Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (Week 14): Ezekiel Elloitt, D’Andre Swift, D’Andre Washington & More

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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:

Ezekiel Elliott (RB) – Dallas Cowboys

Considered one of the elite entering 2020, Elliott has surprisingly struggled and fantasy owners have started to question whether or not to utilize him. He hasn’t scored a rushing TD since October 11 (he does have one receiving TD during this span) and only once in the past seven games has he rushed for more than 80 yards (he was at 77 yards in Week 13 against the Ravens).

While it’s fair to be skeptical, Cincinnati has allowed the third most rushing yards to opposing RB this season (1,425). They’ve done a good job of avoiding TD (7), but they’ve allowed a TD in two of the past three games (over 100 rushing yards to opposing RB in each of the past three games).

Now isn’t the time to get cute with your stars, especially in this matchup. Fire him up in all formats.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Mike Davis (RB) – Carolina Panthers

Davis has done a good job stepping in for McCaffrey this season, though he hasn’t been quite as impressive the past two weeks:

  • vs. Detroit – 19 carries for 64 yards (3.4 YPC) and 1 TD
  • at Minnesota – 15 carries for 55 yards (3.7 YPC)

That said, with DJ Moore also out there’s reason to believe Davis will get ample opportunities against a Denver defense that’s allowed the eighth most points per week to opposing RB over the past four weeks (including 6 rushing TD over this span).

Verdict – Start ‘Em

D’Andre Swift (RB) – Detroit Lions

Swift has broken out in 2020, averaging 4.7 yards/carry when he’s been on the field. Over his past two games he’s taken 29 carries for 145 yards (5.0 YPC), but his last game came on November 15. Adrian Peterson has failed to produce impressive marks in the three games Swift missed (never averaging more than 3.7 YPC), though his 4 TD in the past two games could lead to some vulture TD.

That’s a risk, but Green Bay has allowed the third most points per week to opposing RB, being hurt both rushing and receiving:

  • Rushing – 1,180 yards and 11 TD
  • Receiving – 601 yards and 5 TD (second most yards)

With Swift also proving he can catch the football (31 catches for 275 yards and 2 TD), including 5 catches for 60 yards against Green Bay in Week 2, he’s an easy RB2.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Josh Jacobs (RB) – Las Vegas Raiders

Jacobs hasn’t been spectacular this season (3.8 YPC), but he has scored 9 rushing TD. Even against the Jets the other Raiders’ RB proved they can’t handle the load, with Devontae Booker, Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick combining for 67 yards on 23 carries. In other words it was ugly, and there’s little reason to question Jacobs opportunities and upside.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Kenyan Drake (RB) – Arizona Cardinals

There was concern when the injury popped up this week, though owners can exhale and plan to use Drake as expected this week. That said it’s possible the Cardinals utilize Chase Edmonds a little bit more than usual (think 10-12 carries, as opposed to the 6-8 he’s been handling as of late).

That’s something that can’t be ignored, especially as the Giants’ defense has emerged over the past few weeks. Over the past two weeks they’ve allowed a total of 194 yards to opposing RB (96 rushing, 98 receiving) with just 1 TD. That could skew things towards Edmonds favor, and while Drake is startable he’s more of a FLEX than a RB2.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a FLEX)

Peyton Barber (RB) – Washington Football

With Antonio Gibson out, Barber should handle the early down/goal line work and J.D. McKissic the pass catching opportunities. While the 49ers are banged up, they’ve still allowed the seventh fewest points per week to opposing RB (including the fourth fewest rushing yards, at 872). Barber is going to be a TD dependent option, and that leaves him as more of a FLEX option as opposed to someone to trust.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (usable FLEX, if needed)

Brandin Cooks (WR) – Houston Texans

The hope was that Cooks would step up given all of the issues among the Houston receiving corps, but it wasn’t him who emerged in Week 13:

  • Keke Coutee – 8 catches for 141 yards
  • Chad Hansen – 5 catches for 101 yards
  • Brandin Cooks – 5 catches for 65 yards

All three received at least 7 targets, and that further limits Cooks’ outlook. You can argue he’s the easiest to trust, but the ceiling isn’t necessarily high in a more difficult matchup. He’s a viable WR3, but that’s about it.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (in two-receiver formats, he’s a viable WR3)

Tee Higgins (WR) – Cincinnati Bengals

Higgins has had 56 yards or fewer in each of the past three weeks. While the Cowboys have been a favorable matchup, it’s possible that he is used sparingly or suffers a setback given the nature of the injury. With Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green also in the mix, there’s far more risk than needed this week.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Ty Johnson (RB) – New York Jets

After last week, when he turned 22 carries into 104 yards and 1 TD, you would’ve envisioned Johnson as an easy play this week. However there’s quite a few things working against him:

  1. Frank Gore is expected to play, and the Jets have remained committed to him as opposed to looking at younger options
  2. It’s quite possible that the Jets fall down big early, leaving them to take a pass happy approach
  3. The Seahawks have allowed the fifth fewest rushing yards to opposing RB (894)

You add those things together and Johnson becomes completely unusable.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Duke Johnson (RB) – Houston Texans

David Johnson will miss this week after being placed on the COVID-19 list, leaving Duke Johnson to again takeover lead back duties. Of course this isn’t the first time he’ll get an opportunity and he’s failed to take advantage:

69 carries for 209 yards (3.0 YPC) with 1 TD

He’s been a bit of a bigger factor in the passing game (26 catches for 196 yards and 1 TD), but is that enough? The Bears have allowed the 10th fewest points per week to opposing RB and Deshaun Watson and company proved last week that despite the questions they can still produce.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

DeAndre Washington (RB) – Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins will be without Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Matt Breida, leaving Washington as the last man standing in the backfield. It’s possible that the Dolphins take a pass heavy approach against Kansas City, though the Chiefs have allowed the ninth fewest points per week to opposing QB.

That could mean ample opportunities for Washington, though he owns a career 3.9 yards/carry to go along with 8 total TD (7 rushing, 1 receiving). He’s also been battling a hamstring injury in recent weeks, and an in-game setback is easy to envision. It’s hard to imagine him getting enough touches, or taking advantage of the ones that he does get. If you are desperate for a FLEX than maybe, but for most he’s not worth using.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (borderline FLEX play)

Sources – NFL.com, ESPN

Make sure to check out all of our Week 14 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses



11 COMMENTS

  1. Good morning Prof.

    is Tee H more riskier than Antonio Brown . . . more specific “best” 2 out of these ugly 3: Tee Higgins, Antonio Brown, Tyler Boyd

    Thank you for any insights

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