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Starts and Sits – Week 14

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


Week 13 Results

What a week! If you’re reading this, hopefully that means you’ve made it to the playoffs and are on your way to a championship – congratulations! Let’s see how Joey DeFeo (@jdefeo91), Jordan Vander Ploeg (@ff_jvp) and myself (@BMaaaaac) did with our week 13 recommendations:

QB Starts: Andrew Luck (QB23); Dak Prescott (QB17)

RB Starts: Gus Edwards (RB36); T.J. Yeldon (RB28)

WR Starts: Adam Humphries (WR12); D.J. Moore (WR38)

TE Starts: Cameron Brate (TE19); David Njoku (TE32)

 

QB Sits: Aaron Rodgers (QB13); Tom Brady (QB16)

RB Sits: Mark Ingram (RB56); Adrian Peterson (RB9)

WR Sits: Jarvis Landry (WR16); T.Y. Hilton (WR25)

TE Sits: Jimmy Graham (TE11); Evan Engram (DNP)

Week 13 was a tough week across the board. While Rodgers and Brady both finished outside QB1 territory, our starts of Luck and Prescott did not fare any better. Gus Edwards continues to see strong volume but was held in check against Atlanta. Adrian Peterson put up an 8-8-0 line outside of a single run that went for a 90-yard touchdown which propelled him all the way into the top 10 at his position. Adam Humphries found the end-zone for the third week in a row and finished as a WR1 for the week. Jarvis Landry came back to life with his first 100-yard game since week 3, finishing as WR16.

 

Let’s get to the Starts and Sits for a MUST WIN week 14!

 

Quarterbacks – by Brian Mackowick

START

Baker Mayfield – Money Mayfield disappointed his fantasy owners last week with just one touchdown and three interceptions. This week he returns home to Cleveland to face a beatable Panthers defense. The Panthers have given up two or more passing touchdowns in all but two games this season, one of which was week 1. Prior to last week’s disappointment, Baker was on a five-game streak of tossing two or more touchdowns, including a four-touchdown performance on the road against the Bengals in week 12. Look for Baker to get back on track this week as a back-end QB1 option.

Jameis Winston – Winston appears to have returned to QB1 form as he’s thrown six touchdowns over his past five halves of play (Winston played the second half of week 11 following Fitzpatrick’s benching). Averaging 304 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game over that span, Winston should be able to continue his success at home against the Saints this week. The Saints’ defense has improved over the past four weeks as they have allowed just four combined passing touchdowns to Andy Dalton, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan and Dak Prescott. However, in a game projected to be the highest scoring of the week, look for Winston to attack with the deep ball as the Bucs try to keep up with the Saints. Winston is a mid-tier QB1 for me this week.

 

SIT

Carson Wentz – Wentz has been disappointing lately, specifically in weeks 11 and 12. Last week, Wentz got back on track with a 300-yard, multi-touchdown game against Washington which is in line with what we have come to expect from him. Unfortunately, this week Wentz runs into a tough Dallas defense whose defensive line is producing a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Averaging three sacks per game over their last five contests, Dallas has been able to hold opponents to an average of 20 points in that span. You may also recall the Dallas defense holding Drew Brees to just 127 yards and one score in last week’s matchup. Wentz is still a decent bet for fringe-QB1 numbers but is a risky play with more downside than upside this week.

Matt Ryan – Similarly to Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan has cooled off a bit in recent weeks. Last week we saw Matt Ryan’s worst output of the season with just 131 passing yards and one score. The Falcons will travel to Lambeau Field this week to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers have been strong against opposing quarterbacks while at home this season allowing a combined six passing touchdowns in six home games. Worth noting as well is the Sunday forecast in Green Bay with a high of just 27 degrees expected. Matt Ryan and company, whose home field is indoors, will need to adjust to the cold weather this week. Matt Ryan is 1-1 in games with a temperature below freezing, with the most recent being a matchup in Green Bay in 2013, a game the Falcons lost 22-21. You may not have better options than Ryan on your roster, but it’s worth considering what else is available to you.

