Your guide to Week 14 Start ’ems and Sit ’ems
RotoExperts.com Special for the Associated Press
Playoff time has arrived in most Fantasy leagues. Thirteen weeks of crafty drafting, timely waiver wire moves and a fortunate bounce or two along the way has carried many a winning team to this point. To those participating in postseason play, the job is halfway done.
Week 14 is also the final week of the regular season in a host of leagues and will provide those Fantasy owners in need of one last push a slate of games that will also be impacted by the weather in some cases. Regardless, the objective is the same as it was in the heat of September: win.
START: Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys: Performing at a WR1 level, Cooper has caught 16 of 17 targets in the past two weeks and will have a great opportunity to continue his pace against an Eagles pass defense that is 30th in Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers. Cooper was targeted 10 times in the Week 10 victory at Philadelphia and will see a similar volume of targets from Dak Prescott. The Eagles have allowed 47 completions of better than 20 yards, which plays well for Cooper’s chances of producing solid Fantasy numbers.
SIT: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: The touchdowns haven’t been there for Brady, who has just four scoring tosses in his last five games, including a pair of zeroes in Weeks Eight and 10. With the emergence of rookie running back Sony Michel, the need for Brady to air it out has lessened. He’s also been less than stellar throughout his career at Miami, who is second in the league with 19 interceptions. Unless he’s the only available option, Fantasy owners should look elsewhere.
START: Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens: Since being plugged into the lineup, Edwards has averaged 105 yards per game. He gives Fantasy owners an early Christmas gift as Edwards gets to run through and around a Chiefs defense that is 31st in Fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs. Edwards has just one touchdown this season, a total that should be increased considering that Kansas City has given up 14 rushing scores and a hefty 5.1 yards per carry. He’s a borderline RB1 that is brimming with potential to put up monster numbers.
SIT: Marlon Mack, RB, Colts: Out of the frying pan that was the Jaguars’ defense and into the fire of a blistering hot Texans D goes Mack, who had just eight carries for 27 yards in last week’s loss to Jacksonville. His production could be further carved if Indianapolis must go pass-heavy, as rookie Nyheim Hines will see more touches. Houston is fifth in the league against the run, and only the Bears (four) and Patriots (five) have allowed fewer rushing touchdowns than the six the Texans have given up. Mack is too risky for Fantasy owners to roll out, especially in PPR formats.
START: David Njoku, TE, Browns: Inconsistent of late, Njoku has just 12 targets in his last three games but will have the opportunity to reward faithful Fantasy owners against a Panthers defense that is the worst in Fantasy when it comes to stopping opposing tight ends. Carolina has allowed at least two touchdown passes nine times this season and with Cleveland looking to avoid the Panthers’ fifth-ranked run defense, it’s hard to imagine quarterback Baker Mayfield not making Njoku a focal point of the offense, especially in the red zone.
SIT: Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Yes, Goff has led many a Fantasy team to postseason glory, but starting him against the Bears could lead to a one-and-done scenario. Game time temps will be in the upper 20s and the only thing colder than the weather are opposing passers against the Chicago defense, which leads the league with 21 interceptions while allowing just five touchdown passes in the last five games. The risk-reward that comes with starting Goff on Sunday night leans heavily to the risk category.
START: Adam Humphries, WR, Buccaneers: He has thrived in the wake of DeSean Jackson’s absence, catching touchdowns in each of his last three games. Humphries will have every opportunity to extend his scoring streak against a Saints defense that is the worst in Fantasy points per game allowed to opposing receivers, as his sure hands have caught 16 of 20 targets in the past three weeks. With this game a potential offensive free-for-all, adding Humphries as a WR3/Flex assures Fantasy owners will partake in the feast.
SIT: Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Eagles: Fantasy owners would love to know the whereabouts of Jeffrey, who hasn’t scored since Week Seven and has failed to exceed 50 receiving yards in his last five games. There’s little reason to envision Jeffery reviving his fortunes against a Cowboys pass defense that is sixth in fewest receiving yards allowed and is tied for third with just 16 touchdown passes given up.
START: Aaron Jones, RB, Packers: After rushing for only 36 yards in last week’s loss to the Cardinals, Jones is a strong rebound candidate when he squares up against the Falcons, who are 27th against the run and gives up 4.9 yards per carry. He did score last week, marking four straight games with a touchdown for Jones, who could finally see a more extensive workload under interim coach Joe Philbin.
SIT: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: It’s tough to bench a quarterback who has thrown multiple touchdowns in eight straight games, but Wilson is facing a Vikings pass defense that has been in lockdown mode in the past month. Minnesota is ninth in fewest passing yards allowed and has contained the likes of Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady over the last five games, surrendering a combined four touchdown passes in the same span. Wilson hasn’t run much this season, but a Vikings pass rush that has recorded 36 sacks will force him to be more run-centric.