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Coach's Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit - Week 16

This entry is part 16 of 17 in the series Fantasy Football: Coach's Desk

REDSKINS @ TITANS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Marcus Mariota

SIT - None

SUB - Josh Johnson

Mariota was one of a fleet of duds at QB in Week 15 that left the fantasy world in disarray. His pathetic 88 yards passing were a joke and he's now gone back to back weeks without a single passing TD. So why am I starting him? Because the Redskins aren't good. They think they are, but they aren't. They're going to load the box to stop Henry and this is a MUST win game for Tennessee. Mariota is going have to throw and he's not just playing for this season. He's failed to deliver on his hype over and over again, he's playing for his NFL future right now. Speaking of playing for their NFL future, that is especially true for Johnson who two weeks ago barely even had an NFL past. Johnson is going to be fearless and will leave it all on the field. It likely won't be an awe-inspiring performance against a very good Tennessee defense, but it's unlikely to be a zero. Motivation is the watchword with these two.

Running Backs

START - Derrick Henry

SIT - Dion Lewis, Chris Thompson, Adrian Peterson

SUB - None

I mean, the guy has over 400 yards rushing and 5 TD the past two weeks, you simply can't sit Derrick Henry right now. This is a maddening situation in fantasy because Henry was both terrible and incredibly misused early in the year. He's winning games for people now, but likely not for anyone who actually drafted him. The Skins are tough up front with Jonathan Allen and Deron Payne so it could be a tougher day than normal, but that didn't stop Henry against a similar defense in Jacksonville. Avoid every other back in this field, this just isn't a favorable offensive game.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Corey Davis

SIT - All Others

SUB - Josh Doctson, Jeremy Sprinkle, Taywan Taylor

The pickins' for position player value in this contest are slim as all get out. One RB and only one WR starter to recommend and that's Davis. Davis is the most talented ball catcher in this game and Mariota HAS to show something through the air. Washington has been a Jekyll and Hide performer in the defensive secondary but they are burnable. Doctson will serve as the primary target for Johnson but his goose egg in Week 15 makes him no better than a sub. It's a similar situation for Taylor who had a couple of solid fantasy weeks before last weeks crater. Both guys are gambles that I'm not wild about. Sprinkle is a gamble I'm a little more in favor of. He had 3 catches and a touchdown last week and the Washington Redskins need a long-term answer. Sprinkle will get his chances again this week and is a solid dart throw at the TE position.

RAVENS @ CHARGERS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - None

SIT - None

SUB - Lamar Jackson, Phillip Rivers

This is a must win game for both of these teams and that could lead to an incredibly conservative game plan to avoid getting burned by either defense. Both defenses are among the best in the NFL which means that even productive QB's like Jackson and Rivers have limited outlooks. Expect a slow, ground focused game that will cap both players overall ceilings, but there should be some groundwork for Jackson and a couple of opportunities through the air for Rivers that make them OK starts.

Running Backs

START - Melvin Gordon (probable)

SIT - All Others

SUB - Gus Edwards

Supposedly Gordon is back this week and if that's the case he's in your lineup. He's one of the best in the game and with no Austin Eckeler, he'll be a massive volume play. If somehow Gordon misses, Justin Jackson is again a solid start. The fantasy world swung to Kenneth Dixon, now we're swinging back to Gus Edwards. I don't really trust any of them, but if you have to start one, start Gus. Someone will get enough carries to matter, I just don't know who.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Mike Williams, Keenan Allen (questionable)

SIT - All Others

SUB - Willie Snead

When Allen went down last week, the door opened for Williams to show off his skills that made him the #7 pick in 2017. He didn't disappoint. In addition to hauling two TD's in through the air, he took an end around to the house for a third score. Allen is questionable for this week, even if he plays Williams will have to step up again to help take the pressure off the star. These are two very talented weapons who should produce starting value. He's been inconsistent all year but Snead has back-to-back solid fantasy performances and I don't see how Baltimore wins without stretch the field with the passing game at least a little bit. Snead is the best option on this offense and the only one worth gambling on right now.

BUCCANEERS @ COWBOYS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Dak Prescott

SIT - None

SUB - Jameis Winston

Dak was another strong fantasy play that fell flat in Week 15 when he failed to find the end zone. The Dallas Cowboys were shutout and now they only have a one-game lead in the division. That is good news for fantasy owners, as is the fact that he gets a beatable Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Start Dak and expect a big bounce-back game in a must-win spot. I called last week as a let down for Winston against a solid Baltimore Ravens defense and it was definitely that. TB doesn't have much to play for, but Winston has a job to play for and should throw the ball often in this one. He's a volume play who probably will wind up around 275/2/2 which isn't great, but after last week looks just fine.

Running Backs

START - Ezekiel Elliott

SIT - All Others

SUB - Peyton Barber

It seems like Elliott was one of the few studs not to let his fantasy owners down last week. He managed 18 points in a week where his team was shutout, further proving his matchup proof status. Barber threw egg on my face by having his best game of the year after I said to sit him. Barber's still not very good and really inconsistent, but he is a volume play if you need a body.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Mike Evans, Amari Cooper

SIT - All Others

SUB - Cameron Brate, Blake Jarwin

Speaking of letdowns, I give you Evans and Cooper. Also speaking of must-starts, I give you Evans and Cooper. Alright, Evans had 121 yards, but he was scaring owners all day before his 64-yard catch put him in the positive column. Both guys have such massive upsides that they can't be benched, no matter the matchups. This game also has a pair of tight ends that are suitable subs. Brate is completely TD dependent, but he is a favorite in the red zone. Jarwin is a young player the Cowboys wanted to take the next step this year and he has appeared to do that with 11 catches on 14 targets the past two weeks. He's a solid flier.

VIKINGS @ LIONS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Kirk Cousins

SIT - Matt Stafford

SUB - None

It's crunch time and the means Cousins is going to have to shake off the label that he crumbles in big situations. The Vikings lead for the final wild-card spot is tenuous at best but the good news is that the Lions status as an NFL caliber defense is just as precarious. This is a good matchup for the mega-millionaire QB so start him once more. Do not start Stafford who is helming a team with literally nothing to play for against a talented defense with everything to play for. This is just a poor situation to invest in.

Running Backs

START - Dalvin Cook

SIT - All Others

SUB - None

Dalvin has quietly been one of the more consistent fantasy running backs around the past four weeks. He's the most talented back on this team and an every down weapon. He will be worked heavily in this game for the same reasons as I mentioned above - this is a must-win game. There are no other backs worth looking at in this game. I suppose in a PPR format, if you have no other options, you can gamble on Theo Riddick, but really, gross. Just gross.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Stefon Diggs, Kenny Golladay, Adam Thielen

SIT - All Others

SUB - Kyle Rudolph

The starting trio of receivers in this one is not a surprise, though perhaps one of them should be. Thielen has been disappointing his owners frequently over the final quarter of the season and none more than last weeks two catches for nineteen yards. Ouch. But you can't sit a guy who has 105 catches, 1255 yards, and 9 TD. Cross your fingers and pray. Same kind of holds true for Golladay who is the only weapon on offense for this Lions team. He should get a bucket load of targets and convert just enough to be a decent start. Rudolph kind of sucks, but TE is soo thin, if you have to go somewhere you can try this shallow well again. He hasn't really done anything since Clinton was in office, but he's always a threat.

FALCONS @ PANTHERS - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Cam Newton

SUB – Matt Ryan

With the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers both eliminated from postseason contention, it will be difficult to fully trust either team from a fantasy perspective this week. First, there’s Cam Newton, who looked dreadful in his last game. With an ailing shoulder, he’s at risk of sitting out the remaining games and can’t be trusted even if he suits up. Matt Ryan has some upside with the weapons he has around him. However, he’s been inconsistent on the road this season. Still, with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian likely coaching for his job or at least his resume, the Falcons may trot out some solid schemes and be a good threat to score this weak. As a deep sleeper note, Taylor Heinicke is an intriguing option in 2QB leagues if Newton sits. He was prolific in college and could get the chance to sling the rock and showcase what he can do.

