By: Jamy Bechler @WinningDFS101
Start/Sit – 2018 Fantasy Football – Week 14
For many of you this is the playoffs, which means there is no holding back. Survive and advance! Anything can happen in fantasy football when it’s the playoffs. For the most part, your strategy isn’t going to change in that you are going to play your studs. However, this isn’t the time to go with name recognition or loyalty. Play the guys that give you the best chance of winning. Look at the matchups. Look at who is hot. Look at what is most likely to happen (not what should happen). We have 13 weeks of data and analysis. At this point most players are what their stats and game logs indicate.
This article is to provide some additional information as you set your lineups this week. If you have a player that we list in the “sit” category, you shouldn’t automatically sit him because you might be replacing him with a much worse player. Think of Start/Sit rather in terms of “Confident/Cautious.” These are players that we seem to be getting a lot of questions about. We offer our take on whether you should take a confident or cautious approach to playing them this week.
In most cases, we don’t touch upon the obvious plays. We don’t list obvious plays so we can look like we are smart when the obvious plays do what obvious plays do. That doesn’t help you. We try to look at some of the plays that are questionable and give you insights on those.
Remember to check the news and injury reports, leading up to roster lock for the various game times. Nobody knows exactly what will happen from week to week in the NFL but use all the information and resources available to you to make the best decisions possible for your lineup. We believe in having a good process and good rationale. Good luck and have fun!
Start – Jameis Winston vs. Saints
Nobody drops back to pass more than the Bucs offense (whether its Jameis or Fitzmagic). Only two teams have given up more passing yards than the Saints this year. An extreme passing offense versus a porous pass defense? Yes, please. Jameis isn’t safe because he isn’t a good real-life Quarterback at this point but he is a threat to throw for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns any week. His ceiling is high, especially in this game with its 54-point projected total. He has three 300-yard games in his 5 starts this season. His ability to make plays and gain yards with his legs also gives him a decent floor.
Notables – Andrew Luck @ Texans, Jared Goff @ Bears, Deshaun Watson vs. Colts
Sit – Kirk Cousins @ Seahawks
This is more of a cautionary selection. Don’t automatically click on Cousins’ name if you have another decent QB option. Give this one some thought. He is certainly capable of a big game but he also has a scary floor. He has failed to reach 20 fantasy points in three of his last four games, including two single-digit duds. In his last 8 games, he has only two games of 20+ fantasy points. The Seahawks defense is no longer the “Legion of Boom” but they are still formidable at home. They also play at a slower pace and tries to control the clock, which limits fantasy potential in many cases.
Notables – Eli Manning @ Redskins, Carson Wentz @ Cowboys, Matthew Stafford @ Cardinals
Start – Aaron Jones vs. Falcons
He was my pick last week despite not trusting Mike McCarthy. Good old Mike played Jones just one more snap than Jamaal Williams last week despite Jones being on a recent tear. Turns out we don’t have to worry about McCarthy any more as he was shown the door after the game. If you have recency bias, you won’t want to play Jones but he could have one of those smash games this week. New coach, new attitude against a run defense that is terrible. Atlanta has allowed either 130-plus RB rushing yards or a rushing score in six straight games. Atlanta gives out fantasy points to Running Backs like they are Oprah and cars. Jones averages 5.7 yards per carry and has scored 5 touchdowns in his last 4 games. He also has 15 receptions out of the backfield in the last 4 games. I think this is a smash spot for Jones.
Notables – Tarik Cohen vs. Rams, Austin Ekeler vs. Bengals, Sony Michel vs. Dolphins
Sit – Tevin Coleman @ Packers
Coleman has the explosive ability to take any little run or screen pass to the house, especially in this nice matchup against the Packers. However, I am going to play the percentages and right now the numbers are saying that he is not getting the volume that makes him safe. In his last 3 games, he has a total of 22 carries and only 10 targets. Hardly the stuff to give you confidence. Yes, he has produced double-digit fantasy performances in 9 of his 12 games but has hit that mark only twice in his last four games (including a 2-point performance last week). He is trending down.
