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:
Alshon Jeffrey – Philadelphia Eagles
The Cowboys have been among the stingiest defenses against opposing wide receivers this season, allowing the third fewest points per week. That alone would make Jeffrey a tough sell, though his recent performance makes it that much more difficult. After scoring 4 TD over his first four games (he missed the first few games due to injury), things have quickly gone completely south.
Over his past five games Jeffrey hasn’t found the end zone, nor has he had more than 4 receptions or 48 yards. He’s also been targeted more than 5 times just once, as the acquisition of Golden Tate and the emergence of Zack Ertz as one of the elite tight ends only further helps to limit the potential. Could Jeffrey have a “breakout” performance? Perhaps, but it’s not something we’d want to mortgage our season on.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (low-end WR3 if you have no alternative)
Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
at San Francisco
While there was a 14 yard performance against the Steelers mixed in, Sutton has 57+ yards in four of his past five games (and 78+ in three of them). The San Francisco 49ers have been among the worst in the league at stopping opposing wide receivers, yielding the third most points per week (trailing only the Saints and Buccaneers). Clearly taking on a bigger role in the offense, things appear to skew even further in his favor with the loss of Emmanuel Sanders.
Two weeks ago Adam Humphries (6 receptions, 54 yards, 1 TD) had a big day and last week it was Jaron Brown (3 receptions, 67 yards, 2 TD). That only further helps support the idea of “gambling” on Sutton if you have a need.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)
Tre’Quan Smith – New Orleans Saints
at Tampa Bay
As noted Tampa Bay has been among the worst defenses against opposing wide receivers and that should yield great results for Smith. Can we count on it, though? Just look at the Jekyll & Hyde type performances over the past two weeks:
- vs. Philadelphia – 10 receptions (13 targets), 157 yards, 1 TD
- at Dallas – 0 receptions (0 targets)
Smith is clearly a boom or bust option, though the matchup would make you think that he should “boom” once again. Of course there are other mouths to feed, with Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and others all ahead of him on the depth chart. There’s also the chance that the Saints amass a big lead, bringing on more of a run oriented approach. Is he unusable? Absolutely not, but he’s more WR3/FLEX given the risk.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a high risk, high reward WR3)
Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns
With the Browns being forced to play catchup in Week 13 Landry exploded for 6 receptions and 103 yards (his first 100+ yard performance since Week 3). The Panthers are generally viewed as a tough defense, but over the past two weeks opposing wide receivers have torched them consistently:
- vs. Seattle – 268 yards, 2 TD
- at Tampa Bay – 210 yards, 2 TD
Obviously a lot of Landry’s performance is going to be tied to Baker Mayfield, who unsurprisingly has had some rookie highs and lows. That’s simply not enough of a reason to consider avoiding him though.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have allowed 18 TD to opposing wide receivers, tied for second most in the league (one behind the San Francisco 49ers). That should make Robinson a strong option, especially with Mitchell Trubisky expected to return, though Robinson’s 4 TD have come in just three games and the Bears do have other options to turn to in Taylor Gabriel (2 TD) and Anthony Miller (6 TD). Then throw in Trey Burton (5 TD) as well as the presence of Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard and the risk is fairly high in depending on Robinson (who is clearly going to share targets).
Verdict – Start ‘Em (but only as a risky WR3)
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 14 rankings: