Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 14 – by Ben Barton

I miss Melvin Gordon. He has been the cornerstone of a number of my fantasy football teams this year. Thankfully, I’ve been able to lean on the likes of Phillip Lindsay in Gordon’s absence, but as good as the undrafted rookie has been, Gordon has been in a different class this year, and my teams haven’t felt the same without him.

That’s also the last you’ll hear about Melvin Gordon in this article, because this is a start/sit article, and if you ever question starting Melvin Gordon, you are either a complete novice, or you need to retire from fantasy football forever.

Let’s delve into the wonderful world of late-season start/sits.

Start ‘Em

QB – Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals

In a year of phenomenal quarterback performances, Philip Rivers has gone mostly unnoticed whilst playing at an elite level. Where MVP frontrunners like Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees have laid claim to headlines everywhere, Rivers has been just as effective for the Chargers as Brees and Mahomes have been for their teams.

Rivers has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every game this year. He’s also only turned the ball over 7 times on the year. The old turnover-prone Philip Rivers has been replaced with an efficient touchdown machine that refuses to throw interceptions. You want him at the top of your lineup.

 

RB – Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs Carolina Panthers

I never understood the habit amongst members of Sports Twitter of branding full-grown men as their ‘son’. Well, at least until I discovered Nick Chubb. Having tracked him from his freshman year at Georgia all the way through to his domination in Cleveland, I am fully comfortable stating that Nick Chubb is my son.

That doesn’t matter to you, I know. What does matter to you is that he has been given at least 18 carries in five of his last six games, scored seven touchdowns in that span, and has managed a minimum of 72 scrimmage yards in all six games since the Browns saw sense and shipped Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville?

Chubb
Photo Credit: Joshua Gunter/cleveland.com

Oh, and the Carolina Panthers have given up a rushing touchdown in five of their last six games too. Nick Chubb is the second-best rookie running back from the 2017 draft class, and he is more than worth a starting spot on your roster.

 

WR – Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers

This is a simple formula: wide receiver against San Francisco equals fantasy points. Courtland Sutton has been Denver’s premier downfield threat this season, and his situation has only improved in recent weeks. Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston, and now Emmanuel Sanders has torn his Achilles, planting Courtland Sutton firmly at the top of the Broncos depth chart.

Sutton
Photo Credit: Andy Cross / The Denver Post

Case Keenum hasn’t been particularly inspiring this year, but Philip Lindsay’s emergence in the backfield has helped provide Denver with a springboard from which to launch Sutton to an other-worldly 19.9 yards per reception. As the number one target against a porous San Francisco secondary, Courtland Sutton is primed to feast this week. Dial him up.

TE – Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs

I’m going to be honest. The tight end position is the very definition of a crapshoot. Even in a stunningly pass-heavy year, tight end usage has been just as volatile as ever. Trying to predict or project success for tight ends from week to week is an exercise in futility.

In advocating for Mark Andrews as a start tight end this week, all I’m really saying is that he is playing the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chiefs are very good at allowing tight ends to score fantasy points. Play the matchup, and pray to whatever deities you do or don’t believe in that it pays off.

Sit ‘Em

QB – Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints

Fire Dirk Koetter. Quarterback carousels like we’ve seen in Tampa this season are a sure-fire indication of a coach that has very little clue what he’s doing. A coach that doesn’t know what he’s doing should avoid playing against the New Orleans Saints – which is bad news for Famous Jameis.

This is not a good time play the Saints. Coming off the back of an inexplicable loss to the Cowboys, you can expect Sean Payton‘s team to come out on fire. They will do everything they can to make life extremely uncomfortable for Winston and company, which history tells us will lead to multiple mistakes. If you can, avoid Winston this week.

 

RB – Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans

What can we say about Marlon Mack at this point? He burst back onto the scene after his injury but has faded dramatically since then.

He has seen a good number of carries most weeks, but just hasn’t been turning those carries into reliable fantasy production. In a matchup against the 9-3 Houston Texans – who haven’t lost since September, by the way – don’t anticipate a run-heavy approach from the Colts, and by extension, don’t expect much from Marlon Mack.

 

WR – Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals

This one hurts. I am fully on board the Babytron hype train. But I can’t be too confident about Kenny Golladay this week. He faces off against the Arizona Cardinals, which means he also faces off against Patrick Peterson, who has largely been his normal, dominant self.

KennyG
Photo Credit: Mike Mulholland/MLive.com

With Golden Tate gone, and Marvin Jones now on IR, Golladay is the clear-cut primary receiver on this Lions offense so he might be able to return some value based on sheer volume, but there are better plays out there this week.

 

TE- Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks

Remember what I said about tight ends earlier? Yeah. It’s still true. The Seattle Seahawks aren’t a very friendly tight end matchup, which makes Kyle Rudolph an unappealing tight end option this week.

Rudolph has come to define the term “touchdown-dependent”, and the Seahawks have only allowed four touchdowns to tight ends on the year. Rudolph himself only has two touchdowns on the year, which came in Weeks 1 and 3, and he has passed 40 yards just once since Week 5. The two-time pro-bowler isn’t a viable starter anymore.

by Ben Barton – @Baron_Barton

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