Notables – Jordan Howard vs. Rams, Doug Martin vs. Steelers, Peyton Barber vs. Saints
Start – Chris Godwin vs. Saints
DeSean Jackson will sit out this week again, opening up Godwin’s big-play upside. Godwin has talent, athletic ability and opportunity. When DJax sits out, Godwin shines. There have been three times that DJax has sat out in the last two years and Godwin has a total stat line of 15-310-2. The Bucs have the top volume passing game in the NFL and the Saints are good against the run and bad against the pass so there should be plenty of passing opportunity in this high-scoring game.
Notables – Allen Robinson vs. Rams, Courtland Sutton @ 49ers, Demaryius Thomas vs. Colts
Sit – Alshon Jeffery @ Cowboys
He has yet to top 48 yards or score a touchdown in any of his last 5 games. In a Week 10 matchup against these same Cowboys, he only had 4 catches for 48 yards. The Cowboys aren’t a great defense but they are solid and have been tough on Wide Receivers this season. He has had only one 100-yard game this year and that was back in Week 4 (his first game of the year). He started off on fire with three 20-point fantasy performances in his first four games but has since cooled off.
Notables – Sterling Shepard @ Redskins, Anthony Miller vs. Rams, DeVante Parker vs. Patriots
Start – Jared Cook vs. Steelers
He is talented but has been inconsistent through the years. If you want to ride the hot hand, then this is the time as Cook has scored a touchdown in three straight games. His last game, he caught 7 of 8 targets for 100 yards. He has 28 targets in his last four games, so it looks like he is becoming the focal point of this Raiders pass game. The matchup with the Steelers is juicy for Tight Ends (28th in DVOA).
Notables – David Njoku vs. Panthers, Vance McDonald vs. Raiders, Trey Burton vs. Rams
Sit – Evan Engram @ Redskins
Engram is coming off a hamstring injury (always scary) that kept him out of the last two games. Even before the injury, he was not performing well. Don’t start him just because of his name and his potential. The most yards he’s had in any game this year is 67. Not quite a “must start” stat. He has only averaged 4 targets per game this season so he isn’t even seeing volume. He is way down on the Giants’ totem pole as they have some nice offensive weapons. On the season, he only has two games of double-digit production and one of those was in Week 2.
Notables – Kyle Rudolph @ Seahawks, Ricky Seals-Jones vs. Lions, Mark Andrews @ Chiefs
Unless you have one of the top defenses that are probably an automatic start each week, then you might want to consider streaming your defense each week with a team that has the best matchup. Remember, low scoring games is not the only factor for a good defense. You can’t predict fantasy defensive scoring, but you can predict opportunity. You typically want defenses that are aggressive and get pressure on the quarterback. This pressure can lead to turnovers. It is also a decent gamble to target defenses going against rookie or inexperienced quarterbacks. Playing at home is a plus. Finally, game flow matters. A game that will be slow with a lot of rushing attempts is not good for fantasy scoring. Also, it is possible for a defense and an opposing Quarterback to both put up good fantasy numbers in the same game. Here are three teams that you might want to consider streaming for this week, along with three teams you’ll want to be a little cautious with.
Start Notables – Bills DST vs. Jets, Cowboys DST vs. Eagles, Patriots DST @ Dolphins
Sit Notables – Bengals DST @ Chargers, Ravens DST @ Chiefs, Colts DST @ Texans
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About the Author-
Jamy Bechler is a fantasy contributor for CouchPotatoGM and FantasyPros. His DFS twitter is @WinningDFS101 and his website is FantasyFocusFootball.com. He once won a fantasy league despite drafting last, trading away Ezekiel Elliott and having Tyrod Taylor as his starting Quarterback. When he is not playing fantasy sports, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and is a leadership trainer, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). You can also follow his personal twitter account @CoachBechler. Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommends.