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Coach's Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit - Week 15

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series Fantasy Football: Coach's Desk

CHARGERS @ CHIEFS - Ciriaco

Quarterback

START - Patrick Mahomes

SUB -  Philip Rivers

SIT - None

Rivers has been a solid if unspectacular QB in 2018. He has only four games of 300 yards and or three scores this season. He does have, however, eight games of two scores and only has one game of fewer than 220 yards, setting a solid floor. I would look out for weather reports as early reports call for nasty weather. I would look for a better option with your season on the line. All signs point to sitting Mahomes this week. Bad weather to go with key injuries to Sammy Watkins and possibly Tyreek Hill and Spencer Ware. I am still confident that Mahomes will find a way to produce at home even with the odds stacked against him. He has simply been too good in 2018 to ever find a bench.

Running Back

START - Melvin Gordon (if he starts, otherwise Justin Jackson), Spencer Ware (if he plays)

SUB - Damian Williams (if Ware is out)

SIT - None

Gordon is a no doubt about it start if he plays. The Chiefs defense has gotten better as the season has progressed but is no match for Gordon. Check reports right before kickoff to make a decision. With Austin Eckeler out I would feel great about playing Jackson if Gordon cannot suit up for this contest. Last weeks weak performance is concerning but he will be relied on heavily if he starts on Thursday night. Spencer Ware is an uninspiring start this week. Due to volume and the explosive offense he is on leads to this start recommendation. I would only start Williams if most of your starting options are out and Ware sits. Your season is probably already over if this is the case.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

START - Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce

SUB - Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Chris Conley

SIT - Antonio Gates

Allen has been one of the hottest WR’s in the NFL and has been carrying his managers to victory in the second half of the season. Hill is trending toward playing in this divisional showdown and never leaves your starting lineup. The Williams’s are impossible to decipher and are merely desperation dart throws for your semi-finals. Conley is another guy who is nearly impossible to trust but could pay off in a tough spot as a WR3/Flex. I would look for better options with my season on the line than Gates. He will only pay off if he scores.

TEXANS @ JETS - Ciriaco

Quarterback

START - None

SUB - Deshaun Watson

SIT - Sam Darnold

Watson has not been the same high scoring fantasy asset that he was in his spectacular rookie campaign. He only has one game with more than two passing scores along with just two scores on the ground. The Jets have been just average defensively in 2018. I always recommend checking the weather before game time. It looks like it will be cold (obviously) but not too cold. I would worry about the strong north winds which could derail long passes. You probably don’t have a better option at this point but I would strongly consider sitting Watson for Saturday’s game. There is no way in hell I would consider starting Darnold with my season on the line.

Running back

START - Lamar Miller

SUB - none

SIT - Isaiah Crowell, Elijah Mcguire

The only fear I have in starting Miller is the fact that D'onta Foreman is coming off IR and may get a chance to play, cutting into Miller’s workload. Pay close attention to reports on his activity level and how he looks in practice. The matchup and workload make him a start otherwise. All of the Jets back are nursing injuries and have a terrible matchup versus the stout Texans defense. I cannot trust either in a semi-finals matchup.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

START - Deandre Hopkins

SUB - Keke Coutee, Robbie Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Chris Herndon

SIT - Texans TE’s

Hopkins should be explosive in this easy matchup and should start always. Every other receiving option for these two teams are mere “your guess is as good as my guess” options. The Texans spread the ball around to their TE’s, making none of them fantasy viable. Look elsewhere for starters

BROWNS @ BRONCOS - Ciriaco

Quarterback

START- Baker Mayfield

SUB - None

SIT - Case Keenum

Although the Broncos have been stout on defense in recent weeks Mayfield has simply been too good to sit. I would temper expectations due to matchup but he is still a solid start in my eyes. Keenum is simply not a starting caliber QB in fantasy or the NFL. He could be a solid backup but that's about it. With the steady loss of passing game weapons, he should be on waivers and not in your starting lineup.

Running back

START - Nick Chubb, Phillip Lindsay

SUB - Duke Johnson

SIT - Royce Freeman

With at least one score in six out of seven games since Carlos Hyde was traded Chubb has become a solid RB1 and an every week start. The Broncos are an average rush defense that should pose no problem for Chubb Saturday. Lindsay has similarly broken out in his rookie year. He similarly should never be sat regardless of matchup. Duke has been a huge disappointment to his managers in 2018. He should only be started if you have limited options due to the injuries that have befallen RB’s at the end of this season. Freeman, while talented, is impossible to trust as Lindsay has taken over that backfield.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

START - Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Daesean Hamilton

SUB - Courtland Sutton

SIT - Every other Browns receiving options

Landry has had a couple good games in a row and is the most reliable option in this receiving core. Njoku is a volatile weekly TE option but gets the nod this week because he is facing the defense that has given up the most yards to his position. Hamilton has taken over Emmanuel Sanders slot role and put up similar production in his first start. He will get another start from me on Saturday. I worry about starting Sutton as I see him struggling against Denzel Ward. If Ward sits I would feel a little better about spot starting Sutton.

CARDINALS @ FALCONS - Ciriaco

Quarterback

START- Matt Ryan

SUB - None

SIT - Josh Rosen

The Cardinals have given up the third least fantasy points to QB’s in 2018, making Ryan a questionable start. I will start Ryan due to his prolific numbers he is amassing at home. Even in an enticing matchup, Rosen has no place in any starting lineup. He should only be rostered in multi-QB starting formats.

Running back

START -  David Johnson, Tevin Coleman

SUB - Ito Smith

SIT - None

Johnson has been one of the biggest disappointments of 2018. He has played noticeably better since the firing of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy but not close to his 2016 level. Most managers with him on the roster have long ago been eliminated so this advice may be moot. In a great matchup, I would start him as an RB2. Part of the reason the Cardinals have been good at pass defense because they are dead last in many run defense categories. They are dead last in yards given up on the ground and also have given up the most scores to opposing running backs. Although Coleman has been mostly mediocre since replacing the injured Devonta Freeman I will start him confidently as an RB2 in this contest.  

Wide Receiver/Tight End

START -  Julio Jones, Austin Hooper

SUB - Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu

SIT - Ricky Seals-Jones

Jones is on the way to one of his best ever seasons and will start every week, even in the shadow coverage of Patrick Peterson. Hooper is nothing special but is a startable TE, one of the hardest positions to find reliable production. Every other receiving option in this game are mere dart throws only the truly desperate should be perusing. Out of this grouping, I would rank them Sanu, Fitzgerald, Ridley, and Kirk.

RAIDERS @ BENGALS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Derek Carr

SIT - Jeff Driskel

SUB - None

Derek Carr has been quietly stringing together quality fantasy outings the past few weeks. Since Week 13 he's average 300 yards and 2.5 TD per week and now he draws an incredible futile Cincinnati Bengals defense. He's a quality value start this week. The Oakland Raiders pass defense, on the other hand, has held its own at times limiting Philip Rivers and Lamar Jackson to sub-20 point performances, but they also were burned by Ben Roethlisberger and Patrick Mahomes. Driskel falls below all of these names and simply can't be trusted.

Running Backs

START - Joe Mixon

SIT - All Others

SUB - Doug Martin

Despite playing on one of the worst overall offenses in the NFL, Mixon has popped double-digit fantasy performances each of the past six weeks and eight of the last nine. He's a trustworthy RB2 in all formats and should be deployed accordingly. Martin has developed a solid, if somewhat unspectacular fantasy baseline since taking over in Oakland. He's been between 7-15 fantasy points every week, which isn't ideal, but it's better than some alternatives with all the injuries out there and he could be in for a bigger day against a soft Bengals D.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Tyler Boyd, Jared Cook

SIT - All Others

SUB - Jordy Nelson

The bloom may be off the rose a little with Boyd but the talent and opportunity still remain. The Raiders just gave up 30 points to JuJu Smith-Schuster and were also burned by Christian Kirk for 17 points a few weeks ago, so Boyd should be able to find some room. As far as TE's go, there's been a wave of late arrivals and Cook is no exception. He's had 7 catches for 100+ yards each of the past two weeks and should be in for another strong day. Nelson is the only other plausible fantasy play this week, but he's far from a lock. Hopefully, you're not so desperate you need to gamble but if you do, he's a decent upside play against a bad defense.

DOLPHINS @ VIKINGS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Kirk Cousins

SIT - None

SUB - Ryan Tannehill

I suppose at some point we'll have to allow for the idea that Cousins stinks and isn't startable, but I just can't believe it yet. He may stink, but he's always been a fantasy contributor, at least until the last two weeks. He's been flat lousy, but this is a must win, all chips on the line game for the Minnesota Vikings and I expect Cousins to respond. This is a total gut call, and my gut says 300/2 this week. As for Tannehill, the Vikings defense is wildly unpredictable but also extremely talented and Russell Wilson struggled against them last week. This is a tough game to fully trust Tannehill in so I would avoid him unless you're desperate.

Running Backs

START - Dalvin Cook

SIT - Frank Gore, All Others

SUB - Kenyan Drake

It hasn't always been pretty but Cook now has three straight weeks with 14+ points and he's completely in charge in the Vikings backfield. Latavius Murray almost vultured a TD last week but Murray is slow and useless and the Vikings know it. Cook is a solid RB2 down the stretch. Drake is the only back I'm gambling on because of his ability to covert through the air. He's also the most talented Miami Dolphins running back on the team. The Vikings defensive front is too good to trust Gore on this one.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen

SIT - Devante Parker, All Others

SUB - Kyle Rudolph, Kenny Stills

It's been a frustrating few weeks for fantasy owners who rode the Adam Thielen train during the first half of the year. He's been solid but hasn't been exploding for 37 catches a game like he once was. Teams have been double-teaming both Thielen and Diggs but their talent keeps them consistently around double-digit fantasy points and they're both threats to drop monster performances. Following back-to-back weeks with a TD, Stills moves into the subcategory as a decent WR3 play. I'm avoiding him in WR2 formats but he should get a solid volume of targets this week and even if Xavier Rhodes wins most of the matchups, he could get you 10 points. Rudolph is due for a TD and should be a decent filler if you need a dart throw this week, but there are better options like Ian Thomas out there.

COWBOYS @ COLTS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Dak Prescott, Andrew Luck

SIT - None

SUB - None

Dak and Luck are high floor fantasy assets who have been steady plays since the midway point. This is a bank of consistency, feel free to make a withdrawal.

Running Backs

START - Ezekiel Elliott

SIT - All Others

SUB - Marlon Mack

Zeke is obvious. He has 24+ points in 5 straight weeks and is rounding into form at the perfect time. Mack, on the other hand, is a sputtering mass of inconsistency at the worst possible time. Where's the guy who scored 30 points in back-to-back weeks earlier this year? Right now, you might get 5 points... or you might get 20, who knows. Until the Indianapolis Colts prioritize Mack as a weapon, he's no better than a dice roll.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Eric Ebron, TY Hilton, Amari Cooper

SIT - All Others

SUB - None

There are a lot of people who are shocked by Ebron's fantasy explosion this year but it's not that surprising. He was always a talented athlete, and now he's able to stay healthy and play with an elite QB. He's a top start again this week despite a matchup with a tough Dallas Cowboys defense. That holds for TY Hilton who went into a poor matchup on paper against the Houston Texans last week with an injury and rattled off 199 yards. As impressive as that was, Amari Coopers 200+ yards and 3 TD last week put it to shame. These are three quality options and really, the only ones I trust in this game.

BUCCANEERS @ RAVENS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Lamar Jackson

SIT - None

SUB - Jameis Winston

OK, the big caveat here. On paper, this matchup is delicious for the rookie QB. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has been beatable all year and Jackson should be able to succeed, but only if he throws the ball. This is going to be a game where Jackson has to prove he can move the offense through the air or Joe Flacco may get the nod back. The Bucs have flashed some defensive chops at moments over the past few weeks and could wind up blowing up Jacksons spot, be warned. Winston is a gunslinger and the Baltimore Ravens have a good defense, this has all the makings of a classic Winston 4 INT game.