 

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Running Backs – by Jordan Vander Ploeg

START

Tarik Cohen – HEAT CHECK! YES, HE’S HOT! Tarik Cohen in his last two games has 11 rushing attempts for 44 rushing yards, 22 targets for 19 receptions and 201 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown and one passing touchdown. That stat line totals 34.54 fantasy points in standard leagues and in PPR it is 53.54 JUICY fantasy points. This week he goes up against the LA Rams in Chicago. This matchup may make you slightly nervous but just think about the game script and the strengths of the Rams defense. The Rams will be ahead, and the Bears will be playing catch up. As a result, I expect them to throw first (this is where Cohen gets all the juicy fantasy points) and not run the ball as much (where Cohen gets a minimal amount of fantasy points). The Rams have a strong D-line that you can’t run up the middle against and will constantly apply pressure to the quarterback, so they will most likely check down to Cohen when getting pressured.  Cohen will have a solid floor due to his high target volume in the passing game and has huge upside for a receiving touchdown. Cohen needs to be in all line-ups this week. START ’EM UP!

Gus Edwards – JUICY MATCHUP ALERT! Gus Edwards and the Baltimore Ravens will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs this week. The Chiefs have given up the second most fantasy points to the running back position (according to ESPN) with 389.2 pts (averaging 32.4 pts per game). They have allowed 1,313 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns this season. In the last 3 weeks, Gus has 315 rushing yards (averaging 105 yards per game) on 61 rushing attempts (averaging 20.3 rushing attempts per game). The dude is getting heavy volume and things aren’t going to change. Gus Edwards has been a fantasy football waiver wire STUD! If you were lucky enough to pick this guy up, you must plug him into your line up so you can win your quarterfinal matchup!

 

SIT

Spencer Ware – Nothing but disappointment! Guess what everyone? Spencer Ware is not Kareem Hunt. In his first game against the Raiders being “the guy” he had 14 rushing attempts for 47 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, and one target for one reception for five yards.  If it wasn’t for the touchdown, he would’ve been a complete dud. Ware had 69% of the offensive snaps while Damien Williams had only 29%. Williams looked solid out there, and no one would be surprised if he saw more work. The Kansas City Chiefs just signed running back Charcandrick West. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, this is shaping up to be a running-back-by-committee. This week, the Chiefs match up against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the running-back position, averaging only 17 points per game. The Ravens have only allowed 780 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns, 306 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns to the running back position this season. The matchup plus the running-back-by-committee situation is not looking good for Spencer Ware’s fantasy points. If you have other options, use them. Ware needs to take a seat on your bench this week.

Marlon Mack – Marlon Mack has been a BOOM or BUST player this season. In his previous game against a tough Jags defense, Mack was held to just eight rushing attempts for 27 yards and one reception for six yards. What a DUD performance; not exactly what we were all hoping for. He was out touched by Hines (13-9) and out game scripted. He wasn’t being efficient and isn’t as versatile as Hines in the passing game, so he got the bench. This week, the Colts will play the Texans in Houston. The Texans have allowed 840 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 551 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns, which averages out to 22.8 fantasy points per game to the running back position. The Texans are very strong at defending runs up the middle of the field and will apply constant quarterback pressure. The Colts will be checking down the ball to Hines when under pressure. As a result, I believe Mack will see little utilization this week. Mack needs to take a seat on the pine this week!

 

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Wide Receivers – by Joey DeFeo

START

Adam Humphries – It’s a nice luxury when you have an endless supply of receivers who produce solid fantasy numbers. It’s usually a negative to have too many mouths to feed in an offense but Tampa Bay’s defense has been atrocious for most of the year resulting in an air-attack offense producing many viable options weekly. Adam Humphries has been quietly producing solid numbers all season long. He started somewhat slow but has had a safe floor since week 4. He has produced at least a touchdown in three consecutive weeks and with Desean Jackson banged up his target share increases. The Bucs get the vaunted Saints this week so look for them to be in catch up mode for most of the afternoon. This leaves Humphries as a solid option this week and may flirt with WR2/3 status.

