Start’em Sit’em Week 14
Start’em Sit’em is back for Week 14 of the NFL season and it is now time to win you a championship. If you’re reading this, I genuinely hope that this column this year has been a part of your success and either, I look forward to finishing what we started and bringing you home a title. Along with the other fine tools provided by Gridiron Experts, this article is here to help guide you on who to start and who to sit as you head towards victory in your Week 14 Fantasy Football matchups. There are several matchups worth discussing and we will go through those matchups now. One friendly reminder heading into this Week 14 Start Sit article is that you should remember those bye weeks are now a thing of the past.
Recapping Last Week
I can’t lie, because it is in the archives but last week was not my best week with this start/sit column. As far as what I hit on, Devante Parker continues to shatter his mediocre persona as he finished last week as the number one receiver in fantasy. Other options that I had hit on was suggesting that you start Tyler Higbee and also suggesting that you sit the Patriots D/ST. Ronald Jones’s inability to effectively pass block ruined him as a start suggestion for me and while I generally do well with quarterbacks, both Sam Darnold and Ryan Tannehill failed to finish as a QB1. The lastest results have me determined to continue on delivering you the best picks that Week 14 has to offer, so let’s get started. As always, if you any other start or sit questions that are not answered here, please feel free to reach me on Twitter.
- Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
- Start percentages originate from ESPN.com
- Start options range from 0-60%
- Sit options range from 50-100%
The following are my Start’em Sit’em Week 13 recommendations:
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Eagles vs. Giants
ESPN Starting Percentage: 43.4%
Last week, because of his injured skilled position players, I didn’t feel like I could fully trust Carson Wentz. Throwing three touchdowns for the first time since Week 4, Wentz certainly made me regret my suggestion to sit him. So while I eat my words from last week and while Eagles fans overreact and burn their quarterback’s jersey, I’m going to flip the script this week and suggest that you go ahead and start Carson Wentz. While this is partly due to his performance against the Dolphins in which he had his first QB1 performance since Week 6, it also has to do with the Eagles Week 14 opponent. On the Week 14 edition of Monday Night Football, the Eagles will welcome in a New York Giants team that has been an ideal matchup for opposing quarterbacks. Currently, the Giants are allowing the seventh-most points to the position and their shortcomings have been inconsistent from the start of the season. In 10 of the Giants 12 games played this year, their defense has have allowed opposing quarterbacks to finish the week as a QB1. While Wentz has only finished as a QB1 in one out of the last three games against the Giants, I believe that we have seen enough in the Giants to feel confident that Wentz can be one of the top plays in fantasy in Week 14.
Chiefs @ Patriots
ESPN Starting Percentage: 51.5%
I know that some of you are thinking that this is a weak reach to name last year’s NFL MVP as a sit suggestion. While that might be true, he is still only be started in just 51.5% of leagues so I’m taking the bait and I’m running with it. Yes, despite the fact that the Chiefs are going to playing the New England Patriots this weekend, I think Pat Mahomes is a player that should be started in almost all of your fantasy football lineups. During the early part of this NFL season, the Patriots defense was performing so well that they were labeled and locked by ESPN as a player that physically could not be dropped. While being a top-5 D/ST in multiple weeks will earn that sort of clout, against some of the elite quarterbacks in football, the Patriots defense has been far from stellar. So far this season, the Patriots have had just two games in which they have allowed an opposing quarterback to finish a week as a QB1. One of those weeks came against Lamar Jackson and the second week was this past Sunday when the Patriots allowed DeShaun Watson to have his sixth top-5 fantasy performance of the season. Needless to say, Mahomes is a player that is in that elite company with the likes of Jackson and Watson so I will not flinch in Week 14 against the Patriots. Since returning from his knee injury, Mahomes has had just one top-5 performance. That being said, Pat Mahomes and he is undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks that fantasy football and the NFL has to offer. He should be started in more than 51.5% of leagues, always.
