259 yards on the season and is averaging only 3.3 yards a carry. Surely you have better options.
Larry Fitzgerald is a little trickier decision because he is, well, Larry Fitzgerald. He proved last week that even at less than 100%, he is still a fantasy stud. Unfortunately, he will be going against some of the best corners in the league this week, so that bum hamstring may curtail his production. Weigh your options carefully here.
Look at the match ups; you may have a better, healthier option this week at wide receiver.
This is not a recommendation to start him this week, but Arizona does have a bit of a sleeper on their roster at running back. Andre Ellington is averaging 7.0 yards a carry in a small 25-carry sample size, and has caught 18 passes as well. If he is still available in your league, you may want to take a flyer with a lot of byes coming up.
On paper Seattle, should win this game but the Cardinals have surprised at times this season. Expect the Seahawks to prevail in a tough, lower scoring game.