by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals – vs. New Orleans
After back-to-back strong games, Palmer took a significant step backwards in Week 14 (18-33, 145 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT). That said he did throw for multiple TD for the fourth straight game (and fifth time in six games). Last week’s performance also came on the road, where he’s consistently struggled in ’16:
- Home – 62.6% completion, 2,094 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT
- Road – 58.5% completion, 1,282 yards, 9 TD, 10 INT
This week he returns home in what should be a shootout with a defense that’s allowed 6 TD vs. 1 INT to opposing QB over the past four weeks. In other words, fire Palmer up in all formats.
Sit – Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Tampa Bay
The memory of Prescott’s hot stretch were washed away, as the Giants exposed him a bit on Sunday night (165 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT). Of course he’s now thrown for under 200 yards in three straight games, failing to throw for more than 1 TD in any of those performance. He also draws a Tampa Bay defense that’s been playing at a high level of late, allowing the fifth fewest points per week to opposing QB over the past four weeks. Look for Dallas’ attack to center around Ezekiel Elliott, and that’s going to cap the potential upside Prescott brings with him.
Running Backs (courtesy of Ray Kuhn)
Start – Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. Detroit
I have Jennings ranked outside of the RB2 parameters, 30th overall, but I would expect to see him have a heavy workload this week. Weather is certainly going to be an issue in New York, and Jennings should prove to be the beneficiary. Detroit ranks 14th against fantasy running backs, and while he isn’t an exciting option, there is some level of dependability. That comes more from workload than actual performance, but that has to count for something. Jennings had 17 touches last week, 15 carries for 45 yards and two catches for another 12 yards, and I would expect that, at a minimum, again this week.
Start – Kenneth Dixon – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Philadelphia
In Dixon we have a lower tier RB2 who will be playing at home. The rookie has begun to increase his hold on the Baltimore backfield, and that will continue. He was on the field for 60% of the Ravens’ snaps last week, a career high. It was the fourth game in the past five that Dixon eclipsed 70 combined yards and he also found the end zone for the first time in his career. Baltimore targeted him 11 times in the passing game, and this could be the week he truly emerges. At the very least, he has become a legitimate PPR option.
Sit – Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Dallas
There are a few things working against Martin for this week. Charles Sims is back from injury, Tampa Bay is on the road, Martin has yet to eclipse 87 rushing yards on the season and Dallas has the third ranked rushing defense. Even with Sims back, Martin was clearly the number one back last week carrying the ball 23 times, but he gained just 66 yards. He did score a touchdown for the second straight week, but he will struggle to find much room to run against the Cowboys. With Sims in the fold, his value will likely be limited to first and second downs.
Sit – Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at New York Giants
Riddick has been a valuable contributor for the Lions this season, however that is just when he is healthy. Last week he was a late scratch with a wrist injury and his status for this week is unclear. Operating under the assumption that Riddick does play, I would avoid him. It is highly possible that he doesn’t make it through a full game, and his value is as a pass catcher. Between the weather and Matthew Stafford’s finger issue I wouldn’t expect much from Detroit’s offense, and Riddick is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Tennessee
You can argue that the floor for Hill is rather low, as he’s still somewhat of a gimmick player. That said he’s a dynamic one who the Chiefs have shown a desire to get the football into his hands, and he gets a Tennessee defense that’s been torched all season long (2,516 yards to opposing WR, most in the league). The easy decision would be to sit Hill, thanks to the recent return of Jeremy Maclin, but that would be a mistake. The Chiefs have changed directions and Hill should remain a focal point of the offense.
Sit – Brandon Marshall – New York Jets – vs. Miami
No one is going to argue that he isn’t the most skilled receiver on the Jets, but you need to get opportunities if you are going to produce. With Bryce Petty under center that’s not something he’s guaranteed of, as Robbie Anderson appears to be the favored target. Marshall has disappointed overall and is coming off a day where he was targeted just 5 times (3 receptions for 33 yards). Throw in 3 TD on the season and in shallower formats he’s not worth the risk.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Steve Smith – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Philadelphia
The ageless wonder, Smith has returned to being the top receiver for the Ravens and draws a Philadelphia defense that’s allowed a league high 895 yards to opposing WR over the past four weeks. Given the questions in the running game it’s fair to expect Baltimore to go pass heavy, and that’s going to mean ample opportunities for Smith to thrive.
Sit – Malcolm Mitchell – New England Patriots – at Denver
It’s an extremely difficult matchup, and while we’d still expect Tom Brady and company to throw the football there unfortunately is no guarantee those targets are headed Mitchell’s way. Just when we thought he was emerging, the Patriots flipped the script and went heavy in Chris Hogan’s direction last week. That type of questionable usage will always make Patriot skill players tough to trust.
Start – Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – at Baltimore
Another week, another heavy workload for Ertz. Just look at the targets over the past four weeks:
- 11 (6 receptions)
- 6 (3 receptions)
- 15 (9 receptions)
- 13 (10 receptions)
Sure there were questions about his efficiency, but with 19 catches over the past two weeks (for 191 yards and 1 TD), that’s no longer a question. We’ve long waited for him to emerge as the go to target in Philadelphia, and it finally appears to be coming to fruition.
Sit – Martellus Bennett – New England Patriots – at Denver
What we said about Malcolm Mitchell above somewhat applies here, as we really just never know where the targets will be directed for New England. Bennett is also banged up and, outside of a few big days, has underwhelmed for much of the season.
Sources – NFL.com, Yahoo!, ESPN
*** Pre-Order Rotoprofessor’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for Just $5.50 By Clicking Here!! ***
Make sure to check out all of our Week 15 rankings: