Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em
At some point in time, I’m sure we all have been through the debate of whether to have your Fantasy championships in week 16 or 17. The fantasy playoffs are already random enough at times, week 17 just makes it even worse. Now you’re dealing with teams that are sitting their starters and some teams that will pull all of their starters by half time, you just never know. Either way, there are still some guys that we can predict will be good starts this week based on their situation. On the other hand, we’ve got some studs that will be riding the pine during your most important week of the season. Good luck with that.
Blake Bortles @ Tennessee Titans
Blake Bortles has been honestly a playoff fantasy football hero. In redraft leagues you grabbed him off the waiver wire and plugged him in the past few weeks in a row and he’s been great. Despite losing last week at SF, he still put up over 200 yards, threw two TDs, and three interceptions. This week he gets the Titans on the road, who give up the 12th most points to opposing QBs. Despite being locked in as the number 3 seed in the AFC, all signs from head coach Doug Marrone wanting to end the season on a very strong note, heading into the playoffs. NFL.com
Kirk Cousins @ New York Giants
Kirk Cousins is someone that has been pretty hot and cold this year. The Giants have also never gone 0-for in the NFC East. Since the Redskins are already out of playoff contention for the year, I believe Kirk Cousins will come out with something to prove. His free agency fun has been crazy over the past few years, and he should be heading into this game ready to make a statement for whatever franchise ends up signing him for 2018. Oh, and the Giants give up the most points in the league to opposing QBs.
Derrick Henry vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s Derrick Henry time in Tennessee. DeMarco Murray currently is nursing a third-degree tear in his right MCL. It was only a matter of time, be it due to injury or Murray leaving Tennessee due to free agency, whatever the case, Henry finally gets a shot at the lead RB role. Apparently Murray is trying to come back and make an appearance in the playoffs. One crazy stat I saw from CBS was that the Titans are 8-1 when Henry gets 19 or more carries. Whether you’re buying into him being a “guaranteed” top 10 RB when Murray is out or not, there is no doubt that this week Henry will have a chance to show us what he can do. Start ’em.
Jamaal Williams @ Detroit Lions
Jamaal Williams gets a very nice matchup this week in Detroit. The Lions give up the second most fantasy points to the RB position, and Aaron Jones is unlikely to play this week. Williams should be a good start due to his volume, give him a juicy matchup on top of that, and he will catch a few passes out of the backfield.
Mike Evans vs. New Orleans Saints
Mike Evans has been a pretty frustrating player for fantasy owners this year. It just isn’t the same as the past few years when Jameis Winston would look to Mike every other play and feed him targets all day. These past couple weeks, he’s seen a decent uptick in targets, getting 8 in each of his last two matchups. OJ Howard has been placed on IR and DeSean Jackson could miss this week again. Winston and Evans have been playing with some anger the past few weeks despite the team continuing to struggle as a whole. Plug Evans into your lineups this week with confidence as Tampa gets a decent matchup against the Saints who are in the middle of the road against opposing WRs.
Jamison Crowder @ New York Giants
Jamison Crowder is one that I’m starting this week to sort of compliment Cousins in a way. His best game of the season came against the Giants earlier this year in week 12 where he put up 141 yards and a TD on 10 targets, hauling in 7 for catches. Side Note: Crowder could be an interesting one this week to pair with Kirk Cousins in your DFS games as well. Giants safety Landon Collins is also done for the year with a broken arm. The Giants have also allowed solid back to back games against slot receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Nelson Agholor.
Antonio Gates vs. Oakland Raiders
The old man, Antonio Gates might still have a little juice left. Even if that means just for one more week. With Hunter Henry out, he saw a season high in targets, receptions, and yards last week. Oakland gives up the 7th most points to the TE position, and have allowed a TE to put up 70 or more yards in three of their last four games.
Charles Clay @ Miami Dolphins
This is it people, the ultimate revenge game. Just kidding. Charles Clay does get a solid matchup against his former team however, and he has 19 targets over the past two weeks. The volume is there, and there really aren’t any other weapons on that offense that anyone should be using besides Shady. If you need a TE this week, don’t be afraid to plug in Clay.
We’ll start with some of the starters that are not likely to play this week for the Sit ‘Em portion.
Houston Texans – DeAndre Hopkins
Kansas City Chiefs – Alex Smith
Los Angeles Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell
We’ll be tweeting out any others that we hear of, but as of 7PM on Thursday the 28th, these are up to date.
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) December 28, 2017
Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins will not play on Sunday against the Colts, a source confirmed to ESPN. This will be the first game Hopkins has missed in his five-year career.
— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) December 28, 2017
Dak Prescott @ Philadelphia Eagles
Dak Prescott has been another very frustrating player to own in Fantasy this year. He’s been up and down, but he finally has Ezekiel Elliott back, which many people attribute their success to one another to an extent. The Eagles have been on fire, and their defense isn’t kind to opposing QBs. Jerry Jones even mentioned that their backup QB Cooper Rush may get some playing time this week. I wouldn’t have liked Dak this week even if he was guaranteed a full 4 quarters. Sit ’em.
Derek Carr @ Los Angeles Chargers
Another major disappointment this year, after having some serious hype this past off-season. The Los Angeles Chargers give up the 4th fewest points to the QB position this year, and Carr has been awful lately. They also have nothing to play for, as they’re mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Jordan Howard @ Minnesota Vikings
Unfortunately with all of the starters not playing these week, you may have no choice but to start Jordan Howard. He gets a tough matchup against the Minnesota Vikings who give up the fewest points in the league to the RB position. Howard put up 76 yards on 19 carries in week 5 against the Vikings, it’s safe to assume he’ll put up a similar performance, if not worse considering the playoffs coming up and the Bears having nothing to play for.
Doug Martin/Peyton Barber vs. New Orleans Saints
For some reason we keep getting tweets asking about these guys. Don’t start them. Head coach Dirk Koetter is refusing to accept that Peyton Barber is just better than Doug Martin at this point. The Saints are looking to take the NFC South title with this win and are hyped for the playoffs. Jameis Winston has actually been very productive the past three weeks or so, but the only Tampa Bay player I’d start is Mike Evans this week.
Kansas City Chiefs WRs @ Denver Broncos
I put the Kansas City Chiefs WRs here because they haven’t officially announced they are sitting their starts, but Patrick Mahomes is starting over Alex Smith this week. The Chiefs have already clenched the 4th seed, so there really won’t be much they’re playing for this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyreek Hill doesn’t play much, but then again I wouldn’t be that surprised if he broke off a 75-yarder. That’s what he is. Approach the Kansas City Chiefs pass-catchers with caution and avoid if possible this week.
Devin Funchess @ Atlanta Falcons
Devin Funchess has been a nice surprise for fantasy owners this year, but not since he has been dealing with a shoulder injury. Atlanta is the middle of the road against opposing WRs, and he has just 4 targets in each of the past two games. Both were great matchups against the Packers and the Buccaneers.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Chicago Bears
Kyle Rudolph has a pretty poor matchup on paper this week against the Chicago Bears, who are one of the best in the league against opposing TEs. This is another instance where I could see the Vikings pulling their starters towards the second half. If the Vikings win, they’ll secure a bye, but this is a game that could get out of hand fairly quickly.
Cameron Brate vs. New Orleans Saints
Cameron Brate has been one of my favorite guys to stream in redraft leagues this year. Unfortunately he gets a fairly tough matchup this week against the Saints, who give up the third least fantasy points in the league to the TE position. He’s not getting the volume that we’d like to see, and has really been TD or bust lately.