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Fantasy football Week 14: Start ‘em, Sit ‘em

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Allow Sosa to help guide you through Week 14 of your Fantasy Football season.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 is officially here. That means your Fantasy Football playoffs have probably started, making this week the most important yet. Let’s start the do-or-die portion of the season off right, giving you a shot to reach the ultimate goal in the coming weeks: bragging rights and/or money.

Let’s get into it:

Quarterback

Start ‘Em:

Carolina Panthers QB Kyle Allen vs. Atlanta Falcons

Though he may not be a franchise quarterback, Allen has performed admirably this year, particularly in the past two weeks in which he totaled over 23 points in both weeks. This week brings forth the Falcons which allow the 3rd most points per game to QB’s and are ranked 27th in both pass defense DVOA and yards-per-pass attempt allowed (YPA). Don’t be surprised if the Panthers play with some extra motivation this week after recently firing long-tenured Head Coach Ron Rivera.

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold vs. Miami Dolphins

Darnold struggled mightily in Week 13 as he totaled only 10.46 points, but the three weeks prior all brought forth 21+ point performances. The Dolphins may have won last week, but they still aren’t good, particularly against opposing QB’s. The Dolphins allow the 2nd most points per game to QB’s and are ranked 32nd in pass defense DVOA and 29th in YPA allowed.

Other potential starts: Ryan Tannehill vs. Oakland Raiders, Jacoby Brissett vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sit ‘Em:

Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan vs. Carolina Panthers

Ryan hasn’t been bad this year as he’s currently 13th among all QB’s in scoring, but the Falcons lack necessary upside and generally look lost. Against the Panthers in Week 11, Ryan had a decent game, scoring 16.44 points. But, the Panthers are still a solid pass defense as they allow the 10th fewest points per game to QB’s and are ranked 7th in pass defense DVOA and 9th in YPA allowed.

Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky vs. Dallas Cowboys

Trubisky is coming off two solid performances and three solid performances out of his past four games, but I simply don’t trust Trubisky or the Bears. The Cowboys are fighting for the division title, giving them all the motivation needed to put together a strong performance. The Cowboys allow the 11th fewest points per game to QB’s and are ranked 23rd in pass defense DVOA and 8th in YPA allowed.

Other potential sits: Gardner Minshew vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Dwayne Haskins vs. Green Bay Packers

Running Back

Start ‘Em:

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman vs. Carolina Panthers

Freeman has been banged up recently, but he’s performed decently when he’s been able to suit up. Luckily for Freeman, he gets the defense that allows the most points per game to RB’s and are ranked 32nd in both run defense DVOA and YPC allowed. The Panthers are a horrendous run defense, presenting Freeman with the perfect opportunity to explode.

New England Patriots RB James White vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The most consistent and reliable producer in the Patriots’ backfield is the receiver in White. Not only does he possess PPR-upside the others don’t, but he actually collected 79 yards rushing in Week 13. White is facing the Chiefs which allow the 2nd most points per game to RB’s and are ranked 30th in both run defense DVOA and YPC allowed.

Other potential starts: Le’Veon Bell vs. Miami Dolphins, Derrius Guice vs. Green Bay Packers

Sit ‘Em:

Kansas City Chiefs RB’s LeSean McCoy/Damien Williams vs. New England Patriots

Insert any RB from the Chiefs in this slot and the thought remains the same: they cannot be trusted. McCoy totaled 30 yards and one touchdown, Williams was inactive, Darrel Williams got hurt and was placed on injured reserve, and rookie Darwin Thompson got some run all in one week. Unfortunately for the fiasco known as the Chiefs’ backfield, they’ll face the Patriots which allow the fewest amount of points per game to RB’s and are ranked 7th in run defense DVOA and 19th in YPC allowed.

Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Williams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Williams has been highly productive since replacing the injured Marlon Mack, but he can’t be trusted this week against the Buccaneers which allow the 2nd fewest points per game to RB’s and are ranked 1st in run defense DVOA and 2nd in YPC allowed. This run defense is as good as any in the league.

Other potential sits: Tevin Coleman vs. New Orleans Saints, Latavius Murray vs. San Francisco 49ers, Bo Scarbrough vs. Minnesota Vikings

Wide Receiver

Start ‘Em:

Indianapolis Colts WR Zach Pascal vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Make sure to monitor injury news in Pascal’s situation as his upside could be dampened if any of T.Y. Hilton, Charles Rogers, or Parris Campbell are active, but there’s a shot some if — if not all — miss the contest. Pascal balled in Week 13 as he totaled 109 yards receiving and now faces the Buccaneers which allow the most points per game to WR’s, ranking 19th in pass defense DVOA and 16th in YPA allowed.

Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery vs. New York Giants

The season as a whole has been a major disappointment for Jeffery as he’s regularly been in and out of the lineup with nagging injuries, but he finally appears to be back and in good form. Jeffery is coming off a 28.70-point performance in Week 13, with the Giants next on the schedule. The G-Men allow the 2nd most points per game to WR’s and are ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA and 31st in YPA allowed.

Other potential starts: Darius Slayton vs. Philadelphia Eagles, James Washington vs. Arizona Cardinals, DeVante Parker vs. New York Jets

Sit ‘Em:

Baltimore Ravens WR Marquise Brown vs. Buffalo Bills

Hollywood has been a hard receiver to project, because majority of his points come off big plays (shocker). The Bills are one of the more complete defenses in football and their secondary is a tough matchup. The Bills allow the 6th fewest points per game to WR’s and are ranked 5th in pass defense DVOA and 3rd in YPA allowed.

Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins vs. New England Patriots

Watkins is routinely a forgotten man in the Chiefs’ offense as he hasn’t really blown up since..... Week 1? Watkins didn’t even register a catch in Week 13 and has back-to-back weeks with only three targets each. The Patriots won’t make it any easier for Watkins to get going as they allow the least amount of points per game to opposing WR’s.

Other potential sits: N’Keal Harry vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Brandin Cooks vs. Seattle Seahawks

Tight End

Start ‘Em:

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals allow the most points per game to TE’s, and it isn’t particularly close. They allowed backup Tyler Higbee to have a career day against them in Week 13, proving just how terrible they are at defending TE’s.

Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee vs. Seattle Seahawks

Like I mentioned right above, Higbee put together an incredible game in Week 13 — albeit against arguably the worst pass defense in the league. Still, Higbee is likely to draw another start as starter Gerald Everett sounds like he could miss another game. The Seahawks allow the 5th most points per game to TE’s and were shredded by Everett in the first contest between the Rams and Seahawks.

Other potential starts: Jack Doyle vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kyle Rudolph vs. Detroit Lions

Sit ‘Em:

New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook vs. San Francisco 49ers

Cook has been one of the best TE’s in the league, particularly in the past four weeks in which he scored double-digit points each week. The issue is his matchup is incredibly tough as the 49ers allow the least amount of points per game to TE’s — among being incredible on defense in general.

Baltimore Ravens TE Nick Boyle vs. Buffalo Bills

You’re probably not starting Boyle, but if you are, this isn’t the week. Not only is Boyle a backup TE who rarely see’s a target share worth being excited about, but the Bills allow the 2nd fewest points per game to TE’s.

Other potential sits: Dawson Knox vs. Baltimore Ravens, Mike Gesicki vs. New York Jets

Defense

Start ‘Em:

Philadelphia Eagles D/ST vs. New York Giants

The Eagles could get one last ride against QB Eli Manning as he’s expected to start with starter Daniel Jones nursing a bad ankle injury. The Giants are a disaster and Manning is a downgrade at QB. The Eagles could tee off on Elisha one last time.

Minnesota Vikings D/ST vs. Detroit Lions

The Lions are likely to be without QB Matt Stafford once again, giving the Vikings every opportunity to put together a strong performance.

Other potential starts: Green Bay Packers D/ST vs. Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST vs. Arizona Cardinals

Sit ‘Em:

Chicago Bears D/ST vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Bears are the 14th-highest scoring defense this season, but the Cowboys offense — not recently — are a unit that possesses cohesion and consistency. CB Prince Amukamara could miss the Thursday Night Football contest, and my expectation is the Cowboys come out and play a much more complete offensive game than the prior few weeks.

Denver Broncos D/ST vs. Houston Texans

The Broncos are actually a fantastic defense, but they oppose the great Deshaun Watson this week. I’d avoid them and look elsewhere, but if you don’t have a better choice, they aren’t the worst option.

Other potential sits: Buffalo Bills D/ST vs. Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs D/ST vs. New England Patriots