Running Backs

START – Tevin Coleman, Christian McCaffrey

SIT – Jeremy Langford

SUB – Brian Hill

Even if the Panthers choose to sit Newton, the prospect of Heinicke under center isn’t as depressing as some may think. Therefore, Christian McCaffrey remains a must-start. For the Falcons, Tevin Coleman figures to get a good share of the workload out of the backfield in this one. But, since the Falcons are allergic to letting one guy have all the work in the backfield, Brian Hill should see some action as well. He’s not a great option, but he should touch the ball. And with Coleman bound for free agency and Devonta Freeman dealing with several injuries the last two seasons, Hill could get some extra run so the team can see if he fits in the backfield next season. Jeremy Langford was brought up from the practice squad for the Falcons. He shouldn’t be a threat for touches or fantasy relevancy this week.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Julio Jones

SIT – Devin Funchess

SUB – DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, Ian Thomas, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper

Julio Jones is the only pass-catcher cemented into starting lineups in this contest. However, the other Falcons passing options (Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper) are certainly worth considering this week. For the Panthers, Devin Funchess has been a non-factor for some time and can’t be trusted. But the Panthers more explosive receivers (DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel) are on the flex radar this week because of their ability to make plays. And should Newton sit, young quarterbacks, are known to love their tight ends, which would provide an uptick for Ian Thomas.

TEXANS @ EAGLES - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Deshaun Watson

SIT – Nick Foles

SUB – None

Week 16, which is championship week for most leagues, is no time to be cute. This means leaving Nick Foles on the bench (or waiver wire) when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Houston Texans. Sure, Foles has been magical for the Eagles from a win-loss standpoint, but he’s not been good enough to help a fantasy team win a championship the way he did his NFL team last season. Deshaun Watson, on the other hand, is good at both real football and in fantasy and should be started against a banged up Eagles secondary.

Running Backs

START – None

SIT – Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, D’Onta Foreman

SUB – None

This is simple. Do you know who will lead the Eagles’ backfield in touches this week? Me, neither. So all three options (Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, and Darren Sproles) should be left out of championship lineups. Another question: Do you know who will lead the Texans’ backfield in touches this week with Lamar Miller banged up and D’Onta Foreman nearing a return? Me, neither. So, as with the Eagles’ backfield options, the Texans’ running backs (Miller, Foreman and Alfred Blue) should be left on the bench. It simply isn’t worth the risk with so much on the line.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, DeAndre Hopkins

SIT – Golden Tate, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Thomas, Ryan Griffin

SUB – Demaryius Thomas, Keke Coutee

As mentioned above, the Eagles secondary is a mess because of all the injuries they’ve had. This makes DeAndre Hopkins (he’s a must-start, by the way), Demaryius Thomas and Keke Coutee (if he plays) all worthy of lineup consideration this week. The Eagles likely have success getting pressure on Watson, but both Thomas and Coutee can thrive on short passes, especially in PPR scoring. For the Eagles, Foles loves to feed Alshon Jeffery, making him a solid start this week. Foles doesn’t love to feed tight end, Zach Ertz, the way franchise quarterback Carson Wentz does, but Ertz is still one of the best tight ends in the league and has to be locked into the lineup as a result.

GIANTS @ COLTS - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Andrew Luck

SIT – Eli Manning

SUB – None

The Indianapolis Colts are in must-win mode and have the benefit of being at home against the New York Giants this week. While Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has put up a bad fantasy stat line in two of his past three games, he’s still a great quarterback in an offense that throws it a ton. He’s a start this week. Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a sit for all those not playing in deep 2QB leagues.

Running Backs

START – Saquon Barkley

SIT – Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines

SUB – Marlon Mack

I know, I know, Marlon Mack is coming off a monster game, but I don’t have him as a sure-fire start. Here’s why: Mack had a great workload last week of 27 carries, but he hadn’t received more than 16 carries since before the Colts’ Week 9 bye. Then there are the two touchdowns he had. On the first of those, the Colts tried to throw it in. Mack getting goal-line carries should happen, but it’s not a given that he’s getting the chance to plunge in from in-close. Giants rookie Saquon Barkley, was bad last week, but he’s still great and gets the touches and is a must-start.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, Odell Beckham (if he plays)

SIT – Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal, Dontrelle Inman, Ryan Grant

SUB – Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard

T.Y. Hilton is a high-end receiver when Luck is healthy. Luck is healthy. Likewise, Odell Beckham is a high-end receiver when he’s healthy. He hasn’t been the last couple weeks, but if he is ready for this game then he should be in lineups. He’s just too good to not have in the lineup. The other starters in this game are Colts tight end Eric Ebron, who’s a borderline top-five tight end on a weekly basis because he plays with Luck. A tight end worth a look this week is Evan Engram, who has had some ups and downs while dealing with injuries this season. But the Colts have given up the 12th-most PPR points to tight ends this season. Sterling Shepard is on the radar this week, and his star will rise higher should Beckham miss his third straight game.