Larry Fitzgerald – Fitz has been largely underwhelming this year as it seems like he is somewhat being phased out by Christian Kirk. He has had some big performances but mostly has seen single digit PPR performances with some low double-digit outputs sprinkled in. The Cardinals offense has looked better since firing Mike McCoy, but it still isn’t anything to get excited about as they don’t put up huge numbers. They get to face the very cold Detroit Lions this week who were hot and cold to start the year but have fizzled into the abyss. Darius Slay is a lockdown corner but I don’t believe they will use him to shadow Fitz who takes over as the top option with Kirk going to IR. Larry does most of his damage from the slot, so I expect the Cardinals will work the underneath routes as the Lions’ linebackers can be beat in coverage. Look for Larry to have a solid game this week in a boring matchup on paper.

SIT

Stefon Diggs – Diggs has put in a solid season so far rounding out the WR1 tier coming in at WR12 overall. It’s somewhat hard to make an argument to sit guys like that sometimes but there have been games when the offense isn’t necessarily clicking, and it affects Diggs more than Thielen a lot of times. Buffalo, Arizona, and New England were all games where the offense scored under twenty points and although he was questionable heading into the Sunday night game against the Patriots, he didn’t seem limited at all. The Vikings must travel to Seattle this week to face a team that is starting to assert themselves as one of the dark-horse contenders in the NFC. The defense is still very good even after losing their entire secondary from their Super Bowl run and the offense is looking better and better. On the road in a very loud stadium against a very tough opponent I believe the Vikings offense will struggle, so temper expectations for Diggs this week.

T.Y. Hilton – Hilton hasn’t been the extreme hit or miss this season like he was in previous years. In the games he has played he has had a pretty good floor all season only dipping below ten PPR points once. Even last week when the Colts were shut out against the Jags he put together a solid game. This week the Colts travel to face their red-hot division rival Houston Texans. The Texans have won nine games in row after starting 0-3 and a large part of that has been their defense. Although the Texans lost starting defensive back Jonathan Joseph last week, I don’t expect them to skip a beat. T.Y. put up 115 yards on the Texans in their last matchup this season, but I believe the Texans will look to slow him down and make Luck rely on his tight ends to grind this one out.

 

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Tight Ends – by Brian Mackowick

START

Vance McDonald – A bit of a gut call, I think McDonald finds the end-zone for his fourth score of the year this week against the Raiders. Vance has shown a steady floor of about 5.5 points in PPR and has caught at least three balls in all but one game this season. He has seen 18 targets over the last three weeks and should see another six or seven this week. The Steelers should have no problem driving down the field in this one, which should set up Vance for at least a couple of red-zone looks. Vance McDonald is mid-tier TE1 for me this week.

Trey Burton – Trey Burton posted a goose egg for his owners last week against the Giants. Given his recent production, it may understandably be tough to trust Burton in your starting lineup the first week of the fantasy playoffs. With the hopes of Mitch Trubisky returning to the lineup in a game Vegas believes will top 50 combined points, I’m giving Burton another chance this week. The Bears may very well be in catch-up mode for most of this game which gives me a little more confidence in Burton’s potential target volume and scoring opportunities.

 

SIT

Cameron Brate – With O.J. Howard gone, I expected a bit more production out of Brate. Unfortunately, it’s been more of the same mediocrity from the Bucs tight end. Brate is yet to top three receptions or 36 yards in a game this season. Coincidentally, over their last six games the Saints have allowed averages of 3.6 receptions and 36 yards. Brate’s line last week? 3-36-0. Expect more of the same this week.

Jordan Reed – Mark Sanchez. Need I say more? Sanchez relieved Colt McCoy early in last week’s contest and went on to post 100 yards on 21 pass attempts for an average of 4.8 yards-per-attempt. Reed finished the game with a 4-21-0 line. While acknowledging the limited sample size from Sanchez, I’d like to point out that no quarterbacks with 100 or more pass attempts (36 total) have an average as low as 4.8ypa this season. The Giants can be beat by the tight end position, but do you have faith in Sanchez? I do not.

 

Best of luck to everyone in the first week of the playoffs!

 

Be sure to check for our week 15 Start/Sit column to see the week 14 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