Week 16 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

Here we are, folks! The dream we all dream of. This is our Super Bowl! It all comes down to some good old fashioned trash talk and 16 football games to decide whether or not you’ll be lifting that trophy.

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Let’s talk some RB/TE Starts and Sits!

Running Back: Start ’em

CHRIS CARSON (SEATTLE SEAHAWKS)

Chris Carson has been THE MAN in Seattle. In the last five games, he has averaged a total of 98.4 yards and has scored a touchdown in four out of those five games! Granted, the yards average is slightly skewed by last week’s matchup against the 49ers. In every other week, he was a solid RB2. But, that’s exactly what you want from a guy that you either drafted late OR picked up on waivers!

Now, we have arrived at week 16 and the Seahawks are at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. On the season, the Chiefs are the worst defense against fantasy running backs. 173 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game! Sometimes, recent weeks might tell a different story. Recent weeks only enforces the trend! Even teams that struggle at RB or were beset with injuries looked wonderful against the Chiefs run defense.

Chris Carson for the win!

KALEN BALLAGE (MIAMI DOLPHINS)

I understand. If you take away the 75 yard touchdown run in week 15, Kalen Ballage stat line would be 11 for 48. Mediocre at best.

I also understand that this is the Championship Week! Are you really going to trust your championship to a relative unknown? Probably not. Let’s be honest, though. You didn’t make it to the championship game having a need at Running Back. This pick is for those redrafters who are still paying attention to their leagues and want to win their consolation matchup. It’s also for the dynasty leagues where Ballage was dropped in week 3 when it was clear that he wasn’t going to be a part of the offense. Go pick up Kalen Ballage!

The Dolphins are at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last time the Jaguars played an away game, they allowed 1 person to run for 238 yards and score 4 touchdowns. The Jaguars DO NOT CARE when they aren’t at home. This is a glory start and it’s going to feel SO good when you win your matchup because of Kalen Ballage.

Running Back: Sit ’em

JAYLEN SAMUELS (PITTSBURGH STEELERS)

If you’re in a Yahoo league and can start Samuels in your Tight End slot, you should ABSOLUTELY start him. He will be far better than 80% of ALL other tight ends.

Otherwise, stay away. The New Orleans Saints defense has been amazing lately. They have allowed 12 points per game TOTAL in the last 5 weeks. TWELVE POINTS PER GAME!!!! That’s not to the Running Back position. That’s to the entire opposing team!

Here are some scary numbers:

  • Tevin Coleman in week 12 – 8 rushes for 6 yards
  • Peyton Barber in week 13 – 14 rushes for 42 yards
  • Christian McCaffrey in week 15 – 15 rushes for 53 yards. Yes, he still had a good game playing quarterback for a snap and PPR leagues were beneficial.

If you are in a bind, Jaylen Samuels might get you 9 or 10 points. He definitely has a solid floor because Pittsburgh likes to use one running back. But this matchup is the scariest of the week, without a doubt.

ADRIAN PETERSON (WASHINGTON REDSKINS)

75% ineffective in the last 4 games. He was saved by the 90+ yard touchdown run in week 13, otherwise he’d be 100% ineffective. He’s tired and likely isn’t risking severe injury in a losing battle.

This week, the Redskins are playing an away game against the Tennessee Titans. The Redskins could really use a new QB! They might be looking towards a better draft position. I see very little chance of a positive outcome for the Redskins and, in particular, Adrian Peterson. Leave him on your bench OR just drop him all together since he won’t clear fantasy waivers until after his game starts.

Sidebar: Alex Smith’s contract had $71 million in guarantees. Derrius Guice’s infection sounds terrifying. Sorry, Washington. You might be at the bottom of the standings for a few more years.

Tight End: Start ’em

JARED COOK (OAKLAND RAIDERS)

The Raiders actually try when they play on their home field. In addition, they have a winnable matchup against the Denver Broncos. Yes, Denver is favored to win. This IS the Oakland Raiders that we’re talking about.

But, Denver was recently decimated by the Tight End position in week 14 when George Kittle caught 7 passes for 210 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. No, I’m not suggesting that Jared Cook will even sniff those stats. But between his usage and the positive matchup, we’re in the realm of 5 for 60 and a touchdown. Even 5 for 60 WITHOUT the touchdown will be a TE1 day in this wacky position. He’s a good player to have in your lineup this week.