BENGALS @ BROWNS - Josh

Quarterbacks

START – Baker Mayfield

SIT – Jeff Driskel

SUB – None

Baker Mayfield has been a quarterback who seems to play better when it’s personal since his college days. It’s personal again this week. When the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals, Mayfield and company will welcome in former coach Hue Jackson, who joined the Bengals staff after his firing in Cleveland. Mayfield will have some added motivation to make sure Jackson doesn’t feel welcome. Meanwhile, Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel should be treated as though he has a radiation warning this week. More on that below.

Running Backs

START – Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon

SIT – None

SUB – Duke Johnson, Giovani Bernard

For all the shortcomings the Bengals have on offense, they are worse on defense. Nick Chubb is a must-start this week against the weak unit, and receiving back Duke Johnson could make it into lineups as well for his receiving upside. Though his floor and ceiling are quite low. For the Bengals, it’s more of the same, as Joe Mixon is a must-start with his talent and volume. Receiving back Giovani Bernard is also worth a look as a low-end flex for his receiving ability and the likelihood the Bengals play from behind. Not to mention, the Bengals are thin on offense.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – None

SIT – Rashard Higgins, Breshad Perriman, C.J. Uzomah

SUB – Tyler Boyd (if he plays, but it seems unlikely), John Ross, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Antonio Callaway

Surprisingly, there are no must-starts among pass-catchers in this game. However, Jarvis Landry is solid receiver option but has been a bit inconsistent as he and Mayfield just don’t quite have the rapport many hoped for thus far. Other Browns pass-catchers are also on the radar. Antonio Callaway presents a home run threat in a game in which the Browns could be going for the throat and to embarrass Hue Jackson’s defense. Tight end David Njoku is also a solid tight end option this week. For the Bengals, they could be without Tyler Boyd, who was really their only fantasy-relevant receiver after A.J. Green’s injury. John Ross should be on the receiving end of a decent number of targets, but with Driskel’s inefficiencies, he may not be able to do anything with them. The same goes for tight end C.J. Uzomah.

BILLS @ PATRIOTS - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – Josh Allen

SIT – None

SUB – Tom Brady

Tom Brady might have gotten you here, but I fear that he might lose it for us when it matters most. Its New England, all they do is win, but Brady has exceeded 20 fantasy points only once in the last four weeks in 4-point per touchdown leagues. Josh Allen does not have many weapons but the man can run. Way back in Week 7 Mitch Trubisky ran for 81 yards and a score on the Pats. Josh Allen will get another rushing touchdown and at least one passing touchdown. If you need a risky play to win, Josh Allen is it.

Running Backs

START – Sony Michel

SIT – James White

SUB – LeSean McCoy, Rex Burkhead

James White has been non-existent over the past two weeks and that will probably continue this week. Rex Burkhead being back doesn’t help James White. I would only consider two Bills in the finals of the fantasy season and McCoy isn’t one of them. Burkhead and McCoy are desperation plays. Sony has another big game in him and I feel he can score this week. He got 13 carries last week and should get a few more against the Bills. He’s a strong RB2.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Julian Edelman

SIT – Zay Jones, Charles Clay, Chris Hogan

SUB – Robert Foster, Josh Gordon, Rob Gronkowski

Julian Edelman is a great play in PPR leagues and is a WR2 in most formats. He went 90 yards on seven attempts last week. Robert Foster has been a madman over the past two weeks putting up 212 yards on 11 catches and a score. Need a desperate play for the championship, its Foster. Josh Gordon and Gronk are tough to get away from and will probably be started, but may not exceed WR2/TE2 performance.

JAGUARS @ DOLPHINS - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – None

SIT – Cody Kessler

SUB – Ryan Tannehill

Do you want to win? Unless it is a SUPER deep league, Tannehill is the only QB worth thinking about in this game, but if he is your only choice you are probably not in the finals. I wouldn’t start either.

