As important as it is to know who to start in fantasy football, it is just as important to know who not to start.
Sometimes, players who are in the middle of big seasons should be relegated to the bench if the matchup or other circumstances make it difficult to have a big day.
These players should be started in most weeks, but try looking for other options in Week 12 if possible.
Obviously, this does not mean starting a third-string tight end in your flex position, but you should expect below-average weeks for this group of stars.
Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After four years in the NFL, Josh Freeman is finally starting to become a top fantasy player. He has been on fire in recent weeks, averaging over 21 fantasy points in the last six games to make him the No. 8 scoring quarterback in the NFL.
Unfortunately, this week's game against the Atlanta Falcons does not provide a good matchup.
Only two quarterbacks have scored at least 20 points against the Falcons this year. One is Drew Brees, who is the leading fantasy scorer this season, and the other is Cam Newton, who rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown to help his totals.
While Freeman is quick, he does not compare to Newton as a runner, and he is nowhere near Brees as a passer.
Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints
After missing the last three weeks with a broken hand, Darren Sproles has returned to practice and is questionable for the next game against the San Francisco 49ers, according to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
However, there are a few problems that could prevent the running back from being productive.
The first issue is the opponent, as the San Francisco 49ers have the athleticism at linebacker to be able to cover Sproles out of the backfield.
In addition, the backfield is a little more crowded than before Sproles got injured. Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram have both been playing well in the veteran's absence and are certain to remain part of the offense going forward.
Until you see how this plays out, it is better to keep the running back on your bench.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns
Although Trent Richardson has been getting his yards, his efficiency has not been great. For the season, he has only rushed for 3.7 yards per carry, and only twice has he topped five yards per carry.
This week, he will face the Pittsburgh Steelers—a team that allows only 89.8 yards per game this year.
With the talent this defense has in the secondary, the unit is likely to stack the box against Richardson and not give him much room to run.
It will also be surprising if he is ever in position to score against this tough squad.
Richardson is a great weekly play, but this is one time to find someone else to replace the rookie.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are likely down to third-string quarterback Charlie Batch, so it will be tough for any receiving target to have a good fantasy day.
In addition, the Cleveland Browns have actually allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. Cleveland held Antonio Gates to one point earlier in the year, and Jason Witten only scored five points. Only two tight ends have scored on this defense all season.
Heath Miller has gone three straight games without a touchdown. All signs point to that streak being extended with a pedestrian day on Sunday.
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