by Thomas Russo and Jason Li
**Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the NFL in any way and this article simply contains the opinions of select students.
Start ‘em, Sit ‘em
Top 3 QBs to Start:
Andy Dalton vs. Browns: Welcome back to the land of the living Andy Dalton. It looks as though Dalton has recovered from the season-long losses of A.J. Green and Gio Bernard, as he threw 332 yards, along with two touchdowns against a talented Eagles’ defense. Now, he gets to play the worst team in the league, and should be ready to fly again.
Jameis Winston vs. Saints: Jameis Winston is evolving into a solid QB, and while he has not reached the elite level, he is still a useful fantasy QB for the right matchup. This week’s bout against the Saints will be a great matchup, while their defense continues to struggle against offensive talent. With the Bucs fighting for a playoff berth, Winston will have extra incentive to keep his good numbers going.
Matthew Stafford vs. Bears: Matt Stafford has gotten back on track with a 341 yard, two touchdown performance against the Saints. Now, he tangles with a Bears’ defense that has struggled to many QBs, besides Colin Kaepernick. Good news, this game will not be at snowy Soldier Field, but rather in Ford Field, where the weather never changes. Stafford should take the opportunity at home to shine.
Top 3 QBs to Sit:
Blake Bortles vs. Vikings: You know that you’re playing with fire if you start a QB who has thrown eleven pick sixes in his career, but has only won ten games. The Vikings have been allowing an average of thirteen points a game to opposing QBs, and have been playing a top-five worthy defense. You do the math.
Kirk Cousins vs. Eagles: Inconsistency, thy name is Cousins. After a thirty point outing on Thanksgiving, Cousins posted on sixteen points against a struggling Cardinals’ defense. Next up are the Eagles’ defense, looking to play spoiler on the Redskins’ playoff hopes. Heading into Lincoln Financial Field against defenders that have allowed only sixteen points a game, Cousins will not be in for a good week.
Marcus Mariota vs. Broncos: Heading into the Titans Week 13 bye, Marcus Mariota was the hottest QB in football, throwing for at least two touchdowns in every game since Week 5, and posting nineteen points or more in seven of his last eight games. However, those numbers are doubtful to continue as the Broncos’ star-studded defense comes to town. With Denver allowing only about twelve points per game to opposing QBs, it will be a tough nut to crack. This will be the toughest test the second year QB will face this season, so don’t expect too much.
Top 3 RBs to Start:
Matt Forte vs. 49ers: Matt Forte has been playing like an ageless wonder. The thirty year old continued a show of strength in the “run-happy” offense of the New York Jets. Now he will face the league’s worst defense, with second year QB Bryce Petty starting. So expect Forte to be running early and often.
Thomas Rawls vs. Packers: Thomas Rawls is back with a vengeance. He showed why everyone was calling him “Beast Mode 2.0” last week, when he torched the Panthers for over one hundred yards and two touchdowns. The Seattle offense is still going strong, so Rawls should be having some easy times.
Mark Ingram vs. Buccaneers: “Mr. Inconsistency”, also known as Mark Ingram, should be on an upswing this week against a Buccaneer defense that is struggling against the run of play. Expect him to show up this week.
Top 3 RBs to Sit:
Legarrette Blount vs. Ravens: Although Blount has been snatching touchdowns all year, he hasn’t gotten a good amount of yards. Against the tough Ravens defense, he will be limited. Receivers like Hogan, Amendola, Edelman and Bennett have all been snagging touchdowns anyways.
T.J. Yeldon vs. Vikings: The Vikings defense is a lock up, and Yeldon will have trouble finding an opening. He’s no Zeke or Johnson, so he’s probably going to get stopped at less than thirty yards. Yeldon isn’t one to take advantage of badly run defenses, so he may as well get off the Line against the Vikings.
James Starks vs. Seahawks: Starks? Not a chance. As Green Bay RB for about three weeks now, what a bust he has been for the Packers. He’s been the waiver pick up for the last three weeks, but still hasn’t gotten more than fifty yards.
Top 3 WRs to Start:
Mike Evans vs. Saints: Mike Evans is good at football, and scores lots of touchdowns. With ten touchdowns in twelve games, he’ll certainly boost your fantasy game. The New Orleans Saints’ defense is not good at football, allowing over twenty-four points a week to opposing WRs. What do you get when you match Mike Evans against the Saints’ defense? A monster fantasy day.
Brandon Marshall vs. 49ers: The Jets’ season may be over, and they may be starting a young, inexperienced QB in Bryce Petty. Still, worry not, Marsh owners! There is nothing better for an inexperienced QB, than a go-to, true, number one WR. That is what makes Brandon Marshall the perfect guy to match. It also helps that they’re playing the 49ers’ defense, which allows over twenty-seven points to opposing WRs.
Golden Tate vs. Bears: It looks like Golden Tate is finally emerging as the threat we predicted he would be, coming into the season. Tate is coming off a monster performance where he converted ten targets in eight receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown, which was a sixty-six yard catch and run gem. Now, the Lions take on the hapless Bears’ secondary, that gives up twenty-three points a game, to opposing WRs. Expect Tate to keep rolling out the yards.
Top 3 WRs to Sit:
Allen Robinson vs. Vikings: The Jaguars’ offense is clearly not what it once was. After turning in top ten numbers last year, Allen Robinson has fallen off a cliff this season, averaging only 8.35 points a week, twenty-fourth among WRs. He has been absolutely terrible throughout the last two weeks, with a combined five catches for fifty-five yards. A matchup against Xavier Rhodes and the shutdown Vikings’ secondary will not help him out of his form.
Richard Matthews vs. Broncos: Rishard Matthews has been a revelation this season for the Titans. Over his last four games, he has posted no fewer than twelve fantasy points. However, that form will likely come to an end this week, as he will be dealing with shutdown corner Aqib Talib, and the top tier Bronco defense. Start Matthews at your own risk.
Jarvis Landry vs. Cardinals: Landry may have had a solid outing this past week, but don’t let it cloud your judgement. Landry has averaged less than eight points a game this season. Head Coach Adam Gase also swore he will stay committed to running the ball with Jay Ajayi. This translates to less opportunities for Landry, unless the Dolphins get blown out like last week. Oh, and Patrick Peterson will be on his tail, which does not look good for Landry’s game .
Top TE to Start:
Tyler Eifert vs. Browns: Don’t look now, but Tyler Eifert has had touchdowns in back to back weeks. He is affirming his position once again as Andy Dalton’s favorite red zone target. He will likely be taking on an expanded role the season loss of A.J. Green. A matchup with the Browns’ defense, which is one of the few teams that allow an average of double digit points to opposing TEs. Eifert should dominate play.
Top TE to Sit:
Julius Thomas vs. Vikings: In case you couldn’t tell, you shouldn’t start any Jaguars players this week. The injury-prone Thomas is no exception mapping twenty-eight receiving yards at most, since Week 2. Adding the fact that Blake Bortles is playing possibly the worst football of his career, you should know that the out of form Jaguars’ offense wouldn’t stand a chance against the solid Vikings’ defense.