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Starts and Sits – Week 12

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By Brian Mackowick (@BMaaaaac), Joey DeFeo (@jdefeo91), and Jordan Vander Ploeg (@ff_jvp)


Week 11 Results

Last week I (@Bmaaaaac) was on my own to give you your weekly Start and Sit recommendations. Let’s see how I held up!

QB Starts: Ben Roethlisberger (QB7); Marcus Mariota (QB28)

RB Starts: Leonard Fournette (RB6); Alex Collins (RB28)

WR Starts: Corey Davis (WR35); Alshon Jeffrey (WR62)

TE Starts: Ebron/Doyle (TE48/TE14); Evan Engram (TE12)

 

QB Sits: Kirk Cousins (QB12); Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB24)

RB Sits: Marlon Mack (RB18); Dalvin Cook (RB51)

WR Sits: Allen Robinson (WR53); Doug Baldwin (WR18)

TE Sits: Kyle Rudolph (TE30)

Some good calls, some terrible calls – what else is new! The way Big Ben and Fitzpatrick started off I thought I had written my last start sit article ever, but they both made good on my recommendations. Roethlisberger finished at QB7 after throwing two touchdowns and running in a third, all within the final 17 minutes of the game. Mariota absolutely killed me as he finished with just 85 passing yards and a touchdown before exiting the game with an elbow injury. Fournette showed us for a second week in a row that he is indeed fully healthy, as he has now handled 59 touches in the last two weeks and has posted three total touchdowns in that span. Davis and Jeffrey both suffered at the hands of their struggling quarterbacks, and Doyle/Engram were both on the fringe of the TE1 group. Ebron just disappeared completely, and was in on just 40% of the Colts snaps.

Cousins finished the week at QB12 after being held to single-digit fantasy points all the way through three quarters before finally putting up a couple of touchdown passes in the fourth. Marlon Mack’s 16-61 rushing line left more to be desired by his fantasy owners, but his early touchdown helped to keep him in the RB2 tier. Dalvin Cook busted with just two fantasy points, as did Allen Robinson with a matchup against Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes.

This week, I welcome back Joey DeFeo (@jdefeo91) as well as a new writer for The Fantasy Football Franchise, Jordan Vander Ploeg (@ff_jvp). We’re getting down to the last one or two games before the fantasy playoffs begin, so good luck to everyone in the hunt and congratulations to those who have locked up a playoff spot already! Let’s get into our week 12 Starts and Sits!

 

Quarterbacks – by Jordan Vander Ploeg

START

Baker Mayfield – This week Baker Mayfield goes up against the Bengals who have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. In the past two games, Baker has averaged 20.25 points. He was the overall QB5 in week 10, putting up 216 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and six rushing attempts for 20 rushing yards. This week he goes up against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that’s given up the most total yards (449.4 yards per game), the second most passing yards (295.8 yards per game) and the most rushing yards (153.6 yards per game). Based on this matchup alone, he is poised to be a top 12 quarterback this week. Baker has deadly weapons in Landry, Chubb, Johnson Jr, Callaway, and Njoku who should have no problem making big plays against this weak defense. Mayfield should be available in most leagues, so if your quarterback is on bye or is matched up against a tough defense, play Baker Mayfield this week.

Lamar Jackson – Lamar Jackson shocked the fantasy world last week by breaking the record for most rushes by a quarterback with 27 attempts. Last week Lamar Jackson had 150 passing yards, one interception, 27 rushing attempts, and 117 rushing yards equating to 16.7 fantasy points. This week Lamar Jackson faces the Oakland Raiders who average 142.3 rushing yards per game (31st) and give up 29.3 points per game (30th). Lamar Jackson will have a solid fantasy point floor due to his rushing yards and has the potential to have a huge fantasy day if he runs or throws into the red zone. If you are the proud owner of Mahomes or Goff, Jackson would be a great pick up for this week. He will easily be a top-12 quarterback so pick him up and put him in your line up.

 

SIT

Kirk Cousins – Kirk Cousins is currently ranked QB12 overall and has been a boom or bust quarterback this season. This week he goes up against a strong Green Bay Packers passing defense that allows only 223 passing yards per game (5th). The Packers have 34 sacks on the year and will be bombarding Cousins all game long. Last week Cousins took a toll against the Bears defense that sacked him twice, and intercepted two passes. Cousins has not looked good as of late and should take a seat on your bench this week.

Philip Rivers – Phillip Rivers has been a solid fantasy quarterback this season and is currently ranked 10th at the QB position. This week he goes up against the Arizona Cardinals defense who have given up only 218.2 passing yards (4th) and 141.5 rushing yards (29th). Arizona only averages 14.5 points per game (31st). This week, Rivers will be the product of a negative game script. The Chargers should run the ball all over the Cardinals and will be up in the game early. Melvin Gordon will be the primary benefactor of the weak rushing defense and will soak up all of those juicy fantasy points leaving none for Rivers. He needs to take a seat on your fantasy bench this week. Try picking up Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield who are poised for success this week.

 

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Running Backs – by Joey DeFeo

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Mark Ingram – The Saints have been on fire this season. Drew Brees is playing at an MVP level and making it look easy while he is at it. Most of the league is obsessed with the Rams and the Chiefs high powered offenses but the Saints are just as high powered and more balanced with their defense. They can beat you in so many ways that it makes them one of the most dangerous teams in the NFC this year. One of the key pieces in that attack is Mark Ingram. He wasn’t available for the first meeting between the Saints and Falcons this season due to suspension, but if you remember, Kamara torched the lowly Falcons defense for 190 all-purpose yards. The Saints have proven the past two weeks against very poor defenses that they are not scared to run the score up and spread the love to everyone in the offense so look for Ingram to have a huge day against one of the worst defenses in the league.

Marlon Mack – After exploding for two huge games before the Colts bye, Mack has come back to earth a bit with less than stellar performances against the Jags and Titans. Granted both of those teams have near-the-top run defenses and the Colts didn’t really need him to go bananas against Tennessee as they destroyed them from the opening kickoff. Although he didn’t fill up the stat sheet he did still find the end zone so he was still a good flex play. This week he has a gift-wrapped matchup against the horrible Dolphins defense who can’t stop a bloody nose. Miami has made mediocre running teams look like they have Todd Gurley in the backfield, so this is a perfect opportunity for Mack to have another huge game.

 

SIT

Dalvin Cook – Cook owners must be disappointed a bit as they held onto him for quite a while hoping their high draft pick could return and pay dividends. In his first game back, he had a decent game against the Detroit Lions lowly run defense but was held to 12 yards on 9 carries against the stout Bears defense two weeks later. It wasn’t solely on his shoulders as the Bears gave the Vikings a ton of problems all game long making Kirk Cousins look petrified to stand in the pocket. At this point in the season I am not positive Cook will return to be that true RB1 a lot of people drafted him to be. With Latavius Murray looking good at times and getting carries and Cook struggling at times, I am leaving him on the bench until he can prove I should do otherwise.

James White – James White owners will not like to see his name as a sit but if you know the Patriots you know that they cannot be trusted. White has been about as trustworthy as any of the top backs to this point in the season, but the seasons are changing, and the Patriots will change along with them. It seems there comes a point in the season where the Patriots like to change their style of play. So far this season they have used a ton of dump-off passes to control the flow of the game and it has rewarded White’s fantasy owners handsomely. I believe the Patriots will look to run the ball between the tackles much more going forward this season especially with a healthy Sony Michel coming back off the bye week. I am not saying that White won’t still be relevant, but don’t expect RB1 numbers going forward. Expect the Patriots to get ahead quickly against the Jets and to run Sony Michel up and down the field.

 

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Wide Receivers – by Brian Mackowick

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Devin Funchess – Funchess has disappointed for four straight weeks, but here I am recommending you get him into your lineups. Funchess continues to see the most targets of the Carolina receivers, but has only caught 50% of his 18 targets over the last three weeks. This week against the Seahawks, Funchess should continue to see a solid target share and I expect he’ll be more productive with them than he has been in recent weeks. In the last three weeks, Seattle’s corners have given up 390 yards to outside receivers Keenan Allen (6-124 week 9), Brandin Cooks (10-100 week 10) and Davante Adams (10-166 week 11). I don’t necessarily expect Funchess to follow in the footsteps of those three, but the opportunity is certainly there for a solid fantasy day.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling – MVS put up a dud last week against the Seahawks in a spot we all expected him to do well in. I’m betting he gets back on his owners’ good side this week on the road against Minnesota. Xavier Rhodes is expected to shadow Davante Adams, Jimmy Graham is banged up (also might not play), and Randall Cobb can’t seem to shake his lingering hamstring issue. Even if Graham and Cobb are on the field, I think MVS will see plenty of targets in a must-win game for the Packers, as they’ve lost three of their last four.

