Fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em: Week 14

Fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em: Week 14

Fantasy Football Lineup Management

Fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em: Week 14

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Following the Thursday night thriller that saw Baker Mayfield lead the Los Angeles Rams to a comeback victory, fantasy football managers now have some big decisions to make in Week 14.

With six teams on a bye, start/sit decisions become magnified. This is even more so with the fact that the fantasy playoffs are starting up in a week or two. The teams on a bye in Week 14 include the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Washington Commanders.

Doing start/sit articles can be a little challenging. The players featured on the list below should not be taken as “must starts” or “must sits.” Instead, these are more suggestions on what we believe managers should do with fringe players heading into the weekend. The choice is ultimately up to the manager.

Just because a player is listed as a “start” doesn’t mean he should be put in the lineup over the secure, bona fide studs. Vice versa for the “sits.” If there’s no better option on the waiver wire or the bench, a manager shouldn’t automatically sit the player. That’s why these can be tricky waters to navigate.

You also can check out our start and sit bench list for Week 14:

Sit: TE Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 Opponent: vs. New York Jets

Knox has been quite the hit-or-miss option this season, and his recent performances have left much to be desired. While he posted seven receptions for 70 yards in Week 11, that was the only time he produced double-digit fantasy points since Week 6, and it was only the second time he’s done it all season. With three targets over the last two games, Knox draws a tough matchup against a Jets defense that has allowed the ninth-fewest PPR points per game to the position over the last five weeks.

Start: TE Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 Opponent: vs. Miami Dolphins

Maybe it’s because I’ve been leaning on Everett for the majority of the season, but it always feels like there’s more to be had from his fantasy finishes. He’s been a reliable asset when healthy, recording at least four receptions in six of his last eight games. But he’s found the end zone just twice this season. In Week 14, Everett gets to take on a Dolphins defense that has allowed the fourth-most PPR points per game to tight ends over the last five weeks, which includes four receiving touchdowns over their last four games.

Sit: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 Opponent: at Denver Broncos

The last time I called to sit Smith-Schuster, it blew up in my face as he went off for 22.3 PPR points against the Las Vegas Raiders. Being paired with Patrick Mahomes always presents the upside of blowing up. But Smith-Schuster has struggled in recent games, partly due to a concussion he suffered in Week 10. With seven targets over his last two games, the Chiefs have looked elsewhere for passing-game production. Smith-Schuster now takes on a Denver defense that has allowed the second-fewest PPR points per game to wide receivers this season.

Start: WR Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 Opponent: at Detroit Lions

We correctly called to sit Thielen against the New York Jets in Week 13, but now Thielen looks like a sneaky start in what could be one of the highest-scoring matchups of the week. Thielen has been inconsistent this season, but he’s still provided some explosive games. His 19% target share is nothing to scoff at while the matchup against the Lions should be full of fantasy points. It has one of the highest betting totals on the week, and the Lions have allowed the 10th-most PPR points per game to wide receivers over the last five weeks.

Sit: WR Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns

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Week 14 Opponent: at Cincinnati Bengals

Managers may not have a choice but to start Cooper considering all of the bye weeks and injuries. So this may be more of a sign to temper expectations. The Browns didn’t need much of a passing attack in Week 13 during Deshaun Watson’s debut. Even so, Watson showed plenty of rust in his return, and that brings up some concerns for this week. We also must take into account the home/road splits for Cooper. At home, Cooper has been fantastic, averaging 20.3 PPR points per game. However, away games have been difficult, as Cooper averages just 10.4 PPR points per game. On top of that, the Bengals have allowed the second-fewest PPR points per game to wide receivers over the last five weeks.

Start: WR Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 Opponent: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Jeudy made his return from an ankle injury after missing essentially three games and while he was on a limited snap count, he still posted four receptions for 65 yards in Week 13. Putting faith in the Broncos offense has proven to be ill-advised, but Jeudy has upside this week. With Courtland Sutton likely missing the game due to a hamstring injury, Jeudy could be the top target with an increased snap share. The Chiefs have been middling against wide receivers, ranking 17th in PPR points per game over the last five weeks. The Broncos likely will have to play catch-up so Jeudy should be plenty involved as long as he’s active.

Sit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers RBs

Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers

This won’t be a fun week to start any pieces of the backfield in Tampa Bay. It’s turned into a full, two-way time share between Leonard Fournette and rookie Rachaad White. While both players recorded six receptions each, and White found the end zone on the game-winning score, it was an ugly outing in Week 13 getting there. Now, they take on a 49ers defense that has been extremely stout against the run. They’ve allowed the fewest PPR points per game to running backs over the last five weeks, which includes just one total touchdown. It’s best to look at other options this week, if possible.

Start: RB Travis Homer, Seattle Seahawks

(Matt Kartozian, USA TODAY Sports)

Week 14 Opponent: vs. Carolina Panthers

It seems as though both Kenneth Walker III and DeeJay Dallas are trending in the wrong direction to play in Week 14 after sustaining injuries last week. Homer was a full participant in practice Thursday, so there’s a chance he’s the leader in the backfield. If that’s the case, he has RB2 upside against a Panthers defense that has allowed the 10th-most PPR points per game over the last five weeks. Tony Jones Jr. is also a deeper flex play, but Homer could be the one to see the majority of touches.

Sit: QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran, The Record

Week 14 Opponent: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

While Jones’ rushing upside always gives him the chance to bring home a solid start, he should be avoided this week. The Giants will be taking on the Eagles at home, and their offense will likely struggle against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Jones has been shaky enough to avoid this week, especially since the Eagles have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the last five weeks.

Start: QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Week 14 Opponent: at Tennessee Titans

Lawrence’s status going into the weekend will be one to watch as he deals with a toe injury, but if he’s active, he’s a strong play in Week 14. Though his outing against the Detroit Lions was disappointing, he has chance to bounce back this week. The Titans have been stout against the run, but susceptible through the air. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the last five weeks along with the most passing yards during that span by a relatively wide margin. As long as he’s active, Lawrence is a strong start in this divisional game.

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