BLAKE JARWIN (DALLAS COWBOYS)

Blake Jarwin is all alone. Geoff Swaim has already been declared out after missing the last 4 games with injury.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of home games. Dallas is playing at home. Icing on the cake, they’re playing the Buccaneers. I will listen to the argument that the Bucs defense has improved since firing their Defensive Coordinator a few weeks ago. Indeed, in the last four weeks, the best Tight End performance against the Bucs was George Kittle in week 14 (6 for 48). The Cowboys are in a fight for their playoff seeding. After taking that brutal defeat at the hands of the Colts last week, they will be coming home with the desire to prove themselves in front of their home crowd. And while there is a new DC in Tampa, it’s the same players. They were beaten before, they can be beaten again.

Blake Jarwin will have a decent game.

Tight End: Sit ’em

VANCE MCDONALD (PITTSBURGH STEELERS)

Above, I wrote about the scary New Orleans Saints in the section about Jaylen Samuels. Copy and Paste here. I would imagine that either Antonio Brown or Juju Smith-Schuster will have a decent game. Jaylen Samuels will likely land in RB3 territory. I just don’t have a lot of hope for a high point total. I really hope that, like most fantasy championship matchups that I’ve seen, your Tight End position is filled with Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, or George Kittle.

For those sitting in the consolation bracket, you might have McDonald on your squad. You can cross your fingers for a lucky touchdown OR you can look elsewhere for a Tight End.

Good luck to each of you in week 16! GO GET THAT CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY! Get those bragging rights. Win your consolation bracket. I truly hope you wake up on the 25th with a special gift of a Fantasy Football Victory!

Week 15 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

There are only two weeks left, unless you’re in a league that oddly includes week 17 as your playoff finals. We are already underway after Damien Williams and Justin Jackson showed what they can do when they are designated as the lead RB for their team. I hope you had either of them in your lineups!

Meanwhile, Travis Kelce’s performance reminds me of the scene in Rocky IV when Rocky finally lands a punch on Ivan Drago that draws blood. Rocky returns to the corner where his trainer shouts, “He’s NOT a machine!”

On the Chargers side, I’ve heard several people talking up Antonio Gates as if he had an incredible night. 4 for 54, folks. It’s okay, but nothing worth bringing up at the water cooler.

Let’s discuss some starts and sits.

Running Back: Start ’em

DALVIN COOK (MINNESOTA VIKINGS)

The Vikings return home, licking their wounds, after being decimated by the Seattle Seahawks. They have fired their “Sean McVay 2.0” OC, John DeFilippo. The lone shining offensive star from that game was Dalvin Cook.

Now, the Vikings are in Minneapolis and they are facing the Miami Dolphins defense who is easily beaten on the ground. It’s quite possible that the Vikings stop trying to make Kirk Cousins a thing and focus on that electrifying piece in their backfield: Dalvin Cook. That dude is absolutely amazing when he’s healthy. Guess what? He’s healthy.

The Dolphins can be exposed on the ground. On the season, they are the 8th worst team against the Running Back position. While they have improved over the past few weeks, it can be explained. The Patriots had to keep up with the Miami offense last week while also suffering an identity crises at Running Back. Are they RBBC? It looks like it.

In week 13, they held LeSean McCoy in check, but allowed Josh Allen to rush for 135 yards. In week 12, Marlon Mack rushed for 85 yards, but it was 5.7 yards per carry.

If Dalvin Cook can touch the ball 15 times on the ground and another 5 times through the air, his big play ability will likely equate to 100 yards and a touchdown, if not more. Those are the kind of numbers that I can get behind.

DOUG MARTIN (OAKLAND RAIDERS)

When do you definitely want to start an Oakland Raiders Running Back in 2018?

  • When they play at home OR
  • When they play against the Cincinnati Bengals

They only get one of those as the Raiders are travelling to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. Defensively, this matchup is a dumpster fire. On the offense, you can safely start your Running Backs. Joe Mixon is going to light up the universe; he’s an auto-start. That brings us to Doug Martin.

Doug Martin has rushed for almost 100 yards and has scored 2 touchdowns in the last two matchups. He is still capable of giving you fantasy value. The Bengals are a perfect foe for your semi-finals roster. The Cincinnati Bengals are the worst team against the Running Back position. In week 13, Philip Lindsay rushed for 157 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. In week 14 (also known as “the week that Austin Ekeler looked tired”), Austin Ekeler rushed for 66 yards and scored a touchdown. These are numbers that you can believe in. Doug Martin will have a good game. If you’re in a really bad pinch or a deeper league, Jalen Richard should also have a decent game.