Running Backs

START – None

SIT – Leonard Fournette, Kenyan Drake

SUB – Kalen Ballage

Leonard Fournette has not exceeded 15 carries over the past two weeks. That’s very telling of either the team or something else. Either way, when the volume is gone so is my interest in Fournette. Speaking of lack of volume, Drake has not gotten double-digit touches since Week 8. Need another home run play, Kalen Ballage is your man in this game. Deeper league play is ideal, but Ballage could win some championships.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – None

SIT – Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief, James O’Shaughnessy, Mike Gesicki

SUB – Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola

Just do not start any of these pass catchers if you want to win. The desperation play in this game is Kenny Stills and Amendola. They are WR3/Flex plays at best.

PACKERS @ JETS - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – Aaron Rodgers

SIT – None

SUB – Sam Darnold

It’s looking like Aaron Rodgers will play in Week 16 and that’s awesome news for those gunning for the title. The Jets have been terrible on defense as they allowed Houston to rack up 239 passing yards in Week 15. The Packers season is done, but I have a feeling that they will want to make a statement in this game. Sam Darnold had a great game against the Texans last week putting up 253 yards and two scores. Darnold is a decent 2QB league play.

Running Backs

START – Jamaal Williams, Elijah McGuire

SIT – Kapri Bibbs

SUB – None

Not a huge fan of Jamaal Williams, but he gets the Jets and there is not Aaron Jones. We get to see McGuire in the lead role again and he is going to come out on top. Jordan Howard scored on the Packers last week, Eli is going to get six too.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Davante Adams, Robby Anderson

SIT – Randall Cobb, Jimmy Graham, Jermaine Kearse

SUB – Equanimeous St. Brown, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Andre Roberts, Chris Herndon

Only two WR are worth starting in this game. All others are sits or desperation plays. Davante Adams is going to be elite in this match and will continue to be a top target in fantasy. Robby Anderson is worth a WR2/Flex play and is the home run play if needed. Sit everyone if you can.

BEARS @ 49ers - Andrew

Quarterbacks

START – Mitchell Trubisky

SIT – Nick Mullens

SUB – None

Mitchell Trubisky will continue to roll and get 20+ fantasy point this week in most leagues. He will get a few rushing yards too. Don’t get cute, sit Nick. Mullens has looked good enough to earn a job next year, but he is not worth risking the championship.

Running Backs

START – Jordan Howard

SIT – None

SUB – Matt Breida, Jeff Wilson Jr., Tarik Cohen

Jordan is going to score again if he keeps getting 19+ touches a game. I have a feeling that Cohen is going to get mixed in a bit more, but San Francisco isn’t great against the run. Both are worth considering, but Howard is an RB2 and Cohen is flex at best. Flex plays for both 49ners running backs. The roller coaster that is the health of Matt Breida is hard to trust in Week 16. To be clear, whichever 49ners running back is playing is flex at best, but should be benched.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START – Dante Pettis, George Kittle

SIT – Marquise Goodwin

SUB – Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson II, Trey Burton, Anthony Miller

Yes, Mullens should not be started, but one should not get away from Pettis and Kittle. He Bears Secondary is getting a little beat up so there could be some room for both to perform. Kittle is still a TE1 and Pettis is a decent WR2. Quickly pick a number between 1 and 100. Whatever number you picked divide by two. Whatever number is closest to the jersey of the reaming Bears receivers you can start. Just kidding. Gabriel and Burton have a chance to get flex play type points.

RAMS @ CARDINALS- Ciriaco

Quarterback

START -

SUB -  Jared Goff

SIT - Josh Rosen

It is gonna be really difficult to sit a guy who has gotten you this far but that is exactly what i’m considering. Since the spectacular shootout with the Chiefs Goff has one passing TD and seven interceptions. The Cardinals are good against the pass but league bottom versus the run, setting up Todd Gurley nicely. Goff owners probably don’t have better options at this stage but I would be seriously exploring them. People that would consider Rosen have long ago been eliminated.

