Week 14 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Fantasy Football Stars to Play and Bench

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 5, 2019

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins warms up before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Not that holiday nonsense—driving anywhere is and will be a nightmare for the next month—but the real gift that keeps on giving: the fantasy football playoffs.

You made it (hopefully), and now you need to throw on your thinking gap, gather all your good-luck charms and prepare to make the most critical start-or-sit decisions of the campaign.

Luckily, you came to the right place, as we're providing our top starts and sits at each position. Chalk it up to the holiday spirit, we suppose.


Start 'Em

QB: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

RB: James White, New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs

WR: DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

TE: Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

D/ST: Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Kicker: Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants


Sit 'Em

QB: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers

RB: Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

WR: Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

TE: Darren Fells, Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos

D/ST: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Kicker: Zane Gonzalez, Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


Start: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Kirk Cousins hasn't spent the entire season inside the circle of trust, but he's having a better year than you might think.

Dating back to Week 5, he's scored 20-plus points in five of his last eight games and 18-plus in all but one. Even the dud was pretty impressive, as he completed 23 of his 26 passes against the Washington Redskins in Week 8, but he just didn't find the end zone.

In the other seven outings of this stretch, he's had at least two touchdowns in all of them and twice doubled that number. He also has just two interceptions in his last 10 games and only four on the season.

Now, he's getting a Lions defense that has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to the position, per Yahoo Sports, and might be even worse than that implies. They've allowed three touchdown passes to Mitchell Tribusky twice, four to Daniel Jones and three to Cousins himself back in Week 7.


Sit: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers

The Falcons' season went sideways from the start, and of late, they're starting to take Matt Ryan with them.

Given the fact he throws as often as he does (tied for fourth-most attempts) and can spin so many balls the direction of Julio Jones, Ryan is capable of providing impressive yardage volume. That said, after starting his year with six straight 300-yard efforts, that column is coming down, too.

Over the last five weeks, he has as many sub-200 yard games as ones with 300-plus (two each). During the same stretch, he also has an identical number of passing scores and interceptions (five).

In the right matchup, he's probably usable, but this isn't it. The Panthers have only allowed multiple touchdowns to four of the 12 quarterbacks they've faced, as Ryan can attest, since he managed just a single score against them in Week 11.


Start: James White, New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs

In some years, James White can get lost amid a plethora of pass-catching options and a deep stable of running backs for the Patriots.

This is not one of those years.

With no Rob Gronkowski and spotty production from receivers not named Julian Edelman, White has become something of a safety blanket for Tom Brady. White is second on the team in both receptions (57) and targets (76), and the gap between him and No. 3 isn't close in either category. White also saw a season-high 14 carries last week and responded with 5.6 yards per rush, so his role as a runner might be trending up, too.

No matter how he's used, he has a chance to be a difference-maker against a Chiefs defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to the position. Kansas City has allowed six different running backs to clear the century mark on the ground and five to finish with 40-plus receiving yards.