FFStatistics Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Week 14
Fantasy football week 14: the typical start of the playoffs. Congrats to all teams that have made it this far. Solid drafting, the right waiver wire moves, and insightful start or sit decisions have all led to this part of the season. Oh, and mayhap a little luck. In week 14, do not neglect the importance of start or sit decisions.
This weekly article aims to deliver solid lineup advice based on statistical and matchup analysis for who to start and who to sit. Let’s go get some wins!
Start: Kirk Cousins vs. Detroit
Kirk Cousins was someone I spent some time during the preseason examining as a value draft pick. While he continually proves to be untrustworthy to win prime-time games for his NFL team, he is still producing fantasy numbers for owners.
Currently, he is the overall QB9 for fantasy. In his last four games, he has thrown 10 touchdowns and only one interception. His 8.5 yards-per-attempt is third-best among quarterbacks who have logged at least 100 attempts. Despite that, he is the lowest consensus ownership among quarterbacks in the top-ten.
Meanwhile, the Lions just gifted Mitchell Trubisky his first 300-plus yard game of the season. They are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Since week six, they have allowed 21 passing touchdowns.
In a divisional matchup, expect the Vikings to be hunting for a win and relying on Cousins to close this game out. He is a top-twelve option this week.
Start: Ryan Tannehill vs. Oakland
Since assuming the starting role, Ryan Tannehill has been an exceptional asset. From week seven on, he is the QB6 in fantasy scoring. During that span, he is tied in touchdown passes with Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott. His three rushing scores tie him for second among the position during that same stretch.
Here is what FFStatistics’ own Jeff Smith had to say about Tannehill in his waiver wire article.
“It is officially time to take notice and get Ryan Tannehill (26% Yahoo!, 15.3% ESPN) on your roster. The Titans have the Oakland Raidersin Week 14 (6th) and then a juicy game against the division rivalHouston Texans (3rd) in Week 15. Finally, for all the fantasy glory in Week 16, there is an acceptable matchup against theNew Orleans Saints(15th).”
The Raiders have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in seven games this season. Only one quarterback has failed to throw at least one touchdown against them and that was Ryan Finley. Tannehill’s rushing ability keeps his floor relatively safe. Fire him up as a fringe top-12 option this week in an enticing matchup.
Sit: Josh Allen vs. Baltimore
As much as fantasy owners, and Bills fans, have enjoyed Josh Allen‘s success this season, all good things must come to an end. Or at least have a solid bump in the road. Allen has maintained a reliable high-floor output by covering any passing inadequacies with his goal-line rushing ability.
The Ravens defense has only allowed one quarterback, (Patrick Mahomes, as if anyone had to ask) to throw for more than one passing touchdown this season. Furthermore, they have only allowed one quarterback a rushing score, (Andy Dalton…I know, right? I am just as surprised as you are) this season.
The Ravens are allowing an average of 243.6 yards-per-game and have 11 interceptions through 12 games. There is no doubt that Allen is a credible threat to score a rushing touchdown, but that may be where the upside comes to a halt.
Allen could easily finish outside the top-15 this week, so he is still a decent number-two option for Superflex formats. Otherwise, rummage through the waiver wire for a streamer with a better matchup this week.
Start: James White vs. Kansas City
There is some difficulty in recommending a running back as a start option when he only has 208 rushing yards notched in his belt this season. However, that same running back is currently the RB15 in PPR formats this season. James White cashes his paycheck as the reliable second receiving option in the Patriots offense.
White has the fourth-most targets (76), the third-most receiving yard (512), and the sixth-most receiving touchdowns (3) among the position this season. He remains game-script proof and seemingly the second read for Tom Brady in most packages.
This week the Patriots host the Chiefs who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs. Considering they have allowed an average of 82 receiving yards to backs, fire him up as a middling RB2 in PPR formats with scoring upside.
Start: Melvin Gordon vs. Jacksonville
As expected, it took a few weeks for Melvin Gordon to resemble the fantasy scoring weapon we fondly remember him as. After taking some time to knock the rust off, Gordon has handled a healthy workload and produced with it. In three of his last four games, he has seen 20 or more carries. He also has three rushing touchdowns in that same span.
