Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14
As we now are into the first week of fantasy football playoffs for most, it’s do-or-die from here on out. We saw another week of devastating injuries, breakout performances, and disappointing results across the league. With no more bye weeks, there are a full plethora of players to choose from, making decisions that much harder. We will take a look at the players and the matchups to take advantage of and the ones to shy away from.
Recapping last week
It was another relatively strong week for our picks. Taysom Hill and Kirk Cousins both were top-12 plays while Matt Ryan finished outside the top-20. Damien Harris was a top-24 running back and no Falcons running back finished in the top-36 while we’ll take a draw on Frank Gore after being concussed on his first carry. We were off on our wide receiver picks as both Mike Williams and Nelson Agholor struggled and Tyler Boyd finished in the top-25. Noah Fant finished as a top-18 option and Hayden Hurst only registered one catch in Week 13. With that, it’s on to Week 14.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 QB’s
Vikings vs Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 30.8%
Cousins has played like an elite quarterback as of late with three straight games of 300+ passing yards and three touchdowns. With the Vikings playing for a playoff spot all of sudden, there is no reason to expect them to change their gameplans now. He faces a Buccaneers defense that has struggled mightily as of late against the pass with four straight quarterbacks scoring at least three touchdowns from scrimmage. Cousins will have one of the best skill player trios in Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook in a suddenly important matchup. He is a top eight-to-12 quarterback play in Week 14.
Saints vs Eagles
ESPN Starting Percentage: 36.2%
Regardless of how you view Hill as a quarterback, he has been racking up points in fantasy football. He has 83 rushing yards or two rushing touchdowns in each of his three games as a starter. He also just threw for 232 yards and two passing touchdowns in Week 13 as well. While Drew Brees is eligible to be activated in Week 14, the team may choose to sit him until he’s 100% as Hill has led them to three straight victories. The Eagles haven’t forced an interception in five games and have allowed three different quarterbacks to rush for 64+ yards this season. He is a top-12 option in Week 14.
Raiders vs Colts
ESPN Starting Percentage: 26.8%
While Carr threw for 381 yards and racked up four total touchdowns this past weekend, he is only one week removed from a disastrous four turnover performance against a weak Falcons defense. He now faces a Colts defense that has only given up one passing touchdown over the past two games. Carr has been hot-and-cold as of late with two games of 275+ passing yards and 3+ touchdowns mixed in with two games of 215 or fewer passing yards and zero touchdowns. Against what is arguably his biggest test in a bit, it’s going to be tough to trust Carr as a top-12 option in Week 14.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 RB’s
Washington Football Team vs 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 18.4%
While McKissic had seen his workload decrease over the last few weeks due to the emergence of Antonio Gibson, that all changed when Gibson exited Week 13 with a toe injury early on. McKissic would have a season-high 10 receptions for 70 yards mixed in with eight rushing yards on five carries. With Gibson’s status in question for Week 14 on a short week of rest, McKissic could easily see 10+ targets against a 49ers team that has given up 72+ scrimmage yards to five different running backs in their last four games. If Gibson is inactive for Week 14, McKissic immediately becomes a low-end RB2 in PPR leagues.
Cardinals vs Giants
ESPN Starting Percentage: 19.2%
Edmonds has seen six-to-11 offensive touches in each of his last four games with Kenyan Drake back. He has at least 43 scrimmage yards in each of those games and continues to be a 1B to Drake’s 1A. With Kyler Murray not running as much, there are more opportunities for the running backs to get the ball and also to see targets with increased pass volume. The Giants have given up 74+ scrimmage yards to three opposing running backs in the last three weeks, including two of them in Week 10 against the Eagles. Edmonds has been efficient running the ball (70 yards on 14 carries) over his last three games and at least three receptions in all but one of his last six games. He retains mid-tier RB3/FLEX volume in what could be a closer game than expected.
Eagles vs Saints
ESPN Starting Percentage: 84.8%
It’s tough to recommend benching Sanders because of the talent he is. But he is simply playing on an offense that can’t buy points right now. Sanders also has only 53 scoreless scrimmage yards on 18 offensive touches in the past two games combined and now has an incredibly tough matchup. The Saints have not given up a touchdown to an opposing running back since Week 4 and has only allowed two running backs to gain 50 or more scrimmage yards in their last six games. If Jalen Hurts gets the start at quarterback, it may boost Sanders a bit but he is no more than a highly-volatile low-end RB2/FLEX for Week 14.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 WR’s
Titans vs Jaguars
ESPN Starting Percentage: 23.8%
Davis is enjoying a fifth-year breakout with at least 67 yards and/or a touchdown in five of his last six games, not to mention an 11-reception, 182 yards, and a touchdown performance in Week 13. He has reached 113 or more receiving yards in three of his last six games as a very integral part of the Titans’ offense. He now has a matchup with the Jaguars, who have given up 100 or more receiving yards to an opposing wide receiver in each of their last six games. The Titans are fighting for a playoff spot and will need to pull out all of the stops even in an easy matchup. Davis will be a low-end WR2 for Week 14 with a ceiling for much more.
Broncos vs Panthers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 4.0%
Excluding Week 12’s game with Kendall Hinton at quarterback, Patrick has four straight games of either 61+ receiving yards or a touchdown. Patrick has been playing as the Broncos’ number one wide receiver as of late and his two-touchdown performance in Week 13 suggests that isn’t changing anytime soon. He faces a Panthers defense in Week 14 that has given up 50+ receiving yards to seven different opposing wide receivers in the last three games combined. Patrick is trending in the right direction and now has mid-tier WR3/FLEX appeal in a plus matchup.
Tim Patrick was also mentioned in our Waiver Wire Week 14 article.
Dolphins vs Chiefs
ESPN Starting Percentage: 62.1%
While this isn’t necessarily a poor matchup for Parker, this has more to do with his performance with Tua Tagavailoa as his quarterback. He has seen plenty of targets from his young quarterback but Parker has played considerably better with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center at quarterback versus Tagavailoa. Against an easy Bengals defense, Parker only pulled in four catches for 35 yards. In Fitzpatrick’s Week 12 start, Parker had eight catches for 119 yards. Parker should be fine as a high-end WR3/FLEX option even with Tagavailoa under center but his ceiling is drastically lower and can’t be trusted to put up big games right now. If there are other high-upside FLEX options on your team, it may be wiser to go with them over Parker.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 TE’s
Washington Football Team vs 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 12.0%
Even though the 49ers represent a tough matchup with no opposing tight end having reeled in more than 27 yards in their last six games coming into Week 13, Thomas is simply too good to sit. He has at least 66 yards receiving and/or a touchdown in five of his last seven games and is coming off his best game of the season with nine receptions, 98 yards, and a touchdown against the Steelers. If Gibson is forced to miss Week 14, Washington will be forced to adopt a more pass-heavy gameplan which will benefit Thomas as a top-three option. Plus, the 49ers just gave up 27 yards receiving and a touchdown to Dawson Knox in Week 13 as well.
Giants vs Cardinals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 64.7%
It’s incredibly difficult to recommend sitting any tight end at such a shallow and volatile position. Engram is only one game removed from his six-reception and 129-yard performance in Week 12. However, he has Colt McCoy at quarterback and if he starts Week 14, it’ll only continue to drag down the entire Giants passing offense. Engram only reeled in four receptions for 32 yards in McCoy’s Week 13 start and now the Cardinals are on tap for Week 14. They have only given up one touchdown and three 25+ receiving yard performances to opposing tight ends in their last six games. If McCoy makes the start in Week 14, it’ll be tough to play Engram.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL