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A tale of overthinking

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Now allow me to connect that to fantasy football.

Each new week brings a host of different decisions to make when assembling a roster. You have to deal with bye weeks, injuries and matchups. Make the right moves and you are rewarded with a victory; the wrong decisions can bring you bitter defeat.

This past weekend I made the choice to sit Calvin Johnson in our TSN league. I'll admit, I was scared by his shoulder injury coupled with what was supposed to be a tough matchup with the New York Giants secondary. I even played out a justifiable scenario in my head that saw the Detroit wide receiver making a leaping catch, only to be slammed onto his injured shoulder by a defender. Johnson would hobble towards the sidelines never to return and I would be left with minimal fantasy production.

I felt confident with my other two receivers -- Pittsburgh's Hines Ward and Washington's Santana Moss -- and also felt pretty good with having Mr. Split Carries, aka Jamaal Charles, in my flex spot. In hindsight, if I had put Johnson in, Moss would have been the odd-man out.

Now, when I found out Johnson was active right before Sunday's early games, I went through about 10 minutes of debate. Ultimately, I went with my earlier instincts and left him on the bench, so you can imagine what happened when the highlight of Johnson's 87-yard touchdown catch flashed across my TV. Lets just say some mini taco came spewing from my mouth as I shouted a few choice expletives aimed at myself.

(There is an interesting side note to this story. I was down by 10 points going into the Washington-Indianapolis game and my opponent was all out of players. I had Moss left and he netted me exactly 10 points for what I thought was a tie. Turns out, there was some sort of scoring change and my opponent was gifted an additional two points by Monday, giving me a defeat).

What I took from all this is that I simply overthought my lineup. When a player the caliber of Johnson, Drew Brees, Steven Jackson and so forth is in the lineup, you need to stick with the big guns.

I made the tough choice of sitting Johnson in the hopes of bettering my chances at victory and in turn suffered a tough loss; an equal and opposite reaction.

With that being said, here are another five guys I'm not sitting this week as long as they are on the field.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers - Injuries to Antonio Gates (toe) and Malcom Floyd (hamstring) may leave some owners looking for a replacement, but trust in Rivers' talent. He is going up against the Patriots and their 29th- ranked pass defense after all.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles - The loss of wide receiver DeSean Jackson could slow down Philadelphia's passing game, but it could also play in McCoy's favor. The Eagles have been giving McCoy a fair number of carries and he is also deadly in the passing game. He should get a few more looks in the air attack this weekend at Tennessee and its 23rd-ranked pass defense and his rib injury appears to be a non-factor.

Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers - Fantasy owners have been waiting for Crabtree to become a factor and that time could be now. Quarterback Alex Smith is trying to hold onto his job and he knows getting the ball into Crabtree's hands will help do that. The wide receiver has a touchdown catch in two straight games and a total of 18 receptions and 220 yards in his last three. Carolina does rank fifth against the pass, but San Francisco is playing with nothing to lose.

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers - Don't let Gates be your own Calvin Johnson; if he is active, play him. His toe injury doesn't appear to be serious and the 6'4" playmaker has seven touchdowns all ready this season. Again, he faces a struggling Patriots secondary so don't be afraid to roll with him if he plays.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars - Jones-Drew has been battling a very minor hand injury and has been held to under 10 fantasy points in four of his six games this year. Those aren't numbers you want out of a top-five pick, but he is getting plenty of touches and is primed to break out any week now. His weekend opponent, the Chiefs, do rank fifth versus the run game, but they struggle against the pass and Jones-Drew could do some damage on some well- timed screen passes.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Michael Rushton at mrushton@sportsnetwork.com.

Follow Michael Rushton on Twitter and Facebook.


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