Running Back: Sit ’em

MARK INGRAM (NEW ORLEANS SAINTS)

Look at Mark Ingram’s performance since returning from suspension. One thing is clear: he is touchdown dependent in order to give you fantasy value. If you are in need of a “swing for the fences” player, this is your man. Keep in mind that he will not be fantasy relevant if he doesn’t score.

It gets worse. The Saints are travelling to Carolina to face the Panthers in a divisional matchup. It takes a special opponent (like the Bengals) for me to have confidence in a Running Back in an away game. To add fuel to this fire, the Panthers and Saints have always put on a show. Even though the Panthers have lost 5 in a row and appear to be falling apart at the seams, they will very likely show up for this divisional game in front of their home crowd who are hungry for a win.

Alvin Kamara is the lead back, Mark Ingram is picking up the scraps. If he scores a touchdown, your week is saved. This week, that is a huge If.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS BACKFIELD

What the heck is going on? Despite a positive rushing matchup against the Dolphins, Tom Brady threw the ball 43 times. The last 3 rushing touchdowns have been scored by James Develin. James Develin? James White had his expected PPR value game against the Vikings in week 13, but almost disappeared in week 14.  Sony Michel is getting the touches, but isn’t earning any value with them. It just hasn’t made sense.

But wait! There’s more! The Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. On the season, the Steelers are the 6th best defense against the Running Back position for fantasy. Yes, they are on a 3 week losing streak and have allowed a rushing touchdown in each of their last 6 games. They are still holding the opposing Running Backs to low Yards Per Carry. So, let’s say the Patriots get to the goalline in a short yardage situation. Recent weeks have shown that they will give the ball to James Develin. Are you putting HIM in your starting lineup in the semi-finals? I didn’t think so.

Between the muddled backfield, the negative matchup, the away game, and the vultured touchdowns by James Develin, I just cannot get behind any Patriots Running Backs.

Tight End: Start ’em

KYLE RUDOLPLH (MINNESOTA VIKINGS)

We know he has the ability. The old OC just wasn’t giving him the opportunity. New OC, home game, and a positive matchup against the Dolphins leads me to believe that we will see a better game out of Kyle Rudolph.

I’ve already written about John DeFilippo above. We don’t need to rehash it here. Let’s just say that we could see a bit of a shake-up in who Kirk Cousins targets.

The Dolphins have been beaten by the Tight End position for the last half of the season! There are some obvious results like Gronk in week 14 or Ebron in week 12. But, there have been some other weeks that aren’t so obvious: Michael Roberts in week 7 or Jordan Thomas in week 8. In case those names are unfamiliar, they are from the Lions and Texans, respectively. My point is: You do not need to be a household name Tight End to have a great week against the Miami Dolphins defense.

Kyle Rudolph might even be on the free agent list in your league. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be a Kelce/Ertz/Ebron/Kittle owner and have been streaming the position, this is a great time to pick up Kyle Rudolph.

CJ UZOMAH (CINCINNATI BENGALS)

They’re playing the Raiders. The Oakland Raiders are the worst team against fantasy Tight Ends. CJ Uzomah has received 22 targets in the last 3 games. He will have the opportunity and Oakland knows how to allow production to the position.

Just like I said above, if you aren’t an owner of the big 4, you could do a lot worse than CJ Uzomah. You won’t feel very confident, but at least you’ll have the opportunity to do well.

Tight End: Sit ’em

TREY BURTON (CHICAGO BEARS)

Two weeks ago, I wrote that I had given up on Trey Burton until he proved otherwise. Well, the return of Mitchell Trubisky and the positive matchup against the Rams blinded me. I called Trey Burton a Start. Shame on me. Shame. On. Me. 2 catches for 22 yards.

The Bears might be playing at home this week, but they’re playing against the Green Bay Packers who, for all their faults, are the 3rd best team against fantasy Tight Ends. If you haven’t already, drop Trey Burton. Get that weight off of your shoulders.

Good luck to each of you in week 15! I usually say, “Unless you’re facing me.” However, I had a dreadful fantasy year in 2018. I am in exactly two playoff matchups this week. I guarantee that you aren’t facing me. I can say without any hesitation, “Good luck to you in Week 15!”

