Like the rest of the fantasy universe, Derrick Henry was not in my starting lineup. He wasn’t even on my radar for this article. Why? Because he has stunk for the entire season. I wouldn’t have bothered entering him in my Sit ‘Em section because it was obvious.
I’ve heard a report that he was started in approximately 10% of leagues. I’m guessing that more than half of that 10% was on teams who threw in the towel early and walked away from their league leaving the same lineup that was in place in week 6.
If, by chance, you started Derrick Henry on purpose, not only have you likely won your week but you also win my Stupid Brave Award.
Let’s discuss some starts and sits.
Running Back: Start ’em
JUSTIN JACKSON (LOS ANGELES CHARGERS)
In week 13, the Chargers traveled to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is a team that is good and solidly in the playoff hunt. Justin Jackson rushed 8 times for 63 yards and scored a touchdown. This week, the Chargers stay home. The weather is nicer and they’re near the ocean. Oh, I almost forgot, they’re playing against the Bubonic Plague…..oops, I mean Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals have lost four games in a row. During that four week stretch, they have allowed almost 1000 yards and exactly 10 touchdowns either on the ground or specifically to the Running Back position. I’ll do the math for you: 250 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. In standard leagues (no PPR), that’s 40 points per game. That is a gigantic pie.
“But, what about Austin Ekeler?” says my doubting reader. Here is a direct quote from head coach, Anthony Lynn, “He’s [Austin Ekeler] wearing down a little bit. He’s a core special teams guy for us and he’s played a lot of running back for us. So he’s a little tired. You might see Justin (Jackson) play a little bit more.”
My case is closed. Justin Jackson will be an RB1 this week. I might create a strategy on my DRAFT drafts this week to leave my final RB slot open until the last pick and grab Justin Jackson. (Use the code TOP2 for a special gift for new users.)
JAYLEN SAMUELS (PITTSBURGH STEELERS)
The Steelers do not spread the ball around when it comes to running plays. On the ground, James Conner is responsible for 81% of the Running Back rushing yards (909 out of 1117). When you add in the passing work involving Running Backs, that 81% gets even higher!
Let’s stop pretending that Stevan Ridley will get a share. If Stevan Ridley was good, he’d still be on the Patriots, or the Jets, or the Falcons. Let’s collectively forget the 2012 season when Stevan Ridley was the RB10 overall. Trent Richardson was RB9 that year, are we talking about him anymore?
Jaylen Samuels will get the lion’s share of the running back work against the miserable running defense that is the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers have company in the AFC North and they are surging; the Baltimore Ravens are in the mix and even the Browns are still alive. The Steelers will need every win.
You get bonus points if you’re in a Yahoo league and can start Jaylen Samuels in your Tight End slot. Ridiculous? Without a doubt but, we’re here to win.
Running Back: Sit ’em
MARLON MACK (INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)
This is going to be a tough week for Running Backs who play for the Colts. Well, except maybe Nyheim Hines. The Colts travel to Houston to play the Texans who have won 9 games in a row and have a frightening defensive line. This is no time to be a hero, keep Marlon Mack on your bench.
The Colts will likely be playing from behind. They may have to abandon the run game early on. Marlon Mack is not a big man. He’s 2 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than Nyheim Hines who most analysts consider a small back. Between his size and the abandonment of the run game, he will not have the opportunity to wear down the Texans defense. Find your points somewhere else.
JOSH ADAMS (PHILADELPHIA EAGLES)
This one is more of a “temper your expectations” call. You’re going to start Josh Adams. He’s clearly the lead back on a team that should be doing much better. Unfortunately, they will be traveling to Dallas to play a Cowboys defense that isn’t very fond of allowing fantasy points to opposing Running Backs. In the last three weeks, the Cowboys faced the Falcons, the Redskins, and the Saints. The running back position for three teams (including the powerhouse Saints), combined, gained just over 300 yards and scored 1 touchdown. That’s less than 13 points per game to the position in non-PPR scoring. Josh Adams gets slightly more than half of the touches for the position, so that equates to about 7.5 points. Does that sound like somebody you want in your playoff roster? I didn’t think so.
Tight End: Start ’em
Sigh, here we go again.
TREY BURTON (CHICAGO BEARS)
Hang on, I just threw up a little in my mouth.
If Mitchell Trubisky starts, Trey Burton should have a good game. The Los Angeles Rams can be beat at the Tight End position. We can likely point to the Rams positive pressure rate even when they aren’t blitzing. This would require the QB to find a quick target. It’s perfect for the Tight End.
Burton was occasionally good with Trubisky, but disappeared with Chase Daniel behind center, so if Trubisky is benched in week 14, DO NOT start Trey Burton.
JARED COOK (OAKLAND RAIDERS)
Who else are they going to target?
At least Oakland is playing at home. They try harder when they play at home and the Steelers CAN be beat through the air.
Tight End: Sit ’em
CHRIS HERNDON (NEW YORK JETS)
The Jets are playing an away game this week. They’re playing against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have allowed the 28th most fantasy points to the Tight End position (5.5 points per game). On the bright side, Herndon doesn’t share a lot of the workload at his position. He gets between 70-80% of the offensive snaps while the other Tight Ends get about 30% each. I suppose you could do worse than Herndon. The matchup is quite scary for me, so I say “Sit him.”
Good luck to each of you in week 14! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope you bought Super Smash Bros Ultimate for your Switch. You’re having so much fun that you forgot to set your lineup!
It’s the playoffs. Yeah, right.