Saints vs. 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 68.6%
In a battle between two teams fight the top spot in the conference, Week 14 will be a true battle in the bayou when the 49ers come to town to take on the New Orleans Saints. Because of the matchup that is awaiting Drew Brees and the Saints, I’m suggesting that you sit the future hall of fame quarterback. With the exception, oddly enough, of Andy Dalton back in Week 2, the 49ers are only allowing opposing quarterbacks that are mobile to finish weeks as a QB1. With the 49ers being second in the NFL in sacks and Drew Brees having just four carries this season for a negative yard, this should be a promising game for the 49ers defensive line to play to their strengths. Since Brees returned from injury this season, he has actually been playing the softer spot of the Saints schedule. Even then, in two games against the Falcons, that are in the top-5 in points allowed the position, Bress has been unable to finish as a QB1. Brees will make his plays and there is still value in some of the Saints pass catchers. That being said though, I think that if you are starting Brees in Week 14, you might not get the return value of a prime Drew Brees.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Browns vs. Bengals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 45.5%
Sure, since his return from suspension, Kareem Hunt has been sharing the Browns running back workload with Nick Chubb. That being said though, in a half and especially full point per reception formats, Hunt is a player that certainly deserves some flex consideration in Week 14. Since his return, in three out of the last four weeks, Hunt has managed to finish as a top-2o running back on the week. In those four games, Hunt has hauled in 20 of 25 targets for 118-yards and a touchdown. While the focus on Hunt thus far in this blurb has been on his production in the passing the game, the former Chiefs back has also been getting production in the running game as well. Currently, Hunt has had 25 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown. On top of Hunt’s value to this Browns offense in the last couple of weeks is the Browns Week 14 opponent, the Bengals. This season, in four matchups against the AFC North, the Bengals have had three games in which they were in the top-15 in points allowed to running backs. Big picture, on the season, the Bengals defense is allowing the eighth-most points to the position. Also, circling back to Hunt and his effectiveness in the passing game, the Bengals are also tenth in the league in receiving yards allowed to the running back position. If you’re in standard formats, you might have more touchdown upside plays to consider. Other than that though, in any league that awards your for receptions, Hunt is a flex play that could help you in Week 14.[the_ad id=”79528″][the_ad id=”69556″]
Redskins vs. Packers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 12.5%
After coming up as a major disappointment for fantasy owners against the Lions, Derrius Guice made right by the fantasy football community this past week. Against the Carolina Panthers this past Sunday, Guice would take just 10 carries for 129-yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners will have their finger crossed for a repeat performance in Week 14 when the Washington Redskins welcome in the Green Bay Packers. The Packers present yet another favorable opponent for Guice and the Redskins as they are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. In seven out of the 12 games that the Packers have played in, they have been inside the top-10 in most points allowed. On top of their consistent ranking, they are also one of just three teams to allow more than 10 rushing scores to the running backs. Bringing it back to Guice though, in the three games since his return from injury, two of those games have seen Guice bring his fantasy owners 10 or more points. What is also important to note here with Guice is the workload distribution between him and Adrian Peterson. In the last three games, Guice has had 27 carries while Peterson isn’t that far off with 32. So between the consistent workload and upcoming opponent, I feel as if Guice can be a contributor in your quest to bring home that fantasy championship.
Giants @ Eagles
ESPN Starting Percentage: 87.6%
Often times we say things in fantasy like ‘don’t get too cute’ or ‘go with what got you there’. In the case of Saquon Barkley though, nothing about his sophomore season has been cute and if you managed to make the playoffs, it likely wasn’t him who got you there. Ever since Barkley had returned from his ankle injury against the Buccaneers earlier this season, I always a sneaking suspicion that something was quite right with the Giants running back. Since Barkley’s return to the Giants backfield, he had scored just two total touchdowns and hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing performance. Since Week 9, Barkley’s best finish was the twentieth best fantasy back on the week and that came this past week against the Packers. Up next for Barkley and the Giants is a Monday Night Football matchup against the division rival, Philadelphia Eagles. Currently, the Eagles division is in the top-10 in fewest points allowed to the position and they are also one of just eight teams that have yet to allow 1,000 or more rushing yards. Failing to score a touchdown in the last four weeks, volume along isn’t making Barkley the top-notch fantasy play that you drafted in the first round this past summer. Suggesting to sit a high-profile name such as Barkley is certainly the road less traveled and I understand if you still feel compelled to play him. That aside though, if you do start Barkley, you might regret it.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Colts @ Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 7.8%
Apparently, the ‘I’ in Indianapolis stands for injuries. First off, the Colts are hopeful that T.Y. Hilton will be able to make it back at some point this season. Then there was this past week when Chester Rogers would have his season cut short due to a fractured knee. While injuries are never something that people hope for, the recent rash of injuries to the wide receiver position does open things up for Zach Pascal. This past week, Pascal would take full advantage of the opportunities in front of him as he hauled seven of his 10 targets for the second 100-yard performance of his career. Targets should be headed Pascal’s way again in Week 14 when the Colts head to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers defense has been a matchup dream for the wide receiver position as they are allowing more points to the position than any other team in football. Their secondary has been so bad that they allowing 46.2 more points than the next worse team. Their ranking has stayed consistent recently as well as they have been in the top-11 in most points allowed to the position in the last five weeks. With the Buccaneers being as good as they are against the run, in my opinion, the Colts gameplan will lean towards the passing game and that bodes well for Pascal.