Week 15 QB Streaming Options


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Last Week’s Result: Josh Allen came through on the ground once again this week rushing for 101 yards and a TD. Overall his fantasy week was decent because of this, but was hurt because of his lack of production passing. The turnovers hurt him as he threw 2 interceptions and 0 TDs. If he had been able to produce anything in the passing game he would have been a top 10 play, instead he finished with 18.34 fantasy points for a respectable week. Let us jump into the streaming options this week as we get deeper into the fantasy playoffs.

Main Streaming Option: Lamar Jackson

To be honest I am surprised he is still owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Last week he has another good fantasy outing rushing for over 60 yards for the 4th straight game. He even threw 2 TDs, even though it was only on 147 yards it was nice to see him produce for fantasy in the passing game. This week the Ravens are a 7.5 point favorite at home against Tampa Bay. Tampa continues to be a positive match up for fantasy QBs and Jackson should be able to exploit this. The biggest risk with Jackson is his play style knocking him out of the game; he has to come out last week against the Chiefs. Flacco is healthy but the Ravens appear to be moving on to their QB of the future and will continue to start Jackson. He is 3-1 with his only loss coming against the Chiefs in overtime so it is the right call. I would not be surprised to see him on championship teams this year.

Alternate 1: Derek Carr

I keep finding myself look at Carr as a potential streamer each week. He has had a run of positive matchups and has been able to exploit them for solid fantasy results. This week he has another positive match up against the Cincinnati Bengals. He has thrown multiple touchdowns the last 2 weeks against teams giving up points to QBs and the Bengals have been worse against QB in fantasy than every team but Atlanta. Carr has only thrown the ball less than 30 times twice the whole season, there is no reason to expect that to change this week. The opportunity is there with the volume for Carr and the matchup is the best one he has faced all season. The Raiders might be a mess of a team right now and are trying to figure out where they will play their home games next season, but Carr is just good enough to succeed for fantasy in a situation like this.

Alternate 2: Josh Johnson

This is a game I have no interest in watching. I do not even think Johnson is a good QB. This is going to be ugly and Johnson is really a Hail Mary play in a 2 QB league where you lost Carson Wentz. There are not a lot of QBs under the 50% threshold at this point. His entire value is based on his ability to run the ball, he showed it last week taking over for Sanchez and finishing as the QB6 on the week in about half a game. He ran 11 times and scored a TD and he seems like he will rely on his legs. This is going to be the ugliest QB match up of the season as he faces off against Cody Kessler. Johnson is another example that running QBs have more value in fantasy, even if they aren’t any good. Josh Allen is available an actually a safe option at this point, but I wanted to highlight Johnson for extreme cases. I am in a 18 team dynasty league so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him swing a matchup in a league like that.

These are the names I am looking at for the fantasy playoffs. The first 2 are pretty safe options given their great match ups and the last is a giant risk that could pay off for anyone having the courage, or more likely the desperation, to play him. Good look in the semi-finals this week (I am assuming if you are reading this you are not playing your championship week 17 because gross.).


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Week 14 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

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.

Week 14 QB Streaming Options


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Last Week’s Result: Lamar Jackson was able to rush for a TD in a game the Ravens won, but he was also knocked out of the game for a period of time which limited his potential upside. He did return to the game and finished with 16.5 fantasy points, so overall it was an alright performance. He didn’t hurt your team like Drew Brees or Andrew Luck did, but was right in the middle of the road. That brings the season average for my streaming option to 23.1 fantasy points per week.

In most leagues this is the start of the fantasy playoffs, so all decisions matter even more now. There are not as many options available in at least 50% of leagues, likely because people are more likely to hold a QB with a positive playoff match up, but there is always value available so let’s dive into the guys I like this week.

Main Streaming Option: Josh Allen

Since returning from injury Josh Allen has been doing a lot more on the ground. He ran for 99 yards and a TD 2 weeks ago and 135 yards last week, so he is giving a very nice baseline for fantasy players. This week he is facing the Jets defense at home that gave up over 200 yards and 2 TDs to Matt Barkley last time these teams played. The idea of playing Josh Allen in the fantasy playoffs is pretty scary; he is a very high variance play. He is the type of player I would suggest if you are a team that snuck into the playoff and are a big underdog in your match up. If you need to plug in someone safe look at the other 2 options, Josh Allen could be the number 1 QB this week and he could give you negative points. I am not even certain he is any good at real football, but I do believe the Bills could find themselves in a lot of positive game scripts because of their defense and the fact that they are facing the Jets. It looks like Darnold will be back and he leads the NFL in interceptions even though he has only plays in 9 games.. His overall numbers are not pretty, but if there is a week to put Allen in this is it.

