“Dance with the ones who brought you.” This is something a lot of fantasy people will say this time of the year.
I both agree and disagree with this statement. The basis behind the statement is to start your studs or the guys who were a big part of why you are in the playoffs. Some people will play the matchups and some people will play their studs. In different instances with different players both will be right and both will be wrong. I think in many cases you need to start your stud and not shy away from a bad matchup.
This week we have choices that might sit with us all off-season.
If it comes down to Julio Jones or Doug Baldwin, how would you feel if Baldwin put up 60 yards and Julio was himself and went for 120 yards and two touchdowns? What people need to remember is that these studs are, in fact, studs. They have the ability to overcome tough matchups. For the defenses Julio Jones is a tough matchup.
A lot of the decisions you will make will come down to can you stomach losing if stud player A goes off on your bench and you started player B who had a nice matchup. As always, post any questions you may have in the comment section below or hit me up on twitter @TheSportsGuy40.
Russell Wilson at Ravens (75% started): Wilson has been on fire over the past three games. This week he gets a bad Baltimore secondary that he should again be able to torch. One thing that is worrisome about Wilson is his production has been very touchdown dependent. Only once, against Pittsburgh, has Wilson thrown for 300 yards in a game this season.
Ben Roethlisberger at Bengals (59% started): I must be missing something here with Big Ben. For yet another week he is not highly started. I don’t hold the last matchup with the Bengals against him; it was his first game back from injury. Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense should be able to continue rolling along. He has thrown for either 300 yards or three touchdowns in six of eight games. The only two he failed to do it was when he got hurt against St. Louis and his first game back against the Bengals.
Blake Bortles vs. Colts (% started): Bortles is in a nice matchup with the Colts who are typically thrown on with success. I think you can trust Bortles in what is a do or die week for many owners.
Drew Brees at Buccaneers (54% started): No Ingram might mean Brees throws more this week, but Brees has struggled outdoors all season. Brees has not reached 17 fantasy points outdoors once this season. For Brees, and the Saints offense, I am actually really buying into that split.
Matt Ryan at Panthers (19% started): It looks like a lot of owners have jumped off the bandwagon. For those still on it I would look elsewhere. There are a lot of quarterbacks that are lightly owned that I would trust over Ryan against Carolina, or against anyone, down the stretch run.
Philip Rivers at Chiefs (18% started): The pass catching options are disappearing every week. Rivers still has the talent, but you need more than one reliable piece in an offense to have success.
Matt Stafford at Rams (30% started): Stafford is really having a good second half and the Rams defense is falling off big time.
For additional quarterback options, Tommy Landseadel covered streamer quarterback options earlier in the week which you can view Here.
T.J. Yeldon vs. Colts (70% started): Last week they finally gave him goal line carries, and as crazy as it sounds, he converted! It seems crazy that giving the ball to your best running back at the goal line might result in a score. The Steelers just ran for 146 yards last week against the Colts and I expect something similar this week, as long as Jacksonville sticks to running the ball.
Shaun Draughn at Browns (62% started): This has nothing to do with talent; it is all about the opportunity for Draughn. Draughn never comes off the field and is about as close to a lock as anyone in the league for 15 touches per game. The Browns don’t have a great defense and Draughn could really do some damage against the Browns.
Giovani Bernard vs. Steelers (41% started): He has had some letdown weeks recently and it could be hard to bank on him in the playoffs now that Hill has had a few nice weeks. I think the Bengals will need to keep the tempo up and Bernard should see the field a lot in what I think will be a very offense driven game for both teams.
Todd Gurley vs. Lions (86% started): When it comes to ability Gurley might be one of the top three backs in the NFL. There are so many things going against Gurley that it is too hard to count on him. There aren’t a lot of great running back options this week and Gurley’s upside might make it worth a start if you don’t have great alternatives. I would have a hard time sitting him in the playoffs, but I think it might be the right call.
Charcandrick West vs. Chargers (63% started): The backfield split isn’t something I want to mess with. West struggled before getting injured the last time these two teams played and Spencer Ware came in and ran very well. That is just another thing that makes me worried about West getting a lot of work this week
Frank Gore at Jaguars (59% started): No 100-yard games this year and he only has a total of 103 yards in the last three games on 46 carries for a whopping 2.2 yards per carry. The Jaguars have been one of the best teams at defending the run, in terms of yards per carry, in the NFL this year.