Eagles vs. Giants
ESPN Starting Percentage: 22.2%
From one team dealing with injuries to another, this past week we would see the return of Alshon Jeffery to an Eagles offense that was getting desperate for a helpful and capable body. The need appeared evident as Jeffery would be targeted 16 times which he the most he’s ever been targeted as a member of the Eagles. Those targets turned into 9 receptions for 137-yards and a touchdown. Those numbers would see Alshon Jeffery finish the week as the second-best receiver on the week and he will turn his attention to a very favorable matchup. As it has been mentioned multiple times in this article, the Eagles will take on the Giants in Week 14 and the Giants defense is allowing the second-most points to the wide receiver position in 2019. Their secondary is allowing the second-most receiver yards in football which averages out to 196.1 yards per game and are allowing the second-most touchdowns to wide receivers with 18. On top of all of this, the Giants have been in the top-12 in points allowed to wide receivers in each of the last five weeks. The only question with Jeffery is his health. With one injury-free game under his belt, there is literally no other reason for you to not start the Eagles pass catcher in Week 14.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Browns vs. Bengals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 85.1%
Like I had mentioned on twitter this week, the desire to have the Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. combo in my fantasy lineups proved to be my fantasy football Ark of the Covenant moment in 2019. Needless to say, that particular lineup is no longer playing for a championship and if you start Beckham this week, you might have that same problem. This week, the Browns will take one-win Bengals who surprisingly enough have not been a disaster against opposing wide receivers. Headed into Week 14, the Bengals are just outside the top-10 in fewest points allowed to the position. On top of that, more recently, in the last four weeks, the Bengals haven’t finished a game in the top-10 in points allowed to receivers. While this won’t be a walk in the park for Browns wide receivers, there is also the ineffectiveness of Beckham himself. In half-point formats this season, the Browns star receiver has had just one top-10 week and has had a staggering nine games in which he was outside the top-20. Facts are facts and in 2019, Odell Beckham is only being started in your fantasy leagues based on name-value. Stop falling victim to this charade and sit Odell Beckham in Week 14.
Wanting to have the #Browns Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham combo was my Ark of the Covenant moment in fantasy this year.
In 0.5 formats: Odell Beckham has just one Top-10 game and has had nine games outside the Top-20.
— Michael Hauff (@TheFFRealist) December 2, 2019
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Steelers @ Cardinals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 36.6%
Let’s not kid each other here, the lowest hanging fruit in fantasy football this season has been starting just about any tight end with a pulse that is playing the Arizona Cardinals. So far this season, the Cardinals have finished a week in the top-5 in most points allowed to the position seven times. They also have had just two weeks in which they weren’t in the top-12 in most points allowed to the position. On top of that, the 13 touchdowns that they have allowed to the position this season is more than the Cardinals have allowed in the last three years combined. Up next for the Cardinals is Vance McDonald and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a year in which some had expected the McDonald to take off, he has had just two games inside the top-10. One of those matchups came against a Seahawks defense that is allowing the second-most points to the position. McDonald will hope to replicate that Week 2 performance this week against an even more favorable opponent and I say that he will.[the_ad id=”80759″][the_ad id=”66090″]
Vikings vs. Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 32.7%
With not one game inside the top-12 in tight end scoring during the first six weeks of this season, things were looking bleak for Kyle Rudolph. Needless to say though, all of that changed for Rudolph from Week 7 and on as the Vikings tight end has been in the top-10 in tight end scoring in five out of his last six games. That first game in which Rudolph turned his 2019 season around came against his Week 14 opponent, the Detroit Lions. In their previous matchup, Rudolph would finish the week as the fourth-best tight end in fantasy as he had five receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown. While the Lions have done better against the tight end recently, in Weeks four through seven, the Lions had three games in which they were in the top-10 in points allowed to the position. It would also make sense that as the Lions have done better against the position, it has also been in games against teams that rarely use the tight end. To me, this is almost as much of a slam dunk start as Vance McDonald this week.
**If you’re looking for a sit tight end this week, I do not have any recommendations this week. Everyone remotely near the required percentage is players that I would start, not sit.**
Start’em Sit’em D/STs
49ers @ Saints
ESPN Starting Percentage: 51.1%
Perhaps the 49ers dipping close to a starting percentage had more to do with the team taking on the Ravens last week. While the 49ers finishing tied at nineteenth in D/ST scoring last week warranted the dip in starting percentage, I think that the coast is clear and you are okay to fire up the 49ers in their next matchup against the Saints. One of the big things to keep in mind here is with the 49ers spending the week in Florida, there will be no worry about the long trip from the west coast. The other thing that I had mentioned earlier when discussing Drew Brees is the 49ers and their ability to sack the quarterback. On the year, the 49ers are second in the league in sacking the quarterback and while the way in which their defensive line plays didn’t help them against Lamar Jackson, it would help them against a quarterback in Drew Brees who is no longer known for his rushing ability. The Saints will put up some points in this one but I would expect this defense to put up some sacks on a fast track in New Orleans.
Patriots vs. Chiefs
ESPN Starting Percentage: 70.5%
One of the calls that I got right last week was suggesting that you sit the Patriots D/ST and in Week 14, I’m picking them again. Last week, against the Texans, the Patriots would finish twenty-fifth in D/ST scoring. I don’t expect that to get much better against the Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. In fantasy, now more than ever, you need to pay attention to what players or teams have been doing lately. You can’t stay married to the first few weeks of the season because that won’t always help you bring home that fantasy championship. That logic could never be more relatable than to the New England Patriots right now. While they were worse than fourth in D/ST scoring in seven of their first eight games, in the Patriots last four games, they have just game inside the top-10 in D/ST scoring. Now, while I’m suggesting that you sit them this week, do not drop the Patriots defense. While these past few games have been tough, after the Chiefs in Week 14, the Patriots will play the Bengals next week.