Alternate 1: Lamar Jackson

If you want safer production Jackson is the way to go, his floor is much higher than fellow rookie Josh Allen. One major difference is Allen has shown he is at least capable of throwing for 200 yards. It will be interesting to see how this game plays out with big clash of styles versus the Chiefs. Baltimore will try to slow them and this game down, but if they are forced to play from behind how much will they open things up with Jackson? He has more upside with this potentially high scoring match up. This is the game with the 2nd highest over/under of the week at 53, so the expectation is the game script will go more towards the Chiefs. This is a big moment for Jackson as the Ravens might get a glimpse of their future. This is the biggest challenge of Jackson’s young career and if he comes through like he did so often in college he could be in for a big day. Baltimore is trying to hold on to the 6th seed in the playoffs, so they need to pull out all the stops against the Chiefs.

Alternate 2: Derek Carr

Carr was in this same spot for me last week and he came through in a big way against the Chiefs. The game was high scoring as expected; the surprise was that the Raiders were still competing in the 4th quarter. Carr has had some boom or bust in him this season, with 3 games over 30 fantasy points and 4 games under 10. Similar to last week the Raiders are unlikely to stop the Steelers’ offense which means they need to score to compete. The Raiders are 22nd in rushing yards this season so it is unlikely they are able to rely on their ground attack, I mean they just signed CJ Anderson so that tells you what you need to know about their rushing game. Carr has attempted the 10th most pass attempts this season, he might not be efficient but the volume is there for him to have another useful fantasy day.

Good luck in the playoffs, I will be back next week with recommendations for week 15 for those of you who are still going for the championship.


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Week 13 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

The days of my life are passing by much too quickly. I feel like we were drafting just a few weeks ago. Despite our best efforts, time runs wild and most of us are, all too swiftly, girding our loins for playoff battle in week 14. Possibly week 15 in smaller leagues. If you are a friendly and faithful reader, I hope you have already clinched or have an easy path in week 13. If you are my opponent, I hope you lose.

Let’s discuss some starts and sits.

Running Back: Start ’em

Before we move on, let’s pick some low hanging fruit. If you are the owner of Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones, or Philip Lindsay, Congratulations! You have likely won your week.

LAMAR MILLER (HOUSTON TEXANS)

You cannot deny that the Texans are on fire. After starting the season 0-3, the Texans are now on an eight game winning streak. One of the key pieces in that streak is Lamar Miller. He has scored a touchdown in 3 of his last 5 games. In that same 5 game span, he has only put up one clunker of a performance while playing the Broncos in Denver. The Broncos are better than average against the Running Back position.

We don’t have to worry about a tough defense this week. While the Browns have certainly looked better since the firing of Hue Jackson, they are still being gashed on the ground. In their last 5 games, they have allowed 590 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. This does not include yards through the air to the Running Back position. (QBs have also been able to score on the ground against the Browns, so fire up your Deshaun Watson shares.)

ROYCE FREEMAN (DENVER BRONCOS)

I dug deep into the well for this one. I’ve already stated that Philip Lindsay is going to win weeks for owners. Against the Bengals, there will be enough production to spread the wealth between both Running Backs. The only cause for concern is that the Broncos are travelling to Cincinnati. Fear not! The Broncos have one of the top 10 jersey sales in the country. I am guessing that the crowd in Cincinnati will be sparse and somewhat Broncos friendly.

Royce Freeman is not a weekly start. He has been largely useless; he normally only provides fantasy value in the weeks where he scores a touchdown. This is a week where he will score a touchdown, though. Folks, the Bengals are really bad. In particular, they are bad against the run. They are the 2nd worst team on the season against the Running Back position. 8 of the last 12 touchdowns scored against the Bengals have been on the ground OR to the running back position. Many of those touchdowns were in short yardage situations. Guess who is stellar in short yardage situations? Royce Freeman.

You likely have better options. But, if you’re in a pinch, this is the player to start.