Ronnie Hillman/Juwan Thompson vs. Raiders: I don’t see C.J. Anderson suiting up this week. If Hillman plays he is a good option, and if Hillman is out Thompson might be a top-15 play. I wouldn’t start Thompson if Hillman is active.
Ryan Mathews vs. Bills (4% started): He is looking good to go this week and I think he will lead the team in touches this week. I don’t think he will be a workhorse in terms of getting 20 touches, but Mathews has the ability to put up some good numbers with limited touches in this offense.
Danny Amendola at Texans (63% started): He is the only really reliable target for Brady until Gronkowsi returns. Fire him up as a second receiver.
Doug Baldwin at Ravens (55% started): Like his quarterback he has been on fire over the last couple of games. I like Baldwin as a top-20 receiver this week in a nice matchup. Many people might be thinking it, but no I am not starting Baldwin over Julio Jones.
Martavis Bryant at Bengals (76% Started): High upside in one of the best offenses in football right now. For Bryant not being the best receiver on his team is a big benefit as teams will roll coverage away from him a lot of times and leave him in some juicy one-on-one matchups.
Amari Cooper at Broncos (57% started): I hate this matchup and no matter what happens he is going to get tough coverage. Last time these two teams played he only had four catches for 47 yards.
Michael Crabtree at Broncos (56% started): His yardage numbers haven’t been great lately, and again I hate this matchup. I would be looking elsewhere if I had either Oakland receiver.
Jeremy Maclin vs. Chargers (65% started): I don’t think the Chiefs are put in a position where they have to pass a lot. I don’t see the Chiefs airing it out a lot this week and that will hurt Maclin’s numbers.
Vincent Jackson vs. Saints (26% started): It is all about the matchup. I don’t know how much work he will get because of how much the Buccaneers typically pass the ball, but the Saints defense is so bad I am willing to play anyone against them if I am in a pinch.
Allen Hurns vs. Colts (26% started): Because of the ability for any Jacksonville game to turn into a shootout I like Hurns. Julius Thomas is taking targets away, but I still like him in a nice matchup.
DeVante Parker vs. Giants (17% started): With the starting role looking like it is his to lose, I like Parker a lot this week. The Giants defense is far from good and Parker has big play upside.
Tyler Lockett at Ravens (8% started): I am on Wilson and Baldwin so why not add Lockett to that list. I don’t have nearly as much confidence in Lockett, but I like the upside if you need a flier at your Flex position.
Gary Barnidge vs. 49ers (61% started): He gets a nice matchup and he has been a top-level tight end all season. This is an easy recommendation.
Julius Thomas vs. Colts (60% started): Only 15 yards last week but he found the endzone again. As surprising as it is, the Jaguars are a high-flying offense, specifically the passing attack, and Thomas can be a big part of that in any given week.
Scott Chandler at Texans (59% started): it might be tough to start him because of the uncertainty, but he has as good of a chance to score as any tight end in the league right now.
Rob Gronkowski at Texans (5% started): I am putting this here to enforce the fact that I don’t think he plays this week. If you have a good tight end option playing early on Sunday then play them. If you don’t, grab Will Tye and wait it out. Personally in leagues that I have Gronk I am rolling with Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker because I can’t take the chance to get a 0 if he doesn’t play.
Richard Rodgers vs. Cowboys (36% started): A lot of people might jump to play Rodgers after last week. That was the first time all season Rodgers had more than 45 yards in a game. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think he catches a hail mary again this week
Antonio Gates at Chiefs (50% started): This is a bad matchup and the Chargers offense is struggling of late.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Saints (24% started): He played limited snaps last week but he got six targets.
I again refer you to Tommy Landseadel’s article on streamer options for weeks 14 and 15 which you can read Here. Most of the better options for week 14 are probably rostered, and if that is the case you might want to grab the best week 15 defensive unit off waivers now.
Need more start/sit options, position battles, injury news, waiver wire pick-ups, etc.., head on over to Fantasy Rundown.