Running Back

START - Todd Gurley, David Johnson

SUB - John Kelly (if Gurley sits)

SIT - None

Some reports have Gurley sitting this one out but I believe that he plays. The Rams cannot afford to lose another game and need all hands on deck even in this winnable matchup. If he sits I would strongly consider starting Kelly if you are desperate at RB. At the very least he should be picked up to keep him off your opponent's roster in the final game. Johnson managers have mostly finished already but this is an inviting matchup against a middling rush defense. Start him if you got him.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

START - Robert Woods, Gerald Everett, Larry Fitzgerald

SUB - Brandin Cooks, Josh Reynolds

SIT - Ricky Seals-Jones

With Cooper Kupp going down Woods has been the most consistent option in this passing game. He only has one game with less than 12 PPR points in 2018. With seven targets in each of his last two games, Everett is not a terrible option in a vast wasteland of tight ends. Cooks has the worst matchup of the Rams WR’s against Patrick Peterson. I would look elsewhere. Old reliable Fitzgerald has been a solid WR3/Flex down the stretch. I would start him as such versus the beatable Rams secondary.  

STEELERS @ SAINTS- Ciriaco

Quarterback

START - Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees

SUB - None

SIT - None

The Saints have one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. It does not sound right but it is a fact. I think this game plays out on the higher scoring spectrum that recent Saints contest and may verge on a shootout. I believe both passers will have to bring their A game to win this game on a fast track in New Orleans.

Running back

START - Jaylen Samuels, Alvin Kamara,

SUB - Mark Ingram

SIT - None

Kamara has not has the ceiling he had early in the season with Ingram suspended but makes for a fine start in this contest. Don’t sit the guy he brought you to the dance. Ingram looks great almost every time he touches the ball but just does not consistently get the carries necessary to win fantasy matchups. I would only start Mark if desperate or in deeper formats as an RB3/Flex2. The Saints have given up the least running yards in 2018 but can be somewhat susceptible to RB’s in the air. I suspect the Saints will lock up the Steelers run game leading to quite a few passes going Samuels direction, making him a low-end RB2 in championship week.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

START - Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, Michael Thomas

SUB - Tre’Quan Smith

SIT - Vance McDonald

While the Saints secondary, after a terrible start, has quietly become one of the league's top units, you never sit the Pittsburgh dynamic duo. Both are week winners and both could be the edge you need to win your league. Thomas has slowed considerably after a scorching start but should never sit. Watch out when he lines up in the slot. If the Steelers make the mistake of lining up a linebacker in his coverage Thomas will roast that matchup. Smith has mostly been non-existent in his rookie campaign but I think he will be needed in this contest. With the Saints having to score points in this one I see him having his third good game of the season. McDonald has been a TE1 this season due to his small but efficient target share but the Saints have given up the third-fewest yards to his position in 2018. Look for a better option.

CHIEFS @ SEAHAWKS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes

SIT - None

SUB - None

Last week was a "bad" week for Mahomes. He only scored 24 points. That's all you need to know about him. Wilson scored 25 points which happen to be his season average. These are two of the best in the game for fantasy purposes and while the Chiefs defense is much better with Eric Berry back, they're still flawed. Seattle's defense isn't as good as they've appeared to be at times this year with a lot of young, unproven players in the secondary in particular. All systems go here.

Running Backs

START - Chris Carson, Damien Williams

SIT - All Others

SUB - Spencer Ware

Carson has scored 13+ points in his last five games, has at least one touchdown in four of those games, and just popped a 119-yard performance last week against a San Francisco 49ers team that held Phillip Lindsay in check. He's a solid RB2 with RB1 upside. If Spencer Ware misses you're starting Damien Williams who was the Kansas City Chiefs all-purpose machine last week and would be a big volume play once again. The problem arises if Ware plays. In that situation, both Ware and Williams are subs likely to split the workload. I'm probably avoiding the Chiefs running backs if both play, but all in if it's just Williams.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill

SIT - All Others

SUB - Kelvin Benjamin

Baldwin finally showed up last week after a completely failed 2018 campaign. His 2 TD catches rewarded those who faithfully put him in their lineups one more time (which was probably nobody). I have a hard time seeing the Seahawks being able to keep Mahomes in check so this game could be a shootout thrusting Baldwin and Lockett into significant roles. With Kelce and Hill, this could produce four high-end starters for fantasy owners. Benjamin is being worked into Sammy Watkins old role and could start to see a few more targets. He's still a gamble but one I like a little better than Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson.