Running Back: Sit ’em

TEVIN COLEMAN (ATLANTA FALCONS)

What a disappointing season for Falcons fans. As if it weren’t bad enough, the Baltimore Ravens come to town on a hot streak. On the season, the Ravens are the second best against the run. On the season, the Falcons are second to last on the Running Back position. More negative news, the Falcons are trending down and could wind up last by the end of the season.

Sure, Tevin Coleman saved his week 12 by scoring that touchdown against the Saints. Without it, he would have scored 2.3 fantasy points (0.5 ppr).  In the two weeks prior to that, he scored a total of 18 points. One of their opponents was the Cleveland Browns. Read above if you haven’t already, the Browns are not good against the Running Back! If he cannot succeed against bad defenses, why should we believe that he will do well against a good defense? Sit him down! Put him to bed without his pudding.

Side note: He’s not doing himself any favors with his pending free agency. I’m currently glad that all of my dynasty trade offers to get Coleman were rejected earlier this season.

MARLON MACK (INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)

The Colts travel to Jacksonville to face the hapless Jaguars, it’s true. However, the Jaguars are still pretty decent against the run, particularly the Running Back position. They haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown to a Running Back since week 7 against the Texans (Lamar Miller). They allowed two rushing touchdowns last week against the Bills, but one was a QB play and the other was a Wide Receiver!

On the season, the Jags are the best defense against the Running Back position. The last time the Colts faced this running defense, Marlon Mack rushed 12 times for 29 yards. Andrew Luck will be passing the ball. I believe it’s more likely that Nyheim Hines gets a touchdown than Mack.

I haven’t even mentioned the short practice week that Mack has had because of the concussion protocol. It’s just not a good week to start Marlon Mack.

Tight End: Start ’em

JORDAN REED (WASHINGTON REDSKINS)

As much as I touted the Eagles defense against the Tight End position last week, I’m promoting a Tight End who is travelling to Philly. Colt McCoy knows who the best receiver on his team is. It is Jordan Reed. The Eagles secondary is destroyed by injury. Normally, this would help the Wide Receiver position. But the Redskins are not your normal NFL defense. Dealing with injuries of their own, their offense is makeshift. The lone shining light of health? Jordan Reed. (What has the world come to that Jordan Reed is an image of health for his football team?) He will do well this week. Start him and relax.

KYLE RUDOLPH (MINNESOTA VIKINGS)

I’m hesitant to name Kyle Rudolph here because I don’t like suggesting players who aren’t playing at home, much less suggesting two of them! However, Kyle Rudolph is coming off of a decent performance against the Packers. The Packers aren’t bad against the Tight End. This week, the Vikings travel to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots. The Patriots give up 15.6 points per game to the Tight End position and are listed as the fourth worst against the position. With Stefon Diggs still listed as questionable with his knee, the Vikings might be able to exploit that defensive weakness and give Rudolph some targets.

It’s a long shot, but I like it in week 13.

Tight End: Sit ’em

TREY BURTON (CHICAGO BEARS)

He is due for a good game. However, the Bears are starting Chase Daniel for the second week in a row. Last week, against Detroit Lions, Burton caught 4 of Daniel’s passes for 28 yards. 4.8 points (0.5 ppr) is okay for the Tight End position this season, but it will not win your week for you. I could argue that he had 7 targets. That is not a winning argument though:

Player Pass or Catch %
Chase Daniels 73%
Trey Burton 57%

 

Chase Daniel’s pass percentage vs Burton’s catch percentage would indicate that the problem did not lie with the Quarterback in week 12. Recent performance with Mitch Trubisky + last week’s performance against Lions means Trey Burton is on my bench until he proves worthy of a start. I am not rolling the dice this week, not even against the New York Giants.

JIMMY GRAHAM (GREEN BAY PACKERS)

That injured thumb isn’t doing him any favors. This week, the Green Bay Packers are at home against the Arizona Cardinals. Jimmy Graham will not be needed. Aaron Jones is going to enjoy a late Thanksgiving feast. Even if Jimmy Graham was healthy, I believe he would be game scripted out of a good performance.

The Cardinals are actually pretty decent against the Tight End position. This could be due to their weakness against the run. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken! If you can win by running the ball, keep running the ball! Sorry, Jimmy Graham. Maybe next week?

Good luck to each of you in week 13! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your weekend to-do list has grown substantially and you neglect your fantasy teams. I am in more “win and you’re in the playoffs” situations than I care to admit. It will be a stressful weekend in the Marc house.