Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 14

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2021

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 14

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    Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

    It's Week 14 in the NFL, which means that the fantasy playoffs are right around the corner—or perhaps already here in some larger leagues. Lineup strategies should be the same as they've been all season, with a focus on starting consistent players and targeting favorable matchups.

    As is usually the case, though, injuries and bye weeks could take some top options off the table. Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook, for example, was limited in practice Tuesday after missing Week 13 with a shoulder injury. He may or may not suit up for Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    While this is the final week for byes, managers will still have to make do without players from the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

    Here, we'll dive into some of the best and worst plays of the week. To avoid obvious sits, we'll be looking specifically at players rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues, according to FantasyPros. All picks are based on points-per-reception scoring.

Week 14 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

    Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

    Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns

    David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

    Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team

    Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns

    Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos


    Sit 'Em

    Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans

    Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams

    Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

    Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons

    Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

    Kenny Golladay, WR, New York Giants

    Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams

Start 'Em: Joe Burrow vs. San Francisco 49ers

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is usually a must-start. However, things look a little dicier heading into Week 14.

    Burrow had an up-and-down game against the Los Angeles Chargers last week—300 passing yards, two rushing and passing touchdowns, but three turnovers—and he suffered a dislocated pinkie finger on his throwing hand.

    The injury is worth monitoring with an aggressive San Francisco 49ers defense on the docket. Burrow, though, expects to be good to go.

    "I'm not going to miss any games because of it. That's not something that's going to happen," Burrow said, per ESPN's Ben Baby.

    The Bengals are at home (again), and while the 49ers can pressure opposing quarterbacks, they don't entirely shut them down. San Francisco has allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. That's not ideal, but it's not reason enough to sit Burrow, who has scored at least two touchdowns in all but two games.

Sit 'Em: Mike Davis at Carolina Panthers

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    While Cordarrelle Patterson has clearly been the Atlanta Falcons running back to roster this season, Mike Davis has been fine as a streaming PPR flex option in recent weeks. He's caught at least three passes in three straight games and is coming off a four-catch performance with 69 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.

    "Fine" isn't a goal for fantasy, though, and Davis might not even be that this week. Last week's touchdown was nice, but Davis has seen five or fewer carries in four straight games. There's some PPR upside here—Davis caught five passes the last time he faced the Carolina Panthers—but Patterson is the back Atlanta trusts.

    With a low-volume ceiling, managers will be banking entirely on PPR value and/or touchdown production. Considering Davis has only scored three times this season, that's not great.

    The Panthers, though, are a middle-of-the-pack matchup in fantasy—they've allowed the 18th-most fantasy points to opposing backs. Patterson should be a safe start, but Davis should be avoided unless you're entirely out of alternatives.

Start 'Em: Kareem Hunt vs. Baltimore Ravens

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was a dud against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12. Fresh off injured reserve (calf), he was not a significant piece of the game plan. He finished without a catch and totaled just 20 rushing yards on seven carries.

    With the Browns offense stalling—it has scored 17 or fewer points in six of the last seven games—it's hard to trust anyone on the roster. The Ravens have also allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs.

    However, receiving targets like Hunt and wideout Jarvis Landry deserve one more chance against Baltimore. With Marlon Humphrey out for the year with a torn pectoral, the Ravens secondary is vulnerable. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has had two weeks to rest his various injuries (shoulder, knee, foot), and if he can't bounce back this week, it's not going to happen.

    Hunt is two more weeks removed from his injury, and he should see a much bigger role in the rematch. The Browns are considering playing both Hunt and Nick Chubb in the backfield together.

    "Those are two great players. We've got to make sure that they're involved so that we can be productive in the run game and in the pass game," coach Kevin Stefanski said, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

    Hunt should be back to being a quality PPR back this week.

Sit 'Em: Kenny Golladay at Los Angeles Chargers

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    It may be time to send New York Giants wideout Kenny Golladay to the waiver wire. New York's prized free-agent acquisition has battled multiple injuries this season—he played through a rib injury in Week 13—and has disappointed more often than not.

    Golladay has had three or fewer receptions in his last five games and is coming off a paltry 37-yard performance.

    In addition, the Giants are likely to start Jake Fromm this week, as Daniel Jones is still out with a neck injury and Mike Glennon is in concussion protocol.

    "We'll get Jake and Brian [Lewerke] ready for the game based on whatever we may have to do," coach Joe Judge said, per Michael Eisen of the team's official website.

    Now, there's always a chance that Fromm plays well, forces the ball to his veteran receiver, and Golladay has a strong outing. Don't bet on that this week, though. The Los Angeles Chargers have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers.

    Managers who want to hang onto Golladay for another week to see if a quarterback change sparks his production should feel free, but this isn't a good week to have him in the starting lineup.


    Fantasy roster information and points allowed via FantasyPros.