Running Backs

START - None

SIT - All Others

SUB - Kenneth Dixon

I extremely dislike this running back group. I'm avoiding the entire bunch in all honesty, and that includes Peyton Barber who has failed to resemble much of a lead back all year despite being virtually unchallenged. If you are absolutely desperate, you can take a flier on Kenneth Dixon, but this just is not a good place to shop for running back points.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Mike Evans, Cameron Brate

SIT - All Others

SUB - Adam Humphries, Willie Snead

Evans has 1207 yards and 5 TD. He's a threat for a monster game every week and really can't be benched. This isn't an ideal matchup as the Ravens have only allowed one 10+ fantasy performance since week 9, but you have to trust the talent on this one. The Ravens have given up 6 TD's to opposing tight ends this year and the end zone is where Brate lives. He should be a solid start yet again. Humphries and Snead are possibly PPR threats this week in super-deep leagues, but avoidable in standard formats.

LIONS @ BILLS - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Matthew Stafford

SUB – Josh Allen

As would have been predicted when the season began, when Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen headline an NFL game, one will be a viable fantasy option while the other is not. However, many would not have guessed that Detroit Lions quarterback Stafford would be the one left on the bench while Buffalo Bills rookie Allen is worth a look. There is a risk with Allen, however. While he has shortcomings throwing the football, Allen has been tremendous on the ground of late. But the Lions have given up just 62 rushing yards to quarterbacks on the season. Something has to give as Allen has 337 rushing yards in the last three weeks.

Running Backs

START – None

SIT – Zach Zenner, LeSean McCoy (dealing with a hamstring injury), Kerryon Johnson (likely out), Marcus Murphy

SUB – LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick, Chris Ivory (if LeSean McCoy is out as expected)

There are better games to look toward for those seeking some running back help for the fantasy playoffs this week. With the two starters, Kerryon Johnson and LeSean McCoy, dealing with injuries and likely to be absent – or at risk of leaving early like McCoy did last week – there are some dart throws in this one. LeGarrette Blount is a touchdown-dependent option who could find gold against a defense that has seen running backs score on the ground 14 times in 13 games. The Bills’ expected starter should McCoy miss is Chris Ivory, who could be a nice volume play in the lead role. In PPR leagues, Theo Riddick still is a low-end flex option because of his involvement in the passing game.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – None

SIT – Zay Jones, Bruce Ellington, Brandon Powell, T.J. Jones, Robert Foster, Charles Clay, Levine Toilolo

SUB – Isaiah McKenzie, Kenny Golladay

Bills receiver Zay Jones was the hipster play last week, and it didn’t work out. There are noticeable issues with the Bills passing game, and Jones moving from the slot to the outside caused him to be more inefficient than usual. Don’t fall for that same trap again by deploying Robert Foster, who is coming off a solid game the way Jones was the week before. The Bills receiver in the best position to pay off for fantasy is slot man Isaiah McKenzie. Operating on shorter routes allows for shorter throws, and his play-making ability makes him a candidate to break one loose. Kenny Golladay is also a viable fantasy option as the Lions’ best receiver.

PACKERS @ BEARS - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – None

SUB – Aaron Rodgers, Mitch Trubisky

After what the Chicago Bears did to the Los Angeles Rams’ offense last week, Aaron Rodgers and the rest of Green Bay Packers offense are now fantasy risks going into this one. Still, there aren’t more than a dozen quarterbacks who should be played ahead of Rodgers in fantasy. For the Bears, Mitchell Trubisky’s return from injury was awful. He ran some, but missed on throws and just didn’t look good on his way to fewer than eight fantasy points. His upside keeps in the streamer discussion, however.

Running Backs

START – None

SIT – Jamaal Williams, Jordan Howard

SUB – Aaron Jones, Tarik Cohen

The two biggest fantasy running backs in this one should be no-brainer starts, but there is a pause in deploying Aaron Jones and Tarik Cohen. Going back to last week again, the Bears shut down Todd Gurley. Todd Gurley. It’s hard to expect Aaron Jones to have better luck than arguably the best back in football. Tarik Cohen, meanwhile, was game-scripted out of action last week. With the Bears dominating on defense, it was Jordan Howard who surged ahead for 4 yards at a time while Cohen was limited to 13 touches. Though he did gain 89 yards on those touches, he could find himself taking a back seat to Howard’s grinding style should this game follow a similar script as last week. Howard, however, remains untrustworthy and should be on the bench. He’s a decent gamble in DFS tournament play, but to pay off he’d need to do something he hasn’t done since Week 9: find the end zone.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Davante Adams

SIT – Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jimmy Graham, Anthony Miller

SUB – Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, Randall Cobb

Davante Adams has been one of the best receivers in fantasy all season long. While the Bears could limit him the way they did the Rams’ wideouts last week, the notion of losing in the fantasy playoffs with Adams on the bench is impossible to stomach. The only other Packers pass-catcher who can be trusted is Randall Cobb, who works in the slot where shutdown inside corner Bryce Callahan is now absent with an injury. On the Bears’ side, Trubisky’s struggles last week make it difficult to have a ton of confidence in his pass-catchers. But Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton remain on the fantasy radar this week.

REDSKINS @ JAGUARS - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – None

SUB – Cody Kessler, Josh Johnson

When the Washington Redskins visit the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fantasy playoffs, it’s perhaps best to stay as far away from this game as possible. This includes resisting the “strong” urge to play Cody Kessler or Josh Johnson (yes, Johnson did well in relief last week, but this guy was set to play in the AAF).

Running Backs

START – Leonard Fournette

SIT – Chris Thompson, T.J. Yeldon, Carlos Hyde

SUB – Adrian Peterson

For the running backs, Leonard Fournette remains a solid volume play even when he’s due to face some loaded fronts. Adrian Peterson is a high-risk play given that he has more games (4) with fewer than 25 rushing yards than he does games (2) with more than 100 yards. But after what Derrick Henry did to the Jaguars defense last week, it’s at least possible Peterson shreds them as well. Though it seems more likely the Jaguars will be trying to send a message by allowing nothing on the ground.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – None

SIT – Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Dante Moncrief, Keelan Cole, James O’Shaughnessy

SUB – Vernon Davis, Dede Westbrook

The fantasy outlook of the pass-catchers in this game is as grim as that of the quarterbacks. There’s a chance for a decent play out of slot receiver Dede Westbrook in a short-game role as well as the same for Washington tight end Vernon Davis, who takes over after Jordan Reed suffered an injury. Neither are particularly appetizing, but fantasy managers can do worse if looking for deeper options.

TITANS @ GIANTS - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Eli Manning

SUB – Marcus Mariota

After the New York Giants proved vulnerable to the play-making of a running quarterback (Josh Johnson) last week, it stands to reason that Marcus Mariota has a shot at success this week. However, the Tennessee Titans quarterback has been very conservative on the ground this season, limiting his chances of producing a rushing floor in this one. As for Giants quarterback Eli Manning, let’s do this: Who wants Manning in their lineup in the fantasy playoffs, raise your hand? This is where we activate those zappers under your seat if you raised your hand. Lesson over.

Running Backs

START – Saquon Barkley

SIT – All Others

SUB – Dion Lewis, Derrick Henry

Saquon Barkley is one of the elite fantasy backs this season. He’s a must-start. After Derrick Henry looked like Derrick Henry again last week, it’s difficult not to try to go back to the well in the hopes both he and Titans figured something out. However, he’s a flex option at best this week. Dion Lewis remains a solid PPR option with his involvement in the passing game and his ability to create after the catch.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Odell Beckham

SIT – Tywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe

SUB – Corey Davis, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Anthony Firkser

After being a surprise scratch last week, Odell Beckham is expected back this week. If he suits up, he needs to be in lineups as his talent is far too great to leave on the bench. Titans’ lead receiver Corey Davis also presents some fantasy upside. Some low-end plays can also be found in this game, such as tight ends Evan Engram and Anthony Firkser. The latter plays for the Titans, by the way. Sterling Shepard is also a low-end receiver option in this matchup with OBJ taking most of the coverage and a healthy-ish Engram operating in the middle of the field.

SEAHAWKS @ 49ers - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – Russell Wilson

SIT – None

SUB – Nick Mullens

It wasn’t just a few weeks ago that Russell Wilson completely torched San Francisco for 185 yards and four scores. It might be hard to beat four touchdowns again, but Wilson should be reliable this deep into the season. Nick Mullens is serviceable this week in super deep leagues for you crazy fantasy folks and those in two QB leagues. I expect Mullens to exceed 15 points this week. Again, deep leagues only

Running Backs

START – Chris Carson, Jeff Wilson Jr.

SIT – Alfred Morris

SUB – Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, Matt Breida

A lot of choices to pick from in these backfields, but if you are still alive, don’t get too cute. Chris Carson and Jeff Wilson Jr. should be the main choices from their respective squads. For Matt Breida to be considered, he needs to practice in full multiple times with no setbacks. Penny and Davis are deep league targets only, but in Week 13 Penny did get the score over Carson. Again, don’t get cute, focus on Carson and Wilson Jr.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Tyler Lockett, Dante Pettis, George Kittle

SIT – Doug Baldwin, Nick Vannett, Ed Dickson, Marquise Goodwin

SUB – David Moore

Oh, Doug Baldwin, why aren’t you healthy? Steer clear of all Seahawks receivers not named Moore or Lockett, but in the best of cases, Lockett is a WR2 with upside and Moore is a low-end flex. Give me some more George Kittle, keep rolling with him and look away from other TE in this match. Dante Pettis is coming on at the right time for those of us that are still alive in the playoffs and lost A.J. Green. At the end of the day, Kittle should have the most yards from both teams but Lockett might sneak in there with a big play or two.

EAGLES @ RAMS - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – Jared Goff

SIT – Carson Wentz, Nick Foles

SUB – None

We got news today that Carson Wentz is dealing with a back issue and might miss the rest of the season. Enter Nick Foles! The Eagles have to get really lucky to make the playoffs, but hey, it could happen. Getting back to fantasy, Foles has not played in a starting role since Week 2 and that was his best game this season. I am not a fan of the Eagle weapons, but history does repeat itself, right? Play Foles if desperate, but if you are playing him you are probably not in the running for the title. Jared Goff should bounce back huge this week! Playing in warm California and the Rams probably want to make a statement in this one. Last week Dak Prescott put up 455 yards and three scores. I would think that Goff can get really close to matching that mark.

Running Backs

START – Josh Adams, Todd Gurley

SIT – None

SUB – Darren Sproles

Last week Jordan Howard racked up 101 yards on 19 attempts against this Rams run defense. I would imagine that Josh Adams is a decent play because of this and represents an excellent RB2 value. If you would have told me that Todd Gurley would have put up 28 rushing yards in a game, I would have thought you were under the influence. This is a get right game for Gurley and the Rams. In super deep PPR leagues, Darren Sproles is a sneaky flex play.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Zach Ertz, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods

SIT – Nelson Agholor, Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee

SUB – Golden Tate, Alshon Jeffery, Josh Reynolds

I can never get away from Zach Ertz. I expect a little less production with Foles under center, but he got you this far keep rolling with him. Golden Tate and Alshon Jeffery are low-end flex plays in deeper leagues. Josh Reynolds is a similar case as Tate and Jeffery but a better fit in PPR leagues. Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods should be started in all formats and should torch the Eagles secondary. Amari Cooper put up 217 yards and three scores against the Eagles last week. Cooks and Woods are set up for a nice day.

PATRIOTS @ STEELERS - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady

SIT – None

SUB – None

Why is this not a prime time game? Start both in all leagues, unless you own Patrick Mahomes.

Running Backs

START – James Conner, Sony Michel

SIT – James Develin

SUB – Jaylen Samuels, Steven Ridley, James White, Rex Burkhead

I don’t expect James Conner to play this week, but if he does and logs at least one full practice I will start him. Jaylen Samuels would be the next choice in all formats and Ridley would be the deep league play only. However, this is a revenge game for Ridley so he might have some low-end flex appeal. James Develin is probably going to score again, but I will not take that bate! Similar to the Steelers backs, Sony should be started in all formats and White and Burkhead represent nice RB2/Flex appeal. Bottom line, you want some piece of this game.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Rob Gronkowski

SIT – Chris Hogan

SUB – Cordarrelle Patterson

Antonio and JuJu should and will get back on track this week. I would assume that JuJu comes out on top between the two, but both have a chance to score. The Patriots have not faced a “decent” TE since Week 10 when Jonnu Smith put up 45 yards on three targets and a score. McDonald is a better TE and has a better QB, he’s worth a play in a pinch. Julian had 12 targets last week against Miami! If that continues, he’s a must-start for sure the rest of the season. Edelman is a low-end WR1 in this game. Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski will get fed and will be started in most if not all formats. A sneaky play in super deep leagues is Cordarrelle Patterson. I see him getting a random score, but again only play him in a pinch.

SAINTS @ PANTHERS - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – Drew Brees

SIT – None

SUB – Cam Newton

This might be my big call of the week, I don’t want to play Cam Newton if I can help it. He is dealing with a sore shoulder and it should last week when he tossed for 265 and an interception. Brees will bounce back this game, even though it is outside. Look for him to dink and dunk to the running backs and get Thomas back on track too.

Running Backs

START –Christian McCaffrey, Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara

SIT – None

SUB – None

I feel bad for CMC going against this run defense. I’m sure he will still have a great day and you can’t sit him unless you have a loaded roster. Start both Ingram and Kamara in this one. The Panthers have basically given up 100+ yards in each of their last two games so Mark and Alvin are both great plays.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Michael Thomas,

SIT – Devin Funchess, Tre’Quan Smith

SUB – Ian Thomas, Dan Arnold, Ben Watson

The TE group in this game are deep plays only. A lot of folks are going to chase the Ian Thomas points, but it is not sustainable in the Panthers offense and with Newton’s shoulder situation. I am done with Funchess, especially with the emergence of Samuel. Tre’Quan Smith should not be played until he gets back inside a dome. As I mentioned earlier, Michael Thomas will get right during this game. Curtis Samuel is a great PPR play and will probably be the top WR for the Panthers this week. Moore and Samuel and decent WR2 in most formats.

KICKERS - Josh

START – Matt Bryant, Adam Vinatieri, Brandon McManus

SIT – Jake Elliott, Mason Crosby, Matt Prater

Let's play a little game. What do Matt Bryant of the Atlanta Falcons and Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts have in common? OK, besides being old. ... They kick for good offenses who play at home indoors this week. What about Brandon McManus of the Denver Broncos? Nope, not a particularly good offense. Nope, not old. And he’s definitely not indoors. But he is a solid fantasy option this week. Kickers on the sit list are Jake Elliott (The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to have Nick Foles at quarterback against the Los Angeles Rams defense. No thanks), Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers against that nasty Chicago Bears defense, and Matt Prater kicking for an ugly Detroit Lions offense.

DEFENSES - Josh

START – Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears

SIT – Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys

For the defense's portion, let’s take a dip in the word association pool again. First, the starts. Los Angeles Rams: Nick Foles, Aaron Donald. Tennessee Titans: Josh Johnson, AAF. Chicago Bears: nasty, filthy. Now for the sits. Philadelphia Eagles: Rams in L.A. weather. Los Angeles Chargers: Chiefs, short week. Dallas Cowboys: Andrew Luck, well-protected, potential shootout.

Series Navigation<< Coach's Office: Fantasy Football Start Sit - Week 14Coach's Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit - Week 16 >>

Ben Stecker

ProFootball Free Lance Writer at SportsTalkLine.com
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport or a bourbon I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at Sports Talk Line
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a Fantasy Free Lance Writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook
Andrew Liang

Andrew Liang

ProFootball Free Lance Writer at Sports Talk Line
Lucky Husband, Fantasy Football wannabe expert, and travels for food. Colts fan, NFL fan, fan of life. Been playing Fantasy Football for 15 years.
Ciriaco

Ciriaco

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at SportsTalkLine
I'm a budding writer who's passion is for fantasy football. I love every NFL team but especially the Browns and what that franchise is creating on offense. I'm have two kids who I absolutely adore.

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