The Jaguars are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to backs. In the last four games, they have allowed four different backs to eclipse the 100-plus yard mark and seven rushing touchdowns. Between workload and matchup, Gordon is a lock for top-twelve production this week.
Sit: Jonathan Williams vs. Tampa Bay
Marlon Mack went down and Jonathan Williams stepped in. He had back-to-back 100-plus yard games then promptly followed that up with eight carries for 14 yards. Such is the life of a back up to the back up running back. The real problem, outside of going from 26 carries one week to only eight the next, is the near non-existent usage in the passing game.
Regardless, the Buccanneers are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Only one back has cleared the century mark against the Bucs this season and that was Chris Carson back in week nine. Including him, only two other backs have cleared 60 rushing yards against them this season. Alvin Kamara did it twice and Derrick Henry. Williams is neither of those guys and is difficult to trust in a gnarly matchup.
Start: Zac Pascal vs. Tampa Bay
On the other hand, the Bucs pass defense is a funnel and allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers. Zac Pascal comes with some inherent risk. Despite his snap percentage rocketing into the 90’s from week eight on, his target share has fluctuated heavily. Seven targets in week seven, followed by two targets in week eight. Six targets in week 11, then only one target in week 12, and just to mix things up once a lot of teams dropped him; 10 targets in week 13.
The fact is, Pascal is among the more reliable options the Colts have left. T.Y. Hilton may not play again this season. Both Eric Ebron and Chester Rogers have been placed on injured reserve. While Parris Campbell did return to practice, his status is still a question mark. Pascal and Jack Doyle should soak up targets this week against the worst pass defense in the league.
Pascal remains a volatile option due to erratic targets, but it is a high-risk/high-reward scenario that could boom for big points this week. Call me crazy, but I have Pascal ranked as a top-36 receiving option this week. At the very least, consider him a flex play with high upside.
Start: Alshon Jeffery vs. New York Giants
Remember when Alshon Jeffery missed a couple of games with another injury, then promptly came back and reeled in nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown? Surprise, this is not the first time Jeffery returned from a multi-week absence and shredded a defense for big fantasy numbers.
Jeffery looked healthy and like the dangerous receiver fantasy owners drafted him to be. Carson Wentz targeted him 16 times in their week 13 matchup against the Dolphins. This week, they face the New York Giants who are only slightly worse at defending the pass than the Bucs.
Jeffery should be treated as a back-end WR2 play this week in another tasty matchup.
Sit: Sammy Watkins vs. New England
We are all familiar with the phrase, “start your studs.” It is a mantra peppered throughout the industry and the reason no one is writing articles reminding owners to start Lamar Jackson. Sammy Watkins has been the opposite of that. He is the inspiration for a new phrase, “sit your busts.”
Watkins has not scored since week one. In their last two games, he has two total receptions for 26 total yards on six total targets.
The Patriot’s defense has been stifling against receivers, allowing the fewest points to the position. Only two receivers have hauled in touchdown passes against them this season. Neither was named Sammy.mWatkins has shown both his ceiling and his floor this season and everything in between. You cannot trust Sammy in the fantasy playoffs against the Patriots.
Start: Vance McDonald vs. Arizona
Death… Taxes… Fantasy points to tight ends against the Cardinals.
— Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL) December 1, 2019
Well, it is difficult to say it any better than that. The Cardinals somehow seem to completely ignore tight ends in their coverage. They have allowed six different tight ends at least 75 receiving yards, and a total of 13 touchdowns to the position.
Vance McDonald has not been on the weekly starter radar this season. Juju Smith-Schuster is expected to be out again this week, freeing up some targets. For teams that have been streaming the position, keep following whomever the Cardinals are playing.
Sit: Darren Fells vs. Denver
Darren Fells is the Eric Ebron of the 2018 season. His seven touchdowns have him tied with Mark Andrews for the most among the position. The downside is that Fells has become very touchdown-dependent for fantasy scoring. He only has three games of 40 or more yards and has not seen more than three targets since week eight.
The Broncos are allowing the 13th fewest fantasy points and have only surrendered three touchdowns to the position. The matchup is not great and if Fells does not come down with a score, owners will not be happy with his output.
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