 

SIT

Allen Robinson – In week 10, Robinson lit up the Detroit secondary to the tune of six catches for 133 yards and two scores. But, that was without Darius Slay on the field. Slay is expected to shadow Robinson on his outside routes which will likely limit his upside significantly in this game. Regardless of his matchup, though, if Mitch Trubisky ends up sitting this one out, Robinson will definitely be someone to avoid.

Larry Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald has been on a relative hot streak, having scored four touchdowns in his last four games. This week on the road against the Chargers, Larry Fitz finds himself in a tougher matchup, though. The Chargers have given up just one touchdown to opposing wide receivers over their last five matchups, and have been particularly tough against the slot which is where Fitzgerald typically lines up. It’s tough to bench him completely, but I’m tempering expectations this week and am expecting more of a flex-worthy stat line.

 

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Tight Ends – by Joey DeFeo

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David Njoku – It’s been a roller-coaster ride with David Njoku this season. Once pegged as a breakout candidate during the offseason, he hasn’t lived up to the hype. The Browns as a whole had been pretty dysfunctional to his credit, seemingly changing the offense every other week until they decided to clean up the coaching staff and fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. Now, the offense seems to be taking on a little more of an identity and although he has been underwhelming under the new staff, this week is a golden opportunity to showcase his talents. The Bengals have been destroyed by opposing offenses all season allowing more than 20 points in all but one game this season which was against the Osweiler-led Miami Dolphins. This is the perfect get-right game for Njoku to finally get going and start to mark his territory in the TE1 conversation going forward.

Jonnu Smith – A popular name in the dynasty community as the heir apparent to Delanie Walker, Smith had been non-existent until a few weeks ago. With Walker going on IR to start the season many thought Smith would step right into the same role and produce at a high level. He produced at the level that equated to him scoring a combined 9.4 PPR points through the first seven weeks of the season. To his credit the offense played poorly as a whole so it wasn’t just him but still that’s not a very good output. It seemed that the Titans took the bye week to try and get their offense on the right track and started installing more plays that got Smith involved. A lot of those plays got him targets in the end zone as he scored a touchdown in each of the first two weeks following the bye. Last week against the Colts he didn’t find the end zone but still was targeted eight times resulting in six catches and 44 yards. That is good enough for his third double-digit PPR output in a row and good enough of a sample size to put him as a start against a Texans team that gives up points to opposing tight ends. With some big names on bye I would feel comfortable starting Jonnu Smith this week.

 

SIT

Austin Hooper – Austin Hooper is another tight end who has been up and down all year. Exploding for big games and sandwiching those with poor games. The tight end position as a whole has been extremely tough to predict this season as a lot of guys have done much of the same. When division rivals play each other it’s a little easier to read and see what the opposing team was good at the previous meeting. One thing the Saints have been good at this year is stopping opposing teams’ tight ends. Hooper was held to 7.3 PPR points last time the two teams met, and it shouldn’t get any easier as this time they are traveling to the superdome.

Cameron Brate – A popular name that will likely be floated quite a bit this week will be Cameron Brate. His counterpart O.J. Howard was put on IR dealing with foot and ankle injuries so the Buccaneers will turn to Brate to take over pass catching duties. He hasn’t been very productive this season with Howard having a nice little breakout season but has shown flashes in previous seasons. This should be more of a wait and see approach as the Bucs face a decent 49er defense this week and they are spinning their QB carousel once more and going back to Jameis Winston. With all of the moving pieces it’s not advisable to throw Brate into your lineup this week.

 

Be sure to check for our week 13 Start/Sit column to see the week 12 results! Follow us on Twitter @jdefeo91, @ff_jvp and @BMaaaaac, follow our podcast @F3Pod, and look out for more articles in the future on www.TheFFFranchise.com!

Brian Mackowick