Start 'Em or Sit 'Em (2017): Week 12: Marcus Mariota, Michael Crabtree, Greg Olsen & More


by Will Overton
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 –Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay
Matt Ryan has not been a must start this season the way we all expected. That said, this week I really don’t think you can bench him unless you have one of the elite. After throwing just one TD in five of his first six games, Ryan has thrown two TD in each of his last four games with only two INT in those games. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers pass defense is one of the worst in the league (in about one half of play last week Matt Moore racked up over 250 yards). Ryan should finish this week as a top 5 QB.
Sit – Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
I hate to put Marcus Mariota in this spot because I am a big fan and I want to see him succeed, but I just cannot trust him right now. Mariota is struggling to find his rhythm and is coming off a very disappointing game against the Steelers. The Colts are not the Steelers, and Mariota was pretty good against them earlier this year. This looks like it’s a prime matchup to use Mariota, but proceed with caution. He has been awful on the road with just 2 TD and 7 INT in his four away games.
Running Backs
Start – Dion Lewis – New England Patriots vs. Miami
I’m always a little bit leery about starting a Patriots running back, but if you’re going to trust one Lewis is your guy (and this week is a good time to use a Patriots back). The Dolphins are a bit of a sinking ship right now and just two weeks ago they allowed the Panthers to rush for over 300 yards. Over the last six games Lewis is averaging 4.9 YPC and we could see him get 15 – 20 carries. Get him in your lineups.
Start – Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland
The run defense of the Browns is a lot better than people realize, and we really haven’t seen the Joe Mixon everyone expected yet this season. That said, the workload has been growing and the game script points to a run heavy attack. The fact that Mixon has found the end zone in two of his last three games also helps swing me. There are reasons to not use him, but don’t let that overshadow the reasons you should.
Sit – Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta
Let’s be real, if you are using Doug Martin every week right now it’s because you’re in a desperate situation or because you are stuck on the preseason expectations. Martin hasn’t scored a TD in five games and he hasn’t averaged four or more yards per carry since his first game. I believed in Martin last week against the Dolphins, but as the saying goes fool me once…
Sit – Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston
This is a tough call because Collins has been a lot better than people realize this season. However, I believe in Danny Woodhead and I believe in the Houston Texans run defense. Woodhead didn’t see many snaps last week, but it was clear the Ravens want to use him as much as possible. The snap count should increase, and the Texans are much easier to pass against than run on.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receivers Format)
Start – Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders vs. Denver
Fantasy owners are probably going to be on the fence withCrabtree in a tough matchup, but I’m on the play him side. He is still the go to guy in Oakland, hitting double digits in targets regularly. The Broncos defense is tough, but they’re losing a little of their mystique and I think the Raiders are catching them at the right time to put up an unexpected amount of points.
Sit – DaVante Parker – Miami Dolphins @ New England
The injury to Jay Cutler hurts Parker, as he just hasn’t established the same rapport with Matt Moore, and Moore isn’t the gun slinger type that Cutler is that suits Parker’s game best. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Miami, and I just don’t think Parker is going to see enough targets to be a start in two receiver formats.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receivers Format)
Start – Kenny Stills – Miami Dolphins @ New England
Take what I said about Parker and flip it for Stills. Matt Moore is in love with him when he is under center. In Week 6 with Moore starting, Stills caught two TD passes, the next week with Moore he had a season high 10 targets. Last week he had a ridiculous 180 yard performance, most coming with Moore in the second half. There’s a lot more evidence going back to last year too, but trust me if Moore is at QB then Stills has to be played in three-receiver formats.
Sit – Sammy Watkins – Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans
There’s a little bit of renewed buzz around Watkins this week with Robert Woods sidelined. You won’t find me on that page though. I think this is a tough matchup for the Rams, and I just don’t think Watkins has any kind of rapport with Jared Goff. Cooper Kupp deserves a boost, but I don’t see it for Watkins who will also likely draw Marshon Lattimore, if Lattimore is able to play.
Tight End
Start – Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans
The first time the Colts played the Titans Doyle had 7 catches on 11 targets, including a TD grab. Last week’s game against the Steelers may have owners off of Doyle, but in the previous five games he was averaging 9.5 targets per game. I think this is a good week for Jacoby Brissett and a good week for Brissett is a good week for Doyle because there should be a whole lot of targets coming.
Sit – Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers @ NY Jets
I am 100% in favor of the movement to add Greg Olsen in all leagues where he is available. However, I think easing into using him makes sense. I don’t have full confidence that the Panthers will be using him at his normal work rate in his first game back, and the offense looks a lot different with Christian McCafferey and Devin Funchess meshing with Cam Newton. Add Olsen, sure, but be cautious.
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings:



  1. ppr funchess or davante adams
    ppr flex dion lewis or devonte parker
    ppr crabtree or funchess
    ppr hyde or lewis
    ppr tyrek hill or landry
    ppr davante adams or parker
    ppr demarco murray or lewis
    ppr crabtree or adams

  2. Prof…Your my WR guy. Tell me if you think this is nuts. Thinking Dropping K.Benjamin for Martavis Bryant. Ju Ju out and contract year for Bryant and Benjamin has not gotten me more than 11 points all Year.

  3. Hello Professor,
    Full point PPR. I have a concern starting Jordan Howard against the Eagles. Does Booker offers a better play as an RB2 here? Thanks…

  4. I wisely sat Matthew Stafford Thursday and planned on playing Mariota, but I picked up Tyrod Taylor Thursday as well. Should I play Taylor over Mariota?

  5. ppr flex landry or ajayi
    ppr landry or hill
    ppr lewis or hyde
    ppr sanu or funchess
    ppr sanders or crabtree
    ppr demarco murray or dion lewis

    • ppr flex landry or ajayi – Ajayi
      ppr landry or hill – Hill
      ppr lewis or hyde – Hyde
      ppr sanu or funchess – Funchess
      ppr sanders or crabtree – Crabtree
      ppr demarco murray or dion lewis – Lewis i guess


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