Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
Knowing who to start and sit for the primetime games is a difficult decision every week; but this time your fantasy season is on the line. Sunday Night Football (Steelers vs. Ravens) and Monday Night Football (Patriots vs. Dolphins) are packed with high powered offenses. The offenses, though, have a lot of weapons; some of which make for better fantasy plays this week. Here’s who’s going be to different makers, and who you could be throwing away your season on.
Tom Brady: Start
Brady had a disappointing game in Week 13 against Buffalo. He threw an interception and failed to balance that out with any touchdowns. Brady is still the QB4 on the season, and this man doesn’t disappoint two weeks in a row. He’s a must start against the Dolphins, who have allowed the 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks over the last four weeks.
Ben Roethlisberger: Start (If Needed)
It appears that we gave up on Roethlisberger too soon this season. Following a Week 5 embarrassment to Jacksonville he openly considered retiring, and we openly considered him valueless in fantasy. Since Week 10, however, he’s been on an absolute tear; totaling 1,176 passing yards (294 yards/game), 12 touchdowns, compared to 4 interceptions. This makes Ben a decent option this week, and if you’re in a deep league he’s worth a start. If you have other low-end QB1, or high-end QB2 options, however, go with them. The Ravens have allowed the second lowest fantasy points per game this season to opposing quarterbacks, and have allowed the lowest amount over the last month.
Jay Cutler: Sit
Don’t overthink this one; there’s no justification for playing Smokin’ Jay this one, or any week really. Not only is Cutler the QB27 on the year, the Patriots defense has locked down opposing quarterbacks over the last two weeks; allowing just the 4th most per game. Leave this guy on your bench.
Joe Flacco: Sit
Flacco had his best game of the season in Week 13; putting up 269 yards, 2 touchdowns, and avoided throwing an interception. Still, Flacco is a must sit in Week 14 against a Steelers defense that’s allowed the 7th least fantasy points this season to opposing quarterbacks.
Kenyon Drake: Start
Drake has had short bursts of success this season, but that came together in Week 13 when he saw a significantly increased workload with Williams out. Drake totaled 120 rushing yards on 23 carries (5.2 yards/carry) and added a touchdown and 3 receptions for 21 yards to that. I expect to be the bright spot in an otherwise unimpressive Dolphins offense.
Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead: Start
Its clear that New England has enough offensive production to be able to support the fantasy value of both backs. Burkhead is the hot hand: coming off a Week 13 performance where he scored 2 touchdowns off 12 carries and 78 rushing yards. He’s been a productive fantasy back 3 of the last 4 weeks. Lewis is the more consistent play; putting up at least 50 rushing yards in 7 of his last 8 games; most recently in Week 13 when he put up 92 rushing yards on 15 carries. If Lewis sees the end zone in Week 14, he’s a difference maker. Consider these two the must start backs for New England this week.
Alex Collins: Sit
Collins is a fantasy timebomb waiting to tick, and players starting him are leveraging their fantasy fate on a very volume dependent back. Since Week 9, Collins has rushed for 227 yards on 64 carries; just 3.5 yards/carry. The Steelers have allowed the 8th least fantasy points to running backs this season. That, combined with an ever-increasing role for Woodhead makes Collins a very risky play in Week 14.
Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace: Sit
At this point, Maclin is coasting off his name and has no true fantasy value. He’s caught just 9 passes over the last three weeks for a total of just 81 yards. Wallace has been the best option in Baltimore, but that’s relative. He’s seen 23 targets the last three weeks, and has pulled in 14 of those for receptions. That, combined with his 222 receiving years, makes him decent streaming option against the Steelers (9th least fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers) in deep leagues, otherwise avoid him; like the rest of the Ravens offense.
Martavis Bryant: Start
Bryant has slowly been working his way to fantasy relevancy since his Week 8 benching. In those games. He’s caught 13 receptions on 21 targets for 152 yards and a touchdown. These aren’t overwhelming numbers; but with JuJu out for Week 14 Bryant is likely to see an increase in volume. Smith-Schuster has seen 7.5 targets per game. If Bryant gets even 4 of those targets, he could become a difference maker.
Chris Hogan: Sit
There’s a lot of hype surrounding Hogan’s return. Don’t risk your fantasy hopes on someone who hasn’t played since Week 8. Even before he left, he had three unimpressive fantasy (Weeks 6-8) where he totaled 9 receptions for 50 yards per game and no touchdowns. Leave him on your bench this week, even in deeper leagues.
Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Devante Parker: Sit
All three of these players got shutdown against the Patriots in Week 12. The most disappointing of this group is Parker, who hasn’t made a fantasy impact since Week 2, despite having a mid-round ADP. Landry has at least 5 receptions in every game this season, giving him a decent floor; but his ceiling is limited; making him a sit in deep leagues. Stills has had 2 games in 2 of the last 3 weeks, however, his down game was against the Patriots. In their Week 12 match-up, Stills pulled in just 3 passes for 47 yards. If you’re going to stream one of these guys in deeper leagues I’d go with Landry; otherwise avoid them.
Julius Thomas: Start
Thomas is your best prime time option this week, but that isn’t saying much. He’s seen consistent volume: 26 targets since Week 9. He’s caught 71% of those for 224 yards and, more importantly, 3 touchdowns. He’s not going to be a difference maker; but he will contribute
Benjamin Watson: Sit
Watson may seem like a tempting stream this week, given he’s seen 19 targets over the last 4 weeks. I’d keep away from him, however, as he faces the Steelers who have allowed the 3rd least fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Watson’s points have come when he snags touchdowns; and the Steelers have allowed just two to opposing tight ends
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