By Logan Lepiscopo
Fantasy Football: Championship Starts & Sits
COVID-19 is hitting the NFL hard which is making these fantasy football playoffs even tougher than usual. Last week my starts and sits were awful, I have never had such a bad week. If you made it to your championship matchup, I have decided to do a spin on this week’s starts and sits. Instead of giving you the one guy at each position to start and sit I made three starts and sits for each position. The explanations will not be as in depth, but I would say this is giving you more of a bang for your buck. I still insist that you trust your gut when deciding between two players and use this article as a coin flip. So obviously, keep the guys in your lineup that have been performing week after week. This article is going to give one start and sit for each position (QB, RB, WR, TE, D/ST, and K) the starts being guys that would usually be on the bench or a 50/50 start. But the guys that will be talked about sitting will be some guys that would typically make a starting lineup but have a tough matchup this week that may be a convincing case to sit them.
Start em’ & Sit em’
Start: Jalen Hurts @ The Washington Football Team (Projected: 23.8)
If Jalen Hurts proved anything last week it is that he is a second half quarterback, but when you are going up against the 32nd ranked pass defense in the NFL. Mix in his ability to run and you have yourself a quarterback that is guaranteed to produce for your championship game.
Start: Matthew Stafford @ Baltimore Ravens (Projected: 23.9)
Stafford has been very up and down this season, the past two weeks Stafford has not done anything worth noticing. But this week he is going against a very depleted Ravens secondary and has one of his wide receivers on the verge of setting a new NFL record. A combined 28 points over the last two weeks is not a pretty site but I think that Stafford can hit that 24-point projection or even better.
Start: Joe Burrow vs. Kansas City (Projected: 21.7)
The way that the Chiefs defense has been playing recently I am sure has scared a lot of Joe Burrow fantasy owners away from starting him this week. But Burrow has been on a tear recently and coming off a 525-yard passing game against the Ravens the momentum is all in his favor to continue to be successful.
Sit: Justin Herbert vs. Denver Broncos (Projected: 23.7)
After last week against the Houston Texans, I am terrified of what is going to happen when Herbert faces a defense that is known to have been good all season. Last time Herbert played the Broncos he covered that 23.7-point projection, and he very well could do it again, but Herbert needs to clean up his turnovers he has had 10 turnovers since their bye in week 7 (average of over 1 a week).
Sit: Kyler Murray @ Dallas Cowboys (Projected: 20.7)
Kyler Murray seems to have forgotten how to play football since DeAndre Hopkins got hurt, and this week I see as another downer. The Cowboy’s defense has been great so far this season and last week against Washington was a big week to get this defense going. Kyler Murray may be the number 11 fantasy quarterback, but he has been nothing like his MVP self at the beginning of the season.
Sit: Tyler Huntley vs. Los Angeles Rams (Projected: 22.3)
Huntley is taking place for Lamar Jackson once again this week and he has a challenge this week going up against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams have the fourth best pass defense this season, he scored 39.9 points against the Packers, but the Rams pass defense is significantly better as well as their defense against the run.
Start: Ronald Jones @ New York Jets (Projected: 15.1)
Leonard Fournette is out for the season which means Ronald Jones is taking over the lead role. Ke’Shawn Vaughn may be a pest when it comes to the PPR scoring aspect of fantasy football, but Ronald Jones will get majority of the carries and is facing the worst run defense in the NFL. Start Ronald Jones with confidence in your fantasy championship matchups this weekend.
Start: Javonte Williams @ Los Angeles Chargers (Projected: 14.3)
Javonte Williams is facing the 28th ranked run defense and last time the Broncos and Chargers played Williams scored 20.1 PPR points. Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon are both listed as questionable this week however I expect both to suit up and be ready for this game. Javonte Williams has silently taken over the Broncos running back room and will be his for years to come with Melvin Gordon being a free agent after this season.
Start: Elijah Mitchell vs. Houston Texans (Projected: 13.7)
Another rookie running back that is questionable this week but has a fantastic matchup going up against the Texans this week. Mitchell came on to the scene after Raheem Mostert went down with an injury and has made a name for himself among this rookie running back class. Assuming that Mitchell is good to play he should be in your fantasy lineups.
Sit: D’Onta Foreman vs. Miami Dolphins (Projected: 10.1)
Foreman is going up against a Miami Dolphins defense that has stepped up a lot since the teams 1-7 start. Foreman scored 7.7 points last week on 9 carries for 17 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers, and Vrabel is using a three running back rotation now. Foreman may be projected double digit points this week but that is not enough to justify starting him.
Sit: Michael Carter vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Projected: 13.3)
The Jets are not good, but Michael Carter has been a bright spot for the team. Unfortunately, this week he faces the Buccaneers and will be a very tough matchup for him to get the ball moving. The Jets will be playing from behind this game which means Zach Wilson will be passing more often to try and catch up.
Sit: Ameer Abdullah @ New Orleans Saints (Projected: 8.2)
The Panthers offense fell off a cliff around the mid-season mark and there has been no signs of life since then. The running back room has just become worse and worse since McCaffrey got hurt and though Hubbard was doing good for a while, he has become the most inefficient runner in the NFL. Abdullah is more efficient as a receiving back so he has PPR upside, and with all the players on the COVID-19/reserve list or injured Abdullah may be an option for you to start. Well newsflash, he is a sit this week so do not play him.
Start: Jaylen Waddle @ Tennessee Titans (Projected: 15.9)
Waddle is looking to break Anquan Boldin’s rookie reception record and the Dolphins adding him to their roster has been the best thing to happen to the offense. Waddle is easily going to break the rookie record and 15.9 PPR points is going to be easily achieved as he has had 10+ targets in each of his last 3 games. Waddle is the king of volume right now and having him in your lineup will have you crowned a league champion.
Start: D.J. Moore @ New Orleans Saints (Projected: 14.4)
I know I said that the Panthers offense was dead, but D.J. Moore is still the best player in this offense and despite the lack of QB play he still makes big time plays. Sam Darnold is back in at QB and that means Moore will getting the ball thrown properly towards him. If Moore is not in your starting lineup currently because of the terrible quarterback play I suggest that you find a way to get him into your lineup.
Start: Brandin Cooks @ San Francisco 49ers (Projected: 14.7)
It is no secret now that Brandin Cooks is the biggest boom/bust wide receiver in fantasy football. The past two weeks Cooks has put up 18+ points getting 10+ targets and 100+ yards a game. The 49ers secondary is ranked 24th in the NFL and has allowed 23+ points to the opposing WR1 in each of its last three games. Cooks could be that X factor WR to win you a fantasy championship or if you play in two-week championships that start this week, Cooks can set you up in an outstanding position to win.
Sit: Terry McLaurin vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Projected: 11.4)
Scary Terry has not been so scary this year, being projected just 11.4 PPR points is not something I ever thought I would see with a receiver like McLaurin. The quarterback play has not been ideal this season or his entire career. But this season it is taking a bigger tole on his production for whatever reason, this week is another that is going to be tough on McLaurin. Heinicke has not been playing well and the Eagles defense has been stepping up its game. I love Terry McLaurin and I think he is a tremendous player, but this week is a simple and easy sit.
Sit: Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Las Vegas Raiders (Projected: 12.8)
Pittman did get saved this week with Carson Wentz being cleared from COVID protocols but his matchup against the Raiders is still not picture perfect. The Colts offense has run off Jonathan Taylor all season long, and why change things up with a playoff spot on the line and being 9-0 when Taylor gets over 100 rushing yards. Pittman will get his targets and make plays with the passes he is able to bring in, but I think this will be a down week for Michael Pittman Jr.
Sit: DeVante Parker @ Tennessee Titans (Projected: 11.9)
While Jaylen Waddle is a start this week his teammate DeVante Parker should be nowhere near a starting lineup this week. 0.0… that is how many points Parker has Monday night against the Saints, now you could try and argue Marshon Lattimore was covering him, but in fact most of the game the number two corner for the Saints (Gardner-Johnson) was in coverage. This week against the Titans is an incredibly good matchup for the Dolphins WR’s but with his lack of production last week and all season I would not dare start him in a championship game.
Start: Ricky Seals-Jones vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Projected: 5.0)
Terry McLaurin faces a tough secondary with Darius Slay and crew, but tight ends have always found a way to have a game when going up against the Philadelphia Eagles. Seals-Jones is not the most appealing tight end out there and being projected just 5 points is not appealing either. But with Antonio Gibson being out, a playoff spot still on the minds of Washington players, and Heinicke not playing fantastic this game could very well turn in to dump offs to Jaret Patterson and hitting Seals-Jones down the seam or short outside by the sidelines. Obviously do not start Rick Seals-Jones over a tight end that has been consistent all year, but if you need to pick one up, he is your guy.
Start: Foster Moreau @ Indianapolis Colts (Projected: 10.3)
Darren Waller was sent to IR which ends his regular season, but Foster Moreau is a great option to have in at tight end. Hunter Renfrow has been the guy for Derek Carr recently, but Carr will never lose his love for his tight end. The Colts’ defense has been very giving to tight ends all season long and going up against a Raiders team that loves to get its tight end involved early and often could be a recipe for the Raiders having success.
Start: Gerald Everett vs. Detroit Lions (Projected: 7.6)
Last week was a big miss on Gerald Everett and I refuse to make that same mistake again. This week Everett has a good matchup, and the volume is there for him to have another big game. The Lions’ defense has not been phenomenal guarding the pass, but it has been a lot better than I projected, Lockett and DK may have their struggles which could break things wide open for Everett to have a big day.
Sit: Dalton Schultz vs. Arizona Cardinals (Projected: 11.8)
Dak Prescott finally got things together last week against the Washington Football Team, and the Cardinals may look like they are on a decline, but they are no push around team. Schultz has been a great tight end for fantasy this year currently ranked at number 4, this week he faces the number 2 defense against tight ends. Despite putting up 20+ points in back-to-back weeks the matchup this week is enough for me to take Schultz out of my lineup and start somebody else.
Sit: Austin Hooper @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Projected: 6.9)
The Browns tight end room is not just Austin Hooper, David Njoku is my eyes is the number one tight end on the Browns and even Harrison Bryant gets his fair share of snaps. The Steelers have a top 10 defense against tight ends (number 7) and with the Browns offense struggling to pass efficiently I can see this game turning into a heavy dose of Nick Chubb.
Sit: Evan Engram @ Chicago Bears (Projected: 7.3)
The Giants offense is not good, it did not take 17 weeks for this offense to just have a downfall, it has struggled all season long. Evan Engram has been no real help to the team despite getting a touchdown last week, which being his first touchdown since week 9. Even though Kyle Rudolph is not on the field much and does not get many targets one play alone could destroy Evan Engram’s performance for the week. I do not think Evan Engram should be started this week; I have had my love for him depending on his matchup but at no point this season have I ever thought that a championship team would contain a tight end like Evan Engram (a tight end that gets no volume).
Start: New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Projected: 7.1)
Start: New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers (Projected: 7.9)
Start: Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons (Projected: 7.2)
Sit: Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers (Projected: 3.1)
Sit: Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys (Projected: 4.4)
Sit: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Projected: 3.8)
Start: Chase McLaughlin @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Projected: 5.9)
Start: Cairo Santos vs. New York Giants (Projected: 6.7)
Start: Mason Crosby vs. Minnesota Vikings (Projected: 7.9)
Sit: Daniel Carlson @ Indianapolis Colts (Projected: 7.1)
Sit: Matt Gay @ Baltimore Ravens (Projected: 8.0)
Sit: Ka’imi Fairbairn @ San Francisco 49ers (Projected: 6.3)