BRONCOS @ RAIDERS - Ben

Quarterbacks

START - None

SIT - None

SUB - Case Keenum, Derek Carr\

This is pretty much a toilet bowl, as much as that pains me to say as a Denver Broncos fanboy. Both teams are racing for a draft pick but Carr and Keenum are still playing to prove they should be starters in this league. I expect some throwing, including a lot of ill-advised throws and some successful ones. The result should be perfectly mediocre and some blend of OK. I really don't want to start either, but if you are a Cam Newton owner and there's nothing better, then you can roll the dice here.

Running Backs

START - Phillip Lindsay

SIT - All Others

SUB - Doug Martin

Lindsay is 48 yards and 2 TD away from the most productive individual season for a Denver Broncos running back since 2011. He was just named the first ever undrafted rookie to the Pro-Bowl and he's coming off of two tough games that will have him anxious for a rebound. Oakland's defense stinks. This should be a good game for the rookie. Denver's run defense has been hit or miss all year but Doug Martin just isn't anything special. He'll probably get 7-12 points which is fine, but nothing to get too excited about.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

START - Courtland Sutton, Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook

SIT - All Others

SUB - DaeShawn Hamilton, Tim Patrick

It finally looked like Sutton was on his way to that breakout game when he had 4 catches by halftime last week, only to fall flat the rest of the way and finish with 5/42. Still, his time is coming and once again, Oakland's defense is bad. Keenum and Sutton have a lot to prove and they might as well do it this week. Hamilton and Patrick could also see enough targets and catches to put them in the 10-12 PPR point range this week. This has become an intriguing trio of rookie receivers to watch. Rumor has it that the Broncos called Deion Sanders to see if he was available to replace one of the 57 cornerbacks they've lost to injury this year, but alas no such luck. This Broncos secondary is thin and beatable which should give Cook and Nelson room to work.

KICKERS - Josh

START – Adam Vinatieri, Brett Maher, Jason Myers

SIT – Matt Bryant, Chris Boswell, Michael Badgley

What makes a kicker a good play in fantasy? It’s simple, really, contrary to the narrative being sown on social media by those who have been burned by bad kicker outputs in their lineups. First, you have to evaluate a kicker start decision the same way you would a receiver one. Everyone in your lineup gives you points. All points are created equal. So it would be prudent to do more research than seeing the projected total or ownership percentage of a kicker. Anyway, on to some kickers who can deliver for you in the fantasy championship. Adam Vinatieri (Colts), Brett Maher (Cowboys) and Jason Myers (Jets) are the Fantasy Sports Chef’s kicker starts this week. Vinatieri is at home in a dome and his offense consistently gets him into scoring range. You can’t ask for more, frankly, except maybe that the offense is a little less efficient at scoring touchdowns. Maher and the Cowboys were shut out last week. No doubt many are sour about that. But he and the Cowboys are back home and face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In case you’re not aware, the Bucs allow a lot of yards and scoring chances, and the Cowboys play in a dome where there’s no wind. Then there’s Myers. The Jets are a sneaky play this week as they host the Green Bay Packers, who were eliminated from contention. It just seems like the perfect storm for a statement game from the Jets, and Myers could deliver another solid fantasy line as a result. On the sit list is Matt Bryant (Falcons), Chris Boswell (Steelers) and Michael Badgley (Chargers). Why? It’s just as simple as the starts. The Falcons are on the road, where they don’t play as well, and Bryant should see limited chances. Boswell and the Steelers figure to be in a shootout in New Orleans with the Saints. It’ll be a high-scoring game in a dome, so why sit Boswell? Should the Saints get ahead, as they often do at home, the Steelers will be needing touchdowns and have to pass on field goals and perhaps extra points as well. Then there’s Badgley, whose Chargers host the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are good on defense and control the clock with the run game, and those should limit Badgley’s chances to produce.

DEFENSES - Josh

START – Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars

SIT – New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers

I’ve grown fond of doing word association for the defenses in this post, so let’s do it again. One team, three words or fewer. Go. Start: Los Angeles Rams – easy, Cardinals. Start: Dallas Cowboys – Bucs, sacks, turnovers. Start: Jacksonville Jaguars – Dolphins' offensive line. Sit: New Orleans Saints – Steelers, shootout. Sit: Buffalo Bills – Brady, dink, dunk. Sit: Green Bay Packers – mail it in.

Series Navigation<< Coach's Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit - Week 15Coach's Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit - Week 17 >>

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
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.
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.

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